Overcoming discouragement brings great blessing

 Are you a “big picture” person?

(My Note: Considering the previous message on the site today, I think this one was also “right on” and meant for me to contemplate today.  Funny how that happens, huh?)

Who but God goes up to the heaven and comes back down? Who holds the wind in his fist? Who wraps up the oceans in his cloak? Who has created the whole wide world? What is his name — and his son’s name? Tell me if you know!

Proverbs 30:4 NLT

Impressive panorama

When people understand events clearly, we often say that they “see the big picture.” This passage in Proverbs makes the point that the clearest view of the “big picture” will always include God. The sequence of rhetorical questions helps us consider the awesome identity and capacity of God. Much like the litany of questions that God showered on Job (Job 38:1-41:34), these push us toward humble and silent worship.

Agur was feeling overwhelmed (30:1), insignificant (30:2), and limited (30:3). But when he turned away from his smallness to contemplate God’s greatness, an atmosphere of confidence filled the rest of the chapter. He began with a little picture, no bigger than himself, but he soon looked at the big picture and forgot that he was weary and worn out. God gave him a new and refreshing point of view.

WISE WAYS  One of the best remedies for a weary and tired spirit is to contemplate the majesty and greatness of God. How have you found that to be true?

Dear Lord, when I look at all you have made, I know it makes me feel smaller, but it also fills me with wonder over how great you are! I worship you.

Adapted from The One Year® Book of Proverbs by Neil S. Wilson, Tyndale House Publishers (2002), entry for January 30.

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Have a blessed New Year!

Just wanted to wish you all a blessed New Year…full of happiness, love, warmth, encouragement, healing, discernment, wisdom, praise to our Lord, humility, gratitude, forgiveness, grace, mercy, hope, faith, spiritual growth, victory, and all the good things our Lord has in store for each of us.


Sharon & Erick

Become a Worry-Slapper!

Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,

and all these things shall be added to you. 

Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow,

for tomorrow will worry about its own things. 

Matthew 6:33-34

Jesus said, “I tell you not to worry about everyday life—

whether you have enough.”

Not enough time, luck, credit, wisdom, intelligence. 

We’re running out of everything, it seems, and so we worry! 

But worry doesn’t work.

I challenge you to become a worry-slapper.

Do you procrastinate when a blood-sucking bug lights on your skin? 

“I’ll take care of that in a moment.” 

Of course you don’t! 

You give the critter the slap it deserves. 

Don’t waste an hour wondering what your boss thinks. 

Ask her.

Don’t assume you’ll never get out of debt. 

Consult an expert.

Let God be enough! 

He knows your needs. 

Seek Him! 

He will give you everything you need!

~ Max Lucado

You have nothing to prove . . .

This is what you always need to know:

You have nothing to prove to anyone –

if you’re in Him,

you are already approved.

Be okay with not being liked:

life’s about altars not applause.

And be okay with not being seen or heard.

It’ll let you hear and see better.

- Ann Voskamp

Bad Memories « Broken Believers

Bad Memories « Broken Believers.

Again, Bryan has given us a visual of what it is like to carry guilt, or sin, around our necks. Constantly trying to sling it off, but having the stench hang on. Even after obtaining forgiveness, we must immediately drag those self-deprecating memories to the feet and arms of our Lord and Savior. He will lovingly, willingly, pick them up, throw them out to the farthest point, and lift us up. Holding us, taking away our pain. Letting us rest from the weight of it all. Always, Jesus is the only one who can truly set us free.

Verse of the Day – I thirst for You

Psalm 63:1

When he was in the Desert of Judah.

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you;

I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you,

in a dry and parched land where there is no water.

(Beautifully said)

Read at Bible Gateway

Read all of Psalm 63

Verse of the Day – Sometimes the greatest of all wonders wrap their tiny fingers around our own and capture our hearts

Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you –
majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?
– Exodus 15:11

With whom do you compare the incomparable? How do you grasp the
infinite with a finite mind? When the quintessence of majesty is
the God you contemplate, how can you ever speak of majesty about
anything else? God exhausts our superlatives. God’s glory bewilders
our imaginations. God’s greatness exceeds our wildest dreams. He is
beyond what we can know or believe. Yet the Wonder of all his
wonders is simply this: he limited himself to a baby, swaddled by
loving parents in strips of cloth, and placed in a feed trough
because there was no room for them in the inn. Sometimes the
greatest of all wonders are not the ones that require our biggest
and best words. Sometimes the greatest of all wonders wrap their
tiny fingers around our own and capture our hearts.

I do not know how to understand your incredible love for us, yes
even for me. How could you enter our world in baby Jesus? Like the
Magi, I bow and worship you, Lord Jesus, and our Father who sent
you. Who is like you, O God? Nobody is even close. Yet for some
reason known only to your grace, you have brought us close. I
praise you for your majesty and I praise you for your manger. To
your glory, precious Jesus, and in your name, I offer this praise.


Verse of the Day – Can you trust what you don’t see?

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you
do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an
inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of
your faith, the salvation of your souls.
– 1 Peter 1:8-9

Can you trust what you don’t see? Of course! What kind of
question is that? Our lives depend on what we cannot see — things
like gravity and the air we breathe, just to name two. Faith in
Jesus is as natural as faith in each of those things. The problem
is that our hearts are skeptical. We find it hard to believe that
anyone divine would love us so much. Our experience says, “If it
seems too good to be true, it is.” That skepticism is just the
twisted form of the response God longs to see from us:
“inexpressible and glorious joy.” I don’t know about you, but I’ve
tasted both. I prefer joy over skepticism!

What joy fills my heart, Father, when I anticipate what it will
be like to be in your presence — to have you wipe each tear from
my eyes and to have you introduce me again to those I love and to
those I’ve only known by reputation. Please never let me outlive
that sense of anticipation and never let that hope dim in my heart,
no matter what else may happen in my life here. In Jesus’ name I
pray. Amen.


Agape Love

“Love is patient and kind.”

1 Corinthians 13:4

Agape love cares for others because God has cared for us.

Agape love goes beyond sentiment and good wishes.

Because God loved first, agape love responds.

Because God was gracious, agape love

forgives the mistake when the offense is high.

Agape offers patience when stress is abundant

and extends kindness when kindness is rare.


Because God offered us both.

~ Max Lucado

‘Honey, I love you in an abstract way’

By Jon Walker

This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other. (John 13:35 MSG)

True love is never in the abstract. ‘We’ll never carry out our mission of being witnesses to Christ from behind pulpits or within Bible studies. We’re commissioned to “go therefore” and fill the earth with the presence of Christ so others may “observe” what He commanded us — to love one another as He loves us (Matthew 28:19-20 NASB; John 13:34).

We are to take our unseen and eternal fellowship, our oneness with Him and each other, into the seen and temporal lives of others.

To “observe” something, it must be seen. As others observe us, watch us “being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, intent on one purpose; not merely looking out for our own personal interests, but also for each other’s interests (Philippians 2:3-4),” they will naturally wonder where such uncommon attitudes come from.

And we have opportunity to say, “This is the attitude that ‘is in Christ Jesus who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond servant, being made in the likeness of men’” (Philippians 2:5-7).

In a fallen and self-oriented world, both that attitude and practice are particularly uncommon and profoundly noticeable. The witness of the reality of Christ and His love through our authentic and loving relationships is a living testimony that the world must deal with. Jesus’ personal and sacrificial love creates a safe place, a refuge, an opportunity to “be” that every person needs.

This devotional is based on my book, Costly Grace: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s ‘The Cost of Discipleship’.

We now have free small group study guides posted for each chapter from Costly Grace. The study guides are available at http://www.gracecreates.com/free-stuff/.

‘Honey, I love you in an abstract way’ is a post from: GraceCreates Jon Walker is the author of Costly Grace: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s ‘The Cost of Discipleship’ and Growing with Purpose. He has served on staff at Saddleback Church and Purpose Driven Ministries and is currently the managing editor of Rick Warren’s Daily Devotionals and the Ministry Toolbox. Contact him at questions@gracecreates.com. This article is copyrighted 2011 by Jon Walker. Used by permission.

Verse of the Day – Our seeking God longs to be sought!

[The apostle Paul said,] “God did this so that men would seek
him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not
far from each one of us.”
– Acts 17:27

Our seeking God longs to be sought! God placed his fingerprints
all over the universe and then gave us places to find life and
meaning. He had a purpose in this plan: he wanted us to seek the
One behind it all. He is never far away from us, but he longs to be
sought and found. When we seek after God, we are not only blessing
him, we’re also living out our life’s key task.

Heavenly Father, I long to know you more completely — as the
old hymn says to Jesus: “Beyond the sacred page, I seek thee Lord.
My spirit pants for thee O living Word.” Loving Father, I ask that
your presence would be recognizable in my daily life. I truly want
to get to know you, even as I am known by you. In the name of the
Savior I pray. Amen.


Verse of the Day – Value others above yourselves

Philippians 2:3-4

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Read at Bible Gateway

Read all of Philippians 2

Hard to do sometimes, especially if others are giving us a hard time.

However, we are called to love the Lord our God with all our

heart, soul, mind and strength,

and our neighbor as ourself.

It goes along with “Do unto others as you

would have them do to you”.

With humility that comes from our Lord,

we can look at others with the

right attitude.



Daily Promise – September 18 – Do not repay evil for evil, but rather be a blessing instead

1 Peter 3:9 KJV

9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing;
knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

Promise #261:
I have called you to inherit My blessing.

In this Scripture passage, the Apostle Peter is encouraging us not to repay evil for evil, but rather be a blessing instead. If we are living with an orphan perspective, we will have to scratch and claw for everything we get in life. When people do evil things to us, we will need to respond in the same way back to them. The life of an orphan is lonely and scary. He or she is left to their own devices to manage life.The life of a son or daughter however, is quite different. They know that they are loved beyond imagination and are safe from harm. They live in the reassurance that they are blessed beyond measure and that they have a rich inheritance of blessings yet to come. In Ephesians 1:3, the Bible says that our heavenly Father has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heaven. The life that we are called to live is a life of abundance and blessing.

That is why when someone acts in an ‘orphan-like’ way to us, even a brother or sister in Christ, we don’t have to respond in a similiar way, but with blessings. May each one of us be so filled with the revelation that we have been called to inherit a blessing, that we become an absolute outflow of blessings to others!

~ Barry Adams

Daily Promise – September 16 – God will keep us safe in His everlasting arms

Deuteronomy 33:27 KJV

27 The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms:
and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.

Promise #259:
You will find safety in My everlasting arms.

God is our eternal refuge. Just think of that for a moment. There will never be a time in all eternity where you will ever be unprotected. You can feel safe and secure knowing that your God and Father will carry you in His everlasting arms forever!

When our children were little, I absolutely loved holding our kiddies in my arms. It felt so good to me and I think our children enjoyed the safety and security of that feeling too. If as fathers, we were meant to be a foreshadow of the true Father, then I would imagine that God would feel the same sense of satisfaction and contentment when He holds us in His big strong arms.

In Psalm 27:1, David declares … The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? NIV. The reason David wasn’t afraid of his enemies was because he was completely aware that He was being protected by the everlasting arms of God Himself. May we all be encouraged today of this tangible reality. We will find safety in the everlasting arms of our Papa!
Photo by Carl Dyck

Verse of the Day – Who are you trying to please?

[Jesus said,] “By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I
hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but
him who sent me.”
– John 5:30

“So who you tryin’ to please, anyway?” These words of my dad
still ring in my ears. His point? There are only two we MUST
please: (1) our Father in heaven, because all praise and honor is
due to him, and (2) ourselves, because we want to know that we’ve
done the best we could do and been the best we could be. But I
guess I’ve learned over the years that I can’t begin to do the
second of those very well without seeking the first one. Don’t you
hope that someday you reach the place where you can join Jesus in
saying with absolute assurance: “I seek not to please myself but
him who sent me!” The closer we approach that reality, the more we
realize that we can’t do anything of eternal significance on our
own. Only when we live to honor God do we find the significance and
have the impact that our lives were made to have.

Almighty and Righteous Father, I know that without you I can do
nothing that is of lasting significance. I have tried my own way
and failed. I have sought my own good and seen my success
short-lived. I want to live now, today and the rest of my life to
please you. As I do this, I am confident that you will provide what
I need and that you will empower me to do what you would have me
do. In Jesus’ name I thank you. Amen.

Reach out and touch someone’s life today

Wanted to share some input that a neighbor gave me today. A few days ago we were talking and she was all upset and depressed because she has lost her house, her wealth, her friends, her community activities from the old neighborhood, and has had two divorces, and is now living in an apartment.

The Holy Spirit prompted me to say to her, “God had you where He wanted you in the past, but He has you right where he wants you, now”.

She gave me this big hug and stood holding my hand, and said, “You don’t know how much that statement meant to me. My therapist doesn’t understand at all how I feel, but the way you said it made me know that you knew what to say in that moment.”

I told her, “I know it was the Holy Spirit prompting me as to what to say to you, ’cause in myself, I wouldn’t have known what to say.”

Just knowing that we minister to others and are being used by God to touch someone else’s life, is such a rewarding and warm, humbling feeling.

So I encourage all of us, to reach out with the Holy Spirit’s guiding, and touch someone today.



Giving a Gift can Change You!

Is there someone in your life you always seems to rub you the wrong way? Years ago a friend shared three ways to get past the tension and even become a friend to someone you have trouble with.
  1. Pray for them, for God’s blessing and influence.
  2. Do something nice for them.
  3. Give them a gift.  (Even better, do not tell them it is from you.)
There are many verses that speak to these truths;

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”  Romans 12:20  (the burning coals are a gift, a nice thing.)

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you”  Matthew 5:44


In stead of avoiding, we engage.

By faith we do the right thing, even if our “feelings” tell us not to and our heart is not in it.

As we invest in people, we begin to value them differently, and only good can come from that.

So take action and see what happens.

Think about it, pray and do something nice.

Bless someone who does not deserve it this week!

(This message is from Planet Ichthus Christian Gifts. I thought it was a great sentiment.)

Before you even call out to God, He will answer you

Isaiah 65:24 KJV

24 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer;
and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

Promise #255:
Before you even call out to Me, I will answer you.
Have you ever felt that God seemed a million miles away sometimes when you prayed? I think all of us have struggled with the feeling that our prayers seemed like they were bouncing off the ceiling at one time or another. I am not sure why we sometimes struggle with these feelings of being distant to God when we pray. Whatever the reason, it is a time where we can exercise our faith and demonstrate that we believe God despite our perceptions (Hebrews 11:6).

Even though we go through these times of feeling isolated and distant, the truth is that God is not distant when we pray. God is closer to us than we could possibly imagine and today’s promise from Isaiah 65:24 is an encouragement that He will answer us even before we pray the prayer! In Matthew 6:8, Jesus affirms this promise by telling His disciples that their heavenly Father knows what they need before they even ask Him for it!

My prayer for each one of us today is that faith will rise up in our hearts when we pray to our heavenly Father because we know that He is fully engaged with us and is ready to answer even before we call out to Him!