Dig Into the Meat of God’s Word


knife--plate--knives--fork

“But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Hebrews 5:14

I have a confession to make. I am a meat and potatoes kind of girl.

Do not get me wrong. I love to eat fruits and vegetables. I love a good grilled chicken salad. I enjoy eating the different things we grow in the garden each year, but you give me a good steak and baked potato and I am one happy girl.

I thought about this as I was reading my Bible yesterday morning. I came across the Scripture that I have shared with you today and the thought came to me: “What are you chewing on spiritually?” My dad will sometimes use this analogy when he is preaching at our church and I have always loved it. It has always painted such a clear picture, in my mind, of how God wants us to be as Christians. Many times in our Christian walks we miss out on the “meat” of God’s word and are content to just drink the milk.

Please do not misunderstand what I am saying this morning. There is a time and a place for the milk of God’s word. When we are young Christians it is important that we study God’s word in a way that we can understand it. I believe that it is important to focus on the Scriptures that will help us to get rooted in our faith. But, we should not be content to just stay there.

As infants, we are given only milk and it is enough to sustain us for a while, but as we grow we require more solid food. This is how we mature and grow into healthy adults. Our spiritual lives are no different.

It is wonderful as a young Christian to study the parts of the Bible that will help us develop our beliefs and to strengthen our faith. As we grow as Christians, however, I believe that it is important that we not stop there. We need to begin to delve deeper into God’s word and get down to the “meat” of it. These are the parts of the Bible where God shows us what he wants from us as an individual. These are the Scriptures that God will use to show us how He wants to use us to minister for Him.

I understand that the Scriptures can sometimes be confusing. There are times when I will read a passage and have to go back and read it again and again. Do not get discouraged if you find yourself in this place. God will reveal to you the things He wants you to have as He sees fit for you to have them. This is the amazing thing about the Bible. It never gets old. It does not matter how many times you have read it, there is always something new that God wants to reveal to you as you read His word.

I pray that this has encouraged your heart today. If you are a new Christian I want to encourage you to read your Bible daily. There is so much encouragement and knowledge to be gained from God’s W ord. These Scriptures that you will find will be beneficial to you as you face trials and troubles every day. When Satan throws a snare in your path, when he places a temptation in your way, Scripture will be the most valuable tool you have.

If you are not a new Christian and you find yourself slacking on your Bible reading I want to encourage you as well. Do not let this part of your Christian walk slip. No matter how many times you have read the Bible, keep on. As you seek out God’s wisdom and His will, He will lead you to the things He has for you each day.

Remember: The milk of God’s Word is beneficial to all Christians, but the meat of God’s Word is what will sustain you as you follow Christ, so dig into the “meat” of God’s Word today. You will be surprised what God reveals to you as you search for Him.

Motivational Monday: When you are in Need


praying hands

” Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

Have you ever found yourself in need but were unsure of just what you needed?

Where do we go when we are in need? Where do we go when we need advice or a shoulder to cry on?

Many times we go to a friend, or someone who we trust will be there for us. Sometimes we go to a parent, a grandparent, or maybe our pastor.

Sometimes the need is so great that there is only One who can meet that need. His name is Jesus

Last week I found myself in that place. I found myself in need of something, but could not voice exactly what it was. My heart was crying out for something, but I could not put my finger on exactly what it was. I needed a touch from God.

I found myself wanting to write. I wanted to pour out encouragement for each of you, yet as I sat to write every day my mind was blank. I searched for Scripture to share that would help you through your week, but nothing would come. I was empty.

As I prayed and read my Bible every day, I felt my heart crying out to God. Each Scripture I came across was one that I needed to hear. My heart would soak each one up like a sponge. My soul would drink them in like the dry ground after a summer rain.

I quickly realized that I was not going to be able to pass along words of encouragement or wisdom as long as my heart was in need of the very same thing. I knew that the best thing to do was to spend my time alone with God every day and soak up what He had for me. Each day as I sat alone and read my Bible and prayed, I felt God ministering to my heart. As each day passed I felt more encouraged, more alive in my Spirit. I began to feel full rather than empty in my heart.

As hard as it was to take that time for myself, I quickly realized that it was necessary for me. My mind needed the break, my heart needed the encouragement, and my soul needed the wisdom that I found in God’s Word.

I was a little hesitant to share this with you today because for me it is very personal, but I realized as I began to write that someone may need to hear this. Maybe you have found yourself in this place. Maybe you are in this very place right now. I pray that this ministers to your heart. I pray this encourages you today.

There is no shame in needing a break. There is no shame in needing some time alone. Many times in the Bible we read where Jesus went out alone to pray. He realized the importance of time alone with God. He knew that His strength came from God. He was setting an example for each of us.

Let me offer you some words of encouragement today: If you ever find yourself empty, or in need of something that you can not put your finger on, go to Jesus. Take time to pray and read your Bible. Seek out God and you will find Him.

We are called to be ministers for Christ, but we will not be able to do that if we are not taking the time that we need for ourselves.

The Scripture we looked at today told us to, “Come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” If you are in need today I pray that you will do just that. I promise you, you will find what you need at the feet of Jesus.

 

 

 

 

Encouraging the Encourager: Reaching One at a Time


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Dear Fellow Encourager,

I want to take a minute to encourage you. I know I have done this before, but I feel that it is time for it again. I understand that as we encourage others we sometimes find ourselves needing encouragement. That is what I want to do for you this morning.

First, I want to thank you for what you are doing. It is not an easy job to encourage others when in your own life you deal with discouragement every day. Thank you for allowing God to use you to encourage those around you. Thank you for letting His light shine through you.

A thought that has been going through my mind since I awoke this morning is that each one of us sets out to reach people every day. The whole idea behind having a blog is to use our words to reach other people. Some of us write to inform; others write to educate. Some of us use our writing as an art form. The one thing we all have in common is that each of us, no matter our topic, is ministering every day. My prayer is that we are using our gift of writing as a ministry for God. Each and every day we are reaching people with our words. We may not even be able to comprehend the number of people who are being ministered to by our words.

A question I want you to keep in mind is this: What message are you sending out across this vast plane we call the internet? Are you encouraging others? Are you spreading the good news of Jesus Christ and the price He paid for our sins? Are you showing others the way to Heaven? God has given you a gift to write. I pray that you are using it to honor Him and bring glory to His name.

As I pondered upon our jobs as writers, something else came to mind: Out of all the many people who read our words, how many hearts do we touch? Have you ever stopped to think about that. There is really no way, outside of “likes” and “comments”, to know how many people are actually getting our message. We simply have to trust that God is using our words to encourage others and minister for Him.

God has promised us that His word will return unto Him void- Isaiah 55:10-11

The encouragement I have for you today is this: Each one can reach one.

As I was reading through the different notifications of Encouragement for Every Day, I ran across something that made me think of this phrase. At the bottom of one my posts, I read that a number of people had been reached, and one “liked” it. I read that comment and God brought the thought to my mind, “You touched a life today.” I want you to stop and think about that with me for a minute. If we are not careful we will get caught up in the numbers game. What I mean by this is that if we are not careful we can get so consumed by the number of people we are reaching that we can lose sight of the real goal, and that is reaching people and ministering to their needs.

It does not matter how many people we reach, if we are not ministering to those people and sharing God’s love with them then we are failing. I want us to remember that it does not matter if we get one “like” or one million “likes”. What is important is that we are spreading God’s word and His message of salvation to others. We have each been given the gift of reaching people. If each one can reach one then we are doing our job. We already know that God has promised to bless if we are doing our part, so we should not worry about whether we are reaching one or one hundred.

There is a song that I love. A lady by the name of Babbie Mason sings it. I want to share it with you today as a little encouragement for the encourager. No matter how many we are reaching, we are spreading God’s word, if we “Each One Reach One.”

Love In Christ,

Valarie

 

Motivational Monday: Press On


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“For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love,

which ye have shewed toward his name,

in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” Hebrews 6:10

Are you tired? Do you need some encouragement today?

I often find myself here, friend.

I know that from time to time we all need a little encouragement, a little nudge to say, “You are doing great.”

As a teacher, I often walk by a child’s desk and see that look of defeat in his eyes. I try my best to take a moment and offer a little encouragement. Sometimes all he needs is a smile and to hear that he is doing great. It seems that often all a child needs is the reassurance that he is on the right track, that he is making progress even if he can not see it.

As a writer I often find myself in that same place. I sometimes wonder as I sit down to write, “Is this getting through? Am I making any sense?” I am sure that I am not the only one who has ever felt this way. In any type of ministry, whether it be a song leader, a preacher, a youth leader, a school teacher, or any number of titles, we all find ourselves here at some point.

I have shared a song at the end of this blog that I pray will offer a little encouragement today. I have heard this song for years. Every time I hear it, my heart is immediately encouraged.

Friends, I want us to remember, as we are ministering for the Lord in whatever way we have been called, to do so that we are making progress. No matter how many times you feel discouraged, no matter how many times you feel like you are spinning your wheels, no matter how many times you feel like you are not making sense, remember that God is using you.

God has called you for a purpose. God has placed you where you are for a reason. If you will be obedient to that calling, if you will be faithful to do as God tells you to do, He will use you in ways you could never imagine.

We must remember that we may not always see the progress. We may not always get to see the fruits of our labor. We must trust that God will do what he has promised. In His word God has promised us that His word will not return to Him void. (Isaiah 55:11)

God is using you, friend. As long as you are faithful to your call, God is making a difference through you.

Be encouraged today. God has a plan. His will is being done. We just have to press on.

Joy Comes in the Morning


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“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.”

Psalm 126:5

As I sat this morning having my devotion time, I ran across this verse more than once; each time from a different source. The first time I read the verse it caught my attention. By the third time, I decided that I needed to ponder this verse some more considering it kept coming back to me.

What does this verse mean? Why do I keep crossing it?

I believe that God brings things to us as we need them. Sometimes they are for us, and other times they are for us to pass along to those around us.

This verse is small in itself, but it holds a great truth: Life is not always easy.

Have you ever been doing something and it seems as if every turn you make you are running into a brick wall? Have you ever had one of those days where it seems like every thing you do goes wrong? Have you ever been hard at work for the Lord but it feels like your work is in vain?

“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.”

Life is hard.

Things do not always go the way we wish they would.

There is not always an easy solution.

From time to time we are going to find ourselves frustrated, tired, worn out, and discouraged, but God has made promises to them who believe on His name. We can draw comfort from these verses.

Deuteronomy 31:8  tells us:
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Psalm 27:1 reads:
The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?

This Scripture is one of my favorites:

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

In your life there are going to be times when you feel like you are spinning your wheels. You are going to feel as if you are “sowing in tears.” Be encouraged today that God knows. He cares, He understands, and He is in control. God has promised us in his word that He will never leave us nor forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

When the devil comes to you and begins to whisper his lies of fear and doubt, remember these verses. Cling to them and then use them. God’s word tells us if we will resist the devil he will flee from us. (James 4:7) We do this by using God’s word as our defense.

God has great things in store for those who serve Him. We may not always get to see the results of our work. We may not always get to be there for the harvest, but God tells us in Isaiah 55:11: “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

Remember: “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.”