Encouraging Words Blog 

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Our Ace in the Hole

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Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. 2 Kings 19:14

If I were a poker player (which I'm not, but I watched my dad play many a game), I think I'd be described as someone who keeps their hand "close to their chest."  While I share many things - there are also things I keep closed up inside.

I think I even resist sharing them with God.

Revisiting: Do You Face Illness … or Challenges

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Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:1

Today is a good day.  Somehow, I think that folks aren't going to want to read this in a devotional about chronic illness.  I get the sense that they would rather hear about the challenges, the difficulties, the problems than hear that life with chronic illness can be good.

When Pain Surrounds You

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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. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:11-13

This is one of the challenging days. 

I'm doing pretty well … but, I'm seeing so much pain in the lives of dear ones around me.

Living Without Wax

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But now, O Lord, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand. Isaiah 64:8

One of my weekly reads is the email sermon I receive from Bruce Goettsche from Union Church in Illinois.  I find that much of what he says is applicable in my life.  Last week's sermon contained this information:

"In Bible days it took many hours for a potter to shape, fire (in a handmade kiln), and cool a piece of cookware. …

More Lessons from Cats

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But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, And the Lord has forgotten me. Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; …" Psalm 49:14-16

I never knew that animals truly mourned.

My husband's cat is showing me differently.

She was her "daddy's" cat.  Found when she was between 4-5 weeks old, she formed strong attachments to the men in her life.  …

Special Guest Post! Actions Speak Louder Than Words

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I am thrilled to have Eva Piper as my guest writer for today's devotional!  

Eva Piper is a speaker and author with a unique insight into the trials of heartache and the triumph of overcoming. The wife of best-selling author Don Piper, Eva was the glue that held her broken husband and her family together. Don’s story, recounted in the New York Times bestseller, 90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Life and Death

What I've Learned in Three Months

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It has been three months since my husband's death from cancer.

What have I learned in those three months?

I've learned that life goes on in spite of our family's grieving.

Kids still get sick.

Household appliances still break down.

Problems that existed before still exist today.

I've learned that grieving is personal.

That there is no right or wrong.

I've learned that day-by-day is all I can do.

Funny, it's always been all I have been able to do.

A Place Firm Enough to Stand


He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:2 

My dad used to tell me that there would always be someone <brighter, more talented, more famous, more _______> than I will be.  And …. there will always be someone with less talent, less fame, less  _________> than I have.  

I've found that my depression has it's roots forming when I start to compare where I  am, where I am going, and who I am to anyone or anything else.  …

Stripped Down

When All Else Has Failed You

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Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:8

I've a friend who suggested that I look for a particular phrase in the book of Psalms.  Taking the easy way out, I looked it up in Biblegateway and found that it appears 40 times in the Old Testament.  The phrase?  Unfailing love.

It brought 1 Corinthians 13:8 to mind:

Love never fails.

Now I don't know about you, but I can't really grasp the concept of an unfailing love.  I know that as human beings, our love often falls short.

Exaltation!

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Those of you who have been reading for a while know how much music ministers to me.  In my days of better health (what a nice way to put that!), I was active in our church choir.  

Back in the 80's, our church choir performed a concert of Ron Huff's Exaltation.  For me, it is an amazing collection of Scripture set to music and a fantastic way to engrave Scripture into my heart.  Unfortunately, I've long since lost the cassette tapes we had for practice.

More on Brokenness

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I've had a number of messages and emails since Fighting the Emptiness was posted.  I'm realizing that what I thought was a clear message may have been anything but clear.

It seems there are different kinds of emptiness - different kinds of brokenness  - aside from what I am feeling.

There are those of you who feel empty - who have no hope - who wonder how they will get on to the next day … the next hour.  There are some of you who are so broken you don't feel you could ever be "fixed."

Well Done!

Often I find that "revisiting" posts give me a new perspective.  It hasn't been all that long since this was posted, November I think, yet so much has changed in my life.  I feel the need to refocus on what is important in this life.  This posts helps me to do that.

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’  

Revisiting: God Knows

Have you ever felt your life is a jig-saw puzzle?  I know I have.  Some days I feel like I am a puzzle with a big hole in the middle and no pieces to place in it.  Other days, I feel as if I have puzzle pieces … and no place to put them. This week has felt as if someone simply took the box of pieces and threw them on the floor.

Some days I just get plain tired of trying to make the pieces fit.  What if I end up with no picture at the end of all my hard work?  …

Fighting the Emptiness

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I am forgotten as a dead man, out of mind; I am like a broken vessel. Psalm 31:12

Someone I consider a friend and a mentor of sorts (she has gone before me in so many of the things I have wanted to do and I so admire her for that!), made the comment that I have "so much to give."

Huh?

My first thought was that she doesn't know me very well …. that she doesn't see the emptiness I am carrying around inside of myself lately.  …

Closed Doors

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Do you wrestle with the times God says "No" in your life?  There is a simple way to handle those closed doors.  


And the Lord said to me, "Enough!  Speak to Me no more of this matter."  Deuteronomy 3:26b

I am so yearning for a "Yes" from God right now.

The answer I keep hearing is "No."

I believe I've prayed rightly.  I've asked to either open or shut a door in my life.  Truth be told, I want I open.

You have no idea how much I wanted it open.

idk

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Does your need to understand why things happen put you in the place of doubting God?  Some times not knowing the answer is ok …  

“All this,” David said, “I have in writing as a result of the Lord’s hand on me, and He enabled me to understand all the details of the plan.”  1 Chronicles 28:19

I heard an interesting comment yesterday. I was watching a television worship program, and the pastor was talking about people asking why things happened.

"What's It All About, Alfie?"

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Do you have times when you wonder what life is all about?  There is simple answer to a complex question and contrary to "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," the answer is not 42! 

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

An Ordinary Life

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Have you ever wished that the challenges would stop, that life would return to its former state?  Have you longed for ordinary days?  Perhaps we should be thankful that our lives are not so ordinary, after all …

When Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.”Genesis 28:16

There are some things that just don't quite fit in the world of chronic illness.  We might try to make them fit.  …

Picture It ...

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I'm finding that today is, once again, one of the empty feeling days.  I know I'm searching in the wrong places when the emptiness presents itself.  I'm thinking I need a vacation; a camping trip, if you will. And I think I need to be spending some time in God's tent.  Is it time for you to take a vacation from the cares of this world?  Join me in Psalm 61!

"From the ends of the earth I call to you,  lead me to the rock that is higher than I."

But It's Not Fair!

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I wouldn't even want to count the number of times I have cried out, "It's  Not Fair!"  Do you find yourself uttering these words?  Maybe life is fairer than we think.

But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:44-45)

Revisiting: Do's and Don'ts

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My guess is that a lot of folks look at Scripture and see a bunch of "don't"s.  Don't do this .... don't do that.  I guess I used to think like that.

Reading Scripture has opened my eyes to how instructive God's word is.  Yes, there are things we are told not to do.  But much like taking that sharp knife away for a toddler, they are all for our own good.

What strikes me is how often we overlook the "do's" in Scripture.  …

Wanting to Live in Tomorrow or Yesterday

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Ever wish you could see into the future?  There are many reasons that this may not be such a good idea …

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34

Probably one of the major signs of my impatience is that I want answers and I want them now!  

Whether a new illness will be lurking around the corner, or if the weeks ahead will be good ones for me.  …

A Time to Mourn

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Sometimes we don't realize that buried with in one loss are many.  We may wonder why it takes so long to grieve.  Perhaps we don't truly recognize all we have lost with our illnesses . The days of great of sorrow mean we also had great days of joy: to miss much is to have loved much … 

A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance. Ecclesiastes 3:4

I've been doing a lot of reading lately.  …

Someone to Watch Over Me

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Some days we just wish there was someone around.  Good news?  There is …

“I am the Lord, I have called You in righteousness, I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You, Isaiah 42:6

I have been told in the past that I am multi-faceted.  

I write, I paint, I sing … or at least I used to.  Creativity comes easily for me.

I'm beginning to understand all of that as I look at the many facets of God - and we were made in His image.

Making a Message Out of the Mess of Our Lives

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Do you look at your life and see nothing but a mess?  What if, out of that mess, can come a glorious message of faith, hope, and love?

But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. 1 Thessalonians 5:8

Sometimes it seems I have my head buried somewhere other than in the main stream of things.

A dear friend used a phrase in a note to me about the "mess" that we, are turning into our message.

Feeling Alone?

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I had decided that today might be a good "revisit" day.  As I was searching through the archives to find the "right" devotional, this one jumped out at me.  Yes, I'm feeling alone.  It's been a roller coaster since my husband died two months ago.  Finding the reassurance in these verses we helpful for me.  I pray they might be for you as well.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  

When It Feels Like God Has Let Go

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‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10

For some reason, during my prayer time this morning, an old memory surfaced for me.  

It was my dad, teaching me to ride a bike.  

I was a scaredy-cat as a kid - and pretty darned uncoordinated, especially for someone who would go on to be an artistic-dance skater.  

Do You Have a Small "g" God?

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Small "g" god or Capital "G" God - what's the difference?

“For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns That can hold no water." Jeremiah 2:13

Pain, for whatever reason, is pain.

Emotional, physical, spiritual - it's all pain.

We ultimately react to it all in the same way.

For the most part, we seek relief in whatever form we can find.

Breaking Free

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When you deal with chronic challenges you can feel defeated - almost imprisoned in the body in which you now live.  Do you ever fell there is a completely well "you" inside? Maybe that's not far from wrong!

and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. Acts 16:26

I realized something today.

Surviving the Deep End of the Pool

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Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  James 1:2-4

My grandson tends to over-estimate his abilities.  I remember when he was younger - maybe 7 or 8 - he went to a summer camp that had daily swimming lessons.  

 © deni weber 2010-2015