I live next to a local middle school, and one evening as I was sitting out back enjoying the cooler summer temperatures, I could hear a football coach offering “words of encouragement” to his athletes. That was a bit of a nostalgic moment, which quickly facilitated a flood of memories from my teenage years. I have many memories from my high school days, practicing in sweltering conditions, with echoes of my coaches’ motivational statements.
These coaches were inspiring, motivating, encouraging, and focused on making me a better athlete! I also believe they role modeled important beliefs and qualities that I should embrace. I recall my coaches endorsing Christian beliefs, and each night we played a game, we knelt in prayer and prayed “The Lord’s Prayer” before we went onto the field. That profoundly impacted me to the extent that one tough game we were playing, during several huddles on the field, leading my fellow teammates in prayer. We were victorious that night – I give God all the credit and glory for that victory!
For followers of Jesus Christ, the Bible offers much encouragement as well. Many scriptural passages are encouraging. As one endorses faith and belief in Jesus Christ, the Bible says: “I can do all things through Him (Jesus Christ) who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13, NIV). When you review the preceding verses, you realize that the Apostle Paul was able to proceed during tough times with the power of Jesus Christ, who was Paul’s Lord and Savior. Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV) also offers encouragement: “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.”
The Bible reassures us that God is with those who believe in Him when they are in the midst of turmoil. “For the Lord, your God is the One who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory” (Deuteronomy 20:4, NIV). Isaiah 40:31 (NIV) is also very encouraging: “for those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.” Thank you, Father God, for providing us with Your Word, which is very inspirational and gives us the encouragement we need!
This post first appeared on A Faithful Sower Publishing November 25. 2020.
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“God never leaves you nor forsakes you.” I’ve heard that before. “Jesus will leave the 99 to come after you.” I’ve heard that one too. Meanwhile, fear creeps up when life hurls a season of loneliness our way, and poof! Churchy sayings hold as much weight as thin air. Believe it or not, God is cheering us on and inviting us to thrive amidst the loneliness. Yes, it’s weird and scary, but this emptiness is a safe space where you get to hear the God of everything speak the loudest. You’re safe because God is so good at owning goodness amidst our dank, confused, lonely seasons, and because of Him, you aren’t so by yourself.”
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