Your Enemy~A Word of Encouragement

What is your enemy today?

Fear? Anxiety? Stress? Illness? Money? Is there a person coming against you? What is your enemy?

Call to the Lord.

Praise Him for He is your Strong Tower (Proverbs 18:10), Counselor (Isaiah 9:6), Healer (Exodus 15:26), Comforter (John 14:26), Provider (Philippians 4:19).

God is greater than anything or anyone who may come against you.

Psalm 18:3 I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I HAVE BEEN SAVED FROM MY ENEMIES.

Noise noun 1. sound, especially of a loud, harsh, or confused kind:

Sitting in the quite of my house I feel comforted by the sound of nothing. Sometimes I just want to “be”. I want to be able to hear my thoughts; to hear God’s voice. I can’t hear His voice with other voices coming at me from televisions, radios, phones, computers—people.

Anymore it’s a constant barrage of voices telling me what to wear, think, eat, say, don’t say…It’s just noise. Sometimes I think I’m too used to the racket, because when I don’t have it, my ears seem to scream at me in the silence. I’ve been sitting here trying to hear God. But, for two or three days it’s just seemed to be empty space surrounding me.

Yes, I know God is here. I know He has something important for me to receive. Maybe He is trying to teach me to just wait.

To be still.

To practice quietness.

Maybe He is whispering to me and there is still so much noise in my head that I can’t tune in enough to hear Him. I can feel my anticipation rising. I hope He reveals His plans for me sooner, rather than later. But, if not, I will stay preparing my heart, tuning out the chaos of this world—waiting.

Isaiah 30:18 AMP And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!

 

My Forgiveness Hero

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Forgiveness.

Wow. That is a heavy word, packed with so many emotions.

There are several heroes in my life. One of them is my brother. He set the bar, the standard, to which I hold everyone else up to when it comes to forgiveness.

You see, my brother has been through many trials. Some were self-inflicted, others just happened. There came a day when he decided to make a life change. Once he made the decision, there was no going back. Do you know what he did? He called or met every person he thought he might have hurt along his journey, and apologized. Not only did he say he was sorry, but he stated what he had done and asked to be forgiven.

He said, “I am sorry for _____. Will you forgive me?”

It was a very humbling thing, to have a person come to me in a such a vulnerable manner. I can’t tell you how I admire him for what he did during that time. He became a man in my eyes.

There is freedom in forgiveness for both the offender and the recipient.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:16 ESV

 

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 ESV

 

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:14-15 ESV

 

That Worry Word

Today’s world is full of stress. There has always been stress. Every generation has had big issues. Imagine your family during Civil War America. Brother against brother, family against family. Blood shed everywhere on our very own soil.

World Wars I and II brought constant fear to mothers of losing their sons. There were shortages of necessities, women had to begin working.

Think about Vietnam and all of the teenage boys that died. And, then there was the drug counter-culture that began, with drugs and free sex everywhere.

The 70’s were scarred with oil shortages, job shortages, and political upheaval.

In the 80’s we had the Cold War, never knowing if Russia was going to blow us up, drugs and sex were still rampant, and the family was falling apart with divorce rates skyrocketing. Girls were under pressure to succeed in the business world and raise perfect families.

The 90’s brought war to us once again, ending with fears of the “world” shutting down at Y2K.

Then we had the attack on America and a never-ending War on Terror. It seems everyone is worried about finding a job, keeping a job, or losing their job. The family is broken. The church seems broken. Kids are told to go to college and that college is a waste all in the same breath. We have the same people who would lay down their life for an animal, fighting for the right to kill a baby. Everything seems upside down.

But God.

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

People question why God allows the world to be like it is: such a mess. When God created us, He gave us free-will. He wanted us to choose to love Him and to want to spend time with Him. Unfortunately, His first human creations chose sin over Him, and man-kind has followed in that path ever since. It isn’t God who has created this fallen world, it is man.

Worry, fret, stress: These have all become a part of the daily life of most Americans. We wake up worrying and go to bed worrying.

Let’s take a look at what God’s Word says about worry and anxiety:

Matthew 6:25-27 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Luke 12:25 MSG “Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can’t even do that, why fuss at all? Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They don’t fuss with their appearance—but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?

Luke 12:25 ESV And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

So, God is telling us. Do not worry. Worry doesn’t change a thing, not one. All worrying and fretting do is cause illness, exhaustion, irritability, depression, anxiety, anger; but it does not change the circumstance one bit.

Worrying does not bring peace or resolution.

What should we do when we don’t know what direction to go—when we feel stressed or confused? Again, the answer is in God’s Word.

Philippians 4:6-7 MSG Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Psalm 56:3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

God created you. He is your creator and your Father. He loves you with a love so deep you cannot possibly comprehend it. Trust Him. Give control of your life over to Him. He will not lead you in the wrong direction. Ever.

God’s Promise to us:

I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. Jeremiah 29:11

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Even King David Got Depressed

 

 

As someone who has dealt with depression and extreme anxiety, I felt like I needed to encourage those of you who deal with it as well. Remember that no matter how dark life becomes, God is ALWAYS your Light. You will make it if you allow Him to lead you. Psalm 103 is an incredible passage. Did you know that King David was often depressed? But, God still used him in wonderful ways. Begin by blessing the Lord and see where your heart and your thoughts begin to turn.

Psalm 103 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Psalm 103

[A Psalm] of David.

Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name!

Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul, and forget not [one of] all His benefits—

Who forgives [every one of] all your iniquities, Who heals [each one of] all your diseases,

Who redeems your life from the pit and corruption, Who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercy;

Who satisfies your mouth [your necessity and desire at your personal age and situation] with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle’s [strong, overcoming, soaring]!

The Lord executes righteousness and justice [not for me only, but] for all who are oppressed.

He made known His ways [of righteousness and justice] to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel.

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy and loving-kindness.

He will not always chide or be contending, neither will He keep His anger forever or hold a grudge.

10 He has not dealt with us after our sins nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great are His mercy and loving-kindness toward those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him.

12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father loves and pities his children, so the Lord loves and pities those who fear Him [with reverence, worship, and awe].

14 For He knows our frame, He [earnestly] remembers and imprints [on His heart] that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are as grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes.

16 For the wind passes over it and it is gone, and its place shall know it no more.

17 But the mercy and loving-kindness of the Lord are from everlasting to everlasting upon those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him, and His righteousness is to children’s children—

18 To such as keep His covenant [hearing, receiving, loving, and obeying it] and to those who [earnestly] remember His commandments to do them [imprinting them on their hearts].

19 The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His kingdom rules over all.

20 Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, you His angels, you mighty ones who do His commandments, hearkening to the voice of His word.

21 Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, all you His hosts, you His ministers who do His pleasure.

22 Bless the Lord, all His works in all places of His dominion; bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul!

 

Picture by: Sharon Dianne King

 

Crazy Ungraceful Fall Down the Stairs and His Blood

Stairs and I have a special relationship.

I mean really special.

I know they are necessary to get me from one floor to the next. However, really, my life would be easier and less painful without them (both physically and regarding my pride). I’m sure my company security officers have gotten a few chuckles (or maybe even hysterics) watching my acrobatics as I fall down (and sometimes up) the steps.

One day I was leaving work, going down a flight of stairs. As I did, I thought, “I should be careful. I might fall in these shoes.” Just as the thought went through my mind, my knees gave out, my feet stayed in place, and I slid (or rather grated) down the steps knees first, feet tucked under my behind. As soon as I stopped, I pulled my feet out from under me and quickly stood up. I glanced around making sure no one besides the guys behind the cameras saw me and continued out the door. Trying not to cry, and avoiding looking down to see how much blood was rushing out of my body, I gingerly walked to my car. Once inside my car, I assessed the damage and let the tears flow.

Two years later I’m sitting here looking at the scar, a constant reminder of my poor judgement and clumsiness.

It’s a little like my life. I have a few scars from mistakes I’ve made in the past. Some of them still show up every now and then. But, the wound is gone, cleansed and healed by Jesus. We might still see the scars, but all He sees is His child, made perfect through His blood.

“He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit..” Titus 3:5

Link

Fourth Friday Share: Care to Learn

Fourth Friday Share

I’m starting a new feature: Fourth Friday Share. Today I want to share with you an organization that provides for kids right here in the Ozarks. Check them out and consider getting involved. :) Happy Friday!

http://caretolearnfund.org/about/