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.

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, All He said was “Come”

Good evening. I hope this finds you all well. I wanted to share some encouraging thoughts this evening that I read this morning from Oswald’s Chambers’ Utmost for His Highest. I bounce between that devotion and Jesus Calling each morning searching for my morning jump-start. This devotion reminded me of Jesus’ simple request to us…”Come”.
matt 11 28
 
“God intends for us to live a well-rounded life in Christ Jesus, but there are times when that life is attacked from the outside. Yet it is never God’s intention that we should be anything less than absolutely complete in Him.” Oswald Chambers
 
Colossians+2-9
 
But when life erupts on us we get scared, lost or unsure of what to do, who we really are and what we are really worth and we start a self examination of self awareness. This is a dangerous practice that allows the door of doubt to open and our inner thoughts take over.
“Anything that disturbs our rest in Him must be rectified at once, and it is not rectified by being ignored but only by coming to Jesus Christ. This [practice of self awareness] only serves to sap your strength and slow your spiritual growth.” Oswald Chambers
 
Coming to Jesus is what nurtures us and gives us strength. 
 
John 7 37 38
When we are refreshed through His living waters we then can stand firm…we then can remind others of His living water. We need to forget sometimes that we are adults and that we think we control things. There are times we need to come to Jesus like small children and let Him carry us. After all, we are His children.
 
Mark 10 14
 
We all know this in our hearts but sometimes our mind gets in the way. We have to allow Him to teach us His ways and let Him guide us along the path of His choice.
 
Psalm 32 8
 
As we “COME” to Him, lean on Him, learn from Him, we can then allow our hearts to prove to our minds of the love, grace and mercy God has for us and find peace and comfort to stand strong.
 
Hebrews 4 16
 
I pray you find comfort from these chaotic times by feeling His presence. I leave you with this prayer of encouragement so that you can know you are cherished and loved in His shelter.
night prayer 2

Evening Encouragement, Special

As I am getting older, my daughter tells me my stubborn streak is getting stronger. Do you consider yourself a stubborn individual? I think all of us are stubborn to some extent, we have limits we will not cross at any cost. As we start to age, some of those limits get hung onto harder for fear we lose something if we give in….like physical abilities, independence, self worth…and the list goes on. It’s hard sometimes especially if you still have things you are trying to get accomplished.

I especially loved my pastor’s sermon on Sunday. He reminded us that we have to periodically regroup – even in our spiritual life.  Stop and focus on Him, Receive the blessing he daily gives,  and Believe he is always there for you. The hardest sometimes is to Stop…and then to believe…
The pressure we sometimes put on ourselves in trying to be the best…that “golden vessel” on this earth is not really what God is looking for. I saw a quote the other day that kind of puts this into perspective at least for me it does. 
 
“God is not looking for gold or silver vessels. He is looking for yielded vessels.” Kathryn Kuhlman, 1907-1976
 
Yeilding
 
Genesis tells us we are made of dust of the ground…that’s dirt. Not impressive at all, yet when He touches it, magic happens…
isaiah_64-8
We all have made things in our lives through the many things we do and we are proud of some of those things. Think how proud God is of you, His child. You are His creation. He is not asking for big things from you, just be yielding like wet clay and let Him mold you as His instrument…
Romans 6 13
Not an easy task per the world’s standards…but to God, it’s all he wants. Then he will take care of the rest.
Always remember how very special you are.
Psalm 139 14
I leave you with an oldie but goodie by Chonda Pierce, Potter’s Hand.
Have a blessed evening and always remember in everything you do…be kind.
kind right 2