Category Archives: Encouragement

Tears

Psalm 56:8

“You keep track of all my sorrows.  You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”

God many times will speak to me in dreams.  Last night I had a very vivid dream.  In it I was crying… my heart was broken over the bitterness I apparently still held against several people in my life.  God, very gently, prompted me by bringing faces to my memory and showing me where I still held bitterness, anger, or resentment.  My tears were of true remorse, confession, and repentance.   One by one I forgave and asked forgiveness.

I came to a point where I had no more tears… I felt drained.  I turned around and saw the massive room I was in.  It was lined with shelves, like an apothecary.  There were rows and rows of shelves filled with jars of many sizes and shapes.  They were all clear and beautiful, filled with liquid.  As far as my eye could see, and as high as the heavens, these jars glowed, shelf upon shelf.

I asked God, “what are these?”

He softly replied, “the tears of my beloved ones… I treasure them.”  He continued, “they represent true repentance, devotion and grief.  Each one has visited here at one time or another and has received comfort.  Each one is precious.” He paused… and I saw a tear begin to travel down His cheek, “my child, tears are never wasted.  They cleanse, they heal, they renew… I save each one… I even write them down.”

As I began to awaken I felt a sense of complete peace… just knowing that God is aware of every tear, every sorrow… He weeps with me, shelters me, strengthens me in times of trouble.

Psalm 46:1

“God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.”



Liar, Liar Pants on Fire

My wife and I are constantly amused by the Progressive Insurance commercial where two agents from another company claim to have the same benefits as Progressive.  As they are speaking their pants spontaneously burst into flame.  At the end of the commercial, one of them says, “No más pantalones.”  Although the commercial has a humorous intent, it always brings to mind the sobering idea of being honest in all of our dealings… and the consequences of dishonesty.

The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth.  ~ Proverbs 12:22

“Detest” is a strong word.   I don’t know about you… but I never want to be caught up in doing something the Lord detests.  I desire to display the true qualities of a believer in Christ.  Two of the hallmarks of trustworthiness are honesty and integrity.

The core of trustworthiness is honesty.  I want to be honest in my communication.  My intention is to be truthful by presenting facts to the best of my knowledge.  I may be wrong… but I will never be dishonest.

I choose to display integrity in my life communication and choices.  “Integrity” is an interesting word.  The root of the word comes from the Latin root, “integer,” meaning a whole number.  In other words, I am to be consistent… not having a divided heart… my principles not wavering or varying whether I’m in public or at home.  This requires me to be in touch with my core values as a believer and as a human being.

I never want to be in the position where I have to say, “No más pantalones.”


Your Will Be Done

I always believed I was right by asking God to bless what I was doing.  Come to find out… I’m all wrong.  God wants us to be aware of what He is doing and join Him.  Several years ago I wrote a song based on a little poem… it went something like this:

I’m running, Jesus… are You running with me?

Hmmm… what it SHOULD have said is this:  You’re running Jesus… let me run with You!

Most recently I was again confronted with this skewed perspective in my own life.  I have been praying fervently for a new job.  I’ve been deeply dissatisfied with my work and simply wanted out.  I was figuratively pounding on the doors of heaven for “my” answer.  I received an answer;  not exactly the one I was searching and praying for.  God chose to transform my current job in a miraculous way.  Not what I was expecting… but certainly an answer to prayer.  I realized I have a new job, only not in the way I expected.

I re-read the scripture in Psalm 37:4  Take delight in the LORD,  and he will give you your heart’s desires.

What resonated in me is this simple truth.  If we take delight in the Lord, HE becomes our heart’s delight… and He generously gives us more of Himself.  Lord help me to keep YOU at the center of my life… help me to find my delight in You.  Help me to put my will aside and instead look for Your will in each and every situation.  I want to join what You are doing…   AMEN!


The Light from Heaven

“Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,” ~ Luke 1:78

Once again we commemorate when the bright shadow of God fell upon us in the form of a little baby born to a virgin.  It is a perpetual reminder of God’s mercy.  A reminder of when a bright ray of morning light shone from heaven into our dreary world.  A ray of hope, a beacon of promise, an incarnation of God Himself.  Merry Christmas, everyone.  May the “morning light from heaven” shine forever upon you.  May God Himself impart His tender mercy to you as you enter a new year.


Being Thankful

“The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.”  ~  Psalm 28:7

I am reminded daily that being thankful is a choice.

The simple act of living creates obstacles for us.  Life changes on us.  We can allow the changes and obstacles to create bitterness and anger, or we can choose to allow the Lord to be our strength and our shield… we can choose to trust Him with our whole heart and allow Him to help us turn those obstacles and changes into deep, transforming joy.  It’s not about being joyful for the circumstances… it’s about being joyful for having a God who can turn our disappointment into thanksgiving!

Today… I AM thankful!


Courage

Psa_27:14 “Hope in the Lord God; be of good courage, and He shall make your heart strong; yes, hope in the Lord God.”

I was looking in my Bible this morning and noticing how many times the phrase “be of good courage” or “be courageous” is repeated. Apparently, we need to be reminded often.

I look at this particular scripture and it gives us the key for being courageous. The key is found in whom we place our hope… our trust!

How many times have I put my hope, my trust in things that are untrustworthy? In this scripture I am reminded to place my entire hope and trust in the God of the universe… The Creator of all things…

But even more than placing my hope and trust in Him… I am also given a promise! HE will make my heart strong! I don’t have to muster up courage from somewhere deep within myself. I don’t have to do it in my own strength. God Himself will make my heart strong… HE will give me that “good courage”.


Experiencing God’s Peace

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.” ~ Philippians 4:6-9

This passage keeps coming up in my devotional time.  Just when I think I’m getting a handle on the worrying thing… God, are you trying to tell me something?

There is nothing I cherish more than God’s peace.  I’m getting there.  What I’m discovering is this… it is a daily commitment.  I have to choose each day to trust God.  As I do this, His peace comes.  The process of thinking on good things is a discipline.  Lord, help me discipline my mind to think on good things so I can experience Your peace.


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