Are you speaking encouraging words? I love to be encouraged and I need encouragement. And I will be honest with you – I don’t like to be around discouraging people, but sometimes I have to. It comes with the territory. The fleas come with the dog.
Discouragement opens the door for other sins and failures. II Corinthians 1:2-4 says, “Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
Comfort is the same word for consolation or encouragement. God is the God of all encouragement. The devil is the sinister minister of discouragement. Discouragement is a major cause of failure.
Former pro-football player Bill Glass was preaching to one thousand inmates one day and he said, “I want to ask you a question. How many of you had a father who told you, ‘One of these days, you’re going to end up in prison’?” Almost every one of them lifted his hand.
Oh, how these men needed encouragement. How about you? God is the God of all encouragement.
In my years of ministry, I have been with numerous people as they left this life to enter into eternity. None have called for their accountant or their bankbooks. They only call for their family members, friends, and their God.
At the end of life we all realize the only thing that really matters is our relationships. Ultimately, the most important is the relationship we have with our God.
God created a special garden He called Eden, and placed the first man Adam in it to take care of it (Genesis 2:15). The Garden of Eden literally means in Hebrew the Garden of Pleasure. The Prophet Ezekiel called it The Garden of God (Ezekiel 28:13). Our right purpose is to bring God pleasure, and unless we are doing this we are not really fulfilled in life. We properly exist to be a God-Pleaser.
There are three types of pleasers in the world:
The Self-Pleaser – only cares about themselves (Can’t trust people like this)
The People-Pleaser – are often brought into traps of bad situations, because they are ruled by their fear of rejection.
The God-Pleaser – the person that deals with every relationship from this basis, “Is this Pleasing to God?” This is the person that lives with eternal purpose and blessing from God. It requires courage, but will ultimately keep you in the favor of God.
I challenge you to gage every relationship by this criteria, “Is it pleasing to God?”.
It was around 1981-1982 that I decided to quit my job and pursue the full-time ministry of an Evangelist. I had been taught by my Pastor that you never make major changes without prayer and fasting. I had a wife and two children at this time (my youngest was not yet born), and making this decision was serious because it would affect their lives greatly. I had to know it was God directing me.
I took a few days off from my job and went on a prayer and fast retreat to the Bogalusa Bible Conference. Back in those days they would let young ministers sleep in the basement to save from a Hotel bill. My mind was pretty made up, but I needed to be sure.
During a break, an elder Minister that barely knew me called me over to him. He told me, “Bro.Ronnie, a mushroom comes up over-night and is practically full grown, but it’s a mushroom. In no time it will be gone. But an oak tree takes years to grow. You go back to Thibodaux and be an oak tree.”
I knew immediately the Lord was answering my question. It was not His will for me to travel around this nation Evangelizing at this time. I listened, but I must admit somewhat reluctantly.
I have Pastored now for many years here in my hometown. I am a blessed man and all my children and their families are in church serving the Lord with my wife and I. I am convinced that my pursuit for His perfect will has blessed our lives.
I encourage you to seek God in your decisions of life. Don’t be hasty and wind up a mushroom. Pursue God’s will for you, accept it, and be an Oak.
The greatest battleground in your life is between your ears. Scripture clearly states that as a man thinks, so is he. The Apostle Paul wrote that the way to transform your life and find God’s perfect will is to transform your thinking to God’s way. (Romans 12:1-2) Our right choices allow His Holy Spirit to transform our hearts and make us a child of God. This is what scripture calls “born again”.
It is clear that the battle between Good and Evil is in what we yield ourselves to listen to and believe. Scripture defines that the Lord and the devil speak to our inner minds and we must choose who is going to call the shots in our life. Paul writes of Abraham and tells what our God, who knows the end from the beginning, promised him. He told Abraham that he was a “father of many nations”, before he ever had children.
Romans 4:17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
In contrast, Satan came to Jesus in a time of testing and tries to get Jesus to doubt His sonship. Jesus defeats him by declaring the Word of God.
Matthew 4:3-4 “(3) And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. (4) But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
We win in life by learning the Word and Voice of God and declaring it in the midst of our trials and daily lives. We let God call the shots! Daily declare that “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalms 118:24). Not that every day is easy, just that every day is God given and I trust Him to call the shots.
REMEMBER – God calls things that be not as though they were.
Satan the deceiver, calls things that be, as though they are not.
Adrian Rogers told the story of a man who was going to be made CEO of a major company. The Board of Directors talked about it, and it was decided.
In the company cafeteria one day, the existing CEO was behind this man in line. Unbeknownst to the man, the CEO saw him take a pat of butter that cost about 3 cents, then put a slice of bread over the butter so that no one would see it.
The CEO went back to the Board and told them they had the wrong man. He told them that he didn’t have integrity. And for 3 cents the man lost a monumental promotion!
A while back a young Christian man told of a transaction he was doing. He was offered a way to do a little “under the table” dealing, and could save some money. He refused.
Though up front it will cost him a little more money, ultimately he will be the winner and be blessed of the Lord.
Are you faithful in the little things? Let this be the beginning of a new day of faithfulness in your life. Remember the little things.
God is watching to find you faithful. He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” – Luke 16:10
They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind. Matthew 4:22
Something about the comfort and safety of the boat makes it hard to leave! After Noah had floated in the ark for months, God caused the floodwaters to recede and directed Noah and his family to leave their haven of refuge. Surely Noah wondered what it would be like outside the ark.
Peter, too, knew the safety of the boat. But one day Jesus challenged him to leave the known and enter the unknown realm of fishing for men. Can’t you just imagine how Peter must have felt? “What would it be like to wake up every day and follow Jesus?”
The boat represents old habits, securities, and ways of doing things. Peter had been a fisherman for years; Noah had been confined to the security of the ark for months. Both had to decide if they would dare to follow the One who called them.
When Noah sent the dove out the second time and it did not return to him (Genesis 8:12), he knew it was time to leave the ark. Like the dove, he had no desire to stay in his world of former security. When Peter heard the voice of the Master, he knew it was time to leave the place of family refuge and follow the will of God. Once you have tasted of a new world, a world of ministry, you will have no desire to return to the mundane routine of life.
Leave the boat, my friend. A new world awaits you! It was Jesus that said “It is more blessed to give than receive.” You will quickly discover in ministering to others that giving is the avenue of receiving Christ’s Abundant Life(John 10:10).