Encouragement

On Stormy Waters?Premium Content

(Based on Matthew 14:22-34)

Experienced fishermen shuddered when the wind howled out of the mountains and onto the sea. Then the waves became choppy and unpredictable. Men who worked these waters knew to haul their sails and make for harbor.

But sometimes-and this night was one of them-high seas would not permit sailors to gain the shore.

The small boat circled the middle of the sea, an eerie spot, wild, unsettled, dangerous-and according to some reports-haunted. In watery graves below lay the sailors' fellow fishermen waiting for them to join them, their boats reduced to waterlogged splinters,their bones picked clean by the same denizens of the deep they had come to harvest.

By three in the morning, as a false dawn dimly lit the sky, the men had been pulling on the oars for hours against the wind. No nearer shore, shelter, or sanctuary, exhaustion was setting in.

Then one man caught a glimpse of something unsettling on the seas. For a few moments, a trough obscured his vision, and while he waited for the lift of the next wave, he pondered whether he was seeing things. When the wave lofted them upward, he looked steadily over his shoulder. There it was again!

He gave a shriek of terror and pointed as the boat was again swallowed by a curl of water.

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Our Anchor In Every Storm

When we feel the stress of the storm we learn the STRENGTH of the anchor!

...we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil.... Hebrews 6:18-19 NASB

1. Mark’s gospel describes the disciples’ vivid lesson about who Jesus is and what He can do. While they were frantically trying to save a sinking boat, Jesus was asleep. Didn’t He care that they were all about to die? (v.38). After Jesus calmed the storm (v.39), He asked the penetrating question, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (v.40). Then they were even more afraid, exclaiming to each other, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” (v.41).

2. Thank you Lord Jesus for giving me a ‘safe dwelling place’ during life’s storms. Without your comfort, and calming effect on my heart, I would be lost and scared. Thank you Lord for guiding me through a life that I don’t need to be afraid of. With You by my side, I can withstand any and all of life’s storms.

The Card File

    This portrays in a vivid way how much Jesus loves us and how much he deserves our love.
    Be encouraged by it and pass it on, God bless!


In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features save for the one wall covered with small index card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endlessly in either direction, had very different headings. As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read "Girls I Have Liked". I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one.

And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match.

Do You Have a Broken Wing?Premium Content

It is quite probable that someone reading my words this moment is fighting an inner battle with a ghost from the past. The skeleton in one of yesterday's closets is beginning to rattle louder and louder. Putting adhesive tape around the closet and moving the bureau in front of the door does little to muffle the clattering bones. You wonder, possibly, "Who knows?" You think, probably, "I've had it... can't win... party's over."

The anchor that tumbled off your boat is dragging and snagging on the bottom. Guilt and anxiety have come aboard, pointing out the great dark hulks of shipwrecks below. They busy themselves drilling worry-holes in your hull and you are beginning to sink. Down in the hold, you can hear them chant an old lie as they work: "The bird with the broken pinion never soared as high again. . . ."

Allow me to present a case in opposition to these destructive and inaccurate accusers. It may be true that you've done or experienced things which would embarrass you if they became public knowledge. You may have committed a terrible and tragic sin that was never traced back to you. You may have a criminal record or a moral charge or a domestic conflict that, to this moment, is private information.

You may wrestle with a past that has been fractured and wounded by a mental or emotional breakdown. Futile attempts at suicide may add to the previous scar tissue and increase your fear of being labeled "sick" or "nervous." It is possible that you live with memories, covered now by the sands of time, of an illicit relationship or a financial failure or a terrible habit or a divorce or a scandalous involvement. You feel that any one of these things might mar or cripple your reputation if the dirty details ever spilled on the table of gluttonous gossipers.

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Have You Been Quieted in His Love?

There is nothing in our journey quite like being quieted in His love. Have you been? Is this a normal part of your walk with Jesus? All of hell is against this! Fear assaults us daily while stress, anxiety, nervous tension, constant worry and trauma work there <insidious plan in our lives. We cannot quiet in His love if focused on these demons. But we must. It is a non-negotiable daily part of our joy in Him. These demons will flee as we quiet in His love!

There's nothing to fear from evil ever again! God Is Present among You 16 Jerusalem will be told: Don't be afraid. Dear Zion, don't despair. 17 Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back, he'll calm you with his love and delight you with his songs. 18 The accumulated sorrows of your exile will dissipate. I, your God, will get rid of them for you. You've carried those burdens long enough. 19 At the same time, I'll get rid of all those who've made your life miserable. I'll heal the maimed; I'll bring home the homeless. In the very countries where they were hated they will be venerated. Zephaniah 3:15b-19, The Message

Truly, what marvelous news this is!

“What if I can’t be fixed?”

“What if I can’t be fixed?”

You ask a bunch of guys about their biggest fears, and you hope for some open dialogue. You don’t really expect someone to whisper from the depths of the fog.

“What if I’m hopeless? This addiction killed my dad and my grandma. My sister’s relapsed over and over for fifteen years. And I’ve prayed and done everything I can for a decade, but I keep falling into the same pattern.

“What if I’m broken so bad that even God can’t fix me?”

How are you gonna respond to that? Think carefully, because whatever you say better not rhyme. It better not be some platitude or theological truism. He’s heard them all, and they’re salt rubbed in an open, bleeding wound.

We don’t want to hear “God can’t.” Our first reaction is to argue — God can do anything! And when that fails — you can’t argue your way out of the fog — we’re tempted to retreat to the safety of the Christian cocoon where the light’s bright, the fog’s clear, and people don’t talk about the hopelessness of addiction and depression.

The Three Graces: Powerful to Equip YouPremium Content

The Three Graces are known in both Greek and Roman mythology as the muses of poetry, music and of course, art.

Lately, I've gained an intense appreciation for their numerous depictions in sculpture and on canvas.

I've been working on an article concerning body image; therefore, I've researched how beauty definitions have changed over time. This, inevitably, brought me to “The Three Graces.".

Centuries ago, the Rubenesque body shape, defined as a voluptuous female figure, was desirable.

In the 1600's, artist Sir Peter Paul Rubens was inspired by this fuller figure in his 1635 work, The Three Graces.

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Heart Hope at the End of Your RopePremium Content

What produces or gives your heart sustained and real Hope? Can you do anything that produces Hope?

But I need something more! I've tried everything and nothing helps. I am at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Romans 7:17a and 24, The Message


Before we can get a hopeful answer to this predicament, we first have to arrive at the door of giving up! Just like Paul; who remember, had a religious pedigree as long and as impressive as the State of Texas is wide-we must exhaust all of our personal resources.

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The Spiritual Man (Words Change Their Meaning)Premium Content

As time passes, words change their meaning and often come to mean something very different from their earlier intent. In Shakespeare's day, the word "honest" meant sexually chaste; now it refers to a general truthfulness and dependability.

At other times, words remain somewhat the same in their general meaning, but with a dramatically different intention. "Spiritual" is one such word. Paul in Romans 7:14 says,

For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

The word "spiritual" is, in the Greek original, pneumatikos; it does refer to nonmaterial reality, but even more, to power. To say God's law "is spiritual" is to say that it is powerful beyond man's ability to imagine. It has all the power of God and His heavenly hosts behind it. In this sense, the spiritual man is the most powerful man; he is not a pale and weak figure on the sidelines of life, but God's mover and shaker.

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Freedom from BondagePremium Content

We celebrate our nation's freedom yet there are so many people who are still in bondage. They are in bondage to schedules, deadlines, television, sports, alcohol, drugs, sex, profanity, and all the other things that come before Jesus and keep them from serving Him and spending time with Him as He has commanded us to do. He has told us that we should have no other gods before Him. However all too often we allow things that will one day mean nothing come before Him and our service to Him.

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Matthew 6:24-26, 33-34 King James Version

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