Discouraged

Looking for God's Answers To Our Prayers

1. "Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you." Such longings and prayers are sincere and God loves them and loves to answer them. We do not know ourselves very well, nor the depth or pervasiveness of our sin, nor what it really requires of us in order to receive what we ask for.

2. We can't help but have unreal, romantic imaginations and expectations about what God's answers to our prayers will be. We are often unprepared for the answers we receive from God. They are not what we expect and we often do not see how they correspond to our prayers. Prayer does effect what God does! This is so important for you to grasp! God will do things when we pray that He will not do if we don't pray!

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?

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.

Knots Prayer - a Prayer for Strength

Dear God,
Please untie the knots in my mind, my heart and my life.
Remove the have nots, the can nots, and the do nots that I have in my mind.
Erase the will nots, may nots, might nots that may find a home in my heart.
Release me from the could nots, would nots and should nots that obstruct my life.

And most of all, Dear God, I ask that you remove from my mind, my heart and my life all of the "am nots" that I have allowed to hold me back, especially the thought that I am not good enough. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Heart Hope at the End of Your Rope

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.

Perseverance is Key

Perseverance must finish its work
so that you may be mature and complete,
not lacking anything.
--James 1:4

We go through periods when we seem to be standing still or slipping backwards. Perseverance is what brings complete recovery. Committing myself to the task before me, one minute at a time, one day at a time. There are rewards along the way... goals that have been accomplished, the sense of well-being, clarity of heart and mind.

Pushing too fast before you are ready or being critical of yourself for not getting through it faster can prolong the process.

The Truth Shall Set You Free, part 10

This study was done during the last semester of my teaching career. A lot of things were on my mind. The letter of resignation had been written and accepted. I was starting to have dialogs with different campus constituencies about an orderly exit regarding pension, health plans, etc. I met my successor but stayed out of the process of his selection. I got an early start on cleaning out the office. I wanted an orderly exit so that on the last day of my tenure as a teacher, I would walk out and not return.

The Truth Shall Set You Free, part 9

John 8:31-32 is a conditional statement. Jesus says if we continue in His word, we will be His disciples. We will know the truth, and the truth will set us free. The key words are: “if”, “continue”, “truth”, and “free.”

If we abide in, stay with, live out and proclaim His word through our attitudes and actions, we will know His truth and we will be free.

Overcoming Stinkin' Thinkin'

One of the most common types of skills learned in psychotherapy today focuses on our thinking. Unbeknownst to many of us, we often engage in internal conversations with ourselves throughout the day. Unless we're trained to examine these conversations, however, many of us don't even realize we're having them! For instance, imagine looking in the mirror at yourself. What's the first thing you think when you look at yourself? That thought is a part of our internal conversation.

Having these kinds of conversations with yourself is perfectly normal and in fact, everybody does it. Where we mess up in our lives is when we let these conversations take on a life of their own. If we answer ourselves in the above example with something like, "I'm fat and ugly and nobody loves me," that's an example of "stinkin' thinkin'." Our thoughts have taken on an unhealthy attitude, one that is working against us instead of for us. Psychologists would call these thoughts "irrational," because they have little or no basis in reality. For instance, the reality is that most everyone is loved by someone (even if they're no longer with us), and that a lot of our beauty springs from inside us — our personality.

It's Time for Joel's Perspective: Promises Fulfilled

Our cities (and our personal lives) may seem like those in Canaan, surrounded by walls that reach up to heaven -- walled in by unbelief. But -- let's not forget -- the walls of Jericho fell. The walls of unbelief are beginning to crumble. What is long overdue is the shout of the people of God.

I grew up near the mouth of the river Elbe in North Germany where I used to see huge flat-bottom river barges set fast in the mud banks. No tug or marine engine could shift them. But the tide quietly rippled in, hardly perceptible, creeping higher and higher up the sides of those immovable hulks. Soon those hundreds of tons were floating. From the quay I could move them with the slightest kick.

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