Post Series: His Encouragement

Every Thursday a wonderful group of bloggers share a Bible verse and a little discussion filled with hope and encouragement. Here are my contributions. May the Lord uplifting you and bless you!

His Encouragement: Psalm 43:5

His Encouragement: Psalm 43:5

A cheery and warm welcome, dearest friends, to His Encouragement: Biblical Inspiration for Your Thursday. Every Thursday, a few blogging friends and I will each bring you a Bible verse and a little hope-filled discussion. We pray that these Thursday posts help you end your week strong in God’s love and purpose for you. We also welcome you to join the conversation by commenting with your thoughts. God bless!

Today’s Thursday Encouragement

“Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.”

Psalm 43:5, ESV

 

Let’s face it. Some days are just plain hard.

Sometimes unexpected difficulties arise that throw us completely for a loop. Other times we struggle with challenges that persist in spite of our best efforts to overcome. Some of us may be going through financial troubles, health problems, relationship issues, stress in the workplace, emotional upheavals…  There are so many causes for the hard days!

When you are having a hard day and find yourself struggling, do not get discouraged! It is clear from quite a few of the psalms he wrote that King David likewise struggled with bouts of depression, anxiety, and feelings of being overwhelmed with his circumstances. In Psalm 43:5, he wrote: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?”

He recognized his emotional state, his distress, his confusion. That is the first step towards overcoming the hard days and the emotional baggage that comes with them. We first must recognize our situation and put it into proper prospective. No matter what others might say, it is okay to feel the way you are feeling. Your feelings are valid.

But notice how, after identifying his problem, he does not linger on his turmoil? He continues: “Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” This is the second step in overcoming the hard days: acknowledging our need for God. When we are at our lowest point, when we feel the furthest from the Lord, when we feel hopeless, when we feel overwhelmed… that is when we need Him the most!

Sometimes all it takes is the simple reminder of these three words: Hope in God.

Friend, no matter what you are going through today, this week, this year, it is my earnest and heartfelt prayer that you always hope in God. May you, too, find exceeding joy and “shall again praise him”.

Now it is your turn! What verse or passage is blessing you today?

 

Be sure to also visit my fellow bloggers and read their encouragement for your Thursday:

His Encouragement: Colossians 3:23-24

His Encouragement: Colossians 3:23-24

A cheery and warm welcome, dearest friends, to His Encouragement: Biblical Inspiration for Your Thursday. Every Thursday, a few blogging friends and I will each bring you a Bible verse and a little hope-filled discussion. We pray that these Thursday posts help you end your week strong in God’s love and purpose for you. We also welcome you to join the conversation by commenting with your thoughts. God bless!

Today’s Thursday Encouragement

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” — Colossians 3:23-24, ESV

Have you ever been frustrated, fed up, or overwhelmed with your work, whether it is paid or not, whether it is for a living or volunteering? I must admit that while I enjoy my job 75% of the time, there are moments when I am overwhelmed with the sheer amount of work my superiors sometimes expect from one person (me) without any assistance. On a good day, I single-handedly do the work of two people. On a bad day, new projects come rolling in with high expectations and unrealistic deadlines. When I voice my concerns, I am basically told: “Just get it done.”

The last year has been especially stressful due to additional circumstances, both at work and in my personal life. Though I am usually an over-achiever, I admit that there have been times I have been so frustrated and overwhelmed that a part of me actually contemplated (for the briefest of moments) slacking off and letting a project slide just to demonstrate that the workload simply cannot be done by one person alone.

It is not like my job is one with huge consequences on the line. I am a web developer for an university… not a police officer, firefighter, paramedic, nurse, doctor, or any other profession who literally deals everyday with potentially life and death situations. If a website’s content is not updated until next week instead of this week or that latest security update is not pushed through today but tomorrow instead, it really is not going to make that much of a difference.

During my weak moments when such thoughts do flitter through my mind, I am reminded of the apostle Paul’s words to the Colossians. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men…”

That is right. Even though in the grand scheme of the universe, my job is rather insignificant, I am called to do my best in all situations — even the overwhelming ones. As a child, I memorized a Psalty song based on Philippians 4:13 that goes like this: “Do my best! Do my best! With Jesus as my strength, I’ll do my best. He’ll do the rest!” That is all we can do.

No matter our circumstances. No matter how tired, overwhelmed, frustrated, or even angry we might be. No matter if we feel like it or not, we should always strive to do our personal best and let God handle the rest. Even in the mundane tasks and toils of every day life, we “…are serving the Lord Christ.”

Now it is your turn! What verse or passage is blessing you today?

 

Be sure to also visit my fellow bloggers and read their encouragement for your Thursday:

His Encouragement: Isaiah 26:3

His Encouragement: Isaiah 26:3

A cheery and warm welcome, dearest friends, to His Encouragement: Biblical Inspiration for Your Thursday. Every Thursday, a few blogging friends and I will each bring you a Bible verse and a little hope-filled discussion. We pray that these Thursday posts help you end your week strong in God’s love and purpose for you. We also welcome you to join the conversation by commenting with your thoughts. God bless!

Today’s Thursday Encouragement

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” — Isaiah 26:3, ESV

It has been a little over a week since we experienced a day full of conflicting emotions: exhilaration and joy followed by uncertainty and fear followed by relief and exhaustion. It was one of the happiest days of my life but also one of the scariest yet through it all, I felt the peace of the Lord with me. I will go into more detail in a future post, but the shortened version is this:

A little over a week ago our second child (pseudonym Pickle) was born after a fast yet intense labor and delivery. I felt the first strong contraction at 5:43am and he was born exactly three hours later at 8:43am. He was 6 lbs 10 oz and 18 inches long. Other than a rather painful second degree tear (Ouch!) everything was great. Pickle was nice and healthy and we were able to spend a few hours doing skin-to-skin and he practiced nursing.

Then, about four hours after delivery when the nurse was checking on me, she became concerned with my level of bleeding and the size of the clots I was passing. She called her supervising RN for a second opinion and they in turn called my doctor. After an extremely painful physical exam (the most painful thing I have ever experienced in my life and I have birthed two children without pain medicine!), my doctor had me rushed down to surgery. Though the words were never spoken, everyone knew what the concerns were: possible postpartum hemorrhaging.

I had my husband call my parents to come back to the hospital and then he said a prayer over me. Pickle was wheeled off to the nursery and I was wheeled downstairs to the operating room. My doctor kept reassuring me that she did not believe anything was seriously wrong but she needed to make sure. I kissed my husband goodbye and said another prayer as the thought “I could be dying. I might not see him or my children again.” flashed through my mind. But the peace of God was over me and I was so very calm. The procedure was long, and unknown to me, dozens of our family, friends, and church members were praying.

The doctor could not find a source for the exceeding bleeding. She preformed a minor D&C, added more stitches, and did a full internal examination. Afterward the whole procedure and by the grace of God, the bleeding lessened to the normal amount for post-birth and I no longer had any large clots. The experience was surreal, but the whole time I was on the operating table and later in recovery, I was talking with the Lord and felt no fear despite the uncertainty of the situation.

The words of Isaiah 26:3 says: “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” And that day, a day filled with celebration and concern, I experienced that promise firsthand. No matter what you are going through, when you trust in the Lord, He will give you His peace.

Now it is your turn! What verse or passage is blessing you today?

 

Be sure to also visit my fellow bloggers and read their encouragement for your Thursday:

His Encouragement: 2 Chronicles 15:7

His Encouragement: 2 Chronicles 15:7

A cheery and warm welcome, dearest friends, to His Encouragement: Biblical Inspiration for Your Thursday. Every Thursday, a few blogging friends and I will each bring you a Bible verse and a little hope-filled discussion. We pray that these Thursday posts help you end your week strong in God’s love and purpose for you. We also welcome you to join the conversation by commenting with your thoughts. God bless!

Today’s Thursday Encouragement

“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” — 2 Chronicles 15:7, NIV

Have you ever felt so overwhelmed by your circumstances that you just want to give up? Have you spent hours crying, thinking about, and praying over a situation and still feel as bewildered and uncertain as you were at the start? Does it seem like your problems are multiplying without any resolution?

Maybe you are even going through this right now. I wish I had some kind of great words of wisdom to share with you today that would make it all better, but the truth is: this is where I am at the moment, too. I am tired and just want to give up. Why bother trying anymore?

So I turned to the Word of God for encouragement, and I found 2 Chronicles 15:7. I do not usually read from the New International Version (my personal preferences are the King James, the English Standard Version, and the Complete Jewish Bible), but the NIV spoke to my hurting heart today: “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”

This is the final sentence of a prophecy by Azariah to King Asa of Judah, encouraging Asa to get rid of the false idols and idol worship that had taken hold in the kingdom under previous kings. The Bible continues: “When Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Azariah son of Oded the prophet, he took courage. He removed the detestable idols from the whole land of Judah and Benjamin and from the towns he had captured in the hills of Ephraim. He repaired the altar of the Lord that was in front of the portico of the Lord’s temple.” (2 Chronicles 15:8, NIV) This was no easy feat, and Asa even had to remove his own grandmother, who was promoting the worship of false gods (2 Chronicles 15:16). Talk about family drama with the fate of an entire nation at stake!

If the Lord can guide King Asa in what seemed to be a impossible undertaking — bringing the kingdom of Judah back to the worship of God alone — then He can surely guide me through my daily troubles. And you, too! We just need to “be strong and do not give up”!

Now it is your turn! What verse or passage is blessing you today?

 

Be sure to also visit my fellow bloggers and read their encouragement for your Thursday:

His Encouragement: 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

His Encouragement: 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

A cheery and warm welcome, dearest friends, to His Encouragement: Biblical Inspiration for Your Thursday. Every Thursday, a few blogging friends and I will each bring you a Bible verse and a little hope-filled discussion. We pray that these Thursday posts help you end your week strong in God’s love and purpose for you. We also welcome you to join the conversation by commenting with your thoughts. God bless!

Today’s Thursday Encouragement

Praised be God, Father of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, compassionate Father, God of all encouragement and comfort; who encourages us in all our trials, so that we can encourage others in whatever trials they may be undergoing with the encouragement we ourselves have received from God.” — 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, CJB

 

This last month has been challenging and the last few days have been especially hard, mostly due to lack of sleep but also a few other stressful circumstances have contributed. Perhaps you, too, have been having a rough go of it lately or maybe you have experienced such a time in your past. It can be difficult when we are in the midst of our trials to see the bright side of things, but we should never forget that our God is a God of encouragement and comfort. We can always turn to Him!

When I am troubled, I find comfort in the passage of 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. Not only does it remind us of God love for us, but it also encourages us to use our experiences, our trials, to help others who might be going through a similar challenge or trial. Did you know that shifting your focus away from yourself and on to others helps your brain to break the cycle of negativity? I am not saying you should not think about your situation or give yourself the care that you need, but sometimes we can find ourselves dwelling too much on the negative aspects of whatever circumstance we find ourselves in. If we constantly dwell on the bad things, soon our minds will only notice the bad things and all good things and blessings will be lost sight of, forgotten, ignored. By praising God for all of his mercies and blessings, even in the darkest of times, we make a choice to not become obsessed with the bad things.

So praise the Lord for all of the blessings He has poured out upon you and find a way to use your trials to bless and comfort someone else.

Now it is your turn! What verse or passage is blessing you today?

 

Be sure to also visit my fellow bloggers and read their encouragement for your Thursday:

His Encouragement: Psalm 71:3

His Encouragement: Psalm 71:3

A cheery and warm welcome, dearest friends, to His Encouragement: Biblical Inspiration for Your Thursday. Every Thursday, a few blogging friends and I will each bring you a Bible verse and a little hope-filled discussion. We pray that these Thursday posts help you end your week strong in God’s love and purpose for you. We also welcome you to join the conversation by commenting with your thoughts. God bless!

Today’s Thursday Encouragement

Be to me a rock of refuge,
    to which I may continually come;
you have given the command to save me,
    for you are my rock and my fortress.
Psalm 71:3, ESV


Image: It Is Written

This verse is a beautiful reminder of God’s love and care for us, especially during the difficult times. The imagery of a strong fortress is used here to represent the ideal relationship between us and God. What is a refuge? A place of protection or safety. What is a strong fortress? It is a place intended for individuals to retreat to during enemy attacks. The Lord wants to be our refuge, our fortress, the place we turn to in a crisis.

Whether you are stressed, frantically busy, lonely, exhausted, worried, brokenhearted, or whatever you may be going through today, may you find comfort in knowing that God wants to be your “rock of refuge” and your “fortress” if you let Him.

Now it is your turn! What verse or passage is blessing you today?

 

Be sure to also visit my fellow bloggers and read their encouragement for your Thursday:

His Encouragement: Galatians 5:22-23

His Encouragement: Galatians 5:22-23

A cheery and warm welcome, dearest friends, to His Encouragement: Biblical Inspiration for Your Thursday. Every Thursday, a few blogging friends and I will each bring you a Bible verse and a little hope-filled discussion. We pray that these Thursday posts help you end your week strong in God’s love and purpose for you. We also welcome you to join the conversation by commenting with your thoughts. God bless!

Today’s Thursday Encouragement

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” — Galatians 5:22-23, ESV

Today’s encouragement comes from two verses that you probably are familiar with. Our fallen human nature means that living a Christ-like life is foreign to us and not something we can do on our own.

In fact, earlier in Galatians 5, the apostle Paul talks about the “works of the flesh” and even lists many. He says: “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.” And then he adds: “I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21)

But immediately after pointing out our sins and our inclination towards these “works of the flesh”, he gives us hope by sharing the fruit of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” (vs 22-23) Notice that the word fruit is singular, not plural. I heard it said once that you cannot pick and choose which characteristics you want. You cannot say: “Well, I have love and faithfulness, but I don’t need self-control or patience.”

No, the fruit of the Spirit is a packaged deal. Through the daily surrendering of ourselves to the Lord, His Spirit will transform our characters into being more like Christ. As we grow to be more like Christ, our lives will bear His “fruit”. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control — the fruit of the Spirit — will become more evident in our lives and be a witness to those around us.

So if you find yourself struggling, take heart! As Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23, ESV) Leave the works of the flesh behind and ask, in earnest prayer, for the Holy Spirit to make you more like Christ.

Now it is your turn! What verse or passage is blessing you today?

 

Be sure to also visit my fellow bloggers and read their encouragement for your Thursday:

His Encouragement: John 16:33

His Encouragement: John 16:33

A cheery and warm welcome, dearest friends, to His Encouragement: Biblical Inspiration for Your Thursday. Every Thursday, a few blogging friends and I will each bring you a Bible verse and a little hope-filled discussion. We pray that these Thursday posts help you end your week strong in God’s love and purpose for you. We also welcome you to join the conversation by commenting with your thoughts. God bless!

Today’s Thursday Encouragement

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” — John 16:33, ESV

These words were spoken by Jesus to His disciples only a short time before His arrest and subsequent execution. He was trying to prepare them for what was going to happen and give them the encouragement they would need to get through perhaps the darkest time in their lives. Even though He had warned them, the disciples had no idea that soon their Rabbi, their teacher, their leader — the man whom they believed was the long awaited Messiah — would be betrayed into the hands of the Jewish religious leaders by one of their own and die a horrible death upon a Roman cross.

Surely, as the disciples later hid themselves fearing for their own lives (John 20:19), they must have felt a very deep hopelessness coupled with sorrow and confusion. They had believed that as the Messiah Jesus would have eventually become king of Israel and somehow ousted the Romans from the land. They did not yet comprehend Jesus’ true mission. Those hours and days between His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane and His resurrection, they must have been at their lowest point.

And it was for that time specifically that Jesus said these comforting words: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.” Everything He said and everything He did was intended to teach His followers important lessons, from which they would find peace. You, too, can find peace and comfort in the words of Jesus Christ. No matter what your tribulation is, you can have “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) precisely because Jesus has overcome this world through His death and resurrection.

So, beloved, take heart! Do not give up hope. May you be encouraged with the peace of God.

John 16:33 overlayed on a photograph of a desert landscape

Now it is your turn! What verse or passage is blessing you today?

 

Be sure to also visit my fellow bloggers and read their encouragement for your Thursday:

His Encouragement: Jeremiah 31:25

His Encouragement: Jeremiah 31:25

A cheery and warm welcome, dearest friends, to His Encouragement: Biblical Inspiration for Your Thursday. Every Thursday, a few blogging friends and I will each bring you a Bible verse and a little hope-filled discussion. We pray that these Thursday posts help you end your week strong in God’s love and purpose for you. We also welcome you to join the conversation by commenting with your thoughts. God bless!

Today’s Thursday Encouragement

“For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.” — Jeremiah 31:25, ESV

I was exhausted. Our second child is now nine weeks old, but the first five weeks were challenging beyond my expectations. He was a fussy newborn, at times unconsolable, and he had his days and nights all mixed up. On top of that, a short time after he was born, his big brother began getting his molars. For almost a month, if one was not crying at night, the other one was. I had never been so sleep deprived. I barely was able to get 2-3 hours of sleep a night, and even that was interrupted sleep! (Five minutes here, ten minutes there, etc.)

My mom can relate. In December, she injured her back badly, and while on a walk around her neighborhood in January, she was bitten by a dog on her leg. Trying to relieve one injury and ease aching muscles caused the back pain to worsen. Since then, she has been in severe pain every day. Often unable to sit or lay down, she, too, gets less than three hours of sleep most nights.

Anyone who has experienced severe sleep deprivation over days and weeks (or even months!) understands firsthand that it is not good for our bodies or our minds. Not only are we physically wiped out, but our minds start… doing unusual things. We also start behaving like a completely different person, a stranger, whose emotions are hard to control. Some of us may even start thinking things we never would have thought if we were well rested or without pain.

It can be very hard when you yourself or someone you love is in severe pain over an extended period of time. Sometimes it might feel like you (or they) are going through this experience all alone. Perhaps you (or they) even begin to question their faith. We may not be able to see or understand why the Lord allowed our situation; however, we should not give up faith or hope. Even during these hard times, the Lord promises to always be with us. The Lord has promised: “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”

Let us grab hold and claim that promise!

 

Jeremiah 31:25 super-imposed over a calming waterfall.

Now it is your turn! How does today’s verse encourage you? What verse or passage is blessing you today?

 

Be sure to also visit my fellow bloggers and read their encouragement for your Thursday as well:

Are you a blogger? If you would like to join us every Thursday, please contact Trisha or Nicole.

His Encouragement: Psalm 27:14

His Encouragement: Psalm 27:14

A cheery and warm welcome, dearest friends, to His Encouragement: Biblical Inspiration for Your Thursday. Every Thursday, a few blogging friends and I will each bring you a Bible verse and a little hope-filled discussion. We pray that these Thursday posts help you end your week strong in God’s love and purpose for you. We also welcome you to join the conversation by commenting with your thoughts. God bless!

Today’s Thursday Encouragement

Wait on the LordBe of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!” — Psalm 27:14, NKJV

Waiting is hard!

Waiting is one of life’s most difficult challenges. Impatience is a common thread in the history of humanity, and in today’s fast-paced society addicted to instant gratification, waiting even just a little bit has become agonizing. Remember back in the 1990s when you had to wait for the Internet connection to dial up or for websites to take 3-ish minutes to load? Now we grow impatient if a website takes more than 30 seconds to load!

We often grow tired of waiting. It is much easier to either give up whatever it was we were waiting for or try to get the result we wanted ourselves. Then what happens when we have to wait an hour, a day, a week, a month, a year or more for something?

Unfortunately, the expectation of instant gratification can weasel its way into our spiritual life as well. Impatience in spiritual matters can pose a threat to our faith and our trust in the Lord. The longer we wait, the greater the opportunity for our courage and conviction to waver. The human heart, after all, is a frail thing. Yet, throughout the Scriptures, we are reminded: “Wait on the Lord.”

But have you ever had to wait? Are you waiting now? Perhaps you are currently waiting for an answer to a fervent prayer regarding a big decision for your life and your family. Maybe you or a loved one are facing a health crisis and it seems your prayers for healing are going unnoticed. It could be that you are feeling alone, unheard, abandoned. Don’t be discouraged! Let’s read the second half of Psalm 27:14 together: “And He [the Lord] shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!”

Even when it seems God is silent, He is never far away from us and He knows better than we do. We need to trust in Him and He will give us the strength to pull through the dreadful period of waiting. The answers will come, but in His time. Not ours.

Now it is your turn! How does today’s verse encourage you? What verse or passage is blessing you today?

 

Be sure to also visit my fellow bloggers and read their encouragement for your Thursday as well:

Are you a blogger? If you would like to join us every Thursday, please contact Trisha or Nicole.