Encouragement07 Apr 2007 02:04 pm

Hezekiah fell ill, and God told him to get his affairs in order as this was his time. Hezekiah cried to the Lord to grant him more time, and in his mercy, God gave Hezekiah 15 more years. Hezekiah’s prayer that day, is similar to mine this Easter Eve. For I was dead with a future in hell, and in his mercy God has given me eternity through the gift of his son. And so with loudest praise, Thank You Heavenly Father for the death of your son for my failings. Thank you for raising him after three days. He is risen, and is living today. Praise God.

10 I said, “In the prime of my life
must I go through the gates of death [a]
and be robbed of the rest of my years?”

11 I said, “I will not again see the LORD,
the LORD, in the land of the living;
no longer will I look on mankind,
or be with those who now dwell in this world. [b]

12 Like a shepherd’s tent my house
has been pulled down and taken from me.
Like a weaver I have rolled up my life,
and he has cut me off from the loom;
day and night you made an end of me.

13 I waited patiently till dawn,
but like a lion he broke all my bones;
day and night you made an end of me.

14 I cried like a swift or thrush,
I moaned like a mourning dove.
My eyes grew weak as I looked to the heavens.
I am troubled; O Lord, come to my aid!”

15 But what can I say?
He has spoken to me, and he himself has done this.
I will walk humbly all my years
because of this anguish of my soul.

16 Lord, by such things men live;
and my spirit finds life in them too.
You restored me to health
and let me live.

17 Surely it was for my benefit
that I suffered such anguish.
In your love you kept me
from the pit of destruction;
you have put all my sins
behind your back.

18 For the grave [c] cannot praise you,
death cannot sing your praise;
those who go down to the pit
cannot hope for your faithfulness.

19 The living, the living—they praise you,
as I am doing today;
fathers tell their children
about your faithfulness.

20 The LORD will save me,
and we will sing with stringed instruments
all the days of our lives
in the temple of the LORD.

Encouragement17 Feb 2007 11:22 am

One of my best friends is Tom. Friday night was a rough night for me, with pride, self pity, and envy all center stage, and my mind a gracious host. Out of the blue Tom called just to talk. What a difference it made to talk with a Christian Friend. I had prayed a couple of hours before that God would get me out of the funk, as there is a lot of work to do this weekend. Tom’s call, and an inspirational email from a totally unexpected source did the trick.

Tom and I met while fishing at the river. Tom’s wife, and my wife were with our infant children and struck up a quick conversation that continues to this day. Unlike Jesus, Tom did not point out any fish:

4Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

5He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.

6He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

John 21:4-6
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While Tom didn’t point out fish, he did something much more valuable. He helped point out daily ways to serve God. Our conversations and mountain walks have veered through many topics, but they have never failed to bring strength in the daily journey.

Tom will be sharing God’s insights with us from time to time here, and I am very excited.

We serve a mighty God, who provides for our needs. Beyond food, clothing and shelter, he brings people into our lives who can share our burdens. Thank You God for friends.

Encouragement22 Jan 2007 04:40 pm

Sports Fans are by nature finicky. After all, fan is short for fanatic, and it seems that the last few years the mantra has become “Just Win Baby”. Your team not playing anymore – fire the coach. The college alma mater have a down year. Put the coach on the proverbial hot seat. After all, they are being paid so much money.

That is why it was so refreshing to watch two good guys win the AFC and NFC playoffs this weekend. Both Tony Dungy, and Lovie Smith are African American Coaches, but also they are devoted Christian Men. Tony Dungy buried his 18 year old son last year, and amid the pain and heartache, Coach Dungy lifted the name of Christ by the way he acted, and in his words. Dungy’s first words of thanks after the Colts AFC win were to the Lord for giving them the chance. Wow!

One of the distinctions of a leader, is that his or her shadow changes the places that it passes. The Colts players all talked about their patience and mental toughness, and how much they had learned from Dungy. Lovie Smith’s players showed respect and trust, and desire to fight for the head guy, because they knew he was fighting for them. Bears quarterback Rex Grossman is decried by every sports pundit in the country, but Coach Smith has stuck with him, and that loyalty seems to be evident in the way that the Bears approach their coach.

In a league of prima donna’s and players who take their status as role models lightly, it is good to see the premier game headlined by two good guys, who can speak about patience, respect, trust, and thankfulness.

Encouragement12 Jan 2007 05:18 pm

I watched as the 5th and 6th grade girls played basketball, and like most of the parents found myself cheering when my daughters shots fell in. I would grimace when she would turn the ball over, or when her shot clanked off the backboard, sending an encouraging prayer her way.

Upward Basketball is not so much about winning and losing, even though a score is kept, and coaches try to encourage their team to score more points, while playing strong defense to keep the other team from scoring.

And while scoring and winning is important, and it is certainly something that we should vigorously cheer, the other side to that is just as important. The missed shots, the ball that is stolen, or dribbled off a foot is a cause for celebration as well.

In life, despite our best efforts, sometimes our shots fall short. Maybe someone else just makes a great play, or maybe a light in our eyes causes us to be distracted just enough to cause the shot to glance away. Upward Basketball teaches many lessons, including the lesson that sometimes we miss, and who we are is dictated in large measure by how we respond to those misses.

Tony Romo, the Dallas Cowboys quarterback had such a moment last Saturday in the first round of the NFL playoffs. Romo had led the Cowboys into field goal range with just over a minute left in the game, and the Cowboys trailing by 1. The crowd, the teams, and the announcers just knew that it was a foregone conclusion that Dallas would kick the field goal, take a 2 point lead, and Seattle would have to quickly make it to field goal range in hopes to win. The announcers talked about how it might be advantageous for the Seattle defense to just let Dallas score the touchdown quickly, so that they might have the ball with just enough time left to move the ball down the field to score.

Most of you probably know the rest of the story. Romo mishandled the snap on the field goal try, and was tackled a yard short of the first down marker. The Cowboys turned the ball over on downs. Romo was devastated, and went to the bench, burying his head in his hands. Minutes before, he was poised to be the hero. Pro Bowl Quarterback who had led his team to a come from behind score in the first round of the playoffs. Now he was the goat.

In that time though, the announcers pointed out that Romo could possible get another shot. Because of the time left on the clock, Dallas could get a couple of plays. Someone tell Romo John Madden kept saying. He needs to get his head in the game. The game is not over, tell him not to quit.

Dallas did get one more shot, an improbable hail mary pass that fell incomplete.

John Maddens encouragement to Romo, and our challenge to these girls, is to encourage them to keep their head in the games, to not quit, to push forward despite their weaknesses, and failures. In small ways in these Saturday games, attitudes and habits are built that will serve them for a lifetime.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

Evangelism25 Oct 2006 11:23 am

Michael, over at Big Orange Michael has a thoughtful post on who is my neighbor.

Like most people, Michael was quick to help a couple of ladies who might need help, but was more reluctant to help a homeless man who reeked of pot, claiming to need money for gas.

And yet, I felt really covincted yesterday as I thought about. I was more willing to help two women get to their cars safely than I was this guy on the street with his story. I suppose I could have given him some money and had faith he’d use it for what he said he would. But I made a snap judgement about all three people who crossed my path…and whether or not I chose wisely or fairly, I’m not sure about.

I do know that it’s been something on my mind in the hours since the encounter. It takes me back to a sermon I heard a few weeks ago. Our pastor, Michael O’Bannon, asked the hard question–if people around you have to use Google to find out about God, what does this say? See, I believe that part of the walk I’m on is to reflect the love of Christ and God to everyone I encounter on a daily basis. I’d hope after being around me, people wouldn’t need to Google to find out more about God.

Read the whole thing. It really is a home run as to who we help and why, and what we as Christians are commanded to do.

Encouragement24 Oct 2006 03:47 pm

Chuck Norris doesn’t read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.

Like most people, I enjoy the Chuck Norris Facts. Some can be crass, but the idea is kinda funny. Norris himself seems flattered by the attention, and has now posted a column about the true source of his strength.

Alleged Chuck Norris Fact: “Chuck Norris’ tears can cure cancer. Too bad he never cries. Ever.”

There was a man whose tears could cure cancer or any other disease, including the real cause of all diseases – sin. His blood did. His name was Jesus, not Chuck Norris.

Read the entire column here, and read more about Chuck’s faith here.

Encouragement11 Oct 2006 02:30 pm

An interesting article in the Wall Street Journal today about faith and business.

When Mark Dillon has a management problem, he heads straight to the Bible.

The president of closely held Tampa Bay Steel Corp. changed how the metals distributor pays its bills with help from the Book of Proverbs. He turned to the Book of Matthew for advice on dealing with a delinquent customer. Agonizing over a pre-Christmas layoff, he took comfort from Jesus’ admonition to “do to others what you would have them do to you.”

Our Christianity becomes a part of who we are, and from it, our decisions are influenced. One of the areas of leadership that many look for guidance in, is the balance between the emotional and logical components of a decision.

I recommend the article, as it fairly evenly discusses the issue of faith in decision making.

Encouragement18 Sep 2006 11:13 am

Sunday morning we had a clip from the new movie “Facing the Giants” as part of our worship. The clip was of a football player who was being challenged to not quit. The clip looked very good. As you might know, I am a passionate football fan, and this movie looks like it should be good.

Encouragement31 Aug 2006 02:36 pm

Haggai 2
The Promised Glory of the New House
1 On the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: 2 “Speak to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people. Ask them, 3 ‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing? 4 But now be strong, O Zerubbabel,’ declares the LORD. ‘Be strong, O Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the LORD, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the LORD Almighty. 5 ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’

The second chapter of Haggai is a call to work, and a reminder that God will bring comfort. In the plodding day to day world, sometimes the mind will wander and footsteps will stray from the path. God’s call is to keep moving, and to know that he is with us. A great promise..

Tunes13 Jul 2006 03:42 pm

Million Pieces by Newsboys is a catchy tune that draws you in with its guitar riffs and light feel. More than a puff piece though, the song touches on a profound truth, by casting your cares to God, you become more effective and useful in his Kingdom.

This is not your floor You’re going higher than before

They all fall Like a million raindrops Falling from a blue sky Kissing your cares goodbye They all fall Like a million pieces A tickertape parade high And now you’re free to fly Carryin’ a millstone malaise It’s been pulling down your gaze You pound the pavement It don’t give or care This weight ain’t yours to bear Why you holdin’ grudges in old jars? Why you wanna show off all your scars? What’s it gonna take to lay a few burdens down? It’s a beautiful sound When they all fall Like a million raindrops Falling from a blue sky Kissing your cares goodbye They all fall Like a million pieces A ticker tape parade high And now you’re free to fly When that muffled sigh Says you’re barely getting by Cut your burdens loose and just simplify Simplify This is not your floor You’re going higher than before Drop the weight now Wait for the lookout guide Look outside As they all fall Like a million raindrops Falling from a blue sky Kissing your cares goodbye They all fall Like a million pieces A ticker tape parade high Now you’re free to fly You’ve gotta lay that burden down You’re gonna lay that burden down It’s time to leave your burdens in a pyre Set a bonfire ‘Cause when you lay your burdens down When you lay your burdens down When you drop them burdens What a free-fall What a thrill Bury them all In a landfill

Family Thoughts13 Jul 2006 03:37 pm

Over the last months some of my prayer requests have sounded more like begging or nagging.

Last week I was listening to Dr Stanley talk about Faith, and his first message point was assurance – the confidence that God would answer a prayer. Pray and ask God for his help, then take confidence that he would respond. It might be in his time, it might be no, but God would respond. That message really touched my heart and was something I needed to hear.

Later in the weekend April mentioned that she had heard Dr Stanley preaching about faith, and how it had affected her. God was reinforcing the message for us to strengthen our faith.

Encouragement08 Jul 2006 11:32 pm

I have been working in East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia the last few days and have really enjoyed listening to WMIT the Light Christian Radio Station in Asheville NC. They have a web feed here, as well as an informative site here.

Thanks guys, and God bless WMIT.

Tunes07 Jul 2006 09:07 pm

I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore,
Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more,
But the Master of the sea, heard my despairing cry,
From the waters lifted me, now safe am I.


Love lifted me! Love lifted me!
When nothing else could help
Love lifted me!

All my heart to Him I give, ever to Him I’ll cling
In His blessèd presence live, ever His praises sing,
Love so mighty and so true, merits my soul’s best songs,
Faithful, loving service too, to Him belongs.


Souls in danger look above, Jesus completely saves,
He will lift you by His love, out of the angry waves.
He’s the Master of the sea, billows His will obey,
He your Savior wants to be, be saved today.

Tunes30 Jun 2006 09:00 am

Woke up this morning with this song in my head. It sure beats waking up with the Ford Jingle being sung by the American Idol guy..

We have heard the joyful sound:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Spread the tidings all around:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Bear the news to every land,
Climb the mountains, cross the waves;
Onward! ’tis our Lord’s command;
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!

Sing above the battle strife:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
By His death and endless life
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Shout it brightly through the gloom
when the heart for mercy craves;
Sing in triumph o’er the tomb:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!

Give the winds a mighty voice:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Let the nations now rejoice:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Shout salvation full and free;
Highest hills and deepest caves;
This our song of victory:
Jesus saves! Jesus saves!

News30 Jun 2006 08:55 am

Coach Randy Walker of the Northwestern Wildcats has passed away at the age of 52. Coaching is a high stress position, and prevailing reports indicate a heart attack. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and team.

It is a reminder that life is not measured in years, but in lives touched.

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