Tag Archives: encouragement

Sometimes the hardest thing is to believe

believeWe pride ourselves on being rational beings, well adjusted to reality. We are scientifically minded, and therefore what is impossible get ruled out. Miracles are a moonshot best avoided.

But miracles prove God, and God is interested in proving Himself to humanity to show humanity His love. So he drops us in impossible quandaries and waits for us to turn to him.

If you can believe, all things are possible for him that believes. — Mark 9:23. Jesus spent more time developing faith, but we Christians spend more time developing personal perfection. Jesus sought faith while we seek programs. Jesus encouraged Peter to walk on water, and the church is busy building boats.

Maybe you’re in financial trouble — believe to tithe. Maybe you have an incurable disease or disorder — believe for healing. Perhaps you don’t dare take on a ministry — believe and do it. Perhaps a long time has passed without any sign of hope — keep believing.

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Speak life

speak life

It only takes a few words to destroy a fellow human being. And some are actually proud of blandishing their words like a caveman his club. Meanwhile, the sensitive among are committing suicide — some only to their self-belief, their self-worth, their dreams. You will be held accountable by God for the words you uttered, and there will be no justification.

Why not speak life to those around you instead? As much as words can hurt, they can build up, encourage, spark genius, give the impulse to carry out success. You can make a person smile. You can make a person beautiful just by your words. You can save a life.

Use your words wisely. Here is a great secret of wisdom: not everything that occurs to your head needs to occur on your tongue.

Original image: Huffington Post via pinterest.

Driven to your knees

driven to your kneesPerfect. Then you are ready to pray.

God gave me the gift of writing

Michael Ashcraft | Lighthouse Church School

I teach and coach at Lighthouse Schools in Santa Monica, another unpaid position that I love.

I wanted to write as a child but didn’t know how. I think my teachers gave me C- on writing assignments out of pity. It was so clumsy.

I got my feet wet as an undergrad at the UCLA Daily Bruin. I did internships for UPI, Whittle Communications, the LA Herald Examiner, the LA Times in Orange County, the Riverside Press Enterprise and the Santa Monica Dispatch. I was a stringer for the New York Times. My first professional job was at the Gilroy Dispatch.

By getting edited thousands of times, I learned how to write.

Then for 16 years as a missionary in Guatemala, I didn’t write. I was too busy. From time to time, I would ask God to restore this gift in my life. He brought me back to the States four years ago, and I started this blog.

Today is Christmas. I’m thinking about this gift God gave me. It’s a wonderful gift. I wouldn’t exchange it for anything. From the comments, I can see lives have been changed. I’ve used my gift to promote my church and school, the Lighthouse of Santa Monica. Recently, I’ve started writing for GodReports.com. The opportunities to fill the web with Christian content amaze me. The Internet opened doors that were previously closed by the few outlets who decided what got publicized and what didn’t. It seems like Christians are always the last to harness new technologies and trends for the promotion of Jesus.

Lives have been touched. I can tell from the comments. But while writing is an incredible gift, it doesn’t get remunerated like say, engineering or a mind for business. As texting takes over the art of writing, fewer and fewer people are really able to write. As the talent pool diminishes, it would be logical that the pay would rise. But alas, the opposite is true. In print media’s heyday, you could get paid up to $1,000 an article. Not anymore. With the explosion of media online, articles get paid $20 or $30, hardly something you can make a living on.

I’m asking you, my followers who have enjoyed the pictures I’ve posted, the heart-warming stories, the nuggets of wisdom, pictures of pathos, to pray for me this year to find sponsors for my writing. Thanks!

Merry Christmas! I’m looking forward to passing another year together, encouraging and being encouraged.

Here’s a few of my recent articles on http://Godreports.com

I let my writing be governed by the principals:

  • be optimistic
  • reach out to unbelievers in a non-confrontational, non-condemning way
  • maintain openness to all branches of Christianity without insisting on the correctness of my doctrine on non-essential points

Persistence beats resistance

Peristence

This photo titled “Curves of Time” comes from Leanne Cole Photography. I don’t own the rights to it, and I’m not making any money on it.

Water is exponentially softer than rock. Yet it carves a path with its gentle flow.

A man who sets his sights on a woman can wear her down with loving, gentle gestures. After 100 little attentions, she will marry him.

We give up too quickly — on God, on each other, on church, on friends. We have need of learning persistence.

As praise goes up, grace flows down

waterfall

from Godinterest

Worship contains a paradox: When you lift up God, He lifts you up. If you’re down in the dumps, rise to praise, and God will raise you up.

Faith: Being relentless

relentlessNot giving up is faith.

Making a masterpiece takes…

masterpieceI’m still trying to produce my life’s masterpiece, that stroke of genius, that huge and beautiful work by which I may be remembered.

In the meantime, there are lots of starts and stops. I’ve thrown out the canvas a bunch of times. I’ve produced a long line of inferior works. Some of them have been good. But none of them is critically acclaimed.

Of course, I’m referring to whatever your calling may be, not just art. I myself am no artist. But I’ve compared my work serving the Lord to artistry. Am I satisfied success

with the works I’ve done to glorify Jesus? Not yet. I’ll keep working.

Don’t fret. Keep on in the right direction. Your last work will be your best and will make everybody forget the rest.

Making a masterpiece takes time.

My stalker

stalker_by_orendorffknightI have a stalker who regularly comes to harass me, and the Santa Monica Police Department can’t do anything about him.

He is discouragement. I can’t seem to get rid of him. I constantly need to get rid of him.

Just because I constantly am trying to encourage others, doesn’t mean I’m free of discouragement myself. It is the contrary that is true: Because I struggle with discouragement that I try to help others. This helps me.

StalkerIf you have this stalker too, then get rid of him:

  • Exercise and eat right.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Avoid destructive behaviors.
  • Flee drugs and alcohol only mask, don’t heal, the inner pain and fears. They make things worse.
  • Prefer uplifting music. The lyrics affect your soul, whether or not you’re “listening.”
  • Eschew movies and shows with morbid themes
  • Feed on the Word of God.
  • Surround yourself with people who can lift you up, not those who tear you down.
  • Pray and ask God for help.
  • Don’t pretend and pose.
  • Don’t be afraid to get help.

As with any stalker, we don’t want to take discouragement lightly. He can do us great damage, and we need to take action.

Believe in someone today

When I was kid, nobody believed in me. I wasn’t picked for teams till last. I didn’t stand out academically. I didn’t possess musical talent or social skills. So when I came to the Lighthouse Church in Santa Monica, and my pastor believed in me, it revolutionized my life!

It gave me faith in God.

Somehow, for some strange reason, when my pastor believed in me, it helped me to believe more in God. As my self-esteem soared, so did my faith. I took on the long-abandoned call to pastor. I planted churches and a school on the mission field.

But for some weird reason, we Christians tend to be judgmental. We tend to doubt others. We don’t affirm them much. Too many times I didn’t do what most inspired me! Woe unto me!

I’m currently reinventing myself. I have made it a goal to compliment and encourage five people a day. This does more good than 17 kabillion rebukes. Even if the person is NOT as good as I say, his demeanor changes, and he actually wants to become better.

Love believes all things — 1 Cor. 13:7. This does not mean naiveté. This means that we are exorbitantly upbeat about others. When God looks at us, He doesn’t discard us for what we are — because He sees what we will become.

Recently, a member of the church stumbled into his old drug addiction. When he did, I panicked. I had not told him how much I appreciated him, and now he was gone. Maybe my words of encouragement could have helped him in a moment of weakness. Fortunately, he returned to God, and I was able to tell this brother all he meant to me, all I admired in him. I hope he was encouraged.

Don’t wait till the funeral to express the good things about another person!

God picked you

One of my teams wins, the other loses, so it’s not the coaching that makes the difference. It’s the kids.

As I watched my Napoli team demolish their foes, I realized the victory lay not in brilliant tactical coaching or in superior training. The victory was won when I picked the kids. Simply put, I picked players who worked well as a team, each efficiently executing his position.

God picked you for His team! And of course, He has a winning team. For we know, brothers loved by God, that HE HAS CHOSEN YOU. — 1 Thes. 1:4 NIV (my caps).

You were chosen for salvation. You were chosen for ministry. God picked a winning team, and you are part of it! Let motivation fill your heart as you face another day of unappreciated labor. Your unapplauded work for the Kingdom is part of the victory.

In soccer, people cheer the goal scorers. But soccer launches from the defense. It progresses forward through the midfield and only culminates with the strikers. Everybody who gets a touch on the ball has his part in the victory. You are fulfilling the plan of God.