The scripture says to encourage one another, but how?

Be strong and never give up

                                                                                        Encouragement

I Thessalonians 5:11 tells us to “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as also you are doing. ” (https://biblehub.com/blb/1_thessalonians/5.htm) The context for that is teaching Paul is giving about “the day of the Lord”, the day the Lord Jesus returns. The fact of Jesus’ return to get His people, His children, His church is very encouraging. 

On K-love for the month of September, there is a contest to win a prize for encouraging the people we come in contact with. There is also a list of suggestions of practical things each of us could do to pass that encouragement along. Here is a link to request that list: https://ww2.klove.com/ministry/30-Days-of-Encouragement 

My ministry focus is senior citizens, so I want to do something to encourage them today. I will start by telling any seniors that may be reading this article one very simple fact – Jesus loves you, no matter how young or old you are. That means if you are slow in moving, thinking, talking, or responding to others, Jesus loves you as much a newborn infant. That’s because He doesn’t look at the outward appearance, but He looks at the heart. He knows your potential and knows what you have done for others. He knows He is not done with you and He knows what needs to change within you. He is able to make those changes. 

Finally, I would encourage you to go directly to Jesus Christ and ask Him to encourage you. He said in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you that are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Friends, if you have given your life to Jesus, He will certainly give you the encouragement you need in your life and  He will help you pass it on to others.”

I am encouraged that someone may read these words and be blessed.

An open letter to God for all those who are unresolved

Dear Lord,

I am coming to you right now on behalf of all who are in the middle of uncertainty, loss, hurt, painful memories, grief, and are just plain in the middle. They are unresolved in heart, in mind, in body, in their circumstances, in their finances, in their relationships, or in some other area of their lives. They are hurting. They are confused. They are lonely. They are scared. They are tired. They need you, Lord.

As I’m writing this, I am trying to picture them in their needs for body, mind, soul, and/or circumstances. I am feeling some of their hurt, but really, Lord, I believe that is Your compassion for them. Lord of all creation, You certainly know how they feel and exactly what they need. Jesus, You prayed for them in the garden, and if they are Your children, you are praying for them right now, interceding for them to the Father. 

Lord, what I would ask is that You show them Your love, Your compassion, Your power to work in their hearts, their minds, and their bodies. Lord, they need You. I pray that they realize it and that they come to You exactly as they are, ready to be met by You in their time of need. Lord, touch their lives with Your peace, a peace that passes all understanding. 

Father God, You care about all of our needs. You even sent Jesus to die for us, intercede for us, and come again to take us home. Lord, you are gracious and compassionate. Please touch our entire being with Your peace, love, and compassion. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Thank you for hearing our prayers, for hearing our hearts, and for your answers, which are always best for us in the end.

Sincerely,
Pastor John

A Biblical approach to dealing with pain

pain

                                                pain

 

As of the time of this writing, I am dealing with some minor pain. I know I am not alone in this. Many people go through pain, much worse than I have even thought about having. My pain is minor compared to others.

But how do we deal with pain? What is its purpose? I have read or heard that pain is an indicator that something is wrong.  That pain can be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. 

While there are a number of reasons and solutions for physical pain, what do we do with the rest? What if the pain is emotional or spiritual? For that, we need a spiritual solution. We need a solution for the soul. With that in mind, I want to give you three scriptures that deal with this issue.  These are copied from Bible Study Tools.

Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Ps. 34:18 – “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Ps. 147:3 – “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” 

There are nine more scriptures at this link:

https://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/bible-verses-about-pain/

I think the greatest encouragement is in the fact that pain is only temporary, that Jesus understands our pain, and that one day all tears shall be wiped away. (Rev. 21:4)

The Amazing Exchange of Grace for Sin

picture of a cross with a background of a peaceful sunset

                                                                    We need Jesus. We need the cross.

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.”

There is a lot of irony in the words above. Think about it. At one point I was lost, but not any more. Now I am found, like a lost sheep that the shepherd has rescued from the attack of the enemy. Even more ironic is to go from being blind to now being able to see. This is a total transformation. 

But what caused this transformation? Was it our abilities? No. We didn’t make ourselves be found. We didn’t come looking for us. We didn’t just suddenly figure out, “Hey, I can see if I just make up my mind to do so. After all, its all about me and my abilities. Maybe I could even say “You know, I never was blind in the first place.” Well, we could say that, but that wouldn’t make any sense. 

No, dear reader, the transformation was made at God’s initiative when He sent Jesus to die for our sins, in our place, as our substitute. It is all about grace. It is all about God. It is all about Jesus. 

May God help us all to realize the incredible gift of grace and of eternal life, brought to you by the blood of God’s son, Jesus Christ. Thank you, Jesus, for grace.

Eph. 2:8-9 – “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourself. It is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Eph. 2:8-9

An open letter to the Unresolved community

Cross in the clouds

                                                                   The cross of Jesus Christ

                      Dear Unresolved Reader,
Today is Aug. 1, the beginning of the month, and for me a new beginning spiritually, a time to refocus and reframe my priorities.

You see, tomorrow is my 65th birthday. As of today, I am officially on Medicare (I am excited to see the perks this will give me!) As I approach this birthday and this milestone, I look back at what brought me to this point. I look at the jobs I held, the places I moved, and the steps that led me to discover and marry my heart-mate, soul-mate, best friend, and the reason we reside here in Mississippi, near her family.

What a realize is that God has been faithful to provide and lead all my life, especially since I gave my life to Christ in 1969. While some things may be unresolved, unfinished, incomplete, uncertain, there is one thing that is eternally true – Jesus Christ is faithful to lead, provide, and work all things together for good for those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. God is faithful. God is good. And God will bring us through to the end. May He help us to lean into Him and focus on Him, come what may.

God bless you in your journey, wherever you are right now.

Blessings,
Pastor John Day

How do we know we are not cast away? We are not forgotten.

Isolated beach, blue water, pink sand

                                                                                    Isolated beach

Last night, my wife and I watched a movie that we had seen in the theater years ago. It featured Tom Hanks, who was a FedEx employee, always driven to work and succeed. He gets on a plane which crashes and he lands up on a desert island. The movie is called Castaway.

His character goes through so much for so long. His only companion is a volleyball named “Wilson” and a pocket watch of his girlfriend, Kelly, with her picture inside the cover where it closes. He is alone, isolated, and felt very much helpless.

After the movie, Karen and I talked about it and realized there were some lessons that senior citizens and others could learn from this. The purpose of this post is to share those lessons and to offer encouragement to those that may feel isolated and cut off from the rest of the world.

What we need to realize is that we are seriously loved by almighty God, our creator, who made us in His image, in His likeness, after HIs own heart. The one true God of the universe loves us.

Secondly, we need to be reminded that this God who loves us and created us in His image, is always present, everywhere, in all places. When it is dark, He is there. When it is cold, He is there too. When we feel like we are alone, we are not. God is there. Always. Consistently there.

Finally, we need to realize and be reminded that God, who made us and loved us, sent His son to die on the cross so that those of us who believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). If we are in Christ, we are never alone – literally, never. We are not forsaken. We are not cast away.

I accepted God’s free gift of eternal life as a teenager. I did nothing to deserve it. I just admitted that I needed Jesus and asked Him to forgive me of my sins and come into my heart. Have you done the same? Have you asked Jesus to come into your heart, to save you? If you have, then you can know that you have eternal life, that you are eternally loved, and that you are never cast away. You are loved. I hope and pray that you know that today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

The overflowing septic tank – a parable for stinky sin

Our righteousness is as filthy rags

                       Trash in the water

When Karen and I lived in Grayson county, we rented a home that had a septic problem. It was overflowing and needed cleaned out. At the time this happened I was trying to get a handle on a very powerful verse of scripture, 2 Cor. 5: 21 –

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

You see, our sin stinks. Even our righteousness, our “goodness”, our purity is as filthy rags. As Isaiah 54:6 says, 

“We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.”

In Christ, we are clean. We do not stink. We are not foul or offensive in His sight. Why? Because Jesus’ blood cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7). Instead of our sin, God sees His Son.

By the blood of Jesus we are made clean. Lord, may we walk in that cleanness and live like we are God’s children today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

There are two things to learn about God
There are two things to learn about God from going to the Hattiesburg Zoo, or any other zoo or wildlife center. In learning these things, you can have a better appreciation of how great God is and how much He loves us.
Gen. 1:27

As my better half, Karen, and I went through the zoo today, we were amazed at the wide variety, beauty, and unique characteristics of all the animals there. Truly God’s creativity is amazing and so varied. It is intricate, complex, and amazingly beautiful. Some animals made you laugh. Some were like “ooh, I’m glad he is in that cage and I’m out here.” One of them was really loud. One even sounded like a siren. And all of them were hot today. It was really hot. Thankfully, the zoo had lots of fans along the route, so that helped. The point is that God’s creation is amazing and truly reflects His glory.
And then we look at ourselves and think, “I’m not that amazing and unique.” Really? Those animals were created first before God brought us along. When He created them, he said they were good. When He created man, He looked at them and said they were very good. Mankind was made in the image of God, in His likeness. The reason we can be creative is that we are created in His image. Not only did He create us but He also breathed life into us. “And man became a living being.” (Gen. 1:27; Gen. 2:7)
Not only are we created in His image, with His spirit living and breathing and moving within us. We are also His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:8-10)
Child of the Most High God, you are fearfully and wonderfully made, fully unique, special, called, created, and deeply loved. (Ps. 139:14)
Thank you, Jesus, for making all of this possible. We give you the credit for your amazing creation and plan. in Your name, Amen.

A little humor to brighten your day – “Get in Shape” (senior style)

(a selection of quotes from “Over the Hill and On a Roll” by Bob Phillips. See if you can relate to any of these – I know I can!).

funny bone, humor, boy laughing

boy laughing


“As you grow older, you will find it takes just about half as long to get tired and twice as long to get rested. The iron in your blood has turned to lead in the seat of your pants.”
“Show me a man with his head held high, and I will show you a man who is having trouble adjusting his bifocals.”
“They say that life begins at 4o – but so does lumbago, bad eyesight, arthritis, and the habit of telling the same story three times to the same person.”
“I’ve got to the age when I need my false teeth and my hearing aid before I can ask where I’ve left my glasses.” (Now that’s pretty bad!)
“My doctor said I look like a million dollars – green and wrinkled.”
“It’s hard to feel fit as a fiddle when you’re shaped like a cello.”
“If you’re pushing 50, that’s exercise enough.” (That would never do for Keisha, our fearless leader in the senior exercise class!
“She had her face lifted, but it turned out there was one just like it underneath.”
“You know you’re an adult when you’ve ceased to grow vertically, but not horizontally.”
(and finally) “I know she’s got her own teeth. I was with her when she bought them.”
Remember, kind readers, that you are dearly loved as you are in body, mind, and soul. I’m sure God laughs at the funny stuff we do sometimes as seniors.

God bless you all and give you lots of laughter!

(This post is dedicated to the honor and memory of my late brother-in-law, Dan, who was a gentle soul and who had a great sense of humor.)

Sample post from series on “100 Prophecies fulfilled by Jesus”

I am inviting you to follow along with me on a series of posts about Old Testament prophecies fulfilled by Jesus. To find other posts (up to Day 56 currently) in the series go to the website below and click on the “Soul and Spirit” category on the right hand side of the page. 

Here is the link to the article and the website, respectively. 

https://wp.me/paeMlO-vi

The website link (for a lot of great content) is below:

http://www.pastorjohnsseniormoments.com