Encouragement

Patience: Are we there yet?

Visualize this scenario. There's a car ride going on, containing one or two parents/adults and at least one child in the backseat. The child's view consists of the following: the back of the driver's and passenger side seat, perhaps, some toys, games or word puzzle books, strewn throughout. Maybe, depending upon the vehicle, there's even a Disney film being played on a television screen, just above Mommy or Daddy's head. We should be hearing the voice of an animated character or the chirp of an irritating child's song. But, instead, what do we hear?

"Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"

Does this sound familiar?

If you have children or remember being one yourself, you're probably familiar with this nagging, repetitive question:

Are we there yet?

We want to get there already, wherever "there" is.

"Unto a land flowing with milk and honey..." Exodus 3:8; 33:3

It's the Promised Land, filled with conscientious manners, harmonious relationships, well-behaved children, realized dreams and no bad hair days.

Where’s God When I Need Him?

If you're feeling far away from God, guess who moved?

Do you ever feel like God's least present when you seem to need Him most?

Lost In Darkness
When I struggled with depression following my injury, God seemed to be a million miles away. I knew intellectually that He was right beside me, but it sure didn't feel like that. I imagined myself wandering in darkness so impenetrable that not even God could find me.

As I began to get a handle on the depression, I seemed to discover edges to the darkness. Bits of light penetrated the oppressive blanket of despair. And I found that as I felt less lost, God's presence suddenly felt more real.

Are You Stuck in a Hole?

Imagine you're running a marathon. You're monitoring the situation, carefully maintaining a reasonable pace based on ability and training. You've prepared your body and mind for the race; you know the signs that tell you to run faster or slower, when to drink or eat.

You expect the unavoidable ebbs and flows of mental and physical energy. Hills and headwinds will increase difficulty in some places; sunshine and tailwinds will provide a few easy, enjoyable stretches. You're eager to confront exhilaration and trial as fundamental elements of the competition.

You also know about "the wall," that point where you'll be tested nearly beyond your ability. You anticipate that burning muscles and aching lungs will challenge desire and discipline. You expect the urge to give up, to stop and allow the pain to subside. The lure of immediate relief will entice you to cast aside goals and dreams, surrendering the satisfaction of the finish line in return for an end to the struggle.

Then, without any warning, you fall into a hole.

The publicized course didn't mention this complication. You didn't train for it, couldn't see it coming, didn't prepare survival supplies or pack climbing equipment. There's no cell phone reception in the hole.

You try everything you know to escape from the hole on your own, but

Why is this happening to me?

A friend of mine who is experiencing some painful family issues has repeatedly asked herself the "why" questions.

Why is this happening to me?

Why am I being treated like this?

Why is my loved one acting in such an ugly manner?

She has been blindsided by a situation and a relationship she never dreamed was possible, rife with betrayal, deception and slander. This was once a close, bonded relationship, one filled with unconditional love and trust.

So, the events over the last few years were a definite shock.

Who or What is Your Miracle Worker?

"Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?"
Jeremiah 32:27

I recently caught the 1960 Academy Award winning film, "The Miracle Worker." It portrays the relationship of Helen Keller and that of her groundbreaking teacher, Annie Sullivan.

Most of us know the basics to the story. Helen Keller was blind, deaf and mute and, before Sullivan's arrival, seemingly hopeless in her circumstances. If she could not see, hear or speak, how could she ever communicate, let alone, live in the world?

The situation looked bleak.

That was until Sullivan's arrival...

Do You Fear Positive Thinking?

Oh, my friend, it's not what they take away from you that counts.
It's what you do with what you have left. ~Hubert Humphrey

Do you ever fear positive thinking? I do.

Of all the fears that might haunt us, why in the world would we fear a positive attitude?

Immediately following my accident, I wanted desperately to believe in the possibility of recovery. I knew that a good attitude would help me tackle the hard work ahead. But somehow I couldn't find the courage to maintain a consistent positive approach.

"I don't want to do this."

Gethsemane: Code For... "I don't want to do this."

We've uttered that statement frequently in our lives.

This time of year, there's a great deal of emphasis on Jesus. As we prepare for Resurrection Sunday, we read and remind ourselves just how this whole thing came to be: hope, salvation and reunion with God. It didn't just happen.

And a large part of it depends on Gethsemane.

Yes, Jesus is amazing and loving. But He still had a night of decision. Hours away from being crucified, there was a real moment; He didn't want to do it.

Tribulation and Faith

Even when we came into Macedonia our flesh had no rest,
but we were afflicted on every side:
conflicts without, fears within.
(2 Cor. 7:5 ESV)


Sometimes Christians get the wrong idea about faith. Knowing that only believers enter the celestial city, we put a great deal of importance on faith, and if it wavers, we become fearful. If we experience doubt, we wonder if our faith is failing - if, after all, we're not Christians at all, or if we are, if we haven't departed from the Lord and ceased to be such. I myself have been there - I won't go into the details, but there was a time in the 80s when I seriously did wonder whether I'd ever been saved in the first place. My faith was under attack, and I grew afraid.

To some extent at least this grows out of a wrong idea of what faith is. Even the most knowledgeable Christians can sometimes make this mistake, believing that Biblical faith has something to do with our emotion state, or that it's something we have to muster up from within ourselves. Let's be sure of what faith is, and then attacks against our faith arise along this line, we'll be better able to resist. There are two related Greek words we need to consider, one a noun and one a verb - pistiz and pisteuw (pistis, pisteuo). The noun means, "reliance upon, trust in, dependence on," and of course the verb means "to rely on, to depend on, to trust." Thus, when we have faith, or when we believe, we have that trust and dependence on Christ, we're trusting Him and depending on Him. And it is important that we have the proper object of our faith. We must trust Jesus, Jesus entirely, and Jesus only. If we trust anyone or anything other than the Lord Christ, our faith is in the wrong object, and we'll never see God. If we trust Jesus partly and something or someone else partly, we're again not believing as the Bible demands, and we'll come short of the heavenly city. Biblical faith has as its object Jesus alone and Jesus to the uttermost.

And it is here that some professing Christians miss the point.

Faulty Thinking?

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he... Proverbs 23:7

We can really do a number on ourselves with our faulty thinking.

How many of us have said the following things to ourselves, about ourselves?

"I'm...
...worthless...
...ugly...
...fat...
...weak...
...stupid...
...a failure...
...never good enough..."

And then, if we're plagued with disordered eating and body image issues, it gets amplified even further.

Weary? Try a New Alacrity!

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8


I once read a book on Harry Houdini. He was described as possessing a spirit of alacrity. What a great word. Its definition is that of "briskness, a cheerful readiness."

Who's tired already?

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