Encouragement Today: Finding Peace When You Need it Most

“As a mother comforts her child so will I comfort you.”  (Isaiah 66: 13)

Prayer Today:  Father, when I am distressed you are there.  Comfort me today with your peace and presence.

Encouragement Today: You are Special So Live It

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart for something special.” (Jeremiah 1: 5)

Prayer Today:  Father, when I feel down you remind me I’m special.  Help me to live today the life you created for me.

Today’s Encouragement: You are Never Alone

“They will call him Emmanuel, which means, God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)

When you feel most alone, it’s then you most feel the one who never leaves you.

 

Today’s Encouragement: Enter into God’s Home

“Knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)

When you need God’s help most he says, “Come in my child.  Let’s talk for a while.”

How to Find God’s Help When You’re Overwhelmed with Doubts

Do you ever feel like maybe God isn’t really there?  Does a twinge of doubt occasionally pinch you?

Particularly when facing a crisis and you’re up to your eyeballs in challenges?

And you’ve done all you can, you’ve done the right things, you’ve lived like you’re supposed to.

Yet, the problems persist and then you wonder, “Where is God in all this?  Why doesn’t he answer my prayers?  Does he care?  Is he even there?”

A lot of people have been there.  I certainly have.

But I’ve also seen the truth of what the Psalmist writes and God promises.

“He will call to me and I will answer him; I will be with him in times of trouble. I will deliver and honor him.”

He doesn’t say, “When you’ve done everything perfectly.”

He says, “When you call, I will answer.”

And he promises to deliver you out of every one of your troubles and bring you honor.

What an amazing promise.

Yes, sometimes the answer may be delayed.  And it may be different than you expected.  And it may come in ways you didn’t anticipate.

But God says he will answer and bless you.

And all you need to do is ask and expect.

After all, you are his child.

 

*Psalm 91:15

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

How to Fill Up the Emptiness Inside with Amazing Life

When I was younger I seemed to have it made.  Lots of friends, a good education, a career ahead of me.  Yet, there was just something missing.

I can’t explain it other than, there seemed to be an emptiness inside that I couldn’t understand or fill.  No matter how many parties I attended.  No matter how many mugs of beer I drank. When the party ended and I sobered up the emptiness returned.

Through a series of events I finally discovered what Jesus so long ago promised.

“Whoever drinks the water I give will never thirst.”

I’d probably heard that verse somewhere through my growing up years going to church but somehow it never sunk in.  Perhaps because I was more focused on partying than getting to know the living God.

Yet, I finally asked, as the woman Jesus was talking to, “Lord, please give me this water.”  And he did.

Though life has at times been challenging, like it is for everyone, that living water filled up the emptiness.

I never again felt truly alone and that my life was pointless.  I quit wasting time wading around in the weeds trying to find what only God can give.

I’m thankful for that.  And that I don’t look like I kept on partying.

 

*John 4:14

You Can Have the Emptiness Inside Filled Up with Love

I gave into lunch with an acquaintance who, as a self proclaimed atheist, wanted to debate religion.  I told him, “I don’t debate religion, but I will share what I believe.”

He finally agreed to those terms then promptly flipped to a debate.

We enjoyed a nice lunch and he enjoyed the debate.  He didn’t convince me nor do I imagine I convinced him.

On my drive home, I thought, “How depressing to feel that your existence is a cosmic mistake.  That you are utterly alone.  And when you die that’s it.”

That’s what I love about what I believe and have experienced.  That God, miraculously, came to earth as Jesus because he wants to have a relationship with me.

John writes, “The Word became human and lived among us.  We have seen his glory, of the One who came from the Father full of grace and truth.”

That alone fills the core emptiness people carry deep inside.

God wanted to live in a relationship with you so much that he sent his son here so people could see, hear and touch him.  2000 years later you still can.

All you need to do is ask.

Now, that’s worth believing.

And no, I still have no interest in debating.

 

*John 1:14

How Can You Be Sure You’re God’s Child Forever?

To be honest, seminary was really weird for me.  I just never fit in.

I was chatting over lunch with another student one afternoon in the student lunch room.  As I ate my meatloaf sandwich the conversation turned to whether you can lose your salvation.

He said, “Absolutely.”

“How?” I asked.

“When you sin,” he replied.

“Like every time?  If so, I’m toast.”

“Yes, unless you’ve ask for forgiveness again.”

“What happens if I miss one?”

“Then you’re not in any longer.”

“Wow, so let me get this straight.

I wouldn’t treat my own children that way, if I had any.  And besides how would you keep track of who’s in and who’s out anyway?

“Yet, God loves us with far greater and purer love.

Let me phrase this for you in my most theological terms.  That’s nuts.”

We parted disagreeing.  He struggled with depression.  I cracked jokes few appreciated.

That’s what I love about what John writes.

“To all who received Jesus, to those who believed in him, he blessed with becoming God’s children.”

See you become God’s child simply by believing enough to ask.  And you remain his child forever just like your children.

That’s as theologically deep as I get.  The rest to me is pretty weird.

 

*John 1:12

How to Find Comfort and Direction in the Midst of the Craziness

I talked with a friend recently who’s going through some challenging times financially.  He’s holding up pretty well but I know feels worn out.  He’s working hard but there’s only so much he can do.

He worries sometimes, like all of us, how he’ll pay the mortgage and take care of his family.

I said to him, “You know, I finding life surprising.  Challenges pop up in ways we never see coming.   Yet, over and over I’ve also discovered God’s unmistakable comfort and direction in the midst.”

“In a way we’re all walking wounded.  Like a hospital filled only with patients.  We have no idea what we’re doing but we’re just trying to help each other.”

I was reminded of that in a verse.

“God comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort others in trouble with the comfort we’ve received from God.”

God will comfort you in mysterious ways no matter what you’re facing when you simply hope in his love and direction.

Then you get the opportunity to share that love with someone else who needs encouragement.

And mysteriously you’ll find yourself even more encouraged.

Yeah, my dad told me I’d have crazy days.  He just failed to tell me there’d be so many.

 

*2 Corinthians 1:4