Inspiration and Encouragement – October 2021
“Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.”
A Merry Heart
Persistence: A group of seminary students gathered in the chapel one day as the dean challenged them to NOT pray for a large church because of the stress, problems and worries that go with it. The next year one of the students who graduated returned to give his testimony. He said, “I did ask God for a big church; however, I also asked God for a pretty wife. My prayer was ALMOST answered. Instead of getting a big church and a pretty wife, I got a pretty church and a big wife!”
Your IQ (inspirational quotes)
“Do not look to your hope, but to Christ, the source of your hope.” – Charles Spurgeon
A Fortified Castle
When we think of a castle we think of a beautiful looking old building in the midst of a picturesque landscape. Though a castle is a beautiful structure it was built for the purpose of fortification and protection. They were built in Europe and the Middle East by European nobility during the Middle Age period. The structures became elaborate with towers and moats which were to make the castle more secure and keep undesirable people they considered the enemy out.
When a fellow believer or family member is offended by us it is very difficult to restore the relationship to what it used to be. Sadly, it is easier to take a city in a military conquest than it is to restore this relationship. This shows the magnitude of the work that is involved in restoring a relationship that has been broken with hurt. When this relationship that has been damaged is a spouse, child or parent it can be devastating. Sadly, this causes marriages to break up as some would rather start a new relationship than repair an old one that God has given them. When friends and family members no longer speak to each other this is tragic and leaves many people wounded from the crossfire that sometimes takes place. I remember a 12-year girl was shot in crossfire from rival gangs only two blocks from an inner-city church I once was the pastor of. How tragic when children get caught in the crossfire of hurtful words between mom and dad. These types of vicious words wound more children than bullets ever have in our nation.
It takes time to build a castle and it does not happen overnight. As a person is hurt whether real or perceived then their defensive system will start to be constructed. The person gets defensive and puts up walls like a castle to keep you out of their life. The barriers will keep you out emotionally at first and it will continue in other areas until the issue is resolved or the relationship is destroyed.
When the monster of pride enters in the relationship it will bring much heartache in their life and home. Pride will cause people to parade their emotions like a flag on their castle. Typically,
these types of people are easily offended and tend to let their emotions get the best of them. They have difficulty forgiving others and letting go of things emotionally. They hang on to the past and bring it up at every opportunity. These types of people get historical as they recite things from their perspective about the past. They live in their world of hurts which cause them to live in their own self-made world of sorrow. This is a very poor way for a Christian to live and will cause others around them much sorrow as well. Sadly, this type of behavior has hurt many homes and churches in America today.
In ancient times the only way to get into a castle that was locked up was to lay siege to it. Alexander the Great had many impressive sieges against many cites and the city of Tyre was one of his best accomplishments. Tyre was a Phoenician Island city that most of those who tried to conquer it found it to be an impossible task. Alexander had his engineers built a causeway that was originally 200 feet wide and reached the range of his torsion-powered artillery, while his soldiers pushed siege towers housing stone throwers and light catapults to bombard the city walls. In seven months, Alexander had conquered this city.
The method of Alexander was effective for military conquest, but this is not how we as Christians must seek entry in the castle of someone we love. This type of aggressive method leaves much destruction and demoralizes people greatly. As Christians we have different weapons. II Corinthians 10:3-5 (3) “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (4) (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) (5) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” If we are to successfully lay siege against the castle, we must do it God’s way.
Preparation: It is important that we approach this task with a spiritual frame of mind. We must conduct ourselves in a way that pleases God and not retaliate in the flesh. Though we will be attacked verbally during this time and with heavy artillery of unkind words we must not lose sight of our goal. If we make it about defending ourselves, we will not succeed in our mission. It will take time to penetrate the castle and we must be patience.
Prayer: This is the most important step in the whole process. If we fail to do this fervently each day then we will miserably fail. Our prayers need to be specific and we need wisdom from God on how to proceed and for God to help knock down the walls. We want the other person to let us in and for the relationship to be stronger than ever. It can only happen by the grace of God. It has to be like Jericho were God knocks the wall down and allows us entry into the heart of the other person to restore the relationship.
Priority: We must remember the goal is to restore the relationship and glorify God in the process. This means God has to work in our heart and we must approach this task in great humility. When the prophet Hosea gave his wife another chance and sacrificed to get her back, he gave us one of the greatest examples of human love you will find in the scriptures. Are we willing to love at the highest level so our marriages, homes and local churches can be what God wants them be?
Prevention: It is better to try to prevent a problem than fix one. Walk humbly with God each day and express your love to your family in a sincere meaningful way. Put their needs above your own and serve them with a heart of joy that radiates with love for God and for them.
Castles are nice on postcards or in picture frames, but we do not need any in our homes and churches. Ephesians 4:32 “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Cherish what God has given you today for one day it may be unexpectedly taken away.
Kurt John LaCapruccia
More than Conquerors
The Duck and the Devil
There was a little boy visiting his grandparents on their farm. He was given a slingshot to play with out in the woods. He practiced in the woods, but he could never hit the target. Getting a little discouraged, he headed back for dinner. As he was walking back he saw Grandma’s pet duck.
Just out of impulse, he let the slingshot fly, hit the duck square in the head, and killed it. He was shocked and grieved. In a panic, he hid its dead body in the wood pile, only to see his sister watching! Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing.
After lunch, the next day Grandma said, “Sally, let’s wash the dishes.” But Sally said, “Grandma, Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen. Then she whispered to him, “Remember the duck?” So, Johnny did the dishes. Later that day, Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing and Grandma said, “I’m sorry but I need Sally to help make supper.” Sally just smiled and said,” Well that’s all right because Johnny told me he wanted to help.” She whispered again, “Remember the duck?” So, Sally went fishing and Johnny stayed to help.
After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally’s he finally couldn’t stand it any longer. He came to Grandma and confessed that he had killed the duck. Grandma knelt down, gave him a hug, and said, “Sweetheart, I know. You see, I was standing at the window and I saw the whole thing, but because I love you, I forgave you. I was just wondering how long you would let Sally make a slave of you.”
The Lesson: Whatever is in your past that is not good, the devil keeps throwing it up in your face to discourage you. He wants you to think you have no hope and that your best option is to hide your sin and pretend it never happened. Whether it is hatred, anger, bitterness, or any sin of the flesh he will seek to use it against you. You need to know that God in heaven saw every sin that we have ever committed. Jesus has seen your whole life and he is waiting for you to come to him and admit your sin. When you come to him confessing your sin and asking him to be your savior, he will forgive you and shower his love upon you. Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” When a person asks Jesus to forgive them of their sins he will do so and give us a home in heaven which is where we will spend eternity when we die. It grieves him when you let the devil make a slave of you when you can come to him for forgiveness. When God forgives, he never brings up the past again. Whether you are person who has never turned to Jesus for saving faith or a believer who needs to get something right in your life, it is important that you go to God now and take care of it. I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Our part is to confess and then Jesus will do his part to cleanse. Reach out to him today. It is by God’s grace and mercy that we experience his forgiveness.