Just Stay Squishy

September 29-30
An email arrived from a friend of our daugher's, whose husband is starting a facial plastic surgery practice.  They are offering free Botox injections if you are willing to be part of their advertising and pose for before and after pictures.  Watching Pamela Anderson on Dancing With the Stars the other night was enough to scare me away.  My initial response was "Yikes!  I think I will just stay wrinkly and squishy (as my grandson describes me)."

Visiting my 92 year old father this week, I asked, "How are you?"  "I'm old, " he replied.  Immediate conviction came that I need to come up with a new greeting.  Out of habit, I bet 90% of us greet one another with "How are  you?"  While some of us are sincere in our questioning, many of us would be shocked if the person replied, "I'm constipated, have an ulcer in my mouth and itching like crazy from a tick that I pulled off in my groin area."

Let's check out Paul's letter greetings as an example of how we could change it up when we encounter or correspond with one another.  What if our emails began with:

1 Corinthians.
"Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus..."
2 Corinthians
"Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."
"Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen"
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ."
1 Thessalonians
"Grace and peace to you.  We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers.  We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ."

What if when we shook someone's hand, instead of "How are you?"  We said,
"Grace and peace to you today.  Where have you seen God working today?" or
"Grace and peace to you today!  Isn't it grand that nothing is too hard for our God!" or
"Praise the Lord, Jesus is alive!  What has He been doing in your life?" or
"I am so thankful for you.  God's goodness has me giddy today!"

Challenge:  send me some of your God greetings and I will open the devotional with them.

Patient Forgiveness

September 28
Yikes, it's another trifecta!  When trifectas of faith happen, I know the Lord is either preparing me for something or pressure washing a point in my heart.  UGH.
Wednesday morning in the car a radio show was on...could have been Stanley, Swindoll, Ingram.  I didn't take notice of the speaker, but the message on forgiveness and our witness stuck with me. He made reference to a pastor who was getting annoyed by the cleaners not getting the starch right in his shirts.  He made them redo the shirts THREE times.  One Sunday evening, when church members were going on visitation, the chairman of the visitation committee handed out a card to the pastor.  Looking at the name, he asked if this man owned a cleaners.  "Yes, he does," was the response.  "Do you know if he has said anything about me," questioned the pastor.  "He says you are very particular about your shirts." This message saved me from losing it at the grocery store yesterday with the worst checkout/bagger girl ever. I realized, that experience was not of eternal value, but loving her was. (She was not a happy camper.)

On the way home from the grocery store there was a Proverbs 31 minute on the radio by Lysa TerKeurst.  Just a quickie with a powerful punch.  She was speaking about how "Hurt people, hurt people."  Her personal challenge was this:  "When someone says something hurtful, I'm going to ask myself if any part of their statement was justified.  I want to learn the truth of the situation and let the untrue parts go.  I also need to pray and ask God to remind me of His constant love and forgiveness for me.  I'm not a bad person and the one hurting me isn't either.  We're both humans in need of the grace that God so freely gives.  Lastly, I must forgive this person before bitterness has the chance to set in and rob my joy."

Then this morning I open the Wisdom Hunter and he has a message that I read three times.  This Proverbs message is going into my memory bank (weak as it seems to be these days, I am praying scripture sticks in my mind if nothing else...you know...just in case there is a quiz when we get to heaven. Don't get all huffy over that comment...I know the test part it is not scriptural. Bet it would make some people nibble on the Word more if they thought there was a chance.)

“A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult”
 (Proverbs 12:16).
 From Boyd Bailey:
"Fools are forever flailing away at an offense, while a prudent man or woman is patient to forgive. A fool is easily provoked to anger, always looking for an argument to win. He or she is combative without compassionate concern. However, prudence is careful in its response, not willing to be reckless, but to be right. Wisdom employs forethought and prayer; it answers with an attitude of respect. Prudence invokes patience.

Do you buckle under pressure saying things you later regret? It is better to keep quiet and cool down than to vent venomous words in the flesh. Make this a goal when disciplining your children. Avoid anger as the instructor of your punishment. We tend to speak harshly and to act unreasonably when driven by anger. Wait prayerfully for twenty-four hours; then revisit the infraction with your child. Use cool correction.

“This is what you are to say to Joseph: ‘I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly. Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.’ When their message came to him, Joseph wept” (Genesis 50:17).

Bridle your tongue by God’s grace. The Bible says, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless” (James 1:26). Your words can grieve another or give hope. They can hurt or heal. Therefore, submit to the Holy Spirit’s control of your conversations.

Lastly, you are blessed if you are insulted for Christ’s sake. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me” (Matthew 5:11). Reward awaits those rejected for righteousness’ sake. Have you died to the right to be right? Do you hold a grudge or have to get even? In Christ we are dead to sin, and the dead are not insulted.

“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11).

Prayer: Whom do I need to patiently forgive for Christ’s sake?"


September 27

This Son perfectly mirrors God, and is stamped with God's nature.  
He holds everything together by what he says-powerful words!
Hebrews 1:3

Moses, our bulldog, sits in front of a mirror in our bedroom every morning and admires himself.  He mirrors confidence and strength.  The bride I was shooting photos of in the picture above mirrored beauty and excitement at the thought of seeing her bridegroom.
Hebrews 1:3 is simple, yet a powerful explanation for the existence of Jesus.  God came to earth in the form or a man to portray/mirror for us who He is and give us a living example of his nature.  Jesus was a living example of the attributes of God and he spoke words to mankind which hold "everything together".  Words which exemplify the characteristics we are to take on to be Christ like.

When stand in the mirror we can first say:
I am fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God with a specific personality and purpose.
God loves me so much he sent his Son to die for my sins, so I can live eternally with him in heaven.
Then we can take the mirror encounter a step further and ask God:
What characteristic of Christ in me do You want to develop today?

Googling characteristics of Christ I came across a site titled: SeekthisJesus.com
They listed 60 characteristic.  Which one do you need the Holy Spirit to supernaturally equip you with today?

• Love will enable us to appreciate our brothers and sisters in the Lord, and, of course, our family, and others around us. Love is taking the initiative to build up and meet the needs of others without expecting anything in return. (John 13:1;John 15:131 Corinthians 13:3)
• Joy will allow us to enjoy His creation, others, and our circumstances with an expression of delight and real, authentic happiness from and with harmony with God and others. (Proverbs 15:13John 15:11John 17:13)
• Peace is surrendering and yielding to the Lord’s control, for He is our ultimate peace! It is allowing tranquility to be our tone and to control our equanimity. This will be fueled by our harmonious relationship with God so we can hand over control of our heart, will, and mind to Him. Once we make real peace with God, we will be able to make and maintain peace with others. (Matthew 5:9Colossians 3:15Philippians 4:7)
• Patience is showing tolerance and fortitude to others, and even accepting difficult situations from them and God without making demands and conditions. (Matthew 27:14Romans 12:12James 1:3,12)
• Kindness is practicing benevolence and a loving attitude towards others. (Ephesians 4:32)
• Goodness displays integrity, honesty, and compassion to others, and allows us to do the right thing. (Matthew 19:16)
• Faithfulness is the “gluing” fruit that will preserve our faith and the other characters of the Spirit as well as identify God’s Will so we can be dependable and trusting to God and others. (Matthew 17:19Matthew 25:211 Cor. 12:9Hebrews 11:11 Thes 5:24)
• Gentleness is the character that will show calmness, personal care, and tenderness in meeting the needs of others. (Isa. 40:11Philippians 4:52 Timothy 2:241 Thes 2:7)
• Self-Control will allow us to have discipline, and restraint with obedience to God and others. (1 Thes 5: 22)
• Forgiving is the realization of how much we have been forgiven by Christ. This enables us to forgive the insignificant things that are done to us. It involves not being resentful to others, and ignoring the wrongs that we have received so we can heal relationships by expressing Christ’s love. (Luke 23:34Ephesians 4:32;Colossians 3:13)
• Humility minimizes arrogance and removes pride. It is understanding our fallen nature and tendency to think we are better than we are, and our striving to lift up ourselves above others and God. It is admitting that others, and more importantly God is responsible for our achievements. Humbleness will enable us to be a teachable person who is willing to have the attitude of submission and servant-hood, one who confesses sin and remembers how Christ served us! (Luke 22:27;Philippians 2:81 Peter 5:3–5)
• Fairness sees a situation from the viewpoint of each person involved and not just ours. It seeks the best, just, equable solution, even if it hurts us. (Matthew 7:12)
• Courage realizes that God has given us the strength to face any situation, trial, or peril. It is the ability to react, knowing that God is in control, that He who is in me is greater than he who is against me. (Deuteronomy 31:61 John 4:4)
• Friendship is the companionship and closeness we are to have with one another. It is the commitment to help form the character in others. This is not to be feared but embraced, even when it hurts! (Proverbs 27:17)
• Honesty & Truthfulness mean being straight and honest with others and doing what is right. This trait will allow us to earn trust by being accurate with facts and situations. (2 Cor. 8:21Ephesians 4:25)
• Dependable is being constantly reliable and trustworthy. It will allow us to continue in our commitments even if it means personal sacrifice. (1 Corinthians 4:2Colossians 1:10)
• Gratitude is an attitude of being thankful, even when we do not see what we have. This is an aspect of worship, expressing to God and others how they have benefited our lives by showing their support and benevolence. (1 Corinthians 4:7;1 Thes. 5: 18)
• Responsibility is to know and do what God and others expect. (Romans 14:12)
• Contentment is the attitude of accepting whatever God provides for us, and being happy with it. It does not seek what we do not need for gratification, and does not find happiness in the shallow things of life. (Rom. 9:19–21Philippians 4:10–131 Tim. 6:6–9)
• Generosity allows us to give to others because God has given abundantly to us. It is the wise use of stewardship and the attitude that all I have belongs to God and knowing we are the caretakers for His purpose. (Deut. 16:17Matthew 10:8)
• Purity & Holiness is being set apart for God’s use, which is holiness in action. It does not allow us to be contaminated nor interfere with others in our growth and relationship in Christ. (Matt. 5:8Philippians 4:81 Tim. 1:51 Tim. 5:22James 4:8)
• Confidence helps us rely on the Lord for all things in our life. It will enable us to push forward in the direction that we are called because He is governing. It makes us realize we are not responsible for the results–only the obedience. (Philippians 4:13)
• Encouragement will lift, support, and help others up through difficult circumstances, all from God’s perspective. (Psalm 119:28Psalm 143:3Matt. 3:17John 14:11 Thes. 5:11–14)
• Availability is being willing to adjust our own schedule, agenda, and plans to fit the right desires of God and others. It makes personal priorities secondary to the needs of God and others. It is to reflect God’s priorities so we are always available to Him and others when we are serving. (Mark 1:17–18Acts 16:10)
• Attentiveness will recognize the value of other people by giving them listening ears, respect, courtesy, and total concentration. This means paying attention to others, not just listening to our own needs and desires, and also giving genuine contemplation to God’s Word. (Hebrews 2:1)
• Wisdom truly desires the knowledge of God’s Word and the proper application to our life. This will enable us to make good judgments and decisions. (1 Kings 3:9Psalm 119:97–98)
• Compassion will feel the pain and plight of others. It will enable us to convey a deep feeling of love and concern that moves us to meet their distresses, struggles, and needs. (Job 29:13Isa. 40:11Mark 1:41Luke 19:41 Peter 3:8)
• Enthusiasm will enable us to overcome disappointments and setbacks, so we can be positive, optimistic, and keep up our interest, attitude, and zeal, even when things are harsh. (Matt. 5:16Rom. 12:11Gal. 6:9Col. 3:23)
• Initiative will take the front position to recognize and do what needs to be done before being asked to do it. (Prov. 22:29Philippians 3:14Philippians 4:13–15)
• Diligence allows us to operate with our best for His highest with excitement and passion in order to complete our work and call from the Lord. (Prov. 10:4Rom. 12:11Colossians 3:23)
• Thoughtfulness considers and gives attention and care to others and their feelings first. (Philippians 2:4)
• Efficient is being well organized, competent, and resourceful so we can make the most of every situation, doing our best and seeking better ways. (Psalm 90:12;Ephesians 4:23Ephesians 5:15– 161 Pet. 4:10)
• Discretion keeps our minds and focus on sound judgment, giving serious attention and thought to what is going on. It will carefully choose our words, attitudes, and actions to be right for any given situation, thus avoiding words and actions that could result in adverse consequences. (Psalm 112:5Proverbs 22:3;Rom. 12:2Rom. 9Rom. 14:19Rom. 22)
• Optimism will think the best of and be positive with people and all situations, even if later proven wrong. (Luke 21:18John 16:33Romans 8:25Romans 28)
• Obedience is submitting to do what God requires of us. It is also recognizing the authority and direction from others, such as the pastor and church, so we can create winning situations. (Deut. 13:4 ; Prov. 19:16John 14:14John 15:142 Corinthians 10:5)
• Reverence is recognizing and respecting people, not just because of their position and authority, but as brothers and sisters in the Lord, regardless of their personality, knowing He loves them too! (1 Peter 2:13–14)
• Agreeable finds Biblical solutions and support for others, without compromising truth. (Amos 3:3)
• Appreciation gives God our heartfelt thanks as a lifestyle of worship and adoration. This allows us to give to, and value others with respect. (Romans 12:10)
• Avoiding anger is the knowing of its destructive force and striving to maintain “cool” and serenity. (James 1:19)
• Being a Good Example is not allowing your relationship with Christ to become hypocritical, since people see your example as to what a Christian is! (1 Pet 2:21,221 Pet 2:12,15,17)
• Childlike Faith is the wonder and awe of what Christ did for us. It is something that we should never lose. Let us maintain our enthusiasm and not become just a subculture or routine! (Matt. 18:2–4,34)
• Commitment is being dedicated and pushing ahead as well as being satisfied with what you have. It is vowing to honor and be the best with what God has given of spiritual and material things. (1 Timothy 6:20)
• Communicating is being willing to convey thoughts, attitudes, feelings, and actions to others in a kind and listening manner that reflects Christ. (1 Timothy 4:12)
• Conviction is devotion to and following of the precepts of Scripture with zeal, whatever the cost. (Daniel 1:8)
• Cooperativeness is the support and willingness to work together in peace, unity, and harmony. (Eph. 4:3)
• Creative is being resourceful and imaginative in using the best of the goods and talents we have been given to serve the Lord. (1 Timothy 4:14)
• Diligenceis the loving of our call and the pursuing of our work, doing our best for His glory. (Colossians 3:23)
• Dependableis always being reliable and trustworthy. (Colossians 1:10)
• Determination is the ability to make difficult decisions and accomplish God’s goals based on the truths of God’s Word, regardless of the opposition. (Psalms 119:302 Timothy 4:7,8)
• Deference is being willing to bend personal freedom for the respect and esteem of others. (Romans 14:21)
• Devotion is aligning personal desires, plans, worship, and hope with God. (Colossians 3:2)
• Discernment is the ability to see people and situations the way they really are with of neutrality and justice, while also being cautious with right timing and actions. (1 Samuel 16:7Proverbs 19:2)
• Discreet is the ability to not bully people with our personality or actions, or even with sound and right opinions. It is giving serious respect, attention, and thought to what we say and do. (Psalm 112:5)
• Discipline is upholding and continuing a consistent and well-ordered life through godly obedience, regardless of how we feel. (1 Timothy 4:7)
• Decisive is sticking to right and just decisions based on God’s perfect will. (Romans 12:2)
• Not to swear or slander is refusing to verbally hurt others! (James 1:26)
• Endurance is the inner strength to remain in Him with staying power in order to accomplish God’s will. (Galatians 6:9)
• Fearless is facing down peril without being stupid. Sound mind is being bold since God gives us strength. (2 Timothy 1:7)
• Flexibility is being open to others plans and ideas and willing to be instructed and challenged to change for the better. (Colossians 3:2)
• Godly Priorities is choosing to follow Scriptural precepts as the primary important schedule and value for life. (Matthew 6:33)
• Godliness is being pious, which is rearranging our priorities to line up with God’s character. (3 John 11)
• Grace is elegant simplicity and calm that minimizes crudeness. (Psalm 94:11;James 4:6)
• Guidance is a willingness to help others to apply the precepts of Scripture in everyday and difficult situations. (Proverbs 27:9)
• Harmless is not willing or deliberately hurting anyone or anything. (Heb 7:26)
• Honest is being truthful and doing what is sincere and right before God and others. (Heb 7:26)
• Hospitality is a willingness to share, with discernment, what God has given us, including our family, home, finances, and food. (Romans 12:13)
• Integrity is the obedience to a moral code of values that have honor, truth, and reliability. It will allow one to keep his word and do his best even when no one else is looking. (Psalm 78:72)
• Just is doing what is fair, moral, impartial, and right, according to God’s will. (Genesis 6:9)
• Loyalty is remaining committed to those whom God has brought into our lives and has called us to serve, even in times of difficulty. (Proverbs 17:17)
• Meekness is not about being weak! It is strength under control, which yields personal rights and expectations to God. (Psalms 62:5)
• Merciful is demonstrating more forgiving and gracious kindness than the world requires. (Luke 6:36)
• Patience is the fortitude to accept from others difficult situations that we do not like. With God, it is trust of His timing, and not giving Him a deadline. (Romans 12:12)
• Perseverance is not being faint with our call, but being able to persist and continue to deal with stress so we can accomplish what God calls us to. (Galatians 6:9)
• Persuasiveness advocates God’s Word to others so they can be changed in their thinking and can conform to His will. (2 Timothy 2:25)
• Prompt is not holding others back with our inadequacies; it is respecting the time of others and being able to act quickly when God and others call on us. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
• Prudence is not being a prude, but implementing and applying good, logical, and just judgment to situations that will help in avoiding error and problems. (Proverbs 13:6Proverbs 22:3)
• Purpose is in knowing who we are in Christ and acting it out with our call. That is, devoting our life, Spiritual gifts, abilities, and call so it can bring out the best in people and situations. Our meaning of life will have eternal treasure and results. (John 15)
• Respectful is being polite and courteous to the people, and the civil authorities God has placed in our life. (1 Thes. 5:13–14)
• Security is trust and reliance upon God for our daily needs. This is not laziness, but working with God’s values, and organizing our life around God’s Will with an eternal outlook in mind for a secure feeling. We are safe because of God’s protection. (Proverbs 29:25John 6:27)
• Submissive is, with awe and reverence, surrendering and yielding our will and plans over to God’s guidance. (Ephesians 5:21)
• Self-Acceptance is realizing we are deeply loved and accepted by Christ, thus, we can accept us. To love others we have to love ourselves as Christ implies for us to. Self-hatred is not Biblical! Self-Acceptance will allow us to accept unchangeable physical features and situations that God has made, to allow us to focus on the more important things in life such as character. (2 Corinthians 12:9–10)
• Selflessness is the altruistic giving of ourselves to others, as Christ gave Himself to us. (Titus 2:14)
• Sensitivity is exercising kindness and compassion so we can go beyond just reason and logic to perceive and respond to others. (Romans 12:15)
• Servant Leadership is exercising real godly leadership as Christ did, by His taking a towel, influencing, equipping, and empowering people to accomplish God’s purpose and plan. (Luke 22:26)
• Sincerity is earnest honesty that is readily doing what is right, with pure and loving intention. (Joshua 24:141 Peter 1:22)
• Success is not what the world says is achievement; it is to know and faithfully follow God’s Will and His Word. It is our obedience, not our numbers or measurements! (Matthew 25:21)
• Suffering is not sought, but when it happens, it is d allowing it to turn into a mold to allow us to be made for the better as “Christ hath suffered” makes us better. It is not a personal attack, rather it is a means to get our attention to make us better, more useful, stronger, and to understand what takes place in others. (1 Peter 4:1–19)
• Supportive is to come along side others, sharing our strength and courage in their afflictions and troubles. (Galatians 6:2)
• Tactful is being considerate, delicate, and diplomatic with other’s feelings and ideas, doing, and saying the right thing. (Colossians 4:6)
• Teach is to share our insights and what we have learned with others, to disciple them. (Matt. 7:28Matt. 28:19–20John 7:16Mark 4:22 John 1:9)
• Temperate is to have self-control so we do not lose control and give in to lust and extremes of society’s ills. (Titus 2:12)
• Tolerant is being forbearing and patient with others, even when they are different or weaker. (1 Thes. 5:14)
• Thoroughness is careful diligence that carries out our call with our very best for God’s approval. (Ecclesiastes 9:10Colossians 3:23)
• Time is the moments in which we either burn or live for His glory. It is the opportunities we have to live, serve, learn, and grow. In so doing, if we invest wisely, we will produce eternal treasures. If not, it will go to waste. (Psalm 90:12)
• Understanding is the ability to reason and comprehend situations. (Psalms 119:34)
• Virtue is holding onto the principles of moral excellence that calls us to a higher level where few people desire to go, but as a Christian, we must go! (Col. 3:12–17)
• Zealous is maintaining our enthusiasm for our faith and call, not allowing our church or us to fall into a rut of meaningless rhetoric. (Luke 2:49John 2:17John 8:29)

Boldness of Belief

September 26
"Courage in Christ is a gift Christians have to give one another. 
It is a boldness of belief bent on bettering others. "
Boyd Bailey

A forward came across my email, from a woman I have only met once. She had my email from a spiritual growth and prayer group list.  This was the second time in less than two years she had emailed the same ten year old propaganda email against the Target Corporation. She was encouraging people not to shop there.  The last time I replied, explaining our son was an employee of Target in Minneapolis and the email was not true.  This time I wrote her to share again about the validity of these claims, but more importantly to ask for prayer concerning something very exciting occurring at Target's headquarters.  A couple years ago our son had approached management about the possibility of having corporate Bible studies at headquarters.  What began with  initial responses from about 600 employees has now grown to 12 weekly Bible studies for over 1,000 people!  Our son has stepped out into the battle front with these other believers in a boldness of belief and we need to pray for their courage in Christ to continue.  Please, pray for protection for these individuals in leadership roles and for the doors to remain open to these Bible studies within this company and other corporations desiring to follow suit.
The woman replied to me that even if that email was false, she still wasn't going to shop there because they had a picture of a homosexual couple on their wedding registry website.  Sharing this with my son, his reply was "Wow.  This woman needs to check her heart.  We are called to love the lost."
We may not agree with the lifestyle choices of others.  Goodness...within our own churches we can't agree on the type of music to be sung and we gossip getting our panties in a twit over people that come through the doors.  If we are answering the call to be disciples we need to love and pray for the woman at the well, the demon possessed man, the addict who feels hopeless, and even the neighbor blowing his leaves into our yard.

Below is the entire devotional message by Bailey on encouraging one another.  Thanks to all of you who keep me keeping on with this ministry.  There have been many times I've wanted to quit and then an encouraging email, note or call comes from you and I know that is Jesus saying to keep on keeping on.

Encourage One Another by The Wisdom Hunter...Boyd Bailey

He [Christ] died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 
1Thessalonians 5:10-11

Courage in Christ is a gift Christians have to give one another. It is a boldness of belief bent on bettering others. Daily life drains courage from a person’s heart, but believers are able to fill with encouragement what unrighteousness removes with discouragement. Saintly support comes when a person is aware that someone knows and cares about them. There is an emotional engagement that flows from an inner desire to be there for a needy friend.

Our encouragement is like being an ambassador from Almighty God. We represent Jesus to His followers and to those who have not come to faith. It’s when people see Jesus in our actions and attitudes that they are drawn to personally know Him. Yes, our encouragement is a conduit for Christ! We give a cup of courage in Jesus’ name, and the thirsty recipient tastes that the Lord is good. Their soul then seeks to drink the living water of Christ.

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. John 4:13-14

Your encouragement builds up the hope, faith and love of another loved one. Over coffee, an acquaintance hears from you that they matter, because they matter to God. Your words of truth grow confidence in a character who struggles to be consistent with Christ’s commands. Encouragement challenges as well as comforts. Most do not complain of too much encouragement, but many quietly crave more.

Most of all be encouraged by Jesus. Invite Him to invigorate your faith and rejuvenate your passion. Christ is your biggest cheerleader. His courage is limitless and breeds bravery. His eternal energy engages your soul to persevere as a praying parent, to be patient in whom to marry, to serve in your church and to give a kind word to a stranger. Be encouraged by Christ, so you can encourage another. Encouragement gives courage!

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thanks for encouraging me to encourage others.

Related ReadingsJob 16:5Act 14:221 Thessalonians 4:18Hebrews 3:13 

Highs and Lows

These pictures were from the same Christmas Day, 
but obviously joyful exuberance was not flowing from every soul.

September 25
The molding that takes place amidst the muddle is magnanimous.
My husband says we can't appreciate the good times unless we've experienced the bad ones.  If we didn't have Mondays, facing a long week; we wouldn't look forward to Fridays and the onset of the weekend!
"Life is a lot" I often say.  A lot of joy and a lot of sorrow.

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, 
you will receive what he  has promised.
Hebrews 10:35-36 (NIV)

Last week, a young, six year, breast cancer survivor rejoiced with her family as her fourth child was born!  Four days later, this family was in mourning as this wife and mama died due to a blood clot.
Highs and lows.  Heart breaking.

Sunday, we were so excited to visit a new "church plant" in our area. Over and over again I had chill bumps as I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit and the joy of this body of believers who have worked so hard to bring this to fruition.  The campus pastor had to be on both spectrums of the emotional scale.  Over 200 people had gathered to praise the Lord and celebrate this "new beginning", it was a glorious site. Yet, all the while, this man knew the next day he and his wife would board a plane for Texas and MD Anderson in hopes of finding a possible treatment for the cancer which has metastasized in this young woman's body.  The weight, of the realization of the highs and lows in this household, has me praying without ceasing for them.  Also, the reminder that we are surrounded by a battle, which is not of flesh and blood, is quite vivid, keeps me alert.
Doing the Lord's will does not bring about ease or earthly accolades. Thus we are instructed to put on the armor of God.

 God is strong, and he wants you strong.  
So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials.  
And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way.  
This is no afternoon athletic contest that we''ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours.  This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish agains the Devil and all his angels.
Ephesians 6:10-18  

The day I asked Jesus into my heart, I felt like I had a bow on my head too. (Like our son in the first picture.)  As my faith grew, it brought about lifestyle changes; mocking, ridicule, and elimination by some "friends" to their social events. I remember being shocked at first, not understanding why they wouldn't be thrilled.  The ultimate high in my life, thus far (I'm sure seeing Jesus face to face will top everything), brings about low blows from others. 

The Message takes the Hebrews 10:35-36 confidence verse we read above and words it this way:

Remember those early days after you first saw the light?  Those were the hard times!  Kicked around in public, targets of every kind of abuse-some days it was you, other days your friends.  If some friends went to prison,  you stuck by them.  If some enemies broke and seized your goods, you let them go with a smile, knowing they couldn't touch your real treasure.  Nothing they did bothered you, nothing set you back.  So don't throw it all away now.  You were sure of yourselves then.  It's still a sure thing!  But you need to stick it out, staying with God's plan so you'll be there for the promised completion.  It won't be long now, he's on the way; he'll show up most any minute.  But anyone who is right with me thrives on loyal trust; if he cuts and runs, I won't be very happy.  But we're not quitters who lose out.  Oh, no!  We'll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way.  Hebrews 10:35-36

One day we will be with Christ who reigns on high and we will have no memory of our earthly lows!