Encouragement Challenge Week 4

Welcome back! This is the last week of our encouragement challenge. I hope you have enjoyed learning more about encouragement and being positive! This week we are going to focus on our attitude. We have a choice on how we behave. We need to choose to behave differently. Each day we make choices. Those choices can either bring us closer to God or away from Him. We can live according to His Commands for our lives. We can find those in The Bible. We can, also, choose to ignore Him–disobeying His commands. Each day we are faced with difficult choices and powerful temptations. We must seek His counsel and follow His will for our life.

The Bible reminds us:

Galatians 6:7-8
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”

2 Peter 1:5-6
“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness”

1 Peter 2:16
“As God’s slaves, live as free people, but don’t use your freedom as a way to conceal evil.”

Be a blessing to others,
~M

You are Forgiven

Welcome back to the Encouragement Challenge Week 3! We are talking about forgiveness this week. Today, we are going to focus on God’s forgiveness towards us. We are forgiven! You are forgiven!! No matter what you have done…you are forgiven! All you have to do is ask God to forgive you! He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins!

Here are a just few scriptures about God’s forgiveness:

Psalm 32:5 “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.”

Matthew 26:28 “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Acts 2:38 “Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'”

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Repent (turn away from) your sins and be forgiven. God has forgiven you…so now forgive yourself. We all fail and need forgiveness. Allow God to forgive you. Then, forgive yourself.

Be a blessing to others,
~M

Let God Judge

Welcome back!! Today, we are continuing to talk about forgiveness. Have you ever judged anyone? While I was in college, I would judge high school cheerleader tryouts. I did not like doing it. It was so hard to judge them when I knew that someone’s dreams would be crushed if they didn’t make the team.

We are judged on a daily basis by what we wear, what we eat, what we say and even what we don’t do. As Christians, our lives are judged even harsher by the world. However, we often tend to judge others, too. We need to remember that we have ALL fallen short of God’s commandments. God has forgiven us, so we need to forgive others.

God does not need or want our help judging someone. He is perfectly capable of judging the human heart. He is perfect. We are not. When we judge someone else, we are living outside of God’s will for our lives. He has forgiven us for all our mistakes. Instead of being quick to judge someone…let’s stop. That is God’s job not ours. We have enough to worry about in our own lives than focusing on someone else.

Let’s see what the Bible has to say about this.

Matthew 7:1-5 ““Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. ”

Luke 6:37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven”

James 4:11-12 “Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?”

Don’t judge–just forgive!

Be a blessing to others,
~M

Happy 4th of July

Hello Readers!! Happy 4th of July!! I hope you get to spend some time with family and friends today. Celebrate what Christ has done in your life. Use this holiday to share God’s love with someone else! Give someone else some encouragement today. Smile and share your faith!

1 Peter 2:16 reminds us, “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.”

Be a blessing to others,
~M

Encouragement Challenge Week 2

Welcome back to the 2nd week of the Encouragement Challenge. Today, we are going to talk about the Power of Kindness.

Kindness can be defined as “the act of having or showing a gentle nature and a desire to help others; wanting and liking to do good things and to bring happiness to others.”

Kind words can last a lifetime, but so can mean words. Do you want to be the positive influence in someone’s life or the negative, hurtful influence? Being kind to someone can change their whole life. We need those encouraging, kind people in our lives. What would you like to be known for: being kind or hurtful? It is your choice.

1 Thessalonians 3:12 — “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all.”

Ephesians 4:32 — “And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.”

Ephesians 4:9 — “Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word is a gift.

Lord, please help us to be kind to others. Let us rise above the need to criticize others. Let me be the source of genuine kindness and encouragement to my family, friends, coworkers and anyone You put in my path. In Jesus Name, Amen!

Be a blessing to others,
~M

To Build Up

Welcome back to the 30 days of encouragement! Another way we can describe encouragement is building each other up. I had this wonderful art teacher in High School. One day, she gave us an assignment to write something nice about everyone else in the class. We were all smiles after we finished reading the notes from our classmates. So, take some time out of your busy schedule today, and build someone else up.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 — “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

Ephesians 4:29 — “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

1 Corinthians 14:26 — “What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.”

Hebrews 10:24-25 — “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

Be a blessing to others,
~M

Mercy Shown By Love Part 10

Happy Monday! It’s the beginning of a fresh new week. Will you show God’s love and mercy this week? We hope you have enjoyed this series about Mercy Shown By Love! Today is the last day of this series. Let’s get started with today’s verse.

Luke 6:27-36 (HCSB) from Biblegateway.com

27-“But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, 28-bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29-If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also. And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either. 30-Give to everyone who asks you, and from one who takes your things, don’t ask for them back. 31-Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them. 32-If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33-If you do what is good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34-And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners to be repaid in full. 35-But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is gracious to the ungrateful and evil. 36-Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Luke 6:27-36 (HCSB)

Notes:
36-Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.

What does being merciful mean? Webster defines it as “full of mercy; treating people with kindness and forgiveness; not cruel or harsh; having or showing mercy; giving relief from suffering.”

We can find many examples of mercy and being merciful in the Bible. Take a walk through the scriptures with us:

Luke 1:49-50 (NIV) for the Mighty One has done great things for me– holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.

Ephesians 2:4-5 (NIV) But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.

Titus 3:4-5 (NIV) But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 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

1 Peter 1:3 (NIV) Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Romans 3:23-24 (NIV) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Habakkuk 3:2 (NIV) Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.

Psalms 28:6-7 (NIV) Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.

~G & M

Mercy Shown By Love Part 9

Luke 6:27-36 (HCSB) from Biblegateway.com

27-“But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, 28-bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29-If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also. And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either. 30-Give to everyone who asks you, and from one who takes your things, don’t ask for them back. 31-Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them. 32-If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33-If you do what is good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34-And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners to be repaid in full. 35-But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is gracious to the ungrateful and evil. 36-Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Luke 6:27-36 (HCSB)

Notes:
35-But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is gracious to the ungrateful and evil.

This verse is like a summary of how we should live our lives. We should love everyone, do our best not to sin, follow God’s commands, help others and expect NOTHING in return. Don’t do things to get a “you owe me one!” Just give as God lays on your heart. If you do these things you will be rewarded. It may not be here on Earth….it may be in heaven. But, you will get your reward. God is gracious to all. I challenge you to show God’s grace, love, and mercy to others even the ones who have hurt you. Forgive as God has forgiven you.

Have a great weekend. See ya Monday.

Be blessed and be a blessing,
~M

Mercy Shown By Love Part 8

Welcome back! Hope you are enjoying this series about Mercy Shown By Love! Let’s get started with today’s verse.

Luke 6:27-36 (HCSB) from Biblegateway.com

27-“But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, 28-bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29-If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also. And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either. 30-Give to everyone who asks you, and from one who takes your things, don’t ask for them back. 31-Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them. 32-If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33-If you do what is good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34-And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners to be repaid in full. 35-But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is gracious to the ungrateful and evil. 36-Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Luke 6:27-36 (HCSB)

Notes:
34-And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners to be repaid in full.

Oh how I love this verse. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the following. “Hey man do you have some $$$ I can borrow. I promise that I will pay you back in a few days or next week.” Next week rolls by and for some reason or another you don’t hear or see the borrower. A few weeks or months go by and finally you see them. They come up to you and begin to chat and talk about the weather, sports, etc. you know what I’m talking about. Then they head off with a friendly nice to see you and not once did they talk about money. The very next day or week you see them again and they ask, “can I borrow some money”, and you remind them that they still have not paid you back from the last time they borrowed from you. Does any of this ring a bell in your life? If so just remember that Jesus gave freely and if God has blessed you to be able to give something from a penny to the big bucks, just give only what God lays on your heart to give. I promise you when I say this: YOU CAN NOT OUT-GIVE GOD even if you tried. Sometimes it is better to just let go of what is owed to you. Hey, God owns everything anyway and if He wants you to have your money or stuff back, then He will make it happen. Trust in God not man. Man will fail you, but God never fails. When your life revolves around the world, then this will not be very easy to show mercy and forgive a debt. When your life revolves around Jesus Christ, then His Spirit will testify with your spirit and you will want to give freely. The only way to be free from the bitterness of the you owe me attitude is to just let go of the world and embrace God.

~Dr. G
John 14:6 – Jesus Is The Way, Truth, & Life

Part of M’s Testimony & Mercy Shown by Love Part 7

Hello Readers! It’s been a while since I wrote a blog. Pastor G asked me to share part of my testimony with today’s scripture. Just remember, if you are experiencing hurt or being bullied, you are NOT alone! You can submit a public or private comment and we will praying for you. As our 7 year old daughter says, “Stop the meanness! Love God! Love Others!”

Luke 6:27-36 (HCSB) from Biblegateway.com

27-“But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, 28-bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29-If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also. And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either. 30-Give to everyone who asks you, and from one who takes your things, don’t ask for them back. 31-Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them. 32-If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33-If you do what is good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34-And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners to be repaid in full. 35-But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is gracious to the ungrateful and evil. 36-Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Luke 6:27-36 (HCSB)

Notes:

33-If you do what is good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.

Wow! This verse spoke straight to my heart. It is easy to be kind and compassionate to those who love you and treat you with respect. But, even sinners do that. It reminds me of a time in my life where I had a choice to hold on to bitterness or just let it go.

The following is just a brief section from my testimony–my walk with The Lord.

When I was in the fifth grade, I was bullied so badly that it left me with emotional and physical scars. I’m not going to go into all the details right now. The Lord brought me through that trying time by clinging to this verse: Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

When I started High School things only got worse. But, my parents always taught me to never let the bullies see that they are hurting you. So, on the outside, I looked happy and content. But, inside I was so broken that only the Lord could put the pieces back together. I was pushed up against walls, knocked down, my hair pulled during classes, even spit at, and the names I was called were just as heartbreaking. I never sought revenge. I treated them with respect and kindness. If it had not been for those trying times in high school, I would not have worked so hard in school. I poured myself into my studies and graduated as the salutatorian. I went on to attend and graduate college at Ouachita Baptist University, where I was a cheerleader. I even met the love of my life there. I have since forgiven those who hurt me. Since those days, my motto in life is Ephesians 4:31-32: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” People are always going to hurt you, but you can’t dwell on it, you need to forgive and keep going. Life is too short to hold grudges!

I try to always remember Psalm 28:7, “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.” Just because we are saved does not mean that we won’t go through trying times, it means that we have someone carrying us through those times. Psalm 91:2 tells us, “This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.”

I have learned that the only way to defeat those who hurt you, is to forgive them. When you forgive them, there is such a calm and peace that The Lord feels you with. Forgive them and pray for them. Pray changes things! Just as the verse says

~M
Be Blessed and Be a Blessing