Angela's Blog
Categories
Archives
Visitor Locations
Top Sites

The Fundamental Top 500

      

encouragement

Change Where It Is Needed

I’ve heard over and over that we are either entering into, in the midst of, or coming out of tribulations and troubles, and the Scriptures concur: When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: Isaiah 43:2-3a

Yes, we are going to go through hard times. God said, “When”, not “If”. So this being the case, there is a particular mindset needed as a child of God to accept it and let God’s perfect plan be worked out. It is one thing to say that, but another to live it. This is a huge struggle for me. Over and over again, I catch myself trying to sort & work things out according to my thoughts & ways, but they are not God’s thoughts or God’s ways:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

This does not mean we sit back and do nothing. We MUST seek the Lord and His will to make sure we are doing what He wants us to do. If I spent more time doing this then “working things out my way”, I’d be at peace more often than not, rather than the other way around.

The key to peace is not in the situation. It has always been – and always will be – in who we think on:

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3

When my thoughts are focused on the Lord, who He is and all that He has done and is doing for me, there is no brain power left to have a “pity party.”

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Proverbs 23:7a

This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:21-23

My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Luke 1:46-47

In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. Psalms 94:19

Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established. Proverbs 16:3

Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back. Isaiah 38:17

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Hebrews 10:17

God may not change our situation, but He can change our hearts so we have His peace as we go through it.

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. (ie. cause them to stumble) Psalms 119:165

When Doing God’s Will Hurts

Doing God’s will may not always feel the best, but it is always the right thing to do.

Our family has felt this more this last 8 months or so more than at any other time. Although we know we are following God’s will, the consequences are that people our family cares about are getting hurt, and that tears us apart.

I started this devotional a few days ago, but the pain of having hurt others was still too fresh to focus. As I read it now, I am reminded of David, one of the greatest kings of Israel. He had been following God’s will in destroying some of Israel’s enemies, only to come back to his city and find it ransacked and the women & children taken captive. Needless to say, the people who had followed him were not too please:

And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. 1 Samuel 30:6

Regardless of we must do as Christians to stay in God’s will, someone may get hurt. Of course it’s going to hurt us and can even be “distressing”, but David’s solution is certainly the right one:  “…David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.”

When our focus remains on the Lord, the hurt of hurting others may still be there, but we can be encouraged as we know God is working out His plans, not ours:

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” Philippians 1:6

My life verse still remains Hebrews 12:2

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Heb: 12:2

When Trials Become Sin

This may seem like an odd title, but it is definitely something I’ve seen that was happening in my own life. It helps me to write things out so I can see the full impact of my actions/inactions and either continue in the right or stop the wrong. I hope that my story can be a help to others so this doesn’t happen to them.

As we’ve gone through some pretty hefty trials this last year, there were times when I was so overwhelmed and all I could think about was what we were going through. God was not in the forefront, the center or anywhere He should have been in my thoughts. I was headed down a path that would end up with me being so wrapped up in the hurt, the betrayal, the actual things going on around me, that I lost sight of The One who allowed all these trials to come upon me to strenghten me. Oh yes, I could quote verses about God being in control, and that all would be okay, but I was focusing on that rather than focusing on my Lord!

Remembering that anything that takes the preeminence in my heart other than God is an idol, I realized the trials/hurt, etc. had become the center – hence and idol – SIN.

The truth is, it doesn’t matter if the trials ever end or they get bigger and bigger. That’s not where my focus needs to be. All I am MUST be focused on the Lord, not what He is doing, whether He brings trials or easier times.

My Bible tells me many things about what position/priority God MUST have in my life, and I’ll quote some of them further, but it can all be summed up in very short passages as relayed in three of the Gospels:

“Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40

“And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Mark 12:28-33

It is also recounted in Luke 10:25-37, but in this instance, the Lord emphasizes the fact that we sin because we cannot love the Lord in this way, but it should still be our goal. Whenever I make it my goal to “to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength”, my heart is at peace. Come what may, good or bad, I’m not flustered, angry, upset, distraught, etc.

Here’s a brief account of this last week. It was interesting to say the least.

Sunday am: Asked to take in a friend from out of town who’s wife has been medivacced to local hospital for “flesh eating disease”. Didn’t know at this point if she was going to make it.

Sunday pm: 10 minutes escorting our friend to our home after church, our 9 year old border colie dies

Monday am: deal with disposal of beloved pet

Monday afternoon to 1am: rush husband to doc then hospital fearing heart attack. No heart attack but suspect angina attack – symptoms identical and still kicks the stuffing out of him

Tuesday afternoon: take husband to naturopath, confirm angina attack and that it was SEVERE. Narrowly avoid heart attack.

Wednesday afternoon: find one of our cats outside and he’s barely able to move. Think he was in a cat fight.

Thursday am: realized cat had been runover by car, not catfight. Losing another pet this week was not a preferred option. Rush to vet.  After some treatment, he’s going to be okay.

Also throughout the week, dealing with personal attacks on our family. Our friend in the hospital is still touch ‘n’ go, but she’ll be in hospital here at least 3 more weeks.

While going through this all, I was truly amazed at the peace God gave when I struggled to focus on Him. Then the following came to mind:

1. Alpha and Omega:

My thoughts should always begin and end with Him.

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8 Also Revelation 1:11, Rev. 21:6, Rev 22:13

2. Preeminence:

He should have the preeminence (first place) in all things, and that includes my trials.

“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:18

3. Focus: He should always be the focus. My “spiritual” eyes must be always looking to Him:

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Hebrews 12:2-3

Remembering these three things have been a huge help in placing the Lord first, versus letting the trials be my focus and become sin.

The following verse has also been in the forefront this week as I sought grace to go through whatever the Lord would have for me:

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16

He wants us to come to Him, not shy away when trials come, and let us not forget our purpose:

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelation 4:11

So…..

I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. Psalms 89:1

One of THOSE days….Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

We’ve all had “one of THOSE days”, and it just seemed like this last week was one of them. Ugh….4 major items breaking in one day, or within a couple days of eachother; children sick; major migraine; but it all came to a head on Tuesday.

As I mentioned in the last post, my Pfaff serger was giving me enough grief that I wanted to pitch it out the window. This happened on Friday, and I wanted to bring it to the repair shop on Saturday, but I was in bed most of the day with a migraine, and not too sparky the rest of the day.

Well, come Monday, Lowell brings it in to the shop on his way to work, but then he calls me to let me know it might not be ready till Wednesday. Not good since I have a big job of serging waiting for Okanagan Slipcovers.

So now we are in to Tuesday and I go to pick up our computer’s external drive which was being swapped out under warranty, but we’d been waiting for this for 3 months. I had files on three different computers, including website and business files, and it would take to long to move them around by burning CD’s. It was important I get it done as I have lots of work to perform relating to those files. Well, I get to the computer shop and it’s not ready (this is the third time we’ve tried to pick it up)….wait….for an extra hour, take it home, and it doesn’t work! I go back to the shop, it works there, but then won’t work at home!!!! Take it to piano with my laptop, and it still doesn’t work! Ugh….again.

I do other computer work while Cynthia and Abigail have their piano lesson.

We get into the van to leave, and it won’t start!!!! Long story, but it has done this to me 6 times over the winter, 3 of which have been at the piano teacher’s house. Praise the Lord, she didn’t have a student at that time, so she boosts the van and we go to drop it off at the repari shop and meet Lowell, then drive him to work. He picks up the “fixed” serger on the way in to meet us. That was a big help!

The girls and I drop Lowell off at work, go to Costco, and at this point my right thigh starts to really hurt. I have no idea why. We are only in Costco a half hour, but by the time we leave, I can hardly walk. We make it home, and I almost have to drag myself up the stairs as it feels like someone is trying to rip my leg off. Not fun.

After a while, I manage to get to the sewing room and have a look at the serger. I can’t believe what I see.The sample that the shop stitched looked horrible! I run the machine and it does exactly what one of the reasons were for bringing it in: it unthreads itself! I spend five minutes rethreading the machine and adjust the tensions so it looks the way it should. I then walk up the stairs only using one leg, as the other one was too painful to move, then I rest for the remainder of the evening.

I had had enough!!!! Or had I?

The truth is, although all these things were annoying, it just wasn’t that bad. I consider what happened inconveniences, not catastrophes. I purposely wrote this story in such a manner that it looked like I was overwhelmed, but I was not. I have so much to be thankful for!

Everything that happened, happened to “things”, not what was really important, like my family.

I’m so thankful the Lord helped me keep my perspective. I know of several families that are in a REAL mess right now. One man’s wife was in the hospital last week and the docs didn’t know if she was going to make it; another man’s wife is divorcing him; another man’s daughter has been missing for a week; I know of wives who’ve left their husbands over adultery or for him molesting the children. Now there’s items we could perhaps consider to be overwhelming, yet then again I many precious promises:

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Hebrews 13:5

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. John 10:27-28

I don’t deserve the least of His mercies, yet He blesses me abundantly!

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think… Ephesians 3:20

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (Note that God didn’t say all things would BE good, but rather “work together FOR good…”

and one of my most favorite verses:

This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:21-23

I have nothing to whine about! God is good all the time!

Where Do You Get Your Encouragement?

What do you do when a problem crops up? Run to the telephone to call your Mom, your Pastor, talk to your husband, or maybe go online to tell your cyber friends?

In simpler times, when believers found themselves isolated on the frontier (or even now, missionaries may be in the bush on the foreign field,) they would have no other recourse but to go directly to the Lord.

The advent of the telephone, vehicles, the Internet with e-mail and godly message boards, has provided wonderful resources for the Christian, yet I greatly fear that they have become the “cursed thing” (ie. and idol) as mentioned in Deut. 7:22-26. That may seem harsh, but remember an idol is ANYTHING that takes the place of the Lord, whether a thing or other people.

Of course other Christians are a blessing and a source of encouragement! I am not saying we should never go to other Christians, but our first thought should be to go to the Lord, not another sister in the Lord. There are many examples of this in the Scriptures, but our main source must….MUST come from The Only One truly capable of doing so.

Like many, I tend to be very tight-lipped about my problems. Too often; however, rather than taking my concerns, hurts and problems to the Lord, I internalize them and end up frustrated and even mad or bitter at the person that “might? have done something wrong.

In my own life, more often than not, God himself has sent the encouragement I have needed, without my having to utter a word to another human being. A note. A call. A cyber hug. All done by surprise by someone whom the Lord laid me on their heart. God is soooo good!

Let’s dig in the Lord’s precious Word and see some examples He has left for us.

1. David:

The Bible tells us that he was a man after God’s own heart who “encouraged himself in the Lord his God.”

And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. 1 Samuel 30:6

Here is David, serving the Lord, refusing to harm God’s anointed king yet having to run for his life from the very king he refuses to harm. Now, another enemy has wiped out the town where the families of David and his soldiers had been staying. Not only that, but the enemy had taken the wives and children captive! Now David’s own men wanted to stone him!

Yet, “…David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.?

How could he do this? As I stated in a personal testimony and study on Depression - It is all in the focus.

A) David focused on the Word of God – David did not have the completed Scriptures, but he was writing them! By reading the psalms, it is abundantly clear that God’s Word was precious to him. I’ve heard over and over how it is better to meditate upon small portions of Scripture rather than read chapter upon chapter, yet never considering what God has said or trying to apply it in our lives. Here are SOME verses in Psalms dealing with the Word of God: 18:30, 33:4 , 33:6, 56:4, 56:10, 105:8, 119:9, 16, 17, 25, 28, 41, 42, 43, 49,50, 58, 65, 67, 74, 76, 81, 82, 89, 101, 105, 107, 114, 116, 123, 133, 140, 147, 148, 154, 158, 160, 161, 162, 169, 170, 172, 130:5, 147:18, 148:8

In Psalms 119 alone, there are 36 verses that of His “word?. This does not take into account any verses dealing with judgments, commandment, or other variants.

These verses in particular caught my attention:

The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it. Psalm 68:11

Are we publishing God’s Word????

Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word: Do I believe His Word Psalm 106:24

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Am I hiding God’s Word in your heart??? 119:11

I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

- Notice how important God considers His Word – He has exalted it above His own name! Psalms 138:2

B)David focused on the Rock of his salvation – In Psalm 18 alone, David mentions the Lord as his rock (foundation, stabilizing force). Psalms 18:2, 31, 46

C)David focused on his Deliverer from earthly troubles – Psalm 7:2, 18:2, 40:17, 70:5, 144:2

D)David focused on the Lord his shield – Psalm 3:3, 5:12, 18:35, 28:7, 33:20, 35:2, 59:11, 76:3, 84:9, 84:11, 89:18, 91:4, 115:9, 115:10, 115:11, 119:114, 144:2

E)David focused on his Redeemer

Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer. Psalm 78:35

Do we really focus on Who our Lord really is?

There is so much more that could be written on how David could encourage himself in the Lord, but I’d like to move to a few others in the Scriptures who had the right focus.

2. Hannah: What grief she must have endured in her barrenness and then to have her adversary distress her, yet she went to the Lord. Not even when approached by the man of God did she express any of the details of what she was going through. 1 Samuel 1-2

And Hannah answered and said, … I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I … have poured out my soul before the LORD … out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto. 1 Samuel 1:15-16

3. “Consider Job.? (Job chapters 1 and 2)

For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Job 19:25-26

4. Personal Testimony: I am mere flesh and bone. I have my good days and bad days; however, I can truly say that the right focus plays the biggest part in whether I have the joy of the Lord despite the difficulties, or a miserable attitude unless everything goes right.

When needing encouragement, here are a few simple things that I try to remind myself of:

1.Who I am and what I deserve: a sinner deserving of Hell
2.Who I am and what I get: a sinner saved by grace on my way to Heaven

Let’s face it, as long as we live in this flesh, we will go through trials and tribulations, but the question remains: Where do you get your encouragement? What is distracting you from seeking encouragement and support from The Lord God, our Counsellor, our Saviour, our Redeemer, our Comforter, The Prince of Peace….

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Our main source of encouragment must….MUST come from the only one truly capable of doing so.

For the LORD is our defence; and the Holy One of Israel is our king. Psalms 89:18

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3

So the next time you need encouragement, I hope you will first and foremost take it The Counsellor, Comforter, Prince of Peace.

Angela Trenholm
March 15th, 2007

Daily Blessings


    The link to the Daily Blessing provider is given for credit purposes only. I cannot endorse all content on their website. - Angela

KJ Bible Search

    Find:
    Entire Bible
    Old Testament
    New Testament
    Red letter
    Show verse numbers only