Encourage Blog2023-04-28T16:33:25+00:00

Encourage-[en-kur-ij] to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence.

The enCourage Blog is weekly dose of encouragement in a world that is often filled with bad news. We offer life-giving entries each Monday and Thursday written by gifted women from across our denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). You can subscribe below to have them delivered to your inbox. With hundreds of blog pieces, you can search on a variety of topics in the search bar above to read and share with friends. Christina Fox, a gifted author, serves as our enCourage General Editor. If you are interested in submitting a piece, you can contact her at cfox@pcanet.org.

Sign up for our weekly enCourage blog:

The Blessings That Come With Forgiveness

LEAH JONES | GUEST “Birds fly. Fish swim. Christians forgive.” My husband made this statement in a sermon on forgiveness a few weeks ago and it resonated with me. With all the authority and confidence that could only be rooted in Scripture, he proceeded to explain how forgiveness is as necessary to the Christian as breathing. If forgiveness is free, good, and necessary, then we should be quick to forgive. There should be no withholding it. In The Miracle of Forgiveness, C.S. Lewis speaks of forgiveness as mortifying our resentment. It’s a practice we have to set on repeat. In fact, we may have to walk the same path of forgiveness 490 times (see Matt. 18-21). Forgiveness is a journey with many steps along the way—so we may as well get started. As I’ve studied and meditated on forgiveness, here are four things I’ve learned: #1: Forgiveness is Mandatory We must forgive. It is never optional. A lack of forgiveness settles in and festers. Bitterness takes root and anger turns to rage; hurt morphs into hatred. We begin to only see the difficulty in life and miss God’s goodness. Hebrews warns us to remember the grace of God, “lest the root of bitterness rise up” and cause great destruction (Heb. 12:15). These ramifications never stay isolated to one relationship. They creep in unnoticed and wreak havoc throughout our relational landscape...

Treasure in Jars of Clay

KIM CHURCH | GUEST It was science experiment day. My kids were buzzing with excitement about what they would get to do and see for this week’s experiment. As we opened our garage door that morning, we were welcomed by the equatorial sun and heat of the dry season in Uganda. With too many helping hands, we got our experiment ready to go. I made sure everyone’s eyes were on the set-up because we had one shot at this. I didn’t have extra supplies, and we didn’t have the ability to get more. I counted down… three, two, one. Just as I let go of the clip that would set the reaction in motion, there was loud banging and shouting at the gate to our compound. We all instinctively looked out the garage door to see my neighbor happily banging on my gate as she greeted us. Almost as quickly as we looked away, we looked back at the experiment to see that we had missed the entire split-second reaction. I instantly felt anger rising from deep within me towards my neighbor. I struggled to find the patience I needed to navigate my three crying children because they didn’t really understand why I couldn’t just do it again so they could see it. My neighbor continued banging on my gate expecting me to come let her in so she could visit. Again. Just like she had done the day before. And the day before that. And most days for the past 2 months. I went to the gate and begrudgingly let her in without properly greeting her because I was fuming, and I wanted her to know how much she inconvenienced me that morning. I went to get my husband to entertain her because I still had a garage of disappointed children that needed my attention. My husband, unaware of the science experiment mishap, warmly greeted her and welcomed her into our home. My anger was just about to explode like a pressure cooker that ran out of water, and I knew I needed to get out of there. I made a beeline for my bedroom at the back of the house and somehow managed to not slam my door and throw things around like I so desperately felt like doing. Like the self-controlled adult I tried to convince myself I was, I took deep breaths for several minutes as I regained my composure. When I felt like I had released enough pressure, I went back out to the front of the house where my husband and my neighbor were freely bantering back and forth. I sat down like a pouting child and refused to participate in the conversation. Sensing my frustration, my husband skillfully brought the visit to an end a short time later...

A Bible Study for Mature Audiences

SUSAN TYNER|CONTRIBUTOR What do cannibalism, child sacrifice, and church people all have in common? To answer, open the Book of Kings. Strange to combine those three in the same sentence, yet the writer of 1 & 2 Kings shows how God’s people can sink into the worst kinds of sin. But how can a family of four sitting in the pew every Sunday possibly be in the same category as Hannibal Lector? Find out by grabbing some friends to study Kings. Between Moses’s burning bush and the Christmas angels’ song, you’ll discover stories of kings and prophets, miracles and murder, and a tragedy on display for all who care to read it. But why would such a shocking book make a good Bible study? How can Israel’s degeneration impact one’s spiritual walk today?  I offer three ways they’ve helped me in mine. You see how sin creeps in. Kings starts off so well. As King David passed his scepter to his son Solomon, Israel was poised for greatness. She thrived under Solomon’s rule. However, underneath all the gold and glitter, the crown was cracking. Nine hundred wives plus three hundred concubines can do that to a man. Did they bring a lot of credit card debt into the marriage? Maybe PMS on a grand scale? No, they brought their false gods. And, by the end of Solomon’s life, his heart had fallen out of love with the LORD and in love with their foreign gods. Lesson? Close associations can steer your heart. Choose ones who have the same soul-spirations as you do. Solomon wasn’t the only king who was disloyal to the LORD. We see this sort of creep in—marrying those outside their faith, welcoming other faith traditions, and living a life less in line with God’s law and more in line with the world—all along the way in Kings. This flirtation with sin happened back then—and now. You see where sin can take you. By the end of 2 Kings, we meet Manasseh. During his rule, Jerusalem, God’s favorite city—the place where He put His name—was overrun by foreign religions. In God’s own temple stood an Asherah pole and in His court were altars ready for astral worship. This is tantamount to a husband inviting his mistress into his wife’s bedroom to wear her lingerie, try out her perfume, and sleep in her bed. In this case, God is the one betrayed. Ezekiel 6:9 states plainly how that made their God feel, “how I have been broken over their whoring heart that has departed from me and over their eyes that go whoring after their idols.” Whoring? Can we say that word in a Bible study? We need to because we may be as guilty as Israel was then. Kings challenges us to ask, who are our Asherahs, our Molechs, and our Baals today? We may not bow down to the sun, but do we bow before people’s opinions? Do we overcommit to please family or to impress co-workers? A church leader may not offer child sacrifices but would she drive her daughter to get an abortion to cover up a teenage pregnancy, serving the god of her reputation? While an Asherah pole isn’t front and center in our living room, do we look at our bank balance or God’s word more?...

Engaging with Christian Community

JAMYE DOERFLER | GUEST On July 1, 2017, our family of five pulled up to our new home in a new city with a 27-foot U-Haul and two cars packed to the max. Within an hour, five adults were helping us unload the truck. Mind you, we’d met most of these people only once before. One man, we’d never even seen in person—we’d only had a single Skype conversation. Yet here they were, near-strangers sweating and struggling to carry our heavy furniture and boxes of books. The night before, when we’d loaded the truck four hours east, about 15 people had helped—some inside the truck packing it tightly, others carrying the boxes and furniture, and still others cleaning the house. The week prior, women had helped me pack up the kitchen and dining room. Once the kitchen was packed and cooking became difficult, various friends provided dinner for us every night as we visited and said goodbye to those with whom we’d spent the last eleven years. As I walked through that week, I was struck by God’s wisdom in putting Christians in community with one another. All of these people who served us in such a tangible way? They were our church family, our brothers and sisters in Christ. We’d spent a decade with some of them; others, we had only just met—but we were already bound by the fellowship of the Church. Created for Community I have met Christians for whom church attendance and participation is considered optional. “I can be a Christian but not go to church all the time,” they reason. Or, “I just like to go on Sundays and get in and out,” as though church is like a stop at the dry cleaners. This isn’t what God intended for Christians. Consider these Scriptures: Hebrews 10:24-25: "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." 1 Thessalonians 5:11: "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." Galatians 6:2: "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." On June 30 and July 1 of 2107, our brothers and sisters were quite literally bearing our burdens...

Recent Posts


flower tile
Go to Top