Category Archives: Encouragement

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Scar Tissue

Category : Encouragement

A woman named Glory underwent a surgery to replace her left knee after a car accident left it damaged many years before. Her first physical therapy session was scheduled for the very next morning about 100 feet from her hospital room. A hospital attendant rolled her to the class in a wheelchair, but explained that she would be expected to walk back with a walker. In the class, she winced during the warm-up exercises and drew her breath in pain with every repetition. Laying back against the cushions of the chair, she closed her eyes and complained of nausea and exhaustion.

The physical therapist commiserated with her, brought her some juice, and then explained that if she didn’t make an ever-increasing effort to bend her knee inspite of the pain, scar tissue would grow around the knee joint and hinder its movement. If this happened, she would likely have to undergo another surgery to regain use of the knee.

Isn’t this similar to the effort expected of us as new and old members of the body of Christ? Sin can function like scar tissue, binding us and hindering our movement for the work Jesus has saved us to do for His glory. This sin may take the form of a busy schedule that robs our time alone with God and His word. Or maybe it is a reliving of our past, or an unrepentant heart. Slowly but steadily these habits entangle and distance us from Jesus, leaving us out of the Christian “race” the Apostle Paul wrote of in Hebrews.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us […]

How can we do this when, like Glory after her knee operation, the pain surges and the progress crawls? The answer is found in the second half of the passage-

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

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Bad news, good news

Category : Encouragement

The headlines in Jesus’ day offered up the same kind we read today: tales of desperation, death, and destruction. Those who heard Jesus teach wanted to get His take on the current events.

“There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.

And [Jesus] answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way?  No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem?  No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:1-5).

If you weren’t listening carefully, you might not have caught the good news that followed the bad: there was hope in the midst of all of the hopelessness.

It was the same message delivered by “the voice of one crying in the wilderness” that drew crowds into the desert just before the beginning of Jesus’ ministry on earth. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2).

Good news. There is still time to repent.

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A Tithe of Time

Category : Encouragement

Many people who love God tithe so that their worldly wealth will be invested in sharing the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ alone.

There is another limited resource that Christians often overlook, though God’s Word does not: time.

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).

The King James Version of the Bible translated the original Greek as “redeeming the time.”

To redeem is to salvage something that would otherwise go to waste or regain possession of something in exchange for payment.

Our time is limited to our lifetime, and every second -every heartbeat- of our life’s time is determined by the Master.

It is reassuring to hear Jesus teach people like us -people with “ears to hear”-  that there is a better way to spend our time.

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:31-34).

Tithing our time offers us another way to worship God and put Him first and foremost in our lives.

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Portrait of a Savior

Category : Encouragement

Before Jesus came in human form “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10), the prophet Isaiah described Him. “He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2b).

God chose to send His Only Begotten Son and the promised Savior in a time when photography did not exist. Many artists have attempted to draw the face of the Lamb of God. They are all products of the imagination.

As you read God’s Word, can you “see” Jesus in your mind’s eye?

Have you believed in Him alone for your salvation? (Acts 16:30-31). If so, then you can direct your gaze upon Jesus, and say, “as for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness (Psalm 17:15).

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Fall leaves & folly

Category : Encouragement

On a day like this one in mid-October, a small palm frond fell from a tree and sank just below the surface of a shallow laguna nearby. A mother and son strolling by the same spot peered into the limpid water, catching sight of what they thought was the skeleton of one of the carp they often saw near the lake’s edge. Taking a few steps closer, they examined the spiny object and laughed when they realized it was just a fallen leaf.

Can a fish be spawned from a tree? Or a winged bird spring from a reptile? Or perhaps a man from an orangutan? Many myths abound in our sin-soaked world, myths that intend to cast doubt on the truth revealed to us by the Creator God who spelled out the origins of the world and everything that lives in it in Genesis 1:1.

 “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.”

     What you make of that opening line of the Bible will color your view of the world, your place in it, and everything else that follows. Do you have your own theory of the origin of the world, and maybe of God Himself?

In Isaiah 29, God warns those who think they know better than He. “[…] for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid” (v. 14b).  What is man’s knowledge and science in light of God’s omniscience and omnipotence?

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).