Tag: bible

His Encouragement: Isaiah 48:17

His Encouragement: Isaiah 48:17

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 passage 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 Encouragement

“This is what the Lord says—
    your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God,
    who teaches you what is good for you
    and leads you along the paths you should follow.

Isaiah 48:17, NLT

When you don’t know what to do or where to go, trust in the Lord to guide you. He knows what is best for us and will lead, if we ask Him to.

About five years ago, I wrote all about growing your faith while waiting on God. Wait on the Lord. Waiting is one of life’s most difficult challenges.

Perhaps you are waiting on the Lord to work in our life right now. It could be guidance with which college to attend, what degree to pursue, what career to enter, where to re-locate, or what man or woman to marry. It could be help with broken relationships, financial issues, or devastating health problems.

During the waiting time, we may struggle with a wide range of high and low feelings; confidence in the Lord and then discouragement when He seems to be quiet.

So what do we do? Do we give up? Give in? God forbid!

Waiting is never easy, but there is always a reason. Even though we cannot see it while we are in the present, the Lord knows exactly what we need and when. If we look back over those times in our lives where we thought the Lord was not answering our prayers — when the waiting seemed to be unbearable — we are able to see the Lord’s hand guiding us through. That alone should give us courage to push onward and endure any future that awaits.

In the here and now, though, we need to trust that the Lord, “who teaches you what is good for you”, will “lead you along the paths you should follow.”

Isaiah 48:17 overlaid on a forest.

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: 2 Thessalonians 3:16

His Encouragement: 2 Thessalonians 3:16

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 passage 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 Encouragement

“Now the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.” — 2 Thessalonians 3:16, KJV

It is hard when you cry out to the Lord and it seems as if — at least for the moment — the Lord is slow in answering your plea. It can be discouraging and confusing, especially if you are in the midst of a turbulent trial.

Earlier this week, we received the official confirmation regarding my mom’s health crisis. It is, indeed, advanced Stage IV Breast Cancer that has metastasized to bones in her spine. The doctors were grim, implying without actually saying it, that really all they can do at this late stage is to make Mom as “comfortable” as possible.

My mom just turned 57 in March. Six months ago, she was living a vibrant, active life. She loves to go hiking with my dad, and not short little things but long hikes along the various desert trails within an hour’s drive of the Phoenix metropolitan area. She is also healthy and has been living a well-balanced plant-based diet since 2010. Two years ago, she completed certification to be a wellness coach and a very prestigious plant-based cooking course.

She is a godly woman and very active in her church: director of the Pathfinders Club, juniors Sabbath School teacher, playing the flute for a small ensemble, and singing in the choir. Over the years, she has given one-on-one Bible studies and she has lead out in powerful prayer sessions. She and my dad together are the spiritual rock of our family.

There is no history of cancer of any kind in our family. Heart problems… sure. Dementia… Yeah. Cancer? Nope. Not a trace. The last three weeks since Mom’s visit to the ER has been a whirlwind. We have prayed like we have never prayed before, and we trust the Lord completely.

But there is still the heart-wrenching question: “Why, God? Why?”

Sometimes we might find ourselves asking the same question the disciples asked Jesus: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Only, in our case, it goes more like: “Lord, who sinned that s/he has developed cancer?”

And I imagine the Lord Jesus looking at us with sad eyes and saying: “No one specifically sinned. Cancer is a symptom of a world contaminated with sin. This is not how it was intended to be.”

It is not fair. Cancer is never fair. It is not fair that a friend’s precious six-year-old is battling an aggressive form of a rare cancer. It is not fair that another friend’s dad has stage III cancer. It is not fair that my husband lost a childhood friend to this horrid disease in their mid-twenties. There is hardly a person today who has not known someone or knows someone who knows someone who has been touched by it.

If you are struggling with a devastating diagnosis, of yourself or a loved one, I know what it is like to cry your heart out to the Lord and feel that He is not answering or, even worse, His answer is “No, my precious one.”

We cannot see with the eyes of God. We do not know the end from the beginning. He is more than able to heal, but perhaps there is something much greater than us going on. A bigger picture that only God can see.

And it hurts. Yes. It is tears your heart up into pieces. You may say: “Lord, I just don’t understand.” And there will be things this side of heaven we will not understand.

But know that in the midst of your storm — even if the answer to your prayers is the dreaded “no” — the Lord offers a peace. This peace does not mean it does not hurt. This peace does not mean you won’t cry and grieve. This peace means that even so, Lord Jesus, I trust in You.

Beloved, may you have this peace. The Lord be with you.

May the Lord give you peace at all times and in all ways. 2 Thessalonians 3:16.

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 46:1

His Encouragement: Psalm 46:1

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 passage 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 Encouragement

God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present help in trouble.” — Psalm 46:1, ESV

Have you ever had those weeks where it seems everything happens all at once? Have you received bad news? Are you overwhelmed? No matter what you are facing right now, whatever your struggles are, remember two things:

  1. It is okay to cry. Even just a casual reading through the Psalms show that crying is a way our hearts and minds help process difficulties. In Psalm 639:3, David wrote: “I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.”
  2. Turn to God for help. But in our sorrow, confusion, depression, pain, etc. we should to be crying out to the Lord. Psalm 46:1, today’s verse of encouragement, says: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

Throughout the Scriptures, we are encouraged to turn to the Lord in our times of need, and with His strength and might, we can do anything! (Philippians 4:13, Mark 10:27)

I have learned in my own experiences that the more I fixate on the problem, the more anxiety I feel until I become overwhelmed. However, if I “let go and let God” take over, everything falls into place. Perhaps not as quickly as I would like, perhaps not even in the way I would like, but the Lord always knows best. So even during my most difficult times, I am learning to trust in Him and His plan. And when I am not sure what His plan is, I praise the Lord for the blessings He provides in the midst of the storm.

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 30:4-5

His Encouragement: Psalm 30:4-5

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 Encouragement

“Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” — Psalm 30:4-5, ESV

Have you ever had a week in which your entire world was turned upside down? Where the events of your days feel surreal, like a nightmare that you just want to wake up from? That is what my family is experiencing right now. Just this last Saturday, my mom was diagnosed with metastatic disease of the spine. It is most likely Stage IV Breast Cancer with metastasis to the spine, though we would need more thorough tests to confirm. It provided answers to some of the questions that we had, especially after my mom injured her back in December and the pain kept getting worse instead of better, but it was definitely not the answer we were praying for.

It is times like this that our trust in God is tested. We may not be able to understand the why, but we know our God is greater than cancer. He is the great Physician, the Almighty Creator. He is ABLE to heal! More than able. And that is our earnest prayer.

But sometimes in His wisdom and mercy the answer is “no”. So (like the three Hebrews said before Nebuchadnezzar) if not, we continue to trust Him and take solace in the blessed hope of Christ’s return. I chose today’s verse for my own broken heart. “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” I have done a lot of crying the last few days, but I know that no matter what happens, we WILL be rejoicing. “Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name.”

My family is doing all we can to raise the funds to provide my mom with an alternative, more holistic treatment option. You can learn more at Help Lynne fight cancer. We are asking all our family, friends, and connections to join us April 25-29 in giving just $10 one time to help us reach the goal we need so she can start the treatment.

Most importantly, we are asking for prayers. Prayers for healing. Prayers for pain management. Prayers for sleep. Prayers for comfort.

It is times like these that our faith is tested, because we often cannot see the why. However, no matter the outcome, we have to decided to trust in the Lord. We do not grieve as the world grieves, because we believe that Jesus died and rose again, conquering death and the grave, and He will return victorious. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) And that there will be a future with no more sorrow, no more tears, no more pain. (Revelation 21:4) So if you, too, are processing world-shattering news, there is hope, a blessed hope. Cling to it, cling to the Lord, and He will help you overcome.

My mom, my sisters, my niece, and me at Thanksgiving last year.

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.

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 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: 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: 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: 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: