He will see you through:

William was a young man that stuttered badly in his early life. He was mocked often. He refused to be discouraged. He found a job as a shoemaker’s apprentice. Later, he met and fell in love with a girl named Dorothy. But Dorothy was discovered to have a mental illness. William nevertheless labored on until one day he read a book on Captain Cook’s journal about an explorer. He envisioned the needs of humans in far away lands and began to pray that the Lord would use him. He was refused help by his local church who saw him as unfit. He spent years learning foreign languages and was licensed to preach. His motto was “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.” Life was hard for William. His first and second wives both died. He had made only a handful of converts. He translated the bible into 34 different languages at aged 73, founded a college, and worked to free the women Of India. Today there is a statue near India’s parliament building in his name. He is known as the father of Modern Missions. His name is William Carey, a former shoemaker. “Whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” (John 6:37b) If the Lord has placed a work on your heart stay with it. He will see you through. Be encouraged.

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A friend for life:

One of the great friendships in the bible is that of David and Jonathan. Jonathan understood that God had chosen David to be the next King of Israel rather than himself as the son of the then leader King Saul. (1 Samuel 20) Their friendship meant that one would increase while the other would decrease in earthy kingdom statute. But they loved each other. Both were willing to accept the consequences of God’s will. It is a lesson in friendship for all of us. We need each other. More importantly, we need the Lord Jesus Christ. To love the Lord exemplifies the way we should love one another. We should begin to work on our friendships with others by drawing closer to God. As we open our hearts, He will reveal more of Himself to us. Experiencing His unconditional love should move us to share with others just as David and Jonathan. It’s evangelistic. It’s a means to know and to love others as we worship the Savior. It is a good thing to have friends from many walks of life. Friends can add so much more towards a healthy lifestyle. But no earthly friendship can ever replace or equal our friendship with the Lord. Let the pattern for your deeper relationship begin and end with a sincere love for Jesus Christ. Be encouraged.

Pray with purpose:

In the Lord’s Prayer, our Lord Jesus Christ gave us some valuable insight into prayer. (Matthew 6) He showed us that prayer is not instructing or informing or bending the arm of God. In fact, the object of prayer is not to bend the will of God to ours, but to get our will in line with His. Martin Luther said, “By our praying, we are instructing ourselves more than Him.” Sometimes in prayer, we will try to educate God: “Lord, this happened and that happened.” Yet God already knows these things. We can go over the details if we want, but instead of going into every detail, it may better to just remember that we are speaking to God. Better yet you are talking with God. We should just remind ourselves of God’s greatness and goodness. We should bring our needs before Him and leave it at His altar. True praying is laying hold of God’s willingness to bless us victoriously. We are not trying to move God our way but rather our moving to His way. As Henry Blackaby reminds us, “find out what His will is, what His purpose is and do it”. May His will be done in your life. Be encouraged.

A reason for hope:

Death does not hurt but life does. Our Christian loved ones do not leave us to go somewhere but rather they leave to go be with someone. As a result, they that leave us are happier than those of us they have left behind. Although they are in a state of joy it was a struggle and hard choice for them just as it will be for you and me from within our souls. Why? Paul speaks on this dilemma for himself and other believers when he says: “To me, the only important thing about living is Christ and dying would be a profit for me. If I continue living in my body, I will be able to work for the Lord. I do not know what to choose living or dying. It is hard to choose between the two. I want to leave this life and be with Christ, which is better, but you need me here in my body.” (Philippians 1:21-24 NCV) That is the dilemma we find ourselves in especially as parents. As our children deal with modern day challenges you want to be there for them, to protect them, and perhaps save them from themselves. But that appointment with death is unavoidable apart a return from Christ. What we can do is to remind our children of Paul’s closing words in Philippians 1: “But whatever happens to me, you must live in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ.” (Philippians 1:27 NLT) Let’s encouraged our children and loved ones in the Lord. Be encouraged.

Say yes to salvation:

Past Due Notice! Have you ever receive this message? If you have every struggled to pay your bills on time or you were out of work, you perhaps have some familiarity with this type of notice. It means that you are late with your payment but also a penalty will be imposed. The writer of Hebrews in Chapter 1 says that God has spoken in a variety of ways regarding our need of salvation. Because a penalty for our sins has been imposed. That message started in Genesis and goes all the way through Revelation. In Chapter 2 of Hebrews the same writer asks the question, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” (Verse 3) There appears to be a landing of sleep among us through our indifference to the events around us. The urgency for a remedy to our sinful ways has not ruffled our fetters enough to make a change. Our salvation depends on making a decision for eternity. The Apostle Paul told the Church at Corinth that “Today is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2) Tomorrow is your “Past Due Notice”. Say yes to God’s offer of salvation. Don’t wait! Be encouraged.

The Lord is aware:

In Genesis 21, Hagar experienced a degree of consternation, something that all of us fear, R-E-J-E-C-T-I-O-N. Her owner was rich and fair to her as a maidservant. She was assigned to Sarah the wife of Abraham, her boss. In the beginning, Hagar had it good. She was gifted as Sarah encouraged her to have a child for Abraham. But the joy of Abraham at the sight of Ishmael and the contempt coming from Hagar was more than Sarah could bear. (Genesis 16) Sarah then decided that Hagar had to go. It put Abraham in a bad place. While he loved his son, Ishmael, he also cared about Hagar. Rejection is a terrible place to find yourself especially if you have done nothing wrong. Hagar began to feel what many would feel once rejected; self-rejection that leads to the conclusion, “I am a nobody”. The first time Hagar felt rejected, she left the home of Abraham running away from Sarah in fear. (Genesis 16) The Angel of the Lord sent her back to Sarah. But in Genesis 21, Hagar was sent away by Sarah. This time the Angel of the Lord assured her that the Lord was with her and would bless Ishmael in a special way. Why? The Angel said that the Lord was aware of her and her situation. (Verse 17) That’s it! No matter what you are going through the Lord is aware of you and your situation. (Psalm 8) As you make it through this day remember the Lord is watching. He is aware. He cares. Be encouraged.

Be sure who you follow:

In Mark 10:17, a wealthy man came to Jesus and asked, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said that he spent his days keeping the commandments. But he wanted to know what else he needed to do to secure his position in Heaven. He incorrectly thought that eternal life can be earned. Likewise, Satan, the great deceiver, continues to promote the false idea we can make ourselves acceptable to God. We fall for Satan lies regarding our gifts, conduct, performance in church and community, and philanthropy as the way to say; “I do the right things”. As a result, Paul told the Church at Rome “they have a zeal for God but not according to knowledge” and that they had “going about to establish their own righteousness.” (Romans 10:2-3) When we think this way, we promote our own standard of acceptability and ignored the standards of God. Jesus died in our place, making us acceptable to God. After learning the cost of acceptability to God, the rich man chose to walk away from Jesus. Be sure who it is that you are following! Be sure it is Jesus. Be encouraged.

His greatness is Obvious:

The hymn, “How Great Thou Art” was thrust on to the American religious scene through a chance meeting between Andrew Gray and George Beverly Shea during a 1954 Billy Graham crusade in London. The origins of the song can be traced back, however, to 1885 by Rev. Carl Boberg which had been revisited by S.S. Hine who had scouted 70 years of literary activity. Those 70 years of writing this great hymn began in Sweden, then Germany, later in Russia. The song endured a number of name or title changes as one writer after another used their life experience to express visions of God. Those experiences included views of mountains, enduring thunderstorms, refugees returning home, and the biblical Psalms on creation. Each of the lines of the song is pregnant with the writers’ awe of God. Maybe that is where you are today in your view of God. Maybe you are unable to put into words your view of God. It took those writers of this great hymn more than 70 years to do so. Many times during church worship I have heard people say, “When I think of the goodness of God…” Well, actually the writers of this hymn go further than that. They go all the way back to creation itself. Then when you look at the whole world God has created and all that He has done for mankind, through mankind, and to mankind, you can not help but think, “How Great Thou Art.” If you only go back to the day you were born, His greatness is obvious. Be encouraged.

He wants more for you:

When we read John 11 Mary and Martha were pretty upset by the lateness of Jesus’ arrival in Bethany. Martha being the outspoken one told Jesus. “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died”. (John 11:21) Martha was saying to Jesus that He had not come through as expected. After all, the two sisters had told everyone that Jesus was their friend. So when they sent for Jesus no doubt everybody was looking for Him to come and heal Lazarus. They had based their expectation on the fact Jesus loved them and cared. But Jesus did not come right away and now their brother was dead and they were heartbroken and disappointed. How did Jesus respond? “I am the resurrection and the life…Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26) Martha said yes, although she did not really understand. She wanted her brother to be healed. Jesus wanted resurrection. We like Mary and Martha want Jesus to do this or to do that. But have you ever thought that maybe the Lord may want to do more than we can ask or think? We think earthly. Jesus thinks eternally. Be encouraged.

You have God’s attention:

The Bible doesn’t tell us what Joseph thought while in prison, but perhaps he wondered if God was paying attention to his plot. Yet even while Joseph was in prison, God was still blessing him and preparing him for some awesome things. Joseph’s best days were to come. God was preparing him to be someone who could handle those lessons. We are introduced to Joseph in Genesis 30. From that introduction until the final chapter of Genesis roughly 20 chapters, we are given the story of Joseph’s life. Perhaps, in the beginning, Joseph had the usual thoughts, loved by his father and several big brothers that would help him to grow up. But that love Joseph thought he had from his family turned into jealousy from his brothers. Later, he experienced kidnapping and imprisonment. Yet amidst the depression, angry, bewilderment by what had happened to him, Joseph’s faith lead him to discover that God had a way of making all things work for good in your life. (Romans 8:28) Later he would be able to confess to his brothers that all that had happened to him was the plan of God. (Genesis 45:8) In a similar way, everything we go through in life is in preparation for something else. The writer in Numbers 6:26 says may , “the Lord lift up His countenance upon you,” which means “to lift up His face.” Another way to translate it is “to look, to see, to know, to be interested, and to have one’s full attention.” If you are wondering if we have God’s full attention, remember your best days are yet to come. Be encouraged.