Encouragment

The Junk Drawer of Regret

The Junk Drawer of Regret

Encouragment, Stuck
Somewhere in most houses is a junk drawer.  That one place to store trinkets we can’t bring ourselves to throw away. That drawer may be filled with things like half used pencils, three-year-old calendars, miscellaneous screws, a few worn out tools, and small plastic doodads that we picked up at the fair. Most of us also have a mental junk drawer, one that is filled with regrets.  We all have regrets, events or decisions that we are ashamed of but cannot get rid of. Those could’ve, should’ve and would'ves nag us, reminding us of our failures or unforeseen consequences. Regrets are easy to identify, they almost always start with “if only.”  If only I would’ve….  If only they could’ve….  If only we didn’t….  If we are honest with ourselves, there is a piece of sin attached to every one of ou
Finding Happiness

Finding Happiness

Archive, Encouragment
Happiness can be as elusive as pirate treasure.  As if somewhere buried on the lonely beach of life is something that will make us happy, content, and at peace. So we spend a lot of time, energy, and resources searching for it. Hoping to find that one possession, experience, or relationship that will make us happy. If we only had the treasure map. In a way, Psalm 86:4-5 is a map to the treasure of happiness.  “Make glad the soul of Your servant, For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You.” (Psalm 86:4–5, NASB95)  The first task on this treasure hunt - find the right place to look.  The psalmist suggests looking to the Lord instead of the shifting sand of self or others.  The second task is
The Anchor of Hope

The Anchor of Hope

Archive, Encouragment
A week ago today a tornado ripped through the heart of central Illinois leaving devastation and homelessness in its wake. But, like a tidal wave of hope, people, organizations, and communities gave of themselves to help those in need. In instances too numerous to mention people gave time, money, food, clothing, prayers, and hope. Central Illinois is not unique the same outpouring has been observed in the wake of many natural disasters. Like those other disasters, in a few weeks, a few months, the focus will turn to other things, other events, other heartaches.  The tidal wave of assistance will subside, and it will be up to each individual to put their life back together. That is when the real work begins, and hard choices must be made. It is the time when hope is tested. This test of h
You’ve Got Mail: An Invitation

You’ve Got Mail: An Invitation

Archive, Encouragment
““Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18, NASB95) A few months back my wife and I received an invitation in the mail.  It was an invite to our granddaughter's birthday party. Like all invitations it provided the specifics concerning the time, place, what to bring, and a general idea of what was going to happen.  This verse is God’s invitation to us, it also contains specifics regarding time, place, what to bring, and what will happen. Time and place: God’s place and now.  The Lord’s invitation is to “come now”. He invites us into His presence.  This is not a legal summons that forces us to appear.  It is an invitation that places the choi
The Art of Can Kicking

The Art of Can Kicking

Archive, Encouragment
   “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” (James 4:14, NASB95)   Kicking the can down the road seems to be a great american pastime.  We excel at putting off until tomorrow what should be done today. Just look at our national and personal debt. However the desire to kick the can may not simply be an american thing, but a human thing. Even those that excel at time management and getting things done are kicking a can somewhere in their lives. To be fair we cannot do everything that calls for our attention in one day.  We do need to kick some cans down the road in order to prioritize the needs and responsibilities of life. The question then becomes one of searching and understanding our priorit