Joy prompts healing—both physically and emotionally. In this poignant letter of friendship and faith, the Apostle Paul advocated for a lasting joy to undergird the life of all believers.
In the classic allegory The Pilgrim’s Progress, the main character, Christian, tumbles into the miry bog, the “slough of despond,” and struggles to get free. But the heavy burden on his back pulls him in deeper, and he begins to sink.
This image pictures what it feels like when we’re sinking in difficult circumstances—when our debts outweigh our income, when past hurts won’t heal, when discontentment marks our relationships, and when the light of heaven seems distant and dim. Discouragement, despondency, pain, suffering—these miry pits along life’s journey can pull us down into our own “slough of despond.”
Christian’s rescue came by the hand of a fellow traveller named Help...and the same is true for you today. Use these resources to find encouragement for your own life...or to minister help to those you find along life’s journey.
It’s impossible to measure the worth of mutual encouragement. Whether spoken or written, a few encouraging words can make an enormous difference in the outcome of a single event or, in fact, someone’s entire life.
In the words of Ephesians 4:32, be kind. My sister Luci paraphrases this verse, “Just be nice."
If I’ve described your situation, I have great news. I’m so glad that I memorized it years ago and call it to mind often. Here it is: We are all faced with a series of great opportunities, brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.
In cultures where Christianity is not threatened or perceived as threatening, the word “encouragement” may even lose a bit of its edge—a pity, when the crux of the word rooted in courage.
Thomas’ story is one of encouragement—he doubted, but it never overtook him. He allowed Jesus to take him from the place of uncertainty to a place of belief. I’m learning silent doubts rarely find answers.
When the advent season begins, our stressed-out and overworked spirits are refreshed by renewed anticipation of all Christmas means to us. But how do we hold onto that hope and stay on course throughout the year?
Sincerity, effort, or focusing on your faith doesn’t grant true assurance. The real ground of God’s acceptance is the grace that He has showered on you through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.
Hope. It’s the one thing you and I cannot live without. But trying to hold on to hope can take all your strength, particularly when hope’s old enemy, doubt, drags you toward despair.