Tag Archives: Christian encouragement

To Hope, or Not to Hope ….

It’s easy to lose our grasp on hope with all the turmoil going on these days. To make it even worse, prophets of doom are currently showing up in hordes, saying, “I dreamed,” or, “I saw,” — “and it is going to be really BAD.”  Each new revelation seems to be more sensationally awful than the last! Between what we can all see with our own eyes and what these prophets — accurate or not — are saying, many of the saints are becoming increasingly fearful and despairing. Some intercede from a place of panic; some run to stockpile food, guns, and ammo; some have just given up entirely. None of these responses are what God intends for His Church.

No matter whether fearful things are ahead or not (and yes, we most likely will go through more difficult days for a while), the Lord wants to fill His people with hope. Did you know that one of the names God gives Himself in the Bible is “The God of Hope”?

Take a look at Romans 15:13: “Now, may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Because hope is part of God’s nature, He wants to impart it to us. The Holy Spirit dwells inside of us, so as we look to Him, we can be filled to overflowing with His hope-nature, which also leads to inner joy and peace.

But, what can we be hopeful about? Both our short- and long-term future. Our greatest hope lies in our eternal destiny to be with Jesus always. He wants us to take comfort in His promise that He will return for us. Savor His promises once again. We must not forget, minimize, or let go of them:

In My Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.John 14:2, 3

For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17

“That where I am, you may be also.” “And so shall we ever be with the Lord.” These are some of my favorite words. They are our “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13). 1 Thessalonians 4:18 concludes, “So comfort one another with these words.”

The Rapture — Jesus’ return to catch us away, so that we can be always by His side — has come under great attack, even from within the Church. Don’t let scoffers steal your hope through their ignorance and unbelief. Your destiny is not bound to this earth alone, so don’t let them anchor  your attention too firmly on this world. Our greatest hope still lies in our eternal future.

Now, that said, God also wants us to have hope for our remaining time here on earth. We shouldn’t give up and think nothing good can happen until we are lifted out of here. Psalm 27: 13, 14 says, “I would have fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart….”

God knows that we need to see His goodness poured out upon us in this life. Do you need healing? Deliverance from some difficulty? Restoration of a relationship? Are you praying for loved ones to be saved? Do you desire to see your entire nation brought to God? Pray confidently for the answers you long for. “Ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24).

This is not the time to give up on earth and do nothing while we wait for the Lord. Did He not say, “Occupy until I come” (Luke 19:13)? While we are here, the Lord asks that we pray, speak, and act as His ambassadors, expecting to make a difference for the better.

Let’s end with one more word on hope, from Psalm 42:5: “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help [in Hebrew, Yeshuah] of His countenance.”

Keep secure hold of your hope. The all-powerful God is the source of it, and He will not disappoint you.

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names of God

 

The Names of God,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

 

KJV Bible encouragement

 

 

Encouragement from God’s Word,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

 

inner peace

 

 

All-Surpassing Peace in a Shaking World,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

Becoming the Friend of God

friend of GodI wrote a few posts ago about going through a severe illness this past winter and spring. While I  came through it well overall, I suffered a setback for several weeks this summer, where I felt pretty peaked. In spite of persevering in the oodles of healing promises in the Bible, and even though the Lord frequently assured me by His inner voice that I would be all right, there were times when feeling awful seemed way more real than His Word did. (How many of you can relate?)

In the middle of that struggle, the Lord reminded me of why He called Abraham His friend. It was because Abraham believed what God had said. James 2:23 tells us, “…Abraham believed God, and it was accredited to him for righteousness, and he was called the Friend of God.”

Genesis 15 records one of many conversations between Abraham and the Lord. God initiated it by saying, “Fear not, Abram. I am your shield and your exceedingly great reward.” Abraham responded by pouring out his disappointment over a deep lack in his life. He basically said, “But Lord, what is that to me, when You have not given me a child, the longing of my heart?” (vs. 1-3). I suspect he said it reverently, yet he laid it out on the table quite honestly.

You know, God has respect toward our end of the conversation. He listens to us. He acts on what we request, because He is good, and He loves us. He replied by promising Abraham many descendants, like the number of the stars of heaven. “And Abraham believed in the LORD, and He counted it to him for righteousness” (v. 6).

When we are friends with someone, we pay attention to what they say. We want to know what they are thinking. That’s to be expected with those we share an equal footing with, but how amazing it is that the limitless Creator and Potentate of the entire universe invites us to talk with Him, and that He regards what we say and pray!

As Abraham waited many long years for the son God had promised him, his faith had its ups and downs. Yet the Lord looked past his momentary stumbles to the overall trust Abraham placed in Him. It is the same with us. We may not be perfect every minute of every day in believing whatever God has spoken. But if we waver here and there, we can still pick up where we left off and renew our belief in the Lord and in His faithfulness to His Word. He sees the big picture.

So, in my situation, I committed with fresh determination to be like Abraham, the friend of God who believed what He said. On the days I felt the worst, I often grabbed a list of the Bible healing verses and read them aloud, prayed them, and declared them over my life, even when I felt puny in my faith. I read, over and over, the personal words of comfort recorded in my prayer journal, saying, “This is what the Lord has said. I will believe Him, even if my body tries to tell me otherwise.”

I am feeling much better. It’s just taking time. I like instant healing — a lot. But in the midst of the wait, I’m learning to be the friend of God who believes what He says. He’s also teaching “my hands to war, and my fingers to fight” (Psalm 144:1), “so that a bow of steel is broken by my arms” (Psalm 18:34).

Have you been waiting for a breakthrough in your situation for a long time? Do you have promises from the Lord concerning it? Maybe your faith for your miracle has been severely shaken here and there. Today is your fresh opportunity to grasp those promises again and to say, “I want to be counted as Your friend, Lord. I will believe You and watch You do what You said.”

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Coming This Fall!

The Dream Book:
A Practical Guide to Christian Dream Interpretation

Christian dream interpretation

(Cover design not yet complete)

As many of you are aware, hearing from God through dreams is one of my “things.” This book is packed with down-to-earth, how-to keys to making sense of your dreams. I explain how to set yourself up to receive more dreams from the Lord, how to be fluent in understanding the language of dreams, and the step-by-step process of interpreting their meaning.

I hope to have The Dream Book ready in plenty of time for Christmas. (Pray for me!) I will keep you updated.

 

The Other 9-11s

9-11This week we commemorated 9-11-01, the infamous day when Muslim jihadists attacked our nation. It is a day not to be forgotten. Life in the United States will never be the same because of it.

On 9-11 this year, the Lord happened to remind me of one of my favorite names of God, found in Hebrews 9:11, which speaks of our Lord Jesus: “a high priest of good things to come.” After posting it on Facebook, I noticed the 9:11 / 9-11 correlation, and I began to think about other 9:11 references in the Bible.

While 9-11-01 was a time of great devastation, God has His own set of 9:11 words, and they are full of hope for us. Here are some of them, starting with my two favorites:

Hebrews 9:11“But Christ being come a high priest of good things to come….”

Psalm 91:1“He who dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Are you afraid? There is a haven of safety and rest for you in the secret place of the Lord’s presence. He is inviting you to enter into intimate fellowship with Him, for it is there that the other wonderful promises of Psalm 91 will become real to you. I spend a lot of time in Psalm 91, especially when fear knocks at my door.

Genesis 9:11“And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off anymore by the waters of a flood; neither shall there anymore be a flood to destroy the earth.” God has established a forever covenant with you through the blood of Jesus Christ. He never reneges on His promises, so you can absolutely count on Him to do for you what He has said in His Word. The hard part is waiting for the fulfillment, but if we cling in faith to Him, we will see Him perform the good things He has promised.

Nehemiah 9:11“And You divided the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on the dry land; and You threw their persecutors into the deeps, as a stone into the mighty waters.” Are you hemmed in, with nowhere to turn? God will make a way for you, as you release the insurmountable difficulty to Him. He will fight for you and personally go against those who are trying to destroy you.

Psalm 9:11“Sing praises to the LORD, Who dwells in Zion; declare among the people His doings.” Praise your way through to your victory! Praise is a powerful weapon of our spiritual warfare. It brings breakthroughs when nothing else seems to budge the circumstances.

Proverbs 9:11“For by Me your days shall be multiplied, and the years of your life shall be increased.” Do you want to live a long, healthy life, so that you can be as fruitful for Jesus as possible? God wants that for you too! Declare this 9:11 verse as your own.

Amos 9:11“In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old.” This verse is about the restoration of David’s kingly line through Jesus, the Son of David. It prophesies His physical return to earth to rule in righteousness. It’s an exciting word for all who love Him: Jesus is coming, and it is going to be good!

Zechariah 9:11“As for you also, by the blood of your covenant I have sent forth your prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.” Do you feel like you are in the pits? Do you feel dry and thirsty? You have a covenant with the Father by the blood of Jesus your Savior. He has promised to set the prisoners free and to give His living water to all who thirst. Check out Isaiah 55:1; 58:11; 61:1 and John 4:13-15; 7:37, 38, just for starters.

Matthew 9:11“And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, ‘Why does your Master eat with publicans and sinners?'” Aren’t you glad that Jesus wants to spend time with people who sin and have issues? I am — because I know I don’t have it all together. He takes us where we’re at, and cleans us up as we fellowship with Him. Now, that is good news!

Luke 9:11“And the people … followed Him: and He received them, and spoke to them of the kingdom of God, and healed those who had need of healing.” He received them, He spoke to them, and He healed them. Jesus receives you, no matter what a mess your life is right now. He wants to speak to you. And, He wants to heal you physically and emotionally.

John 9:11“… A man who is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ I went and washed, and I received sight.” I’m going to take the liberty of applying this in a spiritual sense. Jesus provides for us a “pool of Siloam” in His Word. It washes us (see Ephesians 5:26). The Holy Spirit uses it to guide us into all truth (see John 8:31, 32; 14:26; and 16:13). He gives us spiritual eyes to see what the world around us cannot see.

Romans 9:11“For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not because of works, but because of Him Who calls.” God always planned for you to be His very own. He doesn’t love you and give you good purposes to fulfill because you have somehow been a super-Christian who earned His favor. No, He has favored you from before you were ever born, and now He’s helping you all along life’s way. That’s more good news!

2 Corinthians 9:11“Being enriched in everything to all bountifulness, which causes through us thanksgiving to God.” God “daily loads [you] with benefits” (Psalm 68:19) so that you can “pay it forward” to others. Did you know that when you are kind in various ways — even small ways — it causes other people to thank God for His goodness to them? We’ll only find out how much this has gone on when we get to heaven. You were meant to be a blessing and to give glory to God in all that you do.

I hope these 9:11 verses bless and encourage you as much as they have me!

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topical KJV Bible

 

 

Encouragement from God’s Word,
by Lee Ann Rubsam
(Topical verses from the KJV to encourage and strengthen you)

 

 

Bible verses for intercessors

 

The Intercessor’s Companion,
by Lee Ann Rubsam
(Topical verses to encourage you and help you intercede on specific subjects, in a modernized KJV format)

 

When Your Destiny Purpose Changes

Christian destinyWe talked in a previous post about God being the One Who changes times and seasons (Daniel 2:21). I sense that we are currently in such a season change. A major shift is taking place. God is going to do a new thing, and I’m praying for His understanding about what that will look like.

How do season shifts affect us personally, especially our destiny? We can rest confidently in what God has spoken to us in the past about His purposes for us. Everything He has said will eventually take place, because He is completely truthful and faithful.

However, the journey to fulfillment is rarely an “as the arrow flies” trip. It will take many twists and turns, zigs and zags, before we get there. Often, it will look as though a part of what we thought God was speaking has died. It hasn’t. God is not forgetful. While we are waiting, if we keep faithfully serving the Lord, we will fulfill other parts of His blueprint for our life — things we didn’t even realize were part of the plan.

Typically, the major purposes God has for us take time to mature. Behind the scenes, God is weaving all the threads together, quietly working while we think nothing is happening. At the right time, what we thought had died will come to life again.

When there is a lull — even a shut door — in our destiny, it’s easy to think, “I prepared. I prayed. And now it’s gone.” This is the time to do two things: rest in God’s faithfulness and actively move in what God has put to our hand in the present moment. We can be fruitful in other areas besides what God specifically spoke to us about. Look for the opportunities He has dropped right on your doorstep. These are part of His plan for you, too.

I am a prophetic person; I live in the future I have foreseen. But I have learned that we must also live in our now. The prophet Jeremiah gave instruction for the current situation to the Israelites exiled in Babylon. It is a word we would do well to heed: “Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat the fruit of them” (Jeremiah 29:5). That is part of fulfilling God’s complete plan for us — be productive where we are while we are waiting. It doesn’t negate the promise showing up a few sentences later: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end(v. 11). Both are rock-solid realities.

In changing times and seasons in our lives, sometimes a door closes abruptly. That doesn’t mean it is forever. The Lord will reopen it at the right moment, perhaps as abruptly as it closed, perhaps gradually swinging it open before us.

While we are waiting for the parts of His plan that we know, He has multiple other purposes for us to fulfill. Some of them will pop up as sudden surprises. He doesn’t reveal everything all in one lump. We will bear much more fruit for Him if we don’t stubbornly plop ourselves down on the fragment of the plan we do know, refusing to budge from it. Keep an open mind to new ways to serve Him, ways you had no previous inkling of.

I have an additional theory about unfulfilled destiny:

There may be aspects of God’s plan for us — things He has clearly spoken — which will find their ultimate fulfillment during the Millennial Reign of Jesus upon the earth — or even after that. We’d like it all to happen in our present life, and much of it will. But what if part of the picture waits for completion in the age to come? In the Bible, we have very little specific information available to us about what that time will look like for the glorified sons of God.

I suspect God has purposes for us which we don’t yet know of, which will span our eternal existence with Him. His predetermined plans for us are not confined to the short time we spend in our mortal bodies. 1 John 3:2 offers a hint of this: “Beloved, now we are the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be. But we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

I hope I haven’t messed with you too badly by sharing these thoughts. They are just things I wonder about here and there. I do still expect to see fulfillment in this life of things the Lord spoke to me long ago, even though they seem dead right now. But no matter how it shakes down, we can completely trust the Lord to do for us what He has said.

Ultimately, our greatest destiny purpose is to be ardent, trusting lovers of God, who will follow Jesus wherever He leads. If we have that perspective, the rest will turn out just fine.

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To celebrate National Homeschool Day (February 23), we are running a $3.00 off sale on Character Building for Families, Vol. 1 & 2 (U.S. only).

Whether you homeschool or not, Character Building for Families will help you instill Christlike character qualities in your children. It’s an excellent family devotions tool.

 

SALE DATES: nOW THRU mONDAY, 2-25-19

REG. $16.00 ea. SALE PRICE: $13.00 ea.

MORE INFO

 

A Newsletter of Sorts …

I have not written for a while, and there is a reason. My elderly mother has needed a lot of help over the last year, and especially since 2018 began.

In March, Mom had a scary health episode, which made it necessary to place her in a nursing home. Since then, I’ve been focusing most of my time and energy on getting her settled in her new home, pulling her finances together, and disposing of her house and other possessions.

Through all of this, we have seen the hand of God upon her and upon the timing of all that has taken place. Mom’s health has improved, and she is adjusting extremely well to this new chapter in her life — all of which I see as a miracle for her and us.

I hope to get back to writing in the next few weeks, but just wanted to connect with our Out of the Fire readers a little in the meantime, to let you know I am still here and to share a few thoughts and updates.

First, the updates:

For those who have elementary-aged children, our Character Building for Families manuals are on sale in the U. S. now through May 15. (Saving money is always good!) They are a simple and enjoyable way for families to grow together in Jesus. Some families use them as their homeschool Bible curriculum, some as family devotions. I hope you will take a look.

Encouragement from God's WordI have updated our book, Encouragement from God’s Word. It now has an additional chapter and a beautiful new cover. It is a topical collection of reassuring Bible verses (KJV) which I collected while going through a particularly tough time in my life. I will be forever grateful for what the Lord showed me about His faithfulness during that season, and I hope this book will bless you as well. The links are to Amazon, but it is also available at many other online bookstores.

dream interpretationWe have a new audio resource for you — Hearing God Through Your Dreams. This was a live workshop we did recently, and it’s now available as an mp3 or CD set. There is an optional study guide, too.

This teaching gives you the keys for understanding what God is speaking to you while you sleep. If you were not able to attend in person, this is the next best thing!

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A few short thoughts:

At the beginning of 2018, the Lord spoke to me that the ability to discern is much on His mind for His children. It will become increasingly imperative for all of us to effectively exercise the discerning of spirits in the days ahead.

We often think of this gift as the ability to know when an evil spirit is behind afflictions or perplexing situations. That is true, but I believe it also encompasses recognizing the difference between flowing with the Holy Spirit and operating in one’s natural understanding — both in ourselves and other people.

I wrote on this a few months ago, in my series, Discerning Between Soul & Spirit, but it is still much on my heart, so perhaps we will explore it more in days to come. Keys to Increasing in Discernment is another series which may help you.

I have been meditating on 1 Corinthians 2 for several months now, and the Lord is (once again) speaking to me about discernment through it. He talks about “the hidden wisdom” of God, and that, while we cannot discover or discern this wisdom on our own, by His Spirit He has “freely given us all things” to understand. We have “the mind of Christ,” and we can access the deep things of God as we step over from our intellect into the realm of the Spirit. It is almost as if there are parallel worlds available to us: the world of the Spirit and our lesser, natural world. We can choose which one we live in.

Finally, recently the Lord assured me, “The righteous shall fare well in the days ahead.” I sensed that this meant that whether things are going well on the earth or not, He is personally seeing to the welfare of those who are His own. We can take courage in knowing that He is attentive to our every need, even if all we see with our natural eyes continues to shake. He has us tenderly covered with His protective hand.

That’s a good note to end on.