Tag Archives: encouragement

FOLLOWING GOD AND HIS CALL ON YOUR LIFE!

FOLLOWING GOD AND HIS CALL ON YOUR LIFE!

Separation will oftentimes be part of your development as a Christian. Before you can take on something new, the Lord may ask you to let go of something you already have. Obedience is meant by saying goodbye to relationships and things dear to your heart. A life you’ve known… left behind. Strong faith will enable you to say yes to what the Lord commands.

Moving ahead in the mist of uncertainty can be another aspect of following the Lord. Unwavering trust in your heavenly Father will enable you to answer the Divine call wholeheartedly – even though specific details aren’t given.
Following God requires living by obedient faith. That means: trusting the Holy Spirit to be your guide; when you don’t see how all the pieces fit together (John 16:13-15); believing that God always works for your good and His glory (Romans 8:28); and having a desire to please your Father.

Question: Will you be ready when He calls?
Personal bible study
Sista Darlene Clark
3/14/2017

 

I Should Not Be Surprised.

Sitting here alone tonight and it’s almost 2 a.m. There’s so much going on in my life right now, so many things on my mind. I see the whole world gone mad and increasing rapidly day by day. So I guess you could say it’s like this great whirlwind of heartache and chaos from beneath my very own roof extending all throughout this world. Today I took an extra nap. I admit I’ve been feeling defeated with all of these problems and people that I cannot control nor fix. But then it dawned on me tonight…

I’m still in His hands. My God, my Father reminded me of how my 14 year old Chihuahua’s health has perked up and how she has come so far in but a couple of months. It was revealed to me by Him of just how far she had come and how bad her pain was. I recalled crying in my husband’s arms a couple of months ago when it looked like there was no hope at all. My baby was walking around with her tiny frame all contorted and whimpering along. I just knew she’d have to be put to sleep, forever… But we took her to the vet to get checked out. The X-ray showed that her spine was bent in the middle (the arch of her back) and the cartilages between the disks had worn so thin at the top. He didn’t mention putting her to sleep and I held my breath.

That day my husband, my mom and I returned home with some pain medication and antibiotic for her stomach and diarrhea episodes. We’ve went back a time or two for refills on the pain meds. She still requires maintenance but looks normal now. Sort of thin. There are days when she needs her meds…but my oh my, My God breathed on my dog, my baby!!!  And some days, she runs like a puppy. I can hardly keep up when I try and meet her at the mailbox! I know she is still elderly at 14 yrs old. If the Rapture of The Church doesn’t happen first, I will experience her loss. But not like I would have. I truly believe she will be in Heaven forever with me.

I now see that I have taken this all for granted. This MIRACLE! Of course The Lord knew all about our special bond and how she’s been there all along. Since before my Bipolar diagnosis and through the loss of my dad she has always been there. Sitting here tonight in the quiet gave me the ability to really think. The Lord reminded me that if He could do such a great thing for my  tiny dog, Little Bit, how much more great things could He do in the rest of my life. I was discounting Him. The Creator of The Universe. I am learning to walk by faith and not by sight.  All for His glory. God is love itself. God is compassion. All good things come from above.

I am so grateful for the hundreds of people that cared enough to respond in prayer during that time for me. PRAYER is so powerful. It is so important. It’s so awesome that The Lord has brought me into networks with all sorts of Brothers & Sisters in Christ. In these dark times we really need one another to keep that fire going. I just wanted to share this with everyone in hope that it blesses you and may bring encouragement to a hurting soul.

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ, He is only a prayer away! Find love beyond measure, peace that surpasses understanding, and the comfort of The Holy Spirit today! Don’t put it off. We never know what day may be our last.

Revelation 3:20  King James Version (KJV)

20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

 

besaved

Romans 10:9-13 King James Version (KJV)

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

 

God bless ♥  †  ♥

 

Why Do I Have So Many Issues?

By Lysa TerKeurst

issues

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:1 KJV

Have you ever looked at other people and thought to yourself, “How does everyone else have it all together? And why is it I seem to have so many issues?”

I understand. For most of my life, I’ve struggled with my weight and committing to a healthy lifestyle. My soul was rubbed raw from years of trying and failing.

I wanted something to instantly fix my issues.
I wanted to stop calling myself awful names I’d never let another person call me.
I wanted to be naturally thin like my sister.
I wanted to stop crying when I walked into my closet to get dressed in the morning.

So when I lost 25 pounds a few years ago and kept it off for the first time in my life, it was a huge victory.

But my real celebration hasn’t been over the smaller clothing size and reduced numbers on the scale. My real celebration is over the spiritual insights I gained while losing the weight and maintaining my healthy progress.

For me, this has been a spiritual journey — a significant spiritual journey with great physical benefits. I had been overweight physically and underweight spiritually and finally tying those two things together was life changing.

One of the richest lessons has been realizing the amount of mental and spiritual energy I wasted for years just wishing things would change. All the while, I was beating myself up for not having the discipline to make those changes.

If you have an issue with weight and food, you know what I mean. But no matter what issue you are currently dealing with, can I offer a bit of encouragement?

Jesus wants to help you with that issue. He really does. But you’ve got to stop beating yourself up about it and determine to follow His lead.

We like to identify our shortcomings, form them into a club, and beat the tar out of ourselves mentally. Over and over and over again. We label ourselves and soon lose our real identity to the beaten and bruised fragility we call “me.”

We compare, we assume, we assess, we measure and most times walk away shaking our head at how woefully short our “me” falls compared to everyone else. How dangerous it is to hold up the intimate knowledge of our imperfections against the outside packaging of others.

If there is one thing that living 40-plus years has taught me it’s this: All God’s girls have issues. Every single one of us.

But we can make the choice to identify our shortcomings and instead of using them against ourselves, hand them over to Jesus and let Him chisel our rough places.

The grace-filled way Jesus chisels is so vastly different than the way I mentally beat myself up.

My mental scripts are too often full of exaggerated lies that leave me feeling defeated. His chiseling is full of truth that sets me free.

Oh what a difference.

Jesus doesn’t compare.

Jesus doesn’t exaggerate.

Jesus doesn’t condemn. Our key verse, Romans 8:1, confirms this.

He simply says, “Hey, I love you. I love you just how you are. But, I love you too much to leave you stuck in this. So, let’s work on it together. You can do this.

There is something so powerful in really believing that with Jesus’ help you can do this. Say it with me, “I can.” I can is a powerful little twist for a girl feeling deprived and defeated.

I can helps me walk into the dinner party and find the conversation more appealing than the food table. I can helps me stay on the perimeter of the grocery store where the fresher, healthier selections abound and smile that I know this.

I can helps me look at the drive-thru menu and order a fruit tray without even giving a thought to the fried foods I used to snack on. I can reminds me to look online for a restaurant’s nutritional information before going out, ensuring wiser choices. I can reminds me no food will ever taste as sweet as victory does.

Having issues isn’t the absence of victory in our lives. It’s simply a call to action reminding us victory is right around the corner. Today is a great day to start believing you were made to walk in victory and to say to Jesus, “Yes, with Your truth as my guide, I can.”

Dear Lord, help me see myself the way You see me. Remove the lies that defeat me more often than I want to acknowledge. You have set me free. Help me live like I truly believe that. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
2 Corinthians 4:17, “ For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;” (KJV)

Healing Music, Set Me Free

You Don’t Care At All

So many wasted days
Thinking all I’ve done is all that I am
So many lonely nights on my own
But it’s a funny thing
You see my heart so differently
No matter what I feel or where I go
I still don’t quite understand

How all of my yesterdays
All of my past mistakes
You’ve thrown them all away
You don’t care at all
You don’t care at all
No matter what I do
What I am going through
It’s already died with you
You don’t care at all
You don’t care at all

Old me is out the door
He won’t be living here anymore
You simply spoke my name and set me free
I still just can’t believe
When I was lost and running away
That You would see a heart worth redeeming
And I’ll never quite understand

How is it that I am Yours and You’re mine?
Why would You know me
When I’m so unworthy of mercy and You’re divine?
You still made me holy

You don’t care


Greater

Bring your tired
Bring your shame
Bring your guilt
Bring your pain
Don’t you know that’s not your name
You will always be much more to meEveryday I wrestle with the voices
That keep telling me I’m not right
But that’s alright

Cause I hear a voice and he calls me redeemed
When others say I’ll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
In the world
In the world
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world

Bring your doubts
Bring your fears
Bring your hurt
Bring your tears
There’ll be no condemnation here
You are holy, righteous and redeemed

Every time I fall
There’ll be those who will call me
A mistake
Well that’s ok

Cause I hear a voice and he calls me redeemed
When others say I’ll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
In the world
In the world
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world

Woah ohhh ohhhh ohhh
Woah ohhh ohhhh ohhh
He’s Greater
He’s Greater
Woah ohhh ohhhh ohhh
Woah ohhh ohhhh ohhh
He’s Greater
He’s Greater

There’ll be days I lose the battle
Grace says that it doesn’t matter
Cause the cross already won the war
He’s Greater
He’s Greater

I am learning to run freely
Understanding just how he sees me
And it makes me love him more and more
He’s Greater
He’s Greater

There’ll be days I lose the battle
Grace says that it doesn’t matter
Cause the cross already won the war
He’s Greater
He’s Greater

I am learning to run freely
Understanding just how he sees me
And it makes me love him more and more
He’s Greater
He’s Greater

Cause I hear a voice and he calls me redeemed
When others say I’ll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
In the world
In the world
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world

There’ll be days I lose the battle
Grace says that it doesn’t matter
Cause the cross already won the war
He’s Greater
He’s Greater

I am learning to run freely
Understanding just how he sees me
And it makes me love him more and more
He’s Greater
He’s Greater
He who is living the world


Flawless
There’s got to be more
Than going back and forth
From doing right to doing wrong
‘Cause we were taught that’s who we are
Come on get in line right behind me
You along with everybody
Thinking there’s worth in what you do

Then Like a hero who takes the stage when
We’re on the edge of our seats saying it’s too late
Well let me introduce you to amazing grace

No matter the bumps
No matter the bruises
No matter the scars
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless
No matter the hurt
Or how deep the wound is
No matter the pain
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless

Could it possibly be
That we simply can’t believe
That this unconditional
Kind of love would be enough
To take a filthy wretch like this
And wrap him up in righteousness
But that’s exactly what He did

No matter the bumps
No matter the bruises
No matter the scars
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless
No matter the hurt
Or how deep the wound is
No matter the pain
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless

Take a breath smile and say
Right here right now I’m ok
Because the cross was enough

Then Like a hero who takes the stage when
We’re on the edge of our seats saying it’s too late
Well let me introduce you to grace grace
God’s grace

No matter the bumps
No matter the bruises
No matter the scars
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless
No matter the hurt
Or how deep the wound is
No matter the pain
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless

No matter what they say
Or what you think you are
The day you called His name
He made you flawless
He made you flawless

No matter the bumps
No matter the bruises
No matter the scars
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless


This is Who I Am
I’m a son of a good man
I’m the child of an angel
I’m the brother of a wild one
And I’m looking for direction
I’m the lover of a beauty
I’m the father of blessings
I’m a singer of a love song
But is that all I’m good for

This is who I am
This is who I am
So take me and make me something so much more
This is who I am
This is who I am
So change me and make me someone better than before

I’m a saint and a sinner
I’m a lover and a fighter
I’m a true believer, with great desire
I’m a preacher of grace, prophet of love, teacher of truth
I’ve fallen down so many times
But here I stand in front of you

Take me as I am
But please don’t leave me that way
‘Cause I know that you can make me better than I am today


Slow Down
Tell me to slow down
If you think that the road that I’m on is going nowhere
Tell me to slow down
If you know that I’m going too fast for my own good
Tell me to slow down
If the way is leading to a dead end
Tell me to slow down
Turn around, let me change the way I’m going

Oh, I don’t want to let go
Of all the things that I know
Are keeping me away from my life
Oh, I don’t want to slow down
No, I don’t want to look around
But I can’t seem to work it out
So help me, God

Tell me to slow down
If you see that I’m running too fast in the wrong race
Tell me to slow down
If you think that I can’t keep up with my own pace
Tell me to slow down
‘Cause you know if there’s ever any question
Tell me slow down
Turn around, and I’m changing my direction


Lift Your Head Weary Sinner
Lift your head weary sinner, the river’s just ahead
Down the path of forgiveness, salvation’s waiting there
You built a mighty fortress 10,000 burdens high
Love is here to lift you up, here to lift you high

If you’re lost and wandering
Come stumbling in like a prodigal child
See the walls start crumbling
Let the gates of glory open wide

All who’ve strayed and walked away, unspeakable things you’ve done
Fix your eyes on the mountain, let the past be dead and gone
Come all saints and sinners, you can’t outrun God
Whatever you’ve done can’t overcome the power of the blood

If you’re lost and wandering
Come stumbling in like a prodigal child
See the walls start crumbling
Let the gates of glory open wide

If you’re lost and wrecked again
Come stumbling in like a prodigal child
See the walls start crumbling
Let the gates of glory be open wide

If you’re lost and wandering
Come stumbling in like a prodigal child
See the walls start crumbling
Let the gates of glory open wide

If you’re lost and wrecked again
Come stumbling in like a prodigal child
See the walls start crumbling
Let the gates of glory be open wide
Let the gates of glory be open wide
Let the gates of glory be open wide


Turn Around
Young man on the side of the road
Lost and beat up with no where to go
Smells like a hangover from days ago
He does what he can to survive

Single mom with a dead end job
Ninety hour week just to keep what she’s got
With the bills that add up and now she’s caught
She does what she can to survive

Well, let me say
That love won’t take away the pain
But don’t be afraid
‘Cause it will never walk away

If you’re scared that you don’t matter
If you’re lost and need to be found
If you’re looking for a Savior
All you gotta do is turn around

Some turn to a bottle
Some turn to a drug
Some turn to another’s arms
But it seems like it’s never enough

Well I won’t say
That you will ever fail again
But there is grace
To wash away your every sin

If you’re scared that you don’t matter
If you’re lost and need to be found
If you’re looking for a Savior
All you gotta do is turn around

No one listens to you anymore
And your heart has broken down, you don’t need to move
Love has come to you, all you gotta do is turn around
All you gotta do is turn around, turn around

You don’t have to
Take the broken road
You can turn around
And come back home

You don’t have to
Take the broken road
You can turn around
And come back home

You don’t have to
Take the broken road
You can turn around
And come back home

If you’re scared that you don’t matter
If you’re lost and need to be found
If you’re looking for a Savior
All you gotta do is turn around

No one listens to you anymore
And your heart has broken down, you don’t need to move
Love has come to you, all you gotta do is turn around
All you gotta do is turn around, turn around


Changed Forever
I’d heard Your name, but never seen Your face
Been touched before but never Your embrace
Had a soul to lose and the world to gain
But then You whispered my name

And I heard the truth but never from Your lips
Bought the lies of many counterfeits
Dreamed my dreams, but they were never in color
And I searched for You and many others

I was down for the count

Then I saw Your face
Just a glimpse of Your face, and my whole world changed
Then I saw Your face, and I was changed forever
Changed forever now
Then I saw Your face
One glimpse of Your face, it’s a whole new game
Then I saw Your face, and I was changed forever
Yours forever now

If I could reach the stars, I could touch the sky
And if I spread my wings, I could almost fly
I had everything paper could buy
I was lost in my disguise

And if I played my role, they would feel my style
If I bought the night they would buy my smile
I’ve been runnin’ this game for a million miles
Believin’ my own lies

I was down, I was out

I was blinded by my selfish dreams
Everything ain’t what it seems
From inside to out, there ain’t no doubt
I been changed

NOTHING SHORT OF satisfaction
Your love caused a change reaction
I can tell you this much I FELT your touch
And I’m changed

When I was down for the count, YOUR love surrounded me
Blink of an eye
I saw my destiny

Change, rearranged ’cause I couldn’t maintain
The heart it took to even stay in the game
One look in Your eyes even I realized
A fellow like me had been put down to size
To be built up in a better way, Your way
Yahweh ain’t about to fade
Bombastic, ain’t no way to mask it
I saw Your face, and my old way’s blasted

I’m Yours forever now

besaved

A sharp sting and dull ache at the same time.

Earlier today, while looking through the guest bedroom, I happened to glance up at an old, framed family photo. A thousand memories flooded my mind. The contrast between everything I know today…and who and where we were back then…is just jaw-dropping. Oh, how everything has changed. I’ve heard that my whole life, but this morning it really sunk in.

Of course, people change throughout their lives, one stage to the next. A sharp sting and a dull ache at the same time. The troubles we knew then were nothing compared to the ones to come. Gazing at myself in the picture, my tiny 16 year old body…frail inside and out, I recalled all I was dealing with at the time in high school. Rejection. Bulimia. Becoming a Christian. The successes in extracurricular activities. My broken heart. Comparison, comparison. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a teenager attending public school in today’s world…

Now, here I sit a strong woman of God. I’m no different than any other Christian, just trying to live the rest of my days faithful to Jesus, to God. My heart goes out to that confused and broken girl. In the end it was all in my head. Yes, I had some real issues to be tended to, but so much deception by the enemy himself as I chose Jesus. I didn’t know about spiritual warfare. At least not how real it really is.

Choosing Jesus is the best thing you could ever do. People won’t always understand why you’ve changed…how you changed. Your lifestyle, goals, worldview. Following Jesus means walking the straight & narrow road, traveled by few. Sometimes you feel alone, especially if you have no support at home. But you see, in this wilderness...you are transformed. In what seems to be the darkness, something beautiful happens. You find out who you are. That you were made for more. You are a Child of God.

Godssalvation

Who Am I Like?

Wendy Pope By WENDY POPE

“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.” Ephesians 5:1 (NLT)

“Mommy, my friend needs new crayons,” bellowed my then 5-year-old as he climbed in the family van after school.

In a true mommy-has-all-the-answers kind of way I confidently responded, “Well, his mommy will buy him some new crayons.”

The next day Griffin and I had the same conversation. Only this time Griffin added, “His mommy can’t buy him more crayons.” To which I replied, “Well, your teacher will get him some crayons.”

Later, when I called Griffin to dinner I noticed he was quite delayed; usually he was the first one to the table. What happened next stirred my soul.

Me: “Griffin, what kept you from coming when I called your name?”

Griffin: “I was going through my crayons to take some to my friend.”

Me:

Yes, I was speechless. Griffin’s example of selflessness weighed heavy on my heart for several days. What an extraordinary act of generosity for such a young boy.

I knew God used ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things. And I began to wonder about some of my favorites from the Bible … and myself: Who am I like? Do I have the tenacity to accomplish a lengthy assignment like Noah? Am I courageous and daring like Esther? Can I patiently wait years for God’s plan to unfold like David? Would I have the character of the Good Samaritan or the thoughtfulness of my 5-year-old? Could I have that?

Though it’s good to be inspired by the actions and faith of others, our key verse instructs us to imitate one person, Jesus. Imitating Jesus is quite a tall order. Most times I try to be like Him, but I miss the mark. Can you relate?

If I’m honest, some days I’m more like the rogues in Scripture than Jesus. I don’t enjoy that comparison as much, but it’s worthwhile to ask tough questions.

Is my heart stubborn and spirit unwilling to obey God like Pharaoh? Am I prideful and audacious like Samson? How often do I deny Christ like Peter before the crucifixion? Am I pious like the Pharisees?

Unfortunately, I have to answer yes to some of these. At times, I submit to my sinful nature. I make decisions with pride and arrogance that are contrary to what God wills and wants.

God expects me to forgive her even though she deeply wounded me? Forget it. That woman doesn’t deserve my forgiveness.

I asked and asked him to help me, but he didn’t. Now God wants me to help him? I don’t think so.

If he needs help, why doesn’t he get a job instead of standing on the corner asking for handouts?

The more we rebel against God’s ways, the less tender our hearts become. Distance invades our intimacy with the Lord, which leads us on a dangerous path away from Him.

It’s then that we should pray and ask Him to reveal areas of rebellion. Our response to His revelation? Immediate repentance followed by immediate obedience. The result will be an agreeable spirit and a softened heart, like Jesus, with a desire to imitate Him in all we say and do.

We each have certain aspects of our personalities that are similar to Noah, Esther and David. If we are willing to admit it, we can be a little like Pharaoh, Samson and the Pharisees, too. However, our goal should be to liken ourselves to one hero in the Bible … Jesus: obedient, humble, compassionate, truthful and so much more.

Dear Lord, I ask You to help me walk upright, imitating You in everything I say and do. Quicken my spirit when I fail, so I might repent and be restored to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Ephesians 5:1-2, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (ESV)

Philippians 2:1-4, “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Spark your love for God’s Word with Wendy Pope’s Bible study Trusting God for A Better Tomorrow: A Psalms Bible Study.

Visit Wendy’s blog for more encouragement.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What is one character trait Jesus bears that you would like to imitate?

Make a list of things that hinder you from being like Jesus. Pray and ask God to help you overcome these things. Be prepared! If you struggle with selfishness, for example, you may sense God asking you to donate some belongings, volunteer your time consistently, give up your efforts to always park in the spot closest to the store, or something else. Listen for His direction.

© 2015 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

Godssalvation

When We Swallow Our Pain

Emotional eating is an attempt to avoid the absence (of love, comfort, knowing what to do) when we find ourselves in the desert of a particular moment, feeling, situation. In the process of resisting the emptiness, in the act of turning away from our feelings, of trying and trying again to lose the same twenty, fifty, eighty pounds, we ignore what could utterly transform us.

But when we welcome what we most want to avoid, we evoke that in us that is not a story, not caught in the past, not some old image of ourselves. We evoke divinity itself. And in doing so, we can hold emptiness, old hurts, fear in our cupped hands and behold our missing hearts.
Geneen Roth