“Honor God!”

Photo by Samuel Martins on Unsplash

“For those who honor Me I will honor,” 1 Samuel 2:30

One day, some years ago, I remember when my son accompanied me to the grocery store to do some shopping. He was wearing his military uniform at that time and when people saw him they kept stopping him to shake his hand, to talk to him, or to tell him to keep up the good work. They were proud of him. They honored him for his service.

You know, as a mom, how I felt. I really thought it was something special for people to recognize him and his service to our country in that way. As much as I love the many fields in which one can be honored (military, teachers, firefighters, police officers, and many, many others), no one deserves our respect and adoration more than God. It is customary to stand to our feet when a judge enters a courtroom and there is a hush in the crowd when they bang that gavel. What about God?

Too many go through their day without ever considering the fact that hey, He is God, and He should be before all others. With that realization in hand, I want my life to reflect that great truth. I want every word, every action and every thought to magnify the greatness of who He is and all of His glory. When I go about my day I want people to see Him in me. Do I make mistakes? Oh, yeah! But, I have a goal. I aspire to do better and to be better every day. God has been so good and wonderful to me, and I feel that as His child the least I can do is showing Him the honor due Him.

“Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty, give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness,” (Ps. 29:1-2). These two verses have been among favorites of mine for many years now. When you think of “giving to the Lord” one realizes just how futile our efforts can be because of His vast greatness. But, something that each of us can give is honor. Not only can we gift it to Him, but it is a gift that He in turns honors.

“For those who honor Me I will honor.” Our God is an appreciative God and He believes in rewarding them that diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6). If you don’t like the returns you have been getting in life examine what you have given. And let me make myself really clear at this point. I DO NOT want you to see the above statement as to how you can get something from God. These things will happen because it’s what the Bible promises.  It’s a residual effect of obedience.  Instead, I want you to just focus on God because He is God and not what you can get from Him.  Just honor God because He is WORTHY!

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“Never Too Strong for God!”

 

“He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me;
For they were too strong for me,” 2 Samuel 22:18

“Is there anything too hard for me?” is a question God asked Jeremiah, (Jer. 32:27). “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?” was the question God put to Abraham after Sarah laughed at the possibility of having a child in her old age. Luke 1:37 tells us, “For with God nothing shall be impossible,” and yet, when faced with things in this life we don’t understand and heartaches untold, we often feel our situations are out of His reach. As if the problems that overwhelm us are too strong for Him, also.

Due to the anointing on his life, David faced enemies who hated him for no reason. He spent many days with his life hanging in the balance. But, in the end, he declared, “He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me; for they were too strong for me,” (2 Sam. 22:18).  I’m wondering, is there anything you have been facing lately that just seems off the charts? Do the difficulties you face feel like it’s just too much to handle? Are you going through a situation that seems “too strong” for you?

Take heart today! There is no weight too heavy that God can’t lift it! There is no enemy too strong that God can’t overcome them! There is no miracle too miraculous that God can’t cause it to come to pass! There is nothing too hard for God in any situation, problem or adversity we may face! The enemies and hardship you face today may seem to overwhelm you but they will never overwhelm God. They are never too strong for God to handle. So, with that being said, whatever you face, give it to God and wait for Him to bring you through. God is strong enough to take on anything! We can trust Him with whatever is “too strong” for us. God can deliver you today!

Photo: Pixabay/Pexels

Encouragement in God Alone!

My Project 457-001

“But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God,” 1 Samuel 30:6b, NKJV

Distressed –  yeah!  Discouragement – you betcha!  Disappointment – inevitable!  Depressed – my middle name!

These were all things that David, the once proud warrior, was facing.  Upon returning back to Ziklag, David found everything was lost.  Not only had the city been raided and burned to the ground, but their families, their wives and children were now the captives of the enemy.

How devastating it must have all been!  Things can be replaced but to have your families at the mercy (or not the mercy) of an enemy – it’s too much to bear.  “David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep,” 1 Samuel 30:4, NKJV.

Have you been there before?  Crying until you can’t cry no more?  That’s a brokenness that can’t be easily healed.  It’s a state of desperation to where there is no quick answer.  Nothing but the tears on the pillows.  No solace.  No comfort.  No peace.  “No more power to weep.”

David’s situation grew even dimmer when the people who were closest to him turned their backs on him.  “The people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved,” 1 Samuel 30:6a, NKJV.  These were the men that rode with him.  Those that fought in battle with him.  Those whom David gathered together as a band and turned a bunch of nobodies into somebodies.  Yet, here they are on the brink of committing a great evil against an innocent man.

Everybody needs somebody to blame.  At least, that’s what you hear many say and we see this kind of primitive blame placing here.  To them, David is to blame and David will be the one to pay the price.

Have you ever felt that you were in this alone?  As if the whole world has turned their backs on you as David’s men did with him?  You feel like you are battling alone and everyone else is just ready to cast stones at you?

David’s desperation led him to where all of ours should – the LORD!

“David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.”  The only place where true solace and comfort of the heart can be found – in God!

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need,” Hebrews 4:16, KJV.  Thank God we don’t have to go this alone despite what our circumstances may look like.  God has privileged us with an opportunity to invite Him in the process of dealing with our hurts and disappointments.  How many times have you turned to a friend in a time of need and they were nowhere to be found?  Or, worse yet, they couldn’t do anything to add to your comfort or just didn’t care?

God does not do that!  He openly shows His love and concern by allowing us to dump it all on Him.  Come to the throne that we might get!  Get what?  “Mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

In a time of need?  Yes, David surely was.  He had nowhere else to turn.  He found out the hard way how quickly people will forsake you.  Regardless, it didn’t dim his hope.  David knew from past experiences where his help came from.  He could sing like the other psalmist, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills – from whence comes my help?  My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth,” Psalms 121:1-2, NKJV.  Over and over again, God has proven himself in the life of David and this time would be no different.

I wonder how many of us have that diligent past relationship with God, knowing that when we are in a time of need, we can turn to Him over and over again?  Has our life been so, in following after Him, as David’s was, that the connection of encouragement we receive from the LORD is ever-present?

David initiated the search for God’s help.  He didn’t ask the people’s opinion of what he should do.  He didn’t continue to wallow in self-pity because everybody was against him.  He didn’t give up or throw in the towel because recovery seemed impossible.  “David said to Abiathar the priest . . . Please bring the ephod here to me . . . So David inquired of the LORD, saying, ‘Shall I pursue this troop?  Shall I overtake them?’  And He answered him, ‘Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all,'” 1 Samuel 30:7-8, NKJV.

“Without fail recover all.”  God is the only one who could ever make such a promise.

The point of this all is very simple.  God is our source for everything; even encouragement.  It’s nice to get a “Good job!” from people once in a while or a pat on the back – but it is God whom we look to.  Sometimes situations will be so bad that we feel totally isolated from all.  Yet, we are also in a position to be so full.  To be able to recover all “without fail.”

Only what we find in strengthening ourselves in God can be labeled “without fail.”  Only the encouragement we have in Him will endure and never falter or fade.  He is our staying power.  He is our strength when we are weak.  Our shelter in the midst of the storm.  Our hightower.  Our fortress.  And, so much more!

Desperate times call for desperate measures.  Sometimes those measures mean turning a deaf ear to everyone else and their negativity about the situation and looking to God for counsel and help.  And He will, “without fail,” be your help through it all.  Find encouragement in God alone!

Minister encouragement to yourself through God’s grace today!

 

“Exam Time, Check it Out!”

Photo Source: Pixabay/geralt

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves . . .,” 2 Corinthians 13:5

When was the last time we really pushed the envelope with ourselves to see what we have in us?  When watching television, I sometimes come across shows where people are doing what seems to be the impossible; people who love the adrenaline of seeing just how far they can go with a particular feat.  Some of the things I see just make me want to shake my head, and yet, others are actual, honest assessments of endurance; to see if they have what it takes to make it all the way, or to break some sort of record.  It’s a testing of one’s strength and stamina.

Tests, for most people, are not pleasant at all.  It doesn’t matter if its elementary age level test all the way through college, or a learner’s permit; tests make individuals uncomfortable because they are designed to see what one has in them.  If speaking in terms of education, it is probing one’s intellect to see if enough knowledge has been retained and also able to be applied.  If speaking in terms of physical endurance, it is working out in the body to see if one is deficient in a particular area, to point out any weaknesses that need to be strengthened for one to gain a particular goal.

This is why tests are not pleasant.  Because, it goes beyond the façade on the outside to see what one really has in them.  No truer is this more prevalent then in our spiritual lives.  The stuff on the inside is quickly hidden as we enter the church doors on a Sunday morning.  No one else can see the battles or struggles going on inside.  That is, no one else, but God.  “For the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart, (1 Samuel 16:7).  And, it is the test of the heart that really matters; the places where others can’t see.

I live around the corner from a prominent cemetery in our area.  It serves the needs of all people, but they specialize in handling the burials of fire fighters and police officers.  It is not unusual to see a processional of cars go by on any given day to lay a loved one to rest.  Sometimes the line is long and sometimes it is short.  If it is one of those specialized burials, then the whole affair is catered to honor the life of the one who has served.  There are what seems like hundreds of police cars from all over, horses, raised flags, gun salutes, honor guards and the like.  It becomes a beautiful send off in the midst of sorrow.

No matter who it is I often wonder about the individual being laid to rest.  It becomes a stark reminder for me to follow the prudent advice of Paul and examine myself.  We all have areas that need improvement; things that we can do better.  Sometimes a close, personal examination is the only thing that will draw it out of us, to see “whether ye be in the faith.”  Are we where we need to be when our time comes to be at the head of that processional?  Do we have that quality of faith that will settle our eternity positively?  Maybe it’s time we take a deeper look inside of us.

“Never Too Strong for God!”

“He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me;
For they were too strong for me,” 2 Samuel 22:18

 

“Is there anything too hard for me?” is a question God asked Jeremiah, (Jer. 32:27). “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?” was the question God put to Abraham after Sarah laughed at the possibility of having a child in her old age. Luke 1:37 tells us, “For with God nothing shall be impossible,” and yet, when faced with things in this life we don’t understand and heartaches untold, we often feel our situations are out of His reach. As if the problems that overwhelm us are too strong for Him, also.

Due to the anointing on his life, David faced enemies who hated him for no reason. He spent many days with his life hanging in the balance. But, in the end, he declared, “He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me; for they were too strong for me,” (2 Sam. 22:18).  I’m wondering, is there anything you have been facing lately that just seems off the charts? Do the difficulties you face feel like it’s just too much to handle? Are you going through a situation that seems “too strong” for you?

Take heart today! There is no weight too heavy that God can’t lift it! There is no enemy too strong that God can’t overcome them! There is no miracle too miraculous that God can’t cause it to come to pass! There is nothing too hard for God in any situation, problem or adversity we may face! The enemies and hardship you face today may seem to overwhelm you but they will never overwhelm God. They are never too strong for God to handle. So, with that being said, whatever you face, give it to God and wait for Him to bring you through. God is strong enough to take on anything! We can trust Him with whatever is “too strong” for us. God can deliver you today!

Be blessed!

“Honor God!”

honor God-001

“For those who honor Me I will honor,” 1 Samuel 2:30

One day my son accompanied me to the grocery store to do some shopping. He was wearing his military uniform at that time and when people saw him they kept stopping him to shake his hand, to talk to him, or to tell him to keep up the good work. They were proud of him. They honored him for his service.

You know, as a mom, how I felt. Are dads the only ones who can stick out their chest and feel like, “That’s my boy?” I’m just kidding. But, I really thought it was something special for people to recognize him and his service to our country in that way. As much as I love the many fields in which one can be honored (military, teachers, firefighters, police officers, etc.), no one deserves our respect and adoration more than God. It is customary to stand to our feet when a judge enters a courtroom and there is a hush in the crowd when they bang that gavel. What about God?

Too many go through their day without ever considering the fact that hey, He is God, and He should be before all others. With that realization in hand, I want my life to reflect that great truth. I want every word, every action and every thought to magnify the greatness of who He is and all of His glory. When I go about my day I want people to see Him in me. Do I make mistakes? Oh, yeah! But, I have a goal. I aspire to do better and to be better every day. God has been so good and wonderful to me, and I feel that as His child the least I can do is showing Him the honor due Him.

“Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty, give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness,” (Ps. 29:1-2). These two verses have been among favorites of mine for many years now. When you think of “giving to the Lord” one realizes just how futile our efforts can be because of His vast greatness. But, something that each of us can give is honor. Not only can we gift it to Him, but it is a gift that He in turns honors.

“For those who honor Me I will honor.” Our God is an appreciative God and He believes in rewarding them that diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6). If you don’t like the returns you have been getting in life examine what you have given. And let me make myself really clear at this point. I do not want you to see the above statement as to how you can get something from God. These things will happen because it’s what the Bible promises. Instead, I want you to just focus on God because He is God and not what you can get from Him.

“SING!”

JeremyCamp

Jeremy Camp Live at Concert Wallpaper from Wallpaper4god

“And I saw as it were . . . them that had gotten the victory . . . and they sing the song,” Revelation 15:2-3, KJV

Songs.  Movements of the heart and soul.  I don’t know how they come about.  Do they start with words that won’t let the mind rest until the lyrics are expressed?  Or, is it a tune, a melodious humming in one’s being that beckons to become more?

Songs come and go at anytime and there’s one for every occasion.  Most great songs come from one’s life experiences.  Whether in good times or bad, happy or sad, the man inside calls for a tune to join the ceremony.

Songs express joy and times of rejoicing.  A good song motivates one when it’s hard to push forward in life and lifts one out of times of sadness.  We see the power of this type of inspiring music in 1 Samuel 16:23, when David played the harp before Saul and the evil spirit left him.

Music is no doubt powerful.  The most precious and heart-felt songs come after times of hardship and struggles.  When we have gone through the wringer of life, made it to the other side, and have squeezed out a heart that expresses gratefulness to God.  Music that tells the world that yes, it was hard, but I made it to the other side.  After crossing the Red Sea did not Miriam put a tambourine in her hand and say, “Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously,” (Exodus 15:21, KJV)?

In the book of Revelation, we see songs of deliverance going up before God.  They had overcome “the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having harps of God,” (Rev. 15:2, KJV).  And, what did they do?  “They sing!” (Rev. 15:3, KJV).  Their praise cannot be constrained any longer.  They have never felt freer then when they had overcome.  That kind of joy starts to seep out every crevice of one’s being until it pours over in song, releasing praise to God!

Music and songs are wrought throughout the Bible.  The psalmist exhorts us to “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.  Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing,” (Ps. 100:1-2, KJV).  When the Assyrians were prophesied to be destroyed, Isaiah 30:29 emphatically declares, “Ye shall have a song!” (KJV).  When Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises, the earth quaked and prison doors were opened (Acts 16:25-26).  After the Last Supper “they had sung a hymn,” (Mk. 14:26, KJV).  James said, “Is any merry? let him sing psalms,” (Ja. 5:13, KJV).

Sing!

Sing!

Sing!

I don’t have the best voice but I have a praise in my soul that I have to let out!

Sing!

I’m shy in front of other people, but I’m living to please an audience of one!  It doesn’t have to be in front of a crowd (yikes!).  A praise can wring out of your spirit at anytime and in any place.

Just, Sing!

Give your heart – your spirit – your soul permission to rejoice.  God has been so good to us – so, Sing!

You are an overcomer also.  “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us,” (Rom. 8:37, KJV).

So, SING!

Those in Revelations had every right to sing, and so do you.  Just sing!  He’s worthy of it today!

Encouragement in God Alone!

My Project 457-001

“But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God,” 1 Samuel 30:6b, NKJV

Distressed –  yeah!  Discouragement – you betcha!  Disappointment – inevitable!  Depressed – my middle name!

These were all things that David, the once proud warrior, was facing.  Upon returning back to Ziklag, David found everything was lost.  Not only had the city been raided and burned to the ground, but their families, their wives and children were now the captives of the enemy.

How devastating it must have all been!  Things can be replaced but to have your families at the mercy (or not the mercy) of an enemy – it’s too much to bear.  “David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep,” 1 Samuel 30:4, NKJV.

Have you been there before?  Crying until you can’t cry no more?  That’s a brokenness that can’t be easily healed.  It’s a state of desperation to where there is no quick answer.  Nothing but the tears on the pillows.  No solace.  No comfort.  No peace.  “No more power to weep.”

David’s situation grew even dimmer when the people who were closest to him turned their backs on him.  “The people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved,” 1 Samuel 30:6a, NKJV.  These were the men that rode with him.  Those that fought in battle with him.  Those whom David gathered together as a band and turned a bunch of nobody’s into somebody’s.  Yet, here they are at the brink of committing a great evil against an innocent man.

Everybody needs somebody to blame.  At least, that’s what you hear many say and we see this kind of primitive blame placing here.  To them, David is to blame and David will be the one to pay the price.

Have you ever felt that you were in this alone?  As if the whole world has turned their backs on you as David’s men did with him?  You feel like you are battling alone and everyone else is just ready to cast stones at you?

David’s desperation led him to where all of ours should – the LORD!

“David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.”  The only place where true solace and comfort of heart can be found – in God!

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy,
and find grace to help in time of need,” Hebrews 4:16, KJV.  Thank God we don’t have to go this alone despite what our circumstances may look like.  God has privileged us with an opportunity to invite Him in the process of dealing with our hurts and  disappointments.  How many times have you turned to a friend in a time of need and they were nowhere to be found?  Or, worse yet, they couldn’t do anything to add to your comfort or just didn’t care?

God does not do that!  He openly shows His love and concern by allowing us to dump it all on Him.  Come to the throne that we might get!  Get what?  “Mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

In a time of need?  Yes, David surely was.  He had nowhere else to turn.  He found out the hard way how quickly people will forsake you.  Regardless, it didn’t dim his hope.  David knew from past experiences where his help came from.  He could sing like the other psalmist, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills – from whence comes my help?  My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth,” Psalms 121:1-2, NKJV.  Over and over again, God has proven himself in the life of David and this time would be no different.

I wonder how many of us have that diligent past relationship with God, knowing that when we are in a time of need, we can turn to Him over and over again?  Has our life been so, in following after Him, as David’s was, that the connection of encouragement we receive from the LORD is ever-present?

David initiated the search for God’s help.  He didn’t ask the people’s opinion of what he should do.  He didn’t continue to wallow in self-pity because everybody was against him.  He didn’t give up or throw in the towel because recovery seemed impossible.  “David said to Abiathar the priest . . . Please bring the ephod here to me . . . So David inquired of the LORD, saying, ‘Shall I pursue this troop?  Shall I overtake them?’  And He answered him, ‘Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all,'” 1 Samuel 30:7-8, NKJV.

“Without fail recover all.”  God is the only one who could ever make such a promise.

The point of this all is very simple.  God is our source for everything; even encouragement.  It’s nice to get a “Good job!” from people once in a while or a pat on the back – but it is God whom we look to.  Sometimes situations will be so bad that we feel totally isolated from all.  Yet, we are also in a position to be so full.  To be able to recover all “without fail.”

Only what we find in strengthening ourselves in God can be labeled “without fail.”  Only the encouragement we have in Him will endure and never falter or fade.  He is our staying power.  He is our strength when we are weak.  Our shelter in the midst of the storm.  Our hightower.  Our fortress.  And, so much more!

Desperate times call for desperate measures.  Sometimes those measures mean turning a deaf ear to everyone else and their negativity about the situation and looking to God for counsel and help.  And He will, “without fail,” be your help through it all.  Find encouragement in God alone!

Minister encouragement to yourself through God’s grace today!

 

Encouragement in God Alone!

Strengthen%20yourself%20in%20the%20Lord_012

“But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God,” 1 Samuel 30:6b, NKJV

Distressed –  yeah!  Discouragement – you betcha!  Disappointment – inevitable!  Depressed – my middle name!

These were all things that David, the once proud warrior, was facing.  Upon returning back to Ziklag, David found everything was lost.  Not only had the city been raided and burned to the ground, but their families, their wives and children were now the captives of the enemy.

How devastating it must have all been!  Things can be replaced but to have your families at the mercy (or not the mercy) of an enemy – it’s too much to bear.  “David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep,” 1 Samuel 30:4, NKJV.

Have you been there before?  Crying until you can’t cry no more?  That’s a brokenness that can’t be easily healed.  It’s a state of desperation to where there is no quick answer.  Nothing but the tears on the pillows.  No solace.  No comfort.  No peace.  “No more power to weep.”

David’s situation grew even dimmer when the people who were closest to him turned their backs on him.  “The people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved,” 1 Samuel 30:6a, NKJV.  These were the men that rode with him.  Those that fought in battle with him.  Those whom David gathered together as a band and turned a bunch of nobody’s into somebody’s.  Yet, here they are at the brink of committing a great evil against an innocent man.

Everybody needs somebody to blame.  At least, that’s what you hear many say and we see this kind of primitive blame placing here.  To them, David is to blame and David will be the one to pay the price.

Have you ever felt that you were in this alone?  As if the whole world has turned their backs on you as David’s men did with him?  You feel like you are battling alone and everyone else is just ready to cast stones at you?

David’s desperation led him to where all of ours should – the LORD!

“David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.”  The only place where true solace and comfort of heart can be found – in God!

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy,
and find grace to help in time of need,” Hebrews 4:16, KJV.  Thank God we don’t have to go this alone despite what our circumstances may look like.  God has privileged us with an opportunity to invite Him in the process of dealing with our hurts and  disappointments.  How many times have you turned to a friend in a time of need and they were nowhere to be found?  Or, worse yet, they couldn’t do anything to add to your comfort or just didn’t care?

God does not do that!  He openly shows His love and concern by allowing us to dump it all on Him.  Come to the throne that we might get!  Get what?  “Mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

In a time of need?  Yes, David surely was.  He had nowhere else to turn.  He found out the hard way how quickly people will forsake you.  Regardless, it didn’t dim his hope.  David knew from past experiences where his help came from.  He could sing like the other psalmist, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills – from whence comes my help?  My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth,” Psalms 121:1-2, NKJV.  Over and over again, God has proven himself in the life of David and this time would be no different.

I wonder how many of us have that diligent past relationship with God, knowing that when we are in a time of need, we can turn to Him over and over again?  Has our life been so, in following after Him, as David’s was, that the connection of encouragement we receive from the LORD is ever-present?

David initiated the search for God’s help.  He didn’t ask the people’s opinion of what he should do.  He didn’t continue to wallow in self-pity because everybody was against him.  He didn’t give up or throw in the towel because recovery seemed impossible.  “David said to Abiathar the priest . . . Please bring the ephod here to me . . . So David inquired of the LORD, saying, ‘Shall I pursue this troop?  Shall I overtake them?’  And He answered him, ‘Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all,'” 1 Samuel 30:7-8, NKJV.

“Without fail recover all.”  God is the only one who could ever make such a promise.

The point of this all is very simple.  God is our source for everything,  even encouragement.  It’s nice to get a “Good job!” from people once in a while or a pat on the back – but it is God whom we look to.  Sometimes situations will be so bad that we feel totally isolated from all.  Yet, we are also in a position to be so full.  To be able to recover all “without fail.”

Only what we find in strengthening ourselves in God can be labeled “without fail.”  Only the encouragement we have in Him will endure and never falter or fade.  He is our staying power.  He is our strength when we are weak.  Our shelter in the midst of the storm.  Our hightower.  Our fortress.  And, so much more!

Desperate times call for desperate measures.  Sometimes those measures mean turning a deaf ear to everyone else and their negativity about the situation and looking to God for counsel and help.  And He will, “without fail,” be your help through it all.  Find encouragement in God alone!

Minister encouragement to yourself through God’s grace today!

Photo Credit: http://clckyogle.org/encouragement-part-4-clc-kyogle.html

“Exam Time, Check it Out!”

untitled1600

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“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves . . .,” 2 Corinthians 13:5

 

“What? School just started back!”  No, that’s not what I’m talking about.  When was the last time we really pushed the envelope with ourselves to see what we have in us?  When watching television, I sometimes come across shows where people are doing what seems to be the impossible; people who love the adrenaline of seeing just how far they can go with a particular feat.  Some of the things I see just make me want to shake my head, and yet, others are actual, honest assessments of endurance; to see if they have what it takes to make it all the way, or to break some sort of record.  It’s a testing of one’s strength and stamina.

Tests, for most people, are not pleasant at all.  It doesn’t matter if its elementary age level test all the way through college, or a learner’s permit; tests make individuals uncomfortable because they are designed to see what one has in them.  If speaking in terms of education, it is probing one’s intellect to see if enough knowledge has been retained and also able to be applied.  If speaking in terms of physical endurance, it is working out in the body to see if one is deficient in a particular area, to point out any weaknesses that need to be strengthened for one to gain a particular goal.

This is why tests are not pleasant.  Because, it goes beyond the façade on the outside to see what one really has in them.  No truer is this more prevalent then in our spiritual lives.  The stuff on the inside is quickly hidden as we enter the church doors on a Sunday morning.  No one else can see the battles or struggles going on inside.  That is, no one else, but God.  “For the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart, (1 Samuel 16:7).  And, it is the test of the heart that really matters; the places where others can’t see.

I live around the corner from a prominent cemetery in our area.  It serves the needs of all people, but they specialize in handling the burials of fire fighters and police officers.  It is not unusual to see a processional of cars go by on any given day to lay a loved one to rest.  Sometimes the line is long and sometimes it is short.  If it is one of those specialized burials, then the whole affair is catered to honor the life of the one who has served.  There are what seems like hundreds of police cars from all over, horses, raised flags, gun salutes, honor guards and the like.  It becomes a beautiful send off in the midst of sorrow.

No matter who it is I often wonder about the individual being laid to rest.  It becomes a stark reminder for me to follow the prudent advice of Paul and examine myself.  We all have areas that need improvement; things that we can do better.  Sometimes a close, personal examination is the only thing that will draw it out of us, to see “whether ye be in the faith.”  Are we where we need to be when our time comes to be at the head of that processional?  I pray that we all are.