But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. 2 Corinthians 2:14

LIFE TRIUMPHS OVER DEATH. When Jesus died on the Cross, everything looked like a failure. But when He rose from the dead, it turned into victory over death and sin! Whatever you have been through, however you have messed up, Jesus wants to forgive your sins, give you a fresh start, and lead you in triumph.

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Let’s Get Ready for Easter

Most of the crowd spread their coats in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road. The crowds going ahead of Him [Jesus], and those who followed, were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!” Matthew 21:8-9

1. HONOR JESUS. Jesus is the Messiah and He fulfilled every prophecy about Himself, and some day soon Jesus is going to come back. In the meantime, we are to exalt and acknowledge Him. And just like the crowds cried out “Hosanna!” (“Save us!”) when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, we are also coming into a time when our city, our nation, and our world will be stirred to ask for God’s salvation.

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How to Be a Carrier of Encouragement

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29

1. RESIST NEGATIVITY. Words are powerful. They can contain either hurt or healing and they can contribute to someone’s suffering or to someone’s cure. The Greek word for unwholesome in Ephesians is translated rot. So, just like the expression “one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch,” one complaining person can contaminate a whole group of people.

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Benefits of Getting Into the Word of God

Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts. . . For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:7, 9

1. WE LEARN GOD’S THOUGHTS. God’s lowest thoughts are higher than our highest thoughts. As we invest our time in reading the Scriptures, our minds get renewed (Romans 12:2) and we trade in our smaller way of thinking for God’s amazing, big beautiful, eternal thoughts!

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Ways to Get Strengthened!

But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:6

FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD. God is all powerful and when we draw near to Him, strength will come. His presence shifts us from surviving to thriving. Delving into the Word of God and spending time in God’s presence will strengthen your heart. If you feel worn down by life, take time like Jesus often did to “slip away to the wilderness and pray” (Luke 5:16). The Creator of the Universe has everything you need—all the strength, all the power, all the insight, all the guidance. And always try to remember what Daniel 11:32b proclaims: The people who know their God shall be strong and do exploits!

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God’s Power and Promises Are for You

These who have turned the world upside down have come here too. Acts 17:6b NKJV

The people in the Book of Acts were living so effectively it was rocking the world around them. They had a message that was life-changing, and they were doing life together with a heart of faith and a resolve to follow God. When they came on the scene, their words were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, and signs and wonders followed them.

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The Outcome of Seeking God

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. Acts 1:8

1. RECEIVE STRENGTH. We can strengthen ourselves in the Lord during difficult times (1 Samuel 30:6). Instead of backing down when we hit a challenge, we can draw near to God and remember what He has already brought us through; we can sing praises to Him; we can stay in the Word; we can stay connected in church and hear teaching to help us get strengthened.

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Why Words Matter

By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. Hebrews 11:3 NKJV

1. WORLDS ARE FRAMED. The whole universe is held together by the word of God’s power (Hebrews 11:3). What’s going to frame your world? Will you yield to doubt and fear? Cave in to depression? Instead, let the promises of God fuel your faith.

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Five Ways to Get Strong!

1. PRAISE YOUR WAY TO STRENGTH. God is so good! He is worthy of praise! It pleases Him and, interestingly, He designed it to benefit us! He’s looking for worshippers who will worship in spirit and in truth. Worship and praise are weapons against fear, despondency, and stagnation. It will drive away introspection and fortify your faith.

But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. Acts 16:25-26

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Fountain of Life

The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life. Proverbs 10:11a

WHAT’S FILLING YOUR RESERVES? When we get our hearts filled with the truth of God, it will not only benefit us personally, but abundant life will flow out of us for others. Value the Scriptures. What you value, you focus on, and what you focus on, you’ll speak out.

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Adequate & Equipped

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

1. BUILD YOUR FOUNDATION ON THE WORD. God has given us His Word to provide substance to our spirits so that we can be “adequate and equipped for every good work.” Jesus describes a person who acts on His words as a wise person who built his house on the rock (Matthew 7:24-27). When we build our lives on God’s Word, then—when the storms of life hit—there is a solid foundation.

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Designed for Durability

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him. Psalm 28:7

1. LET GOD LIFT YOU. When King David had to strengthen himself in the Lord after a hard battle, it wasn’t easy. He wasn’t well rested; he wasn’t feeling spiritual; he didn’t have anyone else to encourage him. But still he got into God’s presence and received direction and encouragement (1 Samuel 30:6). Whatever circumstances you find yourself in, however depleted you may feel, seek the Lord—He has answers and strength for your every need!

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How to Strengthen Yourself in the Lord

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Ephesians 6:10

1. ENTER INTO GOD’S PRESENCE. God has strength corresponding to everything we need and everything we are called to do—both for today and for our entire lives. Prayer is not just a discipline or duty; it’s a delight designed as a bridge to help us enter into God’s presence. When we get in the presence of the Lord and start praising Him and thanking Him, joy and strength will come into our situations (Psalm 16:11; Nehemiah 8:10).

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God Is For You!

Work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world. Philippians 2:12b-15

1. BRIDLE YOUR TONGUE. The tongue is a powerful part of our lives. No human being can tame it alone—that’s why it’s so wonderful that God is at work in us, helping us. Grumbling and complaining can be habit-forming. But when we bridle the tongue, we will protect our own souls. When we can do all things without grumbling or disputing, we will see greater results.

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God Is at Work

It is God himself whose power creates in you both the desire and the power to execute His gracious will. Philippians 2:13 Weymouth

YOUR HELP COMES FROM THE LORD. Any Christian who has taken on any kind of responsibility knows that we can’t do it alone—our help comes from God (Psalm 121:2). God never gets weary. When you hang out with Him, His likeness rubs off on you, His strength gets into you. That’s why we must take time to connect with the power source.

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Hope for the New Year

For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4

1. LAY DOWN YOUR BAGGAGE. Before David conquered Goliath, he first left his baggage in the care of the keeper (1 Samuel 17:22). As we prepare to enter into some breakthrough seasons, we need to lay down the weights and sins that hold us back and run with endurance the race that’s set before us. (Hebrews 12:1).

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Three Reasons to Rejoice This Christmas

But as for me, the nearness of God is my good. Psalm 73:28a

1. GOD IS WITH YOU. God’s presence changes everything. In the Bible Gideon was called to lead his people out of oppression, but he was a reluctant warrior who was in a rough place. When God sent an angel, Gideon argued with him asking, “Why has all this happened to us?” (Judges 6:13). God responded: “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel . . . Have I not sent you? . . . Surely I will be with you” (Judges 6:14, 16a).

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The Ripple Effect

For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. 2 Chronicles 16:9a

1. STEP OUT. Your life can precipitate all kinds of repercussive effects. We can be inspired by people who have gone before us and changed the limits of what was possible—Chuck Yeager, who broke the sound barrier; Roger Bannister, who ran a mile in just under four minutes though experts thought it couldn’t be done; Abraham and Sarah who were called by God to bear a baby in their old age (Hebrews 11:12); the Apostle Paul, who was assigned to take the Gospel to the Gentile world. God has called us both as a church and as individuals to set precedents, to pioneer new things that will have ripple effects into eternity.

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God’s Plans. God’s Timing.

The people who know their God will display strength and take action. Daniel 11:32b

1. RESPOND TO GOD. The champions of the Bible are not unattainable superheroes. They are men and women who simply responded to God, believed the word that He had given them, and acted on the mission. That’s where they found the strength and that’s where we too will find the strength to complete our course.

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Run Your Race

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1 NKJV

1. LAY IT DOWN. Every day, minute by minute, we can cast our cares on the Lord. If stuff has happened to discourage you, then enter into God’s presence with thanksgiving and watch Him lift your heart and head as you praise Him and lay down every weight.

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Get Activated

From whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. Ephesians 4:16

1. CALLED TO EFFECTIVENESS. St. Louis Family Church was established in 1988 with the goal to honor God and help people. Jesus, the Head of the Church, is doing great things worldwide, and we are part of it. Together and as individuals we have a mandate on our lives to carry light and fire to the next generation.

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The Value of Gratitude

As He [Jesus] entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; and they raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they were going, they were cleansed. Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. Luke 17:12-16a

1. THANK GOD FOR WHAT HE’S DONE. Ten men were healed, but only one turned back to give thanks while the others were so excited they took off to re-enter society. We don’t want to be part of the group that forgets to be thankful. Thanksgiving week is a moment for us to pause, shake off an ungrateful heart, and start to celebrate and count our blessings.

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Get Equipped

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Acts 1:8

1. WALK IN GOD’S POWER. God has called us to go out and change the world but only when we are clothed with His power (Luke 24:49). Though we live an earthly life, we do not fight an earthly war (2 Corinthians 10:3). God has made available spiritual weapons to believers—like the Name of Jesus, the Blood of Jesus, and the Word of God.

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A Different Way of Thinking

The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior.” Then Gideon said to him, “O my Lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?” Judges: 12-13a

1. GOD USES RELUCTANT WARRIORS. When God called Gideon to step up and rescue the people of Israel, Gideon responded with excuses: God’s abandoned us; I’m the least important and the youngest; if this is You, God, prove it. He was expressing attitudes that had been formed by years of oppression and disappointment. But God was introducing Gideon to a new way of thinking.

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Empowered for Effectiveness

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Acts 1:8

1. CLOTHED WITH GOD’S POWER. These famous last words of Jesus before He ascended to heaven show that He did not leave us powerless. We can go out into the ridiculousness of a challenging world with confidence, knowing that He has clothed us with “power from on high” (Luke 24:49), and that it’s as available for us in the twenty-first century as it was for the Early Church.

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