"Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!"[Psalm 96:3]


Encouraging Words, By Jimmy Keyton

“Encouraging Words” was a free monthly E-mail letter from Jimmy Keyton, which was designed to encourage and challenge you in your walk with the Lord. This letter came from Jimmy’s heart and contains knowledge gained from many years of studying God’s word and from day to day experiences with God. These words can help you through the trials and temptations of life and will build your faith as you read about the Grace of God and how it applies to your life.

I wish that I had a ministry (January 2001)

“I wish that I had a ministry” is a phrase that I hear very often as I travel. Did you know that God has been especially training you for many years for a particular ministry? You might not have realized that, but it is very true. Do you remember those problems that made life unbearable? How did God work it out for you? Did you learn anything from the experience? Write down all those bad times on the left side of a piece of paper. Now write down how God got you out of it on the right side of the paper. God has used each of these problems to create a ministry for you. God is the answer to our problems and many, many people never discover that truth. God doesn’t waste anything! He uses all of these problems to develop His character in our lives and to create ministries for us. Your problems have ended up making you a very beautiful person as you reflect the likeness of Jesus in your countenance. Your ministry is to tell people that are facing those same problems that Jesus is the answer. Your witness to them will give them hope and cause them to seek the Lord. I hope you understand that you really are a very especially trained person who has a high calling from God to tell others about His Power and Love. This knowledge can change your life if you will put it to work!

I’m so glad (February 2001)

I’m so glad that God looks beyond my faults and my mistakes in life. As a man, I hate to fail in anything. The fear of failure is a driving force in many of our lives. Thank God that in Him we are free to fail. In fact the only ones who never fail are those who never “reach for the stars”. God is always calling us to move on, to stretch our faith, to trust Him more and more. It’s during the hard and trying times that we learn that God is able to meet all of our needs, no matter what they may be. Isn’t it wonderful to have a friend like Jesus who is always encouraging us to be our best and yet loving us when we aren’t? He keeps trying to teach me that, through Him, I can do all things. I’m so inadequate in so many ways that my inclination is to say ”I can’t do that” but He says, “ yes you can, you can do all things through me”. I am weak but He is strong!

The question is how do we appropriate this power of God? We have to die to self and ask Him to live His life in us. Jesus, be Jesus in me. It’s no longer me but it’s Jesus living in me. We are filled with His Spirit, basking in His Glory and moving to His drumbeat! What a wonderful Savior we have in Jesus. All of this is yours and mine for the asking. Ask, expect and receive!! Ask Him to impower you with His Spirit and to fill you with His love.

You are precious to God and He has great plans for your life. He wants to help you be more than an overcomer in this life. He wants the very best for you in all areas of your life. How does God see you when He looks down from heaven? Sue Wiatt, a friend and former Bible teacher of mine used to say, “ Lovely, Lovely, altogether Lovely” That’s how God sees you my friend. He loves you so much just like you are. Give yourself to Him completely and He will change what needs changing. You just relax and be yourself because you are wonderfully and marvelously made!!!

Last month I talked to you about how God will take your problems and turn them into ministries. This concept is found in II Corinthians 1:1-7. I am adding an attachment to this letter that will illustrate this principle as you read my testimony of how God did this in my life. He has blessed me in so many ways and I want to shout it from the highest mountains and the lowest valleys that everyone might come to have a personal relationship with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!! If you have a testimony that you would like to share with the world, I’ll be happy to put it in our testimony section of our Website. I start every day by going to a section of our Website called Word for Today. It’s a short devotional that helps me. I’d love to meet you there each day and meditate on God’s word for us together.

“What Do You Want Me To Do?”

“Thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that He is our Father and the source of all mercy and comfort. For He gives us comfort in our trials so that we, in turn, may be able to give the same sort of strong sympathy to others in theirs.” II Corinthians 1:3-5.

Look back in your life at all the big problems that you’ve had, the ones that just drove you up the wall. Write it all down and then write down the supernatural solutions for each problem. I did this and here’s what I saw.

I saw Jimmy Keyton graduating from Georgia Tech, a young man full of confidence, coming home to conquer the world, to make a million dollars and retire at an early age. He had everything he needed, a wonderful wife, a good business, great family and a fine education.

Then I could see this same young man some years later. His spirit was broken and his head hung low. Instead of making a million dollars, he owed about half a million. He even owed the grocery man for one whole year’s grocery bills. He was desperate. He was a failure. I remember leaving the plant one morning during those days knowing that Monday morning would end it all. Everything my father had worked for and everything I had worked for would be down the drain. All the hopes and dreams for the future of my children would be gone. You see, I needed fifty-two hundred dollars by Monday morning and I had tried everywhere to raise it, but had failed. I went home that weekend to wait out the final hours. I cried, I prayed, and I worried. I believed in God, but I didn’t know whether this problem would be big enough to ask for His help. Monday morning when I went to the office I received a letter from a long time customer of ours in Florida. He didn’t owe me a dime and didn’t even know I was in trouble. I opened it, and there was a note saying, “Dear Jimmy, we’ve had a real good year and would like to pay you next year’s storage bill in advance.” Attached to the letter was a check for fifty-two hundred dollars! Tears welled up in my eyes. I realized that God had heard my prayers, He was real, and He cared about what happened to me.

As I thought about these events in my life, I could just hear God saying, “Jimmy, take my hand, and I’ll lead you out of this mess you’ve made of your life. I want to teach you a few lessons as we go. First, I’m going to teach you to really love your wife, and to be a better husband and a better father to your children. I’m going to teach you all how to work together as a family, to stand up to your problems and not run from them. And, Jimmy, I’m going to let you see how poor people feel, how it is to be desperate. I’m going to let you wear their shoes and walk in their paths. I’m going to give you compassion for the poor and let you see how much they need hope and how much they need help. Most of all, I’m going to show you how they need Jesus in their lives. When you’ve learned all these lessons, Jimmy, I’m going to lift you up and make you Judge of the Small Claims Court. Literally hundreds of people will come to your office and they’ll all have the same problems that you had in your life. You’ll be able to witness to them, Jimmy, tell them how much I love them and that I’ll help them if they will turn to me”.

I have spent some of the finest hours of my life right there in my office praying for desperate people who needed help and who needed Jesus in their lives. And I’ve seen God reach down and touch their lives just as He did mine. These trials and hardships seem very difficult as we go through them, but with God, they all turn out to be blessings. They strengthen us as families and teach us about the faithfulness of God. Yes, God can turn all your problems into blessings. He turns them all into ministries so that we can help others and tell them that Jesus is the answer.

Making right choices (March 2001)

Making right choices will have a big impact on your future. Each choice you make brings you either joy and happiness or sadness and sorrow. You should therefore take time to pray and seek God’s will in all of your decisions. If you study God’s word you will have His wisdom concerning life’s decisions and will be able to make very godly decisions. Choices also require action to make them effective. Knowing what to do is not the end of making a decision. Once you have decided on the best choice, you then must act upon that choice in order to benefit from it. God wants to help you with your problems and He is waiting for you to make a move in the right direction. Once you make a move, He causes good things to happen, sometimes in very mysterious ways.

Sometimes your problems seem so large that you become almost paralyzed by them. You feel trapped and unable to do anything except to moan and groan and let fear take over your life. God is greater than any problem you have and He is willing and able to help you. First, you must cast out fear knowing that it is not of God. Then you must ask God to show you alternatives in this situation. Next, ask Him to give you His wisdom in making the right choice. Once you have the mind of Christ in the situation, you must act on that decision. You must be firm and steadfast until you have the victory. There is an old saying, ”winners never quit and quitters never win”. Keep on “keeping on” and don’t quit. God is with you and will give you the victory. We all like quick fixes but there are times that require great perseverance. To summarize: pray for wisdom in making a decision, make your decision, act on it and be persistent until you get the victory. Do this, trust God, and He will make a way where there seems to be no way. This is God’s plan for victory as found in a story about four lepers. Read it in 2 Kings 7:3-9.

Don’t ever forget that you are very, very special to God. He has great plans for your life and has angels watching over you. You are perfect in His sight and it gives Him much joy when you call His name. He is always with you, always loving and supporting you and always ready to answer your call. Know that all things are working together for good for you, causing you to be more like Him in every way. He lives in you and loves others through you. He is using you to make a big difference in many lives. Your smiles and your phone calls bring a ray of sunshine to others and brighten their days. Keep on loving people, for it’s in those unselfish acts of love that people see Jesus in you and are won for the Kingdom.

Secrets of happiness (April 2001)

One of the secrets of happiness is learning to live “one day at a time”. You can rob yourself of present contentment by constantly worrying about catastrophes that might happen in the future. “Might” is the important word in that statement. It has been proven that most of the things you worry about never happen. God has given you this day and has instructed you to live it to the fullest. When you worry you are not trusting God to take care of you. Do your problems seem bigger than God? Maybe what you need is more faith in order to enlarge your image of God. How do you get more faith? Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Read Psalms 23 aloud to yourself over and over again. Read the book of John aloud and you will experience faith welling up in you like a fountain. All of a sudden, your problems will seem insignificant in the light of eternity. God loves you so much and He has promised over and over again that He will care for you and meet every need that you have. It all comes down to this, you either believe God or you don’t. When you worry it means that you are calling God a liar. That is a sin and you should repent and change your ways. God said what He meant and meant what He said. You cannot believe Him and trust Him and still worry. Recognize worry for what it is.

It is simply unbelief. Life is a series of solving problems and God tells us that each day has its own problems. He tells us to solve these problems one day at a time. My father gave me some good advice that I have never forgotten. He said, “When you run into problems that seem too big for you to solve, always break the problem down into several smaller problems and begin to solve them one at a time until you have solved all of them. All big problems are just many small problems bundled together into one, making it seem impossible to solve.” Life is like that. If we try to solve all of the year’s problems at one time, it’s more than we can handle. God knows that and tells us to live one day at a time. Try doing that and trust God to meet your every need. Your life will be happier and less stressful.A young girl who was thinking about getting married figured that she and her husband would dirty about eighteen dishes, etc. each meal. These added up to about twenty thousand items per year. She wanted two children, so she doubled that figure making it forty thousand. She thought, “if we celebrate our golden wedding anniversary, I will have washed over two million dishes”. She decided not to get married; too many dishes to wash. Does that seem ridiculous to you? Unless you learn to live one day at a time and trust God to meet your every need, the story of your life could be just as ridiculous.

The duck and the chickens (May 2001)

God made a beautiful person when He made you! What do you see when youlook in the mirror? Is your beauty skin deep or does it come from radiance within? Has your self-esteem been damaged over the years by the hurtful words of others? Have you allowed other people to shape your opinion of yourself? Are you trying to live up to expectations of others and feel like a failure because you can never seem to measure up? Let me tell you that in the eyes of God you are wonderfully made in His image. He sees you as you were made to be and He loves what He sees. He loves you and wants you to be all that He created you to be. You need to relax and be yourself because you are a beautiful creation of God.

My son built a home out in the country and began to buy different animals that the children loved. They had a cow, several horses, goats, dogs and cats andthen one day he bought some chickens. When the man delivered the chickens they discovered that there was a duck in the group. Well, that duck thought that he was a chicken and it was really funny watching him acting like a chicken. In the mornings when the roosters began to crow, he would try to crow but all he could do was quack, quack, quack. He would look so frustrated. The chickens would walk around the pen scratching the ground and the duck would try but his web feet made it impossible. Whatever the chickens did, the duck would try his best to do but of course he failed day after day. My son tried taking the duck out in the boat and putting him in the pond where ducks should be but the duck would get out as fast as he could and run back to the chicken pen. The duck looked so sad and unhappy because no matter how hard he tried he just couldn’t measure up to a chicken.

One of my granddaughters asked me,” Why does that duck try to act like a chicken?” I told her that when the duck was a small baby, the farmer put him in with the chickens and treated him like a chicken for his entire life. He had clipped his wings so that he couldn’t fly and kept him penned up with the chickens so that he couldn’t run away. The duck never realized what a beautiful bird he was. He never realized that he could fly and be free. He spent his whole life thinking that he was a chicken because that was the way he had always been treated. He lived a miserable life trying to be something other than what God had created him to be. I know some people that are very much like that duck. They have been put down all their lives and have never been appreciated for who they are. Someone has always been trying to make them into someone else. Jesus can help us be set free from false expectations. He can give us the power to see ourselves like He sees us. His Spirit can set us free to be ourselves!! Yes, you are wonderfully made in the image of God and you are beautiful. Let Jesus lift you higher and higher until you finally can look in the mirror and see the beautiful and wonderful person you are!

God’s plan for you (June 2001)

You are a very unique person with very special talents and abilities. God has great plans for your life that will use these gifts. Some people seem to have more ability than others and it’s easy to look around at others and feel that we were short changed when God was handing out talent. His plan for each of our lives is so unique that we often overlook our abilities and talents and don’t realize that God’s plan for us includes all that we are and all that we are not. His strength shows up best in weak people. The most powerful people of God are always those who totally depend upon God’s strength. Our strength comes from God who tells us that we can do all things through Jesus Christ our Lord. Through the ages, God has picked very ordinary people to carry out work in the Kingdom. Each one has had his weaknesses, yet God has enabled them to become great men and women through the power of His Holy Spirit. If you allow God to use your talents and abilities, He will magnify them as He places His anointing on your life. God takes a little bit and does a lot with it. Don’t ever sell yourself short; He has great plans for you.

The bible speaks of many gifts and abilities and they are all very wonderful but it tells us that Love is the greatest of them all. Listen to these words found in 1 Corinthians13: 4-7.

“Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand it’s own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out. If you love someone you will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him.” Do you realize that this is how God loves you? God loves you and forgives you over and over again no matter what you’ve done or how many times you’ve done it. He loves with eternal love that never fails.

I’ll close by praying for you Paul’s prayer found in Ephesians 3:14-20.

“When I think of the wisdom and scope of his plan I fall down on my knees and pray to the Father of all the great family of God – some of them already in heaven and some down here on earth – that out of his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you the mighty inner strengthening of his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love; and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it. And so at last you will be filled up with God himself. Now glory be to God who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of – infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.”

God loves you (July 2001)

God loves you! Can you believe it? God loves you!! You are precious in His sight. He knows all about you, where you hurt and every need that you have. He cares and wants to help you in each and every situation.

Give Him all your cares and trust Him with all your heart. He is able to deliver you from fear and give you peace. There is no problem too small or too great for God. Always remember that God is greater than any problem you have! The problems you have are but opportunities for God to prove His love to you. I remember one day when I was opening the mail, my secretary came in my office and told me that we were $300 overdrawn at the bank. As she was talking I was pulling a check out of an envelope from a lady in Michigan. It was for $300. I rejoiced at the timing of the Lord. He’s the God of the midnight hour…always on time. I remember another time when our ministry was at the point of folding because we needed a ton of money to pay past due bills and taxes. I opened the mail and there was a check for $113,600. I cried that time and later laughed with joy at the grace of God that is always sufficient to meet our every need. Don’t ever give up on God! His mercies are everlasting and His goodness is forever.

God has great plans for your life (Jeremiah 29:11). He wants to use you to bless others in this world. You can make a big difference in the lives of others if you will give the Lord Jesus Christ control of your life.

If you are ready to do this, pray this prayer: “ Father, I ask you to forgive my sins. I accept what Jesus did on the cross for my salvation. I thank Him for dying on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins. I ask you to give me that mighty inner strengthening of Your Holy Spirit that I may be empowered and enabled to be all that you want me to be. I give you my life and ask you to use me to make a difference in this world. I pray in the mighty name of Jesus Christ my Savior.” Amen.

Facing Fear (August 2001)

Fear is a common enemy to all people. At one time or another in our walk through this world, we all seem to be faced with fear. Jesus tells us in the bible to fear not. Why are we afraid? Maybe our situation seems hopeless and we fear the prospects of failure and all of the consequences it will bring. Whateverthe reason for fear, it becomes an enemy to our peace and well being. It can absorb your thoughts and make you paranoid. Is your health bad? Have you lost your job? Are your relationships crumbling? Does life seem to be handing you some tough problems right now?

God knows about all the battles you are facing! He loves you so very much and wants to help you in each and every situation. Can you believe this and can you really trust Him? All through the ages He has come to those in trouble and delivered them and changed their lives. He has brought strength to the weak, healing to the sick, hope to the desperate, peace to the troubled, joy to the sad, comfort to the hurting and has met all types of needs in the lives of millions.

Fear is not of God. He came to bring us peace, love and a sound mind. Fear is a tool of the devil, which he uses to destroy many lives. We must recognize fear for what it is and come against it with the power of God’s spirit living within us. We have authority over Satan and his demons and we must exercise this power and free ourselves of fear.

Trust God!! He really loves you and cares about every need you have in your life. His love for you is eternal and doesn’t depend upon your goodness. He just loves you, period. You are special to Him and He has put angels in chargeof watching over you. You are more than an overcomer through Jesus Christ our Lord. You have the victory! Believe it and walk in it, as you trust Him to see you through all things that are troubling you.

Put fear aside and walk with Jesus. He loves you so much that He died for you to pay the penalty for all your sin. He has made arrangements for you to have eternal life! Give Him reign over your life and let Him give your life real meaning that can make a difference in this world!

You are one of God’s chosen people (September 2001)

I don’t know if you realize it, but you are a very special person. You are one of God’s chosen people. That’s right, He chose you! He chose you because He loves you so much. You didn’t do anything to earn this love. God’s love is unconditional and it’s free. You can’t do anything to make God love you any more than He already does. You also can’t do anything to make God love you any less. Isn’t that a wonderful thing to know? It’s hard to understand this kind of love. We have a tendency to want to earn His love but that’s not the way it works. You are very special to God and He has great plans for your life. His unconditional love can set you free to be yourself and enable you to fulfill that plan for your life.

Let me tell you from personal experience that God’s love is unfailing. He always is there for you no matter what you have done. When you have messed up so bad that all you want to do is hide, He still loves you. His forgiveness is unlimited and His love is forever. His grace is always sufficient. It doesn’t matter what problems you are facing, His love and compassion are there for you. He has come to me in my times of trouble and has met my every need. When things were so bad that there seemed to be no way out, God made a way. When my dreams were shattered and my heart was broken, He came and picked up the pieces and put them back together again. He has been greater than any problem I’ve ever had and He is greater than any problem you have!

Yes, God loves you and wants to help you with every need. You can count on Him for strength when you’re weak, for healing when you’re sick, hope when you’re desperate, peace when you’re anxious, comfort when you’re grieving and love, even when you’re unlovable. We have a wonderful friend in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Call on Him in your time of trouble and He will prove His love to you. Walk in this knowledge of His love and be more than an overcomer. Claim the Victory that’s yours in the mighty name of Jesus!!

Trying time in our world (October 2001)

These are trying times all over the world. Fear seems to have taken over and most people don’t know what to do. In times like these I’m glad we have a powerful Savior who loves us and promises to look after us and protect us. Jesus defeated death when He died to pay the price for our sin. We no longer fear death because we know that we are saved and have a home in heaven. Death for us will be a graduation day where we simply move to a better place to be with the Lord and those we love that are already there waiting for us.

You are a very special person and God has put angels in charge over you. He will always be there for you and will protect you from harm. You have authority over fear and must take charge and cast it out from your life. God gives us power, love and a sound mind. Fear is from the devil and we must recognize that and deal with it. Greater is He who is in us than he that is in the world. We serve a mighty and powerful God and He is able to take care of us.

This tragedy at the World Trade Center has made the world turn to God for help. Many are seeking the Lord and are finally realizing that they need help. It takes a tragedy sometimes to cause us to look for God. The good news is that if you truly seek God with all of your heart, you will find Him. Be sensitive to those around you and be ready to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with them.

I can’t imagine anyone believing that God would have them kill innocent people. They have a horrible view of God . We know God to be loving and caring and compassionate. The world needs Jesus and we are commissioned to carry His love to them. You are God’s messenger for this time. Be brave, be bold and be full of His love so that the world might know that He is alive. Give them hope for the future and comfort in their time of grief. God bless you as you stand firm in your faith in a wonderful Savior who loves you!

Chosen by God (November 2001)

You have been chosen by God to represent Him on this planet. He has put His Spirit in you to give you the power to be effective in your life. His power working through you makes you a very special person indeed. His love moving through you shows the world a better way to live. Jesus is a marvelous Savior who loves the world and has a wonderful plan to help its people. You and I have been chosen to carry His message to this world and to show them His plan, which will bring love and peace to their lives.

Why did God choose you? What did He see in you that caused Him to choose you? Was it your talents or your good looks? Could it have been your intelligence or your education? Could it have been because of your family or maybe your political influence? As great as all of these attributes are, I don’t think they influenced His decision to choose you. His decision to choose you was based on one very simple but profound fact. He loves you!! God loves you and that’s all there is to it!! He just loves you!!

You truly are a very special person and I’m glad to have an opportunity to communicate with you. God wants me to encourage you! We all face many trials in this life and find ourselves in troublesome situations. The word from God for you is that you are special and He loves you very much. Because He loves you, He is going to see you through every situation and is going to give you victory. Where there is sadness, He is going to bring joy. Where there is hate, He is going to bring love. Where there is failure, He is going to bring success. Where there is depression, He is going to bring hope. Remember that He loves you and always wants the best for you. Give yourself to Him completely and let Him use you. Always remember that you are special. He chose you!!

The Christmas Season (December 2001)

I love the Christmas season. It seems like people are friendlier and more caring during the holidays. The love that God showed us when He sent Jesus to be born in a stable spills over in our hearts. He showed us the greatest love possible when He gave His Son as a sacrifice for our sin. The Grace of God that exemplifies itself in the birth of Jesus is the greatest love story ever told.

Most people of the world are trying to earn their salvation by doing good deeds. They think that if their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds that they will earn a place in Heaven. I felt that way myself at one time and I can tell you that life under the law is like trying to walk on eggs without breaking one. It is impossible to keep the law so I always failed and felt very guilty. Then one dayI heard and understood the “Good News” that Jesus died for my sin and paid the price for my salvation. I accepted His sacrificial death on the cross as my salvation and received Him into my heart. He then filled me with His Spirit and changed all my “want to’s”. Now I no longer want to sin but I do want to do good. I now do good, not to be saved, but because I am saved. I don’t have to do good, I get to. What a wonderful change Jesus made in my life.

When you see the pictures of the little baby Jesus, just remember that He left Heaven and was born on earth because He loves you that much. He fulfilled His purpose when He died on the cross to pay the price for your sin and to give you eternal life. Salvation is yours as a free gift from God. Accept His sacrifice as your salvation and receive Him into your heart. Wow!! What a glorious change will take place in your life. You are so very special and God has wonderful plans for your life.

I’m praying for you and your family and wish for all of you a Christ filled Christmas!

Lifeline Ministries, Inc.
525 S. West Street, Bainbridge, GA 39819
Phone 229.228.5051   Fax 229.246.8007