Encouragement · Pastor

Encouraging Your Pastor

When you think of your energy level on Sunday evening after a day of being in God’s house, where would you rank it? A 2 or 3? Yeah, It thought so. There’s a good reason for that, and its has to do with more than wrestling the patent leather shoes onto a three year-old.  

Every Sunday when you get yourself (and perhaps your family) ready and head out the door to worship, you are doing battle – a spiritual one. Satan doesn’t want you there where you’ll hear the Word of God. He doesn’t want your marriage strengthened and your children in a place where they’ll be taught Truth from the Bible, and so he fights us. Attitudes get out of whack, you fight to concentrate on the messages, your children are the crankiest on that day. By the end of the Sunday services, we’ve done real battle with the enemy  – and it’s exhausting!

If the believer in the pew is fighting a spiritual battle, imagine what your pastor is facing as he endeavors to stand in the pulpit and preach the Word of God! He sees people nodding off, passing notes, flipping through their phones, or looking uninterested, and the devil plants seeds of discouragement in him. He fights with just wanting to sit down and quit. He struggles to remember passages of Scripture or the next illustration. The power point is almost sure to fail during his most important point – even though he spent much time and effort putting it together to aid the preaching of the Word.

It’s for all these reasons and many more that every pastor desperately needs the prayer of the saints. I’ve made a list of some of my favorite passages of Scripture to pray for my husband or whoever will be in the pulpit at our church. Here are the verses I like to pray, with a brief description:

II Thessalonians 1:11,12 – For God to make him worthy of his calling to preach.

I Timothy 1:12 – Thankful for the calling to the ministry.

II Timothy 2:7 – That he might have understanding.

II Timothy 2:9b – That he might remember that the Word of God is not bound.

Titus 1:3 –  That he would remember that the Word of God is manifested through preaching.

Ephesians 6:19, 20 – That utterance would be given to him and he would preach with boldness.

II Corinthians 4:1-6 – That he would preach the Word with sincerity and to magnify Christ.

Colossians 1:9-14 – That he would walk worthy of the Lord.

After you spend some time praying through some passages of Scripture for your pastor, why not write him a note or send a text and let him know that you’ve prayed specifically for his preaching? It’s sure to refresh him and encourage him as he heads to the pulpit to deliver God’s Word.

Will you pray for your pastor and then let him know?

Refresh your pastor,

Encouragement · Hope

One Word Can Change Everything

Benign.

Innocent.

Passed.

Completed.

Free!

Think of the scenarios in which those words would make all the difference in a person’s day! They would mean…
No Cancer!
You were found not guilty!
You can graduate!
The last of the hard project is over!
The prisoner is no longer captive!

One word can, indeed make all the difference in a day.

As I recently read through the Book of John, I was struck by this thought as I heard Jesus say one word that would change everything for Mary. Remember that she is the first one to the tomb after Jesus’ death. She found the stone rolled away and then seeing a man, she assumed he was the gardener. Then He called her name,

Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

Mary went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and that He had spoken to her. In my mind’s eye, I see her joy, I hear her amazement and relief! She was no longer weeping! Hearing Him say her name had changed everything for her with just a single word.

Is your heart heavy today? There is so much going on around us to cause grief in our heart, but we can have the same experience that Mary had; we can get alone with the Lord, open His Word and allow Him to speak a single word to us to give us joy and remove our tears.

Forgiven!

Hope!

Loved!

Rapture!

Heaven!

Mary was encouraged because she went looking for Jesus on that early Resurrection morning. We, too, must “go looking for Jesus” as we open the pages of His Word. Then we will find comfort and then everything will be changed when He gives us the Word that we need to hear.

What word has the Lord given you today that has filled your heart with hope again, even in the midst of heartache?

Refresh your heart with One Word from the Lord!

Encouragement · God's Presence

I Will Look Up

Some years ago I had the blessing of visiting Spain. One sight I saw many times in the countryside were shepherds walking with their sheep. It was the typical picture I’d seen only in paintings – the sheep all herded together, baa-ing and bleating, while the shepherd walked, a bit stooped over as he cared for them and guided them. The shepherd bends over so the sheep can look up.

It’s so easy for us to let the cares that surround us cause our hearts and heads to be bowed down, isn’t it? All we have to say is 2020, and everyone nods. We get it. This hard year has often caused my own heart and head to be bowed down. Just this week I’ve heard of these hard things…

  • Emergency appendectomy
  • Reconstructive surgery following cancer
  • Covid outbreaks
  • Cancellations of long-awaited plans
  • People who are isolated and lonely
  • Stressed-out mom, worn down emotionally

But wait, little sheep! We have a Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Who carefully watches over us. He bends His ear to our cries and He reaches out to guide and comfort us in our heartache. Proverbs 2:8 reminds us that He preserves the paths of His saints. The Lord IS shepherding us, but we have a responsibility. We find it in Psalm 121 ~

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

Did you catch it in verse one? I will – This signifies that the psalmist makes a choice of his will (a volitional choice) to look up to God. How often when faced with a test, trial or affliction, I choose to look down in self-pity or around at adverse circumstances, rather than gazing upward to my Omnipotent Father!

This also indicates that the psalmists recognizes that man continually stands in need of and dependence on the Lord’s help. He waits — he expects — he obtains. The truest vision is soul-vision. Looking up in contemplation, expectation. He looks “Up,” from the mud and mire of earth, and the sins and sorrows of self.

What “mud pit” are you looking up from today? Sickness? Disappointment? Loss? Grief? Sin? Hardship? We each need to have a little personal dialogue like the psalmist had and say, “I Will Look Up!” This isn’t just some kind of psycho babble…this is based on doctrine…on His Word here in Psalm 121. He is your keeper. He will preserve (keep) your going out and coming in. Our Shepherd is bent over us. That means we can look up to Him! He will care for us, provide for us and lead us home.

When the out -look is bleak

Remember the up -look.

The Good Shepherd is the One who made those hills, and He hasn’t forgotten you! Look up!

Encouragement · Refreshment in marriage · Wife's Role

One Great Tool To Strengthen Your Marriage

I’ve always been a huge fan and encourager of leaving love notes for your spouse. Why? Scripture says,

Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad. Proverbs 12:25

Our husband gets beaten down by the world, his own flesh and the devil. If we’re not giving them a “good word,” who is? We don’t want another woman giving him those words…that is our place and privilege!

A few months ago my friend and I were browsing through a store and she found the cutest pad of love notes from Dayspring and brought them over to me and said,

This looks like something you would love!

Was she ever right! Here’s the front of the pad…

Here’s the back…

Sample page…

I love that you can put the date on it, that it’s filled with a prayer and also Scripture verses. You can flip it over and write an additional note to your spouse in your handwriting…

Backside of note

There are 100 notes in this pad! They cover topics like noticing their burdens, their spiritual gifts being used, dreaming about the future, and sparks of loving romance. Of course you could come up with your own verses and prayers and write them on a card, but I have found the convenience of it already being written on the card, and also done so beautifully, really helps me be more mindful to leave them for my husband to find!

I’ve used this several times since purchasing it and I can say that I believe my husband has truly appreciated each one. I get no kick-back from telling you about this product, but I was sure glad my friend pointed it out to me when we were shopping together, and I wanted to point it out to you! This would also make a great wedding shower gift! I’d encourage you to check it out!

Refresh your marriage with a love note,

Encouragement · faithfulness · friends · ministry

Stayers or Betrayers

It happens to everyone at least once in their lifetime – the betrayal of a dear friend. You thought they would stick with you through thick and thin, when the chips were down, or when you were the last person to be chosen when they were picking teams. When the betrayal comes, it’s a dagger in our heart and the loss is felt with a grief like death. I speak as one who knows…and you do, too. We read in II Timothy 1 that Paul did, too…

This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.

Phygellus and Hermogenes – let’s give them nicknames – Gellus (hmmm, was he jealous?) and Genie…two men named for being deserters of Paul. They turned against him and led a group of others to do the same. This is the only place their names are mentioned in the Bible. How sad that their names are recorded in God’s Word as an example of unfaithfulness! One commentator I read said, “These men couldn’t do anything about their ugly names, but they could’ve done something about their ugly character!” How true!

Why did they desert him? Speculation says they could’ve been afraid that they might also end up in a Roman prison if they were known to be associated with Paul.

I think of Paul, writing this letter from his prison cell, recounting the two men who turned on him. Had they at one time been there with Paul when he preached? When he did miraculous works? When the prison doors were opened? When he ministered the Word from his home? Perhaps. But at some time, they realized it would be better for their own sakes to disassociate with Paul, so they did, and they led a group to follow them.

Years ago when my husband was deserted by a dear friend, Dr. Bob Jones III called to say,

Dale, you’re in good company. Matthew 5:12 says, Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Jesus is the Supreme example of being betrayed by friends. Of course Judas was the one who led the soldiers right to him, but Scripture reminds us that they all forsook him and fled. We probably would have, too, had we been there.

BUT then Paul goes on to say,

The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:
17 But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.
18 The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.

Thank God for all the Onesiphorus’s!! Those are the dear ones who:

  • Stay near when the others slip away, quietly, one by one.
  • Stay near to meet a need that no one else even notices.
  • Stay near because they are not ashamed to be associated with you.
  • Stay near to remind you of God’s promises.
  • Stay near to remind you that you are not alone.
  • Stay near to comfort you.

May the Lord grant us memory loss of all the betrayers. Let’s just let it go. But may we praise God and also imitate the character of the stayer, Onesiphorus. The church needs more of them!

How might you come alongside someone who is ministering for the Lord to encourage and serve them this week? Here are some posts that might help you know how. How have others served you like Onesiphorus did Paul?

Refresh someone by being a stayer,