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Archive for the ‘Encouragement’ Category

A Prayer Exercise

PersistentPrayerHere’s a prayer exercise I’ve discovered to be a blessing:

Turn the Message version’s paraphrase of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians into a personal, individual prayer (replacing the “us” with “me”, the “we” with “I”, the “His” with “Your”, and “He” with “You”).

Here’s an example to get started:

3-6 How blessed you are God! And what a blessing you are! You’re the Father of my Master, Jesus Christ, and you take me to the high places of blessing in him. Long before you laid down earth’s foundations, you had me in mind, had settled on me as the focus of your love, to be made whole and holy by your love. Long, long ago you decided to adopt me into your family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure you took in planning this!) You wanted me to enter into the celebration of your lavish gift-giving by the hand of your beloved Son.

7-10 Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, I’m a free person —free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all my misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! You thought of everything, provided for everything I could possibly need, letting me in on the plans You took such delight in making. You set it all out before me in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.

11-12 It’s in Christ that I find out who I am and what I am living for. Long before I first heard of Christ and got my hopes up, you had your eye on me, had designs on me for glorious living, part of the overall purpose you are working out in everything and everyone.

13-14 It’s in Christ that I, once I heard the truth and believed it (this Message of my salvation), found myself home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from you is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that I’ll get everything you planned for me, a praising and glorious life.

Ephesians 1:3-14 Message Bible (italics mine)

Wow! What a prayer!

-fritz

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A Party!

Eugene Peterson applies years of experience and pastoral training to capture the essence of Psalm 91 in the Message Bible and it has been very encouraging today — take a moment to absorb it.

If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,

I’ll get you out of any trouble.

I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust me

Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;

I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.”
— Psalm 91:14-16 (Message Bible)

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My Privilege

… God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. — Acts 3:26b

Turning from sin and self-centeredness is a blessing to me not God. Prayer is my privilege.

God allows me (us) to enjoy Him, to worship Him, to do the right and moral thing — not because it makes His life easier but because it benefits me (us).

What a blessing to enjoy Him, to bask in His love, to walk in His fellowship, to know His people, to do things that have lasting value, to have an eternal home.

— fritz

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And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. – Genesis 15:2a

I was passed over for a job I thought I wanted and I am encouraged! Let me tell you why:

1. Recently, I noticed from the Bible that there are times we need to tell our desires to align with God’s ways instead of our own – I even blogged about it (here).

2. Yesterday, I noticed the biblical Sarah wanted a child so much she had her husband sire one from someone else so she could take it as hers! She even admitted it was God restraining her from children – I remember thinking at the time how unwise it is to circumvent God.

3. Today, a blog I frequent posted about feeling abandoned when others get a blessing we want for ourselves (Link) and I remembered being passed over in the past only to find something better later – and being truly grateful I was originally passed over.

4. Then I read the notice I was passed over now – someone else got the job I thought I was best suited for.

What encourages me in this is the tenderness and care God showed to me in preparing my mind and heart ahead of time. He showed me in this that he is aware of my circumstances, wants to comfort me and assure me he has a better place more suited for my skills. That place may be where I am now, but even if not, he is personally directing my career. That’s what is encouraging! That’s something I can tell my heart and know it is true!

So why write about it here? I have a sneaking suspicion I’m not the only one who needs reminding that when things don’t go as planned nor desired God has a better way!

Prayer: Thank you, Father, I am right where I can be of most service to you now and for telling me you are actively at work on my behalf. Amen!

Sound Bite: I know I’ll feel gratitude later; I choose to be grateful now!

– fritz@langgang.com

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Be an Encourager!

I am touched by Jim Martin’s Post on “A Place for the God Hungry” March 29, 2011. He asked his readers to think of someone who was their encourager.

Mom, Dad, and Me - 1958

For me it was my mom and dad who, in spite of having a difficult marriage, stayed together, loved me, and encouraged me to try new things. What ever I wanted to do at the time they helped – whether it was collecting sea shells, keeping honey bees, building hobby rockets, trying the theater, giving my life to Christ, becoming a pastor, leaving the pastorate to work construction, or leaving the family business to start my own. They loved my wife, they loved children, they supported my dreams and understood my failures. I am grateful!

I purpose to be that kind of encourager wherever I can,  trusting that where I fall short Christ will step in to be the encourager my Wife, children, family, and friends need.

Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will take care of me. – Psalm 27:10

Sound Bite: Everyone needs an encourager!

And Now the Question comes to you as it did to me:  Is there a family story that has been significant in shaping your life? Do you think about this often?

– fritz

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