Encouragement for Today
Ramona Davis, Prayer Ministry Coordinator, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member
James 5:11, “We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. Job is an example of a man who endured patiently. From his experience we see how the Lord’s plan finally ended in good, for He is full of tenderness and mercy.” (NLT)
Each warm day brings different birds to my yard, returning from their winter’s vacation. I raise the blinds as I take my usual seat at the kitchen window to see my feathered friends enjoying the seeds in their feeder.
Instead of feathers, I see fur! There hanging upside down by his hind feet is a squirrel helping himself to the seeds. I don’t have anything against squirrels. I just think they should get their food elsewhere. They can all go to my brother’s house; he loves to feed squirrels.
The thief is robbing my bird feeder and he’s not alone. All of his family and friends are sitting on the ground looking up at him with smiles on their faces. He is their hero. He is cramming his little cheeks full, while he shakes the seeds out to the crowd gathered below.
I need to take care of this problem quickly. I decide to attach a metal baffle to the wire connected to the bird feeder. The squirrel would not be able to get past this roadblock. My birds returned to their rightful meals, chirping and flitting about. I smiled. My husband took one look at the devise and said, “I’ll give him one day to figure that one out, and he’ll be back.” “Oh no!” I retorted, “There is no way he can get to that feeder now.”
The very next day, there he was hanging upside down by his hind feet helping himself to the seeds. His furry little audience was applauding. I trimmed the branches hanging near the feeder … again he came back.
He sat on a nearby limb and watched me as I worked with my next idea. I looked him square in the face and said, “OK Buster, I declare war.” He wasn’t intimidated; he even had a smirk on his little face. I took the feeder down and strung a tiny strong wire from one tree to the other with the feeder right in the middle. I asked him if he had ever been a tightrope walker. He said nothing.
The persistent squirrel was still in the tree and not on my feeder. Feeling very smug, I declared out loud, “I win!” “Don’t count on it,” my husband said confidently.
The next day, there he was, again hanging upside down by his hind feet, helping himself to the seeds. Can you believe that little rascal was a tightrope walker!?! I saw him with my own eyes tip-toeing carefully and slowly. When he got to the feeder he must have called his family and friends, because there they were, all gathered and cheering with little flags and banners! I let him eat - he deserved it.
I am amazed at the perseverance of this squirrel and I became quite challenged by him. God brought to mind how I, too, am to persevere in growing in my relationship with Christ, in prayer and in my faith. At times I am too easily discouraged.
Many Christians give up when opposition comes their way. Many give up and lose heart under times of trials and suffering, becoming defeated and weary. Some even turn bitter and blame God.
We need to look up – not give up! How? Stand firm, rely on Him and praise Him.
Apply the benefits of God’s promises to your life on a daily basis. For example: You belong to Him. His love for you is great. He delights in you. He will never leave you or forsake you. You will be with Him into Eternity. His faithfulness never fails. Your name is written on the palm of His Hand. Your prayers are like incense to Him. He saves all your tears in a bottle. God keeps every promise. Walk in faith daily that these benefits and so many more are yours!
Rely on Him
Call on Jesus. The Bible tells us to ask for what we need. Ask Him to strengthen your faith and erase any doubt. Jesus promises rest from our heavy burdens when we come to Him. Remember that the battle is the Lord’s. Sit at His Feet, lay down your heavy burdens, and pour out your heart.
Many believe that praise always means jumping for joy. However, often it means tears of pain are flowing and mixing with our praises. My heart is broken, but by praising Him, I declare my faith in Him. His faithfulness, goodness, love, and mercy don’t stop because of my circumstances. Taking time to praise Him during difficult and heartbreaking circumstances is hard, but it pleases Him.
From our trials and suffering we grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Our faith is tested and made pure during these times. Our ability to persevere is made strong. I have come to admire my little furry friend and his unquenchable perseverance. He reminds me to never, ever give up.
My Prayer for Today:
Lord, I come to you with my heavy burdens and lay them at Your feet. I take up your gifts of grace and rest in You. Lord, I do believe, but help me with my doubt. Forgive me for blaming You. Lord, I know You are good and that You love me. Strengthen my faith in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Pour through the Bible, taking careful notice of His promises. Record these promises in a journal. Think on these promises all day.
Read 2 Chronicles 20: 1-30. What did Jehosaphat and the people of
Are you praising God in the midst of your trials and heartbreak? Why or why not?
Have you come to Jesus with your heavy burden? Why or why not?
Romans 5:1-3, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations knowing that tribulation produces perseverance.” (NKJ)
Psalm 146:8, “The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts the burdens of those bent beneath their loads. The Lord loves the righteous.” (NLT)
Mark 9:24, The father instantly replied, “I do believe, but help me not to doubt.” (NLT)
Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (NKJ)
2 Peter 1:3, “As we know Jesus better, His divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life. He has called us to receive His own glory and goodness!” (NLT)
Message of the Month Club by Proverbs 31 Ministries
Let It Rain (music CD), by Gwen Smith
Get Over It and On With It, by Michelle
Originally published Wednesday, 22 June 2005.