Daily Dose of Encouragement

Proverbs 16:20, “He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.”

Smart management of an issue will lead to success. That is self-evident, but always consider the source. We are reading God’s Word, not a self-help manual or a better business guide. Proverbs teaches us that wisdom comes from God, specifically from the scriptures. That is the ground from which we mine true and everlasting wisdom. Only by trusting God’s Word and what it says about our need for salvation and our manner of living, seeing this world and all in it through a biblical lens, and responding accordingly will we find good both in this life and the one to come. Trust in the Lord like that, and happiness will find you.

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Daily Dose of Encourgement

Romans 8:37, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

Everyone loves a winner, including believers. Our problem is when we confuse what God means by conqueror with what the world means. Take Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah as examples (Daniel 1-6). They were more than conquerors who cooperated in a pagan culture without compromising their Biblical principles or corrupting their Biblical consciences. Spiritual victory does not mean we win every battle. It does mean that we fight every battle with the confidence that the war has been won. Adversity teaches lessons we cannot learn another way. God does not place trials in our lives to overwhelm us, but to teach us that His grace is sufficient. Trust God and be a joyful overcomer!

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Dose of Daily Encouragement

1 Peter 3:10-11, “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.”

We all want to enjoy life. Today’s passage explains how. (1) Keep your tongue from evil. Choose your words carefully and with construction rather than destruction in mind. (2) Turn away from evil. Don’t do evil and that often requires removing yourself from wicked environments (and people). Trust God for the strength and wisdom to do that. (3) Do good. Just avoiding evil isn’t enough. We must also do good. Repentance requires turning from sin and turning to Jesus. (4) Pursue peace. What good is wanting peace if we don’t pursue peace? Focus on these four principles one at a time. Trust God for a breakthrough with each one. They are key to loving life and living good

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The BOOK

I do not know where the following originated, but it’s worth repeating. Even better, it’s worth following!

The Bible contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions immutable.

Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword and the Christian’s charter. Christ is its subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end.

It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is given to you in life, will be open in the judgment, and be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, rewards the greatest labor, and condemns all who trifle with its holy precepts. It tells of grace and mercy for the believer, and justice and wrath for those who do not believe.

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Daily Dose of Encouragement 

Psalm 125:1, “They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.”

This truth may be summarized in one word: confidence! Do not confuse this confidence with some self-confidence, self-esteem pabulum from the day time talk shows or book store self-help aisles. The confident self which sings this psalm is not confident in one’s self but confident in the Savior and King, the Lord Jesus Christ. To place our confidence anywhere else is to initiate devastating disappointment for ourselves and others. Assurance is only great when its object is trustworthy. When we are assured of anything by the Eternal One, then we can trust that His assurances are just as eternal as He is. Just as King Jesus’ throne is established forever, so are those whose trust is in Him eternally secured.

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Daily Dose of Encouragement 

1 Thessalonians 5:15, “See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.”

What do we do when we are unappreciated, unwanted, unloved, and rejected by those to whom we have sought to minister? Before we “do” anything we must ask ourselves, “What is my motivation?” If we are ministering so that we will be appreciated, wanted, loved, and well-received then our motivations are wrong, but when we are others’ servants for Jesus’ sake (2 Corinthians 4:5) then what we do when we suffer loss at the hands of others is trust God with their judgment. We do not retaliate but seek reconciliation. We give them love in the face of their hostility. This is hard to do, but it is right to do. Trust God.

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Sunday Morning with Spurgeon

ch-spurgeonGrace from Above

Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.” Psalm 84:6

This teaches us that the comfort obtained by one may often prove helpful to another, just as the springs would be enjoyed by the company who came after. When we read some book that is really helpful and encouraging, we recognize that the author has gone ahead of us and discovered these refreshing springs for us as well as for himself. Many books have been like wells drilled by a pilgrim for himself but have proved quite as useful to others. We notice this especially in the Psalms-for example, 42:11: “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me?” Travelers have been delighted to see the footprint of man on a barren shore, and we love to see the marks of pilgrims while passing through the vale of tears.

The pilgrims dig the well, but, strangely, it fills from the top instead of the bottom. We use the means, but the blessing does not spring from the means. We dig a well, but heaven fills it with rain. The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but safety is from the Lord. The means are connected with the end, but they do not produce it themselves. Consider here how the rain covers the ground with pools, so that they become useful as reservoirs. The endeavor is not wasted, but still it does not supersede divine help.

Grace may be compared to rain for its purity, for its refreshing and energizing influence, for its coming from above, and for the sovereignty with which it is given or withheld. May our readers have showers of blessing, and may the springs be filled with water! What are the means and ordinances without the smile of heaven! They are like clouds without rain and pools without water. God of love, open the windows of heaven and pour us out a blessing!

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It’s All about the Attitude

Attitude reflects leadership

Are you aware that planes have attitudes? You thought only your children (or your spouse) or only “young people” had “attitudes.” Perhaps they do, but airplanes have attitudes as well. The attitude of an aircraft is its position in relation to the horizon. Therefore, when an airplane has a nose-up attitude it is climbing. Likewise, a nose-down attitude indicates an airplane in a dive. It is essential for an airplane to have a right attitude if it is to safely arrive at its destination. This is why the “attitude indicator” gauge is prominently placed on the panel. A pilot is concerned with the attitude of the airplane because attitude indicates performance. Changing the airplane’s attitude will changes its performance.

That is true with more than just airplanes. More than ability or the actions of others, attitudes dictate our performances. Attitude more than aptitude determines altitude. The same is true with situations or circumstances. You cannot tailor-make the situations in life but you can tailor-make your attitudes to fit. That is the thought that Paul expressed in Philippians 4:11-12,

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”

It is all about the attitude. Actions, decisions, circumstances, relationships, ministries, everything is affected by our attitudes, and we choose our attitudes! They are not chosen for us or forced upon us. Attitudes do not choose us. We choose them. What are attitudes? They are patterns of thinking which are formed over time.

Attitude flow chart

The Scriptures have a lot to say about our attitudes. The wilderness wandering of the Israelites provides examples of bad attitudes and their consequences. We need to learn from their harmful example (1 Corinthians 10:11) that negative attitudes keep us in the wilderness of our spiritual experience, but God-honoring attitudes will bring us in to Promised Land living.

The transformation of our attitudes is the key to seeing the world through the eyes of faith, because it is the key to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. The ancient Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years because they were full of fear: fear of the giants and the walled cities in the land. They viewed their world with an improper perspective. May we be full of faith rather than full of fear, and let us view our world with the proper perspective of faith.

To help us consider our attitudes, let’s consider these questions:

  • Am I willing to consider what the Bible says about changing my attitude?
  • Am I willing to change my attitude?
  • Am I willing to focus on my attitude?
  • Am I willing to prayerfully, expectantly, and urgently go after this change?
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Not Missing Cable

Cutting_CableLast year my wife and I canceled cable. The primary factor that played into our decision was Financial Peace University. We were working our way through that course with a large group from our church (we were still in Texas at the time).

Dave Ramsey is great. We enjoyed and have benefited from the simple yet effective steps outlined in his material. The cable bill is one piece of fat he suggests trimming from the budget. We ran with that suggestion, and immediately saved over $100 per month.

We soon discovered that we did not miss the cable news networks, the house hunting, house flipping, house remodeling, tiny house, and tree house building shows. While I  had enjoyed watching all things Alaskan, and there would be 50% less “reality TV” programming without that state, life was even more enjoyable without it.

The big test was with sports programming. I am a recovering sportsaholic. Missing March Madness was hard. Not being able to watch football on Sunday, Monday, Thursday, and Saturday is really, really difficult. But we don’t miss cable.

My former favorite channel has become a propaganda firm for the political left. Clay Travis of Outkick the Coverage has taken to calling them MSESPN. I like Tucker Carlson’s appellation even better: Endless Stupid Political Nagging. The network has gone out of its way to align itself with the left, and it has paid the price. People watched ESPN to enjoy sports, and a little respite from the real world. Instead, ESPN has lionized Bruce Jenner as courageous for his sex change. Portrayed Colin Kaepernick as a civil rights hero. Fired Curt Schilling for being conservative, and a whole host of similar nonsense. Most recently letting Jemele Hill off the hook, even though she called the President of the United States a “white supremacist” on Twitter. (Ben Domenech of The Federalist has written an excellent post on that topic: Jemele Hill’s Tweets Are Bad, But Her ESPN Show Is Even Worse.)

I don’t miss cable, because I don’t miss ESPN.

I don’t miss programs like Designated Survivor either. Full disclosure here. I’ve never watched that show, but who needs to anymore? All of these shows follow the same basic blueprint, and that is the politically correct, conservative bashing, Christian hating script. Seems like Designated Survivor is no different, according to this piece from the Federalist.

We’re not missing cable. We’re definitely enjoying the extra $100/month. I’m just wondering what took us so long to cut the cord…er…I mean cable?

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Daily Dose of Encouragement

Bible on table

Exodus 14:21, “And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.”

The people of God were surrounded. They had been following God’s Word. They had been promised freedom and a land flowing with milk and honey. All they saw was an impassable sea and a hard charging, hate-filled host. When you are trapped and no escape appears evident, two options exist: surrender to the world and hope for the best, or trust God to keep His promises. The former is death, the latter is our only hope. God will part the sea. He will destroy the evil-doers. The next time your back is against the wall, think back to a past deliverance. Celebrate that victory, and trust God to do it again.

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