Encouragement for Today - Oct. 16, 2006


October 16, 2006


Encouragement for Today


Principle 1


“You’ve Got to Believe”

Melissa Taylor, Speaker Team Member, Proverbs 31 Board of Directors


Key Verse:

John 16:33, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world."   (NLT)



It seems the longer I live, the more I realize that this life was just not meant to be easy.  Each time I’m faced with a trial or difficult situation, I think to myself, “Oh, when this is over things will be so much simpler!”  Unfortunately, one trial ends and it seems there is a new one to take its place.  Does your life ever seem that way?  How do you cope with it?


We lost our sweet dog, Poppy, over a year ago.  Poppy had been with us for fifteen years and she was such a wonderful and loving member of our family.  The worst part of losing Poppy was not that she was gone, it was how she left.  We were expecting Poppy’s life to end soon.  Her health had been declining and she was definitely showing strong signs of an aging dog ready to go.  One day, I was outside and Poppy was with me.  I was cleaning patio furniture and she was lying in the grass, sunning herself.  She loved to do this.  I remained busy for the remainder of the day.  We all went about our normal routine that day, doing homework, eating supper, spending family time together, and going to bed.


Around 11:00, I sat straight up in bed.  My husband asked me what was wrong.  “Where’s Poppy?  I think I left her outside and I don’t remember seeing her tonight.”  Jeff assured me that she was probably inside, under a bed or something.  “She’s always been a very quiet dog anyway, she’s probably fine,” he reasoned.   We got up to look for her.


We searched for Poppy all night long.  We never found her.  I cried and prayed for hours.  Feeling guilty and responsible, I knew the worst was yet to come.  I had to tell the kids.  I did that as soon as they woke up for school.  We continued to search for days.  It became more hopeless with each passing day that we would ever see her again.  My family was grief stricken over not knowing what had happened to her.  I can’t even write the images I had in my mind as each night passed.  Did she feel alone, scared, abandoned?  I was convinced she did.  There are still tears today over these thoughts, not to mention guilt.


Now, I have to tell you that I could rationalize this whole situation.  She was old.  She probably went away to die, like some animals do, I’m told.  Maybe so, but even more healing and restoring is to consider the truth.  What do I believe?  How do I get through any tough situation in my life?  How can we as a family get through this?  I know the answers to these questions and they all point to God. 


About a month later, we decided to “give” Poppy to the Lord.  No, we never found her, but thoughts of her, searching for her, and crying over her had taken over our lives.  We prayed for her and finally did what we believed.  You see, we believe that God works all things together for good.  We believe that God cares about every creature that He’s created and meets their needs.  We believe that He has a plan and sees the big picture even though we can only see our little part of it.  We trust God with what happens today and what will happen tomorrow, even though we have no idea what will come our way.  We believe that worrying will not add a day to our lives, but only keep us from living our lives to the fullest.  We knew it was time to live out our faith by believing that it would be alright because God’s in charge.  That’s what trusting God is all about.  It’s not easy, but it is possible.


Here it is, a year later, and our family has faced many more trials.  My grandmother died, Dylan (my eight year old son) had a playground accident that required surgery, my dad had heart surgery and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, my good friend’s daughter is dying, my computer crashed, and my sister moved to Rochester (far away from me).  This is what Jesus meant when he said, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.  But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”


No matter what we are going through, big or small, God cares and He is with us.  He wants to hold our hand throughout it all.  He doesn’t want us to give up.  We are never alone.  No, we don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, but in Christ, we can be sure that it will be alright in the end.  You’ve got to believe.


My Prayer for Today:

Dear Lord, Sometimes I get so caught up in fear and worry over things that are out of my control or what’s going to happen tomorrow.  Your Word tells me I don’t need to feel this way.  Please help me to trust You with my life and the circumstances which surround me.  Help me to live in peace because it will be alright in the end.  Help me to believe.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Application Steps:

What are you struggling with these days?  Are you feeling guilt over something you’ve done?  Is there a situation in your life that is out of your control?  Are you dealing with what seems like a hopeless situation?  Try writing a letter to God. Tell Him everything and be honest.  Then commit the next week to spending some time in God’s Word daily.  Listen as God speaks to your heart and brings comfort to your restless soul.  You can start by looking up the power verses in this devotion.


Reflection Points:

Are you living out what you believe?


Do you trust God completely?


Do you believe that God’s plan is best?


Is there someone in your life that you can encourage with this message?


Power Verses:

John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  (NIV)


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." (NIV)


Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (NASB)


Matthew 6:26-27, “Look at the birds.  They don’t need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly Father feeds them.  And you are far more valuable to him than they are.  Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?  Of course not.”  (NLT)


Psalm 55:22, “Give your burdens to the Lord and he will take care of you.  He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.”  (NLT)


Additional Resources:

What Happens When Women Walk in Faith  by Lysa TerKeurst


Who Holds the Key to My Heart  by Lysa TerKeurst


Do You Know Him?                               

Originally published Monday, 16 October 2006.