Monthly Archives: August 2022

Encouragement – Wed – 22-08-31



Do you like all-you-can eat buffets? I’ve eaten at several different types, from Indian cuisine, to Chinese to southern American foods. One restaurant advertises a never-ending supply of soup and salad. When I travel, I like to stay in hotels that offer a breakfast buffet. Why eat just a roll when eggs, bacon, fruit and more are available?

We’re often attracted to the limitless supply of something good, aren’t we? One sandwich restaurant offered a lifetime supply of sandwiches to people who got a tatoo of their promotional logo. Would you purchase a lifetime license for software? How about a lifetime subscription to your favorite streaming service? Would you enter a drawing that offered a lifetime supply of your favorite clothes? I bet you would for a lifetime supply of gasoline.

God also offers us something that never ends. Listen for it in 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” (NIV)

Did you hear it? God gave us eternal encouragement. That’s a lot more than a lifetime supply! That sounds good, doesn’t it? And he can encourage our hearts with good words and in every kind of good deed. Better yet, unlike an all-you-can-eat buffet, you’ll never feel miserable enjoying the encouragement God provides.


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Encouragement – Tue – 22-08-30



Irrigation is a wonderful thing. Parched land can produce bountiful crops when irrigation applies life-giving water. If you fly over the western Great Plains of the United States, you often see large circles of green crops growing on the brown landscape below. Many of the processed foods, meat, fruits and vegetables we purchase at the supermarket rely directly or indirectly on irrigation. To irrigate, wells are drilled deep to provide the water that benefits so many.

Encouragement is much like irrigation. It changes the environment. People often live parched by the hardships and challenges of life. But encouragement allows them to thrive and produce. But encouragement, like irrigation, requires a plentiful source. What is the deep well that allows us to encourage others?

We find it in Titus 1:9, which speaks of a church leader. “He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.” (NIV) You see, sound teaching encourages others. The message of Jesus as taught in Scripture is the source that delivers encouragement. Well intentioned platitudes that violate God’s teaching may feel good, but they don’t water the soul. I challenge you to encourage others. In order to do this, dig deep into the bible and hold to the message of Jesus. It will enable you to encourage other with the truth.


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Encouragement – Mon – 22-08-29



We live in a selfie culture. People snap pictures or record video of themselves. Some use long selfie sticks to hold their phone. We post reports of our activities on social media. We even post pictures of delicious food we eat. But following Jesus is not about self. Christianity is not a selfie culture. Have you noticed Jesus never told us to love ourselves or encourage ourselves? Rather, we’re told to die to self, love others and encourage one other.

In fact, encouragement thrives in groups of people. Most can’t encourage themselves. We need to be like the players on a terrific sports team. They’re not simply talented people who play together. They are a community, a family, teammates who encourage each other. They cheer when a teammate scores. They also support the teammate who misses the shot, saying things like, “it’s alright, you’ll get it next time” or “hang in there.”

The fact encouragement thrives in a group is why we must meet with other believers in worship and small groups. Hebrews 10:25 says, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (NIV)

If you’re not gathering with other Christians on a regular and frequent basis, you’re missing out. You can encourage them and they will encourage you. Christianity is a “one another” culture.


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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.


Encouragement – Sun – 22-08-28



Arthritis can be a painful, debilitating disease. Joints become stiff, swollen and painful. Hard bony spurs may occur near finger joints. Treatment for arthritis may involve medication. Often it also includes exercises to improve or retain range-of-motion, strength and endurance. These exercises must be practiced on a regular and frequent basis.

Our spiritual health is also important. Our inner being can become hardened, unbelieving, even turning away from God. Sin’s deceitfulness can harden our hearts. Hebrew 3:12-13 warns about this hardening and provides the treatment. It reads, “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (NIV)

Much like physical exercise battles the effects of arthritis, encouragement addresses hardness of heart. Did you notice the passage told us to encourage one another daily? We need frequent and regular encouragement. We also need to encourage other people on a frequent basis. This is a challenge for me. I usually race from one activity on my to-do list to the next. Do you do the same?

This week the podcast will focus on encouragement of each other. And since it is still today, let’s encourage other believers and keep their hearts and ours sensitive to God.


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Visit Elmer Fuller’s author website at: https://www.elmerfuller.com/

Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.


Seven Churches – Sat – 22-08-27



I am amazed by the wealth of American citizens. We enjoy a terrific standard of living. Yeah, I know inflation is raging and the economy has entered a recession. Even though we may feel squeezed, the average American is wealthier than the vast majority of people in the world. We take for granted abundant electricity, food and water. We have appliances, cell phones and automobiles. We have access to doctors, dentists and pharmacies. I could go on, but won’t.

I wonder, does wealth make our faith in Jesus lukewarm? It did in the ancient city of Laodicea. The Christians there were wealthy for their day. Jesus also said they were lukewarm in their devotion to him. They were so lukewarm they made him sick. That’s essentially what it says in the book of Revelation. Jesus challenged them to repent. Revelation 3:21-22 contains his promise if they did. “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (NIV)

Two things strike me in these verses. First, are the words “just as I overcame.” Jesus also overcame challenges. He faced the cross. The second item is the hope for the lukewarm. We can overcome tepid devotion to Jesus. When we do, he will give us the right to rule with him.


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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.


Seven Churches – Fri – 22-08-26



Do you have a tattoo? Many people enjoy getting artistic tattoos. Some are a small flower. Others are elaborate patterns that cover an arm or back. I wonder if some still tattoo the name of a loved one on their arm. That was a popular trope in old movies. Sailors had the name of their sweetheart on their arm, or “Mom.” Tattoos are considered permanent. Would you like Jesus to give you a tattoo?

He made such a promise to those who overcame persecution. Listen to Revelation 3:11-13, “I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (NIV)

Jesus is not describing decorative tattoos. Nor is he simply talking about the names of loved ones, though we do love Jesus. These mark the permanent relationship between God and us, as well as signifying our citizenship in the new Jerusalem. Now that’s a tattoo I’d look forward to. How about you?


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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.


Seven Churches – Thu – 22-08-25



Do you like fancy clothes? Some people do. They enjoy a new dress or suit. For others, wearing clothes is not nearly as fun as shopping for them. Then there are the people who like old things which are worn and comfortable. Did you know, clothes are symbolic in the book of Revelation? Just like the old westerns, the good guys wear white. In fact, Jesus promises white clothes in Revelation 3:5-6, “He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (NIV)

Obviously, the white clothes indicate innocence. The name in the book of life refers to heaven. But what did they need to overcome in order to receive the white clothes? Their challenge was incomplete obedience to Jesus. Verse two reads, “Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God.” (NIV) They needed to remember the teaching of Jesus and obey it.

What about us? Do we profess faith in Jesus, but slack off on following him? Is our obedience complete? Are we paying attention to all that he teaches in his word? Today, remember the teaching of Jesus and obey him.


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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.


Seven Churches – Wed – 22-08-24



For much of my life, people have fought to clean up the environment. They have worked to reduce the pollution of air, soil and water. Some passed laws and regulations. Many picked up trash along highways and streams. We all know that pollution can produce toxic effects, including cancer and birth defects. We should also know about a different type of pollution – spiritual pollution.

The first century church in the city of Thyatira had a great reputation. They were increasing in love, faith, service and perseverance. But Jesus sent them a message in the book of Revelation. They had polluted the faith, teaching it was acceptable to eat meat sacrificed to idols and to practice sexual immorality. Jesus made a promise, if they overcame these problems. Revelation 2:26-29 says, “To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations– ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery’– just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (NIV)

The grant of authority mentioned here pictures ruling with Jesus at the judgement. The morning star is given as a symbol of royalty. To receive these things, you and I  must not pollute the faith by teaching or believing that sin is acceptable.


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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.


Seven Churches – Tue – 22-08-23



The day I wrote this, I voted in an election. I traveled to the voting place and selected my choices on a machine. When finished, the machine printed a ballot that I inserted into a scanner which counted it. The ancient Greeks also voted, but didn’t use a machine. They used colored pebbles. They used the pebbles for elections and for jury trials. When a jury voted, white pebbles were votes for acquittal. Using a black pebble cast a vote to convict.

Revelation 2:17 mentions a white stone. It is the word for a voting pebble. The passage says, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.” (NIV)

The church mentioned in the preceding verses experienced persecution, but never renounced Jesus. Yet they compromised their faith. They were sexually immoral and ate meat sacrificed to idols. They believed in Jesus, but compromised in these areas. Jesus warned them to repent and promised the white stone if they overcame. The new name on the stone likely refers to Jesus’ name.

We must overcome any compromises of faith. We must follow Jesus in all areas of life. He will acquit us if we trust and obey.


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Visit Elmer Fuller’s author website at: https://www.elmerfuller.com/

Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.


Seven Churches – Mon – 22-08-22



In some countries today, you can lose your job for following Jesus. Other acts of persecution include theft of property, beatings, imprisonment and death. Sometimes a mob persecutes Christians. At other times, the government does. Persecution of Christians has existed since the church began. The book of Revelation includes encouragement for persecuted Christians.

This week, the podcast is looking at the messages to the seven churches found in the book of Revelation. Specifically, we are looking at the promises to those who overcome. We all have something to overcome. Yesterday we looked at the promise to those who overcome legalistic obedience to Jesus. Today, we look at the promise to the church in Smyrna. They were persecuted with imprisonment and death. But Revelation 2:11 promises, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.” (NIV)

The previous verse indicates overcoming means being faithful to Jesus during persecution, even to the point of death. Those who are faithful will not be hurt by the second death. Revelations 20:14 indicates that the second death is the lake of fire where unbelievers are punished at the judgement.

Western culture is turning more hostile to Christian values in the workplace, social media, and educational institutions. Some have lost jobs or their business. But we must overcome by steadfast faith in Jesus.


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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.


Seven Churches – Sun – 22-08-21



I love to eat dark chocolate. I often have a couple of pieces in the evening. Oh, ok, more than a couple of pieces. But a little dark chocolate is supposed to be good for you, right? We all have a favorite treat, don’t we? But dark chocolate is a luxury. It is not my right. I can’t demand the government provide it. No injustice occurs if I don’t get it. 

Did you know the bible talks about something we will eat that is a right? Revelation 2:7 says, “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” (NIV) Think about that. The tree of life represents eternal life with God. The paradise mentioned is heaven. Jesus gives those who overcome the right to eternal life.

I suppose we should stop and ask what is it we must overcome? The verse is taken from a message to the church at Ephesus. Jesus praised them for their obedience and sound doctrine. But he rebuked them for leaving their first love. In other words, they were legalistically obeying the rules, but not loving Jesus. This passage challenges every Christian. We must obey Jesus’ commands. But obedience doesn’t earn heaven. We must overcome any legalistic attitude. If we do, Jesus gives us the right to eat something far better than dark chocolate.


How to leave a review: https://www.sparkingfaith.com/rate-and-review/

Visit Elmer Fuller’s author website at: https://www.elmerfuller.com/

Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.