Compassion Encouragement

Happy Saturday Friends. I want to share some encouragement with you as we all need encouraging from time to time. Today I want us to think about how encouraging compassion can be for those who receive it as well as those who give it. It is a key component I believe of Christians, yet those who don’t really know Christ have the ability to have compassion as well. It is a gift from God.  I saw a video this morning that showed true care and compassion towards animals. For encouragement to our church family, my pastor’s has a daily devotion online since some are still on lockdown. This week he has been going through creation and how as creation was done, it was methodical. Each part of creation was essential to the next part of creation. For example the sun, moon and stars were created before much else was to establish the ability to mark time, and to give us light – a separation from all darkness. Plant life, which needed the light that was earlier created, was then created to sustain life that came after it as food supply and for the air we breathe. We breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, plant life breathes in carbon dioxide and exhales oxygen. It is all important for survival. We support each other. And later animals were created right before man and man was created to care for the animals. Of course that changed with the fall but the intent was care, compassion…and mutual love.

While Genesis 1:26 reminds us that we have dominion over animals, Proverbs 12:10 reminds us to do it with compassion.

I am always encouraged when I see people going above and beyond in caring for animals who find themselves in a no win situation. The video below shows the compassion of a group of men who found a dolphin that had been washed up by Hurricane Laura landing the dolphin in a pond 9 miles away from the ocean. They came together to safely capture the dolphin and take it back to the ocean. It was most encouraging.


https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/video/hurricane-lauras-storm-surge-traps-bottlenose-dolphin-miles-from-the-ocean

God made us all with compassionate hearts towards His creation, not only to the nature side but also to the human side. Where would any of us be without the compassion from others. WE all have struggles. The definition of compassion is a strong deep feeling of sympathy and sorrow for anyone or any creature who is hurting in any fashion. Jesus is our greatest example for us to learn by, as He was compassion for us and taught us how to have compassion and use it to further His kingdom.

When we think of the compassion God always has towards us, we should embody that compassion for others. We should always be on the alert to share His love in any encounter we may face. We all know many friends or family members right now who are fighting health issues, hurting emotionally, scared, wondering what’s next and we should always be ready to reach out to all of them to let them know we are here ready to help in any way we can and that we are to fervently pray for them. Tonight, I lift my heart out to all who are hurting in any way and hope this prayer below brings you a  moment of encouraging peace and compassion. 

And as sad or hopeless you may feel, know there is always kindness out there for you to receive and share wherever you can. Sometimes it needs to start from you first and then blossom to a beauty you didn’t know existed.

Never, A Christian Perspective

The word NEVER is an absolute value even though it has nothing to do with math. And when we hear the word never we think of negative actions like “I will never”. In math, a true absolute value removes any negative sign in front of a number making it a positive value. I could not wrap my head around that when I was in college 50 years ago so I surely can’t do it now but…it makes perfect sense when we think of Jesus.

He will NEVER leave you…that is about as positive as you can get. It was so important for God’s people to understand this idea that so He said it again 2 verses later.

Even as far back as Genesis, God reminded us that He would always take care of us. He always honors His promises.

The writer of Hebrews reminds us again….

All through the Bible, we are reminded that he will never leave us – Joshua 1:5, Psalms 94:14, Isaiah 41:10, Matthew 28:20, Revelation 3:10, just to name a few. It is important we do not lose hope when the world blows up around us. He is there, sometimes carrying us when we don’t realize it. There is a new song on the radio that when it comes on, I sing it out loud and raise my hand out the car window. It was written by Zach Williams and Dolly Parton sings a duet with him. I will post it at the end if you care to listen but I wanted you to read a few of the words because the song talks about us straying as we do sometimes …but even then He never leaves us.


There Was Jesus

Every time I try to make it on my own
Every time I try to stand, I start to fall
And all those lonely roads that I have traveled on
There was Jesus  

In the waiting, in the searching
In the healing, in the hurting
Like a blessing buried in the broken pieces
Every minute, every moment
Where I’ve been or where I’m going
Even when I didn’t know it
Or couldn’t see it
There was Jesus 


 No, I never walk alone
Never walk alone
You’re always there


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BU0P19V_EFs
Always remember He is as close as your reach so let that fill you with hope to face whatever you have to face and try to do it with kindness.

Have a blessed day.

What Defines Us

We are defined not by what happens to us but by how we react to what happens to us.

In a Oswald Chambers’ devotion, he made a statement that I knew but he shed a different light on it that I had not thought about before now.

“Our Lord’s temptations and ours are in different realms until we are born again and become His brothers. The temptations of Jesus are not those of a mere man, but the temptations of God as Man.” Oswald Chambers  

When I look at it that way it makes me go – WOW. Temptation to me is an inner draw toward something we think we need but know in the end, if we really think about it, it will not be good for us.  It’s a trial, as it were, of free will in being faithful or unfaithful in a choice that affects you and possibly others. But James 1:13-18 reminds us that while temptations give into sin and sin gives birth to death, God’s perfect gift from above still shows how much he loves us…even when we fail.

But the statement that Oswald made that made a lightbulb come for me was this…

“satan does not tempt us just to make us do wrong things— he tempts us to make us lose what God has put into us through regeneration, namely, the possibility of being of value to God. He does not come to us on the premise of tempting us to sin, but on the premise of shifting our point of view, and only the Spirit of God can detect this as a temptation of the devil.” Oswald Chambers

But we can take courage in whatever we face because of what Jesus did for us on the cross…  

WE just have to remember that and stand firm…knowing at times we will fail…but God also knew we would fail, yet still He gave us a chance for eternal life.

It reminds me of the TV show years ago called Mission Impossible and the opening statement of each show saying – “If you choose to accept this mission”. Following Christ to me is very much a mission and we are in a mission field. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose but we are always loved…and saved. So come on everyone…

Sing praises to Him who Gives us HIS grace and let that be what defines you.

And he does not care if you can sing or not, it’s all joyful noise to Him.

Ans as always we close with reminders of Kindness. Kindness definitely defines who you are by how you react, so be kind.

The images I use are random pictures from the internet when I type in scripture verses or themes.

Evening Encouragement, Change

Good evening. Tonight I had a Zoom Bible study meeting. It makes me acutely aware of how much I miss Sunday School. And it’s not just Sunday School but how I miss seeing everyone, seeing how they are doing, getting hugs and all the loving things we do as a church family. I miss the family but I am ever so thankful for today’s technology helping us stay as connected as much as we can. In the late 90s, Tim LaHay and Jerry Jenkins wrote a series about the end times called the Left Behind Series. I thought this series was great and I ended up with the entire series, except for the two they wrote after the series was complete that talked about what was going on before being left behind. I bring this series up because when it was written 25 years ago, technology was not what it is today and the people in these books were able to connect with each other worldwide through satellites – well, that was fiction then but true life today. Our world has become very small with the abilities of computers today. But even though the world is changing around us – God and His promises never change.

The bible reminds us over 20 times through old and new testament that not only do His purposes never change, He himself does not change.

And in a world that sometimes seems crazy and  scary with it’s fast changes, we have the security of knowing HE NEVER CHANGES.
John starts off his book reminding us who God was, what the Word was and who Jesus was.

Then later when chaos was everywhere and fear was running rampant, the writer of Hebrews reminded the people of Jesus being God and He never changes.

That gives us great relief, courage, faith and hope in understanding that no matter how bad it may get, whether it be from a virus, conflicts or the sheer feeling of hopelessness, God is always there. I love the footprint message that reminds us how much He loves us.

So remember that He is always by your side, just reach up and He will grab your hand.

And as always, I remind you the value and power of kindness as it reflects the living expression of God’s love.

Things That Bring Us Peace, FOTD

This morning is another beautiful day. I walk around my small yard and thoroughly enjoy the peace God put there for me to see.

Especially after a night of police chases down our quiet street…twice. Proof that satan is busy all around us and now more than ever we need the rest and peace of Christ. Sarah Young reminds us this morning in her devotional Jesus Calling of the importance of resting in Him. Through the quiet restful time devoted to God we find His peace and love. He wants us to know how very much he loves us and it breaks his heart when we feel unworthy of His love. He said we were worth it and that we should never feel that we are not.

He will rejoice over you with His love

I think we sometimes gets caught up in idea that we need to earn our love from Him but with Him His love is boundless. And He loved us long before we started doing any type of work.

So I encourage you today to take joy in His love for you and let His light warm your soul.

And may He bring you Peace.

I leave you with some more beauty from my yard to enjoy Cee’s Flower of the Day. Flowers do make me smile and remind me of God’s love for us. And if they are fragrant, that is even better.

And as always, I remind you of the beauty and magic of kindness.

Power of Encouragement

Sometimes it is the tiniest thing we do, and that is usually done unconsciously, that can bring about the biggest smile from the encouragement it gave. I think it is so important to lift others up especially in today’s chaos. Coming home today, I got tickled with the radio’s encouragement as it was talking about the encouragement you got from flossing or not flossing. What?!?  Even now I can not put that together but as long as it got someone’s attention and they were encouraged, then it was worth it. Even the USDA had a cartoon campaign by building a car out of veggies to encourage kids to eat better. Encouragement can come in many different forms.

Eating a car may appeal to boys…

While I am from the south and love my veggies, I prefer the encouragement I get from Scripture and friends and then I just pass that encouragement on to other friends and occasionally here at my blog. According to google, the most encouraging verse in the bible is Psalm 46:1 –

I can see that as being a powerful encouraging verse but I am sure we all have a favorite that speaks just to us. Mine is in Proverbs – well one of the many – 

Personally, I need someone to direct my path because I am easily distracted by something like a butterfly and then I will fall in a hole in the ground that I didn’t see. But it is the love of His guiding hand, the gentleness of His whisper and the power of His truth that helps us cling safely to every word of His “training manual” and that is what keeps us encouraged. When we share it with each other or with those who don’t know His words, that is when we again remember just how powerful His words of encouragement are and we can again feel His peace surrounding us.

So, I am just passing on the encouragement I get from reading His words. The more we are encouraged, the more we can encourage others and the more we encourage others, well it just makes a ripple effect that can spread near and far…like tossing a pebble in a pond.

Think about how small the initial ripple of a wave is when first made that can grow into a enormous tidal wave. May we all be ripple makers of encouragement for each other and maybe this will make it a happier world. And as you encourage, remember the tiniest spark of kindness can have a bursting affect of sunshine, so always be kind.

From Frustration to Kindness

God reminded me today to “Sit – Breathe – Relax – Love – Be Kind”. We all have those days when someone just pushes all the wrong buttons. I don’t have those days often but they usually come about when someone…rather when I feel someone is being …no  I am not going to say that word… so I will say when someone does not use the intelligence you know they have. And when that someone is someone in your family…well family is different and can be more frustrating because you know exactly how they operate. But then I think about how I frustrate God and He definitely knows exactly how I operate. I am sure He does a lot of Sit – Breathe…well, you get the idea.

He teaches us how to treat others in any capacity that we encounter them, then He reminds us through the lessons of the Fruit of the Spirit how people need to be treated. If we are given a choice of being intellectually right versus allowing our heart to show kindness in how we behave…then being kind should always win out over being right.  And like my Pastor said in the bible study on Wednesday, it’s the trials and situations that we face that strengthens us so we can survive and hopefully bring others along with us who are watching us and how we behave and then they want to survive as well because with all the frustration we were still kind.

It is through His grace that we are saved and while we ourselves can not save anyone…we can show the benefits of God’s love and salvation by being kind, loving and supportive. As we are currently going through odd and difficult times, allow His strength to cover any weakness you feel as you breathe in His love. Then you can breathe out His grace for you and others around you. And together, you and God, will have all the strength you need for any situation.

I leave you with a little humor…that says a lot. Have a great evening and new day tomorrow.

An Encouraging Word, Joy

Good evening friends. I am hoping to spread a little “JOY” in your direction this evening and maybe bring a smile to your face.  I love the acronym below for “joy” as it helps put into perspective of how Jesus thought about joy. We as humans get it confused with happiness, as in emotion, and in reality it has nothing to do with happiness…to me, maybe love, as an action verb, is a better comparison. What can you see as a better comparison?

JOY
We are starting a new bible study at my church this week, a zoom bible study as its how the times are now. The study is based on the book of James and boy, James starts right out the box with his thoughts on Joy.
 
James 1 2-3
 
There is no fun in suffering and hard times. We are having a lot of those right now but if we get quiet for a moment and allow Jesus to overflow our thoughts, we can feel the joy rise up in us. Jesus reminded us in Mark that the things the world thinks we should care about can actually erode our joy as it pulls us away from the Word.
mark 4 19
 
But 1 Peter 1:8 reminds us that because we “believe in Him, we are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy”. It shows how on some mornings beyond all odds, we are able to keep going.
 
Nehemiah 8 10
 
Hebrews 12:2 puts a perspective on Joy that we sometimes forget but it is the main crux of HIS true JOY…His joy for us…
 
hebrews 12 2
 
Such a heartbreaking act of love He went through for us but such a joyous act according to Him. But we try not to dwell on the horrors of this gift and instead we dwell on the love of this non repayable gift and let the joy of it fill our hearts.
 
John 15 11
 
I leave you with these lasting words from Paul as he encouraged the Romans so you too can hang on to the Hope from the Holy Spirit and find your joy and peace.
 
romans 15 13
 
When allowing the joy and peace to overflow you, remember the kindness that can come from the heart because of the joy you may feel. Always be kind.
kind joy

Friends on the Couch

How many of you love to sit around and enjoy each other’s company? Envision a group of family or friends sitting around and laughing as they tell stories of old. Sometimes they are scary, sometimes they make us laugh and sometimes they make us cry. But being together with friends and loved ones is what makes the stories worthwhile.

friends

This morning as I read through the Jesus Calling devotional, I remembered many times of the full pleasure this brings us. I recently wrote a book showing how much fun this could be with wonderful groups of friends or family just sitting around telling stories from the past. But we need to remember, there is a very important friend we need to invite that desperately wants to be a part of our group, he wants to join in with our fun, laughter and tears and that would be Jesus. He wants to be a part of every moment of your life.

Jesus laughing

He can enrich our fun and turn our dull grayness to wonderful brightness. When we get stuck in the dullness of everyday tasks, we have a tendency to to forget life’s joy and we descend into the unfocused grayness of discouragement. But if we realize this is happening and refocus our minds and hearts back on Him,  He will lift us back where we need to be, guiding us back to Him on a wonderful bright path of joy.

Psalm 16 11

Yes, this sounds a little far fetched and an unreal way of thinking, but I promise it is very real and well worth the try. We were each created for a purpose that only He knows and guides and we are never meant to do it without Him.

Acts 17 28

His presence goes with us, wherever we may go. You may not feel His presence, you may even deny He is there, but I promise you He is always there. There is a saying that zips through facebook and other social mediums stating that while we prove to Him many times that we am not worthy of His love, He ignores it and loves us anyway. How can you not want that sitting with you on the sofa.

Hebrews 13 5

So my theory is this, if He is going to be there anyway, then offer Him a seat on the sofa and watch the room begin to glow with His love and presence. And when he reaches over to take your hand, grab it firmly in yours and hold on tightly, it will be a fantastic ride.

Psalm 63 8

I leave you with this prayer of encouragement.  Ask Him to remain close to you and guide your way…He has already said yes.

Thank-God-for-Endless-Love-Lamentations-3-22

And as always remember to be kind. It is the most under rated quality of mankind.

Elephant kindness

Encouragement from Isaiah

Good evening. I write this encouragement as I dance in my chair to an oldie but goodie CD from way back in 2000. What were you doing 20 years ago? A lot to remember and be thankful for. This CD, America’s Newest and Favorite Praise and Worship songs, has great songs like “Let Everything That Has Breath Praise the Lord” and a personal favorite “Ancient of Days”.  The song Ancient of Days goes along with today’s reminder of Isaiah’s word from Chapter 45, actually God’s words to Isaiah.  

The book of Isaiah is the first writing of the prophets and Isaiah is considered the greatest of the prophets. While he was loved at first, his message of gloom and doom did not sir well with the Israelites. None of us like to be called out for our wrongdoings. While the first half of the book is filled with God’s anger for all their sins, He always finishes with hope for those who chose to follow His ways. Chapters 40-66 are Isaiah teaching of hope for the future, their restoration and God’s continued promises. Chapter 45 is a favorite of mine as God shows His continued love for His people while reminding them who He was – “I am God, there is no other”. Enjoy the pictures I found with the scripture quotes from Chapter 45 as God explains who He is and how He has always loved us.

Isaiah 45 5
He is the one and only.
isaiah 45 7
He is the one who created all of this for His delight in watching us enjoy the beauty of His creation.
Isaiah-45-12
Have you been totally away from the city lights to see the magnificent beauty of the star filled sky…each star has a given name.
Isaiah 45 18
Created not in vain, He is the Lord, there is none else.
Since I am listening to music, I leave you with a song “How Deep The Father’s Love For Us”. If you choose to listen, the words are also on the screen so you can read as well as listen to the song and really get an understanding just how much He loves you.
Have a safe and peaceful evening.