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!

 

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“Remain Strong in God!”

 

One morning as I was making a cup of coffee I ran out of creamer and had to open a new container.  I unscrewed the top and picked and picked at the protective seal underneath to no avail.  I couldn’t get it to rip off for anything.  Finally, out of frustration, I reached into the dishwasher and grabbed a knife and punctured a small hole in the top of the seal.  After that it was easy for me to put my finger in the hole and manipulate the seal for its ultimate removal.  Coffee time!

This had me thinking on how the enemy works in our lives.  As long as we stay sealed up in Christ the enemy can pick and pick but our packaging in Him remains strong.  No wonder Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1-3) felt such a compelling urge to get the walls of Jerusalem rebuilt to their full strength once again.  Wherever there is a hole or a breach in any structure it allows opportunity to an enemy to poke his nose into and gaining access to manipulate the circumstances of life.  It makes his job easier.

Paul admonishes us, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord,” (1 Corinthians 15:58).  Our diligence will pay off after a while.  We must be like a wall without breach.  We must take our cue from Nehemiah to patch up any deficiencies in our spiritual walls.  We are the ones who have to be “steadfast and unmovable” to have our work count in the end.  If we stop building and maintaining our walls then they will fall to utter ruin and we will have nothing to show for our work.

We must work at the upkeep of all that God has given us.  “Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not,” (Galatians 6:9).  Our press matters.  Our work matters.  Our walls matter.  We must continue forth with the mentality of Nehemiah when he stated, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down . . .,” (Nehemiah 6:3).  The enemy wants to thwart your work so that holes and weaknesses can be left for him to poke and manipulate.  But, if we want to “reap” then we must not “faint.”  We must push forth in doing good and leave the benefits to God.

Obtaining coffee creamer this morning was a struggle until I broke the seal.  Don’t let the enemy break your seal.  Stay covered in Christ and push forth until the end for your reward is coming.  Now is not the time to give in or give up.  If necessary, ask God to help you repair what is broken that you may be whole once again.  Remain strong in God!  You can do this!

Be blessed.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

 

“WIN!”

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“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us,” Romans 8:37

Win?! Of course you want to win. Who doesn’t want to be victorious? I don’t know anybody who really wants to lose – do you? I didn’t think so. Humanity was designed this way. When God created us, He said it was “good.” We were created in the perfect way He designed us. Not only were we created perfectly but we were created to live in perfect surroundings. The most perfect place on earth was “The Garden of Eden.” With that we have expectations. When our surroundings now don’t match up with what we were designed for, that’s where one begins to feel conflicted over their situation in life. They begin to feel confused and desire a better outcome. “There has to be more to it than this!”

The good news is, there is! There is a whole lot more to it than this. Thank, God! Oh my, does He have some stuff in store for us. He has designed the better for you to look for, and He has designed you to look for the better. It’s not always going to be like this.

Yay! The problem with us is that when we are faced with our personal trials and tribulations, it blocks the focus of that which is better. It impedes our progress from trying to reach that greater thing that God has in store for us and it makes us feel that we are not going to win at all. If anything, it begins to have the reverse effect of pulling us down with a “never to succeed” attitude.

“In all these things we are more than conquerors!” We want to win in our Christian life! When we get into those moments of feeling like we are being pulled down, moments that try to block the better focus, we need to take a time out to see what God says about us. “We are more than conquerors!” Think about it, a conqueror’s goal is to defeat obstacles in their life. They go into battle with a winning attitude believing in the end victory will be theirs.

We are more! There is an expectation with God’s people that we can do more. We can be more! We are victorious! We are overcomers!. We can see this through to the end! It will turn out to our favor! God wants you to triumph over everything that tries to get in the way of you obtaining the greatness that He has in store for you. Jesus said, “But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world,” (John 16:33, KJV). Everything in this world that could possibly try to stop you, Jesus said it’s under foot. Just begin to stomp it down because He has already secured the victory for you over it. If you are in Christ, and Christ has already won, “I have overcome the world,” then that means, you have already won, also.

I will never declare that times of sadness won’t come for the Bible said there is a season for all things, Ecc.3. But, when it’s over we have the opportunity to look back on what Christ has already done for us, and make the same declaration He did, “I have overcome!” The finality of it all is already settled. The outcome has already been written. “I am more than a conqueror and today I’m going to keep my winning attitude.”

Go ahead, you can do it. You can be a winner!

 

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!

 

“The Lord is on my Side!”

My Project 455-001

Oh, the grace of another day.  Yet, every day is not peachy, rather often with it comes turmoil, upset and unrest.  Sometimes battling the seen and the unseen.  Sometimes fighting to keep one’s spiritual head above the waters of this life that seek to take you under.  Oh, the peace to know that despite it all, the Lord is on my side.

One of the most impressive feats to view when attending the circus is the trapeze act.  It never seems to lose its awesomeness as we watch men and women fly through the air with what appears to be a complete disregard for life and limb.  Actually, it is quite the opposite.  They fly through the air with abandon because of the trust they exhibit in their partner to be by their side and to catch them at that pivotal moment; to catch them when it matters most.

In an article titled: “Training And Trust: Partners On The Flying Trapeze” written by Elizabeth Blair, January 5, 2011, Sergei Philippenko, one of the trapeze artist catchers says this,

                        “My job is to save him all the time.”

And Shapin, the one who flies to him says,

                        “I just know he will catch me. This is for sure,” (WBUR).

There is an awesome relationship of trust that goes on between the two.  One that neither can doubt in lest the outcome be less than desirable.

What about our relationship with God?  Do we exhibit the same trust in Almighty God that these seem to place in human confidence?  Do we sport the confidence that He is by our side to catch us when we need Him the most?

In the boxing ring alone – I think not!   Fighting the armies that encamp against me by myself – not today!  God is on my side and He promised to never leave me nor forsake me, Hebrews 13:5.

I am upheld by Him!  My life is not in my own hands rather in the hands of Him that never fails!  I may swing to and fro, sometimes feeling up and sometimes down, yet He is my ever present strength that keeps me flying high above all these adversities, above all these troubles, above all these trappings of this world.

Difficulties will arise.  Jesus said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world,” John 16:33.  In other words, He is on our side.  He is our overcomer.  He is our victor.  He is our deliverer that will see us past all that is presently before us that we might experience the peace that He so offers.

“Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid,” John 14:27.  Some may say this is easier said than done when the upsets of life seem to be all around and the strength to carry on, well, it’s hard to find – you’re exhausted.  But, the Lord is on your side.  You are not in this alone.  This is the message of the whole Bible.  No matter how dim, gloomy and bleak it may seem, we are not in this alone.  We have a strength that is beyond our human capabilities.  We have a force fighting for us that cannot be reckoned with by human standards.  We have the one and only true God and He is on our side!

Who are you flying with today?  Secure your life in Him, let go and know that “The LORD is on my side,” Psalm 118:6.

“I AM THE LORD!”

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Reading in Leviticus this morning, particularly chapter 22, in the midst of what seems to be a bunch of rules, regulations and requirements for offering, these four words kept jumping out at me: I AM THE LORD.  As a matter of fact, these words appear in this exact order seven times in in this one chapter alone.

Many shy away from thorough reading of books such as Leviticus because they can be lengthy and somewhat a boring read to some.  In a book that is filled with details and sacrifice, commandments and consecration’s, what to eat and what not to eat, cleanness and uncleanness, relationships and feasts, laws and penalties – all was laid out for the purpose of worshiping God in holiness; because, as He said, “I AM THE LORD!”

As a matter of fact, these four words appear throughout this entire book, not just chapter 22, many, many more times.

The gist of it all is what I think most, even in our modern churches and lives forget about, everything we do we do for the Lord.  Our lives; our worship are not our own.  We are to be dedicated to Him and give Him what is due His holy name.

When we come before Him we are to have a devoted mindset and a devoted heart.  Our worship is to be as pure as any sacrifice that was offered unblemished before the Lord in the Old Testament.  Our lives are to be pure and open vessels ready to receive of His Spirit in us and ready to pour out of His blessings into the lives of others.

What are we really giving to God on a daily basis?  What are we really offering to Him in our times of worship?

God wants the best of us!

He wants holy lives that recognize and live for Him because of who He is: the LORD!  He is God the Author and Creator of the universe and beyond.  He is as supreme as supreme can get and He deserves to be reverenced as such.  “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy,” (1 Peter 1:15-16).  Other parts of Leviticus tells us, “Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God,” (20:7).

God wants holiness in our lives and in our worship.  I love a message that pronounces blessings just as much as the next person, but without holiness, it means absolutely nothing in His sight.  As a whole we need to come back to the central theme of holiness because the LORD requires nothing less.

I am not talking about rules and regulations, but rather hearts fully dedicated to Him because they recognize that He is the LORD and they want to give Him the best of themselves.  And, that’s a holy life.

We must never lose sight of, diminish, or bring down to our level the glory and honor He deserves.  He is the LORD!  He is Sovereign over all!  He is Master!  He is Savior!  He is King!  “I AM THE LORD!” he exclaimed, and holiness before Him is what He desires.

Amen!

“Watch What You Eat!”

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Photo Credit: Wallpaper4god.com Click here for original

What we put into our body matters.  The foods we eat can either help or hinder our health.  Yesterday, I mentioned stopping at a fast food joint.  Sometimes we do this but it is not an everyday occurrence.  I value what goes in my body.  Is every food choice the best choice?  No, but I try to make it a point to have the majority of what I eat to be of nutritional value; to be something that will build me up and not tear me down.

Our spiritual lives work in the same manner.  We are what we eat, spiritually.  If all that we are ever digest is the negatives of this world then we are robbing our spirit of the vital nutrients that can increase our awareness and spiritual health.  The Bible says, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” (Rom. 10:17).  What we assimilate in our being is what will be produced in our spirit and in our lives.

God’s word has everything in it we need.  A daily diet of letting Him speak to us through His word, through His preachers and teachers will enrich our spiritual lives and make us stronger in Him.  When adversity and the storms of life rise His word that has already been deeply instilled in us pops into action and carries us through to the other side.

We need God’s word everyday.  We need it to grow.  We need it to learn.  We need it to increase our faith.  We will never be the healthy Christian that we need to be if we leave the word of God out of our daily routines. God’s word will build you up and make you stronger in Him.   Many are diligent about their natural health but watch what you eat spiritually.  It can make the difference between spiritual health and spiritual sickness.