Encouragement Amid Chaos

If you’ve been to the grocery store lately, which you probably have, you’ve probably noticed a lot of empty shelves. It seems as though the world is having trouble meeting the needs of the people during this Coronavirus crisis.

As I ponder the world’s short supply of things we need, I’m reminded of God’s never-ending supply of all our needs and especially the crisis-essentials; things more vital than masks, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer.

I’m talking about the things only God can supply amid a crisis; things we can’t buy in a store.

  • God is our never-ending supply of refuge, strength, and help.

Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

  • God is our never-ending supply of love and mercy.

Lamentations 3:22-23 “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

  • God is our never-ending supply of peace.

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

  • God is our never-ending supply of hope.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

  • God is our never-ending supply of joy.

Psalms 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

  • God is our never-ending supply of stability.

Psalm 55:22 “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”

  • God is our never-ending supply of companionship. 

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

  • God is our never-ending supply of victory.

Romans 8:37-39 “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

This is just a short-list of God’s never-ending supply of most important essentials during not only times of crisis but also in our everyday lives.

What are you running low on today? Joy? Peace? Companionship due to recommended social distancing?

Let me personally invite you to God’s storehouse, where the supply of crisis-essentials never run out, are always abundant, always available, and always free to you and me; paid for by the blood of Jesus.

Wow! Now that’s the best news we may have heard in a long time.

I hope this blog has encouraged you today. I want to further encourage you to go to God’s word for the answers to every problem and to go to Him in prayer. He loves us and wants us to talk to Him about the things that concern us. He’s our good Father.

The Lord is the only answer to every crisis. He is the only one who can truly help us and meet every need. So let’s not run from the Lord during times of trouble but instead run to Him.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

If anyone has a specific prayer need, please comment below. Also, If anyone would like to add words of encouragement for others please do so. I am praying for us all. God bless you!

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Intentional Pain

Many of you know that 2 weeks ago I underwent my last breast cancer radiation treatment. Unfortunately, I recently had to return to my oncologist due to the excessive pain and burning of my skin.

The condition of my skin was worsening. I was told that it would get worse but in my mind, there was no way it should be this bad.

The oncologist said that yes my skin was worse than what most radiation patients experience but for my particular situation the condition of my skin was normal. He said that he intentionally wanted my skin to burn this bad and that I may be suffering now but I’d be thanking him later.

The statement my oncologist made really got me thinking about intentional suffering resulting in a better tomorrow for ourselves or for others. In particular, how God allows suffering for a greater purpose.

Noah endured over 100 years of hard work, ridicule, and opposition to build an ark that God told him to build in order to save himself, his family, and the animals from being destroyed in the flood [Genesis 6-8].

Through Noah’s intended suffering, God saved the human race and the animals and we are here today to read about Noah’s faith and be encouraged by it.

Joseph was hated by his brothers. They sold him as a slave and he was taken to Egypt. While there, he was falsely accused of rape and spent many years in prison. Later he found favor in the eyes of Pharaoh and was placed in charge of all of Egypt; saving the world from starvation [Genesis 37-41].

In Genesis 50:20 Joseph says to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

Ruth, a Moabite, married into a Jewish family. Her father-in-law died, her brother-in-law died, and her own husband died. She had a choice to make. Go back to her Moabite family or go with her mother-in-law, Naomi, to a foreign country to start over.

Ruth chose to stay with Naomi. In a foreign land, she worked hard gleaning grain so she and Naomi could eat. That’s when she met Boaz. They ended up getting married and having a son named Obed; the grandfather of David [Ruth 1-4].

God intentionally allowed Ruth’s suffering so that through her David would be born. We are still learning many lessons from the life and faith of both Ruth and David. Not to mention, Jesus is in their genealogy [Matthew 1:1-17].

Jesus was born to die. He left His place in heaven, came to earth, and was born of a virgin. He lived a life of obedience to His Heavenly Father. His life and death were a sacrifice for all of us. Because of His sacrificial death on the cross, we have forgiveness of sins and eternal life [Colossians 1:13-14].

Jesus rose from the dead, defeating death, hell, and the grave. Through Him, believers, also have victory over death, hell, and the grave [1 Corinthians 15:54-57, Revelation 1:18].

Oh, that’s not all, Jesus then ascended to the Father where He sits at His right hand forever living to make intercession for us [Romans 8:34].

And not only that, He sent His Holy Spirit to dwell within every believer; filling them with the Spirit of the Lord, wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, knowledge, and the fear of God [Isaiah 11:2].

God intentionally allowed Jesus to suffer for the benefit of the whole world.

Isaiah 53:10 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.

What pain are you currently going through? Maybe, like Noah, you are being ridiculed for your faith. Maybe people think you are foolish as you obey God and walk in His ways day after day.

Maybe, like Joseph, you are hated or have been betrayed by those closest to you. Maybe your own family. Maybe you’ve been wrongly accused of something and are being punished for something you didn’t do.

Maybe, like Ruth, you have lost a spouse and with them your provision or hope for starting your own family. Maybe you’ve had to move to a strange place with strange people and strange customs. Maybe you have to work a back-breaking job every day to feed yourself and a loved one.

Have you considered that God has intentionally allowed your suffering for a greater purpose?

What do Noah, Joseph, Ruth, and Jesus have in common? They all obeyed God and trusted Him and His plan. And that’s what we have to do.

We have to resist self-pity and stay focused on God and His word. We have to keep moving forward and never give up hope for a better tomorrow.

Romans 8:18, 28 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

~Patrice Maguire

Prayer for salvation: Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you a Prisoner?

Recently I took a trip to visit my cousins. Before leaving to return home, on a Sunday morning, I attended church with them.

During the sermon, the pastor told a story about a time he had visited a prison to play a softball game with the prisoners, have lunch with them and minister to them.

He mentioned that during the worship and ministry time with the prisoners, he marveled at their freedom. They didn’t restrict their worship or their joy for fear of what others might think. They were completely free! It’s what I like to call “reckless abandonment.”

Having visited a loved one in prison, hearing the pastor’s description of his prison experience brought me to tears. I was flooded with distracting memories of someone I love with all my heart, in an orange jumpsuit, shackles, and chains.

Thankfully, the pastor made the statement that redirected my focus, “Those men were locked up for life with no hope for parole and they were freer and more joyful than people that are outside of visible prison walls.”

The prisoners were physically captive but spiritually free. As a result of their spiritual freedom, they had unexplainable hope, peace, and joy.

There are people walking around today with sadness, anxiety, and anger on their faces, on their tongues, and in their hearts. They have no hope, no peace, and no joy.

But if you ask them if they are free they would say, “Of course I am free!” “I can do what I want when I want and where I want!” They would think that your question was silly. But is it?

Jesus said in John 8:34 that everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Slaves are not free!

Romans 6:16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey-whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?

So we have two choices, we can choose to be obedient to sin or obedient to God. One leads to death and the other leads to righteousness, holiness and eternal life [Romans 6:22].

I don’t know about you but if I only have two choices in whom to obey, sin or God, obedience to God sounds like a much better deal. Not to mention that hope, peace and joy are included in the package.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I’m reminded of an incident in God’s Word where Paul and Silas had been severely flogged and wrongfully imprisoned. Their feet were fastened in stocks. Then around midnight, they began praying and singing hymns to God [Acts 16:23-25].

How could men who had just been severely flogged/beaten, thrown into prison, with their feet in stocks, pray and sing hymns at midnight? They had to be in horrible pain. How were they able to move beyond their pain, suffering, and disappointment to praise and worship?

They were free on the inside! They had a hope, a peace and a joy that was not a result of their circumstance but instead a result of their faith in God.

A true sign of someone who is set free from a life of slavery to sin is hope, peace, and joy.

How do we get this freedom from sin?

Jesus said in John 8:31-32 That if we hold to His teaching and are true followers of Him then we will know the truth and the truth will set us free.

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Jesus is the truth that we need to know in order to be set free from slavery to sin. He is the only way to eternal life. He is the only way to hope, peace, and joy.

Don’t go through life shackled and chained by sin having no hope, peace or joy. Choose to know the truth! Choose to know Jesus! Choose to be free!

John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

Stop Paying for Things that Already Belong to you!

Do you know someone who has so much stuff that they don’t know what they have? I do! We probably all know at least one person who is that way.

They start a project and need a particular tool so they go to the store to buy it when all along they already have two or three of the exact same tool; they just didn’t realize they already had it.

I have to admit I’ve done that a time or two myself only to find the twin item later and feel silly about having wasted money on something I already had.

A lot of times we do the same thing in life. We go about trying to obtain things that are already ours.

We may try to acquire peace by having more money, more insurance or more security systems when Jesus has already given us His peace.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

There is nothing wrong with having money, insurance, and security systems. But if we are putting all of our trust in them bringing us true peace we will ultimately be disappointed.

Maybe its love we desire and we think that buying friends or sex is going to fill the love void that we feel. Maybe we are tolerating abuse and calling it love. Maybe we are trying to buy the love of our children with stuff and enablement when all the while we are already loved.

We don’t have to earn love or deserve it we only have to accept it.

Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

How about joy? A lot of times we try to attain joy by purchasing things. We think that the more stuff we have the more joy we will have.

Sometimes we think food, drugs, alcohol or sex will bring us joy. Maybe a better job or a different wife or husband will bring us joy? How about a bigger house or a fancy new car? Travel? More money? The list is endless.

In reality, Jesus is the only way to true and lasting joy. The joy that He gives never fades due to circumstances. It’s in us and it stays in us no matter what is going on around us because we have something that can never be taken from us; true love, true peace, and hope.

1 Peter 1:8 Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with inexpressible and glorious joy.

Maybe you didn’t know that you have access to true love, true peace, and true joy. Or maybe you’ve forgotten that these things already belong to you. Regardless, they belong to all of us through Christ.

Stop paying for things that already belong to you. Jesus already paid for them. They’re yours! Just accept them and enjoy them.

~Patrice Maguire

If you have never accepted Jesus as your Savior, you can pray this prayer: Dear God, I know I have sinned and I want to ask for your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus died for my sins. I now accept Your offer of eternal life. I will follow Jesus as my Savior and try to obey Him in all that I do. Thank You for my new life. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Thoughts from a Higher Perspective

 

Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a

new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness (II Peter 3:13).

 

There is no doubt that we live in a stressful world today. Tune in to a local newscast, and virtually every day the top news story will bring us awful news: a fire, a robbery, a murder, perhaps a political scandal.

 

Such headlines can cause despair if we’re not careful to stay focused on our salvation and what lies ahead for us as believers!

 

I have a friend who occasionally wore a T-shirt which said something like this: “Christian work: the pay ain’t much, but the retirement program is out of this world!”

 

So what will we enjoy when we get to heaven?

 

Certain things will NOT be there: no temple, no sun, no moon, no shut gates, no liars or any sin, no curse, no night, no tears, no death, no sorrow, no pain (all these are listed in Revelation 21 and 22)!

 

The Word tells us “the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4)!

 

There will be sights that will be wonderful: a pure river of water, foundations made of precious stones, the tree of life, pearly gates, renewal of relationships with those who have gone on before us, and—most of all—we “shall see His face” (Revelation 22:4; see also I John 3:2)!

 

These great truths are often pointed out to us, but (as modern advertising often emphasizes) wait, THERE’S MORE!

 

Consider these factors:

 

  1. We will be able to explore the “new heaven.” Think of the power and creativity of God in creating the earth we presently live in; now try to ponder how magnificent an entirely new universe will be! No doubt every star and planet will be beautiful, and be sure that none of them will be exactly alike!

 

  1. It is clear to many that God likes to surprise His children, much like a spouse likes to surprise a mate or a parent likes to surprise a child.

 

Because God is so creative, so powerful, and so loving, try to imagine what lies ahead!

 

In I Corinthians 13:13 we are told: “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” Because love is the greatest and eternally enduring virtue,

I am convinced that God will want to surprise us every hundred million years (hey, heaven is forever!) with a new revelation, a mind-boggling surprise, which reminds us just how much He loves us!

 

And the surprises will never end!

 

These thoughts were presented by John Rataczak, Ph.D.

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