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

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

The Cost of Love

Welcome back to The Fruit of the Spirit Series. Today, we will be finishing up the first fruit: Love

Galatians 5:22-23
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

The Cost of Love:

Genesis 29:14-20
After Jacob had stayed with him for a whole month, 15 Laban said to him, “Just because you are a relative of mine, should you work for me for nothing? Tell me what your wages should be.” 16 Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel was lovely in form, and beautiful. 18 Jacob was in love with Rachel and said, “I’ll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel.” 19 Laban said, “It’s better that I give her to you than to some other man. Stay here with me.” 20 So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.

John 3:16
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.

~Dr G

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

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

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