Worn Out From Your Struggles? Be Encouraged!

Do you ever go through those times where problems seem to pile up?  I mean, you get one challenge solved only to have two more waiting in the wings.

You’re running to keep the other shoe from falling only to see a bus heading at you?

And no matter how fast you run the behinder you get?

Well I have good news and bad news.

The bad news is, well, welcome to life.

The good news is you can find encouragement in the midst.

Jesus never sugar coated the struggles of this life.  Yet, he offers an antidote.

He said, “In this world you will have trouble.  But take confidence!  I have overcome this world.”

He doesn’t say struggle on until you get to Heaven.

No he says, “Right now, in this world, in the midst of the struggle, be encouraged.”

Wait, what?  Why?

Because no matter what you face Jesus’ power is greater.  No matter the challenges that seem impossible Jesus has the power to overcome them.

No matter the discouragement you feel, Jesus sees your circumstances and loves you.

So he says, “Put on confidence.”

Look at his power rather than the world’s.

And then you’ll overcome this world in that power.

But I’d still watch out for the bus.

 

*John 16:33

How to Find Peace in a World That’s Exploding

Does it ever feel to you like our world is exploding in one giant holocaust?

I mean, I won’t even turn on the news any more.

A terrorist set off a bomb killing scores of people.  War broke out on a new front.  The economy is tanking or certainly predicted to for the hundredth time.

And that doesn’t even count all the challenges you face personally does it?

It’s enough to make you want to go live in a monastery isn’t it?  Well except for, you know, all the stuff you have to give up.

So how do you find peace in the midst of this crazy world?

Jesus gives a remarkable answer.

“I have told you all of these secrets so that in your relationship with me you will discover peace.”

He says simply, “Live with me and then you’ll discover an unexplainable peace.”

A peace, that no matter what is blowing up around you, fills you from the inside.

No matter what you face you’ll have peace Jesus is with you because he promised.

I’ll tell you, I’ve experienced that peace.  And this is from a person who could turn worrying into an art form.

It’s real.  It’s yours.

But I’m still not turning on the news.

 

*John 16:33

Supersize Your Confidence and See Your Dreams

I’ve sat through way too many sermons where the preacher said, “We all need to suffer for Jesus.”

I remember a whole series on “Fox’s Book of Martyrs”.  Talk about looking forward to Sunday.

And how many times have I heard some church saint say about her problems, “Well, it’s just my cross to bear.”

Then Christians wonder why new people don’t crowd in their doors yelling, “Wow, supersize me with a helping of that misery.”

Yet, I see something completely different.  Yeah I know, not the first time someone noticed that about me.

A promise that says exactly the opposite and fills me with confidence.

“‘For these are the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord.  ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.'”

Wait, what?  You mean God isn’t spending his days snoozing and then wakes up looking for opportunities to swat you?

Rather he has plans for you to prosper.  He has plans to give you success and abundance beyond what you can imagine.

Nowhere does he say, “I plan to make you miserable.”

What do you think would happen to your confidence and happiness if you truly focused on that promise?

And what do you think would happen in your life out of that confidence?

Supersize me with that!

 

*Jeremiah 29:11

How to Find Comfort and Peace When You’ve Lost a Loved One

I’ve stood beside a grave when a loved one died and even with all the faith I feel on a good day been filled with doubts.  When I need that faith the most, because I want assurance I’ll see my loved one again, my faith fails me the most often.

I’ve got a leaky faith bucket.

Perhaps you’ve struggled with the same thing.

Jesus offered a prayer to comfort his disciples and us.

He prayed, “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am and to see the glory of my kingdom.”

I love that.

One of the last things Jesus did before he was arrested was pray for his disciples and us.  That we would live in his kingdom with him forever.

Kind of like wanting your children to be with you where ever you go.  There’s nothing better.  And with my adult children exhausting.

I find that comforting and liberating.

You don’t need an intermediary.  You can simply ask him to let you live with him as his child.  Then he prays to the Father for you.

As a Father there’s nothing I enjoy more than to be with my children.  Evidently Jesus feels the same.

Now if I can just find that leak.

 

*John 17:24

Enjoy the Confidence of Heaven When You’re Scared to Death of Hell

I’ve sat through way too many church services where the preacher at the end gave an altar call.  Then I’d see some of the same people going forward again to make sure they were still saved.

I’d think, “These are the nicest people I know.  If they’re lost I’m toast.”

Some who long ago should have been filled with joyful anticipation of Heaven lived their lives in fear of hell.

See Jesus settled that question.  Yet his answer is ignored for some unexplainable reason.

He said, “I give them eternal life, not one will perish, and no one will take them away from me.”

Ok, so what part seems nebulous?  I don’t see the cracks we can fall through.

So instead of living your life in fear you get to live it in love and joy.

Instead of fearing hell you get to anticipate Heaven.

Instead of striving to please a gotcha type of God.  You love him and others with the love he’s given you.

Is it time to settle that issue once and for all?

Then simply ask for and accept God’s gift of eternal life.  Then from now on choose to live in confidence of it, never doubting again.

It will transform your life.

No cracks!

 

*John 10:28

How to Find Happiness When Bad News is Getting You Down

I write on another website some posts that are a bit edgy.  And sometimes I get myself in trouble.  Yeah I know, what a surprise.

Some readers, who I would guess are fundamentalist Christians, miss my offbeat humor and seem less than supportive, shall we say.

Sometimes it causes me to think, “Why would anyone from the outside looking on want to be a Christian?  I mean, if I want to feel depressed  I can turn on the news.”

We don’t need religious bad news added on top do we?

Yet, that contrasts with what Jesus promised.

He said, “I have told you these things so my joy will be in you and your joy will be full.”

Wait, what?  We’re supposed to actually find joy in our relationship with Jesus?  Who knew?

See he doesn’t take us out of this world of bad news.  But instead fills us up with so much good news it can’t help but spill out in joy.  Think about how attractive that would be.

Well and frankly, how much more fun.

And just because we listen to what he promises and actually just expect them.

Now that’s something to get happy about.

A couple of readers from the other website I hope read this.

 

*John 15:11

Are You Tired of Religion? Would You Like Peace Instead?

I’m tired of religion, even Christian religion.  I give up.  I can’t keep all the plates spinning.

Do you ever feel that way?

Worn out doing all the things that hopefully will tip the scale in your favor with God.

But then not knowing for sure how you measure up.   Whether God’s happy with you or not.  Whether you’ll attain Heaven or not.

I’m pretty sure the scale is tipped way over in my case and not to the positive.

Well, I’ve got some good news and bad news.

The bad news is your scale probably looks similar to mine.

The good news is that’s exactly the place you need to be to find God’s love and peace.

Jesus said, “Come to me and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble and you will find rest for your souls.”

That’s it.  No five steps, no slavish sacrificing, no self denigration.

Just come and learn.

Then you find soul deep peace and rest.  The quest to prove your self-worth to God has ended.  He accepts you blemishes and all.

He says, “Sit with me for a while and take a rest.  Then walk with me and learn how to really live.”

Now that, even I can do.

And I’m still tired of religion.

 

*Matthew 11:29

What to Do When You Face the Impossible and Need God’s Miracle

It seems like we have so many friends struggling with so many issues.  I finally told Jennifer, “Don’t answer the phone. No one is calling with good news.”

Health issues, financial challenges, relationship struggles.  And no matter how hard they work the challenges remain.  I mean, what gives?

I don’t have an answer but I do have a contrasting picture.

Paul writes, “God will fulfill all your needs with his glorious riches.”

Wow!  Not just some needs and not just barely enough to get by.  No all of your needs will be fulfilled with the unlimited riches only God has.

So what do you face that’s bigger than God’s riches?  What do you face that’s stronger than God’s power?

Nothing that I can imagine, or if you do want any part of.

So how do you see those riches in your life?

Just ask and anticipate.  That’s it.

And I’ll tell you from personal experience I’ve had times when I faced the impossible and have seen God’s amazing power work.

Not because of any special spiritual power on my part.  Believe me it’s not there.  But simply because I asked and thought, “If he promised who am I to doubt?”

So simple even I can follow those directions.

 

*Philippians 4:19

Are You Feeling Overwhelmed and Tired? Discover Peace!

Do you ever get really tired?  I mean, deep down in your bones dog tired?

We all run at a frenetic pace don’t we?  Then add on top all the challenges that seem to pop up constantly.

Do you ever have days it seems the faster you run the behinder you get?  I do for sure.

That’s why I love what Jesus promised.

“Come to me, all of you who feel weary and overwhelmed and I will give your rest.”

Wow, exactly the prescription we need isn’t it?

And the thing I love about it is, there’s no five step list.  Like you need more to do anyway?

No just simply come to him.  And if you already have he says, “Keep coming back into my rest.”

He promises you’ll find peace deep in your soul that will give you rest.  You’ll find confidence that he is still in control of the challenges of your life even if they seem out of control to you.

In that confidence you will find rest, deep soul level rest.  And you can let the challenges fade until another day.

I’ve discovered the truth of this promise over and over.

Sometimes I just don’t know why it doesn’t stick better.

 

*Matthew 11:28

How to Walk Clearly in the Darkness

Life is challenging isn’t it?  It seems like half the time you have no idea where you’re going.  And the other half, you don’t want to go.

I mean between financial, career, relationship and health challenges you sometimes feel like the ball in a pin ball machine.

You struggle to make it through one challenge only to find two more waiting.

Do you ever find yourself thinking, “Can I get off this merry-go-round for a while?”  I sure have.

That’s what I love about this promise David writes.

“If the Lord delights in a person he makes his steps firm; though he stumbles, he won’t fall for the Lord holds him up.”

That gives me so much comfort.  It seems like I’ve spent a lot of time stumbling in the dark.

Yet, God knows the path.  He sees in the darkness.  He guides you step by step even when you’re lost.

And when you catch your toe on a tree root in the trail and stumble he grasps your hand to keep you from falling.

I’ve seen this so many times.  God led us through the darkness into the light again.  And in the darkness I felt his steadying hand.

I’m glad.

Now, where’s that light switch?

 

*Psalm 37:23-24