Seven Thoughts to Help You Hang On

Let’s 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)

Seven Thoughts to Help You Hang On

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

Thought One: God Loves You

  • 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

Thought Two: Your Character and Integrity Matter

  • 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.
  • We must have character.

Thought Three: It’s Not About You

  • 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.

Thought Four: You Can’t Do It All

  • 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.

Thought Five: Love, love, love.

  • 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)

Thought Six: Refresh, Renew, Rest, and Revive.

  • 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)
  • By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. – Genesis 2:2-3 (NIV)
  • Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. – Exodus 20:8-10
  • Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” – Mark 6:31 (NIV)

Thought Seven: Keep Your Eye on the Goal.

  • 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)
  • I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:14 (NIV)

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


Image by Inna Greenberg Vesnovaty from Pixabay

Seven Reminders For Developing Staying Power

Seven Reminders For Developing Staying Power

Christians today need what I call “staying power.” I define staying power as the ability and action of continuing in your walk with Jesus Christ for your lifetime.

The need for staying power exists for the average Christian. The need exists for the man or woman in full-time ministry, and yes, even for the Christian writer.

Staying power helps you continue is your daily walk with Jesus. Staying power helps you to finish the article or book where it doesn’t end up in a drawer or as a forgotten file on your computer’s hard drive. It allows you to keep submitting and writing despite the rejections or poor sales.

Here are seven reminders that will help you develop staying power. 

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;” – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 ESV

Reminder #1 – I Must Remember That God Loves Me

“Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.” – 2 Corinthians 4:1 ESV

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” – 1 Corinthians 15:10 ESV

Remember

    • Our performance does not give us our worth.
    • God’s grace gives us the power to start over.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” – Romans 8:37 ESV

Reminder #2 – I Must Maintain a Clear Conscience

“But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.” –  2 Corinthians 4:2 ESV

Remember

    • I must have and maintain my integrity.
    • I must have and maintain my character.

Reminder #3 – I Must Have The Right Motivation

“For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” – 2 Corinthians 4:5 ESV

Remember

    • Our ego will only take us so far
    • We proclaim Christ Jesus.

Reminder #4 – I Must Accept My Limitations

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” – 2 Corinthians 4:7 ESV

Remember

    • We must pace ourselves.
    • We must do our part to maintain our health.

Reminder #5 – I Must Love Other People

“For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.” – 2 Corinthians 4:15 ESV

Remember

    • It’s God’s love that extends His grace to His glory.
    • As God loves me unconditionally, I need to love others.

Reminder #6 –  I Must Take Time to Recharge

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16 ESV

Remember

    • Our inner self is being renewed day by day.
    • Recharging helps us to not lose heart.

 

Reminder #7 – I Must Keep My Eye On The Goal

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Remember

    • You cannot produce if you do not face the problems and keep on keeping on to the goal.
    • Our problems won’t last forever. Remember, God’s faithfulness that you experienced when you had past problems. He’s still here and still faithful.

Photo Source: Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Five Steps To Finishing Strong

Five Steps To Finishing Strong

Maybe like me, you’re old enough to remember the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. I’ll never forget watching a British runner named Derek Redmond run the 400 meters. Redmond had a history of injuries that kept him from being the best in the world. 

In 1992 everything seemed to be coming together for Redmond at last. Derek was running well. In the first round of qualifying, he recorded the fastest time. He won his quarterfinal heat. 

As he settled into the starting blocks for the start of his semifinal race, Derek Redmond’s thoughts turned to his father, Jim. His dad had always supported Derek. 

In this race, Derek got off to a clean start. He was running smoothly. Suddenly, about 150 meters into the race, his right hamstring muscle tore. In pain, he fell to the ground.

The stretcher-bearers are running towards him. Derek wanted to finish the race. He somehow managed to get up and began moving awkwardly forward despite the pain he felt.

His father, Jim, ran out of the grandstands.  He joined his son on the track. Dad joined with son, hand in hand, arm in arm, and with Derek sobbing from disappointment and pain, they continued.

As they neared the finish, the father let his son go, and Derek Redmond completed the course on his own. The crowd of 65,000 roared their approval and gave him a standing ovation.

Our Heavenly Father is there for us as Believers. He will pick us up and move with us hand in hand, arm in arm, and even pick us up and carry us to the finish line. All we have to do is rely on Christ, and we can finish strong. 

This article has five steps to finishing the race known as life strong.

“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” – Acts 20:24 ESV

Five Steps to Finishing Strong

Step #1 – Remove All Distractions

“…let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” – Hebrews 12:1b ESV

“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13-14 ESV

Step #2 – Remember the Reason

“Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.” – 2 Corinthians 4:1 ESV

“as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18 ESV

Step #3 – Renew Myself Daily

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16 ESV

“When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.” – Psalm 94:19 ESV

Step #4 – Resist Discouragement

“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 ESV

Two Basic Principles of Life

1. You Will Get Discouraged
2. You Will Get Over It

“Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.” – Hebrews 10:35-36 ESV

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;” – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 ESV

Step #5 – Rely on Christ

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13 ESV

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” – Psalms 34:4 ESV

“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.” – Psalms 34:7 ESV

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 1:6 ESV

Remember, Our Heavenly Father is there for us as Believers. He will pick us up and move with us hand in hand, arm in arm, and even pick us up and carry us to the finish line. All we have to do is rely on Christ, and we can finish strong. 


Image Source: Image by LillyCantabile from Pixabay

Need to Recharge Your Personal Strength and Power?

The Strength We Need

Coronavirus/Corvid-19 news fills all media. Gloom and doom permeate everywhere. The shelter at home orders is spreading the globe. Current circumstances make us weary and sap our energy. So many today are tired and worn out. What’s a person to do?

Today I want to look at the secret of our power of strength as a Christian. We’ll be looking in the Holy Bible at the book of Ephesians, chapter three, verses fourteen through twenty-one. The passage is a prayer for strength by the Apostle Paul.

I got the idea for this article from a Sunday morning sermon on March 8, 2020, by my pastor, Dr. Jack Graham of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas. A part of the article is adapted from my sermon notes, a part is original

Ephesians 3:14-21 (ESV) – A Prayer for Spiritual Strength

14 For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

The Work of the Holy Spit Through Us

We will look at the work of the Holy Spirit through us. We will see how we have all of God, that is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit working in and through us if we are Believers.

Because of what Christ has done for us, we as Believers of Jesus Christ, are all wealthy (riches of His glory) and worthy.

I’d Rather Have Jesus

I think of a comforting old hymn written in 1922 by Rhea F. Miller with the music composed by George Beverly Shea, titled “I’d Rather Have Jesus.”

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold; 
I’d rather be His than have riches untold; 
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands. 
I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand 

Chorus:

Than to be the king of a vast domain 
Or be held in sin’s dread sway. 
I’d rather have Jesus than anything 
This world affords today.

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause; 
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame. 
I’d rather be true to His holy name [Chorus]

He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom; 
He’s sweeter than honey from out the comb; 
He’s all that my hungering spirit needs. 
I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead [Chorus]

Songwriters: Rhea F. Miller. Since the song was written in 1922, it is published by Public Domain.

Christians Are A Child of God

If you are a Believer in Jesus Christ, you are a child of God. As His child, you have His power and His strength. 

Here are some verses about the strength of God and His power.

 Joshua 1:9 (ESV) – “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Deuteronomy 33:25 (ESV) – “Your bars shall be iron and bronze, and as your days, so shall your strength be.”

Deuteronomy 33:27 (ESV) – “The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. And he thrust out the enemy before you and said, ‘Destroy.’”

2 Chronicles 16:9 (ESV) – “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars.”

Psalm 46:1 (ESV) – “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

Isaiah 30:15 (ESV) – “For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.’ But you were unwilling,”

Isaiah 40:31 (ESV) – “but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Habakkuk 3:19 (ESV) – “God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.”

Mark 12:30 (ESV) – “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

Philippians 4:13 (ESV) – “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

1 – We Are Strengthen by the Power of the Holy Spirit

A. The Holy Spirit Has the Power to Convict a Person, Convince a Person, and Bring a Person to Conversion.

B. The Holy Spirit Has the Power to Witness

Acts 1:8 (ESV) – “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

My pastor, Dr. Jack Graham, Senior Pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, shared the following statistics on March 9, 2020. He said that 83,000 people a day are accepting Christ as Savior. He added that there are more born again Christians in China than in any other country. Sadly, he pointed out that only 6,000 people a day in the United States of America and Western Europe came to faith in Jesus Christ each day.

C. The Holy Spirit Has the Power to Help Us Live in Joyful Hope.

Acts 1:8a (ESV) – “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, you may abound in hope.”

D. The Holy Spirit Give Us the Power to Overcome Our Fears and Anxieties

We need to access and use what God has already given us.

To maintain our strength, we need to access and use what God has already given us. We don’t need something new.

To recharge our strength and power daily, we need to 

    1. Pray
    2. Posture (by that, I mean yielding and surrounding to the Lord every day).

Remember, kneeling is an act of humility before the Lord.

Never forget, God’s Spirit lives in you if you are a Believer in Jesus Christ.

Don’t lose heart. Why? You have God in you!

2 – We Are Strengthened In the Inner Being

2 Corinthians 4:16 (ESV) says, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”

You are made in the image of God and remade in the image of Christ.

Ephesians 3: 18 -19 (ESV) says, “may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

He strengthens our love.

John 3:16 (ESV) says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

WORLD is symbolic of the width of God’s love.

GAVE HIS SON is a manifestation of the depth of God’s love.

NOT PERISH shows the length of God’s love.

Fall in love? No, you grow in love. The perfect love of God cast out fear.

Ephesians 3:17 (ESV) says, “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,”

This is allowing Christ to be at home in your heart.

3 – He Strengthens Us To Be Filled With His Fulness 

Ephesians 3:19 (ESV) says, “and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

We need to realize that it’s all for Jesus.

    1. You need to realize and receive that the Holy Spirit is in you since you acted Jesus as Savior and received salvation.
    2. You need to empty life of self and sin.
    3. You need all the Holy Spirit to control your life.
    4. You need to walk with Christ daily.

How I Became a Christian or How I Was Saved.

Did you know being good doesn’t get you to heaven? Being “saved” does. Here’s my story of “being saved”.

On July 11, 1977, my life changed. If you look up that date in history, you will find nothing historically significant happened on that Sunday. It was a noteworthy day for me. That day was the watershed event in my life.

July 1977 found me on active duty as a second lieutenant in the United States Army. I was serving as Battalion Maintenance Officer, 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington.

Life was good. I had a beautiful, intelligent wife. I had a new son born in January that same year. I had just gotten a commendable rating during an annual general inspection in maintenance. It was the first commendable rating since the division had returned from Vietnam. Named an Outstanding Junior Officer of the Ninth Infantry Division because of the commendable rating, I received an offer of a regular army commission. My career was going great.

I always tried being the best I could be and doing what was right. I was a detail-oriented perfectionist, high-achieving, and a workaholic. I excelled at most things I did. However, after all of this, I still had an empty, unsatisfied, void, and alone feeling. Beginning in my college years I tried drinking adult beverages, women, materialism, partying, and hanging out with the right crowd to fill this unexplained need I had. I knew something was missing from my life.

I was also attending church. At my church, I noticed a group of men my age that seemed to have what I was missing. I attended a Bible study with them. Here I found that God has given us an important manual for life — the Bible. He has the answers to the problems and emptiness we may face in that book. 

I found out I was here for a purpose, and not by accident. I learned Jesus loves me and desires to have a personal relationship with me. However, sin separated me from Him.

I realized I had a sin problem.

The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:23 But no one is perfect! Not even a perfectionist. We have all sinned and therefore cannot save ourselves by simply living a good life. Why?

I learned there was a penalty to be paid for my sin.

The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23

I learned God gives us a promise.

The Bible says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.

I learned that God made provision for me.

The Bible says, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. – Romans 10:9-10

I prayed to accept the gift of eternal life through Jesus.

I prayed, “Jesus, I know that I am a sinner. I believe that You died for my sins and rose from the grave so that I might have eternal life in Heaven with You. I willingly repent of my sins and ask you to come into my heart and life. Take control of my words, thoughts, and actions. I place all of my trust in You for my salvation. I accept You as my Lord and Savior, and this gift of eternal life. Amen.”

What came next?

Since then, my life has not been perfect. It’s been far from it. I have messed up from time to time – too many times – sometimes failing miserably in my decisions and choices. However, I have had direction and purpose in my life. I know where I am headed. I have the Bible to give me the principles for daily living. I am never alone. I have had real peace for the last 43 years.

How about you?

Have you ever been “saved”? 

You can do like I did. Romans 10:9-10, 13 tells us, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Why Not Accept Christ Now?

 If you’ve never accepted Jesus as your Savior, you can pray this prayer – Dear Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I am a sinner, and I am very sorry for my sins and the life that I have lived. I repent of my sins and ask your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross and shed His blood for my sins. I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. I invite you to come into my heart and become my Lord and Savior. Amen.


Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

How to Hang On

How to Hang On

23.1 My Story

The date was April 11, 2018. The day of the week was Wednesday. I had awoken at the usual time of 5 AM. I stepped into the master bedroom where my wife was resting. I took her hand and held it. I leaned over the hospital bed and kissed her forehead first. I said I love you. She squeezed my hand, and her lips moved mouthing I love you. I softly kissed her lips. I could feel their warmth and her returning the kiss.

We were blessed with a critical care registered nurse in our home twenty-four hours a day. I looked at the nurse and said I was going to Starbucks for a couple of hours to have morning coffee and write. I would be back home by 8 AM. I reminded her two of my adult children, and my wife’s sisters were in the house if needed. I would only be ten to fifteen minutes away. I made sure the nurse had my contact info.

I then read Psalm 23 to my wife, prayed with her, and feed her a container of flavored shaved ice before I stole another kiss and then headed to Starbucks. As I drove to the coffeehouse, my heart was heavy. Death was near.

Around 7:30 AM, I had a telephone call from the hospice supervising nurse. She was at my house, checking on the situation. She had arrived at the shift change to speak to the overnight nurse and brief the incoming nurse. She told me she felt death was imminent. She encouraged me to get home as soon as possible to say any final goodbyes.

Miss Benita and I had already said our goodbyes. I never left her side without saying a final farewell, just in case she died when I wasn’t there. I wanted to be present with her, holding her hand when the time came for her to depart to heaven, so I hastily retreated to my house.

When I arrived, I could see a marked change in my wife. In only two hours, she had moved much closer to death’s doorway.

No, she didn’t die on April 11. Benita Kepler passed away at 3:54 pm on April 12, 2018. I wrote that day, “She is in Jesus’ loving arms in heaven. She was surrounded by her husband, children, sisters, and friends when she went to be with Jesus in heaven.”

23.2 Hang On

Part of caring for a person with a chronic illness understands the value of hanging on to God.

You will get to the point in caregiving that only with God’s help can you make it through the next few minutes or day. You are exhausted mentally, physically, and spiritually

All you can do is grab hold of and hang on to God. Holding on to God allows you to finish strong.

23.3 Bible Verse

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (KJV), “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;”

23.4 What the Verse Means

The best commentary on the Bible is the Bible itself. Here are Biblical principles that explain the verse. These seven principles give the Biblical alternative of 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!

2 Corinthians 4:1(KJV), “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;”

1 Corinthians 15:10 (KJV), “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

It’s not who we are. It’s whose we are!

Remember, our performance does not give us our worth. God’s grace provides us with the power to start over.

Romans 8:37 (KJV), “Nay, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

  • Principle Two: I must keep a clear conscience.

2 Corinthians 4:2 (KJV), “But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”

We must have integrity. We must have character.

  • Principle Three: It is not about me.

2 Corinthians 4:5 (KJV), “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.”

Your ego will only take you so far.

  • Principle Four: I cannot do it all.

2 Corinthians 4:7 (KJV), “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

We must pace ourselves. Life is a journey, not a sprint.

  • Principle Five: Love, love, love.

2 Corinthians 4:15 (KJV), “For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.”

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

2 Corinthians 4:16 (KJV), “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”

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

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (KJV), “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Remember, you cannot do your best at caregiving if you do not face your troubles and hang on until you reach your goal.

23.5 Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father help me to cling to You.
  • Lord Jesus, help me to ask Your help daily as I keep on keeping on.
  • God Almighty help my eyes to be fixed on the unseen.

23.6 Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Do you remember God loves you? 
  2. Is your conscience clear? Maybe you feel bitter about having to care for your loved ones. If so, ask God’s forgiveness. 
  3. Are you seeking God’s help and guidance? Ask God for his help. 

23.7 Takeaway

Holding on to God allows you to finish strong.


If you are not a Christian, accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior is a prerequisite to obtaining God’s peace.
Click HERE to find out how to become a Christian. You can trust Jesus Christ and become a Christian now.

Photo Source: Image by Zdeněk Chalupský from Pixabay 2017.

This blog is from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.

To receive a notification when “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D. is available and to get occasional updates on the writing of Jimmie Aaron Kepler, please complete the “Email Sign-up” found in the far left column of the blog.

I’m Not Going to Sit and Wait to Die

I’m Not Going to Sit and Wait to Die

19.1 My Story

I’m sure my late wife grew tired of me asking, “What did you weight this morning?”

She would dutifully look at me and then give me the number. It was almost always the same weight. Oh, it may go up or down by a pound or two but generally was the same.

One day she replied, “You’re asking my weight to see if cancer is causing me to lose weight. Am I correct?”

Guilty as charged.

Then she schools me. She said, “You’re dying like I am. It may not be cancer that’s getting you. It’s old age. Even though you look a decade younger than your years, Father Time is getting you. The sands that count your days are slipping through the hourglass at an ever-increasing rate — and they’ll run out one day.”

I nodded.

“I am not going to sit on the couch and wait to die! There is no way I’m going to sit on the couch, wasting away. God still has a purpose for me.” She then reminded me she still read her Bible daily, prayed for herself, and interceded for others.

She pointed out that God was renewing her inner person daily. Oh, the body was decaying, aging, suffering the ravaging of cancer, but God had her spirit, and inner parson renewed daily.

My wife was smart. I may have had the formal seminary and graduate school education with a couple of fancy masters and a doctoral degree, but she knew so much more than me from a deeper walk with the Lord in Bible reading, scripture meditation, and time in prayer.

She taught me that we shouldn’t be obsessed with the physical body. The Christian’s faith is far from a fatalistic acceptance of suffering and awaiting death. Every believer in Jesus Christ needs their eyes opened to something else. That something is the continuous restoration of the inner person.

When my late wife was in her final days in hospice care, the incredible calming power of God’s word was apparent. I would read from the Book of Psalms in the Bible to her. The occasional anxiousness she had from the terrible pain she suffered would melt away and transform to calm when the words of the Bible were read. Playing favorite hymns and worship songs worked the same miracle. It reminded me of the way she used breathing techniques to mitigate pain when in labor during the delivery of our children. She was so brave. Her tumor was located in the area of the brain that controlled pain and nausea. Because of the location, normal pain and nausea management medications and techniques did not to work. 

I had witnessed Scriptures’ calming power on the life of a Believer of Jesus Christ for two-plus decades as a full-time minister working with responsibilities with older adults and pastoral care. Many times as I would read familiar Bible verses, the chronically or terminally ill person would transform from anxiousness and fear into peacefulness. Sometimes they even from memory would say or quote the Bible verses with me.

The power of God’s word is incredible.

19.2 Not Losing Heart

Part of caring for a person with a chronic illness is learning how not to lose heart and help your loved one not develop a gloom and doom attitude. God’s word helps you to have a confident acceptance of the reality of life. It enables you to keep the faith.

19.3 Bible Verse

2 Corinthians 4: 16 (KJV), “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”

19.4 What the Verse Means

Christianity understands the steady decline of the physical body. Though we are rescued from spiritual death and alive with Christ, our bodies remain in the process of decay.

The follower of Christ should recognize that our outer bodies are wasting away. From the moment of birth, we begin to die. It is inescapable unless the Lord Jesus returns first.

The Christian should be aware of increasing inner, spiritual strength. God does not forsake his children, but he gives us growing supplies of grace.

The Holy Spirit works in us as an infinite well of life. We are in a constant process of renewal. The Lord does not allow us to be born again and then ignore us. No, He gives us daily spiritual energy.

May we never forget the physical and the spiritual are part of your life every day.

19.5 Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father help me to not focus on my decaying or diseased body, but to realize that my inner self is being renewed daily.
  • Lord Jesus, help me look to the things that are not seen, not the which are seen.
  • God, help me look to the eternal, not the temporal.

19.6 Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Are you spending time in God’s word? If not, I encourage you to return to reading your Bible or being today for the first time. You can start with just a verse or two. God will speak to you. 
  2. Are you spending time in prayer? If not, I encourage you to start today. A good beginning would be praying, “God, help me spend time reading your Bible. Lord, teach me to pray.” 
  3. Are you obsessed with your loved one’s physical appearance? Radiation and chemotherapy take a toll. They may lose their hair. My wife had no hair her last five months of life. I didn’t see her hairless head. I saw her beautiful smile and radiant countenance. She was comfortable without a wig and would wear a chemo beanie when she went to the doctor or on days when she was able to go out for a walk or meal. 

19.7 Takeaway

God’s word helps you to have a confident acceptance of the reality of life and enables you to keep the faith.


If you are not a Christian, accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior is a prerequisite to obtaining God’s peace.
Click HERE to find out how to become a Christian. You can trust Jesus Christ and become a Christian now.

Photo Source: Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

This blog is from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.

To receive a notification when “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D. is available and to get occasional updates on the writing of Jimmie Aaron Kepler, please complete the “Email Sign-up” found in the far left column of the blog.

Finish Strong

23 Finish Strong

23.1 My Story

The date was April 11, 2018. It was a Wednesday. I had awoken at the usual time of 5 AM. I stepped into the master bedroom where my wife was resting. I took her hand and held it. I leaned over the hospital bed and kissed her forehead first. I said I love you. She squeezed my hand, and her lips moved mouthing I love you. I softly kissed her lips. I could feel their warmth and her returning the kiss.

We were blessed with a critical care registered nurse in our home twenty-four hours a day. I looked at the nurse and said I was going to Starbucks for a couple of hours to have morning coffee and write. I would be back home by 8 AM. I reminded her that two of my adult children and my wife’s two sisters were in the house if needed. I would only be ten to fifteen minutes away. I made sure the nurse had my contact info.

I then read Psalm 23 to my wife, Miss Benita, prayed with her, and feed her a container of flavored shaved ice before I stole another kiss and then headed to Starbucks. As I drove to the coffeehouse, my heart was heavy. Death was near.

At 7:30 AM I had a telephone call from the hospice supervising nurse. She was at my house checking on the situation. The supervisor had arrived at the shift change to speak to the overnight nurse and brief the incoming nurse. She told me she felt death was imminent. She encouraged me to get home to say any final goodbyes.

Miss Benita and I had already said our goodbyes. I never left her side without saying a final farewell, just in case she died when I wasn’t there. I wanted to be present with her, holding her hand when the time came for her to depart to heaven, so I hastily retreated to my house.

When I arrived, I could see a marked change in my wife. In only two hours she had moved closer to death’s doorway.

No, she didn’t die on April 11. Benita Kepler passed away the next afternoon at 3:54 pm. I wrote that day, “She is in Jesus’ loving arms in heaven. She was surrounded by her husband, children, and sisters when she went to be with Jesus in heaven.”

23.2 Hang On

Part of learning to care for a person with a chronic illness understands the value of hanging on to God.

You will get to the point in caregiving that only with God’s help can you make it through the next few minutes or day. You are exhausted mentally, physically, and spiritually

All you can do is grab hold of and hang on to God. Holding on to God allows you to finish strong.

23.3 Bible Verse

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (KJV), “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;”

23.4 What the Verse Means

The best commentary on the Bible is the Bible itself. Here are Biblical principles that explain the verses. These seven principles give the Biblical alternative of 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!

2 Corinthians 4:1(KJV), “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;”

1 Corinthians 15:10(KJV), “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

It’s not who we are. It’s whose we are!

Remember our performance does not give us our worth. God’s grace provides us with the power to start over.

Romans 8:37 (KJV), “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

Principle Two: I must keep a clear conscience.

2 Corinthians 4:2 (KJV), “But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”

We must have integrity. We must have character.

Principle Three: It is not about me.

2 Corinthians 4:5 (KJV), “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.”

Your ego will only take you so far.

Principle Four: I cannot do it all.

2 Corinthians 4:7 (KJV), “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

We must pace ourselves. Life is a journey, not a sprint.

Principle Five: Love, love, love.

2 Corinthians 4:15 (KJV), “For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.”

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

2 Corinthians 4:16 (KJV), “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”

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

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (KJV), “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Remember, you cannot do your best at caregiving if you do not face your troubles and hang on until you reach your goal.

23.5 Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father help me to cling to you.
  • Lord Jesus, help me to ask your help daily as I keep on keeping on.
  • God Almighty help my eyes to look on the unseen.

23.6 Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Do you remember God loves you?
  2. Is your conscience clear? Maybe you feel bitter about having to care for your loved ones. If so, ask God’s forgiveness.
  3. Are you seeking God’s help and guidance? Ask God for his help.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

This blog post is from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey” by Jimmie Kepler, Ed.D.

To receive a notification when “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey” by Jimmie Kepler, Ed.D. is available and to get occasional updates on the writing of Jimmie Aaron Kepler please complete the “Email Sign-up”  found in the far left column of the blog.

Keep On Hanging On

Hang On

Part of learning to care for a person with a chronic illness understands the value of hanging on to God.

You will get to the point in caregiving that only with God’s help can you make it through the next few minutes or day. You are exhausted mentally, physically, and spiritually.

All you can do is grab hold of and hang on to God.

My Story

The date was April 11, 2018. It was a Wednesday. I had awoken at the usual time of 5 AM. I stepped into the master bedroom where my wife was resting. I took her hand and held it. I leaned over the hospital bed and kissed her forehead first. I said I love you. She squeezed my hand, and her lips moved to mouth love you. I softly kissed her lips. I could feel their warmth and her returning the kiss.

We were blessed with a hospice critical care registered nurse in our home twenty-four hours a day. I looked at the nurse and said I was going to Starbucks for a couple of hours to have morning coffee and write. I would be back home by 8 AM. I reminded her my adult son, adult daughter, and my wife’s sisters were in the house if needed. I would only be ten to fifteen minutes away. I made sure the nurse had my contact info. 

I then read Psalm 23 to Miss Benita, my wife, prayed with her, and feed her a container of flavored shaved ice before I stole another kiss and then headed to Starbucks. As I drove to the coffeehouse, my heart was heavy. Death was near.

Around 7:30 AM I had a telephone call from the hospice supervising nurse. She was at my house checking on the situation. She had arrived at the shift change to speak to the overnight nurse and brief the incoming nurse. She told me she felt death was imminent. She encouraged me to get home to say any final goodbyes. 

Miss Benita and I had already said our goodbyes. I never left her side without saying a final farewell, just in case she died when I wasn’t there. I wanted to be present with her, holding her hand when the time came for her to depart to heaven, so I hastily retreated to my house.

When I arrived I could see a marked change in my wife. In only two hours she had moved closer to death’s doorway.

No, she didn’t die on April 11. Benita Kepler passed away at 3:54 pm on April 12, 2018. I wrote that day, “She is in Jesus loving arms in heaven. She was surrounded by her husband, children, and sisters when she went to be with Jesus in heaven.”

Bible Verse

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 King James Version (KJV), “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;”

What the Verse Means

The best commentary on the Bible is the Bible itself. Here are seven Biblical principles that explain the verse. These principles give the Biblical alternative of 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! 

2 Corinthians 4:1 (KJV), “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;”

1 Corinthians 15:10 (KJV), “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

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.

Romans 8:37(KJV), “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

Principle Two: I must keep a clear conscience.

2 Corinthians 4:2 (KJV), “But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”

We must have integrity. We must have character.

Principle Three: It is not about me.

2 Corinthians 4:5 (KJV), “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.”

Your ego will only take you so far.

Principle Four: I cannot do it all.

2 Corinthians 4:7 (KJV), “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

We must pace ourselves. Life is a journey, not a sprint.

Principle Five: Love, love, love.

2 Corinthians 4:15 (KJV), “For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.”

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

2 Corinthians 4:16 (KJV), “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”

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

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (KJV), “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Remember — You cannot do your best at caregiving if you do not face your troubles and hang on until you reach your goal. 

Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father help me to cling to you.
  • Lord Jesus, help me to ask your help daily as I keep on keeping on.
  • God Almighty help my eyes to be fixed on the unseen.

Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Do you remember God loves you?
  2. Is your conscience clear? Maybe you feel bitter about having to care for your loved one. If so, ask God’s forgiveness.
  3. Are you seeking God’s help and guidance? Ask God for his help.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

This blog post is adapted from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: A Biblical Alternative” by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.

Don’t Lose Heart

flowers-452190_1920

Today’s verse helps us to have a confident acceptance of the reality of life. Part of learning to deal with a chronic illness is learning to not lose heart.

Today’s Bible Verse:

2 Corinthians 4: 16 (KJV), “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perishes, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”

What the verse means:

Christianity understands the steady decline of the physical body. Though we are rescued from spiritual death and alive with Christ, our bodies remain in the process of decay. The follower of Christ should recognize that our outer bodies are wasting away. From the moment of birth, we begin to die. It is inescapable unless the Lord Jesus returns first. Therefore, we should be released from infatuation with the physical body. The Christian’s faith is far from a fatalistic acceptance of suffering and awaiting death. Every believer in Jesus Christ has their eyes open to something else. That is the continuous restoration of the inner person. The Christian should be aware of increasing inner, spiritual strength. God does not forsake his children, but he gives us growing supplies of grace. The Holy Spirit works in us as an infinite well of life. This is a constant process of renewal. The Lord does not wind us up like a clock at the time of new birth and then ignore us. No, he gives daily spiritual energy. Let us never forget the physical and the spiritual are part of your life every day.

Praying using the verses:

  1. Heavenly Father, help us to not focus on our decaying or diseased body, but to realize that our inner self is being renewed daily.
  2. Lord, help us look to the things that are not seen, not the which are seen.
  3. God, help us look to the eternal, not the temporal.

Photo Source: Pixaby