Maranatha Devotionals
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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Encouragement - Day 23

Pass It On!

2 Cor. 1:3-4, "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; (3) Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. (4)


Because of Jesus Christ, we believers have an incorruptible inheritance which places us in a position to be able to call God, our Father! The word incorruptible appears only four times in the Bible:
And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. (1Co 9:25)

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1Co 15:52)

To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, (1Pe 1:4)

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (1Pe 1:23)

We see that our crown will be incorruptible, our raptured bodies will be incorruptible, our inheritance is incorruptible and our salvation is incorruptible! How encouraging is that?

When we are discouraged, we must remember that our trials are for a short time. 2 Cor. 1:3-4 show that our Heavenly Father will provide comfort during our tribulations so that we may in turn pass that comfort on to others going through trouble. I noticed this verse didn't say to comfort those who are going through what you have experienced but that we are to comfort those who are going through any trouble. In other words, be there for those in need of comfort - period! Pass along to someone else the knowledge and assurance that the Father will comfort them in the same manner He comforted you.

We have encouraged ourselves and defeated ole slewfoot's attempts to discourage us. We have assurance that our salvation and inheritance of Heaven is incorruptible. Now take those encouraging words to someone who needs to hear them and you will continue to keep yourself encouraged. Share the blessings the Father has given you with those in need of healing words.

They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word. (Psa 119:74)

Father, I thank You for Your grace
You have brought me through every trial
With mercy, peace and comfort sweet
You walked with me all the while

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Encouragement - Day 22

Be of Good Cheer

But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. (Mat 14:27)

What a blessing this statement must have been for the apostles to hear from their Saviour! Here they are in a storm and see Jesus walking toward them. They thought they were seeing a ghost! I don't know about you, but as I place myself in their situation, I would have been afraid also. There are times in our own lives where we don't "see" the Lord working. Our problems become insurmountable and we focus on the circumstances before us instead of focusing our eyes on the Lord.

Deut. 6:6-8, "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes."

Have you ever worn a sweat band? I am always aware of that sweat band being around my forehead. It gets damp, it gets itchy and although it provides a purpose, I am always aware of its presence upon my forehead. A frontlet is similar to one of these bands. Can you imagine if God's Word was as this sweat band between our eyes - constantly making us aware that It is there? If our eyes are focused on the Word, how can they also be focused on the circumstances surrounding us?

Praise the Lord that we have the precious Word of God to read and memorize! We can encourage ourselves daily and be of good cheer when those days come and we don't see the Lord clearly there beside us. The Word comforts us and assures us that He is there right within view and we should not be afraid. Granted, we may not recognize the Lord in our situation, so we need to really "look" for Him. We find Him in the Word, we find Him in the brethren who encourage us, we find Him in a kind note, we find Him in the beauty of creation surrounding us, etc. Need I say more?

The Word should be constantly upon our foreheads, reminding us of God's promises and of His presence. We are to be comforted by this and allow it to cheer us up and encourage us. When we do so, it removes all fear of those trials and circumstances.

Be of good cheer, the Lord commands
I'm Your Guide as well as Friend
Do not let your heart be troubled
I'll be near you til the end.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Encouragement - Day 21

Count Your Blessings

I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. (Psa 69:30)

No wonder David was the apple of God's eye! He knew how to love His God... He knew how to thank His God! David was able to recognize when he was discouraged or depressed. The world recognizes in their 12-step programs the need to admit one's addiction. However, their 12-step programs are only temporary. I speak from experience - I witnessed my father remain sober for almost 30 years, but the feeling of being alone drove him to drink again. The 12-step program did not have a lasting effect on my father. But this is not so with born-again believers! Praise God that we have One whose help can be eternal, if we allow Him to work in our lives.

We, as believers, need to recognize our state of discouragement and depression and go to the Source of healing and encouragement. We have the precious Word of God, in our King James Bible, which contains all the solutions on overcoming discouragement. Let's learn from David.

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. (Psa 42:11)

David knew that his discouraged soul would find health. But David had to take that first step - David had to hope in God and His solutions as well as praise God. What does a discouraged soul have to praise God about? Counting your blessings is a great place to start. Everyone has blessings in their lives - everyone! Are you a born-again child of the King? Have you been spared from an eternity of burning in hell? Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have food on your table (even if it is just peanut butter)? Do you have fairly good health where you can still get around? Do you have loved ones? Do you have a good church family? List these blessings on a post-it note and place it where you can see it several times a day. After reading these blessings over and over, you will be able to say with David that you can praise God.

Now that you are praising God, the next step is to magnify Him with thanksgiving. I love looking up words from King James' era when our beloved King James Bible was translated. The words from that time period have so much more punch and meaning than if using modern-day English.

Noah Webster's definition of magnify is:

2. To make great in representation; to extol; to exalt in description or praise. The embassador magnified the king and queen.
3. To extol; to exalt; to elevate; to raise in estimation. Thee that day Thy thunders
magnified. The Lord magnified Solomon exceedingly. 1 Chr 29.


So my brother and sister in Christ, extol and exalt the precious Name of Jesus to yourself and anyone who will listen! Share with others God's blessings and compassion for you! Doing this is a sure-fire way of taking your eyes off your circumstances and discouragement and focusing on the "good" things that the Lord has blessed you with. Do you have the gift of writing? Let others know what God has done for you. Do you have the gift of speaking? Use your gift and magnify the Lord and His goodness toward you. Do you have a gift of ministering to others? Find yourself a dear Senior Saint and share God's blessings with them. I dare say, these dear Saints are in desperate need of a kind and uplifting word. As you read the words to Mr. Oatman's song, Count Your Blessings, you can surely appreciate the fact that he had been through a few bouts of discouragement. He learned from David what he had to do to be encouraged.

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Refrain
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
Johnson Oatman, Jr.

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Monday, August 28, 2006

Day 30 - This Is It!

Reading: Romans 5:12


Today’s verse:

"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:" (Romans 5:12)

How many times have we sinned . . . really? If you sin only once a day times one year, that equals 365 sins! In ten years, 365 sins times ten, you will have sinned 3,650 sins! Let’s say you live 70 years. 3,650 sins times 70 years will reveal that your lifetime total sins equals 25,550!! This is true if you sin only once per day! Multiply this total by the possibly countless sins we actually do in one day.

This devotional was designed to help you realize your spiritually lost condition. Going to church will not save you. If it did, this would be something you could do on your own and Eph. 2:8-9 says that salvation cannot be by works because you would “boast” about what you had done. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:" (Ephesians 2:8) "Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:9)

Being good will not save you. Only One is good and that is God. "And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God." (Mark 10:18)

Saying pious prayers - praying the same prayers over and over - nor praying 24 hours a day will save you. "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking." (Matthew 6:7)

Oh dear friend, you have been reading for 30 days. I pray that the Holy Spirit of God has worked in your heart and that you can see your lost, sinful condition. Repent and accept Jesus Christ as your only hope to heaven. If you desire to be saved, to become a born-again Christian, pray with me:

Dear Heavenly Father, I am a sinner. I know now that there is no way I can gain entrance into Your Holy Heaven without the shed blood of Your Son Jesus Christ. I know I deserve hell because of my sin. Thank You Lord for sending this Perfect Sacrifice in my place. I accept Jesus’ work on the cross as punishment for my sin. I believe Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, He died for my sin, He arose from the dead and He now sits at Your right hand until He comes again. Father, I repent from my sins and wish to turn directions. Please save me and welcome me into Your family. I pray that You would guide and direct me as I strive to live my life for You. I ask these things in Jesus’ Name. Amen!

Friend, if you prayed this prayer and meant it, you are now born again! You now walk with a new nature! There is a celebration in Heaven occurring right now because you have repented and have been born again! "Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth." (Luke 15:10)

If you have been born again as a result of these daily devotionals, please post a comment to let me know. I would love to hear from you!!

Dear God….
Today I give Thee all my heart
I pray may Thy Spirit teach
Direct my path and keep me from sin
Every day as I live for Thee.

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Day 29 - Every Heart is Wicked

Reading: Jeremiah 17:9, James 2:10, Matthew 23:28, Titus 1:16


Today’s verse:

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Jeremiah 17:9

Some will read this daily devotional and convince themselves that they are “OK” and “not that bad.” How very sad that their own thoughts will convict them to an eternity in hell! Dear friend, do you know realize that the Bible says your heart is deceitful and desperately wicked? I don’t say this to offend you, my friend. I say this to wake you up! Your heart is not “good.” Have you not lied at least once? Yes, even asking your spouse to tell someone on the phone you don’t want to talk to that “you’re not here” IS a lie.

Do you believe in the Ten Commandments and keeping them? The Bible is clear. The Bible says that if you disobey even ONE of those commandments, you’re guilty of ALL of those commandments and sins. "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." (James 2:10) Now do you see that your heart is desperately wicked? God says you have sin on your heart.

Surely we are all doomed then! Surely there is not one person on earth, from the beginning of time to today that can make it to heaven on their own merit!! You’re right! "They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one." (Romans 3:12)

Yes, we ARE doomed. That is why God sent Jesus to die on the cross because there was no way that we could gain entrance to heaven on our own. Man was continually evil – man could not go one day, one week, one year without a sin. ANY sin keeps us from God.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

Dear God…
Please open my eyes to my own sin.
Let not logic get in the way
With the work that Your dear Holy Spirit
Is trying to do in my heart today!

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Day 28 - Do You Truly Fear God?

Reading: Romans 3:18

Today’s verse:

"There is no fear of God before their eyes." (Rom 3:18)

Be honest in your heart today. Do you fear God? If not, you should. When you lie, do you fear the repercussions? The old saying, “Pay day, some day.” holds true. If you don’t fear this, you should! If you are not born again, do you fear the judgment that awaits you when you stand before God? If not, you should!

God says that every man will have to give an account for his own sins. Every man will have to pay for his own sin. Are you one of those?

Job 19:4, "And be it indeed that I have erred, mine error remaineth with myself."
Deuteronomy. 24:16, "The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin."
Galatians 6:5, "For every man shall bear his own burden."
Romans 14:12, "So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God."


The born-again believer does not have to worry about this sin debt. The born-again believer no longer has to try to cover his sin with the blood of sacrificed animals. Our covering is the grace of God - Jesus’ shed blood on the cross and it is THIS precious blood that covers our sins. But to the unbeliever, there is no grace. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:" (Ephesians 2:8)

"Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt." (Rom 4:4) So the unbeliever does have a debt to pay because they do not accept Jesus’ sacrifice as payment for their debt.

"But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." (Romans 4:5) Our faith in Jesus Christ’s shed blood covers our sins in the eyes of the Father. All the Father sees is Jesus’ righteousness, not our own. Our own righteousness (or good works as an unbeliever) are dirty rags in God’s eyes.

"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." (Isaiah 64:6)

Dear one, fear God and His impending judgment. This is the beginning of your wisdom.

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: …" (Psalms 111:10a)

Dear God…
Please let fear be stirred within me.
Help me see my sinful heart
The way Thou seest my wickedness.
From Thy truth let me not depart!

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Day 27 - The Comforter

Reading: John 14:26

Today’s verse:

"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you" (John 14:26).

The Third Person of the Trinity is known as the Holy Ghost, also called the Comforter. God knows man’s frailty and how man needs to have descriptive words to define the Godhead. It helps us to get to know the Trinity. God the Father is also known as Abba. And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt. (Mar 14:36) Jesus had that Daddy-type relationship with His Father. Born-again believers do as well. Jesus is known as the Word - "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1) The Holy Spirit is also known as the Comforter in today’s verse. What beautiful attributes for God! Not only is He the born-again believers’ Daddy, but He is the Word (our daily Bible and spiritual bread) and He is our Comforter.

Dear one, do you have that promise? Do you have that kind of relationship with God the Father that you can safely say that you can call Him your Daddy? If not, wouldn’t you want to? Don’t you need a Daddy right about now as you struggle? Don’t you need a Comforter? I’m sure you have come across a born-again believer in your life who appeared calm on the outside during a major trial in his or her life. Maybe that born-again believer has lost a loved one and is calm in the midst of this storm. Does not this make you wonder how they can do it?

It is because they possess the Comforter. The believers who waited in the Upper Room after Jesus ascended into Heaven, received the Holy Spirit. The Comforter was now given to all those who believed in Jesus Christ as their Saviour. What a blessing it is to be able to rely on the Comforter to pull you through your trials. God promises that once we have Him in our hearts, He will never leave us or forsake us.

Hebrews 13:5b "… for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."

Dear God…
I want to have the Comforter
Reside in my heart each day.
Let my search in Thy most holy Word
Be a light to show me the way.

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Day 26 - Your Sin WILL Find you Out!

Reading: Numbers 32:23

Today’s verse:

"But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin will find you out" (Numbers 32:23).

Do you think that there’s a “little white lie” that God won’t care about or He won’t find out about? God knows every sin. God is there when you’re all by yourself and reading that dirty magazine or watching that X-rated movie. He is there when you’re alone in your room and your thoughts go to adultery against your spouse. "O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee." (Psalms 69:5)

Or do you think that you’re just not “that bad”? "Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one." (Psalms 53:3)

Don’t kid yourself. God knows every sin you have every committed. Because He is holy, He cannot possibly allow any sin into heaven. His heaven is holy as well. The Bible lists three verses that command us to be holy: "Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God." (Leviticus 20:7)

"But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;" (1 Peter 1:15)

"Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." (1 Peter 1:16)

You won’t be able to get away with your sin if God has commanded you to be holy. Again, don’t kid yourself. Your sin is like a seed. You sow it and whatever grows will show what kind of seed it came from. Just as carrot seeds grow carrots, so will your sin sow eternal damnation in hell. "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" (Galatians 6:7).

Dear one, don’t you want to reap eternal life in heaven? The Word will guide you. Don’t depend on your Rabbi, your minister or priest. God will hold you accountable for your own sin. Not someone else. If you don’t know where to start, start with God’s Word. The Bible promises that if you believe on Jesus Christ, you will have eternal life.

Jesus did not want us to doubt that we have eternal life. This verse says “so that ye may know” that you have eternal life! I don’t see any doubt in this verse! Praise God that He loves us so much that He has given us a Book where all the answers are kept to our questions. Won’t you turn to the Bible and let its words cleanse you?

"These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." (1 John 5:13)

Dear God…
I never want to doubt
Where I shall spend eternity
Therefore show me the way to Christ
So I may spend those days with Thee!

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Day 25 - Born Once, Die Twice

Reading: Revelation 20:13-15


Today’s verse:

"And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death." Revelation 20:14

If you are not born again, you will be born once and you will have to die twice according to the Bible. The first time you are born is when you came from your mother into this world. You are born with flesh. The first time you die is when your body wears out and dies. The body is buried but the unsaved soul will go to hell until the end of Jesus’ thousand-year reign. At the end of this reign (called the Millennium), the souls in hell will be released to stand before Christ to be judged for the works they did while they yet lived on earth. Because they refused to accept Jesus as their Saviour, they will now have to stand before Him to receive the punishment for their sins while they were on earth. This is where the Charles Mansons of the world will receive their harsh punishment for all eternity. This is where the liar will be judged and will receive punishment for those lies for all eternity. This is where you will stand before Christ and He will have to send you to the Lake of Fire where you will burn for all eternity. Verse 14 says this will be your second death. So the unbeliever is born once and will die twice.

The born again Christian is born twice (first in the flesh and the second birth is the spiritual birth) and will die only once when he or she gives up this earthly body to go to Heaven. The Christian does not have to worry about the second death because his or her name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. That is why the Christian is born twice and dies only once.

What a beautiful way to look at our lives. Won’t you be one of those who will only taste death once?

"And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life." (Revelation 21:27)

Dear God…
I fear that I’m not saved!
I tremble on bended knee.
Forgive my sins and enter in
So I will eternally live with Thee.

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Day 24 - Furnace of Fire

Reading: Matthew 13:47-50


Today’s verse:

Matthew 13:50 "And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."

Jesus is speaking in a parable here. There are no names attached to individuals but it is clear that the wicked fish (those who are no born again) will be cast into the furnace of fire (hell) where there will be screaming and pain. Oh my!!

But there are some of you who will think that this does not necessarily mean those who are not born again? Let’s let the Bible answer this one. God’s Word always answers its own questions nor does the Bible contradict itself. "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3) So dear one, does this dispel your reasoning? Don’t be deceived by your own thoughts and concepts in life. Don’t allow others to tell you what God’s Word says. Find it out for yourself in God’s Word. Toss out everything you have ever learned. It hasn't done you any good up to now, and it won’t bring you to Christ. Clean your religious slate and approach these readings with an empty glass. Please pray that God will speak to your heart through His word, the Bible.

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." (Psalms 119:105)


Dear God…
Let me quickly turn to Thee
For answers to all my questions.
May Thy blessed Word direct me
To Thee and Thy home in heaven.

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Day 23 - It Can Be Too Late!

Reading: Luke 16:20-31


Today’s verse:

Luke 16:31 “And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”

Jesus spoke many stories to His disciples to teach them. All of them, except for this one, were parables and never gave a name of the person He was referring to. However, in this account, Jesus gives the man’s name, Lazarus. This indicates that it is a true story. Jesus preached about hell more than any other topic. He found this to be of such importance that He made sure there would be no misinterpretation. He made sure that people would not come back with the statement that it was just a parable. This was a true account!

What a scary account for someone who does not know Jesus Christ as their Saviour! The rich man in this account dies and goes to hell, a real place. In hell, he “lifts his eyes, being in torments”! He was able to see Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom. All those years on earth that the rich man had in comfort were going to be the only years of comfort he would ever have because he is in hell for all eternity.

On the other hand, Lazarus spent a few years on earth in misery but now has an eternity in a perfect heaven! Which one would you rather have? Notice that the rich man begged Abraham to send someone to warn his family. Abraham’s response was that they had their preachers and the Bible and if neither could persuade them, not even someone coming back from the dead would be able to convince them otherwise. How true is this statement? The occult is alive and well today because people are trying to talk to their departed loved ones! Luke 16:31 states clearly that no one will be able to come back from the dead to warn us.

Are you 100% certain that you will see Lazarus in heaven? Or, is it possible that you may be joining the rich man in torments for all eternity? Dear one, I pray that your heart is not so hardened that you fail to accept Jesus as your only hope of eternal salvation!

Dear God…
Lazarus’ journey on earth was short
In comparison to eternity.
Thy Word says life is but a vapor,
Let me prepare my heart for Thee.

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Day 5 - Jesus is the Only Way

Reading: John 3:1-21


Today’s verse:

"Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:5)

Again, Jesus doubles up on the word “verily”! It’s as if He is saying, “Nicodemus, I double emphatically say”! This was the custom of the day when someone wanted to drive a point home.

Jesus again says Nicodemus had to be born again. This time, Jesus uses a different term. He says that Nicodemus had to be born of water and of the Spirit. When one is born again, one receives the Holy Spirit of God. "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise," (Ephesians 1:13). Also, "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." (John 4:14)

This was such a simple directive from Jesus to this religious leader. It was not a complicated matter at all. Have you been convinced that the way to Heaven is a complicated one? It’s not complicated at all. There is only one way … Jesus is the way.

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)


Dear God…
Oh how I searched to find the truth.
My quest was indeed sincere.
I asked the religiously learned ones,
But the Bible I failed to read!

I failed to turn to the one place
Where all truth is clearly penned.
Where sin is not made beautiful
Nor its pleasures does it defend!

This Bible led me to Your bleeding side
At the cross where my burden was laid.
You paid the price required for sin.
Your shed blood now the debt has paid!

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Day 4 - Logic Versus Scriptures

Reading: John 3:1-21


Today’s verse:

"Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?" (John 3:4)

Poor Nicodemus! Despite all the Scripture he has committed to memory, he turns to logic to make sense of the statement Jesus made. This proves that even the religious leaders of today can misinterpret what God means in His Word. Here is the ultimate religious leader for the Jews and yet he resorted to what “made sense to him.”

Are you trying to make sense of everything you have been taught through the years as the "way to Heaven"? Listen to what Jesus says in the Word and not what someone else says. The Bible is never wrong. Jesus confirmed this when He was praying for His disciples to His Father in Heaven, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” (John 17:17) Ask God to reveal the truth to you in His Word. He promises to do so.

"Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." (John 5:39)



Dear God…
Where do we turn to learn about
The One Who died for us?
The Bible is our only source
And reading it is a must.

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Day 3 - You Must be Born Again

Reading: John 3:1-21


Today’s verse:

"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3)


Jesus answered Nicodemus directly. He did not mince His words or try to make them ultra religious. Nor did Jesus sugar-coat the words with what He thought Nicodemus “wanted” to hear. Jesus came right out and said “Verily, verily.” Here is double emphasis at the very beginning of Jesus’ statement. It’s as if Jesus were saying, “Nicodemus, surely, surely!” Jesus wanted Nicodemus to pay attention and to understand how important the following words were going to be. He did not want Nicodemus’ thoughts to be clouded with his religious background. He wanted Nicodemus in the "here and now."

Nicodemus had no idea what Jesus was saying in this verse. This was something new to his ears. No matter how much Scripture he had put to memory, this was still something new. Jesus made it clear that Nicodemus could not see God’s kingdom unless he was born again. Jesus was concise. Jesus was plain in just 19 simple words.

Dear friend, do not let your religious upbringing obscure your thoughts today. Ask God to reveal His truth to you. God does not want you to be ignorant but to have wisdom through the Word.

"For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; …" (Romans 11:25a)


Dear God…
One day I will meet You face-to-face
Not a deed will I be able to hide
Remove from me the obstacles
Which lead to Your bleeding Side.

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Day 2 - Trying to Come to Jesus by Night

Reading: John 3:1-21


Today’s verse:

"The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him." (John 3:2)

This verse says that Nicodemus came to see Jesus by night. Why do you think he would do that? Here is one of the most religious men in the Jewish religion. He knows so much about the Bible (the Torah) but he is drawn to Jesus. It is wonderful that he went to see Jesus despite his head knowledge. But he went “by night.” Could it be he was afraid of what his fellow Pharisees would think? We think of doing things in the dark so no one will see what we are doing. At least Nicodemus’ desire to speak with Christ was not quenched. Despite his fear of repercussion from the other Pharisees or religious leaders, he went to see Jesus anyway.

He recognized Jesus as a knowledgeable man because Nicodemus called Jesus, "Rabbi." He further confirms this by saying he knew Jesus was a teacher come from God. Furthermore, Nicodemus gives Jesus the credit for the miracles saying that no man could perform them unless God was with Him. Nicodemus was not so spiritually minded that he could not recognize Jesus coming from God.

Are you trying to meet Jesus by night? Are you afraid of what you might discover in the Bible? Are you afraid of what your family or friends will think?

Ask God to give you wisdom as you search the Bible for the path to Him.

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." (James 1:5)



Dear God…
It is to You that I come for truth
From Your Word let me not depart
Nor interfere with the Spirit’s light
Don’t let tradition cloud my heart!

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Devotionals on Salvation

Each day I will be posting a devotional on the subject of salvation. These are geared for the lost and I pray they will be used as a tool to lead someone to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
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Day 1 - Head Knowledge Versus Heart Knowledge

Reading: John 3:1-21


Today’s verse:

"There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:" (John 3:1)

Nicodemus was a Pharisee in the Jewish religion. A Pharisee was the exclusively religious of the Jews. In fact, they were known as the separatists. Nicodemus was also known as a ruler of the Jews.

According to history, to become a Pharisee, it was necessary to memorize the first five books of the Old Testament! If anyone had a reason to NOT speak with Jesus, it was him. Nicodemus had a lot of head knowledge of the Bible, known as the Torah to the Jews. Yet, something drew Nicodemus to go talk to Jesus.

Oh dear one, won’t you draw nigh to God today? Won’t you seek to know what the Bible has to say? The Bible says that if you draw close to God, He WILL draw close to you. Seek Him while you still have time.

James 4:8a "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you."




Dear God…
How far I’ve been from You
I truly don’t know You as Lord
The path to You is simple, so true
Show me the way through Your Word.

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Table of Contents - Devotionals on Salvation

Day 30
This Is It!

Day 29
Every Heart Is Wicked


Day 28
Do You Truly Fear God?

Day 27
The Comforter

Day 26
Your Sin WILL Find You Out

Day 25
Born Once, Die Twice

Day 24
Furnace of Fire

Day 23
It Can Be Too Late!

Day 22
Who Will Inherit the Kingdom of Heaven?

Day 21
Repent and Believe

Day 20
None Are Righteous

Day 19
Are You Boasting on Your Good Works?

Day 18
The Gift

Day 17
Don'w Wait Until It's Too Late!

Day 16
Are You Too "Good" For Hell?

Day 15
Which Twin Are You?

Day 14
Is Your Child Rejected?

Day 13
Listening With Your Heart

Day 12
Are You Earthly Minded?

Day 11
So You Think You're Religious?

Day 10
Whose Food Are You Eating?

Day 9
How Can This Be

Day 8
The Spirit's Movement

Day 7
The Father Is Never Wrong

Day 6
Born of the Spirit

Day 5
Jesus is the Only Way

Day 4
Logic Versus Scriptures

Day 3
You Must Be Born Again

Day 2
Trying to Come to Jesus by Night

Day 1
Head Knowledge Versus Heart Knowledge

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Encouragement - Day 20

Not Forsaken

...for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
(Heb 13:5)

What precious words these are to the Christian! Can one say for certain that their child will never leave them or forsake them? Can it be said of a dear friend? I'm sure we can all say that a friend has abandoned us at the worse time in our lives! But not so with the Lord.

My friend, Christ promises to always stay with us and never forsake us. Noah Webster's definition of the word forsake is as follows:

1. To quit or leave entirely; to desert; to abandon; to depart from. Friends and flatterers forsake us in adversity.
We can feel as though we have lost our way and that God would never forgive us, but the Word says otherwise. If I were to re-phrase Hebrews 13:5, I could say that the Lord will never leave us entirely - or the Lord will never abandon us - or the Lord will never depart from us. I don't know about you, but this is eternal security in a nutshell!

There is nothing more encouraging to me when I am discouraged than to remember that the Lord is right there with me. My position in the family of God once I am born-again is sealed, according to Ephesians 4:30. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.(Eph 4:30) Noah Webster says that the word sealed means:


Furnished with a seal; fastened with a seal; confirmed; closed.

My salvation is confirmed in Heaven and the matter is closed! Enough said! My Father in Heaven will never leave my side, His Son's Spirit lives within me and will never leave me - no matter what state I am in.

...and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Mat 28:20)

Praise the Lord that I can encourage my heart by dwelling on the permanency of my salvation!

His work on the cross brought death to sin
So I can live righteously
The Shepherd and Bishop of my soul
Purchased me for eternity

Excerpt from A Vessel in the Potter's Hand

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Friday, August 25, 2006

Encouragement - Day 19

Our Battle is the Lord's

David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee. (1Sa 17:37)

Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. (1Sa 17:45)

And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hands. (1Sa 17:47)

As I lay in bed reading last night, this account of David and his battle with Goliath just jumped off the pages and encouraged my heart so much. We have all heard this account numerous times, some of you preachers have probably preached on it several times. But have we truly stopped to think about the little details the Lord has given us?

I once read that David was approximately 15 years old when he killed the 9-foot Goliath. Several things impressed me about this account.

  • He had already killed a lion and a bear
  • He recognized that God brought him through that and he was confident that God would bring him through the trial with Goliath
  • David was so confident that he confronted Goliath with the statement showing he was not afraid of Goliath's sword because he had God on his side
  • David recognized that God's solutions are not with the sword and that the battle was the Lord's

David saw the trial ahead of him -- a 9-foot soldier with the armor to match his size. How many 9-foot giants have we had in our own lives? Each trial seems to be greater than the last. We're just now overcoming our battle with discouragement. I didn't even get a feeling at all that David was discouraged over his upcoming battle with Goliath, did you? I only noticed confidence on David's part in this account.

Will we look at our next trial in the same manner David did? David recognized Who helped him with the lion and the bear. So much so, he had confidence that this same God would help him with the next trial. Also, he didn't keep that confidence hidden away in his heart. David had a testimony before the people. They were able to see where his confidence came from.

David announced for all to hear, including his nine-foot giant, that he had the Lord of Hosts on his side and that the battle was the Lord's. Our bout with discouragement was quite a trial in itself. No, it isn't fighting lions and bears or nine-foot giants, but the circumstances sure did feel like it, didn't it? But God brought us out of this discouragement. Our hearts have been encouraged once again. We need to glean from this account and realize why God looked at David as the apple of His eye.

It is this same Lord who brought us through our discouargement. It is this same Lord who encouraged our hearts and helped our eyes to look up. The battles in our lives belong to the Lord, my friend. There is great comfort in that. Discouragement was our Goliath. But it is the same God of David who helped defeat our Goliath and gave us wonderful peace and joy once again.

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
(Heb 13:8)

My Shepherd cares for my every need
In my life and along life's way

He gives me such peace with every trial
Reviving my weary heart each day
Excerpt from O Watcher of My Soul

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Encouragement - Day 18

Be Glad and Rejoice!

I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities; (Psa 31:7)

It's one thing to say that you will be glad and rejoice in the Lord, but quite another to have the drive and purpose to do so. As I strive to encourage myself in the Lord, I find that this effort is not only on-going but is progressive. Total encouragement does not happen over night. However, there are immediate results when we begin to exercise our encouragement muscle.

As I look at Psalm 31:7, I noticed that David was glad and rejoicing in the Lord's mercy. I love looking up the definitions of words used in the King James Bible using Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary. Today's definitions of these same words are so diluted. Noah's definitions put Psalm 31:7 into a more meaningful light. Let me show you the difference:
The Cambridge Dictionary's definition of the word mercy:
kindness and forgiveness shown towards someone whom you have authority over

Noah Webster's definition of the word mercy:

1. That benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant. In this sense, there is perhaps no word in our language precisely synonymous with mercy. That which comes nearest to it is grace. It implies benevolence, tenderness, mildness, pity or compassion, and clemency, but exercised only towards offenders. Mercy is a distinguishing attribute of the Supreme Being.

The Cambridge Dictionary's definition of the word considered:
an opinion or decision that someone has reached after a lot of thought

Noah Webster's definition of the word considered:

Thought of with care; pondered; viewed attentively; deliberated on; examined.

I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities; (Psa 31:7)

After reading Noah Webster's definitions for mercy and considered, it reveals a more compassionate Father and One who cares for us intimately. David knew that God not only viewed his troubles attentively but God also pondered over them and examined them. God knew all the "in's and out's" of David's troubles. David did not have to worry about a thing because His Heavenly Father had everything under control.

Furthermore, the Father knew David's soul in his troubles - again this shows us that God knew David intimately.

No wonder David was glad and rejoicing in His mercy! There is nothing more comforting than to be able to turn over our troubles and leave them in the Lord's capable hands. The same God who helped David and knew him intimately, is able to do the same for us!

Let us rejoice and be glad in God's mercy toward us!

Kate Plourde
August 24, 2006

Oh come join me all ye who love Him
Let our voices ne'er cease to sing
Cast thy burdens at Jesus' Precious Feet
Shout Hosannah to our Heavenly King!

Excerpt from
Jesus My Redeemer, My King

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Encouragement - Day 17

Praying for Relief

Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. (Jam 5:13)

Thank you, Brother Jerry, for encouraging me to cover the first part of this verse and elaborate on it a bit. As we review the first part of the verse, let's rest on the word afflicted for a bit. Noah Webster defines the word as:

AFFLICT'ED, pp. Affected with continued or often repeated pain, either of body or mind; suffering grief or distress, of any kind; followed by at, by or with; as, afflicted at the loss of a child, by the rheumatism, or with losses.
We can see that the state of discouragement is covered in this definition. David's solution to this was prayer. The Word says it is to your benefit!

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (Jam 5:16)

Confess your discouragement to God and to dear saints who will pray on your behalf. Furthermore, you want to make sure that the Lord will hear your prayers. When you send a letter to IRS, you send it certified mail and return receipt requested to ensure that it gets there. Your prayer life will be hindered if you have unconfessed sin.

If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: (Psa 66:18)

Your prayers will go unanswered if you have unconfessed sin. Someone once said "Keep your accounts short with God." That is good advice. Now you can lift up your needs before the Lord and be healed from your discouragement. The latter part of James 5:16 states that a righteous man (covered by the Blood of Jesus) who prays specifically for his needs before God with fervancy (such great desire) will profit much! God desires to answer our prayers, my friend.

Once our heart is clean before the Lord, we can go before Him with boldness knowing that all hindrances have been removed and His ear is at our mouth.
In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. (Eph 3:12) The sin of discouragement has been forgiven; the Father will hear our prayer because our righteousness lies in Christ; and now we can go before the Father with boldness knowing that He will provide encouragement to our heart.

Sometimes it is easier to encourage others than ourselves. Oh how true this statement is! But encouraging ourselves is do-able! David encouraged himself in the Lord ( I Samuel 30:6). That's is why James provided the latter part of today's verse. Yesterday's devotional covered this - reading Psalms is a wonderful way to encourage your spirit. Also, surround yourself with saints who will encourage your heart and pray for you!

Here is a beautiful poem, written by Brother Jerry in 2001. It is so appropriate and I know it will bless you as much as it did me!


A Friend When You Need One

It's so easy to get discouraged,
To be downcast or in despair.
When you feel all alone in your wilderness,
And it seems that no one cares.

That's when temptation hits the hardest,
Where the battle is nearly lost - or won.
When you stumble through dark valleys
And gloomy shadows hide the Son.

In your loneliness and your struggles,
Here's a solution that may seem odd -
Don't look around to man for comfort,
Instead, with hope, look up to God.

Jesus will provide the grace you require
And His Word will light the way.
All you need is faith to claim His promises,
And your night will turn to day.

The Lord knows your each and every need -
He knows, before you even ask in prayer.
Just keep on being faithful to Him,
And, in time, His answer will be there.

So instead of giving up in disgrace,
Do the work that must be done;
You will find that as you run the race,
God will bring a friend when you most need one.

December 8th, 2001
Jerry Bouey

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Encouragement - Day 16

The Right Medicine

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. (Pro 17:22)

As we start the second half of our discouragement series, we will be focusing on encouragement. Encouragement is the medicine that heals the heart and brings joy. As we are in the process of healing our discouraged spirit, we are focusing on exactly what we have to do to restore that joy which will bring about a soul which is at rest.

I just love God's Word! Our compassionate Father, who pities us, gives us verses in the Bible that are right there for us to glean from. All we have to do is search them out. A simple Bible software program has a search feature which allows me to search for particular words. Today, I searched for the word "merry" and my soul leaped within me when I discovered James 5:13. What a wonderful solution to obtaining that merry heart! Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. (Jam 5:13)

It stands to reason that if I am not merry, then I am not singing psalms. Therefore, if I want to be merry, I need to sing psalms! Is that simple or what? Not only did the Lord provide the solution in James 5:13, but our Succorer gave us the Book of Psalms. Furthermore, not only did He give us one or two psalms, but our Creator knew we would be in need of many and gave us 150 of them! Three psalms a day is enough to keep any soul merry!

My friend, I hate to sound like a broken record, but once again the Word comes into play. Everything we need in life is contained in the Word. It is the very food (bread) that we need to feed the spirit within us.

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Mat 4:4)

Kate Plourde
August 22, 2006

You are my light, my water, my bread
A cleansing power is Your blood so red
This Crimson Thread is revealed throughout
Each letter, each page Your Word thus shouts


Excerpt from "Your Word, My Breath"

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Table of Contents for 30-Day Devotional On Discouragement

Day 1
Discouragement

Day 2:
Overcoming Discouragement

Day 3:
Trouble On Every Side

Day 4:
The Devil's Tactics

Day 5:
Heaviness for a Season

Day 6:
Fear and Discouragement Are Brothers

Day 7:
Remember Your God

Day 8:
Recipe for Encouraging Yourself

Day 9:
Looking Up Unto The Hills

Day 10:
Spiritual Cataracts

Day 11:
A Pattern For Petitioning God

Day 12:
In Search of the Rock

Day 13:
A Refuge From Discouragement

Day 14:
God in Motion

Day 15:
Nothing is Too Hard for God

Day 16:
The Right Medicine

Day 17:
Praying for Relief

Day 18:
Be Glad and Rejoice

Day 19:
Our Battle is the Lord's

Day 20:
Not Forsaken

Day 21:
Count Your Blessings

Day 22:
Be of Good Cheer

Day 23:
Pass It On!

Day 24:
I Am Not Alone!

Day 25:
Comfort Your Heart

Day 26:
Tell Of His Excellent Greatness

Day 27:
Comforter and Teacher

Day 28:
Our Blessed Hope

Day 29:
Great Is Thy Faithfulness!

Day 30:
God Cares for YOU!

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Discouragement - Day 15

Nothing Is Too Hard For God

Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me? (Jer 32:27)

In our last day of this series on discouragement, I want to remind you that when we read God's Word, we are constantly reminded that He is our Creator, our Comforter, our Teacher , etc. Nothing is too hard for Him. Neither is your discouragement too hard for Him. Therefore, if you remain in your state of discouragement, it is not because the trial is too great for the Lord. My friend, you remain in your state of discouragement because you wish to.

Take your eyes off you and your circumstances and place them on the Lord. He has been where you are. He understands every detail of your situation and wants to help you. Don't you want to help your children when they are in trouble? Surely you would not sit idly by and watch your child suffer, would you? Of course not! All the more for your Heavenly Father!

For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted. (Heb 2:18)

Noah Webster defines succour as:

Literally, to run to, or run to support; hence, to help or relieve when in difficulty, want or distress; to assist and deliver from suffering; as, to succor a besieged city; to succor prisoners.
Isn't that encouraging to you? The Lord desires to run to our side, to support us, and relieve our distress. I don't know about you, but this characteristic of God reveals a compassionate and loving Father! Allow Him to succour you, my friend! Submit to Him and allow Him to heal you from within!

The next 15 days of our series will be on "Encouragement"! This will be like a wonderful refreshing Spring rain to our souls! I pray that this series has helped you through your trial of discouragement. If you have been blessed, I would love to hear from you.

Under Thy Wings

I find sweet comfort under Thy wings
No matter what difficulty or trial
As long as my eyes are focused on Thee
On the pages of my blessed King James Bible

A fountain of life for the thirsty soul
With refreshment along life's walk
Providing direction through valleys and hills
Giving warning when the enemy knocks

How I thank Thee, oh Shepherd of my soul
For protecting me from the enemy's snares
Under Thy wings I do safely abide
As I find peaceful rest in Thy care

Kate Plourde
July 20, 2006

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Friday, August 18, 2006

Discouragement - Day 14

God in Motion

The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands. (Psa 138:8)

In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul. (Psa 138:3)

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me. (Psa 138:7)


As we wind down this 15-day series on discouragement, we have seen a pattern for the discouraged person. The discouraged one focuses on today's problems rather than counting the blessings God has already given. Also, the discouraged one does not spend the time that is so desperately needed in God's Word. Consider it "supply and demand" but in reverse. The more your trials are demanding of you, the more you must go to your Supplier!

Again, David knew from where his help came. He did not wait until he had reached the pits of discouragement. He knew that God would perfect him - whether the days were good or when the days were filled with turbulence. God is a God of motion, my friend. God does not stand still in His work for us. Notice that Psalm 138:8 says that God will perfect that which concerns you. This is in the future tense. It is an on-going effort by the One who created you. He can and will bring your through your discouragement if you allow Him.

Perfect Love

Adrift upon life's stormy billows,
True despair sets in as darkness falls.
The tempest raging, days turn to night.
Can peace be found amidst it all?

My heart is discouraged, my eyes dim.
It is exhausting to seek the cure.
But I know that His Word is my salve.
It is healing and peace, He assures.

A glimmer of hope, Oh soul rejoice!
The Shepherd's hand wipes away my tears.
Each drop replaced with His light and peace,
His perfect Love casteth out all fears!

Kate Plourde
August 15, 2006

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Discouragement - Day 13

A Refuge From Discouragement

Psalm 62:8 Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.

As I reflect on times of discouragement in my own life, I noticed that during my deepest moments of discouragement, I was not seeking God - therefore, I was not trusting Him - nor was I pouring my heart out to Him. In fact, this was the furthest thing from my mind! How sad is that? The solution to all our problems lies within this one verse. IF we do our job in the first two parts, God has a promise awaiting. This verse is so poignant that David tells the reader to pause and think about it when he inserted "Selah."

What's our part? Firstly, we must trust in God at all times. It's amazing how that little three-letter word was inserted there, isn't it? David didn't say just "some" of the time but at all times. Secondly, David says to pour out our hearts to God! He doesn't say to pour out our hearts to our spouse or best friend, but to God. Many times we are quick to tell others of our problems and fail to tell the Lord. I know what you're thinking, "Kate, God already knows what my problems are so I don't need to tell Him!" Yes, this is true. However, I don't believe that pouring our hearts out to God is for His benefit, but for our benefit. God knows that we are emotional beings because He created us. He knows that man has a need to cry out in time of need and desperation. In fact, Christ experienced this in the Garden when He asked the Father to remove the cup that was before Him (Luke 22:42). However, notice that Christ quickly inserted "not my will, but thine, be done." He trusted His Father. Christ fulfilled Psalm 62:8, my friend. He trusted, He poured His heart out AND He received the promise.

What promise? The promise is the refuge which God provides when we trust Him and pour our hearts out to Him. Noah Webster defines refuge as:
Shelter or protection from danger or distress.
Christ went to His death so that was not protection from danger. However, His protection was from distress, which was evident in His immediate submission to the Father's will after He cried out. Christ knew where His help came from. His discouragement was replaced with submission. Jesus knows what we are going through because He went through the same thing! For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Heb 4:15)


Looking Up to the Hills


My eyes look up as they search for help
Toward the hills where the promise lies
The Creator's not far, He works His way
Toward me from the other side

He guides my walk and protects my feet
From stumbling on the rocky steep
Great comfort lies within my heart
Knowing that He shall never sleep

Christ is my shelter, He provides me shade
During the fiery trials of life
Under the shadow of His wings
Peace and comfort throughout the night

This Keeper of my soul so vigilant
Protecting me through life's storms
And watches over me with such care
Not just today but forever more!

Kate Plourde
August 11, 2006

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Discouragement - Day 12

In Search of the Rock

Thank you, Brother Jerry, for planting this idea in my brain as I was reading your comments to yesterday's blog!

Psalm 61:2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Discouragement has a way of overwhelming the mind and heart, doesn't it? If one more trial or mishap comes into my life today, I just don't think I could bear it! My shoulders begin to droop from the weight of it all. My heart is so heavy and tears are just waiting to spill over my lower eyelids at the next cross word that comes my way. Who in their right mind can enjoy living in this state? Surely when we step back and look at it in this light, we would conclude that no one would. So then why do we insist on remaining in this state of discouragement?

Oh how wonderful to be able to leave our trials behind and hit the road in search of a babbling brook nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains! Oh the peace that can be found as we sit on a rock by the brook and listen to the cardinals singing, the rustling of the leaves as the gentle breeze blows, and feeling the sunshine on our faces! What a sanctuary the Lord has given us in His beautiful creation. OK, so we can't just up and leave and travel to our sanctuary. But the Word says that we can visit that Rock whenever we want - and at that Rock, we will find the sanctuary which will provide us with an even better benefit as that getaway in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

David pleads to God to lead him to the rock that is higher than he is in Psalm 61:2. What rock? And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. (1Co 10:4) Thank You, Lord, for this verse in Your Holy Word! Jesus promises to refresh us with living water! He is our Source for refreshing our discouraged heart! We can run to that mountain stream and sit on that rock any time we want by turning to His Word and talking to Him! His promises are ever before us in His Word, but we must do the seeking, my friend. You cannot be force fed. Psalm 147:3 He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.

My heart is discouraged, my eyes dim.
It is exhausting to seek the cure.
But I know that His Word is my salve.
It is healing and peace, He assures.


Excerpt from Perfect Love

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Discouragement - Day 11

A Pattern for Petitioning God

Psalm 57:1-2, [To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave.] Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. (1) I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me. (2)

Does this sound like one of your prayers, dear Christian? David had a way with words, didn't he? I've always felt that God placed specific accounts in His Word for us to walk away with a golden nugget to enrich our spiritual walk.

David not only had a way with words, but he had a way of letting his Heavenly Father know exactly how discouraged he was. David was aware that God already knew what was in his heart. Yet, David took the time to specifically spell out every detail of his trial and the way he was feeling. David leaves no doubt to the reader, and to God, of what is on his mind.

As you deal with your discouragement, stop and look at the way David's petitions to God are laid out:
o David cries out and pleads to God
o David acknowledges that he trusts God
o David recognizes God's provision during his trial
o David knows that God will take care of everything
What a pattern to follow! God already knows what you are feeling, dear Christian. But putting our thoughts into words bring closure somehow. That is why I love writing so much.

In closing, don't you just love the analogy David uses about being in the shadow of God's wings for shelter? One can only experience the shade of a tree or its protection from a passing rain if one stands under that tree. You cannot enjoy the shade and protection by watching it from afar, can you?

It is said that the Canadian goose allows the young to huddle under her wings next to her body for shelter and warmth. What a lovely picture! When we run to the Lord, as David did, we are not only sheltered from the storms of discouragement, but we are kept "warm." You cannot be kept warm at a distance, my friend. You must first draw close to God to receive His warmth. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. (Jam 4:8a)

How I thank Thee, oh Shepherd of my soul
For protecting me from the enemy's snares
Under Thy wings I do safely abide
As I find peaceful rest in Thy care

Kate Plourde
July 20, 2006

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Discouragement - Day 10

Spiritual Cataracts

(Psa 19:8) The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

What are cataracts? According to Webster, cataracts are:

A clouding of the lens of the eye or of its surrounding transparent membrane that obstructs the passage of light.

Do you have spiritual cataracts? When one is discouraged, his spiritual eyes have become clouded. Why do I say that? If you suffer from discouragement, look at your Bible reading life. ARE you reading? Chances are you are not because you do not feel motivated to read. Cataracts are progressive. One does not develop them overnight. In fact, many times one does not know that they even have them until their vision has been obstructed quite a bit. It's the same with our spiritual eyes, dear friend. You allow discouragement to come in bit by bit and then deep discouragement has arrived! What's the remedy?

(Psa 51:10) Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

Confess your sin before God - tell Him you've failed and have allowed your spiritual eyes to become clouded. Ask Him to create in you a clean heart and to renew your spirit! What is the result of such a prayer?

(Psa 51:12) Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

God will restore your sight and your joy. Noah Webster defines uphold as "To support; to sustain; to keep from falling or slipping." The Lord will keep you from falling and slipping with His free spirit! How? If you stay in the Word and allow the Word to cleanse you, the Lord will clean your heart, renew your spirit and restore your joy, and will keep you from falling!

Oh Christian, isn't that a beautiful picture of the love of our Heavenly Father? Won't you overcome your discouragement today? You can - with the Lord's help.

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Discouragement - Day 9

Looking Up Unto the Hills

Psalm 121:1-5: [A Song of degrees.] I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. (1) My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. (2) He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. (3) Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. (4) The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. (5)

Discouragement surely brings heavy and weighty burdens upon our shoulders. It is the devil's tool, not God's. Christ promised us that His burden was light in Matthew 11:30. The Psalmist must have been experiencing such burdens of weight. So much so, he lifted his eyes toward the hills because he knew that his help was coming from there. The help was not in the form of soldiers or friends and family. Verse 2 clearly says that his help was coming from the Lord! God knows of the burdens and comes to the rescue.

Take comfort, oh Christian! This same God who will give you the help you need, created heaven and earth! If you have cancer, you would go to a specialist, an oncologist - you would not go to a heart specialist, would you? When your burdens overwhelm you, go to the One who is able to alleviate those burdens. Our God is our keeper, the Psalmist says. He is our Watch Tower! Be encouraged!





Discouragement - A Tool of the Devil
By: Author Unknown


Once upon a time it was announced that the devil was going out of business and would sell all his equipment to those who were willing to pay the price.

On the big day of the sale, all his tools were attractively displayed. There were Envy, Jealousy, Hatred, Malice, Deceit, Sensuality, Pride, Idolatry, and other implements of evil display. Each of the tools was marked with its own price tag.

Over in the corner by itself was a harmless looking, wedge-shaped tool very much worn, but still it bore a higher price than any of the others. Someone asked the devil what it was, and he answered,

"That is Discouragement."

The next question came quickly.

"And why is it priced so high even though it is plain to see that it is worn more than these others?"

"Because, replied the devil, It is more useful to me than all these others. I can pry open and get into a man's heart with that when I cannot get near him with any other tool. Once I get inside, I can use him in whatever way suits me best. It is worn well because I use it on everybody I can, and few people even know it belongs to me."

This tool was priced so high that no one could buy it, and to this day it has never been sold. It still belongs to the devil, and he still uses it on mankind.

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Discouragement - Day 8

Recipe for Encouraging Yourself

Psalm 13:1-6, How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? (1) How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me? (2) Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; (3) Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved. (4) But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. (5) I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me. (6)

I do believe the Book of Psalms records the most accounts/verses about discouragement. David went through difficult times. As a Psalmist (or writer), he was able to put his feelings in writing. I must admit, there is something "therapeutic" about writing about my difficulties. As a result, I always manage to encourage myself! Let's review what David did to encourage himself and how it affected his discouragement.

We see from verses one through three how David is petitioning the Lord. I love how David isn't afraid to explain to God just how he feels. Do you struggle putting your thoughts into words in prayer? Why not write them as David did? Verse one clearly shows that David felt as though the Lord had forgotten him and that He had hid His face from David.

We see in verse two that David wasn't seeking counsel with God but within himself! His heart was full of sorrow. I've been there, haven't you? Discouragement brings such sorrow! It seems as though there is just no light at the end of the tunnel. How can a discouraged and sorrowful heart then give wise counsel? That's what David was telling God he was doing. No wonder his discouragement and sorrow went on for days. At that point in time, David wasn't seeking to encourage himself. But David had a wonderful way of turning his sorrowful times around. This is the key. He did not have the Word of God right at his fingertips as we do today. He poured his heart out in writing to God. I'm thankful he did, aren't you? Today we all glean from David's experiences.

David did not wallow in self-pity or mope around the house for very long. When I read this Psalm, I see a progression. I see David questioning God as to why He is so distant from him. I see David petitioning God to put the spark back in him. Lastly, I see David's efforts in encouraging his own heart in verses five and six. But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. (5) I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me. (6) I also noted the progression of David's encouragement in these verses. Firstly, despite everything going wrong around him, David remembered God's mercy and His salvation. What a great gift we've been given! We've been given eternal life - never more to worry about hell - only wonderful thoughts of Heaven! Rejoice! David was remembering and counting his blessings! This action brought singing and recognition of the blessings God had given him. These are no longer the words of a discouraged man!

Christian, you are not alone in your trials. God has left us many examples in His Word of those who have experienced what you are experiencing. Take action and glean from what He has left you because the cure is there. Follow David's pattern to encouragement:

(1) Tell God what you're feeling
(2) Ask Him for help
(3) Rejoice in your salvation
(4) Count your blessings!

Joseph Oatman wrote over 5,000 gospel songs. A couple that he is best known for are: "Higher Ground" and "No Not One." But one of my favorites to sing when I am discouraged is:

Count Your Blessings

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Refrain
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.

Refrain

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings. Wealth can never buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.

Refrain

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be disheartened, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Refrain

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Discouragement - Day 7

Remember Your God

Job 1:21-22, "And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. (21) In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly. (22)

The Book of Job, in my opinion, is one of the best books (along with the Book of Psalms) to read when you are discouraged. It is common knowledge to the believer that Job had patience (hence the quote "He has the patience of Job!") and Job was given many trials. Job's account was placed in the Scriptures for a reason. I often go into my reading of the Word of God wondering why God wanted this particular reading in His Word. This method helps me to glean from the passages I am reading. I ask questions like: When did this account take place? What is this account all about? Why did God allow this account to happen? What have I learned from this account?

Despite all of the trials that Job experienced, Job remembered His God. For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: (Job 19:25) Job's friends were quick to judge his trials accusing that they were a result of sin in Job's life. Great friends, huh? The Word says that Jesus is the friend who will be closer than a brother to us. "...and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. (Pro 18:24)" Job knew where his strength came from. Job turned to the Source in spite of his friends. Where and who do you turn to in your discouargement? Is it your spouse? Is it a close friend? Is it your Pastor?

Your Saviour and Brother is there to give you sweet rest from your state of discouragement. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Mat 11:28) How can you get that rest? Spend more time in the Word. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. (Luk 4:4) Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (1Pe 5:7)

I believe that we get discouraged because we feel that we cannot handle the trial that has been allowed in our lives. My friend, God would be a cruel and heartless God if He were to give you more than you can handle! There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1Co 10:13) The temptation to be discouraged can be overcome - God promises to provide a way for you to escape this temptation of discouragement. God is not a liar. His Word is clear as to what you must do. Get in the Word, my friend! That is the source of your encouragement.

A search for the words "lift up my" in my Bible software came up with some excellent verses to encourage the heart!

[A Psalm of David.] Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul. (Psa 25:1)

Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. (Psa 86:4)

My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes. (Psa 119:48)

[A Song of degrees.] I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. (Psa 121:1)

Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee. (Psa 143:8)

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Pause from Discouragement Series

I decided to take a short break on the series on discouragement. The Lord has kept the theme of being a light to the unsaved world on my heart for the past few days. So I thought I would record it.

Matt. 5:14-16, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. (14) Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. (15) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (16)

My husband loves gadgets - the bigger the better! Recently, he purchased a million candle power flashlight. Good night! This flashlight could probably escort a plane to a safe landing if needed! :-) Seriously though, I wondered if my life had that million candle power capability to the unsaved world? There are two things which cause a flashlight to shine at its brightest: a clean lens and charged batteries.

A flashlight with a dirty lens prevents the light from shining at its full potential. As I meditated on that for a while, it dawned on me that our Christian walk is the same. The Word says that Jesus is our light. Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (Joh 8:12) Am I allowing Jesus' light to shine in me? Or, have I allowed the world to enter in and dirty my "lens"? The dirtier the lens, the less light shines through - the cleaner the lens, the more light is able to shine. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, (2Co 6:17) It is the same with our walk. The world's influences in our lives cause our light to dim. The unsaved see less of Christ and more of us - OUCH!

And what about the batteries? Are your spiritual batteries charged, weak or need to be replaced? A fully charged battery allows a flashlight to shine at its fullest. Is my spiritual battery fully charged? How do I keep it fully charged? NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psa 119:105) It stands to reason that if my spiritual battery is weak or dead, I have not been in the Word. How can my light shine for Christ if my battery is weak or dead?

Our Lord sure did love analogies. He used the candle in such a way as to speak to our hearts as Christians and how our light should be to the unsaved world. Is your battery fully charged, Christian? Is your lens dirty? Both will hinder your testimony. Both will cause the unsaved to look at your walk instead of looking to Christ. Keep your spiritual flashlight clean and charged at all times so you can be that bright shining light leading the lost to our Wonderful Saviour, Jesus Christ!

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Friday, August 04, 2006

Discouragement - Day 6

Fear and Discouragement are Brothers

And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? (Mar 4:40)

Fear and discouragement go hand-in-hand. When we are discouraged over a set of circumstances, we're fearful that these circumstances won't work out to our liking. For example, finances. I remember prior to salvation, as a young married couple, my husband and I got into credit card debt. We both were discouraged. I remember staying up at night worrying and trying to come up with a solution but no solution could be found. I got more and more discouraged and then I became afraid. I was afraid of losing our car, our home, etc. Praise the Lord I was saved and delivered from this!!

My friend, this is a problem with a solution! Jesus, Himself, said that fear (and discouragement) comes from lack of faith in Mark 4:40. You do not need to stay discouraged. The longer you stay in this state, the harder it will be for you to get out. You must recognize your condition and immediately deal with it. Otherwise you are inviting the devil to bring you down deeper and deeper.

Get into the Word of God - force yourself to do so. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Rom 10:17) The Word will build your faith and will help you cleanse yourself. Encouraging one's self is an on-going process - it's not something you do once in a while. You wouldn't miss a meal, would you? Without eating, you would get sick and eventually die. It's the same with your spiritual body.

As you read the Word and encourage your spirit, you will be building your faith. You will see that the Lord will take care of those details which discourage you even when you think it is hopeless. God sees the "big picture" and knows exactly what you need. You must trust Him to do so. The Apostles in the boat were frightened and Jesus was right there with them. Well, my friend, you have Jesus' Spirit living within you and He is right there with you as well. "... for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." (Heb 13:5) Your Heavenly Father knows your "make up" as He created you. He knows just how much you can take. You may not see an "end" to your circumstances, but stay strong in the Word and your faith will carry you through. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Heb 11:1)

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Discouragement - Day 5

Heaviness for a Season

Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: (1Pe 1:6)

How can one rejoice when they are experiencing numerous trials and tribulations? Is this possible to do? It is possible if you are walking in the Spirit. If you are suffering from discouragement, however, this verse in 1 Peter seems "out there"! This verse seems like an impossible task.

Everyone I have spoken with who has suffered from discouragement at one time or another has admitted that they are guilty of two things: (1) focusing their thoughts on their problem, and (2) not being in the Word as they should. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Gal 6:8) What are you sowing, Christian? Step back and look at your life - the results of sowing will appear in what you are reaping. Discouragement is not a fruit of the Spirit. The Word says that the fruit of the Spirit is: :... love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Gal 5:22-23) I don't see discouragement in this list, do you?

Since the Word says that these are the fruit of the Spirit, it stands to reason that no sowing is being done in these areas to reap these fruit. Christian, examine yourself. If you can get to the root of this discouragement in your life, you will overcome it. The Word is our guide - the Holy Spirit is our Teacher. I know I sound like a broken record but, "Get in the Word"! Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psa 119:11) If you're not reaping to the Spirit, then you are reaping to the flesh. There is nothing good in the flesh. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: ...(Rom 7:18) Therefore, if you are reaping to the flesh it stands to reason you are not in the Word for the Lord tells us that if we hide the Word in our hearts (through reading and memorizing), we will not sin against Him. Since discouragement is not one of the fruit of the Spirit, it is a work of the flesh and is sin. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1Jo 1:9)

It is easier to understand now how Paul could rejoice through numerous trials. Paul walked in the Spirit and the Word encouraged his heart. How else could he be singing with Silas in prison at midnight (Acts 16:25)? If anyone had the right to be discouraged, it would be Paul and Silas - but yet they were found singing! When was the last time you felt like singing in the wee hours of the morning while you were discouarged? Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: (1Pe 1:6) The Book of Psalms is filled with encouraging verses. Our Heavenly Father knew we needed these - He placed those words there just for you! Read Psalms 84, 121, 139 to name a few.

What a tremendous testimony you would have and the ability to help others through their discouragement if you would allow the Spirit of God to dwell in you and encourage your heart the same way He did Paul and Silas. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. (1Jo 4:13) Yes, that's right - help others! There's nothing like a good dose of doing for others to help us take our eyes of our own circumstances. God allows trials in our lives for a reason - it is to mold us into His image and then we take what we have learned and try to help someone else. Why would someone who is discouraged listen to someone who has never been through it? How would they know?

A Christian with the purpose of helping someone else to overcome discouragement is a Christian who is in the Word daily and has taken his eyes off his own circumstances. This same Christian is walking in the Spirit and reaping the fruit of the Spirit. Won't you take that first step in this walk?

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