Encouraging Words Blog 


Devotional:Empty Words?

 As the rain and the snow  come down from heaven,
 and do not return to it without watering the earth
 and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater so is my word that goes out from my mouth: 

It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace;  the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.  …

You Mean I Don't Have to Fix Everything?

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15 

I am, by nature, a fixer: a problem-solver: a peace-maker.  It has come as a rude awakening to me that this is not what God always calls me to do.

When someone comes to me with a problem or hurt – my first response is to think of something to “fix” the problem.  Yet, here, God is telling me that I am to mourn with them.  I am to “crawl inside their skin” for a few moments – and simply be with them where they are.  …

Devotional: Living Water


He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions.  He brought you water out of hard rock. Deuteronomy 8:15

Have you ever read the story of the Exodus in the Bible and wondered at the Israelites reactions to the difficulties they faced?  God had done many miracles to get Pharaoh to allow them to leave Egypt.  He provided food for them in the form of manna as they traveled.  …

Dear God,

sunraysb w

Well, Lord,  Here I am again.  Back down in the valley.  It used to be the valley I feared.  Now, I know it is just a necessary valley I must walk though.

I thank for the mountain top moments, Lord.  And I thank you for teaching me that they are “moments.”  I am grateful for them.  They make the walk through the valley so much easier.  

There are moments of good.  For that I praise You.

Lord, I expected it all to be good.  …

No Pain - No Gain

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 

These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  (I Peter 5:6-7 NIV)

I have read that the way we develop stronger muscles by exercise is that we actually make small tears in the muscles and as they repair themselves they grow stronger.  …

Fitting In

missing puzzle piece

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.   Romans 8:38-39 (NIV).

Some days, my life is full of  “I can’t”s.  A friend calls and tells me the new morning Bible study for women is starting up soon.  …

What Does God Expect From Me Now?


For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
Romans 8:28-30

A reader left a comment on my recent post “I Did Not  Sign Up For This.”  She wrote, “I feel like a grape in that wine press. But that's a good thing, right?”  

I realized she is right.  It is a good thing.

I started thinking about the times in my life when things were going well.  …

Today I am Focusing On ...

What am I focusing on?

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  (2 Corinthians 4: 16-18  NIV)

Where is my focus today?

To be honest, right now I am looking more at my body and it’s “wasting away”  – the troubles that right now doesn’t seem so light and momentary.  …

Internal Treasures?

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4: 7-9  NIV)

No one ever promised it was going to be easy.  There are times I hate that saying, probably because it’s true.  I wanted easy.  I wanted simple.  …

I Did Not Sign Up for This!

"The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman and the planter by the one treading grapes. New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills.I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit.  (Amos 9:13-14 NIV)

Have you ever seen a grape press?  …

Climbing the Mountains

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.  Hebrews 13:8 (NIV)

One of the things about being human is that I am so .... so ..... human.  I know God answers prayer.  I know He either provides deliverance or endurance for me.  I have gotten through everything so far - yet, when new symptoms rear their heads my first response (and sometimes second and third) is fear.

Why is that?

I know the accepted responses are “lack of faith” on my part, fear, doubt, etc.  …

Forever and Ever, Amen!

growing hearts

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  Psalm 73:25-26 (NIV)

One thing that having daily, physical challenges has done for me is to change the way I look at things.  I can look back at the many things that seemed so incredibly important at the time, yet now hold little or no significance for me.

Does God Really Provide?

You are my hiding place and my shield; I wait for Your word.          (Psalm 119:11 NIV)

God provides.  And He is not limited in how He can do so.  I find it interesting that our God knows that sometimes, we need a place to hide.  There are times when all I want to do is run and hide.  My God tells me that I am able to run and find that place in Him.

Sometimes, we need a shield.  We need protection.  There are times I feel out in the open, with no place to hide – vulnerable.  …

Spirit Song

I'm departing from my traditional format a bit this morning.  These are lyrics to a song I remember from a time when I was really involved with a music ministry.  I no longer have the ministry, but God graciously let me stumble across the music once again.  

The site I found the lyrics on states this is a public domain song.  It was written by John Wimber. 

For me, the lyrics are usually the most compelling part of a song.  …

Devotional: When Life Dissolves Away

My life dissolves and weeps itself away for heaviness; raise me up and strengthen me according to [the promises of] Your word.   Psalm 119:28 (Amplified Bible)

Six years ago, an act of simply looking for a misplaced water bottle caused a driver to accidentally rear-end my car. I was stopped and she was bettering 50 mph.  I praise God that there were no on-coming cars that day, as my vehicle was jettisoned across the road- through a chain link fence that surrounded a small cemetery – and knocked down a cemetery monument before coming to a horrendously noisy, jarring halt.



My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your Word.  Psalm 119:28 (NIV)

Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.  John 6:68 (NIV)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  John 1:1 (NIV)

Words are important.  God makes that clear.  He gives us His words in the form of Scripture.  He gives us THE Word in the form of His Son.

Get Out of the Boat!

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13 NIV)

“You do know, ya got to get out of the boat to walk on water.”  

Wow.  I recently “overheard” this comment in a chatroom.  It was a conversation that I was not directly participating in, but boy-oh-boy did it hit home! I know when I think about the incident in Scripture where Peter tries to walk on water, I am usually focusing about the part that tells us how he took his eyes off of Jesus and began to sink.  …

Starting the Day Off ... Wrongly


Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, Ephesians 5:15

I did it again.  My morning got up and running before I did, and soon I was knee deep in the clutter of the day .  Thing after thing went wrong.  By 11:00 a.m., I was frustrated, irritated, and out-of-sorts.

Sometimes it takes a lot of frustration before I stop to look at how I started my day.  

Prayer?  Nope.

Reading my Bible?  Nope.

This is the Day


This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.  Psalm 118:24

There is this gratitude thing going around.  You read about it on a lot of different blogs nowadays.  Ann Voskamp and her 1,000 Gifts is an example.  The idea seems to be that if you find enough things to be grateful for, you'll be happier - or at least, more content.  Michael Hyatt talks about it on his blog.  There are many, many others.  …

Expect It!

You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and you listen to their cry,  Psalm 10:17

I’ve been searching for encouraging verses lately.  It seems many verses have promises “built in.”  I know that there are times when I feel I cry out to a God who does not seem to hear me.  Sometimes God seems oh-so-silent.  I have wondered if God is really there for me. There were times I even questioned if God was there at all.

God Whispers

I have heard folks ask “How do I know when God is talking to me?”  “How do I hear his voice?”  

I was reading in the book of 1 Kings and I came across this description of God speaking to Elijah.

The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by."      

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. …

Being Thankful in Difficult Times

God says No

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3: 16-17 NIV)

One of the things I did in my previous life was teach.  Not traditional teaching, but I saw my counseling profession as teaching.  …

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