Encouraging Words Blog 


One Saw Stars


We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:5

I read a short poem yesterday that kind of sums up all that God is teaching me lately.

"Two men sat behind the bars.

One saw mud, the other stars."

So much in life depends on our attitude.

A lot of people don't want to hear that.

They'd rather stay looking at the mud - for whatever reason.

Revisiting: The Story Continues

steve and deni dancing

I've had a few inquiries from newer readers about my "story."  I think that this devotional - and the Rest Ministry devotional link - tell the major part of my husband's story - which is inseparably intertwined with my own. 


Today's devotional is a continuation of the devotional "The Monster Might Be Back, but God Is Still Here" that was published by Rest Ministries a few days ago.  …

Giving Up On Your Gifts


It can be challenging and discouraging to watch your life change as you come to terms with chronic illness. But, do those changes mean you need to give up on all that God has put in your heart, or can He still make use of your gifts?

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

I was talking to a good friend last night.  In some ways, we were comparing how our "war stories" are similar.  …

How Can Everything Be Ok?


Have you ever wondered how everything can be falling apart around you, yet you can still be ok? Or even if it can be ok ever again? Perhaps God has some surprises for you that are waiting just around the corner.

Well, the short answer is, "I don't know really."

But that is only the short answer.

I've had a few folks wonder about my apparent lack of complete devastation and unraveling into total uselessness since the death of my husband.

Looking For the Not-So-Obvious


Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking. Ezekiel 1:27-28

A few nights ago, my daughter came running up the deck steps and burst into the room.  "There's a rainbow," she shouted.  "There's a rainbow."

Rainbows mean special things to me.

What Love Is

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Have you ever wondered what love is?  Real love?  Not the, "I'm really hungry and I'd love to have a pizza and by the way, I love the shoes you are wearing" kind of love – but love so real and so solid that it can knock your socks off when the comprehension of what it truly means to be loved by God hits home?  

We love, because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19 NASB

I read an interesting definition of love the other day - that love is "paying it forward" in action.  …

Revisiting: One Day

So many questions surface when I look at all the things happening in my family's life. This made a good "revisit" for me today.   Perhaps, if you have questions about your own life right now, Jesus' words will bring you comfort, too.

Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand."  (John 13:7, NIV)

What a lovely moment in Scripture!  When Jesus begins to wash His disciples feet.  …

Loved Through Our Losses

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Feeling alone?  Empty? Ever wish there was someone who loved you beyond words? Maybe you simply haven't met them yet.

I simply love the way God continues to reveal Himself.  It seems as though I hit these rocky low spots and then suddenly, I see a new (to me) truth that whirls me up into the mountain tops for a what I like to call a "God moment."

I was thinking about losses.

We lose so much in this lifetime.

Actually, over the course of our lifetime, we lose everything at some point.


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What do you do when life hits you with a sudden, unwanted and hurtful blow?  How do you deal with the aftermath? Do you dwell on the resultant pain, or do you allow God to apply His healing balm? 

My life feels shattered, much like the above photograph. There is this huge hole in my life - and every where I turn I seem to run into a jagged, hurtful edge. And my body is evidence of the stress I am feeling.

Saturday night found me in the emergency room, throat feeling tight and so swollen I could barely swallow, hives and welts popping up everywhere on my body and itching beyond belief.  …

You Are Acting Like a Child!

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Have you ever been chastised with the words, "You are acting like a child!" Perhaps, this can be more of a compliment than you realize.

When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11

And He said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."  

For the Times We Are Afraid

Do you ever feel that, as a follower of Christ, you should be immune from fear? Do fear and anxiety seem to freeze your ability to function? God knew we'd all feel afraid at times - and He also gave us the remedy!

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There is a song from a children's album that I like to play. The album was written to help children memorize scripture through music.  (Not a bad idea for adults, too!)

My favorite song?

"When I Am Afraid."

Revisiting: My Comfort Tree

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Where do you go on the days you feed to feel comforted?  Yes, God is our obvious first choice (and rightfully so!) Yet, God can send comfort in through many different messengers.  Some days, it is through a friend or a song.  Some days, you might even find comfort in a tree!  

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.  (Isaiah 26:3, NIV)

Outside my bedroom window is a large shagbark hickory tree.  …

Empty Days

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"Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19

I remember when I used to wish I could have a few days off.  

I was so busy.  I had a job, was going to school, and raising a family.  Free time was scarce. 

Suddenly I had more 'free time' than I knew what to do with. A car accident that triggered a stroke saw to that.

Feel Like You Are Free Falling?


Ever feel like you are falling through life without a parachute?  The good news? There is Someone who is always there to break our fall and keep us safe.

“There is none like the God of Jeshurun, Who rides the heavens to your help, And through the skies in His majesty. “The eternal God is a dwelling place, And underneath are the everlasting arms; Deuteronomy 33:26-27a

I should have anticipated it.

Stress always does this to me.  

A Touch of Joy


Things can all look bleak when viewed through the eyes of chronic illness.  It can be so easy to grouse our way through life.  At some point, we realize just how fast our life goes by.  "Stop and smell the roses" may be trite.  But it is also true.  Can you look for the little joys, today?

Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 

Revisiting: Embracing What We Have Left


This post was written a mere year ago.  Little did I dream of the losses we'd be facing as a family.  Yet, I find these words are true for me today, just as they were a year ago. If you are struggling with loss today, I pray you will take God's promise of restoration to heart.

Then I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locust has eater, the creeping locust, the stripping locust, and the gnawing locust. …

Being One of You

group of people

There is a saying that goes something like this: Rarely are members of one's true family born under the same roof. Sometimes we are forced into isolation by our illnesses.  There are ways to find our 'family'- even if it means finding creative ways to do so.  God created us for relationships - let Him help you find them.

Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

On Becoming a New Creature

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Have your life challenges caused you to lose your old identity? Do you feel there is no hope for something new?  God can (and will!) surprise us if we remain open to Him.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.      2 Corinthians 5:17

I usually get pretty excited over new things.

When I was little, the best possible present in the world was a box of brand-new crayons - especially the box of 64.  

When It's Pruning Time


Life is difficult. How do you handle it when you find loss after loss, uncertainty after uncertainty?  What if the word "wait" meets you at every turn? Can God take those times - and bring forth fruit - from you?

Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. John 15:2

If you've been reading my posts for any amount of time, you will have come to the conclusion (and rightly so) that I dislike waiting.

Are You Listening to Your Head or to Your Heart?

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Do you question why there are so many verses about healing in Scripture, but have not experienced personal healing?  Do you get discouraged about your illnesses?  God may have plans for your life that are greater than the challenges you are now facing.  

But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. …

Angels Unaware

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Do you see the events in your life as random, disconnected dots?  Or do you see the golden thread of God's loving care weaving your life together to form a beautiful tapestry?

For He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; Psalm 91:11

Somehow, it's all connected.

I've written before about serendipity:

How we can find "coincidental" joys in small, seemingly random events.

I find that when I share these events, that I'm not the only one who sees them more as God orchestrated happenstances.

Revisiting: When Will It End?


 This is a devotional from May of 2012. In many ways, this is a painful repost for me; but the message within makes it worth the pain.  I choose to believe that my husband is now in that place prepared for him and that someday, I will be there, too.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.  My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?

If There Is A God ...


. . . that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  Matthew 5:45

"If there is a God, then why did ______________happen?"

I have heard that so many times lately.

I seem to be having more conversations about spirituality and God.

I know I have asked questions as to why God allows the things He does.

Sometimes, there are tragedies on a large scale.  …

During the Lonely Times

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Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefor I will wait for him."  Lamentations 3:22-24

Some days it  can be difficult to believe that we belong anywhere at all.  The life we live on the path of chronic illness and challenges can be lonely.  People around us may not understand what we are going through or why we have the limitations we do.  …

 © deni weber 2010-2015