You have forgotten the divine word of encouragement which is addressed to you. Hebrews 12:5
What’s encouragement? Dr. Joel Wong at Indiana University Bloomington defines encouragement as “the affirmations people communicate to others, typically through the use of language, to enhance motivation within the context of realizing a potential or addressing a challenging situation.”1
That’s what our Lord does for us! He gives the affirmations we need, using the words of Scripture, to keep us motivated and to help us fulfill our potential and address challenging situations.
A day without Scripture is a day when we’re in danger of forgetting the divine word of encouragement addressed to us. The Lord has certain verses from the Bible to impart afresh into our minds every hour of every day. The Bible is the most encouraging book ever penned. It hums with encouragement like an electrical factory.
His Word encourages us to continue to follow Him. Make sure you keep your Bible open. Keep your heart open to constant doses of divine encouragement. And spread it to others!
We owe everything to encouragement—nothing to bitter cynicism.Joseph Parker
He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.Psalm 107:29
In the spring of 2021, several storm-chasers recorded videos and took photos of a rainbow next to a tornado in Texas. In one video, long stalks of wheat in a field bent under the power of the whirling winds. A brilliant rainbow cut across the gray skyline and arched toward the twister. Bystanders in another video stood on the side of the road and watched the symbol of hope standing firm beside the twisting funnel-shaped cloud.
In Psalm 107, the psalmist offers hope and encourages us to turn to God during difficult times. He describes some who were in the middle of a storm, “at their wits’ end” (v. 27). “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress” (v. 28).
God understands His children will sometimes struggle to feel hopeful when life feels like a storm. We need reminders of His faithfulness, especially when the horizon looks dark and tumultuous.
Whether our storms come as substantial obstacles in our lives, as emotional turmoil, or as mental stress, God can still our storms “to a whisper” and guide us to a place of refuge (vv. 29–30). Though we may not experience relief in our preferred way or time, we can trust God to keep the promises He’s given in Scripture. His enduring hope will cut through any storm.
Most people don’t set out to sabotage their future, yet it can happen anyway because of their own ignorance, rebellion, or blatant disregard for God and His Word. The course of one’s entire life can be derailed by foolish errors in judgment, and future consequences can be disastrous.
As Christians, we have God’s Word and His Spirit to guard and guide us, but that doesn’t make us immune to poor choices, especially in times of weakness. We’re more likely to make unwise decisions when extremely hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. Let these conditions—and the acrostic H-A-L-T—signal to us that it’s time to pause and evaluate our decision-making.
Impatience and strong desires can also lead us astray and blind us to potential consequences. That’s why we must learn to make decisions by using a long-term perspective instead of focusing on what is immediately in front of us.
As you look back over your life, do you see choices made in times of weakness or impatience that have led to negative outcomes? Even when a need seems urgent, it’s best to slow down and carefully consider your steps so you can be satisfied with the course ahead.
“Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy.” (Psalm 107:2)
This hymn of praise for God’s providence centers around four examples of God’s deliverance from particular problems. The four situations are as follows: Lost travelers who are out of provisions far from a city (vv. 4-5), prisoners imprisoned for their own rebelliousness (vv. 10-12), those who have been brought to physical illness due to their sin (vv. 17-18), and sailors who face shipwreck on stormy seas (vv. 23-27). In each case, the individuals prayed for deliverance that resulted in God’s miraculous rescue and a response of praise.
This cycle reminds us of the pattern during the time of the Judges when “every man did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). Due to their rebelliousness, God brought the people of Israel into captivity over and over again. Each time, in the midst of their oppression, they cried unto the Lord, who raised up a judge and empowered him to vanquish the enemy and free the people.
The exact same pattern can be found in Solomon’s prayer of dedication for the temple. He recognized man’s tendency to rebel and forget the Lord’s provision when things are going well, thus eliciting God’s judgment. But God has always used times of trouble to bring men and women back to Himself. He is a God of grace and mercy and love, desiring to forgive and restore those who repent and call to Him for deliverance (2 Kings 8).
The same truth applies today. We still tend to rebel, and He remains long-suffering, willing to forgive and restore upon repentance. “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7). JDM
What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ….that I may know…the fellowship of his sufferings. —Philippians 3:7, 10
Christians have decided where to put the cross. They have made the cross objective instead of subjective. They have made the cross external instead of internal. They have made it institutional instead of experiential.
Now, the terrible thing is that they are so wrong because they are half right. They are right in making the cross objective. It was something that once stood on a hill with a man dying on it, the just for the unjust. They are right that it was an external cross—for on that cross God performed a judicial act that will last while the ages burn themselves out….
But here is where they are wrong: They fail to see that there is a very real cross for you and me. There is a cross for every one of us—a cross that is subjective, internal, experiential. Our cross is an experience within….When that cross on the hill has been transformed by the miraculous grace of the Holy Spirit into the cross in the heart, then we begin to know something of its true meaning and it will become to us the cross of power. JAF082-083
Our spiritual life is perfected by the constant recognition of the cross and by our unceasing application of it to all our life and being. CC031
The tongue of the wise makes knowledge attractive, but the mouth of fools blurts out foolishness.—Proverbs 15:2
Why is the tongue so important? Because the expression of a thing deepens the impression. A word uttered becomes a word made flesh—in us. We become the incarnation of what we express. Jesus said, “For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned” (Mt 12:37). After I saw that a person becomes what he says, I have looked at this verse in a different light. If you tell a lie, you become a lie. The deepest punishment of a lie is to be the one who tells the lie. That person has to live with someone he cannot trust.
Now look at what I am saying from the opposite perspective. When we express good things, positive things, loving things, scriptural things, these things go deeper into us. Clear expression deepens impression. A brilliant young physicist tells how he often discusses complex issues relating to physics with his wife who doesn’t know the first thing about the subject. He told a friend, “I describe in detail what I am doing and she doesn’t understand a word. But sometimes when I’m through—I do.”
If it is true—and I believe it is—that we become the incarnation of what we express, then how careful we ought to be to ensure that what we say is guarded and governed by truth, integrity, and kindness. Always remember: every word you utter becomes flesh—in you.
O Father, how awesome is this thought—I become the incarnation of what I express. Cleanse me deep within so that I may be pure in soul as well as speech. I would be a clarified person. Grant it please, dear Father. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Knowing, then, the fear of the Lord, we persuade people. We are completely open before God, and I hope we are completely open to your consciences as well.—2 Corinthians 5:11
The fear of God is the greatest deterrent for sin (Exod. 20:20; Prov. 16:6). Those who perceive God as a benevolent and gentle grandfather will treat their sin superficially. They will worship halfheartedly. They will live life on their own terms rather than God’s. But a reverent fear of holy God will dramatically affect the way a person lives. Even though Paul was an apostle of Jesus Christ, he feared God and knew that one day he would stand in judgment to give an account for everything he had done (2 Cor. 5:10).
Our world does not applaud fearfulness. We teach our children to love God, but not to fear Him. We want to present a loving and nonthreatening image of God to nonbelievers in the hope that Christianity will be more appealing to them. One of the great condemnations of our day may be that we have lost the fear of God. We promote Him as a “best friend” who saves us and “lives in our hearts,” but we do not fear Him. It is true that we are God’s adopted children and that we are fellow heirs, even friends, with Jesus (Rom. 8:16–17; John 15:14–15), but we are not His equals. He has forgiven us, but we are still His creatures. He is God, and we are not!
If you find that you have become complacent with God’s commands and have become comfortable in your sin, you are completely isolated from God’s holiness. Take time to meditate upon the awesome holiness of God and allow the Holy Spirit to instill into your life a proper reverence for almighty God (Isa. 40:12–26). A deep sense of awe is essential to knowing God.
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