Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I’m super busy today. The short-tailed shrew’s appearance last night put a clinker into today’s prioritized to-do list. Since he (or she) evaded the mouse trap by daintily nibbling the bait (he let me watch him eat), I must try another method which means a trip to town and time rigging the contraption. Where’s an ermine when you need one? The shrew is shrewd, but he won’t out-best me. Meanwhile, by God’s grace I’ll accomplish all I need to in spite of the interruption. May you also keep on keeping on.


Keep On Keeping On

All of us experience times when we want to give up on a task, a child’s misbehavior, or a particularly trying situation. I go through an occasional downtime when it comes to writing my weekly devotionals. My brain tells me it’s time to give it up after nine years. Isn’t that long enough? Wouldn’t quitting take some of the pressure off trying to finish other writing projects? They’re stacked up so high that it will take another century to make a dent!

No sooner do I ponder thoughts of quitting than I receive an email telling me how last week’s column touched a heart. Or someone will approach me with a hug and a message such as, “I clip all your articles and reread them and share them with my family.”

At those times, I realize quitting is not an option. For some readers, perhaps my messages are the only Gospel they read. For others, they are encouragement to stretch their faith … or to keep on praying … or to give them hope. Their feedback encourages me to keep on writing.

God uses people to encourage us when we most need them. He wants us to encourage others to keep going. God told Moses that he could not enter the Promised Land before he died because he had disobeyed God. Instead, Moses was to “command Joshua, and encourage him and strengthen him; for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which you will see.” (Deuteronomy 3:28)

I can imagine that Joshua needed all the encouragement he could get as he was about to lead more than a million people into an unknown country. He no doubt was familiar with all the people-problems Moses had faced during those forty years in the wilderness. Such a daunting task would tax anyone’s patience.

The apostle Paul also stresses the need for encouragement. When separated from fellow believers who were in spiritual need, he sent Timothy, “our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith, that no one should be shaken ….” (1 Thessalonians 3:2)

An encouraging word or gesture can mean the difference between giving up and keeping on, between joy and sorrow, between hope and despair.

Lord, we thank You for encouraging us—through Your Word and presence—to keep on keeping on. As we are encouraged, help us to consider every opportunity as one to bring encouragement to others. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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