Words of encouragement for times of discouragement.

No one is free from the troubles of this world, not even Christians. Troubles and disappointments can drain a person of all strength, spirit, and faith, leaving a person worn down and discouraged.

When you are discouraged and worn down, what do you do ? How do you rebound and get through the rough time ? Think about what you can do when you are discouraged.

Discouragement occurs when plans fall through, hope unrealized, and other people do not follow through on promises and commitments. It is easy to fall into discouragement and to become depressed and frustrated. This drains time and energy that could be used to solve the problem. What often happens is that some people shut down and give up. They stall and do nothing to solve the problem. There are feelings of failure and defeat, a lack of self-confidence and faith becomes weak. What can be done when discouragement comes?

Discouragement can be overcome. God gives us strength to meet the challenges then come before us. He does not promise that we will not have disappointments in life but he does promise that he will make a way for us. He will work all things for our good and through the difficult times he will also draws closer to him. He will teach us the lessons and we need to learn during the difficult times. When you go through discouragement God will send people who will give you encouragement and help you through the difficult times. When You Face discouragement don’t see it as failure or defeat. See it as an opportunity to draw closer to God and to grow in faith and to learn valuable life lessons.

In times of discouragement, have a courageous faith that will be victorious over disappointment. Find strength through prayer, study of the Bible and fellowship with other Christian people. You do not need to walk alone during times a disappointment and do not lose hope but trust in God he will strengthen you and bring you through times of disappointment.

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THE GOD WHO RESTORES THE BROKEN

Do you remember this nursery rhyme?

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horsemen, all the king’s men.
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

I have chosen to focus on this rhyme because there are many people just like Humpty. Many people have experienced struggles and brokenness in their lives. They have lost their balance and have fallen to pieces. The troubles and the setbacks that they have had push them down and has left them broken and in need of healing and restoration.

Humpty Dumpty in this rhyme is typically portrayed as a personified egg. In nursery rhyme books, he is always illustrated as sitting on a wall, he leaned back too far and fell to the ground breaking into many pieces. There was nothing that could be done for him. He could not be restored and made whole again. This all happened because Humpty had lost his balance.

Aren’t there some people like Humpty? Each day there are people who have lost their balance in life and have fallen and need to be restored. Their lives are broken, and their hopes and dreams are shattered. Sometimes it’s hard to know how to help them and to restore them once again.

There are many ways that people lose their balance in life. People go through job losses, financial setbacks, health issues, and broken relationships. These and many other issues can cause people to break under pressure and to fall. When these pressures become too great, a person can just go to pieces and slide into the depths of depression or turn to alcohol or drugs. This does not help at all, but only causes people to go further down and become hopeless.

Out of the depths of brokenness, many cry out for help. They cry out to be lifted up and be restored. They want to find people who care and are willing to offer help and hope. They want restoration and wholeness again.

If you have been in the situation, or you know someone struggling, then you understand that it’s difficult to put the pieces back and be restored. Sometimes friends and family try to help, but they can be like the king’s men. There is little that they can do.

Jesus does something that the king’s men could not do. He restores completely. He does this through his word of forgiveness and through his Spirit. He opens the door for restoration and healing. He has blessed many people with the gifts that are needed to reach out to the hurting and bring them healing restoration and through these people, Jesus can make the broken whole again.

If you’re experiencing pain and brokenness, there is hope and healing. Jesus restores by his grace and love. Reach out to him, and reach out to those who can help heal the brokenness and bring healing and peace.

M. Carter

GOD IS NOT SILENT

Some people have a difficult time with silence. It’s unbearable when people give ‘the silent treatment’. This is when people ignore the cries for help or do not notice people in need. This causes feelings of rejection and abandonment. It’s as if people don’t care. This is when silence can be discouraging and cause people to give up and shut down.

This is what some people feel about God. They cry out in prayer and they don’t see the results that they want. Some will conclude that the silence of God means that he isn’t listening, does not care, or he does not exist.

What might seem like God’s silence isn’t silence. If you have felt God is silent, understand that he listens and he acts. He does so according to his will and in his own time. Don’t give up on prayer and do not lose faith. God listens and he’s working for your good. Remember that he cares about you and he will never ignore you.

God listens and showers down his blessings and mercy upon us. Look carefully and you will see that God is not silent in your life. Think of the gift of forgiveness and salvation that he has given through his Son Jesus Christ. Think about the comfort and the guidance that he gives through the Holy Spirit. Step back and look at your life and recall all the blessings that he has given you and how he has brought you through difficult circumstances. Then you will realize God is never silent. He speaks and acts in so many ways.

God is not silent. He speaks to us through the Scriptures and the Spirit. He speaks through every believer and uses believers to speak his message of life and healing to a broken and hurting world. The world tries to silence God, but God will still speak and act. He will never be silent.

Don’t allow doubt, the world, and the devil to steer you off track in your faith journey. God will let you know that he is always present. He will be with you to guide you, strengthen you, and to bless you. Keep pressing on in faith. God is never silent.

M. Carter

Strength in times of affliction

Each person will have setbacks in life. There’s no avoiding them. Some people will make it through difficult times and move on. Others will be overwhelmed and crushed by hardships and afflictions. When some people are crushed by afflictions, they lose all strength and hope. They might reject God because they believe that he has turned away from them. How do you react in times of affliction?

God does not promise that life will be without afflictions and setbacks. He allows them to come for different reasons. They serve to strengthen faith and to burn away the impurities, like gold being refined by fire. (1 Peter 1:6-7)
Afflictions can be like the refiner’s fire that burns away all the impurities so that faith can shine bright as gold. The heat might be unbearable at times, but think of the results. Faith will be strengthened and will give praise to Jesus Christ.

During life, there will be storms and rain. God will allow some storms to come into our lives for reason. The afflictions can build up perseverance, faith, and growth. What we endure can make us more mature and complete. (James 1;24)

Through afflictions, God teaches us and corrects us this might seem unpleasant now, but later it produces blessed fruit. (Hebrews 12:11) As we have been strengthened by God, we can reach out to those who are hurting and point them to the God who will bring them through their times of affliction.

Whatever the afflictions might be, God will bring us through. He will work all things together for our good. (Romans 8:28) God will never lay on us more than we can bear. He will bring deliverance, restoration, and peace.

We may not always understand the struggles that we face. Whatever the struggles might be, we can face them with strength and faith. As we deal with afflictions in our lives and in the lives of those dear to us, let us not lose heart and become discouraged. With strong faith let us declare: “God is good all the time, in all the time, God is good!”

M. Carter

Have mercy Lord! A meditation on Psalm 51

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HAVE MERCY, LORD!
Meditation on Psalm 51

David was a mighty king in the Old Testament. He had been chosen by God to replace the failed King Saul, the first king of Israel. David was a man of action and of God. But even David fell into the trap of sin.

David committed adultery with a woman named Bathsheba. (See 2 Samuel, 11,12) When Bathsheba became pregnant, David tried to cover up the affair and finally arranged for her husband to be killed in battle. David could hide his sin from others but he could hide his deeds from God.

God was displeased with David’s actions and confronted him through the words of the Prophet Nathan. David did not deny his sin, he was humbled and repentant. He expressed his repentance in the words of this psalm.

David’s sin of adultery lead to the sin of murder. Bathsheba’s husband was killed during a battle, but it was David who arranged it. This is an example of how one sin leads to another. He was a powerful king, but his sinful actions could not be covered up in the sight of God.

There are many people who are like David. When caught in sin, they try to “cover” it up or explain it away. This blinds them from seeing the damaging effects and often leads to other sins. This becomes like a growing cancer that left unchecked, results in misery, pain and death.

Without intervention, without dealing with the sin, it continues to grow and to spread. The result is complete destruction and ruin. David was on that path and there are many people who are also walking down that path.

God was not willingly to ignore what David had done. He loved David, and as a loving father, he confronted David to correct and to restore him. That is why he sent the Prophet Nathan to confront him. He told David a story (2 Samuel 12:1-13) and after David had heard the story, he knew that it was about him. This convicted David and he confessed his sin. Psalm 51 is David’s
confession of his sin and his plea for God’s mercy.

This psalm expressed David’s humility and faith. It came from being confronted and brought to repentance. He was sorry for what he had done. In this psalm, he asked for forgiveness and restoration. He knew that he could not justify his actions and that God had every right to call him out and to punishment him.

The season of Lent confronts us with the grave reality of sin and calls us to repentance. This season calls upon us not to make excuses for sin nor depend upon our pride but to humble ourselves through prayer and repentance. It prepares us for the glorious message of Easter which celebrates the saving work of Jesus Christ.
David found comfort and peace in the mercy of God. He was not content to keep this joy to himself. He asked God to open his lips so that he could declare to all people the mercy of God.
This is the wonderful message of the cross. It is message that God has shown mercy through his Son Jesus Christ. Sin drags us down and breaks us, but it Jesus who raises us up, heals our wounds, and restores us.

The season of Lent is the opportunity for believers to open their lips and declare to the world that with God, there is mercy and restoration. It is a time to point people to the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Lent is a time for believers to invite all to prepare their hearts for the joyous message of Easter.

As we make this Lenten journey, let us do so with reflective hearts, thinking about what Jesus endured for the redemption of the world. With thankful hearts, let us open our lips and declare to the world, the grace and mercy of God.

The Lord holds your hand- Psalm 37:24

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It was a late afternoon. A grandfather and his three year old grandson were walking in a park. The young boy was learning to walk and he was unsteady on his feet. He took a few steps and then he fell down. The grandfather reached out his hand. The boy reached up and took hold of his grandfather’s hand. The boy tightly held his grandfather’s hand and they walked the rest of the way home.

Many times through the journey, we’ll stumble and fall. Too often, people are knocked down by the struggles and setbacks of life. Some people stay down without any help to rise again.

The Psalmist reminds us that when we have been knocked down, we don’t have to stay down. All we have to do is to reach up to the Lord and take hold of his hand. The Lord will rise us up. He will send people into our lives to help us to stand and restore us. He’ll guide us to places where we can be raised up and restore us. Through this, the Lord reaches down and picks us up.

The Lord holds your hand. You are never alone nor forgotten. He not only holds your hand, he also holds you in the palm of his hand.

How do you hold on to the Lord’s hand? Through faith and trust in him and by standing on his promises. Hold on to the Lord’s hand through prayer, worship and study of his Word. Hold on to his hand and never let go.

As the Lord has raised you up and holds your hand, he can use you to be his hands that reach out to those who have fallen and need to be raised up. As the Lord holds your hand, hold the hands of those who need comfort and care.

Through this earthly life, take hold of the Lord’s hand. He’ll keep your feet steady and will lead you down the path to eternity.

M. Carter

Be a blessing to others

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I believe that all of us touch people in different ways and sometimes we are not aware of the good that we do for others. I want to share a very brief example this because there were times when I did things for other people and I wondered did it really make a difference? I found out in a very brief way that even the smallest things we do for people have a great impact. It reminds me that all of us- no matter what we do can be a blessing to other people.

It was February 2002 in St. Louis Missouri. My brother Vernon and I had visited my mother in the nursing home. Before I drove my brother to his house, we stopped at a supermarket so that he could do some shopping. This was the last time that my brother visited with our mother. Later that month, he passed away.

I finished my shopping and waited for my brother outside near the entrance of the store. There was an older white man with a full beard standing near me. I didn’t pay any attention to him. I waited for my brother to finish with the shopping so that we could go home.

The old man stared at me. Then he walked over to me and took off his glasses and show them to me.
“I know you. You’re the chaplain at the jail. Do you see these glasses? You gave them to me when I was in jail. I am still wearing them. I just wanted to come over and say thank you.”

This totally surprised me.

“You’re welcome. I’m glad that they have helped you.”

When I served is chaplain at the jail in St. Louis, I often provided reading glasses for the older residents. I wanted to help them so that they could do their legal work or just read their books. I never thought about it, and I never realized how such a small gesture means so much.

Many years have passed since that time. I have thought about those times when people stopped me on the street and told me what I did for them. I must admit that I didn’t always remember what I had done or said, but it meant so much to them.

Sometimes people go through their lives and believe that they never make a difference. How often do we think about the differences that we make in the lives of others? Even the smallest gestures or words can have a great impact and change lives in a positive way. I witnessed this during my years as a pastor and a chaplain.

I believe that God gives us those moments when we can see the results of the good that we do for others, and when we can hear words of thanks. This is God’s way of reminding us that our living is not in vain and that we can make a difference. Through these encounters, God allows us to be blessings to others.

M. Carter 2017