Silence is a Killer…A Devotional Pondering.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Let’s face it, we all encounter difficult days…some more difficult than others.
There are days that we can manage on our own, and then there are days when we are completely floored by the problems that come our way.  The pressures may seem impossible to overcome, and sometimes that may be true…

I know what you’re thinking, “that doesn’t sound very encouraging to me”…let me finish:
The pressures may seem impossible to overcome, and sometimes that may be true…but we were never meant to handle it all on our own.

In the Apostle Paul’s day, the new believers in Thessalonica were encountering all kinds of trouble.  Thessalonica was the largest city in Macedonia which boasted over 200,000 people.  This city was known for being a military and commercial port city.  So within this large city in Macedonia, these young Christians were encountering all sorts of trouble – even persecution and death because of their new-found declarations of faith.  In the midst of their living testimonies, they longed for the day of Christ’s return.  What does that mean?  They lived in fear every single day, and couldn’t wait for Christ to come back.   And so these young Christians lived expectant lives while encouraging each other onward.

The persecution in Thessalonica must have been fierce for the Apostle Paul to remind them that they needed one another and they ought to continue (“just as you are doing”) to encourage one another.

Let’s put this into perspective:
We might not be facing certain death for our faith, instead we might be struggling to pay rent, finding funds to feed our families, enduring a tough problem at work or at home…all of these situations are arduous and, at times they keep us up at night.
The killer is silence. 
What do I mean?
We think no other Christian is struggling, and if they are it must mean that their faith isn’t strong enough.  This could not be further from the truth.
We have this idea that we shouldn’t let other Christians know how discouraged we really are, because we don’t want them to think less of us.  Because we don’t want others to talk.  Because we fear judgment of others.  Because we believe in the perfect Christian life that really doesn’t exist…because we’ve bought the lie that to be a Christian means we don’t struggle with these things anymore.

And so, silence is a killer.
No one knows.
We don’t share.
And our hurts go unchecked, unnoticed, and unaddressed.

Dear Christian,
How can we encourage one another if we aren’t being honest with each other?
How can we carry each other’s burdens if we allow silence to slowly kill our souls?
We cannot continue to buy the lie that everything is fine when we face times of trial and we keep it private.  (Some will laugh at this and say, but church is full of hypocrites and gossipers…then find REAL believers in whom you can confide!)

Healing can begin with out this kind of encouragement, but long is the process and deep the scars.  When we have others who will journey beside us, and encourage us, we will find added strength, hope, abundance and encouragement.

Don’t let silence kill you.

Hope In Discouragement?

Let’s face it, we’ve all been to the well of discouragement.
We drink from this well from time to time.
Discouragement is alive and well in this world.
It can hit us at anytime and any place, especially when we aren’t looking for it…most of the time, unless we’re a glutton for punishment, we don’t go looking for trouble and/or disappointment.

Pick Your Poison: poison
-We find discouragement when:
-our friends let us down.
-our workplace and those we work with treat us poorly.
-there is added stress at home.
-our kids act out or are struggling, or are rebellious.
-our health or the health of loved ones is in question.
-we are stressed out with the responsibilities of life and work and the ever increasing “to do” list seems to never end.
-when depression hits.
-when we are in a financial mess.
-when, when, when….

discourageDiscouragement happens.
People will sometimes let us down.
Health, finances, relationships, families, hopes, dreams, school – all can wane from time to time.

I don’t say this to further discourage you today, I say this because we MUST face reality – Discouragement is often times unavoidable.

– BUT – 

We don’t have to live there.
We don’t have to continually drink from this well and let it further poison our faith, our relationships, our lives.  We can find hope in the midst of discouragement!

Question: How do we find this hope even when we are discouraged?  
Here are 4 Answers: 

discouragement1.  Don’t Quit! 
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
-Galatians 6:9
Discouragement will tell you to just quit.
It may try and convince you that you’re not strong enough or good enough or healthy enough, and that you should just quit.  – DON’T!  Don’t give up, don’t quit, don’t let the lie saturate your faith and hope.  FIGHT!
You WILL see better days again!
You WILL survive this season of discouragement.
You WILL find happiness and hope again!

eyes2. Walk By Faith, Not By Sight!
for we walk by faith, not by sight.” -2 Corinthians 5:7
The Apostle Paul and the early Church faced many obstacles, frustrations, persecution and extreme discouragement – yet they did not quit.  Why?  Because their mission and purpose was bigger than they were!
In this faith, we have been given a very large mission and purpose, and it’s bigger than we are!  We are called to this higher purpose and with that we drink from a well that provides us with life, strength and hope!  Although we can’t see what tomorrow holds, and all we might be seeing right now is this discouragement in our lives, we can boldly step forward and onward because we know WHO HOLDS THE FUTURE!   With this knowledge firmly in grasp, we can survive these days of discouragement!  We cannot allow discouragement to dictate what our next steps will be!  Don’t allow it hold you captive – Christ can and will break these chains in your life!  Simply (although it isn’t always so simple, this we all know) trust in Him!  Cry out to the Father!  Ask for His Holy presence to guide and sustain you!  It may be hell right now, but you can keep going because you have this amazing faith to rely on!

3.  No Pain, No Gain!?! -Right?! pain1
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” -1 Corinthians 9:24
This is about holiness, about Christ-likeness, but this is also about striving beyond our discouragements and pains and into something eternally worth-while!  We will face opposition, pain and discouragement!  We will endure hardships, stresses, sleepless nights and pain, but we MUST gut it out!  We must persevere beyond the turmoil and the pain.  When we keep going through perseverance, we will rediscover the hope that His holy presence has placed in our lives!  Keep going, keep on – His well of living water will restore your discouraged life!

  1. He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
    He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
    To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
    To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.
    His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
    His power no boundary known unto men;
    For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
    He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.
    (“He Giveth more grace” -by Annie Flint)

hope34.  The Source Of Our HOPE is External not Internal!  
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
When we are facing our struggles and discouragements and troubles, we might only be seeing that which frustrates and defeats us.  We might be treading water but our eyes are only focused on the strong currents of those waters as they attempt to pull us under.  We might be missing the strong hand of the rescuer as He attempts to pull us up out of those depths.  The source of our salvation doesn’t come from ourselves, although at times we try and fool ourselves into thinking that WE have it all under control.  -That WE don’t need rescuing.  -That WE don’t need help period.  Sure, help is for the weak, for the helpless, but we’re not helpless, we’re strong – we’re almost superhuman.  NEWSFLASH: We aren’t superhuman.  We need help!  We need continual saving.  We need His source and supply of strength, hope, glory, grace, endurance.


-Does God still supply your needs?
-Are you trusting in Him to be there for you?
-Are you allowing Him access to your life so that He can do the rescuing OR are you still attempting to control it all and save yourself?

This discouragement that you’re facing isn’t new.
Many have walked the path that you’re on right now.
Many have survived – and so can you!
Don’t simply rely on your own strength to just “survive”.
Allow God’s holy presence to be with you and to provide what you need when these days of discouragement do happen!

You aren’t alone in this battle!
He will come through for you even in the midst of the storms that you are facing right now.
Take heart, the Lord is with you!

Dear Lord, I cannot see this path that I am on right now.
All I can see are the crashing waves that are about to envelop me.
I confess that I have often attempted to take control of my life while failing to include you in it.
I am often times stubborn and I fail to ask you for your help.
Be with me today.  Help me.  Guide me.  It is your strength that I seek, your wisdom that I need.
Deliver me from these waves of discouragement, I want to drink deeply of your living water again today.
In your name I pray these things.  -Amen.

Something more to ponder today.
To God be the glory!

Encouragement For A Soldier’s Heart…

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Mama said there’ll be days like this
There’ll be days like this mama said” -(by Luther Dixon & Willie Denson)

Are you having one of THOSE days?

troubleOur Troubles…
Our frustrations and troubles within this world look vastly different from the early church and that of Jesus’ disciples.  Yet, this verse is for you and for me today.  All too often we engage souls in these ministries that we are responsible for.  All too often we hear other people’s problems and they become ours.  It becomes a shared burden.  We provide care, support and guidance to many within our flock.  We feel the burden of these cares, and sometimes they weigh heavy on us.

Other times our troubles come by way of our calling.  Sometimes the ministries we have been called to or placed in suddenly become a “dry and thirsty land” with very little by way of encouragement, support and hope.  Sometimes instead of a passionate, flowing river of a numerically “successful” ministry we face a slim trickle of moderate or rare numeric success which makes us ponder the questions: “am I cut out for this?” and “what have I done wrong?“…and we face discouragement, disillusionment and even depression.

Still, on other occasions these troubles come by way of outward pressures in our communities or individualistic persecutions.  Perhaps we face false teachers, or we must confront immorality within our church and when we do, we’re blasted as “judgmental” and shouted at with curses and graceless comments such as “how dare you, what gives you the right?”  We question if we should have just let sleeping dogs lie but in our hearts we know it was the right thing to do and we did so with grace and love.  Still…troubles from without and from within have left us wounded and discouraged.

About That Peace?…peace
Jesus spoke these words to His disciples after telling them of not only His pending death but also of their pending troubles in the world…but there was hope.  There is always hope in the Father.  There is always hope in the Son.  There is always hope in the Holy Spirit who guides us on this path.  Have you ever heard the phrase “keep the main thing the main thing?”  It alludes to the need for keeping the principle of our mission at the forefront of our minds.

Our Principle:  The message of Christ (Messiah), the message of the cross, the message of salvation, of resurrection, of hope, of reconciliation, of love, and victory over sin and death.

When we keep “the main thing the main thing”, we realign ourselves with God and turn away from the problems of this world.  Not that the problems of this world aren’t important, but rather, The Author of life itself takes His proper place in our priorities.  From this place of understanding we then can look around our world and truly see how things are and how they could be.  This is when we begin to see the world through the eyes of Christ because we are striving to live for Him alone.  This is holiness.  This is surrendering ourselves at the foot of the cross and then picking up our own crosses to follow Him.

Peace?  What Peace?
Carrying our crosses and following Him (Matthew 16:24) doesn’t sound “peaceful” does it?  Pain still exists.  Hurtful accusations, slander and suffering will still occur.  How could THIS be peaceful?   One might ask.  Perhaps “peace” means something differently than what we initially thought it to mean.  It is certainly not the absence of conflict in our lives; for there is still conflict.  It is not the absence of adversity, discouragement or suffering either; for we still encounter these on our path as well.  Then what is this peace that Christ provides to us if it is not the absence of conflict?  It is an eternal peace.  A peace that transcends this temporal, mortal existence.  It is a peace that alleviates the burdens of our former self as we embrace the image of Christ.  It is a peace that resides in our lives because His Holy presence brings us assurance and hope.  It is a peace that still passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7) yet conveys to us that we are not alone and we will overcome because He has overcome.

soldiers3Dear Soldier…
Are you in need of that peace today in your life?
Are you facing discouragement, hopelessness and pain?  You aren’t alone.  You do not have to carry this burden by yourself.   There is One who can provide you with this peace.  Perhaps there is some realignment that must be done in your heart today.  Perhaps we must go before the Father again with a penitent heart.  Perhaps it is a simple yet constant prayer of “Lord use me and allow me to see evidence of You in my life.

Be encouraged today!  We are not alone.  We are not abandoned.  We are overcomers because Christ has overcome the world.  Allow this peace to evident in your life today!

Something more to ponder today.  To God be the Glory!

BEWARE: Bitter Feasting and Hardened Hearts



  “As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts ….” Hebrews 3:15 (NIV)


This passage is a reference from Psalm 95:7-8.  Do we still harden our hearts today?  
What does it even mean to “harden our hearts”?



What I understand it to mean is when we allow bitterness to enter into our lives and hearts.  When we feel abandoned by God, even when He hasn’t left us, we might be inclined to become angry and bitter.  Thus the hardening of our hearts occurs when we turn from anger to a scary emotion of hopelessness and apathy.  Perhaps in this swing of emotion and temperament we simply give up.  We give up trying, we give up believing and we give up hope.  

Beware of the hardened heart!

 All of us have feasted on the bitter roots of sorrow, disappointment and anger.  Each one of us, if we were honest, have asked the question silently (maybe out loud) “why God?”   In that moment of bitter feasting we must recognize a couple of things lest we fall into total despair and experience the totality of a hardened heart.

2 Things:

1.  God has not abandoned you!  


Your friends, colleagues, organization you work for, neighbors and family may not completely understand.  They may not be there for you.  In fact some might even let you down or watch you crash and burn (I know positive isn’t it?)…BUT God has not abandoned you! Envision Jesus on the cross.  He hung there horrifically dying for the sins of humanity and He cried out “Oh God, my God why have you forsaken me?”  Jesus quotes a Psalm of David here (Ps 22:1), yet the human emotion evoked here is very real.  Jesus’ humanity is evident, and even in the midst of this He still knows that God hasn’t truly abandoned Him…though it feels like it in His suffering.  We may not be hanging on a cross, but we most likely know a thing or two about pain and suffering as well.  The pain and suffering we might experience could be physical or emotional and in the midst of these “dark times” we might feel compelled to call out to God and ask Him why He has abandoned us.  

Don’t let that emotion or thought cause you to give up hope!  Do not allow despair and bitterness to creep in and destroy your faith. God does not abandon His own!  He will never leave you or forsake you!  (Hebrews 13:5-6)  The world around you might try and convince you that He has left you all alone, but don’t buy the lie of the worldly influence.  Don’t buy the lie for a moment.  Also don’t feel guilty about considering this very human response to pain – Jesus even uttered those words.  Pain is not something we wish to keep around us, yet in those moments of severe doubt, depression and pain remember God has NOT abandoned you!

2.  SO WHAT? 


Do you live with fear?  Do you live with pain, discouragement, doubt, sorrow?  In the grand scheme of things, these are all fragments of a broken and fallen world in which we live.  I don’t mean to paint a picture here of a hopeless world because God created this world so that we could fellowship with Him…there is beauty here and remnants of His initial creation.  Yet sin has marred that.  Sin and the fallen nature in which we live has brought with it these broken, negative emotions.  If we could step back from our problems and our pain for a moment and see Us how God sees us, I believe we could possibly grasp just a glimpse of the love and potential He has for us all.  Secondly, God doesn’t want to leave us this way – hopeless and alone; fearful and bound by pain, bitterness and anger.  God wants to do a mighty work within us.  

We have to be willing to say to our fears and pain – “So what?”  When the pain becomes intense, or the depression penetrates us deeply we can look at these blights and say “So what, do you worst, I know in whom I believe!”  

The Apostle Paul (while in chains) puts this “So what” principle into perspective for us: 
I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!  I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.  Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me. Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel” -Philippians 1:20-27 (NIV) 

The Apostle Paul confronts his potential roots of bitterness, anger and despair by saying “whether I live or die I will conduct myself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”  

So what if I die.  So what if I experience heart wrenching disappointment in life.  So what if I have to go through this pain right now.  So what if I am not accepted by others.  So what if others don’t see the potential in me that I know is there…SO WHAT?

If I can keep my perspectives clear and understand that all that I do and all that I say should be for the glory of God despite outside influences, then I can avoid this hardening of my heart.  This world can’t shake me.  I won’t be defined by others who have no interest in helping me develop and further in my personal holiness.  I won’t harbor bitterness towards the Savior because I live in a fallen world and often times it’s screwed up – not me.  

I am reminded of the chorus “One thing remains, Your love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me!”  

2 Principles and a pondering conclusion: 

God has NOT abandoned you.  He is the same today as yesterday and He will never leave us alone!
So what if the world doesn’t recognize you.  So what if you face fears, pain and disappointment?  God never fails you!
If Paul could say “so what” to death for the cause of Christ, we too can say “so what” to our troubles.  

Some might say, “well that’s easier said then done”…of course it is.  This will never be easy.  This will be the hardest thing we ever have to do, yet if we can rise above these temporal issues we will find the strength to make it through! 

Don’t harden your heart!  Don’t allow the father of lies to convince you that no one cares.  Don’t become consumed with apathy and despair.  Don’t feast on those roots of bitterness any longer.  Beware of its trappings, cling to these two important principles and wait on God to provide His salve to your life.



-Just a pondering for you today!  


Finding Encouragement:



Let’s face it, we are all accustomed to disappointment and discouragement.  Some days we might even ask ourselves ‘why did I even get up this morning?’  Yet I do know that there is comfort in the knowledge that we aren’t alone in our disappointments and troubles.  Though these times come to us all, we can recognize that we don’t have to endure these difficult moments alone.

Are you facing trouble today?  Are you downcast, disillusioned, weary?  Allow me an opportunity here to share with you an encouraging passage of scripture:

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Did you catch that?  Let me break it down for you:

1. The Lord God is here in your midst: 

God is here

He’s not far away, or distant.  He is with you in your good days, your bad days, your indifferent days.  God is near!  How encouraging is that?!  We serve a mighty, all knowing God that isn’t distant but personal with each of us.  He care for you.  He wants to be involved intimately in your life!  And despite our struggles, God is here in your midst.

2. He saves us!


He doesn’t wear a red cape like superman, but He saves us!  His love doesn’t end with being near, He desire fellowship with us and for our deliverance from sin and death!  In Christ’s suffering and death, God provides salvation!  Our redemption comes through Christ, and now we not only long for Eternity but we have the Kingdom of God here on Earth with us!  We have been redeemed!  We have been saved!  Hallelujah!

3. He will quiet us with His love!


Have you ever gotten bent out of shape?  Have you ever found yourself panic stricken, stress laden and crying out for relief from it all?  In your despair God is there and He, with His loving arms, will quiet our manic lives.  How amazing is that?  I can’t tell you how often stress gets the better of me.  Or how often my mind won’t turn itself off at bed time because I’m so consumed with worry or fear.  Yet when I allow God access to these emotions and these situations, I am not only comforted but I am reminded that His strength is enough!  There is nothing, absolutely nothing too difficult for Him to handle!  He will quiet us and our distress…if we allow Him access to our lives!

4.  He will exult over you with loud singing…


um, ok that sounds kind of funny doesn’t it?  Yet think about it?  And don’t envision God with a megaphone singing loudly in your ear either!  But think of it like this:  God spoke the world into being with just mere words.  He will comfort us with these same audible words that formed the very stars that we look at!  How encouraging is that?  God will remind us of His might through this as well!  If He could do all of these marvelous deeds, how tiny our problems must seem to Him.  He will bring to us His songs of peace and deliverance.  He will declare His majesty through the music of Eternity.

-Put it all together-

Think of it again…in every season God is there! He wants to be involved in our lives and He will be there in our discouragements and in times of despair.  Take comfort in this verse, though it was originally intended for Israel at a time of exile, this verse is for all those who are called children of God through faith in Jesus Christ!

Discouraged?  Find Encouragement today!

-Just a thought.

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