Daily Dose of Encouragement

Bible on table

Proverbs 11:28, “He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.”

Jackie Mason summarized his sentiments regarding riches with his famous quip, “Money is not important. Love is important. Fortunately, I love money.” He is not alone. The rich often trust in their money, and the poor believe they would be better off if they were well off. Our U.S. currency is stamped, “In God we trust.” But it seems as if we trust the currency more than God. That is foolishness. Money and wealth are not foolish, but to trust in either is to be a fool. So says the Holy Spirit inspired word of the richest man to have ever lived. Depend on your wealth – regardless of how much or how little you have – and you will be let down. The righteous are those who trust in God and nothing else. That is the only path to flourishing.

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Daily Dose of Encouragement

Bible on table

2 Corinthians 4:18, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

On what are your eyes locked? The number of people and programs that seek to attract our attention are unending. They are also all temporary. Paul was able to endure difficulties and suffer loss (see verses 1-17) because his gaze was fixed on the eternal and glorious things of God. That at which we look is that which dominates our thoughts, and therefore our words and behavior. We can only trust God, particularly while suffering loss, “while we look” – set our mind on, meditate on, memorize, preach – to others and ourselves – the never failing and eternal truths of God. The garbage and pain of fallen humanity is clearly visible. Let’s not place our focus there. That is the way of despair. Turn your eyes and entrust your all to the eternal Lord Jesus Christ.

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Never Forget…Time is Short

9-11-never-forgetSixteen years ago I was taking advantage of the college money I’d earned through my military service. The awkwardness of being a married, father of three, and full time minister going back to school had faded, and I had begun to enjoy my classes, especially the class I had on this morning all those years ago.

At this very time (8:30am), sixteen years ago, I was sitting in my Introduction to Business class on a beautiful September day. I mean, the day was absolutely gorgeous. Clear blue skies. Fresh air, cool and crisp. When I left the house that morning I’d kissed and squeezed my wife, and gave a big hug to our three little boys who were six, four, and one.

During our first break, sometime just after 9am, I was the first person to the break room, and on the TV I saw images of what I initially thought was the preview for an upcoming movie. Quickly I realized that the images were live. Right away I understood that this was no accident. One tower struck by a jet could be accidental. But two? We were under attack.

Returning to the class I asked our instructor if she was aware of the situation. She was not, but turned on the TV in our classroom. For some while we all sat transfixed by the horror being beamed to our classroom from the New York city streets. An attempt to return to class as normal was made, but normal could not be found. Not on this day.

Following the class I did not go to the church office where I was on staff. That was the usual routine, but this day was unusual. Nothing about it was routine any longer. Instead of going to the church office I went back home. I really squeezed and hugged my precious little boys. I kissed and held my wife as if we hadn’t seen each other in weeks. Together we sat transfixed to the TV, unable to pull ourselves away from the tragic scenes it displayed.

There is no way that I will ever forget that day. Sixteen years later, and the snapshots of those events are still clear in my memory. The anniversary of 9-11 always brings with it the call to “Never Forget.” I agree with that completely. Let us never forget that family and friends are precious. So let’s be patient, kind, and loving, never taking for granted that we’ll have more time together.

Let us never forget that in this world there will be trouble. Utopia does not exist. Looking for it here is foolishness. We should strive, as much as possible, to live peaceably with all men. Still, there are some who will never be reasonable. Such people will only be brought to peace through strength. Violent action that suppresses evil behavior is necessary. I am thankful for and utterly respect the men and women who run towards danger to rescue the wounded, and those who take the fight to the evil doers. Those men and women are worthy of our support and honor.

Most importantly, let us never forget that this life is short. Death visits us all, whether it comes in a tragic terrorist attack, or if we live to a ripe old age and die comfortably surrounded by our family. Our souls, however, will live somewhere forever. Therefore, let us never forget the words of the Lord Jesus Christ: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)

 

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Daily Dose of Encouragement

Bible on table

Psalm 115:9, “O Israel, trust thou in the LORD: he is their help and their shield.”

The 115th psalm is an ancient, inspired hymn that reminds God’s people to trust and worship their Lord alone instead of trusting and honoring any other power sources and/or promises. The people of God should only trust and worship Almighty God, not just because He is our help and shield, but because He alone is worthy of our total allegiance and obedience, because God alone is able to be our help and shield. Other powers make that claim, but they are unable deliver. The only thing worse than an empty promise is trusting in one. Is your confidence shaken by the attacks, insults, and taunting of others? Have the siren songs of other gods begun to receive a hearing from you? If so… “O insert name here, trust in the Lord: He is your help and your shield.”

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Sunday Mornings with Spurgeon

God’s Steadfast Mercy

“ I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.” Psalm 52:8

Meditate a little on this steadfast mercy of the Lord. It is tender mercy. With gentle, loving touch, He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He is as gracious in the manner of His steadfast love as in the matter of it. It is great steadfast mercy. There is nothing little in God; His steadfast love is like Himself-it is infinite. You cannot measure it. His mercy is so great that it forgives great sins to great sinners after great lengths of time and then gives great favors and great privileges and raises us up to great enjoyments in the great heaven of the great God.

It is undeserved mercy, as indeed all true mercy must be, for deserved mercy is only a misnomer for justice. There was no right on the sinner’s part to the kind consideration of the Most High; had the rebel been doomed at once to eternal fire he would have richly merited the doom, and if delivered from wrath, sovereign love alone has found a cause, for there was none in the sinner himself. It is rich mercy. Some things are great but have little efficacy in them, but this steadfast love is a tonic to your drooping spirits, a golden ointment to your bleeding wounds, a heavenly bandage to your broken bones, a royal chariot for your weary feet, a bosom of love for your trembling heart.

It is manifold mercy. As Bunyan says, “All the flowers in God’s garden are double.” There is no single steadfast love. You may think you have only one steadfast love, but you will find it to be a whole cluster of mercies. It is abounding mercy. Millions have received it, but far from its being exhausted, it is as fresh, as full, and as free as ever. It is unfailing mercy. It will never leave you. If mercy is your friend, mercy will be with you in temptation to keep you from yielding, with you in trouble to prevent you from sinking, with you in living to be the light and life of your countenance, and with you in dying to be the joy of your soul when earthly comfort is ebbing fast.

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Daily Dose of Encouragement

Bible on table

Luke 6:28, “Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.”

This verse is not difficult to understand, just tough to obey, because we all have people in our lives who are hard to love. Thankfully, the Lord never issues commands without empowering and educating us in how to follow through. We love others as God loved us. We love others because we love God and He is love. Let’s trust God enough to love others for His sake. When God’s glory is the motivation for our love we will have the grace and strength to love and forgive those who have unjustly treated us. As a practical exercise for this truth, do something today for someone who has disappointed or hurt you.

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Daily Dose of Encouragement

Bible on table

2 Corinthians 4:8-9, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;”

How is it possible to be afflicted in every way but not crushed? If we are perplexed, how can we not be driven to despair, or how may we endure persecution without feeling forsaken? It cannot be due to our own resources. It must be God. None of us are able to take that kind of abuse on our own strength while still maintaining our joy, peace, and while continuing to serve the Lord. We are at our strongest when we are weakest because then the power of Christ takes over.

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Daily Dose of Encouragement 

Matthew 6:34, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

The point of this passage is not that we should avoid making wise preparations. We should. The point is that we should never pull the troubles and uncertainties of tomorrow into today. As God’s people we can and should trust our sovereign heavenly Father, who is infinitely kind and wise, to give us each day what He deems best for our good and His glory. Each day’s troubles are “sufficient” – they are enough – because God determines their limit. God decides what is sufficient and we should trust that instead of being anxious about it.

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Daily Dose of Encouragement

Bible on table

Philippians 1:27, “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;”

In our current times people routinely “identify” as this or that. Today’s verse reminds believers that our ultimate identity is found in Christ. Believers are strangers and aliens in this world, and citizens of Christ’s Kingdom. Therefore, the manner of our lives must magnify King Jesus. We are to live worthy of the gospel which has rescued us and made us citizens of the celestial city. Citizens bear the marks of their country, in their accent, mannerisms, food preferences, and customs. We must me marked by Christ’s love, grace, and truth.

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Daily Dose of Encouragement

Bible on table

Psalm 86:2, “Preserve my soul; for I am holy: O thou my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee.”

The psalmist is not calling for God’s intervention based on self-righteousness. That would be foolish, just as silly as admitting to a wrong not committed, or making ourselves out to be worse than we are. No, the psalmist was not trusting in his own holiness. He called on God to preserve him based on God’s own goodness, and the psalmist’s trust in this good God. In our communications, the title “my God” should be regularly paired with the title “thy servant.” Just as God is holy, so too should the servant be, by trusting his Lord day by day, moment by moment.

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