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Month: July 2015

Encouragement For Your Heart

Encouragement For Your Heart

Do you ever find yourself in need of encouragement?  I sure do!

More often then I care to admit I find myself looking to others to make me joyful or encouraged instead of looking to God and His Word for my ultimate source of joy and encouragement.  I don’t think it is a purposeful decision I make to do this, it just kind of happens!

The truth is though, no one person can provide just the right dose of encouragement I need!

When I turn to Christ for my encouragement I find myself overwhelmed with way more  encouragement then I thought possible!

This morning I was reading in Isaiah 49 and friends, you have to read these verses!

“Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.  Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.” {emphasis mine}

Is your heart bursting right now?  When I read those verses this morning I found my encouragement barometer full to overflowing! 

That second verse, when I read, “I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands” I was overwhelmed.  Think for a just a minute, what is on the palms of Christ’s hands?  His nail print scars, scars that remind us of His immeasurable love for us! 

I’m pretty sure all of us have scars.  When I look at my knees, oh goodness, those knees of mine are all scarred up!  When I look at those scars memories flood my mind of when I was bit by our neighbors dog and my sweet older brother carried me into our house, or the times I scraped my knees on tree bark trying to keep up with my brother as he climbed to the tip top of our pine trees…. much to my mothers chagrin of course….. The point is, I look at those scars and instantly memories flood my mind of what caused them to be there. 

When Christ looks at the palms of His hands, He to remembers what caused those scars.  He remembers the immense love He has towards mankind and what He did to offer us the free gift of salvation. 

WHAT LOVE!

You and I are constantly before Him, He never forgets about us, we are always on His mind. 

Can your mind wrap itself around that truth?  My Creator, the Creator of this world, my SAVIOR constantly has me on His mind.  My encouragement barometer just bursts with gratefulness!  That is encouragement only God can give!

Be encouraged and comforted friends, you are constantly on God’s mind.  When He looks at the scars on His hands He sees the vast amount of love He has for you.  Let that truth fill your heart today!

You are loved by our GREAT GOD!

Wendy

If you have been encouraged, please feel free to pass this post along to others!

When You Need Reassurance God is Listening

When You Need Reassurance God is Listening

Have you ever needed reassurance from God that He is hearing those deep prayers of your heart?  Have you sometimes just longed for a sign, any sign, that He is hearing and cares about what is going on?  Have you ever felt guilt over that need for reassurance?

I am right there with you friend!

There have been requests on my heart that have been brought before the Lord many many times.  Several times a day they are brought before the Lord and though I share from the depths of my heart, those prayers have not yet been answered.

There have been times when I have asked God to show me a sign that He is hearing me.  His will may not be to answer how I think He should, but I just long for a sign that He sees me, way down here in the south and He is hearing my pleas.

I’ve felt guilty at times for having this need for reassurance.  Shouldn’t my spiritual walk be more mature then that?  Shouldn’t I have more faith and trust and just know that He is hearing me?

Yes, I probably should.  Yet still this need lingers.

This morning as I sat down on my corner of the couch, my devotions took me straight on over to Psalm 86.  Instantly I knew it was not a coincidence the Lord led me there.  The very first verse says, Bow down thine ear, O Lord, hear me: for I am poor and needy.”  Even King David needed to know that God’s ear was in tune to hear his prayers!

Wait, this King, this man who is referred to as  a man after God’s own heart, even he had a need to know that God was listening?

Again in verse 6 he says, Give ear, O Lord, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications.”  Also down in verse 17 it says,Shew me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, Lord, hast holpen me, and comforted me.”

We all have a need to know we are being heard by those we are speaking with.  That need grows even stronger when it comes to the pouring out of our heart to our Almighty God.  The waiting for an answer can be so difficult.  All those who have patience mastered please raise your hand.

{*I think I’m hearing crickets!*}

My hand is not raised!

Sometimes the waiting lasts a such a long time and in that waiting, in our humanness we can begin to wonder if God is hearing.  So we just need that sign from Him saying, “Yes, I hear you!”

Friend, if you need this reassurance as well, know you are not alone!

God is hearing our prayers.  He does see where we are and He has not forgotten about you and I in our small corners of our little spot on earth.  2 Chronicles 16:9 states, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him.”

Take comfort in knowing that He is hearing your prayers!  His answers may take longer than we think they should and they may be different than we think they ought to be, but remember Is. 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  God sees the bigger picture and we tend to only see one piece at a time.

Be encouraged!  God is listening!  I Peter 3:12, “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

You are heard by our Wonderful God!

Wendy

If you have been encouraged, please feel free to share this post with others!

Three Things I would teach myself if I could go back in time

Three Things I would teach myself if I could go back in time

If I could go back in time and have a conversation with my younger self, there are a few things I would love to share with me.  Since that is just not possible, I thought I would share them with you!

Since we can’t all meet at a coffee shop together, lets meet right here.  I’ve got my coffee with me, do you have yours?

As I look back on my younger years I am flooded with memories of the awkward years…. you know those years 🙂  We allll have them and there just is no other word to descriWen32be them!  The pictures, oh the pictures!  Yikes!  Have you ever looked back at pictures of yourself and thought, “What in the world was I thinking?!”  Ya, like all the time!

If I had the opportunity to sit down with all of you, I would love to share how important it is to surround yourself with godly friends.  This past week our church held VBS and as I was teaching 1st and 2nd graders our lesson one night was on choWen41osing wise and unwise friends.  Oh how I wish at a young age these children would grasp the reality of choosing wise friends!  Who we hang out with will make a big difference in who we become.  Friends play an important role in our lives.

In college God brought some incredible friends into my life.  Looking back, I have only wonderful memories with those girls!  Their friendships were like a gift from God to me!  Proverbs 27:17 is true, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” 
I thank the Lord that He gifted me with friends who helped to strengthen my walk with God!  Meeting together for prayer and Bible studies are memories I cherish now!  I had never had friendships like that before and it was like a breath of fresh air!  To this day, all of those girls are still walking closely with the Lord and I am beyond blesseWen28d to still call each one a friend!  God gifted me with being able to live not far away from one of my close friends and because of technology I can still see other friends through Face Time!  Friends matter more than we realize, so choose wisely.

My younger years were full of some good times, but there are quite a few painful memories in my past.  I remember reading as a teen the verse in Psalm 56:8 that speaks of how the tears that fall from our eyes are collected by God.  Not one of them goes unnoticed.  The tears shed in silence, in secret, all of them are noticed by God.  I wish I knew then what I know now and that is God truly does work everything together for our good and His glory. Romans 8:28 has rung true in my life, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”  Also Genesis 50:20, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” 

God has the amazing ability to take the hurts of our past (and the ones we are experiencing now) and use them for good.  Oftentimes He allows us to go through these painful times to draw us closer to Himself and later on down the road He helps us to help others who are going through difficult times.  So if I could go back, I would tell myself to hang on and keep trusting.  Cling to the promises of God that though weeping may endure for the night, JOY will come in the morning! {Psalm 30:5}

As a pre-teen and young teenager God gifted me with a great Youth Pastor.  He took time to actually teach me how to study my Bible because he knew the importance of daily spending time with God.  Get in the habit of spending time alone with God from a young age!  Developing this habit early on will help you all through your life! If you are in the habit of spending time with God already, then when life really begins to take off and get busy, that habit will already be engrained in you that you will continue to keep spending time with God on a daily basis.  When life gets busy and tough is not the time to put your Bible down, oh no!  God’s Word is our lifeline for encouragement, for peace, for security!  Make it a habit to spend time with God daily.

I can’t go back in time and remind myself or really teach myself any of these things, but if I can encourage others with them, that is what I would love to do!  Be encouraged friends!  Get into God’s Word, remember He does work all things together for good, and surround yourself with godly friends.

You are loved by our WONDERFUL God!

Wendy

If you have been encouraged, please feel free to pass along this post!

There Is HOPE to raise Godly children today

There Is HOPE to raise Godly children today

I am a mother to three young children.  As a mom I hear all kinds of advice, some asked for, some not.  Everyone has an opinion of what a mother should or should not be doing.  From the start, once a baby is born a young mother is often overwhelmed with well meaning friends and family {and even strangers!} who begin to flood her with “try this”, “never do that”, “this is the brand of clothing and food choices you should make”, “these diapers leak, those are the best!”  Advice swarms in circles around we mama’s.

As our children grow the advice keeps growing as well.  Everything from potty training {and how long it should take…. or how quickly it should be done!}, when to give a pacifier vs when to take it away for good, education choices, and so much more become topics for advice.  The blogosphere has made the “noise” become that much louder.

It can become rather overwhelming and our desire to hide under the bed and never come out may become more tempting than we ever thought possible!  We just want the noise around us to stop!  We want some time to be still and just think for a moment.

When it comes to our children, we as mama’s want what is truly best for our children.  What is best for our children though?  I have read articles, have carried on conversations, have listened as mother’s of grown children have shared stories of their now grown children and different choices they have made.  Their children are now adults and they are breaking their parents hearts.  Recently I’ve heard conversations of parents saying, “I did not make the church that important as my children were growing and now they want nothing to do with God or the church.”  I have also listened as others have said, “I raised my family in church, we were there for every service, and now my kids want nothing to do with God or the church!”  I do not doubt the heartbreak of these dear parents, and it had me as a young mother on the brink of a break down!

I found myself wondering, “Wait, both of these parents had different styles of parenting….. and neither one turned out the way we long for our children to turn out!  Is there really no hope?”

I found myself crying out to God and saying, “Please, Lord, show me there is hope that these children of mine will grow up to love and live for You!”

Here are two truths God has shown me.

First, Mama, we need God I will be the first to admit, I need God’s grace in my life.  I need His help in raising these children!  We need God to not just be a part of our life, we need Him to be our life, to infiltrate it and consume it!  Raising children is wonderful and if God would allow it we would have an entire house full of them, but raising children is also a lot of work.  I need God’s help to do this right.  Spending time alone with God daily is key!  Getting up before my kids, spending time in His Word and pouring my heart out to Him is a must.  Praying constantly for our children is something we need to be doing all throughout our day!

We can eat organically, use non-chemical based cleaners, be as “oily” as the next mama, but friend, what our children truly need even more than all of that is a Mama who readily admits, “I cannot do this right without the help of God!”  I need to let the Lord fill me up first so that I can be the right kind of mama to these sweet blessings.   Our children need to see the importance of God in our lives so they will see their need of Him in theirs.  Our relationship with God needs to be genuine, lived out, not just talked about but walked out!

Second, our children need God!  Our oldest never ceases to amaze me in her perception.  Things I would think she doesn’t notice, she does and she questions.  Just this morning she asked, “Mom, why do people come to church but then stop and just give up?  They just seem to give up on God!”  Yes, she literally asked me that.  She has learned at a young age that she needs God and so does everyone else, so why would people just give up on Him?

Our children may never eat at McDonalds and may have the highest GPA, but if we have failed to point our children to God then we have failed as parents. Our children need to see their need for God!  The world, school mates, television, video games, and sometimes even friends will shout {in both word and deed} how much our children do not need God, but we need to be showing them even more how much they do need God.

We need to be teaching them the things of Christ at home, every opportunity we get, we need to faithfully be at church and actively involved in it, we need to be living like a AbeLincolnChristian ought to in our homes as well as when we are out and about.  We need to be showing our children and teaching them about the Lord and their need for Him!  Pray for and with your children.  One of the things my children always hear me pray for them is that they will always walk closely with the Lord and never ever rebel and turn from Him.  I pray this because I truly desire it and also, if/when they are ever tempted to turn from God, I want the prayer their mama prayed over and over to be ringing in their head!  Let your kids hear you talk to God and teach them to talk with Him too!  Don’t just hand them a Bible and say “read!”, teach them to read it and study it!  Have devotions as a family!  Teach them Bible stories, act them out, sing about the greatness of God as a family!

As I have read different accounts of the Israelite’s in the Old Testament, I have seen how this people group went through vicious cycles.  They would follow the Lord and then turn away from Him.  They would see blessings from the Lord but then because they turned their back on the Lord they would see judgments and persecutions, harsh kings would rule, and they would be defeated and enslaved.  They would then cry out to God and He would deliver them and they would follow Him for a season, but then the cycle just kept on going.  Why is that I wondered.  Then one day it was as if the Lord said, “The parents forgot to teach their children about God.  So their children would grow up not knowing God and wanting nothing to do with Him.  All it takes is for one generation to not teach their child about Christ.”

Let’s not follow this pattern!  Mama’s let’s realize our need for Christ and the need our children have for Christ!  Let’s live out our Christian faith, let’s reach beyond the surface and strive to reach the heart!

My children are still young and I am still trying to figure this parenting journey out, but there is hope to raise Godly children in this day and age who will love and live for Jesus.  That hope is called, JESUS!

When the LGBT movement hits home

When the LGBT movement hits home

We grew up in the same home, were raised by the same parents, surrounded by the same siblings.  We are siblings.  All five of us have now grown and moved to various states across this country, yet one of my siblings has chosen to live a gay lifestyle.

Did that just shock you?  Ya, it was a shock to me too.

I feel rather vulnerable even now, opening up on here to share this with you all.  Yet, I feel compelled to share because I’m sure there are some who can relate and need some encouragement.

Here’s the thing, though I disagree with my siblings lifestyle choice, though I will never condone what he is doing, I still love him.

I remember getting the phone call several years back when he notified us of his “coming out”.  There was a chill that raced down my spine and an ache in my heart that I had never known before.  “NO!” I thought, and my husband and I wept, bitterly wept for him.  It was a heart wrenching shock and though we spoke truth in love to him, his heart and mind were made up.

I have sat around the table and listened quietly while others spoke of these people in this kind of lifestyle in a way that was not God-honoring.  Sometimes it is easier to simply talk about them grossly instead of praying for them earnestly.  The lifestyle is sinful, no doubt about it, but let’s not forget that there are mother’s, and father’s, and siblings, and others who are deeply grieved because someone they love is involved in this lifestyle.  The words we choose to use and how we choose to say them can add sting after sting to a mother who has been earnestly praying for her child to come back to the Lord.  Those words can feel like a boulder was just tossed their way and instead of having a safe place to share the burden of having a wayward child or relative, they sit in silence, fearing the harsh judgements from others.

My heart is grieved for my brother.  I have sat with my mother as she has wept for the soul of her son.  I have seen the blame she has placed on her shoulders, a weight no mothers shoulders are strong enough to bare.  I have seen the concern in her eyes over decisions her son, my brother, has made.  His lifestyle is one we will never condone, never accept as right, but we will also never stop loving him.  We will never stop caring for him.  Never stop praying that God would intervene in his life!

Instead of simply writing mean articles and speaking hateful words when referring to someone in this lifestyle, why not take a moment to pray for them and reach out to them?  I’m not saying to excuse their lifestyle and not call sin what it is, I would never say that, but rather, remember chances are in this day and age someone you are close to has been affected by someone in this lifestyle and may be hurting deeply because of it.  When God brings someone of this lifestyle across your path, reach out!  They don’t have the plague.  If you talk to them and try to minister to them you will not “catch” what they have.  Yes, you may face rejection, but they ultimately are not rejecting you, but Christ.  As a believer, this is part of what being a believer is about!  It’s about fulfilling the great commission!  It is a lot easier to turn the other way and pretend we never saw them, but what if, what if God placed some people in your life that are of this lifestyle, because He knew He would be able to use you to point them to Him!

We all sin.

That is why Jesus came!  Luke 5:32, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

I am deeply thankful that someone shared Christ with me!  It is my turn to keep sharing Him with others.