When I Don’t Feel Like Trying Anymore

Photo from cnn.com

I was one of the millions of people blown away by Mandy Harvey’s inspiring performance on America’s Got Talent. Mandy, 29, explained to the judges that she had been singing since the age of four, but due to a connective tissue disorder, she lost her hearing at age 18. As an amateur musician and avid music lover myself, I well-comprehended the devastation stemming from the loss of this irreplaceable sense. Mandy told the judges, “After I lost my hearing, I gave up, but I want to do more with my life than just give up.”

After sharing her story, Mandy opened her mouth and sang (watch the full video by clicking this link). Her clear, pitch-perfect voice, soared through the hall, to jaw-dropping astonishment.

She sang. I cried. 

I know that feeling she sang about—the feeling that you are giving it your best and your best is never enough; the feeling that no matter how hard you try, you keep on getting knocked down.

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Keep on fighting (day 23 of the #encourage marathon)


Fight the good fight of the faith.

Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

~ ‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭6:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Welcome to mile marker 23 of the #encourage marathon. (If you missed yesterday’s post, you can read it here.)

Someone out there is tired of fighting. It might even be you.

We spent three days of the marathon talking about the armor of God:

Once you’ve equipped yourself for battle, it’s time to engage in the fight.

Ephesians 6.12  describes what we are up against:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

As much as I would love to see peace on earth, the cynic/realist/pessimist in me knows that if 1 billion people laid down their arms, there’d be at least 100 people secretly hoarding the deadliest weapons in order to stage a takeover. Satan has no desire for mankind to dwell peacefully together, being the original manufacturer of strife. So, let’s get real, and face the fact that as long as we are alive on this earth, there will be all sorts of wars—wars of words, wars of ideas, wars of conquest, wars of greed, wars to overthrow injustice, wars to resist oppression, and wars to depose dictators.

What battle are we called to fight as Christians? Continue reading

Keep on keepin’ on. (Day #13 of the #encourage marathon)


“As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.”

2 Thessalonians‬ ‭3:13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Welcome to the halfway point of our #encourage marathon! (If you missed yesterday’s post, you can read it here.) **Please note, there is a typo on your PDF for today’s passage  it should be 2 Thessalonians 3.13 not 5.13**

Someone out there is wondering if all their hard work is worth it. It might even be you!

Do you ever wonder what it was like to be Jesus?

There is an old joke that has floated around for years highlighting the challenge of teaching:

Jesus took his disciples up on the mountain and gathered them around him. And he taught them, saying “Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are the meek. Blessed are those who are persecuted. Blessed are those who suffer. When these things happen, rejoice, for your reward will be great in heaven.”

And Simon Peter said, “Do we have to write this down?”

And Phillip said “Is this going to be on the test?”

And John said, “Would you repeat that, slower?”

And Andrew said, “John the Baptist’s disciples don’t have to learn this stuff.”

And Matthew said, “Huh?”

And Judas said, “What’s this got to do with real life?”

And then one of the Pharisees, an expert in law, said, “I don’t see any of this in your syllabus. Do you have a lesson plan? Where’s the student guide? Will there be a follow-up assignment?”

And Thomas, who had missed the sermon, came to Jesus privately and said, “Did we do anything important today?”

And Jesus wept.

It’s funny because students actually say those things and Jesus’ disciples were known for missing the mark a few times.

I can only guess how frustrating it must have been for Jesus to teach his disciples for three years, only to have them say things like, ‘what’s going to happen to this disciple?’ or ‘Are you now going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ or ‘Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.’

I can’t fathom his disappointment in their lack of faith, their shortsightedness, and their forgetfulness. It could be one of things he prayed about so often. Parents who teach their children about good behavior, good habits and manners feel a similar frustration when their kids repeatedly fail to adhere to what they’ve been taught.

Are these efforts futile? Not in the least!

Of the 12 apostles, only one went rotten and betrayed him. The other eleven committed their lives to Christ—preaching the gospel, teaching the church, and remaining steadfast in suffering and death. During Jesus’ life, it seemed as though they would never get it right, but the teaching and training obviously stuck.

Likewise, as a parent, the training is a constant effort involving relentless repetition and consistency. It may appear to be futile at the moment, but someday it’ll sink in! Before you know it, they’ll be responsible adults. There is always the possibility that they’ll choose to ignore your teaching (that’s called free will, by the way), but your job is to keep on teaching and to pray earnestly for them.

In whatever way you serve—parent, teacher, preacher, elder, deacon, mentor, friend—do not grow weary in doing good. Remember that you are working for the Lord who will not despise your obedient effort. We may or may not get to see the fruit of our labor a here in this life, but we will see it in the next.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

~ Colossians‬ ‭3:23-24‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Keep on keepin’ on. It’ll all be worth it someday.

I hope you’ll continue to join me on Facebook, Twitter and here at Elihu’s Corner for this marathon. Share the image or verse reference on your Twitter feed or Facebook page with the hash tag (#encourage). Take time today to copy down this verse for yourself. Send an email or text to someone you know who would benefit from this encouragement.

Make a little time each day to write down these verses. Studies have shown that the physical act of writing increases retention far more than typing or reading. When I was in college, I used to recopy my notes—cleaning them up, adding things I remembered, and placing emphasis on important facts. Because of this effort, I rarely had to cram for midterms or finals. I encourage you to make a practice of copying Bible verses, it really does help in the effort of committing the word to memory.

[If you click on the link in the passage at the top of the post, it will take you to BibleGateway.com. From here, you can click a link which allows you to share directly to Twitter, Facebook or send an email.]

If you missed the original post listing all 26 passages, click here to download the PDF list.