No Apologizing

Christian Apologetic, and Social Commentary in a world gone mad

Tag Archives: encouragement

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!


I’ve been reflecting on graduation and everything that surrounds it.  Partially because I’m a youth minister and a lot of my students are graduating… partially because I just graduated with an MAR from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.

Anyway, when I get all reflective and nostalgic about graduation, my ADHD mind almost immediately travels to thinking about Dr. Seuss’ “Oh the Places You’ll Go!” If you’ve been around any graduations recently, I’m fairly certain you’ve seen, heard or read something about this book… For those of you who aren’t familiar here’s the basic premise:

Someone poetically encourages a young person (presumably their child) who is just about to go out and take on the world… They tell them that they will be great and awesome and do amazing wonderful and spectacularly successful things… except when they don’t, cuz sometimes they won’t… and sometimes they will have to wait for things… and sometimes there will be hard decisions… on and on… It’s a really cute way to say, “Hey, life happens… but I love you and I support you, am here for you and I want you to be successful – Go forth and do your best… I’m with you every step of the way!”

When you think about it, that’s a lot like God… In fact, He said a lot of these same things in His word…

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. ~ Matthew 19:26

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. ~ 1 John 1:9

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. ~ Psalm 27:14

We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. ~ Psalm 33:20

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. ~ John 15:18-19

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. ~ Hebrews 13:5

…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. ~ John 10:10b

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. ~ Matthew 28:18-20

So, here’s what my crazy mind takes from Dr. Seuss and these (and other) passages from the Bible…

  1. Whatever we decide to do as an occupation, our life’s calling is to be missional… That is, we are called to share Jesus’ love and work for the Kingdom regardless of how we pay the bills.
  2. Sometimes we are going to fail…
  3. Sometimes our plans and prayers require waiting – but God’s solution is always worth the wait!
  4. Life happens… but no matter what God loves you and will be there.
  5. If you are His child, He will support you and ALWAYS have your back and help you max out your considerable potential!

So, let me encourage you to go forth… take on the world… do your best… God is with you!!! Just remember:

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. ~ Colossians 3:17

A Thankful Prayer for Mothers (or Anyone Else!)


Mother’s day is a notoriously hard to preach on… I get both the blessing and the challenge of preaching today. As I tried to decide what to speak about I got more and more nervous… You have to decide whether to preach to moms or to children… Then there’s the complications:

  • Not everyone is a Mom, who wants to be
  • Not everyone has/had a great relationship with their mom.
  • Not every mom and child can be together on this day

What God led me to was to speak on Paul’s prayer for the Colossians (Col. 1:3-14).

What I found in this passage was a cycle of thankfulness and prayer that would benefit us all! But first, we’ve got to back up and point out a foundational premise… God wants us to be joyful, prayerful and, most of all, thankful – Regardless of our circumstances! (cf. 1 Thess. 5:16-18).

Paul showed us that our thankfulness will lead us to think of, and more importantly, pray for other people (cf. Romans 1:8-10; 1 Corinthians 1:4-9; Philippians 1:3-11; 1 Thess. 1:2-3; 2 Thess. 1:3-4; 2 Timothy 1:3-7; Philemon 1:4-7; Colossians 1:3-14) – hint, hint… if she’s living, this can and should involve your mom, regardless of the type of relationship you have! Fleshing out thankfulness through prayer starts the cycle that will pay dividends for your whole life.

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints…

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for youCol. 1:3-4, 9

It may be hard to be thankful for certain people – maybe they’ve hurt you… but the fact is that EVERYONE God has placed in your life has helped you to become the person you are. Being thankful for what God has done in and through both you and them will free us to ask God to work in their lives (especially if you are already thankful for them).

There is a good pattern in this passage (Col. 1:9-14) of what we should pray for other people often. We should ask God to help them:

  • Live a life HONORING of Him
  • PLEASE Him in every way
  • Bear FRUIT in every good work
  • Continue to GROW (in the knowledge of God)
  • Be STRENTHENED with all power to produce endurance and patience.

Next, we should ask God to fill them with Joy so that they will, then, be led to become more and more thankful for what God has done in and through them, which should, of course, start the cycle all over again.

If you look at the end of the passage there is a long list of what God has done for Christians, for which we should be infinitely thankful.  What this says to me is that our thankfulness isn’t tied to our friends and relatives – we CAN be thankful for them – but our attitude of thankfulness is not dependent upon the quality of our relationships with them! This is because it’s not about who they are or what they’ve done – it’s about what God’s done!

If we start this cycle of thankful prayer, for not only our mom or kids, but for most of the Christians in our lives we will be richly blessed… Because thankful prayer leads us to encourage and be encouraged by each others’ Faith and Love (cf. Col. 1:3-4)!

Let me encourage you to start the cycle today – and let the people you are praying for know about it!!! It will make a world of difference in your heart, your attitude and will add immeasurably to your joy!

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