Tag Archives: encouragement

Fighting Peer Pressure

I was in a meeting when a group of coworkers decided to go downtown for dinner and to check out the night life despite being told by our supervisors not to. They were asking one guy to go with them and he said, “I don’t like to be out late. I’m a bear when I don’t get my sleep.” They continued to pressure him until finally he agreed. They all cheered and he smiled sheepishly. The group then turned to me and said, “Let’s go! Are you in?” Matter of factly I said, “No.” The leader of the group said, “Well, that was definitive.” He turned to the group and asked what time everyone wanted to leave.

Peer pressure isn’t something that only kids face. We as adults are exposed to it almost daily. Most of it is harmless, but there are those moments when it’s trying to get you to sin. I’ve learned that disobedience likes company. It’s a way of justifying your desires that are counter productive to what God wants you to do. If more people are doing it, then it’s the popular opinion and we must be misinterpreting God. That kind of peer pressure is what got Adam and Eve to sin.

Proverbs 1:10 says, “When peer pressure compels you to go with the crowd and sinners invite you to join in, you must simply say, ‘No!’” (TPT) If you haven’t decided before a situation arises how you are going act or what you’re going to say, it becomes increasingly difficult to respond the right way. We need to purpose in our hearts to say, “No” when temptation comes. We must be firm and have a desire to please God more than man. Remember that peer pressure only works when they think you can be influenced to go along with the crowd. Ask God today to help you stand firm in the areas where you normally give in.

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Active Duty

When God spoke to us about changing churches, we weren’t happy about it. At the new church we would come in late and leave early to avoid connecting with people. We did this for about nine months. Then the pastor reached out and wanted to go to lunch. At the lunch, he said, “I want you to know that I know you’re in our church. If you’re here to heal and want to move on, that’s fine. If you’re only here temporarily and want to move to another church, I can help you find one. If you’re going to stay here, let me know when you’re ready to get engaged. Whatever you and God decide, I’ll support.”

It was very impactful for me because he wasn’t just acknowledging I was there. He was calling me off of the sidelines and telling me that wherever I went I was going to have to get active again. When I was ready to get active again, I let him know. He had me meet with the executive pastor to see where I would fit best. He said, “We have a lot of places we could plug you into, but we want to find the right fit for you.” We met several times before finding a place. They were putting 1 Thessalonians 5:14 into practice.

It says, “We appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, to instruct those who are not in their place of battle. Be skilled at gently encouraging those who feel themselves inadequate. Be faithful to stand your ground. Help the weak to stand again. Be quick to demonstrate patience with everyone” (TPT). Each of us have a place on the battlefield with a job to do. At times, every one of us will feel inadequate and we need help standing. If you’re there now, surround yourself with those who will help you. If you see someone else in that place, reach out and help them. We are to help each other reach our potential and to do our part in the Kingdom work.

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Forgiving One Another

Several years ago I reconnected with a person that went to my high school. I watched silently as they posted pictures of the ministry they were doing. Inside, i would think, “What’s their game? Who are they trying to fool?” I had seen this person play the part of a Christian, but could tell they were faking it. Fast forward twenty years later and I felt like they were still faking it. I watched them for almost a year as they kept updating about their ministry. Each time it would burn me up. One day as I was stewing over it, the Lord spoke to me and said, “Why are you holding their past against them? Do I do that to you?”

I can tell you that was an humbling experience. God reminded me that as a person, I only look at the outside of a person, but He looks on the inside to see the true intent. I finally reached out to this person and found out that God changed their life in college. After they shared their testimony, I confessed how I had felt and what God spoke to me. From that point, I began to look for ways to partner with them in the ministry they were doing. Once I forgave them for their past, I was free for God to use me as well.

Ephesians 4:32 says, “But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love” (TPT). Many of us are guilty of holding something against someone because of something they’ve done in the past. As believers, we must forgive them or we withhold our own forgiveness. If the depths of Christ’s love can cover any sin, we too must learn to forgive in the same manner. Who knows what our unforgiveness is keeping us from? Even if the relationship isn’t reconciled, forgiveness is our path forward in Christ.

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Finding Grace

When I was around seven or eight, I did something that upset my mom. She told me that when my dad came home from work he was going to punish me. She then sent me to my room to wait. After I got in there, I began to think of the punishment I was going to get. I thought about hiding. It seemed like the best plan until I thought about escaping through the window. I then realized that would make it worse. Finally, I decided to put on every pair of underwear I had and some baggy pants. As I waited, all I could think about was the punishment. To be honest, I don’t remember the punishment that day. I just remember the build up and fear.

When you and I sin, we often act like that. It’s the Adam and Eve approach to sin. We feel bad for what we’ve done, and more than anything, we’re embarrassed. It’s obvious God knows about it, but for whatever reason, going to Him seems like a far fetched idea. To be forgiven freely doesn’t feel right, so we wallow in our shame for a bit. It’s like we feel the need to punish ourselves over our sins. The truth is that God doesn’t want us to hide from Him in those moments. He wants us to come to Him right away for the grace He gives.

Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us have confidence, then, and approach God’s throne, where there is grace. There we will receive mercy and find grace to help us just when we need it” (GNT). The verse before says that Jesus understands our weaknesses and sympathizes with us. He didn’t come into the world to condemn us, but that through Him we would find grace when we need it most. He is merciful, and too often we forget that. There’s no reason to hide from Him because of what you’ve done. He knows about it and loves you still. Approach His throne today, get the grace you need and lose your shame.

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Developing Your Spiritual Gifts

Every one of us have things we are naturally gifted at and things we are not so good at. In today’s world, we have been spreading the lie to people that they can be anything they want to be. If you are not built a certain way or have superior skills, you will never be a professional athlete no matter how much you want to be one. Instead, i recommend that you look at the what has been given to you, develop those skills and use them for in a field where they can bloom. We get the biggest bang for our buck when we develop what we are gifted with rather than what we’re not gifted with.

Romans 12:6 says, “God’s marvelous grace imparts to each one of us varying gifts and ministries that are uniquely ours” (TPT). That means that not only are you naturally gifted, you are spiritually gifted as well. God designed each one of us to fit perfectly into His plan so He gave us spiritual gifts to use for His purposes. The problem is that many of us don’t use or develop the gifting that God has given us. They often lie dormant inside of us and we miss our holy calling going through life unfulfilled.

When Paul was writing his last letter, he started it off by saying, “I’m writing to encourage you to fan into a flame and rekindle the fire of the spiritual gift God imparted to you when I laid my hands upon you.” He was talking to Timothy, but it was to each of us. The word he used for rekindle means to develop the gift. It’s up to you and I to first know and understand the gifts God has given us, then to develop them so we can maximize our potential. Because you have a unique gift, you have a unique calling. While you can do a lot of things on this earth, you won’t be completely fulfilled until you activate your gifts and operate in them.

If you’ve never taken a Spiritual Giftings assessment, try this one to see what gifts God has given you. Click here.

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Applying God’s Word

Every once in a while, I’ll see an equation pop up that looks something like 6-1×0+2/2=? for people to solve. I like to read the comments to see the heated exchanges of what people think the answer is. You can’t simply work this from left to right. You have to use the acronym PEMDAS (parentheses, exponents, multiplication, division, addition then subtraction) to do it. You can try any number of methods and come up with a lot of different answers, but only one answer is right. The only way to get it is to remember the acronym, “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally,” and apply it.

Every one of us have problems that show up in our lives. Whether they are complicated or easy, we must approach them through the lens of Scripture. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made things worse by trying to do it my way instead of God’s. The Bible gives us principles on how to live, how to handle your finances, how to treat others, how to act in a relationship and so much more. If we would apply those principles, we would be more successful in each of them.

2 Timothy 3:14 says, “But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught” (NLT). Paul was reminding Timothy that it’s not enough to know the right way to do things. You must faithfully apply them. If you’re struggling in an area today, or going through a problem, I want to encourage you to see what God’s Word says about it. Take His Word and faithfully apply it to your situation. You’ll find that it is good for teaching us what is true, showing us what needs to be corrected in our lives and for training us in righteousness (verse 16).

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Children Of God

Recently, Meghan Markle married Prince Harry of the British royal family. She was an American actress who was a commoner. Since she married the prince, she has become part of the royal family and has been given the title Duchess of Sussex. She now has the rights and privileges of royalty. She travels the world representing the Crown. Her story has captivated the world giving hope to non-British people that one day they could become part of the most famous royal family,

You and I have been given the privilege of becoming part of the royal family of the King of Kings. When you accept Christ, God adopts you into His family making you a co-heir with Jesus. With that comes the privileges of royalty. God gives us special things as His children. It’s time that you and I start to live as children of the King and receive the benefits that are afforded to us. Don’t let the enemy steal your new identity and keep you from the things God has promised you as His child.

Here are some Bible verses on being a child of God.

1. For then you will be seen as innocent, faultless, and pure children of God, even though you live in the midst of a brutal and perverse culture. For you will appear among them as shining lights in the universe, offering them the words of eternal life.

Philippians 2:15-16 TPT

2. What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to.

1 John 3:1 MSG

3. You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

Colossians 3:12 GNT

4. May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God.

Galatians 6:16 NLT

5. But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the right [the authority, the privilege] to become children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name.

JOHN 1:12 AMP

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