Tag Archives: uplift

Encouragement

Is This True of Me?

From: My Utmost For His Highest

None of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself . . . —Acts 20:24

It is easier to serve or work for God without a vision and without a call, because then you are not bothered by what He requires. Common sense, covered with a layer of Christian emotion, becomes your guide. You may be more prosperous and successful from the world’s perspective, and will have more leisure time, if you never acknowledge the call of God. But once you receive a commission from Jesus Christ, the memory of what God asks of you will always be there to prod you on to do His will. You will no longer be able to work for Him on the basis of common sense.

What do I count in my life as “dear to myself”? If I have not been seized by Jesus Christ and have not surrendered myself to Him, I will consider the time I decide to give God and my own ideas of service as dear. I will also consider my own life as “dear to myself.” But Paul said he considered his life dear so that he might fulfill the ministry he had received, and he refused to use his energy on anything else. This verse shows an almost noble annoyance by Paul at being asked to consider himself. He was absolutely indifferent to any consideration other than that of fulfilling the ministry he had received. Our ordinary and reasonable service to God may actually compete against our total surrender to Him. Our reasonable work is based on the following argument which we say to ourselves, “Remember how useful you are here, and think how much value you would be in that particular type of work.” That attitude chooses our own judgment, instead of Jesus Christ, to be our guide as to where we should go and where we could be used the most. Never consider whether or not you are of use— but always consider that “you are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19). You are His.

 

encouragement

Inspire21.com

“How do you know if a man needs encouragement? If he is breathing.”
– Truett Cathy, Founder, Chick-fil-A

With so many people in the world telling us we can’t succeed, we need to hear people telling us we can. I remember my high school English teacher telling me not to apply to Cornell University because they wouldn’t accept me and even if they did I wouldn’t be able to do the work. (It’s funny that I’m a writer now). I almost didn’t apply but a few days later I saw Ivan Goldfarb, a former teacher, in the hallway and asked him about Cornell. He said, “If you get in, then you go. You can do it.” His words made all the difference. I applied, was accepted and majored in Lacrosse :).

Too often we think it’s our role to inject a dose of “reality” into someone’s life. We think it’s our job to protect people from the pain of failure and defeat. We think we must point out how bad the economy is and how horrible the job market is and how the sky is falling. We think that dreams were meant for others.

I say there are enough pessimists and “realists” in the world. The world doesn’t need more negativity and impossible thinkers. The world needs more optimists, encouragers, and inspirers. The world needs more people to speak into the hearts of others and say “I believe in you.” “Follow your passion and live your purpose.” “If you have the desire then you also have the power to make it happen.” “Keep working hard.” “You’re improving and getting better. Keep it up.” “The economy is tough but you can still grow your business.” “The job market is not great but I believe you’ll find the right job for you.” “We’ve hit a lot of obstacles but we’ll get the project finished.” “Even if you fail it will lead to something even better.” “You’re learning and growing.”

When it comes to encouragement I know that everyone of us loves working for and with people who bring out the best in us. We love being around people who uplift us and make us feel great. And while we’ll always remember the negative people who told us we couldn’t accomplish something, we will always cherish and hold a special place in our heart for those who encouraged us.

Today I want to encourage you to be an encourager. So often the difference between success and failure is belief. And so often that belief is instilled in us by someone who encouraged us. Leadership, after all, is a transfer of belief.

Today decide to be that person who instills a positive belief in someone who needs to hear your encouraging words. Uplift someone who is feeling down. Fuel your team with your positive energy. Rally others to focus on what is possible rather than what seems impossible. Share encouragement. It matters and we all need it

 

Streams In The Desert

As soon as the soles of the feet of the priests… shall rest in the waters… the waters shall be cut off (Joshua 3:13).

The people were not to wait in their camps until the way was opened, they were to walk by faith. They were to break camp, pack up their goods, form in line to march, and move down to the very banks before the river would be opened.

If they had come down to the edge of the river and then had stopped for the stream to divide before they stepped into it, they would have waited in vain. They must take one step into the water before the river would be cut off.

We must learn to take God at His Word, and go straight on in duty, although we see no way in which we can go forward. The reason we are so often balked by difficulties is that we expect to see them removed before we try to pass through them.

If we would move straight on in faith, the path would be opened for us. We stand still, waiting for the obstacle to be removed, when we ought to go forward as if there were no obstacles.
–Evening Thoughts

What a lesson Columbus gave to the world of perseverance in the face of tremendous difficulties!

Behind him lay the gray Azores,
Behind the gates of Hercules;
Before him not the ghost of shores,
Before him only shoreless seas.
The good Mate said: “Now we must pray,
For lo! the very stars are gone.
Brave Admiral, speak, what shall I say?”
“Why, say, ‘Sail on! sail on! and on!’”
“My men grow mutinous day by day;
My men grow ghastly wan and weak!”
The stout Mate thought of home; a spray
Of salt wave washed his swarthy cheek.
“What shall I say, brave Admiral, say,
If we sight naught but seas at dawn?”
“Why, you shall say at break of day,
‘Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!’”
They sailed. They sailed. Then spake the Mate:
“This mad sea shows its teeth tonight.
He curls his lip, he lies in wait,
With lifted teeth, as if to bite!
Brave Admiral, say but one good word;
What shall we do when hope is gone?”
The words leapt like a leaping sword:
“Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!”
Then, pale and worn, he kept his deck
And peered through darkness. Ah! that night
Of all dark nights! And then a speck–
A light! A light! A light! A light!
It grew, a starlit flag unfurled!
It grew to be Time’s burst of dawn.
He gained a world; he gave that world

Its grandest lesson: “On! sail on!”
–Joaquin Miller

Faith that goes forward triumphs.

 

February 11, 2014Crosswalk.com

Creative Reminders to Pray
Wendy Pope

“I will pray morning, noon, and night, pleading aloud with God; and he will hear and answer.” Psalm 55:17 (TLB)

Why is it so easy to remember every word to my favorite 80′s songs, but so hard to remember to pray for others?

There have been many times when I’ve told a friend, “Yes, I will pray for you.” Then time goes by and that promise slips my mind. Guilt fills my heart as days later I remember the forgotten prayerrequest.

My heart’s desire is to pray with purpose for each person and every need because I know God listens. The psalmist knew this too, and wrote these words in Psalm 55:17, “I will pray morning, noon, and night, pleading aloud with God; and he will hear and answer.”

That’s my intention too. Unfortunately, life’s busy schedule and my dwindling memory keep me from praying the way I want to.

So I asked the Lord to help me in this area. And He answered that prayer in an unusual way.

For some strange reason, I have the uncanny ability to remember the make and model of my friends’ cars. God used this ability to help me generate prayer prompters. Seeing the make and model of a friend’s car prompts me to pray for them.

But God didn’t stop there. He also showed me how to use other prayer prompters besides cars. Maybe my list will help you generate your own prayer prompts.

• A red Honda minivan: Renee Swope and family (She used to drive one)
• When my ears ring: Lysa TerKeurst (She had some damage to one ear)
• Leopard print: Lisa Allen (She loves leopard print)
• Purple, especially pens: Sharon Sloan (She loves purple)
• Fog or low lying clouds: Kristi Butler (We call low lying clouds the glory of the Lord)
• Wonderful, Merciful Savior: My former pastor (It is one of his favorite songs)

There are many ways we can remember to pray. Enter prayer requests as an appointment on your phone with an alarm to remind you. Write names and requests on a calendar to pray on specific days for specific people. Keep a notebook with you and record prayer requests.

Prayer prompts make it easier to pray morning, noon and night as the psalmist did. We can use red minivans or reminders on the calendar. Whenever the Holy Spirit prompts us to pray, God will hear and answer. Our prayers don’t have to be long, with big and lofty words. We just have to remember and pray with a sincere heart.

Dear Lord, I know that You hear and answer prayers morning, noon and night. Help me to be faithful to pray. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Fighting Spiritual Dejection

 


96-year-old bank note

From: Inspire21.com

The following is an actual letter that was sent to a bank by a 96 year-old woman. The bank manager thought it amusing enough to have it published in

the New York Times.
—————————-

To whom it may concern,

I am writing to thank you for bouncing my check with which I endeavored
to pay my plumber last month.  By my calculations, three nanoseconds must
have elapsed between his depositing the check and the arrival in my
account of the funds needed to honor it.  I refer, of course, to the
automatic monthly transfer of funds from my modest savings account, an
arrangement which, I admit, has been in place for only thirty-one years.
You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and
also for debiting my account $30 by way of penalty for the inconvenience
caused to your bank.

My thankfulness springs from the manner in which this incident has caused
me to rethink my errant financial ways.  I noticed that whereas I
personally attend to your telephone calls and letters, when I try to
contact you, I am confronted by the impersonal, overcharging,
pre-recorded, faceless entity which your bank has recently become.  From
now on, I, like you, choose only to deal with a flesh-and-blood person.
My mortgage and loan repayments will therefore and hereafter no longer be
automatic, but will arrive at your bank, by check, addressed personally
and confidentially to an employee at your bank whom you must nominate.
Be aware that it is an offense under the Postal Act for any other person
to open such an envelope.

Please find attached an Application Contact Status form which I require
your chosen employee to complete.  I am sorry it runs to eight pages, but
in order that I know as much about him or her as your bank knows about
me, there is no alternative.  Please note that all copies of his or her
medical history must be countersigned by a Notary Public, and the
mandatory details of his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets
and liabilities) must be accompanied by documented proof.  In due course,
I will issue your employee with a PIN number which he/she must quote in
dealings with me.  I regret that it cannot be shorter than 28 digits but,
again, I have modeled it on the number of button presses required of me
to access my account balance on your phone bank service.  As they say,
imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Please allow me to level the playing field even further.  When you call
me, you will now have a menu of options on my new voice mail system to
choose from.

Please press the buttons as follows:

To make an appointment to see me.
To query a missing payment.
To transfer the call to my living room in case I am there.
To transfer the call to my bedroom in case I am sleeping.
To transfer the call to my toilet in case I am attending to nature.
To transfer the call to my mobile phone if I am not at home.
To leave a message on my computer, a password to access my computer is
required. Password will be communicated to you at a later date to the
Authorized Contact.
To return to the main menu and to listen to options 1 through 7.
To make a general complaint or inquiry. The contact will then be put on
hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service. While this
may, on occasion, involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for
the duration of the call. Regrettably, but again following your example,
I must also levy an establishment fee of $50 to cover the setting up of
this new arrangement.  Please credit my account after each occasion.

May I wish you a happy, if ever so slightly less prosperous, New Year.

Your Humble Client…

(Remember: This was written by a 96 year old woman)

Hats Off to Birthdays

From: Getmorestrength.org.

“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12Hey, today’s my birthday! Don’t ask . . . I’m trying not to think about how many candles I’ll have on the cake. But it hasn’t always been like that. There was a time when I loved having birthdays. Turning 5 was really big. I couldn’t wait for the birthdays that qualified me to go to high school, get a driver’s license, and become a legal adult! Back then, people who were 35 seemed ancient.But let’s face it, time marches on. And looking in the mirror, you begin to feel that it’s marching right across your face! The real wake-up call is when you get an invitation in the mail to join the American Association of Retired Persons and to qualify for senior discounts. I hate to sound so grumpy, but to this day I refuse to join the old people’s club or to claim my discounts!

Yet I’ve come to realize that there is something important about having mile markers in life. They force us to stop long enough to measure where we are in life and to assess the true significance of what we are devoting our time and attention to. When I hit the ancient mark of 35, I remember feeling like a kid who had a five-dollar bill and had spent half of it any way he wanted only to realize that he only had $2.50 left. I figured if I only had half of my life left, I wanted to spend it in wise and fruitful ways. I wanted to minimize my regrets and maximize my opportunities. Things of long-term significance like my wife and kids became more important to me. How I used and where I spent my money took on a greater sense of significance. And the work of Christ through me became a more pressing priority.

Thinking about the work of Jesus reminds me that birthdays also help us to keep in mind that year-by-year we are closer to our final destination. One of the wisest things we can do is to remember that the only thing of true value here is what we do for eternity. Using your time, talents, emotions, energy, and cash for the cause of Jesus on this earth will result in rewarding outcomes in heaven.

Imagine stepping onto the other side and realizing that we have brought nothing with us of eternal worth. Think of looking into the face of Jesus and realizing that the only things we have with us are the wood, hay, and straw of earth-side stuff (1 Corinthians 3:10-15). If we don’t let the markers of life remind us of how close heaven is, we may make the mistake of pouring our lives into the bottomless bucket of stuff that doesn’t really make a difference after all.

Thank God for birthdays! They remind us that life is short and that heaven is near. If you take them seriously, you may just stand a chance of making it home with more than an empty bucket.

Spiritual Dejection

From: My Utmost For His Highest

We were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened —Luke 24:21

Every fact that the disciples stated was right, but the conclusions they drew from those facts were wrong. Anything that has even a hint of dejection spiritually is always wrong. If I am depressed or burdened, I am to blame, not God or anyone else. Dejection stems from one of two sources— I have either satisfied a lust or I have not had it satisfied. In either case, dejection is the result. Lust means “I must have it at once.” Spiritual lust causes me to demand an answer from God, instead of seeking God Himself who gives the answer. What have I been hoping or trusting God would do? Is today “the third day” and He has still not done what I expected? Am I therefore justified in being dejected and in blaming God? Whenever we insist that God should give us an answer to prayer we are off track. The purpose of prayer is that we get ahold of God, not of the answer. It is impossible to be well physically and to be dejected, because dejection is a sign of sickness. This is also true spiritually. Dejection spiritually is wrong, and we are always to blame for it.

We look for visions from heaven and for earth-shaking events to see God’s power. Even the fact that we are dejected is proof that we do this. Yet we never realize that all the time God is at work in our everyday events and in the people around us. If we will only obey, and do the task that He has placed closest to us, we will see Him. One of the most amazing revelations of God comes to us when we learn that it is in the everyday things of life that we realize the magnificent deity of Jesus Christ.