Tag Archives: encourage

An Empty Hope

The Psalmist states in today’s verse that trusting in a person is worthless or useless; the Psalmist declares a person cannot rescue another. This thinking is contrary to what the world exclaims. I remember growing up with the hope of being rescued. Remember the stories of a knight on a white horse? Today, our entertainment includes superheroes, and even underdog heroes. Lots of stories about people saving the day, rescuing people, getting the win—and these are the stories we cling to and celebrate. These stories do not simply entertain; the stories invade our thinking. We begin to think a person could help our situation and a person could even rescue us.

Yes, it is true. A person could help you. People help people daily. A person could rescue you. People rescue people every day. But the hope of man—the hope of man—it is in God alone. Here’s where we get caught up, where we all get caught up. When we are around a certain person, we feel happy and we begin to think that the person is the reason for our joy. When we are bailed out by someone from a financial hardship, we begin to think the person will help the next time. When our neighbor rescues us every time we have car trouble, we start to expect it. But people let people down. We are not strong enough to carry another. We can barely carry ourselves. Even though we have moments where we can be used to bless, to help, to rescue—we cannot carry another completely. Most importantly, we cannot offer a person hope. We cannot offer a person salvation.

We can point to hope. We can point to salvation. We can point to Jesus. We can lend a hand. We can speak life. We can be there to listen. We can be the hands and feet of Christ. Remember though, only God saves. Jesus is our only hope. Don’t put everything on another person’s shoulders. You have a Savior who already carried your burden and paid the price a million times over. An empty hope is no hope at all. Thank God for Christ Jesus!

“Give us a father’s help when we face our enemies. For to trust in any man is an empty hope.” – Psalm 60:11 [TPT]

Every Waking Hour

Did you ever hear the phrase, “There’s not enough time in the day” or even find yourself making the declaration? Even though we are gifted 24 hours a day, we never seem to find enough time. With the invention of new technology to help accomplish things with ease, it would seem as if we would have extra time to spend with God, yet the pleasures of the world usually take the driver’s seat.

The Psalmist speaks of different periods within the day, each focused on drawing near to God. Every evening, there is time to explain what needs are on the heart. Every morning, the Psalmist draws near to God. Every waking hour is considered worship time.

Most of us struggle with connecting with God on a daily basis. To consider God first each morning is foreign to most. To think of God every night, and to draw near to Him in prayer is also not a typical part of the daily routine in life. Do we just acknowledge these problems and admit we struggle with drawing near to our Creator, and then call it a night? No. If we believe and if we love God, we evaluate our schedule, we discern our priorities, and we make changes. These changes do not happen overnight. Baby steps. Aim to meet with God in the morning; aim to meet with God at night. Begin to meet with Him while at work, while at the gym, while at the grocery story. As you keep pressing into Him and experience His glory, you will begin to worship Him more. As you continue to water this seed, you will rejoice as it grows. As you spend time with Him, the more you will carve out for Him. May you one day spend every waking hour worshiping Him!

“Every evening I will explain my need to him. Every morning I will move my soul toward him. Every waking hour I will worship only him, and he will hear and respond to my cry.” – Psalm 55:17 [TPT]

Small Beginnings

Today my daughter received her college acceptance letter. What an exciting moment celebrating her invitation into the biochemistry program she desires to begin her journey toward a career in pathology. Yet when I think of this new journey she is about to embark upon, I am reminded of a recent fortune cookie statement – “All great things had small beginnings.”

This interest she has in pathology was something she developed as a young child watching Dr. G: Medical Examinerwith me. This seed then blossomed over years of schooling and research. As we celebrate today as a family, we recognize it was small things that led to this great thing. It also will take a lot of study and sacrifice to reach the end goal; lots of small things that will lead up to the great things. 

With social media today, we are shown a lot of great things, but we do not see the back story. We see the grand vacation photos, but not the overtime hours or intense saving with a budget that went on to offer a great opportunity with no additional debt. We see well-behaved children and fancy dinners and homes decorated to look like the homes shown in magazines. We do not see the small beginnings; we do not see all that has led up to this very moment.

It is truly a blessing to look back on all the small beginnings of life and see how God has moved. It is awesome to look at how God used our faithful obedience, our struggles, etc. all for His good purpose and for His glory. May we give Him praise as we remember the small beginnings. May we stay focused on what matters, remembering that the social media posts we see are only showing us what someone wants us to see. May we stay humble, remembering that God is in control and every great thing is only great because He has paved the way and opened the doors. To Him be all glory, honor, and praise.

“He is your praise and he is your God, who has done for you these great and awe-inspiring works your eyes have seen.” – Deuteronomy 10:21 [CSB]

He Stooped Down

I’ve been struggling with a fever for days. Today I found myself on the floor at the foot of my Christmas tree, which happens to be a cross. As I looked up at the well-light, decorated cross tree, I considered the goodness of God. 

Our God, holy and almighty, stooped down to us. Not only did He stoop down, sending His one and only Son to live life in this broken world and die on the cross, but He continues to stoop down again and again, meeting us where we are in this broken world.

This is grace. Reaching down and lifting up to where you are. No one demonstrates grace like our Father. We cannot earn salvation. We don’t deserve it. Yet He gives it freely to all who believe. When we believe, we are called children of God—and co-heirs with Christ. We go from sinner to saint, from dead to alive. 

Every day, we need this reminder of His grace. You may feel down today, but you will not be down forever. You may feel pain today, but you will not feel pain forever. Breathe in some grace today, and then pour it out as well. We all need grace. 


“He stooped down to lift me out of danger from the desolate pit I was in, out of the muddy mess I had fallen into. Now he’s lifted me up into a firm, secure place and steadied me while I walk along his ascending path.” – Psalm 40:2 [TPT]

Knowing God Would Come Through

When I was a little girl, I prayed often; perhaps some days I prayed more than I do now as an adult. I was desperate for God to move in certain areas of my life. Despite not seeing what He was doing at the time, I waited and waited and waited some more. I was patient. Though it was early on in my faith walk, I knew God would come through. I was persistent. I prayed daily. I knew that He heard me and that He would answer.

 Our God comes through. Your prayer of today may not give you the results you expect. Keep praying. Your prayer of today might not be answered until sometime down the road. Keep waiting. Keep pouring it all out before the Lord. We do not get to see everything that God is doing for us. Even so, we can trust God will come through.

When I look back at the prayers of my youth, I consider how innocent and free my prayers were spoken to our Father. I didn’t contemplate how to best articulate a prayer or what I should withhold because it failed to meet the standard format spoken by others. I simply spoke to God. I made a request of my Father. I had a discussion with my Dad. I did this knowing that He would come through. Today, ask the Spirit to help strengthen your prayer life. Ask Him to open the floodgates to a better connection. Ask Him to remove the hindrances to your communication.

“I waited and waited and waited some more, patiently, knowing God would come through for me. Then, at last, he bent down and listened to my cry.” – Psalm 40:1 [TPT]

Cling

I remember when I was younger, and I would make shadow puppets in the light of the projector in elementary school. As we know, the “puppets” were not real—it was only my hand forming particular appearances in the light. I also recall trying to jump on my own shadow or change my shadow appearance. Yet these shadows are all temporary because they are dependent on light and a particular blockage of this light. Take away the cause the for shade, or the actual light, and it is clear there is nothing there. 

Today’s verse speaks about us living lives in shadows, actually as a shadow. This is a difficult concept for us. We certainly can say we accept that life is temporary, and we are but a breath; however, we often live otherwise. We cling. “We gather, we hoard, we cling to our things.” We start building a kingdom here. Yet if we refocus, we are reminded that we are just living in the shadows. Whatever we are building up will not stand. Our better investment is to invest in the Kingdom.

Today, as you consider yourself living in the shadows, take time to focus on the Light. Be reminded that in His Light, with His Light, we can see the Good News and the Truth of God. He will reveal all things. Seek Him out in His Word and in prayer. He will reveal to you hidden things. Instead of clinging to things, cling to Him. May all you do and all you say bring glory to Him.

“We live our lives like those living in shadows. All our activities and energies are spent for things that pass away. We gather, we hoard, we cling to our things, only to leave them all behind for who knows who.” – Psalm 39:6 [TPT]

Boiled Over

I love to cook; however, I still have the occasional mishaps like when items boil over. When something boils over on the stove, it makes such a mess. It is horrible to clean up, and often there is still some remnant of evidence left behind of the disaster even after trying to clean up.

Today’s passage speaks of this life motto to live by, and it’s great. Guard your ways. Speak only what is right. Muzzle your mouth. Remain silent. This is all important. The Bible tells us that our words have power—life and death in fact. So, we need to be mindful of our words. And yet, we often try to hold our tongue and our thoughts fester, and we begin the spew things out of our mouth. We boil over. It is as if we become dragons and we then breathe fire over everything. Such destruction. 

This boiling over lifestyle is not fruitful nor glorifying. The Psalmist here is asking for God to remind him of life’s limits, of the short time span we have here in this life. In focusing on the brevity of life, we are reminded that life here is temporary and all that we are struggling with is for a brief moment. As well, our focus is then an eternal focus. We are reminded to live this life motto out, and to seek God to help us each day so that we do not boil over. We ask Him to help us fix our thoughts. We ask Him to help us with our patience. Time is brief, and what we want to boil over is love—overflowing, overwhelming love.

“Here’s my life motto, the truth I live by: I will guard my ways for all my days. I will speak only what is right, guarding what I speak. Like a watchman guards against an attack of the enemy, I’ll guard and muzzle my mouth when the wicked are around me. I will remain silent and will not grumble or speak out of my disappointment. But the longer I’m silent the more my pain grows worse! My heart burned with a fire within me, and my thoughts eventually boiled over until they finally came rolling out of my mouth. ‘Lord, help me to know how fleeting my time on earth is. Help me to know how limited is my life and that I’m only here but for a moment more.’” – Psalm 39:1-4 [TPT]

Utmost Delight

What do you want? That is a pretty big question. Whenever I pull up to a drive thru window for dinner, I ask the kids, “What do you want?” Every year in November, this is again what I ask my kids as I prepare my Christmas shopping list. What do you want? 

Today’s verse says that if we make God our utmost delight, our greatest pleasure, He will give us what we desire most. He will give us what we want. We tend to focus on the second part – that He will provide for you what you desire most. We always make it about what we want. But we miss the first part. We miss how we first delight in Him. 

This is a game changer. See when you fix your eyes on Him, when you focus on Him and do life with Him, then what you desire most changes. If He is your utmost delight, He is your greatest desire. When He is your greatest pleasure, everything else you want flows from Him. The focus is never on what you are provided, but the Provider. The gift is never the resulting blessing; the true gift is God being your utmost delight and pleasure of your life. He is the blessing.

“Make God the utmost delight and pleasure of your life, and he will provide for you what you desire the most.” – Psalm 37:4 [TPT]

More Than Enough

It is easy to look around and think you are lacking things. In this age of social media, along with internet shopping, print media, commercials, etc., we are always told we need items. This can cause us to turn our wants to needs. Then the little voice in your head that says you should be thankful for what God has provided, instead is noticing that you do not have this, that, or the other thing. 

Each of us can likely find things in our homes we do not need—things we could live without. Perhaps you are also like me, and you can go into your kitchen to find food to last you a month. At first glance, you may say you must go for groceries next week because you always go weekly. But if you closely examine your stockpile of food and consider what your body actually needs to live, you could seriously survive a month with what is available. This means you have more than enough. You also likely can find in your closet, clothing that would last weeks if you did not do the laundry. This means you have more than enough.

Our God is a great giver. He is the greatest giver. The Bible says that He will provide all that we need to do what we are called to do in life for His glory. When He says we will always have more than enough, we will. The argument always lies in our definition of what is enough. Sadly, that has been skewed by the world. If you have food, shelter, and clothing for the day—you have all you need for the day. Thank God for His many blessings. Live life with open hands, remembering that was truly matters is not the stockpile of stuff, but love. Love matters.

“Even in a time of disaster he will watch over them, and they will always have more than enough no matter what happens.” – Psalm 37.19 [TPT]

Feasting on His Faithfulness

We all struggle, and at times it seems like all we do is struggle. When it appears like life finally hands you breathing room, another situation arises that causes you to question everything. Life is hard. The world is a busy place and often it feels like we will never get ahead. When I was younger, I remember sleepless nights worrying if anything would change for the better. I recall questioning if everything would fall into place. 

As time passed and I continued to trust in the Lord, it became evident that He used everything for His good purpose. As I continued to follow in obedience and keep my focus on God and His promises, I found that I no longer spent my nights worrying about anything. Instead, I slept. I was secure—secure in Him.

Today, I pray that you are feasting on His faithfulness. I pray that you lay all of your worries, struggles, choices, etc., before God, and leave it in His hands. May your trust always be in Him. May His promises always be etched on your heart. May you feast on His faithfulness for His glory.

“Keep trusting in the Lord and do what is right in his eyes. Fix your heart on the promises of God and you will be secure, feasting on his faithfulness.” – Psalm 37:3 [TPT]