Psalm 3

david's flight

In 2 Samuel 15, we read the story of David fleeing from his son, Absalom, who has taken over the throne. Knowing that his son sought to kill him, David fled with his attendants, crossed the Jordan River, and camped at Mahanaim. Absalom was a handsome, smooth-talking person who knew how to please the people of Israel and steal their hearts. Because of Absalom’s lies, the people had turned against David, and so the numbers of his enemies had increased. The times were very dark for David, and it was in this dark time that David wrote Psalm 3.

Psalm 3 begins with David crying out to the Lord about how great the number of his enemies had become (v. 1). He pointed out that many of the people were saying that David was beyond help (v. 2). They did not believe that God would save David, would not deliver him from his enemies or from the dire situation he was facing. But David knew the God he served. He knew that God was his refuge, his strength, and his very present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1). So, in verse 3, David praised God for the fact that God was a shield about him, that God was his glory and it was God who would lift David’s head high, despite the circumstances. Knowing this about his God, David called out to God with the confidence that God would answer (v. 4).

When we are in dark times in our lives, when our circumstances seem hopeless, we should take our cue from David and remember that God is our shield. He covers us with His glory and will lift our heads high above our circumstances when we cry out to Him.

In verse 5, David says something that, from a worldly point of view, makes no sense. Despite that fact that his enemies had increased, despite the fact that his very life was in danger, David says that he laid down and slept. He woke the next morning and had no fear, despite the fact that tens of thousands of people had set themselves against him (v. 6). Why was David able to sleep? Why did he have no fear? Because the Lord, His God, sustained him (v. 5). God gave David the rest that he needed and helped him to see past his circumstances. David knew that God was with him and that God would give him the victory. And so, David slept, just as Peter slept when he was in prison (Acts 12).

When we place our trust in God and seek to do His will, God will give us rest from the things that cause us to be wearied. In Matthew 11:28 (NLT), Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Just as David was confident in God’s ability to sustain him through his trials, so we can be confident as well.

In verses 6 and 7, David asks the Lord to save him. He points out that victory comes from God. David knew that his salvation was from the Lord, and so he had faith that God would go before him and defeat the army of Absalom. And that’s just what God did (2 Samuel 18). When we are facing trials, when darkness seems to surround us and the enemy of our souls is telling us that we are beyond help, that God will not save us, we need to be like David and have faith that God will come through for us. We need to praise God for the victory that we know will come.

God is our shield, He sustains us, and He will save us when we cry out to Him and trust in Him.

Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Love Your Enemies

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The past few days, the news has been filled with stories of pipe bombs being sent through the mail to certain individuals and organizations. But as disturbing as those stories are, what is even more disturbing is the way they have divided people. Hate talk has been rampant on both sides of every issue these days, and we have become more and more divided as a nation. As I read my devotions and Bible verses this morning, one passage of Scripture stood out to me. It’s from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 6, verses 27 and 28, and the words are the words of Jesus. Here is how that passage reads in the New Living Translation:

“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.”

If ever there was a time we needed to heed those words, it’s now! Jesus taught that we should love one another (John 13:34). We should love our neighbors, and we should love (and not hate) our enemies (Matthew 5:43-44). Those of us who are followers of Christ should be the first to set the example by following this. There is nothing wrong with having a difference of opinion. Even within the church, we have differences of opinion. But we should not allow those differences to result in bitterness towards others. We must not allow them to result in saying or doing hurtful things to others. We must not allow them to bring us to hate.

God is love. He loves us and, if we are followers of Christ, we must reflect the love that God shows us. In fact, we cannot truly be followers of Christ, we cannot say that we know God, if we have hate in our hearts toward others (1 John 4:7-8). The church needs to be an example to the world. We need to reflect the light of Jesus in a world that is growing ever darker. And so, we must love not only our neighbors, not only our families and friends, but also our enemies and those we dislike. Let’s set the example and shine His light in our world and in our nation (Matthew 5:16).

Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Who Moved?

Who Moved_

Have you ever felt far away from someone? Perhaps from a spouse, a parent, a sibling, or a child? When we feel far away from someone in our lives, we can be in the same room and yet the distance is as great as if we were standing on opposite sides of the Grand Canyon. When that happens, it’s usually because one or the other person in the relationship is not there emotionally or mentally. In other words, someone moved.

This same thing can happen in our relationship with God. There may be times when we feel that God is far away, that He’s not with us. This can be especially true when it comes to times of trial, difficult times in our lives where we are facing sickness, hurts, or financial problems. During these times, we may ask, “God, where are you? Why have you abandoned me when I need you most?” This is exactly what David felt when he asked: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief.” (Psalm 22:1–2, NLT)

But there’s a better question to ask when we feel far away from God, when it seems that He has abandoned us. The question we need to ask is, who moved?

When Paul was ministering in Athens, he found an altar that bore the inscription, “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.” The people of Athens were basically saying that there could be a god that they were unaware of. Paul used that opportunity to introduce them to the one true God, the Creator of heaven and earth. As he spoke to the men of Athens, Paul explained that God created man so that, if any of us should seek God, they would find Him. Why? Because, as Paul said, God is not far from any of us (Acts 17:22-27).

So, again, here’s the question. If we feel that God is far away from us, who moved?

In Jeremiah 23:23-24 (NASB), God says, “‘Am I a God who is near,’ declares the LORD, ‘And not a God far off?’ ‘Can a man hide himself in hiding places so I do not see him?’ declares the LORD. ‘Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?’ declares the LORD.” In this passage of Scripture, God Himself is pointing to the fact that he is an omnipresent God. No matter where we go, He is there.

So, again, we have the question. If we feel that God is far away, who moved?

The answer, of course, is that God did not move away from us. When we are in those times of trial, those difficult times in our lives when we believe that God is far away, we need to remember that He is only far away because we moved away from Him. And what we need to do at those times is move towards God. As it says in James 4:8, if we draw near to God, then we can be sure that He will draw near to us. We need to examine our hearts and see what has caused us to move away from God. Was it pride? Was it doubt? Was it some unconfessed sin? We must then confess that sin, or ask God to help us with our doubt. And then we need to draw near to Him. He’s always there waiting for us.

Scripture quotations marked NASB are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

How To Avoid Sin

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How can we avoid sin? What is the secret for living lives that are pure and walking in righteousness? The short answer is by truly knowing God. The long answer? By seeking the Lord with all our hearts, treasuring His Word, and walking in His ways. Let’s break that down.

In order to truly know God, we must seek Him with all of our hearts. The heart that seeks God sees God in every aspect of life. It sees God in nature, it sees God in others, it sees God in every moment of every day. The heart that seeks God will seek to fellowship with God, to learn more about Him, and to give Him glory through every word and every action. When we have that kind of heart, a heart that seeks after God, then our feet will not stray from Him but rather will walk according to His commandments (Psalm 119:10).

In order to know God, we must know His Word and meditate on it (Psalm 119:15). God has revealed Himself, His ways, and His character through His Word. But it is not enough just to read His Word. We must digest the Word, allow it to take root in our hearts. We must meditate on God’s Word, allowing it to go from our eyes to our minds and from our minds to our hearts. We need to treasure His Word in our hearts. As it says in Psalm 119:11, when we treasure God’s Word in our hearts, we will not sin against Him.

In order to know God, we must walk in His ways. We must not walk in accordance with our own earthly ways. Instead, we must trust in the Lord, acknowledge Him in all that we do. God’s Word promises that when we let go of our own ways to follow His ways, then He will direct our paths (Psalm 3:5-6). Through the power of His Holy Spirit, God will help us to walk in His ways. Psalm 119:9 tells us that when we keep our ways in accordance with God’s ways, then our ways will be pure. And a pure heart is one that will more easily avoid sin.

Free Gift

free gift

Free gift with purchase – a $9.95 Value! In an effort to entice you to buy one of their products, some product manufacturers will offer you a free gift. The gift, which they will often tell you the value of, is yours free, as long as you spend money to purchase one of their products. The free gift is offered to get you to part with your hard-earned cash to buy something that you probably had no intention of buying to begin with. But, hey! You got something free in the bargain! Never mind that it cost you $59.95 to get that gift worth $9.95.

In the world, free gifts often come at a price. But in the kingdom of God, there is a gift that truly is free to all. That gift is the gift of eternal life. Romans 6:23b (NLT) tells us that “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The free gift of eternal life doesn’t cost us anything. That’s because the price of this gift was paid by someone else. The cost of this gift was paid by Jesus Christ. And the cost was high. Because of sin, eternal life was not something that we could attain on our own. The price had to be paid, and the price was death (Romans 6:23a). Jesus paid that price for us. He gave His life so that we could receive freedom from the penalty of sin and have eternal life. Jesus paid the price so that we could receive this free gift from God.

So, what’s the catch? There must be something in the small print. There must be strings attached, some hidden cost. Ephesians 2:8 (NLT) says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” To receive the gift of eternal life, all that is required of us is faith. We must believe that Jesus came to the world and died for our sins, we must turn from those sins, and choose to follow His ways. That’s all there is to it. Because of God’s grace, our faith in Jesus Christ is what we need to secure the free gift of eternal life. And, considering the alternative, the fact that the cost of sin is death, that’s quite a bargain!

What is Truth?

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What is truth? Truth is sometimes defined as a fact or belief that is accepted as true. When you consider that definition, truth can actually be considered subjective. What’s true for you may not be true for me. What’s true for one country may not be true for another country. And because truth, as we define it, is so subjective, it can lead to disputes and even wars as one person or country seeks to defend its truth against that of another. So, if truth is subjective, is there an absolute truth? So again, we have the question. What is truth?

Pontius Pilate asked that same question when Jesus stood before him, having been brought to the Roman governor by the Sanhedrin to be tried and, ultimately, put to death. In John 18:37 (NLT), Pilate had asked Jesus if He was a king, to which Jesus replied, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.” Pilate responded by asking, “What is truth?”

The fact that Pilate did not wait for an answer probably indicates that he did not believe it was possible to know the truth. He likely believed that truth was a matter of opinion, something that can’t be proven. He certainly did not recognize the fact that the truth was standing right in front of him. Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:14) and, since God cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18), all of God’s Word is true (Psalm 119:160; John 17:17). Jesus Himself tells us that He is the way, the truth, and the life, and it is only through Him that we can come to the Father (John 14:6).

Ever since the fall of man and the introduction of sin into the world, the world has had a distorted view of truth. But God sent Jesus into the world to pay the price for our sin. When we come to Jesus, when we believe in who He is, what He did for us, and we turn from our sin to follow Him, we will know that Jesus is the truth, and the truth that is Jesus is the truth that will set us free (John 8:32). Jesus was able to pay the price because He is without sin. After asking Jesus what truth is, Pilate went out and spoke to the crowd, declaring that he found no guilt in Jesus. In other words, Jesus was innocent. In declaring that, Pilate was speaking the truth.

If you are looking for the truth, look no further than the Word of God, the absolute truth.

Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

 

 

What’s Your Excuse?

AWJ Logo

To all who read my blog: 

Today’s post is my 500th post! I can’t believe I have written that many posts, and I know that it is only because of God’s grace that I have been able to do so. I began this blog in 2016 because I believed that God was calling me to put in writing the things He inspires in me. I hope that these writings have blessed you as much as I have been blessed in writing them. I thank God for His inspiration, and I thank you for reading what I write.

Blessings!
Roy

As a toddler of only 19 months old, Helen Keller suffered from an illness which left her deaf and blind. Yet, not only did she become an author, political activist, and lecturer, but she also became the first deaf-blind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree. Abraham Lincoln, born in a one-room log cabin in Kentucky and largely self-taught, became a lawyer in the state of Illinois and later went on to become perhaps one of the greatest, if not the greatest, presidents of the United States. In 1967, Jim Abbott was born without a right hand. Despite that handicap, he went on to become a major league pitcher who played major league baseball for ten years and is now a motivational speaker.

These are just some examples of people who overcame odds in order to accomplish great things in their lives, people who did not make excuses for their shortcomings but rather worked through them to do the things that they have become famous for. It would have been very easy for Helen Keller to say, “I can’t do these things. I am deaf and blind.” Or for Lincoln to say he wasn’t educated enough to become a lawyer, let alone an American president. Or for Jim Abbott to say, “I can’t play baseball. Look, I only have one hand!” But none of these people used their physical or educational shortcomings as an excuse.

Have you ever felt you weren’t good enough, well-educated enough, or young (or old) enough to do something? Moses did! In Exodus 3:10, God told Moses that He was sending him to Pharaoh in order to bring God’s people out of their slavery in Egypt. Moses responded with excuses: “But, God, who am I to do this? I’m not good enough (Exodus 3:11).” “I wouldn’t have the slightest idea of what to say if they ask me who you are (Exodus 3:13).” “No one will believe me (Exodus 4:1).” “I’m a terrible speaker (Exodus 4:10)!” Moses did not believe that he was the right person for the job. He didn’t believe he could pull it off. And so, he kept making excuses.

But despite the excuses, God used Moses. Despite Moses’ shortcomings, God used him to go to Pharaoh and to lead God’s people out of the land of Egypt. And Moses became one of the greatest leaders in the Bible. But it was not because Moses was qualified to do those things on his own. It was because his qualification came from God.  Moses was called by God to lead His people out of Egypt. And just as Moses was called to the mission God was giving him, we are called to be ministers of God’s covenant, the promise of salvation through His Son, Jesus. We are called to spread the Good News of Christ to others.

Now, we may believe we are not qualified to fulfill this call. Like Moses, we may make excuses. “I’m not good enough!” “I don’t have the education I need for that!” “I wouldn’t know what to say.” It’s true, on our own, we are not qualified. In the NLT, 2 Corinthians 3:5-6a says, “It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant.” None of us is truly qualified to spread the Good News on our own. As it says in 2 Corinthians 3:5, that qualification comes from God. Through Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, God gives us all that we need to fulfill His calling (Philippians 4:13; Acts 1:8). So, here’s a question: what’s your excuse?

Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Temptation

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Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. (James 1:13 NASB)

What is temptation? According to the dictionary, temptation is the act of tempting someone or the state of being tempted yourself. It can also mean the thing that someone is tempted by. Temptation can be the opportunity to do something that may be good, but to do it in a bad way, a way that is outside of God’s will. For example, eating is a good thing. In fact, food is necessary for life. But if I consider stealing the food that I want to eat, that is temptation.

Where does temptation come from? Is it from God? James 1:13 makes it quite clear that God is not the source of our temptation and warns that, when we face temptation, we should not point to God as its source. Temptation does not come from God. God Himself cannot be tempted and does not tempt us. God may test us, as He tested Abraham when He told him to sacrifice his son, Isaac (Hebrews 11:17). He may allow us to endure trials, to test our faith and our perseverance (James 1:12). But God does not tempt us.

So, if God does not tempt us, then who does? Who or what is the source of our temptation? Sometimes, temptation may come from Satan. He may put something in front of us that seems right, that seems like a good thing to do when, in fact, it is not. The temptation will appeal to our normal desires. Jesus Himself was tempted by Satan in the wilderness before He began His ministry on earth (Matthew 4:1). In the wilderness, Satan knew that Jesus was hungry, and he appealed to Jesus’ desire for food by telling Him to turn stones into bread. Jesus was fully divine, but He was also fully human and experienced the same normal human desires that we have. Was it wrong for Jesus to want to eat? No. But turning stones into bread was outside of God’s will.

Now here’s the thing. Temptation, in and of itself, is not sin. But, when we are tempted to do something that is outside of God’s will, that temptation can ultimately lead to sin. James points out that we are tempted when we get carried away and are enticed by our own lusts, which are normal desires that we seek to satisfy in a way that is outside of the will of God (James 1:14). But, when we let that lustful desire for something deceive us, when we let the seed of lust begin to develop in our hearts, the result is that sin is birthed within us (James 1:15). And, as James goes on to say, we must not allow ourselves to be deceived (James 1:16).

In 1 Corinthians 10:13, Paul points out that all of us will face temptations in our lives. Temptation is common to the human race. But the good thing is, that we have a God who is faithful, and it is because of that faithfulness that He will provide a way out of temptation. As we read in James 1:13, God does not tempt us. He may allow us to be tempted, but not beyond what we are able to deal with. The way out, the way to deal with temptation, is through the Word of God. Jesus demonstrated this when He was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. For each temptation that Satan baited Him with, Jesus responded with the Word of God (Matthew 4:1-11). When we have God’s Word planted firmly in our hearts and minds, we can detect the bait of Satan and deal with it in a way that will keep us within the will of God.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Mission: Possible

mission possible

“Good morning, Mr. Phelps. Your mission, Jim, should you decide to accept it…”

The 1960’s/1970’s television series, Mission: Impossible, centered around a group called the Impossible Missions Force (IMF), a team of secret government agents who took on seemingly impossible covert missions against dictators, evil organizations, and crime lords. Most episodes began with Jim Phelps, the leader of the IMF, receiving the team’s assignment via a tape recorder. The voice on the tape would explain the mission, adding that, due to the nature of the mission, any of the IMF team members could be caught or killed and, should that happen, the government would disavow any knowledge of the team’s actions. The recording would then end with the words, “This tape will self-destruct in five seconds.”

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are on a mission. Our mission, given to us by Jesus, is to make disciples of all people, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). But, unlike the missions that the IMF faced, our mission is not impossible, but possible. Before ascending into heaven, Jesus made it clear that we would be given the power that we would need to complete our mission. That power would come from the Holy Spirit, and it would give us the ability to be witnesses for Jesus in our homes, in our neighborhoods, in our cities and countries, and around the world (Acts 1:8).

In our Mission: Possible, we are called to make disciples, to bring others into a life-changing relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ, teaching them all that Jesus taught His disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). We are called to proclaim the kingdom of God, which came to earth through the incarnation of His Son, Jesus (Luke 9:2). We are called to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ, which we call the Gospel (Acts 20:24), bearing witness to all that we have seen or heard about Jesus (Acts 5:30-32). And we are called to bring honor to God as we show we are Jesus’ disciples by bearing fruit for His kingdom (John 15:8).

Our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to become Christ’s ambassadors in every corner of the earth. And, with the power of the Holy Spirit within us, and Jesus beside us, that mission is very possible.

 

Prayer Needs to Be Wholehearted

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In 1962, before The Beatles became a phenomenal success, EMI producer George Martin was not yet convinced of the songwriting ability of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. He was committed to producing a hit single for the band so he suggested that they record a song called “How Do You Do It?” written by a songwriter by the name of Mitch Murray. The Beatles wanted to record their own songs but, reluctantly, they recorded the song that their producer had suggested. Their reluctance to do the song was quite evident in the halfhearted effort that they put into it, and the song was not released by The Beatles. The song was given to Gerry & The Pacemakers, whose wholehearted effort went on to number one on the charts.

In Matthew 7:7-8, Jesus taught that we should ask, seek, and knock. He said that if we ask, we will receive. If we seek, we will find. And, if we knock, the door will be opened to us. In the original Greek, the tense used in these verses is the present tense. Jesus was saying that we need to keep on asking, keep on seeking, and keep on knocking. We need to go to God with our prayer requests both consistently and persistently. In other words, prayer requires effort. It requires stamina because sometimes the answer to our prayers does not come right away. God’s answer to our prayers is based on His timetable, not ours.

God wants to answer our prayers. God’s answer is sometimes “yes,” sometimes “no,” and sometimes “wait.” But His answer will come. When God delays His answer to our prayers it is not a sign of reluctance on His part. The delay may be so that we learn patience. It may be to test the intensity of our desire, not just for what we are praying for, but for our relationship with God. It may be to test our expectation. Do we truly believe that God will provide an answer to our prayers? Do we wait expectantly, anticipating what God will do when He answers?

What Jesus is telling us is that we should not pray half-heartedly, we should not give a half-hearted effort to asking, seeking, and knocking. In Jeremiah 29:13, God tells us that, if we seek Him with all our heart, we will find Him. Jesus said that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be satisfied (Matthew 5:6). Prayer should not be half-hearted. When we ask, when we seek, and when we knock, we need to give a wholehearted effort. God will answer our prayers and open the doors that He knows are best for us. When we ask, seek, and knock wholeheartedly, we will receive God’s perfect answer to our prayers.

No Brag, Just Fact

Will Sonnett

In the late 1960’s, the veteran character actor Walter Brennan starred in a television western series called “The Guns of Will Sonnett.” Brennan played the title character who, along with his grandson, Jeff, was searching for his son, James, who had disappeared at the age of seventeen. Will Sonnett was a man who was quite adept when it came to shooting, something that he often made known to strangers. In the very first episode, Sonnett told someone that his missing son was an expert with a gun, that his grandson, Jeff, was even better, and that he himself, was better than both of them. And then he added what would become a catchphrase, “no brag, just fact.”

Bragging, or boasting, is speaking of our own deeds or our own abilities in such a way that indicates a spirit of pride or self-satisfaction, and it is something that Scripture instructs us to avoid. Proverbs 27:1 in the New Living Translation says, “Don’t brag about tomorrow since you don’t know what the day will bring. Let someone else praise you, not your own mouth— a stranger, not your own lips.” In this verse, it’s quite clear that we should not make presumptions about our future by boasting about it since we really don’t know what the future will bring in our lives. And we should steer clear of self-promotion.

In Jeremiah 9:23, the Lord says that, if we are wise, we should not boast about our wisdom. If we possess great strength, we should not brag about how strong we are. And, if we are blessed with riches, we should not boast about how rich we are. Boasting is a form of pride, and Scripture tells us that pride takes us down a road that leads only to destruction (Proverbs 16:18). Instead of boasting about ourselves, about how much we know, how much we can do, or how much we are worth, we should heed the words of the Lord in Jeremiah 9:24. We should boast in the Lord, in the fact that, because of His great mercy and grace, we are able to understand Him and know Him.

As it says, in 1 Corinthians 1:31 (NLT), “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.” Boast about how much He loves us, boast about His faithfulness towards us, boast about the grace and the mercy He bestows on us. To these things, we can add the words of Will Sonnett: “No brag, just fact!”

Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

 

Encouraging Words

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Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up. (Proverbs 12:25, NLT)

As Solomon so wisely pointed out in the first half of Proverbs 12:25, worry, or anxiety, can weigh a person down. For some people, dealing with anxiety can be like having a weight around their necks. It threatens to pull them down into the depths of depression and drown them in a sea of despair. The ultimate antidote for the anxiety or the worry that they feel can only be found in the Lord. The antidote is the peace that comes when they bring their anxiety and worry to God and lay it at His feet in prayer (Philippians 4:6-7). But, there is something that we can do to help people around us in dealing with their worry or anxiety. That something, found in the second half of Proverbs 12:25, is a word of encouragement.

We all are called to encourage one another. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 tells us that we are to encourage one another and to build one another up. And just a few verses later, in 1 Thessalonians 5:14, we are told to encourage those who are fainthearted, or timid. One of the ways by which we can do this is by bringing a word of encouragement when it is needed. Words are powerful. With the words that roll off our tongues we can tear a person down or we can build a person up. Proverbs 18:21 says that death and life are in the power of the tongue. With the same tongue, we can bless God and curse men; from the same mouth, we can send forth both words of blessing and words of cursing (James 3:9-10).

As followers of Christ, we must always look to His example. Jesus’ words were always intended to build people up and to encourage them. If someone you know is filled with worry or anxiety, follow the wise words of Solomon and cheer them up by offering an encouraging word.

Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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