Do You Lack Hope or Strength?
“Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.”
Psalms 31:24 (KJV)
How are you? Have you ever had a time when you just didn’t feel like doing anything? Have you ever felt like you just couldn’t get out of your own way? Maybe you were ill or tired. Maybe you were depressed and uncertain about what to do. Maybe you felt lost or overwhelmed.
Often times when we feel at our worst, we don’t feel like we can do anything. It is during these times when we feel like we have no hope and have no courage. We may even feel paralyzed emotionally, physically, and spiritually. We may feel like we may not have an ounce of strength left and couldn’t lift even a finger to do anything.
Sometimes, it is a good thing to feel that low. Addicts say that they have to “hit bottom” before they are ready to quit and change. It isn’t until they know that they have to rely on God and the help of those who God puts in their way, that they come to accept and want change. If addicts still feel they can live “their way”, they are not ready to be healed. They aren’t ready to quit and to open up to God.
Whether you are an addict or just going through something very difficult and feel very low, it is then that we are called to be courageous. Can you imagine being courageous when you are at the lowest of lows? Doesn’t seem possible sometimes.
Have you ever heard of the saying, “God helps those who help themselves”? This saying reminds me of Psalms 31:24. Even though we are feeling low, scared, overwhelmed, ill, weak, or whatever the difficulty might be, we are called to take that baby step towards God. We are called to be courageous even though we may not feel it.
Why? Why should we be courageous in our lowest or scariest moments? It is easier to fold under, to complain, to back away, to sleep until we feel better, to push things under the rug and forget about them, or to just ignore them and hope they go away. Don’t you find those things easier than actually facing the problem and having courage?
Finding it easier to run away from the problem might be a great worldly technique, but it isn’t really the best technique. The best thing to do, what we are called to do is to take that baby step of courage in God’s direction. Be courageous and have faith that God is there for us. If we take that one simple step in having courage and relying on God, God will strengthen our heart. This is really good news. If we take one baby step towards God, He will take one giant step towards us.
Notice that Psalms 31:24 doesn’t say that God is going to solve the problem or cure us. There may be other verses with that sort of message, but this one isn’t one of them. No, it says that for those who have courage and put their hope in God, He will strengthen their heart. God will make us stronger, so that we can have the right attitude and get through the situation better.
There is another saying that helps us to understand Psalms 31:24. It is, “Attitude is everything”. We may have heard that a good attitude can go a long way in helping someone heal. For example, we can find that same sort of sentiment in Proverbs 17:22 (KJV) which says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”
God knows how difficult it can be for us to be strong during difficult situations. He made us and he is all knowing. So, God gives us verses like Psalms 31:24 to encourage us to have that little bit of courage and rely on Him. He wants us to know that if we take that baby step, He will give us the strength we need to get through it.
Thank you for your love and compassion towards us. Thank you for being our loving Father. Help us to remember your Word and to have courage in our most difficult times. Help us to put our hope in you, even when we aren’t sure we have much hope left. Help us to know you will strengthen our heart, even when we don’t think we have any strength left. Help us to realize that we can rely on you during all times and to have the courage to take that baby step towards you. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
Reflective questions for Psalms 31:24 (KJV):
*What does Psalms 31:24 mean to me?
*Of which sayings does Psalms 31:24 remind me?
*Of which other Bible verses does Psalms 31:24 remind me?
*What does it mean to strengthen our heart?
*What is God telling me through Psalms 31:24?
*Am I courageous during difficult situations?
*What can I do to better heed the words in Psalms 31:24?
If you like this post you might enjoy these other posts on hope, strength, and difficult times. Enjoy!
Now, it is your turn.
If you feel called to comment, I looked forward to reading your thoughts. Please, feel free to comment or contact me at any time.
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“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”
Proverbs 18:24 (KJV)
How are you? Today’s post is on friendship. Take a journey with me in pondering the meaning of Proverbs 18:24 and what friendship means to us. As with most verses in the Bible, there are many opinions as to the meaning in Proverbs 18:24. Considering that God speaks to us personally and sometimes has differing messages for each of us, it is sometimes okay to have differing opinions as to it’s meaning.
Do you have many friends or few? Are you someone who just seems to be surrounded by people? Do have many invitations to go here or there? Are you the life of the party? Are you pleasant to be around? Are you always cracking a joke? Are you the type who feels kind of awkward in the crowd and sort of sits on the sidelines? Do you enjoy being out with one friend? Are you the person everyone comes to when in need? Do you have any friends?
I am not trying to make you feel bad if you don’t think you have friends or good if you have more friends than you can count. I am hoping to just get you started in thinking about friendship, so we can better contemplate the meaning of Proverbs 18:24.
Next, what do you think it means to be a friend or to be friendly? Is there a difference? Does a friend give you what you want or what you need? Does a friend seem agreeable all the time to you or correct you when you are wrong? Does friendly mean courteous, flirtatious, kind, giving, joyful, helpful, or any number of other things?
Now that we are thinking about friendship, friends, and friendliness, let’s look at Proverbs 18:24 and some of the varying meanings I saw as I researched for today’s post. (I will just summarize them in my own words.)
Varying meanings for Proverbs 18:24:
*Having too many friends will spread you too thin and you won’t be able to be
a good friend to anyone, so it is better to have just one good friend.
*If you aren’t friendly, you won’t have any friends.
*Some friends aren’t really friends, but more of just acquaintances. There
are only a few true friends.
*Many people who we think are friends will lead us down the wrong path in
life, but there is a friend who will lead us down the right path.
*We can have many friends, but Jesus is our only true friend.
With these meaning in mind, what are your thoughts for Proverbs 18:24? Some of these meanings are similar. Some are quite different. There are even more options than this if you look for them.
When I was a teenager, someone told me that it is better to have a few friends that you can count on than many friends that aren’t really friends. I think that is sage advice. Could it be the meaning of Proverbs 18:24?
Now, let’s look at Proverbs 18:24 a little closer. The first part of the verse says, “A man that hath friends, must shew himself friendly”. (KJV) In most of the places I looked, people seem to take “friends” as meaning “many friends”. So, in today’s lingo, it might sound more like, “A man that has many friends must always appear friendly.” What do you think?
If we think of it in that way, we can see just how tiring that can be. I don’t know about you, but no matter how much I enjoy being with someone and doing things with others, there are times when I just need time for myself. I need time to unwind, regroup, and just enjoy the quiet. I need time to pray, read, and think. I enjoy doing things and being with people, but I also enjoy my quiet time too. If we have too many friends or get involved with too many things, we may not have time for that quiet time. We also may not have time to be a true friend to each and every person. It is especially difficult to be a friend and “be there” for others, when we don’t have time to “be with God”.
The second part of Proverbs 18:24 (KJV) says, “and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother”. Is this second part talking about God or that special friend we have on earth, our best friend so to speak? That special friend may be someone different for everyone.
I think that no matter whether scripture is talking about God or about that special best friend in our life, God is always part of that special friendship. After all, a true friend wants us to be the best we can be and to follow God’s will for us. They care for our spiritual wellbeing as much or more than our physical and emotional wellbeing. They lift us up in prayer, care enough to tell us the truth whether it hurts or not, help carry our burdens, love us, show kindness, and inspire us to do better. Even if that isn’t meant to be God himself, it sounds like a godly person who is following God’s will. So, God is definitely involved.
I think verses like Proverbs 18:24 are good to get us thinking. We can all relate in some way, even if we all have unique understandings. We all want friends. We can understand that we need to be a friend to have a friend, although it isn’t always followed. Deep down, we can still understand it. Most of us have had someone we have called a best friend at one time or another. We understand that we like and enjoy being around that one special person a bit more than being with other people. That one person is special and holds a bigger piece of us in their heart than most people do. It is also a verse that can mean something different to us at different times. Some of our friendships change, get stronger and closer, or fade away. We need a different message at different times in our life.
As I think about it right now, to me, it means that it is good to be friendly towards everyone. However, we should really cherish the special friends who encourage us to be the godly people we are called to be. We should always make time for quiet time to be with God through prayer, reading the Bible, meditation, reflection, and even going out with that one special friend whom God gave you to help you be closer to Him. Don’t have so many “friends” that you don’t have time for what is important and you can’t be a true friend for each. Besides, if you have “many friends”, probably most of them aren’t true friends anyway.
It is great encouragement for people who don’t feel they have any friends or don’t have many friends. It is encouragement for those who lament over not having as many friends as their neighbor. It is caution about comparing ourselves to others who may have more friends. It may be food for thought about the way to be a true friend. It can be a way to inspire us to keep God as our best friend. It could be telling us not to get too stressed by having too many social engagements.
Thank you for your friendship, for your love, for your parental care, for the kindness you show. Thank you for your Word to inspire us, to teach us, and to encourage us. Help us to be a true friend to others and especially to you, for you are a true friend to us. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Proverbs 18:24 (KJV):
*What does Proverbs 1824 mean to me?
*What does being a true friend mean?
*Do I have a true friend?
*Am I a true friend?
*What does being friendly mean?
*Do I have many friends or few friends?
*Are all of my friends true friends?
*What can I do to be a better heed the words in Proverbs 18:24?
*What can I do to be a better friend?
*Do I cherish my friends?
*Do I have time to be a true friend to all of my friends?
Now, it is your turn.
I hope this post got you to thinking not only about Proverbs 18:24, but also what it means to be a true friend. I pray that you know what it means to be a true friend and to have a true friend. I pray that you have been able to experience both. And, if you haven't, I pray that you will experience it sometime soon.
I welcome your thoughts on Proverbs 18:24 and friendship. (Actually, I always welcome your thoughts that would further God kingdom, whether it is about the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, prayer request, ideas, suggestions, questions, etc.) Please, feel free to leave a comment or contact me.
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“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
Philippians 4:13 (KJV)
How are you? Today’s verse is one that many people have heard or read and know quite well. With that being said, one would think that the message in Philippians 4:13 would seem pretty straightforward. However, in my research, that doesn’t seem to be the case. There are differing views as to what the verse really means.
I guess that some people use Philippians 4:13 as encouragement to make large leaps and bounds and to claim success in whatever they have in mind to do. However, others look at Philippians 4:13 as encouragement that God will give us strength to get through the hardships and rough times in life. How do you look at the words in Philippians 4:13?
St. Paul was writing this letter to the Philippians from jail. So, his circumstances were probably those of hardship, discomfort, loneliness, and even misery. Even though he was going through difficulty, he was telling the Philippians that he could do all things because Jesus was there for him and would give him strength. St. Paul knew he could endure anything with the strength that Jesus would give him. So, does that mean we have to be in dire straights in order for these words to apply?
I think Philippians 4:13, like most of God’s Word, is less about the circumstance and more about our heart and frame of mind. I think the most important thing to remember is that we need Jesus. Too many times, we want to take more credit than we deserve. We like to claim we are “self-made”. However, this doesn’t give the credit to God, where it is due. We can’t do things without God’s help. We wouldn’t even be alive without God. So, no, I don’t think we need to be in dire straights or in some sort of hardship to consider Philippians 4:13 as words of encouragement.
Although, I don’t think that we need to be going through hardship to find value and comfort in Philippians 4:13, I also don’t feel that we can use Philippians 4:13 as a free for all and to expect God to give us anything we want. I think our heart and mind, still has to be with God. What we want still has to align with God’s will. I believe we still have to come to God with a humble heart instead of feeling entitled. Like I said, I believe that the importance lies in our heart, mind, and attitude instead of in our circumstances.
Philippians 4:13 also implies that whatever we want or need, might not be easy to get. We wouldn’t need to be strengthened, if it wasn’t going to be difficult at times. This might not mean hardships, like sickness or imprisonment. It might mean that we are called to step outside of our comfort zone to do something in order to do what God has called us to do. It might mean that we need to work hard and have patience, even if we feel that we would rather relax and give up. It may also mean that we have to give beyond what we think our means might be financially, physically, emotionally, or even spiritually.
The comfort comes in knowing that whatever we are called to do, go through, or endure, God will strengthen us. He is with us. Jesus has been through similar. He was our ultimate role model. The Holy Spirit will remind us of God’s Word and how we will be strengthened. We just need to believe and listen to the Holy Spirit. We need to heed God’s Word. We need to rely on God and trust that He will strengthen us and help us through.
Even though it may seem like we are called to endure, go through, and give more than we can handle, we can take comfort in the words in Philippians 4:13. Christ will strengthen us and help us endure what we are called to do.
This is so encouraging! I praise God that He loves us and gives us this comfort! Now, if we can just remember it when we need strength. If only we can remember to rely on Him instead of giving up or trying our own solutions.
Oh Lord, thank you for your love and comfort. Thank you for assuring us that you will help us through as long as we rely on you. Thank you for letting us know that things might be difficult, but if you call us to do it and we rely on you, that you will be there to strengthen us. Help us to rely on you. Help us not to use our own strength and will, but yours instead. Help us to trust in you instead of finding our own solutions or giving up. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Philippians 4:13 (KJV):
*What does Philippians 4:13 mean to me?
*What is God telling me through Philippians 4:13?
*Can I just claim any success no matter what with the words in Philippians
*How can I better heed the words in Philippians 4:13?
If you enjoyed the message in this week's post, you may find this other post interesting as well.
Now, it is your turn.
I am thankful that you are here. I pray that God is blessing you through the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations. If you find it value in it, please share it with others, so God can bless them through it as well. Thank you.
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“Train up a child in a way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Proverbs 22:6 (KJV)
How are you? This week’s verse might be particularly important to parents and grandparents. However, if we believe that it takes a village to raise a child, than we can find meaning in the verse for all of us whether or not we have children. We may be teachers, childcare workers, aunts, uncles, supervisors, neighbors, and church members who have influence over children and people we see. After all, Proverbs 22:6 doesn’t say, “train up your child”, but “train up a child”.
I have to say, that I thought Proverbs 22:6 would be a relatively easy verse to ponder and about which to write. However, when I was preparing and researching the verse, I found many differing opinions on the actual meaning of the verse.
Some people take this verse as an absolute promise to parents that you train your child to have godly values and behave in godly ways, then that child will grow up to have godly values and behave in godly ways no matter what. Some people take the verse to mean that parents should start early in helping a child find his or her “direction in life”. This direction could mean spiritual direction, emotional direction, personal direction, vocational direction, financial direction, or any number of directions. Some feel that Proverbs 22:6 is talking about helping children find their learning styles, talents, skills, and interests early, so that they will be able to learn and live well according to their own God-given personalities, strengths, and weaknesses.
I have always thought of Proverbs 22:6 as not a promise, but encouragement to give a child a godly foundation and to be a godly role model. I thought of it as imparting godly wisdom through sharing God’s Word and discussing godly ways, so that the likelihood that the child will grow up with godly ways would be greatly increased.
I don’t think of it as a guarantee, because we can control how we act and feel, but we can’t control how others act and feel. As people in the world, especially as parents, we have high influence over the children in the world. We can encourage children, role model for children, teach children, and train children. Out of respect, love, intimidation, or force, we can usually get a child to do as we wish while they are young. Yet, do our efforts really guarantee that a child will grow up to be as we wish? God can certainly change hearts, if He is so inclined. However, God gives us free will. He doesn’t change our hearts unless we want it.
It is this free will and God’s willingness to change hearts is what probably makes this verse so important. Giving a child a strong, godly foundation, helps that child have the tools he or she will need to make life decisions and no matter how many times he or she may stray, he or she will still have the tools necessary to find his or her way back to God. Whether or not he or she chooses to use these tools is up to him or her. This is why we must do our part to train up children in a godly manner. Even if it doesn’t stick, there is still hope that they will come back. People can remember strong foundations, even if they wander from them.
I used to think that this Proverbs 22:6 just pertained to Bible study, manners, and godly living in general. However, I think there is something to be said in also considering more specific actions such as training children how to recognize and use their God given talents and skills. It could also mean training a child in a way that is unique to them, like through words, through doing and role modeling, or through visual means. It could also mean helping a child choosing a profession. People sometimes tend to do what they know already. For example, if a child grows up on a family farm, they may be likely to be family farmers when they grow up, especially if their parents teach them young to love the animals, appreciate the crops, and be responsible for chores early on.
Isn’t that what “training up” means? Doesn’t it mean to teach children right from wrong, godly from worldly, and to make the godly decision? God’s Word has to do with all aspects of life, not just where, when, and how we worship. Knowing God’s Word is a big part of being able to make godly decisions. And, we will have to make decisions in all aspects of our lives, our spiritual lives, our physical lives, our emotional lives, our academic lives, our personal lives, our business lives, our financial lives, and social lives. I now believe that this verse can envelope all these aspects of life.
Often, God uses verses at different times in our lives to encourage us in different ways. It isn’t unusual for a verse to mean one thing for us in one part of our life and envelope so much more in other parts of our life. Often things take on new meaning and new importance as we learn, grow, and mature.
You have put all your precious children on earth for us to encourage and train in your ways. Thank you for the honor and responsibility you have given us to parent and train the children you put in our path. Help us to do it according to your Word and your way, I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Proverbs 22:6 (KJV):
*What does Proverbs 22:6 mean to me?
*What does train up a child mean?
*Do I think Proverbs 22:6 is a promise?
*If person strays from God, does that mean a parent didn’t do a good job
training a child up?
*If I don’t have any children is this verse still applicable to me?
*What can I do to better heed the words in this verse?
Now, it is your turn.
I have covered quite a bit in today's post. There is so much on which to ponder and meditate. If you feel led to leave a comment, please do so. I look forward to reading what you have to say.
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This is Jodi. I am so glad you are here! I am a Christian and life-long learner. I enjoy sharing and encouraging others. I pray you are blessed by this blog. Thank you for being here.