Monday, March 26, 2018

Encouragement

Who doesn't like to be encouraged?  Everyone likes to hear, "you did a great job" or "you are very talented" and the list goes on and on.  Everyone needs encouragement at one time or another.

One of the most well-known encourager in the Bible is Barnabas.  Barnabas was chosen to spread the gospel.  He was drawn to people he could encourage and he helped those who were around him.  Barnabas' life shows us that we are all in situations where we can encourage someone.

So often, we want to criticize someone instead of encouraging.  Barnabas understood that the best way of helping someone or building their trust, you need to lift people up instead of bringing them down.

There are so many verses in the Bible that encourage.  Here are at least three verses.

Isaiah 40:31 - "But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

Isaiah 43:2 - "When you pass through the waters,  I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."

Joshua 1:9 - "Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

As you begin a new week, I want you to take time to share a smile; help someone and even share some encouraging words.  Also, write down some of these verses on a notecard and just pass them on.  You never know how these words could change someone's life.

Be a Barnabas!  Encourage someone today!




Friday, March 23, 2018

Devotion

Mary Magdalene and the other women were devoted to Jesus.  On the day that Jesus was crucified, they stayed at the cross when the disciples fled.  Jesus was everything to them.  They had been following Jesus and listening to Him as he shared the words of God to others.

These women did not worry about what they couldn't do.  They just took advantage of the opportunities of what they could do.  Because of their devotion to Jesus, God had blessed them.  They were the first witnesses to the resurrection.

So often we are worried about what we could do instead of realizing that all Jesus wants is for us to be devoted to Him. 

How much time do you spend with God and meditating on His word?
Are you setting aside time to read the Bible and to pray?
Are you aware of His presence?

If you want situations to be different in your life, you need to spend time and be devoted to Him.

"Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."
Psalms 46:10





Thursday, March 22, 2018

Unselfish

Who do you know that is unselfish? 

When I think of unselfish, I think of people that are bighearted, charitable, freehearted, openhanded and very generous.  These are normally people that are filled with gratitude.  They want to do so much for others.

How much we love God can be measured by how well we treat others.  Even though others may not see what we do for someone, God will always know.

In the book of Esther, she risked her life to save her people.  Esther was married to King Xerxes.  One day Haman, the king's assistant, became angry with the Jews and he issued a proclamation to condemn all the Jews to death.  Esther who was also Jewish, knew that she could not go before the king unless she was called for.  Esther knew that she needed to go before the king and let him know what his assistant had done. She called for a fast and asked the Jews to pray for God's help on her dangerous mission. On the day that she chose to go before the King, he did ask her to come forward and speak.  She had several meetings with the King.  At her last meeting with the King, she let him know that someone had plotted to destroy her and her people.  Haman was killed and the Jews were guaranteed protection.

Because of Esther's unselfishness, the Jewish nation was saved  God had given her an opportunity and she knew what she had to do.  Her life did make a difference. 

We all can make a difference. As Esther's uncle told her, "for if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish.  And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"

God may want to use you in a situation.  Don't be selfish and not do anything.  Always remember God may have placed you where you are for a reason.



Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Trusting

When I hear the word trust, the two words faith and hope come to mind.

Trusting is the 'firm belief in the truth, ability or strength of someone or something".  How often have you heard the words "trust me"?  We have all trusted someone in our life.  Believing someone was there for us.

In the Bible, trust is used throughout.  One particular story is about a father whose son was possessed by demons and the father wanted his son to be healed.  Jesus told him that his son could be healed, but he needed to believe and to trust Him.  The father did trust Jesus.  To have the trust and confidence that the son could be healed, the father needed to have faith.  The man believed and his son was healed.

But what happens when we trust and believe that Jesus can heal or provide something and it doesn't happen?  That is where our faith comes in and we know that God will provide in His timing.  As human beings, we like to take matters into our own hands.  We want it to happen, now!  Things may work out, but sometimes there are consequences to our actions.  These consequences happen because we aren't willing to wait on God and His timing.

When things happen, we need to learn to trust God.

"Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid."  Isaiah 12:2
We need to express our gratitude to God by thanking Him, praising Him and telling others about Him.

As I look at this sunset, I know that God allows the sun to rise and the sun to set.  Today is the day to start trusting that God is in control.


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

I Love the Word IMPOSSIBLE

In the 70's, I read the book I Love the Word Impossible by Ann Kiemel.  That book made a great impression on my life.  Throughout the book, Ann talked about dreaming big and believing that God can make a difference in my world.

At the time, I was going through so many struggles.  I was alone, I lived in a city that I knew no one, I was taking classes and I was looking for a job.  I just wanted to throw my hands up and say, I can't do it.  The word impossible gave me hope.  I was going to believe that God could give me the peace and strength that I needed and that I could do the impossible.

Throughout the Bible, God performed the impossible.  In the book of Genesis, God did the impossible. Who would have believed that Abraham, who was 100 years old and Sarah, who was 90, would give birth to a son, Isaac.  Doing the impossible is everyday business for God.  Our big problems will not seem so impossible if we will only allow God to make them possible.

Even in the book of Luke, Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth, were past the age of childbearing, God provided them a child, John the Baptist.  God's power is not confined by human limitations.  I know that as humans we doubt something, especially if we can't see it or because no one else has ever done it.  But God is so much bigger than we can even imagine.

Throughout the years, God has proved the impossible in so many ways.  One of the most impossible stories is the birth of my nephew, Graham and the big heart that he has.  He was born with a genetic situation and the doctors said that he would never crawl, walk, talk... and probably would not live to the age of three.  Here he is, almost 21 and he continues to prove to the world that he is one of the impossible.  He does have a lot of limitations compared to what the world would think, but to my family, he is the one that continues to help us believe in a God that loves the word impossible.

When I think of gratitude, I think of impossible and how we need to be believe!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Thankfulness

There have been so many articles written on "Being Thankful".  I wonder why we are always having to be reminded to be thankful.  I do believe it is human nature.  It seems we are always wanting something that we don't have.  That is very sad!

The Israelites were always very unhappy.  God had delivered them from the hands of the Pharaoh and helped them to escape from Egypt.  The Israelites didn't remember what God had done for them and was doing for them.  They were set free, they were making a new nation and they were going to live in a new land.  They were so dissatisfied in what God hadn't done for them.

Aren't we just like the the Israelites?  We seem to forget about what God has provided for us.  I seem to forget about the time that God provided a car for me because the car I had no longer was driveable or how about the time I was depressed and I needed a friend and He provided that friend to give me the encouragement that I needed.  Once I stop and think about it, God has provided for me and has protected me in situations that could have gone wrong.

As I have talked about the word grateful.  I need to realize I have so much to be thankful for.  We do forget about our gifts of life, food, health, family and friends.

Are we thankful for what God has done for us or we mad for what He hasn't done for us?  We don't need to reflect on what we don't have, but we need to remember what we do have.

"I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; before the gods.
I face your holy Temple, bow down and praise your name because of your constant love and faithfulness, because you have shown that your name and your commands are supreme.
You answered me when I called to you; with your strength you strengthened me."
Psalms 138:1-3

The picture reminds me that I need to take time, relax and list all my blessings. I do have a lot to be thankful for!


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Attitude for Gratitude

How do we feel about gratitude?  Should we be thankful?  Do you have a positive or a negative attitude? 

I believe in a positive attitude.  I feel if your behavior, your beliefs and your emotions are positive, then you are going to have a better outlook on your life, your surroundings and your future. 

I have been known for my "Pollyanna Outook".  In 1913, Eleanor H. Porter wrote the book Pollyanna.  It was about a young lady who played the "glad game" - trying to find something to be glad about in every situation. 

With the Pollyanna principle, research finds that at the subconscious level, the mind has a tendency to focus on the optimistic; while at the conscious level, it has a tendency to focus on the negative. 

An individual reaps more joy and happiness when they look at life with more positive results.  When you are looking positive at a bad situation that is happening, it doesn't mean that you are avoiding the circumstances.  You just know that God has a bigger plan in your life and that He is allowing all things to work for you, not against you.

Romans 8:28 states "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  God works in all situations, not just particular incidents, for our good.  Evil(bad situations) are a part of the world that we live in, but God is here for us. 

When you have the right attitude, you will be more thankful for everything that is happening around you.  Opportunities are there.  We just have to open our eyes to see them.

Take the time to observe people's attitudes.  I bet you will see that when individuals handle their situations in a more positive manner, the results are going to be so different than someone who handles the exact same situation in a negative manner. 

The attitude of gratitude needs to be practiced everyday, not just once a year(at Thanksgiving).  Instead of looking at things that are not right in life, begin to have the "Pollyanna Outlook".  It could give you the joy that you are looking for in life.

As I look at this photo of the Great Blue Heron, I know that he is thinking that there is a fish out there in the water, he just needs to be patient and have a great attitude.