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

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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 3

Welcome back. Today we are going to discuss verse 29. Have a blessed Thursday!

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:
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.

I read a story about a young man who put this verse into practice as he understood it to be. One afternoon a pastor was in his study when all of the sudden the phone rang. It was a well respected deacon in his church on the line with him. The two men talked for a few minutes and set up a time when they could meet later that day. When the pastor arrived at the deacons home he was greeted warmly and asked to join the family for dinner. As they all sat down around the table for dinner the deacon told his son to tell the pastor why he had two freshly bruised black eyes and a nervous stutter in his voice. The young man began his story with these words. Pastor last Sunday you preached Luke 6:27-36 and I paid close attention when you got to verse 29. Today I put into practice what it said and I turned the other cheek and that is why I have these two black eyes. The pastor was so excited to hear that his sermon had impacted this young man’s life. He began to congratulate the young man for his boldness of faith and obedience to God by turning the other cheek. Then the deacon said, son, now tell the pastor the rest of the story. The pastor couldn’t wait to hear about this young man’s act of faith for turning the other cheek. The son said to the pastor in a really low voice. Pppppastor I did what you said and I turned the other cheek, but when he hit me the third time, I hit him in the face and knocked out all of his front teeth. The pastor sat in silence for a moment and then he asked the young man. Why did you hit the other boy back? The young man simply replied with well all I could remember about your sermon was to turn the other cheek and after I did that and he hit me again. Well I figured that I did what you said and you didn’t say I had to keep on turning my cheek so I knocked him out. The pastor looked over at his deacon and said, well at least we know he obeyed the Word of God to the best of his knowledge.

Sometimes in life we find ourselves unsure of what to do when someone hurts us physically or emotionally. So we act or react to life just like the young man in the story above. We obey the Word of God to the best of our knowledge.

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

Mercy Shown By Love

Hello Readers! Welcome back. For the next several days we are going to focus on Luke 6:27-36. We will be focusing on one verse at a time. Keep in mind the definitions of love and mercy.

Love is defined as “a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection”

Mercy is defined as “compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.”

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)

Verse 27-“But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you,”

Notes:
If you have ever been hurt by someone either physically or verbally. Then you know that it is very difficult to put into practice verse 27. God is telling us to Love the same people that have hurt us. He even wants us to go and help/do good to the people that hate us. Why? I have one word for you (MERCY). God has shown us mercy even when we ourselves did not deserve it. Yet He poured out His Love on us all anyway. God is not asking us to do anything that His Own Son Jesus Christ has not already done Himself. God is giving us a command here, not a suggestion. We must obey this command and truly show LOVE and GOOD to those who hate us. Do you remember when you were lost and searching for answers? Believe it or not you too at one time lived as an enemy of God. Then someone came along and showed you that God loved you so much that He showed True Mercy through His Son Jesus Christ.

Come back tomorrow for verse 28!

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

Remaining Focused On The Right Thing – Jesus

Welcome back! We hope you had a great weekend. We ended last week by talking about focus. We are going to talk about Remaining Focused On The Right Thing — Jesus. If you have any questions, comments, prayer requests or praises–you can click the question tab or leave us a message. Let’s dig in!

Remaining Focused On The Right Thing – Jesus
Passage – Matthew 14:22-33
You can click on the following link to read the full passage: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2014:22-33

1 – Jesus SENT the disciples out into the STORM. (14:22)
“Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.”

2 – Jesus PRAYED for the disciples that He SENT. (14:23a)
“After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.”

3 – Jesus WENT to where the disciples WERE. (14:23b-25)
” Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.”

4 – Jesus CALMED the disciples MINDS. (14:26-27)
“When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

5 – Jesus TOLD Peter to COME to Him. (14:28-29a)
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” Jesus said.”

6 – Peter FOCUSED on JESUS and stepped out in FAITH. (14:29b)
“Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.”

7 – Peter LOST his TRUE FOCUS by letting the WORLD distract him. (14:30)
“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

8 – Peter CALLED on JESUS to be his SAVIOR. (14:30)
“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

9 – Jesus IMMEDIATELY helped his SERVANT Peter. (14:31)
“Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

10 – Jesus REMINDED them that with HIM all things are possible. (14:32)
“And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.”

11 – Jesus RECEIVED the PRAISE from the People. (14:33)
“Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Have a Happy Monday!
~Dr. G
John 14:6 – Jesus Is The Way, Truth, & Life

Live The Life God Intended – Focus Part 2

Welcome back for Part 2 of Living the Life God Intended–FOCUS. We pray that you had a great week and was able to live your life the way God intended. There will be new posts Monday – Friday. Now, let’s dig in!

Live The Life God Intended – Focus Part 2
Passage – Colossians 3:1-4:6
Please click the following link to read the whole passage online: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Col%203:1-Col%204:6

8 – Focus on Forgiveness. (3:13)
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.”

9 – Focus on Love. (3:14)
“And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

10 – Focus your Attention on living at Peace with everyone. (3:15)
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

11 – Focus on The Word of God. (3:16)
“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”

12 – Focus on doing things for God in His Son Jesus Name. (3:17)
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

13 – Focus on Family Relationships. (3:18-21)
“Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.”

14 – Focus on your Earthly job as if you are working for God. (3:23-24)
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

15 – Focus on Prayer. (4:2)
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”

16 – Focus on winning others to Jesus. (4:3-5)
“And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.”

17 – Focus on being prepared. (4:6)
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

Keep warm this weekend! I heard on the news that ALL 50 states had wind chills of below freezing today. Start your weekend off by reading your Bible. It’ll warm up your soul.

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

Priorities…What’s Really Important?

Welcome Back Readers!! I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving and spent some time thanking God for all He is and all He does!

How many of you went to those Black Friday (well, really Thursday) sales? Did you buy a newspaper to look at all the sales ads? Did you spend time comparing prices, writing out what you wanted to get, looked at maps, and planned our your shopping adventure? I admit I ventured out and went to Wal-Mart with my sweet 6 year old son. But, all this planning got me thinking….What if we, as Christians, would get that excited about going to church and sharing the gospel with others? Do we read our Bible and plan out our day according to God’s Holy Word, the Bible? Or those times, you miss Sunday School because you weren’t prepared? Or missed church because just wanted to sleep in?

Mr. Webster defines a priority as a noun meaning “a thing that is regarded as more important than another.” During our shopping trip our priority was to get the stuff we wanted and make it out alive! 🙂 The Bible teaches us that we must focus on things NOT of this world, but fix our eyes on Jesus!! Hebrews 12:2 reminds us, “keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.”

Romans 12:2 reminds us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Please take some time to reflect on the Love of Christ and remember the “Black Friday” He endured on the cross for our sins. Remember Jesus is the Reason for the Season!!!

Be a blessing,
~M