Tag Archives: encouragement

Approval that matters

“When Ahithophel saw that Absalom and the leaders of Israel were not going to follow his advice, he saddled his donkey and rode back to his home in Gilo.  He told his family and servants what to do.  Then he hanged himself.”  2 Sam. 17:23 

Let’s go back to chapter 16 vs. 23:  “Ahithophel gave such good advice in those days that both Absalom and David thought it came straight from God.”

I know I started this off with a shocker of a verse this morning, but it’s reality.  Let’s face it, Ahithophel had fallen far.  

At one time his advice was revered by both King David, a man after God’s own heart, and his son, Absalom, who was now trying to be king.  They literally regarded his advice as though he was one who had been in a consultation with God.  And later, no one wanted to follow his advice.  

It didn’t just hurt his feelings a little or make him feel a bit disgraced.  It caused him to go commit suicide.  

It may sound shocking to you, but it shouldn’t.  When we get our sense of self-worth from people, this can easily happen.  If our identity is tied up in those around us, and they don’t approve of us, then, just like Ahithophel, we may feel like that is our only answer.  

When we are regarded by men as the best or regarded by men as not much, we need to keep our eyes on the Maker of heaven and earth.  He is the One who is our Strength.  He fights for us, gives us wisdom, lets us run to Him for refuge, and comforts us in times of need.  

Our identity comes from the One who created us, wonderfully, and willingly gave His Son to die for us so that we could have eternal life.  God made us in His image, and calls us His own.  He created us with a purpose.  We are loved so much that Jesus chose to die for us–we were worth dying for.  

No matter what happens or what they say…stand on what God says, and run to Him when you need a word of encouragement.  He is always faithful, and He can be trusted.  

Choose to stay, with Him,

jamie

Why so afraid?

Heb. 13:6 “The Lord is my Helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

I read & prayed over this verse 3 days ago, as well as another, which ends with, “Whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.”

And then yesterday I was in a setting where I have very little control, and where just 8 days prior come out physically altered and injured.

I’d love to say that I quoted those verses to myself and held strong, but the truth is that I crumbled and cried like a baby. I literally sobbed…in front of people. Ugh.

Then my pain was called into question. My past was brought up. Other conditions in my life were brought up, and even the world’s stress was mentioned. And I felt that my pain had been invalidated.

In a situation where I already had very little control, I suddenly felt smaller and discredited. I left feeling broken, victimized, and hurt. And my posture, for the rest of the day, showed it.

I made a choice. A natural human choice, but a poor one. 2 days prior I’d read that God is my Helper. 3 days prior I taught about it! I had just been reminded not to fear man, and to trust in the Lord; and here I was, focusing on feeling victimized.

Isn’t that so typical of us? I’m sure I’m not alone.

This morning, I woke up remembering that the Lord is my Helper, and I wanted to remind you, as well. Whatever it is you’re going through, look to Him.

Whatever pain you are in…and don’t let others tell you it isn’t real…look to Him for your comfort. For He says, “I am the Lord, the One who encourages you. Why are you afraid of mere humans? They dry up and die like grass.” Is. 51:12. He can be trusted.

Encouraged,

jamie

Don’t quit now

Farkle.  Have you ever played?  It’s a pretty low-key dice game, but you can choose to take risks or not.  My son decided to take a risk that didn’t pay off.  He lost a lot of points and asked if we could change the rules “just this once, and then everyone could have the same thing done for themselves, as well.”  I said no.

I said, “You took a risk, and that was great, but it didn’t work out.  You lose your points.”  Then he said, “Then, I’ll quit.”  Nope!  That was also not an option.  We finished the game, and he came in 2nd.  Not too shabby, when quitting would have ensured his loss.

There are moments like that for all of us, where it can be so easy for us to want to quit.  Quit life, quit trying, quit parenting, quit working, quit giving of ourselves, quit caring, quit any number of things.

I remember when Elijah felt this way,  He literally sat down under a tree in the desert and said, “I’ve had enough.  Just let me die.”  And then he fell asleep.  If I’m being honest, I have felt that way, but I am so encouraged to know that someone like Elijah felt that way, too.

Paul reminds us in 1 Cor. 9 that athletes work hard to win a crown that cannot last, but we do it for a crown that will last forever.  We don’t run without a goal.  He says in vs. 27, “I keep my body under control and make it my slave, so I won’t lose out after telling the good news to others.”  Even he understands that sometimes we feel that weight on us, but we have to discipline ourselves like an athlete, and keep the goal in mind.

We do it for a crown that will last forever!  There is no 2nd place with God.  There is only life everlasting, and we don’t want to fall down and lose our place now.  We can keep our eyes on Him, our faith in Him, and keep on going.

So run to win!

jamie

Throw some shade

Pr. 10:12:  Hatred stirs up trouble; love overlooks the wrongs that others do.

Overlooks the wrongs.  Doesn’t take notice.  Covers up.  Makes up for.  Forgives.

We went back to WV last weekend and kayaked about 3 miles down the river.  It was hot that day, and the river was low, which mean there wasn’t much current.  That can make some fun rapids, and it can be nice to be on the calm water for a bit; but after a while, it gets hotter, and the sun starts baking your skin.

As the temperature increased and my skin began to turn more red, I found myself seeking out the shady areas of the river.  I was looking for a reprieve.  I was looking for some relief.

I thought about how often, in life, others around us are looking for a reprieve.  They’re just looking for someone to let-up for a while because life has been baking them so much and things have been uncomfortable for some time.  They just need some relief.

Maybe that means we don’t remind them every time we see them of how disappointed we are with their choices, but instead we seek out some way to tell them how proud we are of something they’ve done.

Perhaps it means we don’t offer any advice this time, but just let them talk it out, and then we say we’re sorry for their pain and show them love.

Maybe it means we need to forgive them once and for all, and never bring it up again.

We could just need to completely change the way we speak.  God can help with that.

Sometimes, just remembering that there have been times in our own lives when we have needed a reprieve, and just a little relief, instead of the constant beating down from outside sources.

If there is something that isn’t right between someone and the Lord, you can ask the Holy Spirit to guide you about if you should speak or not, and then if so how and when.  I can assure you; however, that He won’t tell you to not let up and bring it up to them each time you see them, making them feel as though they are a failure or out of His reach.

In fact, praying for people is one of the most beautiful acts of love there is.  Not for our own will and way, but genuine prayers of love for those that we love, just as we would pray for ourselves.  God knows each one of our needs and will work out the plans He has for each one of our lives.  He can be trusted.  Hasn’t He show that in your own life?

Let’s give others some shade (in the best way), when we’re around them, and be the relief this world so badly needs.

“If you love each other, everyone will know that you are my disciples.”  Jo. 13:35

loving you,

jamie

He chose you

“…just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world…”

Yes.  There is more to that Scripture in Eph. 1:4, but this morning, I wanted to point out to you and to me that God chose us before the foundation of the world.  If you’ve been wondering if you were chosen, if there has been any doubt in your mind if the gospel message is for you, if you weren’t sure if you were lovable enough for Him, then let this verse reassure you this morning…He chose YOU before the foundation of the world.  And then He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross to ensure that Your salvation would be in place if you chose to believe.

Thursday night I went to visit an elderly man that I have befriended over the last few years.  He is a precious man that has spoken encouragement and life into me over the last couple of years, and when I went into his house he said that his heart was racing with me being there because he was so excited to see me.  When I left there that night I was in tears.

This man chose me.  He chose to be my friend, to speak encouragement into my life, to want to be my friend; and when he saw me, his heart was literally racing with excitement.  That says so much to me.  I went there to see him because I love him, but I left there feeling so overwhelmed with love.

God chose us before the foundations of the world!  He speaks life and encouragement into us through His Word more than any person could ever do.  He sent His only Son to die so that we could be with Him for eternity.  That’s how much He wants to be with us.  Y’all!  He wants us!  We are chosen!  If you have ever doubted it…let those doubts be erased now.  He loves You!

His,

jamie

Oh, such pain!

I’m reading the conversations between Job and his friends right now in the book of Job.  It’s so uncomfortable for me because I have scars from comments people have made to me during my own health issues the last few years…even while I was down at the altar seeking God’s face.

Job asked his friends why they were tormenting him with their accusations and insults.  I know Job was a man, but I have to wonder if he cried because of what they said?  I usually just cry.  ha!

I’m not sure what it is about health issues or major trials that opens up the doorway to make others think they should step in and offer up judgment instead of encouragement, but it’s sad.  When someone is going through pain and trials, the last thing they need is added pain.

Sickness in someone’s life does not automatically mean they’ve sinned or haven’t asked, in faith, to be healed.  Trials in someone’s life does not mean they have not been generous to the poor or have angered God.

What do those in pain or those in the midst of a trial need?  They need love.  They need compassion.  They need an ear to listen.  They need prayer.  If you know specifically of sin in their life, you can offer help, but if you don’t, then don’t accuse.  People who are hurting need comfort.  They need a friend.

Take them a meal.  Babysit their kids or pay for someone else to do it.  Pay for someone to clean their house for them.  Go sit with them when they can’t get out of bed.  Pray with them.  Give them a hug.  Wash their car.  Offer to do something else you know will bless them.  Do something to bless them, but don’t add to their pain.

I am so blessed by Job.  He did curse the day he was born…that’s understandable, since he was in immense pain…but he was never so discouraged that he allowed his friends to turn mind away from trusting God.

For any Christian in pain, that’s critical.  We can’t turn our hearts away from trusting in God.  As Christians, we cannot be the ones to cause pain.  Our lives are supposed to represent God’s love.  If God’s love looks like judgment and accusations, especially in a trial or painful time in someone’s life, it will make it so hard for them to trust in Him.

As Christians, it is imperative that we operate in love, encouragement, and in prayer.  Jesus said we should love the Lord our God with all our heart all our soul all our strength and all our mind; and we should love our neighbor as ourselves.  What if you were the one in pain?  What would you want to hear?  What if you were in that trial?  What would you need?

We must go and do likewise,

jamie

 

Waging your own war

“For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, and in a multitude of counselors there is safety.”  Pr. 24:6

I like having a safety net.

Yesterday I found my mind in worry mode.  There was no real reason it needed to be, but it was an indicator to me that I was looking to the wrong things in which to put my trust, that’s for sure.  Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”  Since I wasn’t feeling that peace, I knew that I needed to set my mind on God, but I was struggling with that a bit.

Enter my wise counselors:  It was time for Bible study and prayer with my kids.  When we were talking about our prayer requests, I let them know that I was feeling worried.  They did not like that one bit.  I reminded them that I knew that I just needed to trust that God will take care of things, because He always does.  They wholeheartedly agreed.  And then they prayed for me, and the peace set in.

By building up wise counselors these few years, I have helped to wage my own war!  The Lord has given me all that I need and then some.  Not only has He given me His Word for me to depend upon and to use, but I now have wise counselors around me to add extra safety when I need it.

I am so thankful for a God who cares and provides!

Who are your wise counselors?  Where is your safety?  If you know, but you resist them, stop resisting.  God put them in your life for a reason.  If you’re not sure, then ask the Lord to show you.  He always provides for our needs.

Safe,

jamie

Plotting

Pr. 24:8: “He who plots to do evil will be called a schemer.”

As Christians, this is definitely not what we need to plotting.  That being said, there have been times when I have found myself doing exactly that.

Is it just me?  Not all of my choices in life have lined up exactly with God’s immutable Word, and I have intentionally chosen sin and evil on occasion.

When I think about being a schemer, however, I tend to think about intentionally plotting against another person.

I’ve been thinking all day that there is one thing for me to encourage us to do this week.

This week, let’s plot to pour love into 1 person.  Let’s choose 1 person we can encourage, support, uplift, guide, or saturate with love, kindness, mercy, grace, and goodness.

Do you have someone in mind?  Good.  If not, ask the Lord to show you who needs a special touch this week.  Someone we know needs us to plot to do something for them this week from a heart of love.  💓

Who can you plot against this week?  Who will you pour God’s love into?  Who will you encourage or uplift?

This week, let’s be schemers of love.  Let’s choose to intentionally make someone’s life better, just because we can.

Plotting with you,

jamie

Month of Prayer, Day 4

Lord, in Pr. 4, I hear the words of a father, pleading for his son to hear and follow his wise commands.  Solomon implores his son to hear him, pay attention, receive his sayings.  He longs to spare his son heartache and the consequences that bad choices bring.  He tells his son not to forget, nor turn away from the words of his mouth.  As parents, we all long for the same.  Having wisdom beyond our children’s years, we long to guide and protect our children.  We want our children to be wise, to be honored, and to keep their eyes on You.  We hope to impart the wisdom behind our rules and instructions, knowing they will lead our children in right paths.

Likewise, Lord, You have given us Your own Word.  You have imparted unto us wise commands.  Ps. 119:17-19 says, “Deal bountifully with Your servant, that I may live and keep Your word.  Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.  I am a stranger in the earth; do not hide Your commandments from me.”

Just as a young toddler would be considered a stranger on the earth, not yet understanding the dangers, the consequences, or the long-term effects, so we are strangers here on this earth.  Lord, You alone know what today brings.  You are our Father, guiding and protecting us each step of this journey.  Just as we ‘toddle’ behind a young one beginning to walk, You are ever behind us, ready to steady us when we fall.  You have gone before us, clearing the path so that we will not stumble.  You are there guiding us with encouragement, love, and comfort as we find the courage to continue on.

Lord, You are a loving Father, who has given us Your Word, Your instructions on how to live here on this earth.  You are ever with us.  Help us see the wondrous things in Your law, to receive Your words, to pay attention as You lovingly guide and protect us.

Thank You, Lord, for loving me so much that You not only sent Your Son to die in my place, but You gave me Your commandments that I might live abundantly.  Help me, Lord, to heed Your word, as I toddle through my day.  You are gracious and kind.  Your love and attention make me feel safe.

I love you, Lord.

jamie