Month: December 2015

Where is the Best Place to Go When You Need Encouragement and Hope?


“The Encouragement of the Scriptures”

By Dr. James Montgomery Boice

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. – Romans 15:4 (pictured at left – the Alps in Switzerland – James Boice received his Doctorate in Theology in Basel, Switzerland)

A number of years ago a German theologian named Juergen Moltmann wrote a book entitled The Theology of Hope. His point, which meant a great deal to Bible scholars at the time, was that eschatology (the doctrine of the last things) should not be an appendix to Christian theology—something tacked on at the end and perhaps even dispensable to Christian thought—but should be the starting point of everything. He said that it is confidence in what God is going to do in the future that must determine how…

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The Unappeasable Desire

Trinity Newton Homilies

There have been times when I think we do not desire heaven; but more often I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else … It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want, the thing we desired before we met our wives or made our friends or chose our work, and which we shall still desire on our deathbeds, when the mind no longer knows wife or friend or work.

All your life an unattainable ecstasy has hovered just beyond the grasp of your consciousness. The day is coming when you will wake to find, beyond all hope, that you have attained it, or else, that it was within your reach and you have lost it forever.

— From The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis (1898-1963)

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It’s such an easy pit to fall into.  Will things ever change?  Will wrongs ever become right?

Living in a developing country, I often let that despair permeate me.  I see the poverty and wonder if there even is a solution.  I see the corruption and wonder if it could ever changed.  I see the broken system and wonder what could possibly fix it.

I see the callousness of my own heart and I wonder if there’s any hope for me.

On Friday I traveled just under three hours to visit Deborah, a nine-year-old girl who lives in the Eastern Region in Ghana.  When I arrived in her village, my hosts led me through school yards, behind houses, and under laundry lines to a long wooden building.  Children peaked through the holes between the slats.


I walked into the dirt floored school and hugged an extremely nervous little girl.  I…

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Ola’ Lea!

The Dolls Between Us

It seems as though Maryellen just arrived, but we know the Girl of the Year 2016 Lea Clark is waiting in the wings.  The books listed on Amazon indicate that Lea travels to Brazil (see our post Brazil, Here We Come).  We count a Brazilian girl (human, not doll!) as part of our family, and we hope you can get to know her in the coming year, too.

Fact:  Ola’ means “Hi” in Portuguese, the language spoken in Brazil.

We sponsor a Brazilian child through Compassion International.  When you hear Brazil do you think of resorts and fabulous beaches?  That is a small part of Brazil, but not the whole story.  Our Brazilian girl is 7 years old and lives in the Northeast part of Brazil, far from the tourist areas.  In the Northeast part of Brazil, housing is commonly a tile roof/mud wall structure with no running…

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God With Us

Clark Cowden's Blog

Life can be confusing. Sometimes the path we walk can be scary. At times, life can feel as dark and as cold as a winter’s night. Some people feel like they’re alone – they feel like no one is smiling down on them, no one is looking out for them, and no one really understands who they are, how they feel, or what they are facing.

Strangely enough, for some people, the Christmas season is when they feel the most alone. Maybe it’s the crowds that surround us. Or maybe it’s the Norman Rockwell expectations we have that this year all the family will be together, everyone will get along, all the past will be forgotten, and everything will be just perfect – like a Christmas card.

Maybe it’s the time of the year. You step outside into the night near Christmas, and it’s dark and cold and quiet. The…

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“A Prayer For Marriage Vows That Endure”

A Daily Prayer

Thankful man Father, we ask You to bless couples reading our message today. Help them to grow together through love and laughter, respect and forgiveness, through the good times and through the difficult times. Help us to remain committed all the days of our life to our marital vows that include “for better or for worse”. May it not be just for the spring season of our marriage, but also for the winter season. In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

This Daily Prayer is from this Daily Encouragement message.

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“A Prayer For Kindness”

A Daily Prayer

Thankful manFather, our lives are often tossed to and fro by the billows of heartache, loss, and uncertainty. We’re so grateful for caring friends who are like the islanders of Malta in Acts 28 who cheer us on and wave us in as we’re seeking steady, dry land. They welcome us with warmth like that of a sizzling campfire when we’re drenched with chilling water from the billowing sea. Rather than shake their finger at us and scolding us for getting caught in the storm, they provide shelter, food, and wise counsel so that we no longer feel alone or fear that we will perish in our troubles. Help us to kindle our friendship by acting as a lighthouse giving out Scriptural light to navigate our friends through the scourging rocks of sin and despair. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

This Daily Prayer is from this Daily Encouragement message.

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“A Prayer For Relationships”

A Daily Prayer

Father, our journey here below is extremely difficult without the friendships, prayers, and assistance of our brothers and sisters who share our precious faith.  We thank you for those who sacrificially give of themselves to come alongside us; who walk with us in the ups and downs of this tempest life; who pray for us and help guide us when we can’t see what lies ahead. Their interest in our welfare and their continued presence brings reassurance that Your hand is extended to us through their kind and loving friendship.  Help us to carefully nurture our friendships so that we build one another up and bring refreshing to our conversation and in our times of fellowship.

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“A Prayer For Love-filled Marriages”

A Daily Prayer

Praying manFather, thank you for the interdependence we have in a marriage relationship, in healthy families, and in good work relationships. You’ve given each of us gifts where we can put forth our best not just related to our own interests but also in fulfilling the needs of others. Help us to be team members working together in unity and love so that we achieve a common goal. Fill our hearts and homes with love that overflows to those whom we travel with on life’s journey. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

This Daily Prayer is from this Daily Encouragement message.

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