Thursday, September 27, 2018

Encouraging Through the Word of God

As a shepherd of God’s flock, I meet regularly with those who are hurting in hopes of comforting them with the encouragement and promises from God’s Word.  One of the best ways to face the darkness of tomorrow is to understand the character, promises, and the ways of our Great God.  Before making hospital or home visits to those who are hurting I strive to have a verse or two prepared that I can share as an encouragement to those that I am visiting. 
You see, God’s Word is capable of bringing about comfort, hope, and joy in ways that I could never begin to do so.  We are told in Isaiah 55:11 by God that His Word, “it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”  Praise God!  Others need more than our personal encouragement to help them make it through the trials of this life.  God’s Word always points others back to Him and it’s only through God’s Word that we can speak with any true confidence. 
I would like to share with you 10 verses that have become very dear to me in times of turmoil that you can share with others as well:
1.     Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

2.     Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

3.     Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

4.     1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.  For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”

5.     Psalm 94:19, “When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.”

6.     Luke 12:22-26, “And he said to his disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on.  For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!  And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?’”

7.     Psalm 27:1, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

8.     Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

9.     1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

10.  2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of  love and of a sound mind.”

Thursday, September 20, 2018


There are times that we, as Christians stand guilty of finding contentment in many things except God.  Contentment can be sought in our titles, our jobs, our possessions, our relationships, our intellects, our reputations, and even our egos.  There is a real temptation for us to strive to find satisfaction in these things apart from God.  However, what if we had nothing but food and clothing; could we truly be content?  Could we be content living at the local rescue mission or living in an apartment versus our private, furnished homes?  What if we didn’t have cable television, the Internet, or Netflix?  Most of us love our things and life’s small amenities that keep us comfy and happy.  I’m concerned that life’s luxuries have become our necessities in order for us to be happy and content.
God encourages His people through His Word to find contentment in Christ alone plus nothing else.  The Apostle Paul said, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.  Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.  Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”  (NIV, 1 Tim. 6:6-11)
According to Scripture, there is a real danger in being desirous of the things of this world.  God’s Word says that those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap that leads to many harmful desires for us.  Although it is impossible to identify what all those dangers might be, a part of this danger is finding satisfaction apart from God and seeking things that God has not willed for His children to have. Some people allow money and material things to drive their lives and motivate them.  Some Christians would consider their lives very good, while they have very little substance in their relationship with God.  Could we be so bold as Christians to ask God to help us to loosen our grip on the things that we have become used to and that we find important to us?  Could we be so bold as to ask God to remove anything in our life that is keeping us from knowing, loving, and serving Him better?  Please know this type of bold prayer to God could be very painful.
Ultimately, are we willing to get back to the basics of finding contentment in the person of God alone for all of our joy and contentment.  Have we slowly drifted over the years only to find ourselves docked at the wrong harbor where God cannot be found?  Could we lay everything before our great God and ask Him what He would have us to pick back up?  May we find contentment in the goodness of His character and in His love for us.