The Living Water

It is not difficult to understand the comparison between being discouraged, “weary and heavy-laden” (Matthew 11:28) with being exhausted and lost in the desert with little hope of survival. We also understand how one’s perspective can be so easily affected by our circumstances. For example, a sip of water means so much more to the one lost in the desert than it does for the one sitting comfortably in his favorite chair watching the ball game and feeling a little thirsty.

How encouraging it is to know that as broken and weighed down with despair as we can be, there is a Source of Living Water! Jesus said, “…whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst…” (John 4:14). The grammar Jesus uses means a continuous drinking, not just one sip and “you’re good to go.”

Jesus is that Living Water, that One Who declares to us all things (John 4:25 26). I know that life is hard, sometimes; and sometimes, it’s really, really hard. However, if you keep close to the Source of life giving water for your soul, you will make it out of the desert!

Remember, God loves you and so do I.

Donnie Bates

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Vindicate Me, O Lord

Very often when we are discouraged, our enemy is very adept at tempting us to focus on our suffering, to the exclusion of other, more important things. Yes, I did say “more important things.” This may difficult to accept, especially if you are currently suffering, but yes, there are things more important than your suffering.

I don’t mean to sound insensitive. The “more important things” to which I refer are things to do with your spiritual well-being. Using the term in a broad sense, I mean your integrity, especially before God.

Psalm 26 is a great example of the prayer of one who is suffering from what life sometimes deals all of us. When you suffer, in your cry for relief, remember to trust in the Lord without wavering, to walk in His truth. Learn to hate the assembly of evildoers and do not sit with the wicked. In short, do those things David said he had done in order to be able to confidently stand and await God’s judgment.

In so doing, even if your suffering in this life is terminal, you will triumph in the righteous judgment of God. Remember, He loves you and so do I.

Donnie Bates

True Hope

Our purpose is to encourage the discouraged! Can there be anything more discouraging than to realize that with all the suffering in this life, there is no hope for what comes next?

Throughout Scripture we find examples of those who stand condemned before God. Even among God’s people, or those who thought they were God’s people, we find such examples (Matthew 7:21-23). Jeremiah warned God’s people, who were circumcised as newborns, to circumcise their hearts (Jeremiah 4:4), lest they be destroyed because while they were circumcised physically, they were not so spiritually (Jeremiah 9:25).

The apostle Paul gives us our word of encouragement today. He warned Christians not to allow themselves to be taken captive by something other than Christ (Colossians 2:8). In the next several verses the apostle continues a theme first introduced in chapter 1 concerning the preeminence of Christ. In his argument, he points out that Christians have been circumcised spiritually (Colossians 2:11), and that this happened when we were baptized, God doing the work of salvation here (Colossians 2:12).

So, with the encouragement that our eternal future can be secure, we can face whatever this life throws at us. Never forget, God loves you and so do I!

Donnie Bates

The Battle is Not Yours

In 2 Corinthians 1:8 Paul said: For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life… Have you ever felt this kind of despair? The burdens may or may not be literally beyond your strength, or threaten your life, but the despair is as strong; it feels like it’s this bad.

Paul would go on to say that God delivered them from that peril, and He is One upon Whom we may hope. However, our word of encouragement today comes from another context.

The story of David and Goliath is well known and very popular. David confidently informed Goliath that he was going to kill him so that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel (1 Kings 17:46). He then says, “…and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s…” (1 Kings 17:47).

Let God fight this battle. Let Him deliver you from this despair. He will, if you will be His, because He loves you, and so do I.

Donnie Bates

A Good Reason for Fear

“Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin” (Exodus 20:20). Moses spoke these words in response to the fear the Israelites expressed over the awe-inspiring (and terrifying) spectacle of the giving of the ten commandments (Exodus 20:18, 19).

I find here an interesting point, along with our word of encouragement. Notice that Moses begins by saying, “Do not be afraid.” One can imagine a soothing tone with those words. However, he goes on to say that God had a reason for this demonstration: He was testing them and wants their fear of Him to stick with them!

That may be difficult to comprehend, but the fact is, there is such a thing as healthy fear. God wants you to know that no matter how much you suffer in this life, there is hope of something better (Titus 2:11-14). However, that hope comes with instructions and warnings about the alternative and responsibility on our part.

Love God. Obey His commands. Keep a healthy fear of the alternative in your heart, and remember, He loves you and so do I.

Donnie Bates

Let It Go

This may surprise some, but I love that song (and the movie). However, I had in mind another source for this post, than the one of which the title reminded you.

I suppose all of us have negatives in our lives, from circumstances to acquaintances. The apostle Paul acknowledged such negatives in his own life. He identified Timothy and Epaphroditus as two bright lights among many negative people in his own life; people who “seek after their own interests,” people he called “dogs,” “evil workers,” “the false circumcision” and “enemies of the cross” (Philippians 2:19 – 3:19).

Two points about this text will help us overcome the negatives in our lives. First, we must “let it go”; we must forget what lies behind and press on to what lies ahead, the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (3:13, 14). Second, we must follow Paul’s example and the example of those who walk according to the pattern left to us in God’s Word (3:17). If we do, there is coming a day in our future when there will be no more negatives!

Let it go! You’ll be glad you did!! Remember, God loves you and so do I.

Donnie Bates

I Will Call Upon the Lord

A favorite song around here gives us the title of today’s post. The first few lines come from Psalm 18:3: I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies (KJV). The rest of the song comes from Psalm 18:46: The Lord liveth, and blessed be my rock and let the God of my salvation be exalted (KJV). It’s a popular song because of both the music and the sentiment, but some background to the song in our hymnals should give us our word of encouragement.

What caused David to express his exaltation of His God, His Rock, might strike you the same way. Read verses 4 and 6 of this text: The cords of death encompassed me, and the torrents of ungodliness terrified me…In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry for help before Him came into His ears (NASB).

Sound familiar? Open your Bibles and read this whole psalm (especially verses 7-19) and then say, with the psalmist, “Yes, I will call upon the Lord!”

Remember, God loves you and so do I.

Donnie Bates