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Archive for the ‘encouragement’ Category

The coronavirus  COVID-19 pandemic has swept the world swiftly and caused much upheaval of what many of us were once used to in our daily lives.  Given the sheer impact of this pandemic on our daily lives, I made the conscious decision to back away from the Jeremiah Journey and focus on both a more informative and inspirational posting strategy to provide greater life application for readers.  The Jeremiah Journey continues and will emerge again in another format on another platform that we will share later through Inbox Inspirations e-newsletter and social media postings.

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With stay at home orders and social distancing in place, things just seem so different. A lot of folks seem to forget that such orders are in place because of the public health epidemic known as coronavirus (COVID-19). They most probably are the same folks who are pushing for an ease or lift of these orders to get back to normal some time soon.

But despite the chaos of the COVID-19 crisis, an opportunity exists to get better. Stay-at-home order do not mean that you are to stay at your current status. You can emerge  from this with more skills and more knowledge than you had before.

How do we end up better off than before?

You have so much more potential than just binge watching Netflix.  Use some of this time to build up your skills and increase your knowledge.  Take a few hours per day to become better than before.

Knowledge through Reading

Use this time to expand your devotion and Bible study.  Focus on a study of a topic or theme like salvation.  Yes, Acts and the Gospels give us the story of Jesus Christ and the acts of the Apostles, but take the deep dive into the epistles that explain salvation.  Start with Romans and Galatians.  Get an understanding for the major tenets of salvation and what it means to be saved, redeemed and justified in Christ.

You can also use this time to gain some basic book knowledge.  Check out Goodreads and see what others are reading.  Expand your knowledge base.  You can get this in beyond print books.  Try e-books or Kindle.  You can even listen to a book via Audible while you work out.  Whether it be fiction, poetry or nonfiction, find some good books to occupy your spare time and fill your mind with different thoughts.

Skills through E-Courses

Now is a good time to get in some screen time with e-courses.  Sites like Class Central and Courseraare offering specials due to the COVID-19 crisis.  Take advantage of these offers while you are at home.  Also, look at other e-course programs such as Teachable and Skillshare.

There are an abundance of free offerings that can help you level up your skills and improve your marketability.  Or, you could just want to engage in a new hobby to keep from suffering from cabin fever.  No matter what drives you there, get into and get better.

Fitness While Staying at Home

These days people are working remotely and spending a lot of time on their laptops and smartphones with Slack, Skype and Zoom like never before.  You can get caught up in workloads that have you staring at screens for extended periods of time and tapping on the keyboard excessively.

Get up and get your body moving.  You may not be in a position to participate in a Peloton Challenge, but there’s plenty that you can do remotely.  Even if it is just with a digital workout on TV or YouTube, you do something to get moving and add some physical activity to your daily life.

In the end, we should consider time as a commodity.  It comes and goes, and then we do not even have any idea of what we did with it at times.  Do not let that be the case when we emerge from COVID-19 closure and stay-at-home orders.  If nothing else, let yourself become better.  Become better off than you were before this even became an issue.

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Paul wrote a letter to the believers in Rome.  We come to know it as an epistle where we can find words like justification, redemption, and others that explain our prior condition as slaves to sin and the gift of our salvation.We can find key phrases in the Book of Romans such as “all have sinned,” “filthy rags” and “how shall they hear without a preacher.”. Yet, by further exploring the Book of Romans, we can discover a key verse of inspiration.

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can  be against us?” (8:31, NKJV)

How can anyone be against us with God on our side? How dare Satan attempt to dreceive and detour the saints of God when we have the backing and full fledged guarantee of the Almighty working on our behalf?

Believers need to believe that God has their best interest in mind and at heart, even in His hands.  No demonic or satanic force or tool can devise a scheme strong enough or wicked enough to defeat God’s purpose and plan for us.  He is on our side.

Satan desires to destroy us and devour us.  He seeks to separate us from the love of God through Jesus the Christ.  He does not want us to embrace the idea that he cannot defeat us due to God who “is for us.”

Never expect the worldly and carnal people around you to encourage so.  Let loose of any idea of “good people” doing good deeds foe the good of all without any inkling of God actively involved in their lives.  Know that you cannot put trust in man who can do no good thing. As long as you have God who is love is on your side, for just as He told the prophet Isaiah, you will fully understand that the help of man is useless.

God is on our side.  Nothing can separate us from the bond that we have with Him.  Jesus sealed the deal with His sacrifice of blood and we entered a new age covenant with God, receiving the indwelling of His Holy Spirit upon our acceptance.

He is on our side.  Who can be against us?

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Haunted houses and ghosts are about to become the seasonal rage once again over the next month or so.  Folks really get into Halloween.  I guess if getting the hell scared out of you is the point then perhaps more evangelicals should use scare tactics and haunted sanctuaries to grab the world’s attention.

But seriously, let us consider that those things that haunt us are oftentimes from our own past.  They are either things that we did or things that were done to us.  Both hunt us down in our sleep and haunt us during our waking hours.

Yet, imagine your past hurts helping you.  If your abuse-filled childhood helps you help runaway teens and teen moms without prenatal care, let it do so.  Past and personal struggles can make making it hard or they can open your eyes to numerous opportunities to advance and broaden the kingdom of God as you work through some of your own pain and struggle.

Pray for freedom from the dominance of your past demons over your life.  Fend off the persecution from your past.  Let it help you.

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There are times in our lives when we just have to agree to start expecting more.  We cannot simply keep accepting the status quo.  Something has to change.

Why not change your perspective on life?

As a Christian, you may not escape the pains and heartaches of this life.  Pain will come.  Heartaches will happen.  That is life.  Yet, how we live our lives is what should separate us from the rest of the world.

Start changing how you approach matters in life.  Let each be met with eager anticipation, expecting God to do marvelous works right before your eyes, right in the midst of your presence.

Start meeting your days with expectancy.  Start watching God do His best for you and through you.

Oh, and by the way, be ready.

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For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say. – Luke 12:12 (KJV)

The Holy Spirit has a serious job to do.  Jesus explained that to His disciples right before He departed this earth.  Many theologians have studied and researched about the Spirit.  Yet, we still have some trouble with the whole concept of the Holy Spirit.

Realize the Holy Spirit’s power and work.  The Holy Spirit teaches and takes us to task.  He is the Comforter.  He is the Helper.  He reminds us of what the Father has commanded of us and what Jesus has provided for us.

Let the Holy Spirit:

  • Work on you like the power He has to exhibit as part of the Godhead.
  • Work in you through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit baptized within you at the point of belief.
  • Work through you in a powerful way that allows others to see God at work through your good works.

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Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. – Proverbs 24:10 (KJV)

We need to be on fire and remain on fire in the work of this ministry.  When we lose our fire, we burn out and begin to flame out as we eventually end up running on fumes.  That should not be the case for us since we have the Helper, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, with us to help us and guide us.  Yet, we still experience such times.
We need to see how our downcast countenance can impact others, especially when we stand before the congregation or sit at the board table.  We need to understand that we have to do more than simple show up and serve.  We need to be mindful of our affect as we serve the Lord day by day.

Let us not look for a reward here on this earth.  The pay will never match up to the sacrifice.  The benefit package will never equate to the blessings that you have to bestow upon others and to witness with your own eyes.  You will never get the kudos or respect that you deserve, but you have a reward awaiting you in heaven that is great and bountiful.  Just hold on and don’t get weary and worn out.
 
“Set a man on fire and people will come from miles to watch him burn.” –John Wesley.

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“Accept God’s will in every situation.” – Andrew Murray
Things happen.  If you read it on a bumper sticker, you would probably get another version of what happens.  We just have to come to grips with the reality and fact of the matter.  Things just happen.
Things happen that are out of our control.  Things happen that are caused by our bad decisions.  Things happen because of what do or don’t do, what we say or fail to say.  Things happen.
We have to learn to accept God’s will.  We cannot simply toss around the notion that Satan is out to get us every time that we come across an uneasy situation.  We have to realize that God’s will is perfect.  He allows things to happen, even to us as his children, so that He may get the glory in the outcome.  He is always at work.  He may be working on us before He ever works it out in our favor.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trialsJames 1:2 (NASB)
God is able to work everything out.  He has a plan that is carried out through His will.  Both are perfect.  His will is perfect and so is His plan.  How He works it out will work together for our good and His glory.
 

Read God’s Plans for You by Andrew Murray and discover some of the unique things that God desires you to through your life and your ministry for His glory.

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How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

– 1 Corinthians 14:26 (KJV)

Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. – Romans 15:2 (NIV)

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, – Ephesians 5:19 (NIV)
But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. – 2 Timothy 4:5 (KJV)
Our work is to dispense the Word into the world.  That sounds simple.  However, that is only the main thrust of what we are called to do as God’s people.  We have to have some tactics to go along with our teaching.  We need some methods to go along with our message.
 
Paul’s instructions to Timothy in one of his pastoral epistles states that Timothy should do the work of an evangelist as well as fulfill his ministry.  It didn’t mean that Timothy was to simply evangelize in any manner or method that he saw fit.  The directive exemplifies the teaching and training necessary for a newly-established pastor in maintaining his station as spiritual leader.  If no one else can lead someone to Christ in that local church, the pastor better be able to walk someone down the Romans Road to salvation as part of the work of an evangelist(my understanding of the Holy Spirit leaves doubting that He would leave any of His churches so barren and fruitless, though).  Additionally, he should be able to teach and train others in biblical methods in reaching others for Christ.
 
Encourage others along the way.  If you simply leave it at we all have sinned and fallen short or that the wages of sin is death, you just left someone dangling in suspense and plagued with wonder until worship service on Sunday.  That’s not evangelism.  It surely isn’t encouraging either.  That’s a scare tactic.  Some of our people have mastered such techniques.  Rather than seeking what the Lord has to offer, people are turning to Jesus as the way to avoid going to hell.  Some of our brothers and sisters are persuasive in literally scaring the hell out of some folks rather than sharing the unsearchable riches of Christ.
 
We need to spend some time encouraging folks in the Word.  We need to use methods and mannerisms that build up people rather than manipulating them into a twisted-arm decision about what to do to gain eternal life.  Jesus didn’t use that methodology.  That wasn’t how John the Baptist did his evangelistic work.  Paul surely did not force anyone to accept Christ in such a way.  There is a way to reach someone for Christ and encourage them by your words and other things.
 

  • Encourage with your words
  • Encourage through your works
  • Encourage by your ways

As I have shared before, people may need to see more Christ in you before they hear anything about Christ from you.  Live it out and let it be known.

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Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. – Proverbs 15:22 (NIV)

Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety. – Proverbs 11:14 (KJV)

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. – Romans 14:1 (NIV)

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. – Romans 15:1 (NIV)

People are in need.  People need comfort.  People need counsel.  People stand in desperate need of shared words of both comfort and counsel.

Incident #1:

A family finds itself victims of random burglary and ends up behind in bills and other matters.  The wife attends church, but the husband doesn’t come any longer.  They are split on approaching the church for help.

What do you think that they are in need of from other believers? Counsel? Comforting words?

Incident #2:

A parent discovers that her only child has shown signs of mental illness.  She is a woman of faith and a prayer warrior.  However, she seems to be at the end of her rope with the school administration pressuring her to have her daughter tested and the other parent both absent and not involved at all.

What is this woman in need of from her brothers and sisters in Christ? Counsel? Comfort?

We can go about things the wrong way.  We can make assumptions due to unmet expectations and all sorts of other junk that we put into things.  We need to be able to offer counsel to one another.  We need to be able to offer words of comfort to one another, too.

Let’s be honest and just keep it real.  We need to meet people at that point of their need.  If they are weak, let us build them up.  If they are out of line, let us bring them back into line.  Let us do it in such a way that they are better off rather than beaten down.  Give them words of comfort.  Share words of wisdom.  Offer wise counsel.  Comfort those whose hearts are weighed down with worries and weariness.

  34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:34-35 (NIV)

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We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints;
because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth;

as you also learned from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf,  who also declared to us your love in the Spirit. For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:3-14 (NKJV)

Paul opens his letter to the believers at Colosse (Colossae) with an prayerful appeal.  In verses 3 through 6, he offers prayerful thanksgiving for the believers themselves and their faith and “love for all saints.” He shares that he is thankful for what God has done with these believers and through them in the form of “bringing forth fruit.” In verses 9-14, he shares that he and Timothy (Timotheus) have prayed for the Colossians to continue living by faith by “being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” He shares his thankfulness to the Lord for what He has done among these believers and his trust in the Lord for what He will continue to do among and through these same believers.

He asserts his authority of “an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God” within the very first words of the letter.  As a missionary, he educated these believers and some like Epaphrashis “dear fellow servant” educated Paul and Timothy of the people and their “love in the Spirit.”  As a minister, Paul sought to soak the Colossians down in prayer for the sake of the gospel so that they could live on as testimonies of God’s tremendous work.  He was purposeful in his prayer for these believers, sharing that he truly hoped that the Lord would help them to grow stronger in faith and their knowledge of Jesus Christ, their Lord and Savior.

What if we prayed with more purpose regarding our fellow believers? What if we thanked God for what He had already done for them? What if we offered God our prayers, fully trusting Him to supply and strengthen our fellow believers? Imagine how much more unity we would experience if we expressed that prayerfulness for our brothers and sisters in Christ openly and publicly, standing together as one body, the Body of Christ.

It is my belief that we would experience more power if we would become both prayerful and purposeful.  We need to become more prayerful, praying for one another.  We need to become more purposeful, recognizing our God-given purpose to serve the Lord and support one another.  That would help us to live a little more like Paul, Timothy, Epaphras and the believers in Christ in Colosse.

The Purpose Driven Church - Growth Without Compromising Your Message and Mission

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