Encouraging Others

He walked everywhere he went and ate whatever was available. His diet was not extravagant but simplistic. He never owned a home, although he did visit some of the finest homes in the land.

At times he would be on a lonely hillside praying. He often arrived before midnight and stayed until the break of the day. He didn’t pray to impress others. Instead, his words came from the heart. Usually, he was petitioning God for the need of others.

Some followers witness him walking on the sea. Who was this man who could step on the crest of the waves? His friends didn’t recognize him. Only his voice identified his presence.

Another time, after a long day, he fell asleep in a boat while it tossed about in a storm. When awakened by fearful companions, he stood and commanded the wind and the waves to be still. Still, they were. In contrast, he rebuked the boat’s occupants. Why are you so fearful? I’m here with you.

On shore, he was able to heal the sick and cleanse the lepers, causing the deaf to hear and the mute to speak. 

While holding the attention of crowds for days, he could pray and multiply a few loaves of bread to feed the audience of thousands. Mud was his ointment of choice for a blind man to see. 

He was always giving, making everything better and people whole. He just had that way about him. He was always caring for others.

Maybe we should follow his example. We may be unable to make the blind see or the lame walk; however, we can get alone on our hillside or in our closet and pray for others.

We can encourage the disadvantaged and give of our time to comfort the hurting. That’s what Jesus would have us do.

His Promise Is True

Life is hard at times. It isn’t very encouraging. Are you having a bad day? You may be experiencing a month of problems. But, on the other hand, your sadness could be longer, even years.

The prayers you utter seem to bounce off the ceiling. It looks like God doesn’t hear, or He is tuning you out. The Almighty doesn’t seem to be almighty anymore. 

In your hurt and disappointment, you give up on God thinking he doesn’t care or love you anymore. He hasn’t answered your prayers lately. In your frustration, God, church, and Christians are off limits. 

Others have been there. God, in his honesty, recorded some disappointed people in the Bible. Elijah comes to mind after calling down fire from heaven; he ran to the backside of the desert and wanted to die (I Kings 19:3,4).

Mary and Martha were sad because Jesus didn’t show up when they wanted him to. Consequently, their brother Lazarus died. But, when Jesus arrived, events changed. Lazarus lived again. 

Peter, one of the twelve disciples, lost hope after the Lord’s crucifixion and resurrection. Peter went fishing, his previous vocation. He felt alone, though other disciples went with him.

God used the Apostle John, to author the book of John, and First, Second, and Third John. Then, he was exiled to the island of Patmos to silence him. But, God had other plans. So, the Lord used John to pen the Book of Revelation as an old man. 

In the darkest of times, when you feel all alone, you are not alone. Friends, family, and fellow believers may not be beside you, but you’re not alone. Jesus is with you. Turn and look with curious, searching eyes; he’s there. The Holy Spirit will help you see him. God follows you everywhere you go. He’s there always, whether you recognize him or not. He promised never to leave or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:8, I Kings 8:57, Matthew 28:20). His promise is true. Always.

Knowledge Is Revealing

Knowledge is powerful, making the unknown no longer a secret. Man is constantly searching, inquiring, and thirsting for more enlightenment. In a sense, the quest for some knowledge can become a sin. Adam and Eve’s desire for the knowledge of good and evil was not in their best interest; nor in future generations. Imagine what our world would be like without any sin? That thought is beyond our ability to reason.

As with the first parents in the Garden of Eden, some things are best unlearned. Fire is good for heat and cooking. It also destroys forests and homes if misused.

The apostle John wrote some reassuring words for the believer “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” (I John 5:13 NKJV). God wants the redeemed to know they have eternal life, which never disappears. The assurance of this biblical truth enables the Christian to sleep at night. This informative verse comforts us in knowing when we take our last breath here on earth, angels are waiting to transport us through the Gates of Pearl onto the streets of gold.

The God we trust for salvation validated the Bible by stating, “God who never lies promised before the ages began” (Titus 1:2 ESV). The Old Testament book of Numbers states the same truth, “God is not a man, that he should lie” (23:19 NKJV). The author of Hebrews says, “It is impossible for God to lie” (6:18 ESV). Our God is always about truth, whereas Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). 

Knowledge is revealing as well as enlightening. The truth is powerful if used for God’s glory, not for man’s self-indulgence.

The Mirror Reveals

Standing in front of a mirror reflects the visible. Your clothing may be bright or a dirty dull. The outer garments are your coverings, hiding the flesh behind them. Maybe there is a smile on the face or the pain of sadness in the eyes. The facial expression hints at what’s going on inside of you. The inner thoughts can be evident to those who know you best. Their closeness to you is revealed either in their words or the kindly expression of their tender heart.

The mirror doesn’t see what you see. But beyond the outward appearance, your raw emotion is trapped inside the real you for the moment. The love, hurt, or concerns are real. There’s no getting around it. The feeling is there in plain sight for only you to see at this moment in time. What is the solution? Is there a solution? How do you find out? Do you let things be? Intervene? Seek help? The dilemma is all yours.

The situation has no solution without a decision; the possible solution goes beyond your comfort zone. The adventure into your unknown is now possible. But, only if you’re willing to go into the uncharted territory where others are willing to help you. Go ahead take the big step. Without taking the first step, your resolve will remain in the dark.

What does your mirror see? A reflection of the visible or the inner desire to go forward into that uncharted water of life. If you step out, there’s a new world waiting

Negative Influences

The devil tries to make you fail. Then, he’ll encourage you to quit. He is the expert on negative thoughts, trying to get you to rely on yourself and not Christ. He will tell you prayer is a waste of time. He wants to defeat all your Christian efforts, blurring your understanding of right and wrong. Twisting the truth and then asking a question which usually starts with the small word “if”. If they cared, they would . . . If I were rich, I wouldn’t have these problems. If I were smart, I would know what to do.

What if I would trust God and obey him? I may not be richer, but the Lord promised to supply my needs. What if I look for the good in others, my outlook in life would be positive. What if I gave God thanks for what I do have? Thanksgiving would eliminate much of the greed in my life. The change in my attitude would result in gratitude. Would my outlook be contagious? 

Everybody can change if they want to. They may need to take small steps at first. But, it’s a start. Encouragement has a longer lifespan than negative thoughts. God is all around us if we will stop long enough to look.

A rainy day provides replenishment of our water supply. Water is necessary for all growth; it is also an ingredient for cleanliness. There is good in every rainstorm, even if your plans changed because of it.

A new outlook on life is life-changing and necessary for progress. Yet, as I look out my window, the rain clouds are gathering.

Our God of Miracles

Miracles still happen, but some people do not believe in them. They believe in the historical accounts of the miraculous in the Bible, but not today.

Let’s recount some miracles from scripture. First, the widow of’ Zarephath saw her flour bin and jar of oil replenished daily until the end of the famine (I Kings 17).

A Roman army officer asked the Lord to heal his paralyzed servant (Matthew 8). The centurion said his home was not worthy of the Lord’s presence. However, this officer knew and believed the Lord could say the word, and the miracle would take place. Instead, the Lord performed this miracle miles away from the soldier’s home.

Ten lepers approached the Lord (Luke 17:11-19) and asked for mercy. The Lord responded, “Go show yourself to the priest.” As they went, they were all healed from this dreaded disease. Only one, a Samaritan, returned to thank Jesus for his miraculous healing. His thanksgiving resulted in an eternal change of destination. The other nine did not thank Jesus for answering prayer. Are we guilty of not thanking Jesus for answering prayer? 

The woman at the well gave water to the Lord. In return, she received living water and the privilege of sharing the gospel with the village where she lived (John 4).

Acts three records Peter and John healing a lame man. The recipient rejoiced in his new ability to walk by praising God in the temple for all to see and hear. 

Prayer still works. God is still in the miracle business. His divine touch gives us sweet fellowship with him. The Lord releases our stress while healing our infirmities with his moments of grace. I’m glad our God is still in the miracle business!

Being Different

Being different attracts or repels people, organizations, churches, and nations. Our values solidify our vision. What is good has a magnetic attraction. Our conclusion depends on our viewpoint. For example, the letter d can also be a p if you turn it upside down. This same holds true for m and w as well as the n and u. These three pairings are all part of our alphabet. Each has a particular purpose for the words that they are part of.

Being different can be good. Diversity is what makes us unique. The Bible says, “Thank you for making me so complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it” (Psalm 139:14).

I fell in love with my wife because she was and is good—to the core. My life would not be the same without her. She adds value to my being.

What makes you special, unusual, and distinct as the individual you are? Sure, you are different from others. That’s good.

Noah didn’t grow up thinking, “I’m going to build an ark someday.” Noah was different. No other family on earth was sharing the gospel to his generation. At times they must have felt alone or what’s the use. But that feeling did not deter them from being obedient to Lord’s instructions. He and his family sweated, served, and waited faithfully for one hundred years, enduring ridicule and insults while doing God’s work.

You know the end—the universal flood. Being different is all part of God’s plan. Recognizing and accepting his plan for us is our part which is always the better choice for our lives.

All It Takes

Sometimes there are days like this; no motivation and many things to do. You want to take the day off, but you can’t. Some things will not wait until tomorrow. Deadlines and duties dictate our priorities, regardless of how we feel. It doesn’t make any difference whether you feel good or not. Deadlines win. Pulling yourself together, and putting other things aside, is the call of the day. 

Every priority in life should have God’s approval. Knowing the Lord’s leadership and doing it are not always the same; life and eternity would be different if they were.

How do we get life values in line with the Bible? We often want our way, regardless of what we know is in the good book. That’s one of the many choices the Lord allows us to make. He permits even the wrong ones. That’s OK if we learn from them. Bad choices are tough lessons that we will never forget. Hopefully, the reprimand is unforgettable and keeps us from repeating them. Reading and obeying the written word is an easier lesson to learn. Applying biblical truths saves us a lot of trouble.

Mistakes become road maps to wrong destinations. Some of life’s toughest lessons can be avoided by praying first. The kind that asks for directions and waits for God’s shining light to reveal the correct path. Life would be sweeter if we would wait on him and follow his advice. Our days would be brighter for the glory of God and our inner peace. All it takes is to turn our eyes toward God and get our values in agreement with his word.

Committed People

The Lord’s resurrection has passed. There is a new era. Worship has changed days from the Sabbath (Saturday) to Sunday, the first day of the week.


The transition was not easy for the Jews to practice. In the New Testament, we often find Christians (a term first used at Antioch, Acts 11:26) worshiping at night. Previous worship traditions changed. 

Sunday morning, Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene in the garden (Mark 16:9). The Lord’s second appearance was to a group of women going to tell the disciples the tomb was empty. Jesus met them on their way. They recognized our Lord (Matthew 28:9,10). 

The third appearance of the Lord’s resurrection day was to two disciples, not to the remaining eleven. It happened as they were journeying from Jerusalem to the village of Emmaus. At the evening meal, when Jesus prayed, the two recognized the Lord ( Luke 24:13-32).

Why did the risen Savior appear to these select individuals? Several reasons come to mind. They were unbiased individuals. Secondly, they had a personal, heartfelt relationship with the Son of God. Third, they were individuals of personal faith and commitment to the Lord. They were also willing to share their knowledge of Jesus. Finally, they were everyday Christians, not ones of fame.

Examples of committed people are the focus of the good news. They are willing to live and to share what God gives them. Cheerful compliance is the critical ingredient to every thriving work of God. He uses not only the inner circle, but also the outer layer of dedicated individuals fulfilling the Great Commission of our Lord’s work. Because of their genuine faith and commitment, the early church grew exponentially. 

May this Easter spirit flourish once again in our generation.

It’s Not Friday

The last two weeks of the Lord’s life were unique from the previous three years. Lazarus, the Lord’s friend, died. When Jesus arrived in Lazarus’s hometown his two sobbing sisters, Martha and Mary, met the Lord outside of town. It was there they showed Him the burial place. It was a cave—a sad site. For the first time in scripture, it is recorded our Lord cried.

About two weeks later, as the Messiah was making his way to Jerusalem, he saw the city, and wept. As our Lord pondered their future and its citizens, He knew their eternal state, and he was saddened to the point of crying.

The next day, our Lord proceeded to cleanse the Temple, driving out the money changers with their merchandise from God’s house of worship.

Come Thursday, Jesus and the disciples observed the Passover, which today’s believers call the Last Supper. It was there, Judas made an early departure to gather the Pharisees and soldiers to arrest our Lord. 

These ungodly people found the Lord at Gethsemane. But our Lord was still in the miracle business. Peter, in his impulsiveness, cut off the ear of Malchus, the High Priest’s servant. Jesus gently picked up the ear and reattached it. The soldiers arrested Jesus anyway. 

The crowd escorted Jesus back into Jerusalem, where he appeared before several priestly officials condemning him. Finally, our wonderful, innocent Lord was condemned by Pilate and sentenced to death that Friday morn. Our tattered Savior headed to a hill called Calvary, and there He was nailed to a cross.

Later about noon, the sky turned black. The sun didn’t shine for three hours. Our heavenly Father turned His eyes away from His only Son. Finally, the Lord’s saddened spirit broke, and He felt all alone with our sin upon Him. Jesus’ last words on the cross asked why God had forsaken Him? Our Lord died.

Jesus’ mutilated body was laid to rest in Joseph of Arimathea’s unused tomb with the help of Nicodemus, who originally came to Jesus by night. 

Saturday came, and no word from the grave. Then came Sunday! When Mary Magdalene and others arrived at Jesus’ burial place, the tomb was empty. Jesus was not there; He was alive and well forevermore to encourage his disciples and believers. Now, our Lord is seated beside His Heavenly Father, waiting for our arrival.

 I’m glad it’s Sunday, Resurrection Day.

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