Tag Archives: encouragement

Under Construction 


Several years ago, we experienced a crash in the housing market. It was the perfect storm or rising interest rates, a sluggish economy, and low cost construction. I remember my friend’s neighborhood most vividly. As you drove through it, there were many incomplete houses in varying stages of construction scattered throughout. For years they sat there incomplete. They were a constant reminder of the recession we were in.

As I drive through, I couldn’t help but think how each of those houses represented someone’s broken dream and unfulfilled plan. People had gone through the process of buying a lot, designing a house, choosing elevations, selecting tile, picking out paint colors, and imagining what it was going to be like. Now it sat there incomplete with no hope of fulfilling its purpose. Where others saw incomplete houses, I saw unfulfilled dreams. 

I’ve always imagined that you and I were a lot like houses under construction. God has a great blueprint for each one of us that He’s designed specifically based on who He created us to be. Unfortunately, many of us feel incomplete and that God has stopped working on us or in us. The truth is that God is always at work in our lives trying to help us fulfill our calling. No matter what mistakes we make, God doesn’t walk away from the construction site or leave a house unfinished. 

Philippians 2:-13 says, “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (NLT). God has not given up on what He started in your life. He hadn’t walked away from you, leaving you like an abandoned construction site. He is still working in you, helping you and putting the desire in you to want to fulfill your purpose. You are still under construction and God still has an amazing blueprint for your life. He will complete what He started in you. 

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Spiritual Satisfaction 


I love the candy bar Snickers, and I especially love their ad campaign. Their slogan is simply, “Snickers satisfies.” Their commercials right now have one person in a group as a celebrity with a problem. The others get upset at the celebrity, then finally offer them a Snickers. After taking a bite, the person turns back into themselves and the other person asks, “Are you better?” Then a voice over comes on and says, “You are not you when you’re hungry.” Genius!

I can tell you that you are not you when you’re spiritually hungry either. Inside each one of us is a deep hunger to who we are, why we are here, and how we got here. Many people search a lifetime for those answers. I’ve found that God satisfies them in me, and wants to do the same in others. He not only gives us good things, but He’s created each one of us with a purpose that only we can fulfill. If you’re looking for spiritual satisfaction, quit trying religion and look for a relationship with God.

Here are some Bible verses about how God satisfies. 

1. And I will always guide you and satisfy you with good things. I will keep you strong and well. You will be like a garden that has plenty of water, like a spring of water that never goes dry.
Isaiah 58:11 GNT

2. For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.
Psalms 107:9 ESV

3. For I [fully] satisfy the weary soul, and I replenish every languishing and sorrowful person.
JEREMIAH 31:25 AMP

4. Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires; God will satisfy them fully!
Matthew 5:6 GNT

5. And the LORD will continually guide you, And satisfy your soul in scorched and dry places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.
ISAIAH 58:11 AMP

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Making A Difference 

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.


When I get to speak to new employees at work, one of the things I like to tell them is that their location or workgroup should be different because they are there. I want them to understand that wherever they go, things should change because they are there. I then explain that they have the ability to affect things positively around them or negatively. Ultimately it’s their choice on what kind of impact they’re going to make. 

You and I should live our Christian lives with the same philosophy. Our church should be different because we are there. They should be more vibrant and welcoming because we set the time for others to follow. Our work place should be different because of the spiritual influence we carry with us. Our coworkers shouldn’t know we are Christians because we are always preaching at them, but because of our actions. They should see Jesus in us.

In Paul’s letter to the Philippian church, he spoke to them about the effect their conduct had on others and their perception of Christianity. In Philippians 1:27 he said, “Live in such a way that you are a credit to the Message of Christ” (MSG). He knew that how we live in our day to day lives can either add to people’s perception of Christ or detract from it. He wanted our attitude, our actions to be a credit to the Message. He wanted our lives to lead others to Christ.

Think about the world you live in. Who are the people you come into contact with daily? Do they hear one thing coming out of your mouth and see something totally different in how you live? We’ve all heard the phrase, “Actions speak louder than words.” It’s time we applied that to spiritual things. It’s time our behaviors reflected the mind and attitude of Christ. Paul put it this way in Philippians 2:12-13, “Live in responsive obedience… Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation… That energy is God’s energy” (MSG). 

We need to live in responsive obedience. We should also be more energetic in our lives. Let God’s energy flow through you today to someone else. Don’t be a person who is always negative and sees the worst in every situation. Be the person who sees the best in situations and creates a positive atmosphere. People want to be around that person. People notice when someone is that way. When they ask what makes you different, you have an open door to share a faith that your actions have backed up. Go out today and make a difference wherever God leads you. 

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Planting God’s Word


I try to grow a small garden each spring. Some years the garden does well, and others not so much. This year it didn’t produce anything. My radishes came up empty. My carrots were tiny. The squash took forever to even bloom. Then the corn stalks dried up and died. It was a sad site to behold for sure. It started out with such promise, but it never delivered even though we watered it and did our best to keep the weeds out. 

There are years though where every time I walk over to it, there is food. We then take that food, cook it, and eat it. Afterwards, we are able to take the seeds and replant them so that a new crop is produced. That’s the way a garden should be, but it’s also the way that God’s Word is. It produces fruit in our lives which feeds us. It also produces seeds that regenerate a new crop of faith in our lives. 

Isaiah 55:11 says, “It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it” (NLT). God’s Word doesn’t have off years like my garden. It always produces and always prospers no matter what ground it’s planted in. That’s the key though. If we want God’s Word to produce and prosper in our lives, we first have to plant it in our hearts.

Some of the fruit of having God’s Word planted in us is that we won’t sin (Psalm 119:11), it brings healing (Psalm 107:20), and it gives life (John 1:4). God’s Word is a powerful seed that each of us as believers need to plant daily into our lives. Before I read it, I like to pray, “God, open my eyes to see things in your Word that I’ve never seen before. Help me to make connections that I’ve never made. Prepare my heart to receive from you as I read, and I pray that you would plant it deep in my heart so that it will produce all you want it to.” Pray that prayer today, and watch God produce a bumper crop in your life. 

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King Of The Hill


As a kid, I loved to play King of the Hill. There’s was something fun about standing on top of some dirt and trying to keep from being knocked off. As the others would run up the hill, you’d try to push them down as they tried to push you off the top. There were days when I couldn’t seem to hold my ground, and other days when no one could knock me down. I had no idea that I was learning important lessons during that game.

I had no idea the importance of high ground and the strategic advantage it gave whoever was the King of the Hill. It turns out that when you are on the high ground, you choose the terms of mobility and can deny your opponents from taking ground. You have the ability to use your weight and gravity together to resist while they are fighting you and gravity. Being higher up also reduces the angle of attack from below.

I say all of that because you and I are in a daily struggle with the devil. In Ephesians 6:13, Paul tells us, “So put on God’s armor now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy’s attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground” (GNT). As I’ve read this my whole life, I’ve imagined myself on even ground in this fight, but now I understand we have the high ground! You and I have the advantage and can hold our ground when the enemy attacks. 

When we accept Christ, we immediately gain higher ground. Our lives begin to move upward, that’s why the enemy attacks. He wants to knock us down, but we have the advantage in higher ground. We can increase our odds of holding our ground significantly if we will also put on the while armor of God. We will not only be able to resist attacks, but we will still be holding our ground as King of the Hill that God has set us on. Don’t let the enemy fool you into thinking he has the advantage. 

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Learning To Wait


One of the lessons my son is having the hardest time with is learning to wait when he has a question. My wife and I will be in a conversation, and he will walk up, interrupt us, and ask a question. We will tell him we will answer when we are done talking, but that’s often difficult for him when he has a question. I’m teaching him to walk up and just put his hand on mine when he has a question. I told him that when he does that, I’ll acknowledge him and then answer him when I can.

I wish I could say that works all the time, but it doesn’t. It’s as hard for him to wait for an answer as it is for us as adults to wait for one. When we have a pressing need or question, we’ll bombard God with questions and demand an answer immediately. We call it faith when we pray that way, but I wonder what God calls it. One of the hardest lessons any one of us has to learn is how to approach God and to ask for what it is that we want or need, especially when we feel we need it urgently.

They say that patience is a virtue, but we often lack it in waiting for God to answer our prayers. In Psalm 69:13, David prayed a tough, but wise prayer. He said, “But as for me, I will pray to you, Lord; answer me, God, at a time you choose” (GNT). He was telling God that he wasn’t expecting Him to operate on his timetable. He was willing to wait for God to answer on His. That’s a hard thing to pray and to do. 

This verse challenges me because I’m not there yet. In my prayers, I’m like my son trying to get an answer. I don’t want to wait for God to finish what He’s doing. I want my answers right now. If David was a man after God’s own heart, and he had the ability to pray this way, i believe it’s something we all can learn to do. Instead of trying to force God in our timeline, we can start asking God to give us the answers to our prayers in His. I’ll just need a little help learning to wait. 

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God’s Kindness


A.W. Tozer wrote, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” I can tell you that usually it is an adjective or an attribute. So many think of God as a disciplinarian in the sky waiting for us to mess up so He can send us to hell. I don’t believe that description is true. Who would spend everything they have on something, then wait around and hope it fails? God paid for our sins with the death of His Son. That description doesn’t make sense. 

One that does, and we rarely discuss, is His kindness. It’s not usually how we choose to describe God, but it’s one of the most accurate descriptions of Him. He is kind to you and me because of how much He loves us. He is constantly doing things for our good, and we hardly give Him credit for it. Today, let’s reflect on God’s kindness and look for the areas where He’s been kind to us. You’ll find that He’s shown you a lot more kindness than He has wrath. 

Here’s some Bible verses that discuss His kindness. 

1. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
Ephesians 1:6-8 NLT

2. But You, O GOD, the Lord, show kindness to me, for Your name’s sake; Because Your lovingkindness (faithfulness, compassion) is good, O rescue me;
PSALM 109:21 AMP

3. As the scripture says, “He gives generously to the needy; his kindness lasts forever.”
2 Corinthians 9:9 GNT

4. As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it.
2 Corinthians 6:1 NLT

5. How happy are the people who worship you with songs, who live in the light of your kindness!
Psalm 89:15 GNT

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