Tag Archives: Encouraging words for life

Keep Your Eyes on God ~ not your difficulties

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Eyes on God

“Then Peter called to him: ‘Sir, if it is really you, tell me to come over to you, walking on the water.’ ‘All right,’ the Lord said, ‘come along!’ So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he looked around at the high waves, he was terrified and began to sink. ‘Save me, Lord!’ he shouted.”

Matthew 14:28 – 30 TLB

We may not walk on water, but we do walk through periods of tumultuous circumstances in life. If we focus on the swirling waves of difficulties surrounding us, we can easily feel like we are being swallowed up by the surge of life’s problems.

Peter experienced a rather unusual example of God’s power when he went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. His faith in Jesus gave him the courage to throw his leg over the side of the boat and step out into the stormy sea.  However, his faith wavered when he realized what he was doing. Once he took his eyes off Jesus and focused on the crushing waves around him, he began to sink.

Like Peter, we often start out with great intentions. We may be “prayed up” and filled with holy confidence before we begin to face the day. But once we wade into the undulating sea of life, our faith begins to falter, and we sink in despair. We feel ill-equipped to navigate the storms that batter us. Yet this doesn’t mean that we have failed. When Peter’s faith faltered, he immediately reached out to Jesus. In his time of greatest fear, he called on his Savior to rescue him.

When you are afraid of the troubles that swirl around you, keep your eyes on Jesus’ power rather than your own inadequacies. Call out to Him for help, and He will rescue you from the stormy seas.

“We have to pray with our eyes on God ~ not on the difficulties.” ~ Oswald Chambers

“Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “truly you are the Son of God.”

Matthew 14:31-33

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Your Irresistible Future with God

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Beware of looking back

Go in confidence and grace—no rushing, no frantic escape.
    There’s no need to be anxious—the Eternal One goes before and behind you.
The God of Israel paves the way with assurance and strength.
    He watches your back.

Isaiah 52:12 (VOICE)

“Our yesterdays present irreparable things to us; it is true that we have lost opportunities which will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ. Leave the Irreparable Past in His hands, and step out into the Irresistible Future with Him.” (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (1956). Section “December 31”).

God is the God of your yesterdays, your todays, and your tomorrows. Often memories of the past keep you from fully experiencing God’s grace and joy for today. It’s possible that you are longing for days gone by because they were happier times (the good ‘ole days), or it could be that you are wallowing in the junkyard of past memories, allowing the blunders of the past to overshadow God’s blessing for today. In either case, you are stuck in the quicksand of yesterday, and you can’t move into the future that God has in store.

Just remember, that God’s got your back! He’s your rear guard, and His hand can reach back into your past and settle any claims against your conscience. He can use yesterday’s mistakes and turn them into today’s ministry of growth for your future. He has a grand plan for your life, so let the past rest in God’s sweet embrace. He’s paving the way ahead with assurance and strength, so step confidently into your irresistible future with Him! “And He will be leading you. He’ll be with you, and He’ll never fail you or abandon you. So don’t be afraid!” Deuteronomy 31:8 (VOICE)

God’s Help When You’re In Over Your Head

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Bottomless sea

A personal message from your Heavenly Father:

“But now, God’s Message,
    the God who made you in the first place…
    the One who got you started…:
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
    I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
    When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
    it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
    The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you…:
That’s how much you mean to me!
    That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
    trade the creation just for you.”

Isaiah 43:2 – 3 (MSG)

So today if you are experiencing deep waters of difficulty, and you feel like you’re in way over your head, don’t be afraid and don’t lose hope. God knows you by name, and He knows every messy detail of your life. He’s right beside you in the rough waters, and He will bring you safely through them ~ You will not go down. This feeling you have, like you’re between a rock and a hard place, is only temporary. God has big plans for your future, and He can use everything you’re experiencing for your good. Your Savior paid a huge price just for you ~ That’s how much you mean to Him! That’s how much He loves you! Trust that He is capable of bringing you through this tumultuous period. Nothing is impossible for Him, and there is no limit to the boundless strength He can provide for you. With Him by your side, you can endure anything.

“Try to remember that the ‘bottomless sea’ can’t hurt us as long as we keep on swimming”…with God!

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  • “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43: 1 – 3 (NLT)
  • “When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” Psalm 118:5-6 (NIV)
  • “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11(NLT)
  • “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28(NLT)
     

Looking Ahead

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Snowy Path CS Lewis quote

Don’t revel only in the past, or spend all your time recounting…days gone by.
Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak,
and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; Waters will flow where there had been none.

Isaiah 43:18 – 19 (VOICE)

 The eve of a fresh new year is a great time to start looking forward to the possibilities that lie ahead. Perhaps there are things that you wish you could change about the year you see in the rear view right now, and of course you can learn a great deal from past failure ~ as well as past success! But continually looking backwards will hold you frozen in your history, rather than focused on the present task of writing your story. So don’t revel only in the past, or spend all your time recounting days gone by. The things you leave behind have already happened, but the future ahead is like a brand new page in a new chapter of your life.

As the New Year dawns, vow to live each day with resolve and intent.  God has given each of us a certain number of days to fulfill our life’s purposes. Ask Him to give you the grace to understand the important significance of each new day ~ and each moment ~ that you spend here on earth.  Some of us have more time than others, but none of us know the exact amount of time that we have left to complete our life’s mission. Pray for divine instruction concerning how to use your time purposefully throughout the days of the coming year.

Remember, “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” ~ C.S. Lewis

  • You crown the year with your good blessings, and you leave abundance in your wake. Psalm 65:11 (NET)
 

Little Things Matter

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Everyone can do something

 “And serve each other according to the gift each person has received,

as good managers of God’s diverse gifts.”
1 Peter 4: 10 CEB
 

Just think what a difference we could make in our community, our state, our nation…or throughout the world..if we ALL gave just a little bit of time, money, or talent for serving others? A few dollars out of your pocket, a few cans of food out of your pantry, or a few minutes out of your day, may not mean much to you, but to others it can mean everything.

So take a moment and think about the blessings in your life, and consider what one thing you can do today to serve others. If we all did our part, the result would be like the ever-expanding ripple effect from dropping a small pebble into a body of water. The sphere of influence of our combined actions could increase incrementally and spread throughout the world. The little things do matter!

“Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything.” 1 Peter 4:10 (MSG)

  •  “We are God’s masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago”  Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
  • ” Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.”  Hebrews 10:24
  • “Whoever speaks should do so as those who speak God’s word.  Whoever serves should do so from the strength that God furnishes.  Do this so that in everything God may be honored through Jesus Christ. To him be honor and power forever and always. Amen.”  1 Peter 4:11 (CEB)
  • Realize that the purpose of money is to strengthen friendships, to provide opportunities for being generous and kind. Eventually money will be useless to you—but if you use it generously to serve others, you will be welcomed joyfully into your eternal destination. Luke 16:9 (VOICE)
  • “In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets—some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage. Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing.”  2 Timothy 2: 20 – 21 (MSG)
 http://howtoberich.org/time/

Your Extraordinary Destiny

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Extraordinary Destiny

 

“We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful
when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.”  
Romans 8:28 (VOICE)
 

What an amazing vision of your future ~ the overwhelming hardships you have experienced could very well be preparing you for your “extraordinary destiny!” God promises His children that He can use everything to work toward something good and beautiful if we live according to His plan ~ Yes, He can even use the bad, ugly, painful, and heartbreaking things that happen to us.

When you completely trust God… and not in life’s treasures…you allow the Master Craftsman to use each event in your life to create a glorious masterpiece.  Like threads in a tapestry, He can weave your defeats, your struggles, your heartache, your pain, your loss, your trials, your rejection, and even your shameful mistakes into a rich, beautiful, one-of-a-kind design.

No one else has walked in your shoes. Your experiences are completely unique to you. Will you accept God’s invitation to launch into your extraordinary destiny by allowing Him to orchestrate something good and beautiful from your personal life experiences?

  • “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
  • “Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish.  In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.” Isaiah 38:17 (NIV)
  • “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20

Hope Sets us Free

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Hope sets us free to experience joy

May the God of Hope fill you with all
JOY and PEACE
as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope…
Romans 15:13 (NIV)
 

With God, nothing is impossible!  So if you place your trust in the God of All Possibilities…if you wholeheartedly believe in the God of Miracles…if you have faith in the God of Hope…you will be filled with joy and peace.  Your feeling of hopelessness will change to hope-FULL-ness, so much so that you will be filled to the brim and bubbling over with hope. The despair, distress and discouragement that once consumed you will be replaced with confident expectation.

So if your life circumstances seem irreversible, incurable, or insurmountable, simply place your trust in the God of Hope and experience His joy and peace.

“For with God nothing will be impossible.”
Luke 1:37 (NKJV)
 
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
 
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”
Hebrews 6:19 (NIV)