Encouragement for Today - Oct. 24, 2006


October 24, 2006


Encouragement for Today


Principal 1


“Travel Tips for the Heart on Pilgrimage”

Amy Carroll, Speaker Team Member


Key Verse: 

Psalm 84:5-7, “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength till each appears before God in Zion.” (NIV)



My grandmother says that I have “wanderlust”.  Considering the way that my pulse starts to race whenever I get near an airport, or the way my suitcase stares at me with expectancy each time I enter the attic, I’d say she’s clearly got my number.  Our culture also seems obsessed with travel.  We are bombarded with travel channels, travel magazines and morning shows laden with travel tips.  Experts teach us how to travel cheaply, adventurously and light.


Scripture tells us that God has sent the hearts of His children on a far more important trip than any travel agent can offer.  He has sent us on a pilgrimage of the heart that will last a lifetime.  Our destination is God Himself, and we will join Him in the “city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10- NIV).  Although I truly love traveling, God’s journey is the one with which I’m becoming increasingly consumed.  Here are some travel tips for fellow pilgrims of the heart.


1.  Never Travel Alone—The Lord of Creation Himself has promised to be our traveling companion on this journey.  How often busyness crowds Him out and we miss the blessing of His presence!  Also, God calls us to travel with our arms linked with other believers, our fellow pilgrim-sisters.  He has surrounded us with His body, the church.  This is a group tour!


2.  Take and Use a Good Map—God has left us with clear directions to our destination.  They are all found in His Word.  Trying to travel without studying the “map” will leave us lost, exhausted and frustrated.  As He led the Israelites by cloud and fire, He leads believers today with His Word and the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit. 


3.  Don’t Leave Home without Hope—Hope is an essential element for reaching our destination.  God’s journey is not always a pleasure cruise.  The Valley of Baca referred to in Psalm 84 is translated as the Valley of Tears, so we are not promised pain-free travel.  In I Peter 4:12, Peter said, “… do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you” (NIV).    I have lived long enough now to see some of my believing friends suffer through terminal illness, divorce, suicide, ill children and other tragedy.  This is when we must return to the assurance that we are not traveling alone.  Hope isn’t just a wish.  It has substance because it is in the person of Jesus Himself.  Hope turns our tears into springs and cold autumn downpours into pools.


The pilgrimage that God calls us to is a challenging one.  Although it’s a joyful journey, it’s not simply pleasure or luxury travel.  The trip is easier, though, when we travel with a Friend, keep our map close at hand and have a suitcase full of hope.  The road may be tough, but the destination is glorious!


My Prayer for Today: 

Lord, make my heart ready for the journey of a lifetime with You.  Help me to focus on Your presence and to listen for Your voice.  Teach me to faithfully study Your word so that I can walk in Your steps.  Fill me with hope in hard circumstances, knowing that You are trustworthy to use suffering for my good.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Application Steps: 

Set a time each day to study God’s word and rest in His presence.


Pray about cultivating a friendship with an older, godly woman who will help you and point you to Jesus as you travel through areas that she has already experienced.


Begin recording scriptures that bring you hope in a notebook.  Reread these scriptures as you deal with difficult circumstances.


Reflection Points: 

Do you take the time to look for evidences of God’s presence in your daily life?


Have you developed friendships with others that challenge you spiritually?


How has God used difficult circumstances and suffering for good in your life?
Power Verses: 

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.” (NIV)

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:  If one falls down, his friend can help him up….Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (NIV)


Hebrews 10:23, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” (NIV)


Additional Resources:

Living Life on Purpose, By Lysa TerKeurst


Traveling Together: Thoughts on Women, Friendship and the Journey of Faith


What Will Your Family Do on Halloween? ETC Corner


Originally published Tuesday, 24 October 2006.