A Prayer of Forgiveness

Welcome back to the Encouragement Challenge. As week 3 comes to a close, I would like to offer up a prayer for each of you. This week has been tough. Forgiveness is a hard thing to grasp. Today, I would just like to pray for you. Have a wonderful weekend! See you back next week for the conclusion of the Encouragement Challenge.

Heavenly Father, thank you so much for the wonderful readers of our blog. We long to bring You honor in everything we write, say and do. I pray for each person who reads this blog. I pray that they will experience Your love, Your forgiveness and pure joy in their lives. Lord, we’ve talked a lot this week about forgiveness. I hope that we have all searched our hearts & lives and been able to forgive others while allowing Your forgiveness to shine through to our lives. O Lord, free us from all anger and bitterness. When we are bitter and angry, we cannot feel Your perfect peace or Your presence. Please help us all to remember that forgiveness is Your command. Let us turn away from all bitterness and remember the forgiveness that came through the gift of Jesus Christ. Help us to not judge others. You have forgiven us, Lord. Let us forgive others, love them and help them without judging them. If there is anyone reading this who does not know You as Lord of their life, my prayer is that you would pierce their hearts and allow them to hear You speak to them. Let them admit You are God and they have sinned, Believe that Jesus is Your Son, and Confess You as Lord of their lives. Protect us from evil. In Jesus Name, Amen!

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

Encouragement Challenge Week 3 — Forgiveness

Hello Readers!! I hope you had a great weekend! Today, we are going to start with week 3 of the encouragement challenge. This week, we are going to focus on forgiveness. Forgiveness can be defined as, “to stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for an offense, flaw, or mistake.”

When you forgive, you are setting yourself free from something that has been holding you back. You can become the person God wants you to be if you hold onto grudges. His Word reminds us of that.

Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive people their wrongdoing, your Heavenly Father will forgive you as well. But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing.”

Proverbs 11:12 “Whoever shows contempt for his neighbor lacks sense, but a man with understanding keeps silent.”

Mark 11:25 “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Forgiveness is your choice. Will you choose to forgive or will you continue to hold that grudge?

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

A Challenge for You

30 days of encouragement — The Challenge!  The Lord has been laying this on my heart for a while.  Our world is so full of people putting others down, hurting and violence.  You can’t even watch the news without hearing about bullying or some type of violence.  Our world is full of hate and sadness.  It is such a hard time for both our children and the adults.  So many people are immune or numb to the pain of words and actions from others.  The following verse just jumped off the pages when I read it.
Galatians 5:13-15
 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”
We are called to love each other and not hurt each other.  This verse is so true now.  We hear about people destroying each other all the time.  But what about encouraging each other?  Encouragement is defined as “the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope.”  Jesus is so full of encouragement for us.  We have His support.  We can be confident in His promises and His love.  Jesus gave us HOPE when he died for each of us.
Let’s stop the pain and the devouring of each other by words and actions.  Let’s show others Christ’s Love and Encouragement.  I would like to challenge each and everyone of you to participate in 30 days of encouragement.  Here’s what the 30 days of encouragement campaign consists of:
1.  Don’t say anything negative about others.
2.  Say something that you admire or appreciate about someone else.  You can even send someone a card of encouragement.
3.  Greet others with a smile.  One smile can change someone’s day.
4.  Pray for Others daily.
5.  Show Christ’s LOVE all the time.
6.  FORGIVE others!
7.  Go out of your way to help make someone else’s day better.
Please comment if you are joining our challenge.  Keep us posted on your progress.  We are praying for each of you.  You CAN do this!!  Don’t forget to Be a Blessing to Others,
~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

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

Mercy Shown By Love Part 6

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:
32-If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.

Fun Fact – Did you know that an entire book was written about this verse?
Any Guesses?

Ding – Ding – Ding = the answer is: THE BIBLE

Today’s verse is like a key that will unlock the truth about love. Love is one of the most misused words by both believers and unbelievers. What is Love? According to the Bible, “God is love”. The Bible gives a very good description of what love is and is not. Look with me at 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a “4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails…” Every time I read this passage I have to stop and examine each Word. As I allow the Word of God to take hold of my heart and mind. I begin to see what love truly is and what love is not. I start to remember all the times that I was not patient or kind. A feeling of sadness comes over me as I quickly realize that I did not reflect Love in those moments. As a believer, I am to reflect the Love of God at all times to all people. In fact, without love I am nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 “13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” After reading these Words of God, can you say that you love as God desires? When you say I love you, do you have Gods standards in mind? Luke 6:32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.” Believer or unbeliever it is a lot easier to show love when it is shown back to you. If you love someone and it is not shown back to you, then may God bless you. Because you now understand what God feels every time He is rejected. God loves you even if you don’t love Him. I challenge us all to live LOVE.

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

Mercy Shown By Love Part 4

Welcome back. Today we are going to discuss verse 30. Have a blessed Friday and a great weekend! See you back here on Monday!

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:
30-Give to everyone who asks you, and from one who takes your things, don’t ask for them back.

This is a verse that is difficult to actually put into practice. Mercy is tested greatly in our lives when you have been stolen from or swindled. Have you ever had the privilege of coming home from work and finding out that someone you know has just stolen some very priceless items from you? If you have experienced this, then you know the many different feelings that spawn from this. Examples include shock, anger, rage, revenge, hate, violated, and many, many others. When the reality of your overall experience hits home, you begin a journey that only God can lead you through. This journey of Mercy begins when you decide to let go of the priceless items that were taken from you. The journey of Mercy is not easy. God showed us Mercy through the priceless gift of His Son Jesus. Remember – Mercy is the key to set you free.

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