Hanging On: A Biblical Alternative

Hang On
Hang On

Hang On

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. — 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NIV)

Is life getting you down? Do you feel like you’re at the end of your rope? Here are seven Biblical principles on how to hang on when you feel like you’re at the end of your rope.

Principle One: I must not forget God loves me.

  • Don’t lose heart! – Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. — 2 Corinthians 4:1 (NIV)
  • I am what I am – But by the grace of God I am what I am, … — 1 Corinthians 15:10 (NIV)
  • It’s not who we are. It’s whose we are! – Remember our performance does not give us our worth.
  • God’s grace gives us the power to start over. – Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. — Romans 8:37 (NIV)

Principle Two: I must keep a clear conscience.

  • Renounce secret and shameful ways. — Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. — 2 Corinthians 4:2 (NIV)
  • We must have integrity. — The integrity of the upright guides them,
    but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity. Proverbs 11:3 (NIV)
  • We must have character. — For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Luke 8:17 (NIV)
  • There are no “secret sins.” God sees and knows everything. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. — 1 John 1:9 (NIV)

Principle Three: It is not about me.

  • Do not preach ourselves — For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. — 2 Corinthians 4:5 (NIV)
  • Your ego will only take you so far. —  Pride goes before destruction and haughtiness before a fall. — Proverbs 16:18 (TLB)

Principle Four: I can’t do it all.

  • Power is from God — But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. — 2 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV)
  • We must pace ourselves. Life is a journey, not a sprint. — Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. — Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

Principle Five: Love, love, love.

  • Thanksgiving to overflow — All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. — 2 Corinthians 4:15 (NIV)

Principle Six: Take time to refresh, renew, and revive.

  • Do not lose heart — Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. — 2 Corinthians 4:16 (NIV)

Principle Seven: I must keep my eye on the goal.

  • Fix our eyes on what is unseen — For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. — 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NIV)

Remember — You cannot create if you don’t face your troubles and hang on until you reach your goal.

God’s Protection

A Daily Challenge

As I face the challenges of applying a yucky tasting prescription steroid gel inside my mouth twice a day and using a compounded prescription “magic mouthwash” that has a cocktail of four different prescriptions I find myself growing weary.

Remembering to use the magic mouthwash at the right times is critical. Swishing and spitting after meals, not before meals is essential where I don’t swallow the mixture’s medicine with food or drink. It is not for internal use. The steroid gel is applied to gauze and then placed inside the mouth in the appropriate location for fifteen minutes.

Even under a physician’s care, it was hard for me to place something in my mouth marked external use only. After removing the gauze the mouth feels like I still have the gauze inside of the mouth for about an hour. Plus there is that terrible taste. Add to that I made the mistake of going to a forum on the disease and treatment. It was scary as I read about people claiming to have lost the sense of taste from using the medication. It made me cry out for God’s protection.

Today’s Bible verse

Psalm 3: 3-4 King James Version (KJV), “But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.”

What the verse means

What the verse is saying in today’s English is that God shields me like a force field. His protection is three hundred and sixty degrees.  In Christ, I am both grounded in the reality of the situation and able to hold our head high. I know I am not alone. With all my strength I shout to the Lord. My cries do not go unanswered. He voice thunders His answer from His holy mountain. 

Praying using the verse

  1. Heavenly Father, I pray to You and You alone. I confess You are our shield.
  2. Lord Jesus, You are our glory.
  3. Thank you for being the lifter of our head.
  4. We rejoice knowing we can cry to You and You answer our cries.

Photo Source: Francisque Millet [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons; Page URLFile URL.

Ten Thoughts I Use to Encourage Others

Ten Thoughts I Use to Encourage Others:

Over the years I have noticed people who have the ability and skill to do a task or assignment often lack the confidence to tackle the job before them. If they are a writer they may fear putting words on paper. If an analyst, they may hesitate or question themselves before solving a problem or recommending a solution.

I have found that a little encouragement helps them achieve their goals and do their job. Here are ten thoughts on how I encourage others.

1. Show real interest in the person.

  • Listen to what they are saying.
  • Be interested in what is happening in their life, the challenge they are facing.
  • Let them know you care.

2. Concede what’s important to them. 

  • When you acknowledge what’s important to others, you offer a form of verification and support about who they are and what they’re doing.
  • A good technique I use is simply to restate their question or challenge and then allow them to talk it through,

3. Say “congratulations.”

  • These magical “Words of Encouragement” at the right time can make all the difference between “keep going” and “give up.”
  • Congratulate them on a job or task well done.

4. Be there for them. 

  • Sometimes the “ministry of your presence” is all they need.
  • Just being there for them is encouraging.
  • Many times all they need is a listening ear to talk through the issue or task.

5. Say “Thank You.”

  • Saying thank you is common courtesy.
  • It is good manners.
  • People like a little reward for hard work.
  • I have done it for years.
  • A simple thank you will make others aware that you know what they have done worthwhile and find it meaningful to you.

6. Return the favor.

  • If someone does something nice for you, an excellent way to show your appreciation is simply to return the favor.
  • It will both shock and encourage them.
  • Note: don’t ever do something expecting someone to return the favor for you.

7. Answer with something unexpected. 

  • I have a phrase I have used for years … love them from where they are to where they need to be!
  • Even when others let me down or they know I know they “dropped the ball” I don’t tell them so, I usually pick the ball up for them.
  • It is amazing the long-term results this can have in encouraging someone.

8. Be a “good finder.”

  • A good finder is a person who looks for the good, not the bad in a person or a situation.
  • An example would be if a person is always late to meetings, but makes in on time to your meeting instead of saying “About time you attended a meeting on time” say “I really appreciate the extra effort you made to get here on time” without any reference to their normal tardiness.

9. Smile.

  • Have you ever experienced the magic of a simple smile?
  • Have you ever noticed how when you smile at someone they smile back?
  • Share an encouraging smile.

10. Offer to lend a hand. 

  • You can offer to lend a hand.
  • Sometimes a person feels like the weight of the world is on their shoulders and no one cares.
  • Show them you really care.
  • You can be there for them.
  • If a person gives me an excessive workload I usually ask them if there is anything else I can do for them when I finish the job. I do not complain about the amount of work.

What are some ways you encourage others? Please share your suggestions in the comments.

Photo Source: Pixaby

Christian Writers Are God’s Provision

Text: Proverbs 10:17

“Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.” –Crossway Bibles (2018-05-19). The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (p. 534). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

Our Witness is Important

If our private lives don’t match our public lives, our writing suffers. More importantly, we have people tune out the message of Jesus Christ because of our witness. They label us as just another religious hypocrite.

One of the most significant and miraculous things in life is to heed God’s voice. It is when we fully trust and follow in His ways.

I know what you are thinking, how can you know the ways and instruction of God?

You ask God through prayer. You spend time in His Word, that is the Bible, by reading, meditating on and memorizing Scripture, and attending a Christian Writer’s Conference. You listen to God’s herald. This would be listening to sermons as you attend church.

You might be thinking, but you don’t know me. I have really failed. I have broken so many of God’s teachings. How can He ever use me?

God is a forgiving God. 1 John 1:9 King James Version (KJV) tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Isaiah 55:8-9 (KJV) teaches, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

God Has a Plan for Your Life

Never forget that God knows your heart. He even knows your most secret thoughts, feelings, and sins. God knows the number of hairs on your head. God knows everything!

Maybe you think you have everything under control. If you think that, you are wrong. Only God has everything under control.

Maybe you are feeling confused and just need direction in your life. Maybe the struggles of daily living and just meeting life’s expenses have you down. You feel spiritually broken.

One thing we can do in times of brokenness and confusion is looking at and praying for our needs. Don’t forget to thank and praise God when He meets your needs!

An example of God’s provision from my life when I began writing fulltime was finding a large unopened and undamaged package with twenty rolls of toilet paper in the middle of the highway. I stopped, picked it up, and took it home. My late wife shared she hadn’t purchased any that week when she bought groceries but had been looking for some on sale as our finances were tight.

God met this everyday need in our life. Another example could be a friend calls and speaks words of reassurance or encouragement when you feel depressed or hopeless.

We Are God’s Provision

We are used by God to meet needs in other’s lives. We need to heed God’s instructions where others will listen to what God is saying through our writings. When we fail to walk with God, our witness doesn’t point others to Christ, but can actually lead them astray.


Photo Source: Pixabay

 

Six Keys to Know God’s Will For Your Life

Six Keys to Know God’s Will For Your Life

1. God Wants You to be Saved.

1 Timothy 2:3-4 King James Version (KJV), “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

2 Peter 3:9 (KJV), “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

My personal testimony on why and how I became a Christian is HERE.

2. God Wants You to be Spirit Filled

Ephesians 5:18 (KJV), “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit;”

3. God Wants You to be Sexually Pure

1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 (KJV), “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;”

4. God Wants You to Submit Yourself to God

James 4:7-10 (KJV), “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”

See also Ephesians 6

5. God Wants You to be Willing to Suffer for the Cause of Christ

1 Peter 3:17 (KJV), “For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing than for evil doing.”

6. God Wants You to Have a Spirit of Thanksgiving

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV), “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

My source for the above outline is Neal Jeffrey, Associate Pastor of Pastoral and Preaching Ministries at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas. I made the outline from notes taken during the Friday Morning Men’s Bible Study lesson on April 20, 2018.

I Love “Classic Church” – Easter Thoughts 2018

Sometimes I just need the classics, like on Easter Sunday. I love the pipe organ and choir filling the sanctuary with praises to the Master.

Classic Church

I was thinking this morning. I love Jesus, I confess Him as my Lord and Savior. I also love attending church. All the new songs and informality in “contemporary church” now of days are okay but I prefer “Classic Church.” I just invented the term.

What is a “Classic Church?”

“Classic Church” is Bible-centered expository preaching, songs sang from hymnals (first, second, and last verses), not words on the wall. You might even begin the service with the Doxology from time to time. You have a predictable liturgy (order of service). It makes you comfortable.

The preacher wears his suit AND TIE. You always take an offering, have special music before the sermon, and you present how to be saved (born again).

You end with an altar call invitation giving people a chance to make a public profession of faith.

Like Classic Rock, Classic R&B, or Classic Country is the best music for me, so is “Classic Church” my favorite church … just saying.


Photo Source: Pixaby

Keep My Words

Text: Proverbs 7: 1-3

My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 7: 1-3 Crossway Bibles (2011-02-09). The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (p. 531). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

Christian Writer’s Must Honor Christ

As Christian writers, our witness must honor Christ. The world will not read or listen to hypocrisy. Proverbs 7: 1 (ESV) says, “My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live…”

If a person follows the Lord, he/she must purposely embrace godly wisdom.

Only the Bible has this wisdom.

The Bible is God’s divinely inspired Word.

It is the final authority in all matters. This includes human thought, speech, and conduct.

Keep My commandments

It is hypocritical for a person to say that they are a Christian, a Believer in Jesus Christ, if they deliberately, consistently violate His commandments.

Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

Proverbs 7:3b teaches one way to keep God’s teachings. It says, “… write them on the tablet of your heart.”

When we internalize Scripture through memorization of the Word of God, His Word is in our heart to guide us. God’s desire isn’t to keep us from having fun, but rather to protect.

As Christian writers, we need to know and follow God’s Word. How we live is just as important as what we write.

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Devotionals for Writers: Keep My Words by Jimmie A. Kepler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.