Encouraging Words Blog 


Get Out of the Way and Let God Be God!


"Cease striving and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

"Be still and know that I am God: ... (NASB)

Sandy is still on my mind.  I got to thinking about the eye of a tornado - or the eye of a hurricane when I titled yesterday's post.

It must be strange to experience that phenomena - to actually be in the eye of a storm.  Yet, how many times do we, as we deal with our illnesses and challenges, have the same opportunity?  …

In The Eye of the Storm


God is our refuge and strength.  A very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; Though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.  Selah.  Psalm 46:1-3

I didn't have to go searching for these words.  They found me.  They were waiting in my daily reading schedule.  How could I help but connect them to what is happening in our country today?

During the Hopeless Times

baby bird

A bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice. Isaiah 42:3

Have you ever seen a baby bird - newly hatched and nearly featherless - that has fallen from its nest?  Have you ever experienced that helpless feeling, knowing there is probably little you can do to save the poor thing?

I can remember times when I've wanted to try to do all I could to rescue that poor little one.  …

Guest Post: God's Love is Complete

I love being able to share posts from other writers that I respect!  Today's guest post is from Fiona Burrows.  Fiona and I met as fellow writers for the Rest Ministries writing team. I hope you are blessed by her words today.  

Have you ever wondered if God’s love is really all you need? Is it really enough to get you through those very tough times in your life? Is God’s love a constant? Is there anywhere that God’s love cannot reach?

"Are You Sure You Know What You're Doing, God?"


These words have been uttered, or at least thought, by me more than once.  There have been tremendous periods of upheaval in my life - in the lives of those who make up my family - more than once.

I look at situations and think, "Surely, this is not what is supposed to happen."

I have the firm conviction that events in our lives are not random.  I struggled with that for months after the death of my daughter.  …

Revisiting: Well Done!

As I get ready for my first arts and crafts fair, I realized how pertinent this post is for me today. Perhaps it is one that will encourage you today as well.

“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!’  Matthew 25:21

I’m miss being able to attend church.  I do, however, get an email  sermon by Bruce Goettsche.  …

Devotional: Strength for Today


Lord, Be gracious to us; we long for You.  Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.  Isaiah 33:2

Sometimes I wonder how in the world I got started writing this blog. I think a lot of it came out of my love for Scripture.  

I've always written things down - from the silly little stories I wrote as a child, to journaling for years.  I've attempted books (I have about 4 unpublished manuscripts and a screenplay.)  …

Even When We Forget


It was I who taught Ephram to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love.  To them I was like the one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bend down to feed them.  Hosea 11:3-4

Sometimes I forget.

I simply forget. 

I used to marvel at how the Israelites could have been so blind to the very presence of God.  …

Baby Steps


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

I had my physical therapy again today.  I'm slowly coming to recognize that there is only a certain amount of exercise I can tolerate before my body rebels.  And it's not a lot.  

I guess I could get discouraged.  Yet I have this wonderfully encouraging therapist who understands just how weak my body is.

"You can't compare yourself to others.  …

"You've Got a Friend"

Holding Hands 8

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:15

One of the more dramatic changes in my life came about because of my challenges: my loss of friends.  

Once I stopped grad school - those friends gradually faded.  I was no longer able to make the trips to Chicago to visit.  …

Running and Races

dreamstimefree 2231711

One of the things that I love about Scripture is that it can speak to us in different ways at different times:  The meaning becomes personal.  I had this submission from Lynn Severance to use as a guest post, but with my foggy brain, I had forgotten the verse she used for it when I chose yesterday's verse.  I realized when I reread it before posting that it is the same verse as the one from yesterday, but with a completely different way of understanding it.  …

"Dance With Me"

blue woman dancing

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

I read a Steve Jobs quote the other day.

"Life is short, don't waste it living someone else's life."

I know that I spent years and years living someone else's life.  I've tried to be what I saw in other people and what other people expected me to be.  …

Revisiting: Jesus Wept

During one of my other "Revisiting the Archives" postings, I had asked if there were any favorites folks would like to see again.  This is one that was mentioned.  God seems to be saying that someone needs the words today.  I repost them prayerfully.

"Where have you laid him?" he asked.  "Come and see, Lord," they replied.  Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, "See how he loved him!"John 11:34-36 (New International Version)

How Do You Carve a Statue of an Elephant?


“Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction." Isaiah 48:10

Q:  How do you carve a statue of an elephant?

A:  It's simple. You start with a block of marble and chip away everything that doesn't look like an elephant.

I have always liked that joke.  

I think that what I like about it is that it is true.  

One of the things I have come to understand is that  the challenges I have faced have helped carve out "me."


sand heart

Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Psalm 51:10

I've written before as to how music touches me in so many ways.  It uplifts me, convicts me, comforts me, speaks to me.  I've been blessed with a dear, dear friend who relates to music in a similar way.  She passed this video on to me today.  

I was struck by how this hit home for me - so many days I do feel as if I am worn out even before the day begins.

Guest Post: Valley...Mountaintops...Gods Ways

bridge-to-fall 19-133131

I'd like to thank Lola McGuire for today's guest post!  Lola is a dear friend I have made on this always interesting journey through chronic challenges.  I enjoy her writings and hope you visit her blogsite God Says Listen where she shares her walk through this world with Christ at her side.

Scripture says: " In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight"...Proverbs 3:5

As read this verse I had actually been thinking about another subject.  …

Giving Thanks?

fall leaves

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:18

I can have problems with verses like this one.

You know the kind.  The ones that tell you to be thankful, joyous, etc. all the time.  It can seem crazy to me. I mean, there are times I just don't want to be grateful for.

I know that I have come to believe that God will somehow bring good from any circumstance.  …

Revisiting: Dying to Self - Part 2

I tend not to have two "revisits" in a row unless I am really having problems, but this post and yesterdays post go hand in hand.  I find that even while facing my challenges, I continue have experiences that also challenge my walk in Christ.  There are much needed words for me today.  I pray they can touch your heart as well.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. …

Revisiting: Dying to Self

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

I wish I could lay claim to having written the following.  If anyone knows the author, please contact me so I can give proper credit to this lovely writing on dying to one’s self that is based on Romans 6:11.

"When you are forgotten, neglected, or purposely set at naught, and you don't sting or hurt with the oversight, but your heart is happy being counted worthy to suffer for Christ;

With Perseverance

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;  and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;  and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:3-5

I know this.

I really do.

I know that I have to continue to exercise my body even when it hurts.  …

Show Up, Slow Down, and Be Silent


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. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. …

When You Are Weary


 “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."  Matthew 11:28

I realize that this is a verse most people are familiar with. I know it is considered to be a "comfort" verse.  It's easy to understand why.

How often do you feel weary?  Burdened by the cares of life?  

I like the way that the NASB used the words "heavy-laden."

How life can feel that way!

One of the things I appreciate about Scripture is that is pulls no punches. 

Fearfully and Wonderfully

chest baby

If you did not receive a devotional yesterday, please click here to read it.  Something seems to have glitched in the sending of the email subscriptions.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

Today it is a stretch to write at all.  I somehow aggravated my spinal issues, so moving at all is difficult. It is on days like these that I realize how much I still take things for granted.

"On My Knees"

Praying Knees

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;  Psalm 95:6

Once again, God used a good friend of mine to help me clarify what I need to be doing in difficult times like those my family and I are facing today.  Though I can't actually "get on my knees" with my body, I can get on my knees in my mind.  I truly believe it is an attitude more than anything else.

I pray that this video brings you closer to Him, no matter what is happening in your life today.  …

What Difference Does It Make?


“ What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? Luke 15:4

This week has been a challenge.  Multiple doc appointments in a single day.  Heading into Chicago (over an hour away most days) multiple times.  Spending more time in a car than I'd like to.  Fighting with insurance companies, making sense of scheduling multiple tests. …

Revisiting: Loss or Gain?

I apologize for the sporadic postings this week.  This has been a week full of appointments and losses.  I feel I am being stretched to that breaking point again.  This is so appropriate for my world today as I struggle to make sense of the rapid changes our family faces.  I pray you find encouragement in the revisiting of these words.

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stall yet I will rejoice in the LORD,  I will be joyful in God my Savior. …

A Clear Snapshot?

Chicago 1022012 collage

For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; Deuteronomy 8:7

I recently purchased a new camera.  

I don't know a lot about cameras.  My experience with them is rather like my experience with cars.  My expectation with a car is that it should start when the key is turned.  My expectation with a camera is that I push a button and I get a picture.

The Battle is Not Yours


Words from my daily reading caused me to smile today.  I was sitting in a lab waiting room passing time until it was my turn for a blood draw.  

When I first saw that the chapters were all from 2 Chronicles, I sighed a bit.  Not my favorite book of Scripture!  I usually find that I have to slog through the books in Kings and Chronicles.  There seems to be so much repetition.  There are names I can't pronounce.  

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