Saturday, September 29, 2007

Guest Encourager: Rachel Smith "Encourgement"


Acts 16:40
After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia's house, where they met with the brothers and encouraged them. Then they left.

Read that again. Yep, I highlighted it correctly. Paul and Silas get out of prison and they are the encouragers. Wow! I would think after spending some time in prison, I may be the one in need of encouragement. But that’s not what this passage tells us. It was after a time of trouble that Paul and Silas were able to share their experiences with others and bring encouragement.

I find this, well, encouraging.

Maybe my ‘time in prison’ isn’t a punishment or a test at all. Maybe, just maybe, it’s a gift of encouragement to you.


Note from Lon: You can find more great "Build Ups" written by Rachel by clicking on the Rachel Smith label below. If you subscribe to this blog, you will need to click on the title (Guest Encourager: Rachel Smith "Encourgement") above, then find the labels at the bottom of Rachel's post.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Reliance


1Timothy 6:17
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

Hope must rest upon something reliable. What in the world is trustworthy? Upon what can I truly rely? In what can I place my hope?

In my life I have relied upon many things, but none of them deserved my hope. Wealth, skills, personality, dumb luck, other people, good looks (this was a long time ago!) and organizations are a few places in which I've misplaced my hopes. Eventually every one of them let me down.

There is only One trustworthy enough for me to rely upon. That one is God. God will NEVER let us down.

Hebrews 13:5
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you."

F.R.O.G. (Fully Relying On God)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Guest Encourager: Rachel Smith "Home"


2 Corinthians 5:6-9
Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.

Where do you want to live? Have you ever really thought about this? I’m sure you have. We have all toyed with the idea of relocation at one point or another. Sometimes these dreams are prompted by job turmoil or opportunity. Sometimes they are prompted by weather. I choose to live in Illinois. This is one of the few states in which you can run the heater and the air condition in your car on the same day! But even beyond the blistering heat or frigid cold wind, it is a longing to be with my mother or my brother which gets me to day dreaming of moving. On more than one day I have thought how wonderful it would be to go ‘home’ to the town in which I grew up.

The reality is I don’t really like that town. I have never cared for large cities or crowds and my children and husband are quite content in our sleepy little town. What I long for is my family, that feeling of ‘home’. God’s word reminds me I am never truly ‘home’ in a small town or a large city. My true ‘home’ is with the Father. When I am again reunited with the Father and all of my family, I will be ‘home!’ So, ask me where would I like to live?

At the feet of Jesus.

Rachel Smith

Note from Lon: Rachel's post represents the 200th post since I started this blog in October 2006! Praise the Lord for His blessings upon this ministry of encouragement! If you'd like to support this ministry financially, please click here.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Another Quiet Place

Another Quiet Place

Mark 6:31-32
Then because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, [Jesus] said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quit place and get some rest." So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.

Tomorrow (Sunday) morning I am going away to a very quiet place. I am leading a group of men on a seven-day backpacking expedition on Isle Royale National Park. The park is an island in Lake Superior that can only be reached by plane or boat. We will take a 3-hour boat ride to reach the island.

Our purpose is to retreat and to spiritually recharge. My guess is that we will face an adventure or two along the way. Two requests:

1. Please pray for me and the other men throughout the next week.

2. Please excuse yet another absence from this blog.

God is good!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Obstacles


John 7:38
He who believes in Me...out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.

Today's post is taken from Oswald Chambers, "My Utmost for His Highest". Chambers teaches:

Jesus said that, if we have received His fullness, "rivers of living water" will flow out of us, reaching in blessing even "to the end of the earth" (Act1:8) regardless of how small the visible effects of our lives may appear to be. We have nothing to do with the outflow - "This is the work of God, that you believe..." (John 6:29)

A river is victoriously persistent, overcoming all barriers. For a while it goes steadily on its course, but then comes to an obstacle. And for a while is is blocked yet it soon makes a pathway around the obstacle.

Do you see God using the lives of others, but an obstacle has come into you life and you do not seem to be of any use to God? Then keep paying attention to the Source, and God will either take you around the obstacle or remove it. The river of the Spirit of God overcomes all obstacles. Never focus your eyes on the obstacle or the difficulty...simply remember to stay focused on the source. Never allow anything to come between you and Jesus Christ...nothing must keep you from the one great sovereign Source.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Serve the Lord

Serve the Lord

Colossians 3:23-24
Whatever you do, work at it with all you heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as your reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Labor Day is drawing to a close. I don't want this day to escape without remembering for Whom we labor. No matter what work we do, let us remember that it is for Jesus that we labor. We bring Him glory when we excel in our work. We bring Him glory when we persevere through the difficulties of our work.

We bring Him glory when we perform our duties differently than our peers. We bring glory to Jesus when we avoid gossip, solve conflict in a loving way, and speak the truth in love. We bring glory to God when we approach challenges with the peace that comes from knowing Christ.

In today's labor let us bring glory to God!