Encouragement

New Year's Resolutions

written January 1st but applicable to any new beginning

Today is traditionally a day of resolutions: I will eat more healthy. I will exercise more. I will spend more time with my family. To be honest, I’m just horrible with resolutions. Even if I make just one, I can do that one thing regularly... for a while... and then life comes crashing in and I find that my resolution (and all my good intentions) go right out the window. I just can’t handle looking at life over a long period of time. Too many things happen that make demands upon me... demands on my time, on my emotions, on my energy, on my focus.

Feel too far Gone to Claim His Promises?

Do as thou hast said. 2 Samuel 7:25

God's promises were never meant to be thrown aside as waste paper; he intended that they be used. God's gold is not miser's money, but is minted to be traded with. Nothing pleases our Lord better than to see his promises put in circulation; he loves to see his children bring them up to him, and say, "Lord, do as you have said. We glorify God when we plead his promises.

Do you think that God will be any poorer for giving you the riches he has promised? Do you dream that he will be any less holy for giving holiness to you? Do you imagine he will be any less pure for washing you from your sins? He has said

"Come now, and let us reason together,
saith the Lord:
though your sins be as scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they be red like crimson,
they shall be as wool."

Faith lays hold upon the promise of pardon, and it does not delay, saying, "This is a precious promise, I wonder if it is true?" but it goes straight to the throne with it, and pleads, "Lord, here is the promise, 'Do as you have said.'"

Our Lord replies, "Be it done to you as you desire."

When a Christian grasps a promise, if he does not take it to God, he dishonours him; but when he hastens to the throne of grace, and cries, "Lord, I have nothing to recommend me but this, 'Thou hast said it;'" then his desire shall be granted.

Behold, I Will Do A New Thing! - Genesis 1 StudyPremium Content

Several aspects of these verses in Genesis struck me in a powerful way, and for several reasons. However, they are all related, and so I want to attempt to tie them all together in this post.

The first aspect of this Scripture that really spoke to me is in Genesis 1:2, when the Lord says,

The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Have you ever felt lifeless, without energy, kind of like a worthless "formless," lump on a log? I know I have. And, quite often, I still can find myself in that place if I do not watch my thoughts. I can feel totally powerless to do anything positive about my life and my circumstances.

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Fly to Him


Learn the Divine skill of making God all things to you. He can supply you with all; or, better still, He can be to you instead of all.

Let me urge you, then, to make use of your God. Make use of Him in prayer; go to Him often, because He is your God. Will you fail to use so great a privilege?

Fly to Him; tell Him all your wants. Use Him constantly by faith at all times. If some dark providence has beclouded you, use your God as a "sun"; if some strong enemy has beset you, find in Jehovah a "shield"; for He is a sun and a shield to His people. If you have lost your way in the mazes of life, use Him as a "guide"; for He will direct you.

Prayer for Those in Recovery from Substance Abuse

Dear God,
I pray for those who struggle with alcohol or other drugs. Please let them know how much you love and care for them.

Please don’t let them bury themselves in guilt and shame. You are a God who forgives. You are the God of the second chance and even of the third and fourth chance.

Help those in recovery find a job. Give them an employer who understands addiction and will make it possible for them to work and still be able to attend recovery meetings.

Give them real friends who will love and respect them and hold them to the standard of staying clean and sober.

Bless them with a sponsor who will both encourage and challenge them to do their step work.

When Bad Things Happen to Good People

Job 42:7 MRSV
After the Lord had spoken these words to Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite: "My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends; for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has."

Job was a righteous man, a man who loved and served God with all his heart and might. He was a man who had prospered in an earthly sense, owning many flocks and having twelve children. He also was a man blessed with good health. All of this God allowed Satan to take from Job. Job’s life went, in a matter of days, from being comfortable and happy to being alone and miserable.

There is a saying: Bad things happen to good people.

Life is Messy, Sloppy, Sometimes Miserable

Isaiah 43:10-13
"But you are my witnesses, O Israel!" says the Lord. "And you are my servant. You have been chosen to know me, believe in me, and understand that I alone am God. There is no other God; there never has been and never will be. I am the Lord, and there is no other Savior. First I predicted your deliverance; I declared what I would do, and then I did it -- I saved you. No foreign god has ever done this before. You are witnesses that I am the only God," says the Lord. "From eternity to eternity I am God. No one can oppose what I do. No one can reverse my actions" (NLT).

Prayer for the Grieving, Broken Hearts, Those in Despair

Abba, so many hearts are breaking out there. So many hearts are saddened, grieving and mourning. There are some in despair, some who have lost all hope. They are broken and they don't understand what You are doing in their lives. They need Your touch so badly. Please hold them close to You. Please hug them in such a way that they can feel it. Please comfort them and reassure them in their hour of great need.

Encouragement for Pastors & ProfessionalsPremium Content

The more I think about the human suffering in our world and my desire to offer a healing response, the more I realize how crucial it is not to allow myself to become paralyzed by feelings of impotence and guilt. More important than ever is to be very faithful to my vocation to do well the few things I am called to do and hold on to the joy and peace they bring me. I must resist the temptation to let the forces of darkness pull me into despair and make me one more of their many victims. ~ Henri J. M. Nouwen

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Dealing with Disappointment in Self

Disappointment in self
Who hasn't felt it?
Chatter of internal communication
Falls silent
Image of parent past
Comes to life
Bigger than life
Immovable
...and angry.
Visceral dread
Spreads.
Tightness in throat
Shallowness of breathing
Bowing of head
Awareness narrows
Awaiting arrows
Certainly deserved...

SURPRISE!!
It's a FEELING!!

Deep breath
Expanded focus
Gaze lifts
Shoulders relax
Honest reflection sorts wheat from chaff
Chatter begins
Balance restored
Everything flows
Decisions made
Self released...

Forgiveness is such a gift.

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