Jacquelyn

Jacquelyn Van Sant lives in Mesa, Arizona, with her husband Bradley and their one-year-old son. She works as a web application developer for a large American university and is an active member of the Tempe SDA Church in Tempe, Arizona. In her free time, she enjoys singing, writing, drawing, and hiking. Jacquelyn wrote songs for Christian recording artist Jessica (Fisher) Cyiza's debut album New Life (2011).

Words to Encourage – Philippians 4:6-7

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7, ESV

There are many promises from the Word of God that I hold dear to my heart, and one such promise is Philippians 4:6-7. It provides instructions, of a sort, on how to let go of anxiety and receive the peace of the Lord.

The scripture tells us that we should take everything — no matter how small or insignificant it may seem to us — to the Lord in prayer “with thanksgiving”. Sometimes we may be so focused on sharing our needs that we forget the giving thanks part of the equation.

Even when our situation may seem completely terrible, be sure to give thanks to the Lord. Blessings come in many different forms. Some are quite obvious and others we may have to look a little harder for. We can give thanks for waking up this morning, for sleep during the night, for sunlight to brighten the day, for rain to water the plants, for gas in our vehicle, for enough money for bills, for the promise of a future with no pain or sorrow…

Most of all, we should always give thanks for the gift of Jesus Christ and His redemption. When we bring our needs and burdens to the Lord with thanksgiving in our hearts, He promises to give us His peace. This is not a worldly peace that comes and goes depending on our situation and emotional stability, but a peace that is beyond any earthly comprehension.

Peace in the midst of trials and storms. Peace when everything around us tells us we should be frazzled or depressed or fearful or worried. Peace that comes from knowing, no matter what, the Lord is ultimately in control.

Philippians 4:6-7 overlayed over a peaceful river in a forest with mountain views.

Words to Encourage – Proverbs 12:25

“Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” Proverbs 12:25, ESV

Giving our burdens over to our Lord Jesus Christ and accepting His gift of rest is not always easy to put into practice. Perhaps you are experiencing a continual challenge or ongoing situation, and you may find the emotions, fears or worries associated with it coming back even after you thought you let go of it.

Letting go of our burdens and everything connected with them is often not a one time action. We may have to do it repeatedly. It might be something that we do every day during our private time in commune with the Lord.

Even when we think we have cast something over to the Lord, we may have the tendency to “reel it back” onto ourselves. It is easy to fall into the trap of negative thinking, and negativity begets more negativity. If we are worried about something, the more we dwell on all of the possible negative outcomes, the more we feed that worry and it grows.

There is great wisdom in these words from Proverbs 12:25. Spending time with the Lord, relieving your burdens and worries, is the crucial first step in accepting the peace and rest He offers. However, there is another step: do not focus the negative. Instead, focus on “good words”, positive thoughts, or as the old saying goes, count your blessings. After unloading your cares to Him in prayer, remind yourself the uplifting and encouraging promises in His Word.

We all could use more words of encouragement. Challenge yourself today to share something uplifting and positive when you feel tempted to say something negative.

Proverbs 12:25 overlayed on a photo of a young man leaping for joy in a vibrant green field.

Words to Encourage – Matthew 11:28

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28, ESV

We all could use more encouragement. As we go through life, sometimes things happen that are outside of our control. Other times we have to face the natural yet perhaps unpleasant consequences of our actions and choices.

When the challenges of life are threatening to overwhelm you, do not struggle on alone. Turn to the Lord Christ Jesus for comfort and guidance. He is a loving and caring Friend who wants you to share the burdens of your heart with Him in prayer.

No matter what you are going through or how you got there, the Lord cares deeply about you. He offers you rest and peace even in the face of adversity and trials.

All He asks in return is that you let Him in to your heart so He can heal you. Depending on your wounds, it may take time to fully heal and, depending on your situation and struggles, you may stumble some along the way but never give up on trusting the Lord.

Friend, embrace the rest He has promised to give, for He loves you dearly.

Matthew 11:28 overlayed on a photograph of a woman looking out over a peaceful field of golden grasses.

Words to Encourage – Psalm 55:22

“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22, ESV

Continuing on with the theme of encouragement, many of us are carrying burdens we have collected throughout our lives. Some may be new and some may be old, but burdens are burdens whatever they be and they drag us down.

Whatever is weighing you down today, may you cast your burden on the Lord and allow Him to sustain you.

It is very easy to fall into the trap of self-reliance and trying to overcome our burdens through our own strength and ingenuity. However, I have found in my personal struggles that the more I try to do it on my own, the more overwhelmed I end up and the more out-of-control the situation(s) become.

There is a peace and calm that comes with letting go of that control and letting God handle it His way. So, Friends, let us set aside pride and self-reliance and give our burdens and challenges to the Lord Christ Jesus.

Words to Encourage – Proverbs 4:23

“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23, ESV

If you need some words of encourage this week, here is Proverbs 4:23. Sometimes life can really get to us and wear us down, but no matter what we are going through, we need to guard our hearts and minds in our Lord Christ Jesus.

It may be tempting to answer in kind, repay unkindness with unkindness, lash out at those who hurt us or do us wrong, or whatever the situation may be.

However, it is in times of great stress and turmoil that our true characters are revealed. Do we have a character molded in the image of Christ? Are we bearing the fruit of His spirit? Friends, let us guard our hearts.

Proverbs 4:23 overlayed on a photo of green ivy.

Loving the unlovable

Last Wednesday morning was like every other Wednesday morning: I dressed for work and packed everything the baby would need for a day at my in-law’s. Before I pulled out of our driveway, I said our usual prayer for safety on the roads. Then I began to sing some hymns and…

Continue reading

8 Intriguing Women of the Bible

Learn about 8 intriguing women of the Bible

March 8th is recognized as International Women’s Day, a day to call on ourselves and our communities to help forge a more inclusive, gender equal world. Unfortunately, women are more likely than men to be victims of abuse and murder. One in six women in America alone have been the victims…

Continue reading

3 Ways We Self Sabotage

Over the course of our walk with Christ, there will be times when the Lord will require us to have patience and wait on His leading. As we discussed in Grow your faith while waiting for God, waiting is not always easy for us to do. Yet waiting, the act…

Continue reading

A Response to Hate and Fear

A response to hate and fear. UNashamed.

This week, which began with the 240th anniversary of this nation’s independence and celebration of the various freedoms in which our citizens enjoy, has unfortunately seen the escalation of senseless violence and tragic loss of life in a number of incidents across the United States. Communities and individuals are overwhelmed…

Continue reading

Clean water and your health

“Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink.” Daniel 1:12, ESV A few years ago, I was shocked to learn that possibly up to 75% of Americans live their lives chronically dehydrated. I began to watch more carefully the type of…

Continue reading