Time for a Break!

What do you do to relax?

Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” —Mark 6:31

After an intense schedule, Jesus got away with his disciples—and the reason they did was for rest and refreshment.

Schedules can be exhausting. What do you do to rest and recharge? Summer is here and I hope you’ll take some time to do that.

Thank you for joining me in this journey with Your Daily Encouragement. I will be taking a little summer break—but looking forward to returning soon.

In the meantime, what does relaxation look like for you?

Blessings, Bill

Image by 2023852 from Pixabay

Jesus Is Coming Back!

Get a higher perspective

May you be infused with strength and purity, filled with confidence in the presence of God our Father when our Master Jesus arrives with all his followers.

—1 Thessalonians 3:13

One of the most powerfully encouraging teachings from Jesus himself is that he is coming back! And this was the lens that his closest followers viewed the world through.

Not only did Jesus’ teachings give us perspective into the life beyond this life, but his resurrection validated every other claim he made.

In essence, the early believers reasoned, “If he said that he would overcome death, and he did; then if he says that he is coming back, he will.”

Let the power of that future reality be the lens that you make every decision through today.

And, I hope you can join us for worship this Sunday, 10AM PST at CenterPoint—whether you worship with us onsite or online—I’m praying that he will make your heart strong, blameless as you look forward to his arrival.

Also, this song from Jordan Feliz “Jesus is Coming Back” has been going through my mind all morning. Enjoy!

Jesus is coming back!

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Tired of Being Alone?

God’s antidote to isolation

I know the LORD is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. —Psalm 16:8

Soul great, Al Green’s first breakthrough hit was called Tired of Being Alone. Al sang “I’m so tired of being alone, I’m so tired of on my own”—and the reason it was a breakthrough is that Al is singing to all of us. We know—deep down—that hollow feeling of loneliness.

And the crazy reality is that we can experience loneliness—that feeling of isolation—even in a room full of people.

But here is another reason I love the encouragement that comes from God’s Word: He tells us that wherever we go, whatever we do, there is no place that He isn’t.

I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.

Psalm 16:8

He is the Ever-present Presence.

There is no destination you can go that he’s a stranger to, and there is no situation that he doesn’t already know the outcome.

This is true whether we recognize it in the moment, or not.

So, today, remind yourself of the reality of your Heavenly Father’s presence. Thank him that he is not only with you, but he knows you better than anyone on the planet. Then walk in the confidence that only he can give.

He is with you. Now. Acknowledge it and rest in his unshakable presence.

Trapped By Temptation?

Here is what I love about God’s powerful promises…

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.  —1 Corinthians 10:13

Everyone faces temptations.

In fact, I’ve noticed the the more fatigued I am, the more active tempting opportunities seem to be strewn in my path.

There may be seasons when you experience temptations more than usual, but everyone encounters the nudge or the opportunity to do what we know to be wrong.

But here is the good news: in that temptation, God is with you.

But here is the good news: in that temptation, God is with you.

In every temptation you or I will ever face, God’s presence is with us. That is his promise to you.

When you began following Christ he placed his Spirit within you, and he tells us that he will not allow any temptation to go beyond what you can withstand.

And the even better news is that in that temptation—in that very moment—he promises to show you a way out of that trap. Because this is what temptation is…a trap.

Why is this promise so important? Because a clear conscience is a big deal. Your personal integrity is a big deal. Never having to look back over your shoulder is priceless.

Why is this promise so important? Because a clear conscience is a big deal—your personal integrity is a big deal.

So today, if the allure to do wrong entices you, wave it off and turn from the trap. Do what you know to be right.

And in the process, remember: You’ve got this. God has your back.

Maybe this song by For King and Country will be a helpful reminder: For God is With Us

Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

Worn Out?

Limits are a good thing.

But those who trust the LORD will find new strength. They will be strong like eagles soaring upward on wings; they will walk and run without getting tired. —Isaiah 40:31

I love it when life works. I’m on schedule and things are moving ahead.

But sometimes my best laid plans go wrong and when they do it feels like I’m pushing a boulder. Uphill. Energy depleted.

Most of us have experienced those moments. And when we do, we can experience fatigue. Weariness. Burnout.

What do we do when we come to the end of our own energy and resources? Give up? Withdraw? Tell ourselves we never really wanted to succeed anyway? Numb ourselves with whatever is at hand?

What if we admitted our limitations? What if our limits were God’s way of getting our attention? The truth is this: We are finite. He is infinite (not finite).

The limits of our resources and energy is the place God’s resources begin.

So…where do we start?

New strength begins with trust. Bring your limits and lay them at his feet. Trust him for new strength. Trust him for a new perspective…that is what trust brings: it lifts us up to see life above our circumstances.

Lay those disappointments at his feet and verbalize your trust to him. Trust is the place of new beginnings; walking and running without fatigue. This is where hope flourishes.

What do you need to lay at his feet today?

Thank You Dads

Never discount your influence as a dad.

Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. —Matthew 11:29 

When I was in elementary school, I remember telling one of my classmates “My dad can beat your dad!” In my mind, my dad could do anything…he was like Superman!

But as the years passed, my perspective changed—dad went from an all-powerful, mythical status to human. But even today I value dad’s insight and experience. And it was his guidance that helped form who I am today.

What most of us guys don’t realize is the incredible influence we have on the next generation. Whether you’re a dad, an uncle, a foster-dad, a grandfather, papa, or the the lone adult male influence in your family, you play a powerful role in the lives of the next generation.

You are a living example to those in your sphere of influence. But for most of us, we can feel unqualified. After all, there is no degree or certification for dads—much less for grandparents!

Good leaders are good followers.

Considering all of the training we receive in the workplace, it is ironic that none of us were trained to be dads, uncles or grandfathers. So, we do our best as we go along. But over these past many years of leadership, there is one principle of leading well that stands out to me: The best leaders are good followers.

One of the BIG myths of our time is that good leaders are the ones who blaze the trail by themselves: they call the shots and live by their own rules.

But the truth is that good leaders begin as good followers; the ultimate model to follow is Christ himself. And Jesus encouraged his followers to do just that: to follow him. He said:

Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

The ultimate person to emulate is Christ. And when you walk with him, you will see, live and lead at a different level.

With Father’s Day coming this weekend, just want to say a big thank you to the men who are shaping our future. In this process, learn and lead from the best: walk with Christ. Even when you don’t feel like you’re making a difference—your life and your influence counts. Make it your goal to lead the next generation well. And you’ll never go wrong when you walk with him.

Graphic: a meme my daughter Sarah made from a photo of us from years past

Worry Got You By The Short Hairs?

Time to let it go.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:6–7

Ever worried?

There isn’t a person on the planet who hasn’t.

If we’re not careful, the ‘what-ifs’ of life will enslave you. In fact, millions are held captive in its grip every day.

And as most of us have discovered, the solution isn’t to pretend it don’t exist. You can’t ignore it—worry won’t be ignored. And its naïve to think that somehow your worries will just go away.

The question then is “What do I do with my worries?”

This is what I love about God’s Word. The solution is to take them to your heavenly Father. Only he has the power to free you from the grip of worry.

Your mind will fixate on something, so focus this fixation in prayer. Instead of worrying, pray to your Heavenly Father. Tell him what you need. Like a good parent he is ready to listen.

Then thank him (in advance) for all he has done. And here is where the freedom comes: Then, you’ll experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. And, his peace will guard your heart and mind as you continue to walk with Christ.

So, the next time worry rears its ugly head, let that be your reminder to pray. Tell God what is troubling you and what you need. Allow him to take it. Then you will experience his peace—which is beyond anything we can imagine.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Are You Moving Ahead?

Or are you being driven by the past?

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. —Philippians 3:13–14 

Love road trips. But I would never drive your car by focusing only on the rear-view mirror. We drive by focusing our eyes ahead of us. The rear-view mirror is helpful, but only for reference.

What you focus on is what you move toward.

What you focus on is what you move toward. If you want to move ahead, you must focus your eyes ahead.

Paul, writing to these 1st century believers makes it clear that he has a goal: to be like Jesus. He’s moving forward, yet he knows he hasn’t arrived.

That is a life-long journey.

But one thing he does do: he has stopped focusing on the past. He has stopped focusing on his mistakes. He has stopped focusing on his inadequacies. He refused to revisit his bad decisions.

He has even stopped focusing his time and mental energy on those who have hurt him or done him wrong (and there were many)!

He knows that ahead of him, God has a prize that will only be realized as he follows Christ.

Learn from the past, but don’t live there.

So, today is a new day. It is a day filled with new possibilities. Learn from the past, but don’t live there.

Instead of being driven by the past and the regrets that come with it, follow Christ. That is the way forward; He is the road ahead.

Where is your focus today?

Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

Take Heart

The purpose behind Jesus’ words

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” —John 16:33

With the cross looming before him, Jesus does what he always does: he encourages his disciples. He wants them to know that he has a mission ahead of them and a purpose for their lives.

And regardless what comes at them, in him, they can be at peace.

But notice where this peace comes from: Jesus ties it to himself. He has overcome the world.

And, as he overcomes this world and all that it does to discourage, divide and depress, He is inviting you to overcome as well. Not in your own positive mental attitude, but in his strength.

So take heart. Look ahead with confidence. Be encouraged. The very power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to you. Today. As you follow him.

Take heart.