Encouragement Archives

Important Communication Guidelines


  1. Be a good listener. Do not answer a person before he has stopped talking. Proverbs 18:13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.
  2. Think before you speak. Proverbs 15:23 A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!
  3. Do not use silence on a person to show your anger or frustration with him. Explain the reason that you are angry or frustrated. Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
  4. Do not become involved in quarrels. Proverbs 20:3 It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.
  5. Do not respond in uncontrolled anger. Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
  6. When you are wrong, admit your offence and ask forgiveness. Proverbs 20:6 Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?
  7. When you do forgive someone, never bring the offence up to him again. Genuine forgiveness means: I won’t bring it up to the person again-I won’t bring it up to anyone else-I won’t let my mind brood on it. Colossians 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do
  8. If someone verbally attacks, criticizes, or blames you, do not respond same way. Romans 12:21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
  9. Try to understand the other person’s opinion. 1 Peter 3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
  10. Do not blame or criticize the other person. Try to encourage and edify. Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
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When God’s Gifts Aren’t Wrapped How You Hoped

Written by Paul Chappell  December 23, 2016

Life has a way of handing us unexpected and unwanted packages.

A pink slip from your employer.

A bad report from the doctor.

An eviction notice from the bank.

A harsh email from a strained relationship.

Too often, the package delivered with your name on it isn’t a present you want.

The first Christmas was wrapped in an unusual set of circumstances: Joseph and Mary having to make a difficult journey in the last trimester of her pregnancy…and then to have to give birth in a stable.

But the way Jesus chose to come reveals that the “surprises” in our lives that look so foreboding to us truly are unusual packages of God’s grace.

So what do we learn from the first Christmas about what to do when life hands us unwanted packages?

Trust God’s Providence

Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem was no accident. It was the fulfillment of a prophecy concerning where Jesus would be born.

Seven hundred years before Mary and Joseph began the difficultly-timed journey to Bethlehem, God had instructed the prophet Micah to record, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2).

Life is full of unavoidable circumstances. We can expend our energy in futile efforts to change them. We can spend our time stewing in bitter resentment over them. Or we can trust God’s providence in the midst of them.

Although we may not see God’s hand of providence for years to come, we can trust that anything out of our control is filtered by the hand of our loving Father. He will not allow into our lives anything through which He cannot fulfill his promise in Romans 8:28.

Showcase God’s Grace

The presentation of Christ to this world was not the way we would have planned it. And I think we can safely say it is not the way Mary would have planned it either. (What mother wants to lay her newborn in a used feeding trough?)

But, with the enabling grace of God, Mary’s response to the unusual package of the manger magnified God’s grace, rather than opening it up for question.

Mary could have complained. She could have become angry toward God. “God, first You make me travel ninety miles when I’m great with child, and now this?! Couldn’t I at least have a comfortable room and clean surroundings in which to give birth? Why would You do this to me?”

Because Mary and Joseph received the incredible gift of Jesus—with no expectations of how He should be delivered or presented to the world—they deflected the attention from themselves to the manger.

And the manger became a showcase of grace where shepherds knelt in worship of God.

Wholly Surrender to God’s Will

Why did God choose Mary? The complete answer to that question is known only by God. But it is significant that Mary was willing—truly submitted—to receive this unusual, and in some ways heavy, gift.

Sure, there was great cost involved for Mary. But she yielded to the Lord, bore the cost, and cherished the gift.

God isn’t looking for the strong or searching for the famous. He gives His most precious gifts to those who will simply yield their wills to Him.

Our problem is that we see what looks to us like distasteful wrapping, and in our selfishness, we plead with God to take back His gifts.

Not so with Mary. She simply said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38).

What To Do with Your Gift

What about you? Are you staggering under the load of an unusual package—one that you never would have chosen, but have no way to release?

Are you struggling to understand the unavoidable circumstances that have come into your life?

Are you disappointed in the harsh realities of failed expectations?

Tiptoe to the Bethlehem stable. Gaze on a weary young mother, required to travel far in her last month of pregnancy—only to find a barn in which to give birth. See a crude manger. But don’t look solely at these wrappings. Peer beyond, into the manger, and see the face of God!

Yes, Christmas is a gift. And sometimes God sends His greatest gifts in the most unusual packages.

Trust His providence.

Showcase His grace.

And wholly surrender to His will.

In time, you will learn that God gives the best surprises.

(This post is adapted from chapter 3 of Christmas Is a Giftavailable also on kindle.)

Satan Wants to Defeat You and Your Church Today

Have you ever thought about this? “Satan is very organized with his team of demon. He has assigned certain demons to you, your church, and your people to try to defeat your church and everything you do.”

As we begin this New Year, we must be aware of Satan’s tactics as He tries to defeat us.  He will try to deceive us by targeting our minds and the people we serve. He will use his weapons of lies.  His whole purpose is to make us doubt God and be ignorant of His will for our lives. His goal is for us to believe his lies instead of God’s truth.

You might be thinking, “You just don’t understand…there are times in my life when I feel so helpless and weak that I don’t even have enough energy to read my Bible.”

Paul must have known that his fellow Christians had those same feelings when he wrote 1 Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

If you want to defeat Satan…YOU MUST STAY IN GOD’s WORD! The only defense you have against Satan is God’s Word.  How do you do it?

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

  1. Present your body. The first thing to do when you wake up and set your feet on the ground is to tell the Lord, “I surrender my body to You, and I am preparing for today’s battle.
  2. Present your mind. The next thing to do is do reach for your Bible. Present your mind to God for spiritual renewal. It is only through God’s Word that we can renew our minds and transform them.

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t read long chapters. As you are reading…, stop…when you get to a passage that speaks to you. Meditate on that passage. Memorize a verse that will help you in your battle for the day. I came across a wonderful app for memorizing Scripture. (Scripture Typer)

  1. Present your will. You do this by prayer. The Word of God and prayer always go together. Acts 6:4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. Whatever you pray, always pray according to God’s will…not your own will.

Now it’s time to put on God’s armor. My husband and I got matching T-shirts for our Christmas pajamas that said, “Put on the armor of God…in smaller print below that it said…put on the whole armor”

Sometimes we go out of the house with partial armor on, and Satan attacks us in an area where we are not protected.

  • Girdle of truth: Since Satan is a liar, we must oppose him with God’s truth.
  • Breastplate of righteousness: Since Satan is our accuser and reminds of us our past sins, we must remind ourselves that we are justified through Christ’s righteousness. The breastplate covers our heart. Often Satan uses people—including Christians—to slander and accuse us, and we are tempted to fight back. But we must not allow these fiery darts to penetrate our armor.
  • Shoes of peace: Our shoes help us keep our footing…helps us from falling down. Psalms 119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.
  • Shield of faith: We have the promises of God to quench those fiery darts. That is why it’s so important to memorize Scriptures. When Satan hurls those darts…hold that shield up reciting a promise!
  • Helmet of Salvation: 1 Thessalonians 5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. Depression and discouragement comes to all of us but…Praise the Lord…we are saved and we have the hope that soon Jesus will return and take us home.
  • Sword of the Spirit: The Word of God is our defensive weapon. A material sword must be handled with physical power, but the Spirit of God enables us to use the Word of God effectively to defeat Satan. Our Lord always said, “It is written!”

 I came across a prayer in Warren Wiersbe’s book The Strategy of Satan that is a great prayer for us to pray every day:

Father, thank You for the provision You have made for victory over Satan. Now, by faith, I put on the girdle of truth. May my life today be motivated by truth. Help me maintain integrity. By faith, I put on the breastplate of righteousness. May my heart love that which is righteous and refuse what is sinful. Thank You for the imputed righteousness of Christ. By faith, I put on the shoes of peace. Help me to stand in Christ’s victory today. Help me to be a peacemaker and not a troublemaker. By faith, I take the shield of faith. May I trust You and Your Word today and not add fuel to any of Satan’s darts. Thank You that I can go into this day without fear. By faith, I put on the helmet of salvation. May I remember today that Jesus is coming again. Help me live in future tense. Protect my mind from discouragement and despair. By faith, I take the sword of the Spirit. Help me remember Your Word and use it today. Father, by faith I have put on the armor. May this be a day of victory.

Ways to Strengthen Your Church This Christmas

Ten Ways to Strengthen Your Church This Christmas
Written by  Cary Schmidt  December 10, 2016

Do you love your church? Jesus does! Jesus loved the church enough to die. Do we love Him and His church enough to live? To give? To really make His bride a high priority in our lives?

Here are ten simple ways that you could greatly strengthen your church this season and in the new year.

  1. REALLY PRAY

Really pray for your pastor, your church, your own role in the body. Really pray for God’s provision and power. Really pray that God will take your church forward this Christmas and in the New Year!

  1. REALLY PARTICIPATE

Many people will casually “attend” church this season—but far fewer will truly participate with passion. In what ways are you engaged with your church to spread the gospel? With what energy will you really engage in worship, fellowship, and service? Be faithful to services, and bring an expectant heart and a ready spirit.

  1. BRING A GUEST

People all around you are looking for an opportunity to be in church this Christmas. Your kind invitation could be what brings them within the sound of a clear gospel message at your church. God could use you to bring them to Jesus—just because you invited them to Christmas services.

  1. BE EXTRAVAGANTLY GENEROUS

Remember who’s birthday we really celebrate—Jesus! In the midst of all of your giving, decide to put Jesus and His church at the top of the list. Will you “tip” God with a little extra change, or will you truly and deeply consider all that He’s done for you and bestowed upon you? Give Him your whole heart, and your generosity will follow!

  1. SERVE AND ENCOURAGE OTHERS

Begin with Jesus, then move to your family and friends, your church family, your neighbor—just look for opportunities to give yourself away and think of others before self. Write a kind note, bake something, tell someone how much you love them. Be a joyful voice of blessing!

  1. REMEMBER SOMEONE’S PAIN

Within your reach, there are broken hearts having a very difficult Christmas. For them, this season is merely magnifying loss, hardship, or sorrow. A kind note, a personal touch, a gift, or a thoughtful ministry gesture will go a long way towards encouraging people who are having a “painful Christmas.”

  1. RANDOMLY LOVE

Pick a stranger, pay for their coffee or give a small gift—do something randomly kind—and attach to it an invitation to your church. The unconditional and unexpected love of Jesus is delightful and life-changing!

  1. FORGIVE AND FORBEAR

Churches are made of people, and people have issues. People hurt people. Decide to strengthen your church by personally deciding not to hold a grudge or an offense. Let it go and decide to grow.

  1. WALK WITH JESUS

Your private walk with Jesus will overflow into your place in your local body. Your church is as strong as you! Be real. Be done with casual Christianity. Choose to more fully love, embrace, and engage in the call of Jesus Christ and His work.

  1. PURPOSE IN YOUR HEART

Christmas quickly turns into a New Year, which provides us with an opportunity to set direction, set goals, turn the page on last year’s successes and failures—and chart the course for spiritual health and depth. Decide to grow deeper and stronger in the new year! Decide to be a better church member and a more faithful Christian through 2017!

As we close 2016, somewhere in the vicinity of 4,000 churches closed their doors last year. More than ever, America and the world needs healthy local churches. Healthy churches only happen if Christians are healthy—growing stronger in grace and commitment to Christ and His body.

We Are All on a Journey Toward Heaven

When I accepted Christ as my Savior, He ordered my steps and set me on a journey. His desire for me was to keep me moving and to bring me closer toward His eternal heart. The most amazing part of my journey is that He goes with me each step of the way. I came across this poem, and it really spoke to my heart.  May you feel His presence today on your journey toward home (heaven).

The Father spoke, “Come, child, let us journey together.”
“Where shall we go, Father?”
“To a distant land, another Kingdom.”
“So will the journey be long?”
“Yes, we must travel every day.”
“When will we reach our journey?”
“At the end of your days.”
“And who will accompany us?”
“Joy and Sorrow.”
“Must sorrow travel with us?”
“Yes, she is necessary to keep you close to me.”
“But I only want Joy.”
“It is only with Sorrow that you will know true Joy.”
“What must I bring?”
“A willing heart to follow Me.”
What shall I do on the journey?”
“There is only one thing you must do—
“Stay close to Me. Let nothing distract you.
Always keep your eyes on Me.”
“And what shall I see?”
“You will see My glory.”
“And what will I know?”
“You will know My heart.”
The Father stretched out His hand. The child knowing the great love her Father had for her placed her hand in His, and she began her journey.

               Things To Remember on Our Journey

  • I must begin each day’s journey with a daily commitment to travel toward the heart of God.
    Deuteronomy 6:5
    And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
  • Although some days on my journey might be discouraging, I must draw near to Him.
    Psalms 73:28
    But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.
  • I must follow His paths of mercy and truth.
    Psalms 25:10 All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.
  • I must lay down all my emotional burdens, release old hurts, and learn to travel light.
  • I must not get angry with my traveling companions of Joy and Sorrow.
    James 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
  • I must constantly check with my Guide and follow my Guidebook.
    Psalms 40:8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

How Can I Maintain the Right Attitude Everyday?

Steps to Maintaining a Right Attitude and Experiencing God’s Fullness

  1. Recognize negative thoughts and emotions as they come into your mind.
  2. Confess them as sin and repent of them.
  3. Give all your past hurts and injustices over to God.
  4. Get into God’s Word and reprogram His truth back into the place where Satan has placed lies.
  5. Now walk by the faith of God’s Word. Realize that He has cleansed you and restored you.

 Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

  1. Present your body to the Lord.Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God…be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
  2. Deny yourself.

Matthew 16:24  Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”

  1. Be willing to do what God asks you to do.

 Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.

  1. Moment by moment, take every negative thought captive.

II Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Devotion: Developing Friendships

Devotion given at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Mineral Wells, TX Ladies Brunch, 5-7-16

A survey was taken of 300 people. Included in this survey, the people were married, single, men, and women between the ages 18-82. Each person was asked to write a brief definition of a friend.

“Someone you can bare your soul to and not be afraid it will get around. Someone who has tactful truth and not afraid to tell you you’re slip is showing.”

“One who knows you well, but still loves you.”

A person who understand you, appreciates your view and is loyal to you. Someone who has common interests.”

Someone who enjoys being around you, accepts your for who you are, and it faithful to you when the chips are down.”

We will never find a perfect friend because we all have faults. I love this definition of a true Christian friend.

A friend is a trusted confident to whom I am mutually drawn as a companion and an ally, whose love for me is not dependent on my performance, and whose influence draws me closer to God.”

Four Types of Friendships

There are some friends that we would give our last dollar to, yet others we only speak briefly when we meet them at church or at the grocery store. These are our acquaintances or casual friends.

We might have 500 acquaintances each year, but have fewer than 7 friends. We can develop many acquaintances through shopping, working, and church, yet we would not call them good friends . We see these people on a regular basis…we know them by their first name… and may at different times initiate social contact with them.

  1. Acquaintances: These are friends we meet at work, friends from church, friends in our neighborhoods, and even some of our relatives.
  2. Personal friends: These are friends we have made through the years and we want to remain close to them.
  3. Mentors: These are friends who have contributed to our lives in teaching or guiding ways. These could be friends who counseled us through difficult times in our lives.
  4. Intimate friends: These are the friends to whom we can pour out our hearts. We share our deepest feelings and hopes. They meet us at our point of deepest need…we just enjoy being with them. These are the friendships that have lasted for years.

Even our Lord had intimate friends. Mark 5:37  And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James.

What are some of the things we need to build good friendships?

Foremost…friends must know Christ: As Christian women, we have a different basis than non-Christians for building friendships because we have the Lord and His resources to draw on.

Of course, we want to develop friendships with those who don’t know the Lord, but our goals for developing those friendships are to lead those new friends to Christ.

Developing friendships take TIME and EFFORT: Two great pillars for building a good friendship are time and effort. Sometimes it takes months and years to develop a good friendship.

  1. LOVE: First element of building a good friendship is love.

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times. Some people build friendships with others for selfish reasons. If a person has money or position, everyone wants to be that person’s friend. Make sure you build your friendship on love not on what another person might be able to do for you.

  1. ACCEPTANCE: Second element of building a friendship is acceptance. Acceptance does not always mean that you agree with everything your friend does…but praise the Lord, Jesus accepts us, even when He doesn’t agree with everything we do.

If we get judgmental with our friends, it slams the door on building good friendships. There is a difference between sharing the truth in love and judging another person’s motive.

Our world uses false foundations for developing friendships.

Possessions…What do they have?

Performance…How well do they do? Our society is very much performance oriented. The world tells us that we will be accepted if we perform well at school or in the business world.
Position…How important are they? This is based on their performance.
Appearance…How do they look? We live in a world that worships beauty and youth. The girl who is not beautiful has a far better chance of being a happy wife!  Beautiful people get used to being praised and expect it all their lives. When wrinkles come or strength declines and lose the praise of others…what do these women have left? Nothing.

Friendships built on these false foundations are based on the limitations of human love and not God’s love. They are superficial and will not last.

Think of the consequences of using these foundations.

If we begin comparing ourselves with others, we feel forced to compete and begin to feel alienated from people because we will either feel inferior or superior. When we feel inferior, we feel jealous, threatened and insecure and don’t want to be around those people. When we feel superior, we become conceited and obnoxious and no one wants to be around us.

II Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: …comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

It is interesting that the original meaning of Competitive meant  Strive Together toward a Goal.

Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

Our friends can provoke us or stir us on to greater ambitions. In fact, it was a dear friend who inspired me to write my book.

  1. TRUE UNDERSTANDING: Third element of building a good friendship is to develop true understanding. This only can come from God Pro 2:6..the Lord giveth wisdom and understanding.

How do you develop true understanding? By listening. Learn to give advice sparingly. Pro 18:13…don’t answer a matter before you truly listen.

Listen closely to what the other person is saying. Let him know that you really hear what he is saying. Ask questions to clarify what he is saying…then summarize what you have just him say.

Think before you speak…respond very carefully. Take a moment to think about what you are about to say before you just blurt out the first thing that comes to your mind. Remember you will not be able to take back your words once they come out.

  1. SACRIFICE: Fourth element of building a good friendship is self-sacrificing. What does it mean to sacrifice…it means you are willing to give up something that is more important to you for something that is less important. Make mental notes of your friend’s struggles…send her a text or a card. Remember her birthday, anniversary, or other important dates. Be willing to reach out even if it costs you. How much time have you spent praying for a friend when she is going through a very difficult time. Phil 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

David desperately wanted a drink from well.  2 Samuel 23:15-16 And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!  16 And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD.

What a sacrifice David’s friends were willing to make for him. If his David’s friends were willing to sacrifice their lives for David’s request, why would he pour out the water that he wanted so much?

First, it showed his honorable disposition and his repentance for his own weakness.
Second, to let his men know that he had said something unadvisedly.
Third, it showed a denial of his own appetite. He longed for the water of the well of Bethlehem…but, when he got it, he would not drink it, because he would not gratify his own foolish desire.

David’s example of pouring out the water  on the ground not only showed that he had rule over his own spirit, but it also showed his devotion towards God and his tenderness toward his servants. David couldn’t believe that his three brave friends would risk their lives to bring a drink of water back for him.

  1. ENCOURAGEMENT: Fifth element of building a great friendship is encouragement. Some friends drag you down. Encouraging others increases their self-esteem and causes them to have more positive outlooks on their situations. Friends either drive us to God or away from Him.

Heb 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

  1. LOYALTY: Sixth element of a building a great friendship is loyalty. Everyone wants a friend with whom he can trust. Loyalty means that you will defend your friend when someone gossips or criticizes her. A friend keeps a friend’s secrets to himself.

Proverbs 17:9 He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.

That verse tells us that when we cover and forgive an offense, we seek love, but if we repeat or harp about a matter, it separates even close friends. If we are a true friend, we will not gossip about our friends’ faults…we will be quick to forgive them.

Loyalty is the key element to true friendship. If we repeat something that a friend has entrusted to us, that will probably be the end of our friendship because he will never come to us in confidence again.

  1. FUN: The last element for building a great friendship is fun. We must be able to laugh and have fun…but still be serious. Find something to do that you both enjoy doing. (Host a potluck, go for dessert and coffee, take a cooking class together, roast marshmallows, watch a Christian movie) Proverbs 17:22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

Cheerfulness in our spirits influences our bodies. When we are depressed, it dries up the marrow in our bones.  Marrow is a special, spongy, fatty tissue that is found in our stem cells. These stem cells transform themselves into white and red blood cells and platelets. These blood cells and platelets are essential for our immunity and circulation.

The Secret of a Friend

Some people always seem to know,
How to make each day worthwhile;
They know how to catch the sunshine,
And how to wear it in their smile.

And they always seem to have,
A little time that they can spare;
Especially, when you need to know,
There’s someone who really cares.

They always take a sincere interest,
In all the things you say and do;
And when others turn and walk away,
They stay, and help you see it through.

They are willing to give of themselves,
In ways that never seem to end;
In our heart they have a special place,
That’s why we call them our friend.

Poem: Cherished Friends

Cherished Friends

God knows that there are times
We need a word of cheer
Someone to praise a triumph
Or brush away a tear.
He knows we need to share
The joy of “little things”
In order to appreciate
The happiness life brings.
He knows our troubled hearts
Will sometimes throb with pain
At trials and misfortunes
Or some goals we did not attain.
He knows we need the comfort
Of an understanding heart
To give us strength and courage
To make a fresh, new start.
He knows we need companionship
Unselfish…lasting…true,
And so God answered the heart’s great need
With cherished friends…like you.

God’s Timing Is Not Always Our Timing

Have you ever felt as if God was not answering your prayers the way you told Him to answer them and at the exact time that you told Him to answer them?

God promises to give us the desires of our hearts but not always according to our time table. We must not rush God and leave the timing with Him.

God has a plan for each one of His children, and He wants what is best for them. He always answers prayers in three ways … No … Yes… and… Not at this time. Sometimes we must wait before God gives us the desires of our hearts. It is our human nature to want to rush things up for God and do things in our own strength.

The following story is a great illustration about how a little boy tried to help the caterpillar become a butterfly.

One day a little boy was playing outdoors and found a caterpillar. He carefully picked it up and took it home to show his mother. His mother agreed he could keep it if he promised to take good care of it.
The little boy got a large jar, placed plants in it for the caterpillar to eat, and put a stick in it for the caterpillar to attach itself. Every day the boy watched the caterpillar and brought it new plants to eat.
One day the caterpillar climbed on the stick and started acting strangely. The boy anxiously called his mother. She watched the caterpillar for a minute and then explained to her son that the caterpillar was making a cocoon, and it was going through a metamorphosis to become a butterfly.

The boy watched the changes of the caterpillar with amazement. Thinking it was taking too long and too much of a struggle for the butterfly to emerge, the boy took a pair of scissors and snipped the cocoon to make the hole bigger. The butterfly quickly came out of its cocoon, but it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings and had to spend the rest of its life crawling around like this, and it was never able to fly.

Sadly, the boy learned that it was necessary for the butterfly to struggle to get out of its cocoon. It was during this struggling process that the butterfly pushed fluid out of its body and into its wings. If the butterfly didn’t go through that struggle, it would never be able to fly. This boy’s intentions were good, but his helping hurt the butterfly.

Consider Joseph and how God worked in his life. Every step of the way in Joseph’s life..in the pit…in the prison, and in Potipher’s palace, God was working out His perfect will. God needed a man in place to accomplish His perfect will at His perfect time. Think about Esther! God put her in a position of influence at the exact time to save her people.

Many times we want things in our lives that might hurt us. Because God knows us and knows what is best for us at the exact time, we must be patient and wait for His perfect timing. We must give God a chance to work and to work by His exact timing.

Our Future Is in His Hands

Sometimes when we approach a new year, we begin to have crippling fears. “What if my husband dies this year? What if I get cancer? What if my children rebel? What if I lose my job? What if a terrorist strikes our area? What if the election doesn’t go the right way?” “What if…?” Those questions only generate fears.

Should we really be that concerned about the “what ifs of life” or should we be more concerned about focusing on the facts of God’s Word? God commands us to think on things that are true and real…our “what if thoughts” are not facts, and they are not true! We must never forget that our future is in God’s hands, and that He is a loving, sovereign, and merciful God. When the time comes that we must deal with those unexpected events of our lives, He will be there to comfort us and help us deal with them.  If we truly believe this, we must rid our minds of the “what ifs” and fill them with the facts of God’s Word.

Philippians 4:8  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Of course, we should always be ready for unexpected events, but we shouldn’t waste our time and energy worrying about the “what ifs”. These are fears that are not real and may never come to pass.
Instead of dwelling of the “what ifs” this year…

• Acknowledge God’s presence, His power, and His love.
• Remember that God knows and allows the events you might encounter. (Psalm 139:1-4)
• He will never send anything to your life that is not for your good and His glory. (Romans 8:28)
• He will never abandon you no matter what happens. (Matthew 28:20)
• He will guide you throughout all the events of your life and then receive you into glory.

Psalms 73:24 Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.

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