Need Some Encouragement?

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I had a few setbacks this week in my ongoing journey with my brain tumors so I was needing some encouragement. I went to my stack of index cards of  Bible verses. I don’t have a good memory so I write verses that are special to me on them so I can read them again and again. And thus renew my mind and put God’s truth in me.

Anyway, here are a few verses that spoke to me and I want to share them with you, in case you’re needing some encouragement as well.

 

Proverbs 24: 16: For though the righteous fall seven times they rise again.

Psalm 92:12: The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree.

Psalm 91: 2: I will say of the Lord. He is my refuge and my fortress: My God in him I trust.

Psalm 31: 15:  My times are in Your hands.

1st John 5: 4:  for everyone born of God overcomes this world.

 Luke 18: 1: One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.

 

So whatever you are facing today, pray about it; trust in God’s love for you; and never give up!

 

Writing Is My Ministry–What’s Yours?

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Psalm 138: 8a

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever– do not abandon the works of your hands.

 

Miriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary defines ministry as something used to achieve an end. That definition works for me. For a Christian, the end is glorifying God by adding to His kingdom, both in heaven and on earth. Some of us may think of ministries as church activities and only church activities. They include preaching, singing, teaching, and missionary work.

But this is a limiting view of ministry as far as I’m concerned. Any activity you choose to do on a regular basis that glorifies God in some way becomes your ministry.

If you grow a huge garden and share the food with others—that’s a ministry.

If you babysit for young parents so they can have a date—that’s a ministry.

If you volunteer at a school, a hospital, or whatever—that’s a ministry.

When you make a conscious choice to do something and do it for God’s glory, it becomes a ministry. Teaching in a public school can be your ministry if you do it in such a way to glorify God. Being a good neighbor can be your ministry. God gives each of us different passions and abilities and when we use them to glorify God, then that activity becomes a ministry.

I know some of you may disagree (and that’s OK). You feel that it’s only a legitimate ministry if it’s related to the church you attend, but good works are not limited to church activities. In fact, I would challenge you to say that more of us need to step out of the church building to find our ministry.

In fact good works are not limited by anything except your creativity and your passion. If you viewing writing as your ministry, it will affect your writing and your life. It will give you the power to say no to activities that will distract you from your purpose which is also God’s purpose.

Writing is my ministry–my gift to God. He’s not gifted me to be a great theological writer. Instead I tell stories. I tell stories that show Christian characters trying to do the best they can in whatever circumstances they find themselves. I write stories to entertain Christians and non-Christians alike, and in so doing bring glory to God.

It took me many years to get published by a traditional publisher. And during those years, I spent countless hours at my computer writing. Each hour spent made me a better writer. To spend those hours writing, I had to say no to other activities and you may need to do the same–no matter what your ministry is.

This may not be easy and some people will not take kindly to you when you refuse to volunteer for whatever the next event may be, especially if you’re a pre-published writer. Now, I’m not saying to not participate and volunteer for SOME things. Of course, you should, but you also need the freedom to say no when it’s appropriate so you can follow the dream God’s put on your heart.

So, I’d love to hear from some of you who’ve stepped out of the box. What’s your ministry?

The Circle Maker

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Luke 18:1

Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.  

I know it’s been a while since I posted anything. My husband and I were blessed to be able to spend a month at the beach in North Carolina so I took a break from my blogs as well while I was there. Then I needed a week to recuperate. Anyway, I’m back!  I’ve been reading The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. The book is about prayer–the kind of prayer that can change your life.

I’m only in chapter 8 and have already had a several revelations. One of which I’m going to share with you today and probably more to come.

In Luke 18, Jesus told the parable of the persistent widow. In a nutshell, she wants justice and she continues to bother the judge who couldn’t care less about her, God, or justice. But he finally gives her what she wants because she won’t stop bothering him.

Do you get it?

I surely didn’t, but I do now!

I’ve always felt like I shouldn’t bother God with the same requests over and over, especially requests that I consider on the selfish side, meaning prayers about me and my circumstances.  But Jesus is very clear–we should always pray and not give up!  I don’t know about you, but I think that’s wonderful news.

It gives me permission to keep praying about the same things over and over. How and When God chooses to answer my prayers is up to him, but in the meantime, I’m going to keep praying.

In fact, I’m asking all of you to form a prayer circle around a career opportunity I’m involved in. I’m not going to give the details right now, but I’m asking for your prayers for me to move forward in this opportunity and that I write the story God wants me to write.

If you have a prayer need you’d like to share with my readers and me, I’d love to pray for you as well.

 

 

Are You Dumber Than A Rock?

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Luke 19: 40

 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

I’m sure you’ve heard this insult before. I know I have. In fact, I admit to saying it a time or two–mostly about my dogs. I’m not quite sure how it happens but it seems at any given time I have a really smart dog and then a not so smart dog. And, of course, the smart dog makes the not so smart one look even dumber.

Anyway, what about you? Are you dumber than a rock?

Now, don’t go getting on your high horse? I ask you that not to insult you but to make you think. Luke recounts the triumphant scene when Jesus enters Jerusalem during Passover week.  The Pharisees tell Jesus  to rebuke his followers for praising him.

Jesus’s response was to say even if they are quiet, the stones will cry out. All of God’s creation  know that Jesus is the Son of God, even those dumb rocks!

So again I ask are you dumber than a rock or do you cry out your praises to the Son of God? Is he the Lord of your life? Is He the one that gives purpose to your life?

So many of us struggle with a wide variety of issues. Perhaps, like me, you’re suffering physically. Or you’ve lost a loved one. Or you’re disappointed and frustrated with how life is going for you. Your first response may be to say that praising God in your circumstances doesn’t make sense.

But you would be wrong.

God is God in good circumstances and bad. He is the Creator of all. He sent His only begotten Son so that we may have life everlasting! And for that alone He deserves our praises.

As Easter approaches, this is a great time to recommit to God.

PS. In full disclosure, I need to admit that the idea for this devotion is not mine, but comes from my brother’s sermon yesterday. Thanks Herb for the idea!

The Temple

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1 Corinthians 3: 16

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 

I couldn’t let today pass by without some acknowledgement. Today is the 2nd year anniversary of me developing Bell’s palsy and from there being diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors. It’s been a long journey and it’s not over yet. In fact, it will never really be over since I can develop new tumors at anytime and anywhere. With the anniversary, my health has been on my mind. Actually, my lack of health and how I’ve contributed to that over the years.

I’ve been a just enough person when it comes to my health.

Just enough exercise to get by.

Just enough healthy eating to get by.

Just enough to get by, but not enough to actually get fit and healthy.

A just enough attitude when it comes to our body does NOT honor God. Our body is HIS temple. Doesn’t God deserve the very best? That’s a rhetorical question. Of course, HE deserves the very best!

My health has deteriorated a great deal over the past two years. The truth is I may never be as healthy as I was on March 31, 2012. I think of all the wasted years when I did just enough.  But…I am doing everything I can now to make my health be the very best that it can be, considering my circumstances.

My husband and I are working on making our lifestyle changes permanent instead of being on a “diet.”

As with all God’s principles, it’s what’s best for us. He always has our best interests at heart. He knows that by honoring our body, we will feel better physically, emotionally, and spiritually. If I could go back and give advice to my younger self, I would tell me to appreciate my good health and to do all that I can to keep it that way. To go way beyond just enough!

Honor God by honoring His temple.

 

 

 

 

THE REWARD

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Ada Brownell is my guest writer today. She has been writing for Christian publications since age 15 and spent much of her life as a daily newspaper reporter. After moving to Springfield, MO in her retirement, she continues to free lance for Christian publications and write non-fiction and fiction books. You can find her blog at:  http://inkfromanearthenvessel.blogspot.com Stick to Your Soul Encouragement

THE REWARD

Hebrews 11: 6

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” 

Why does it sometimes take so long for God to answer prayer?

In my book, Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal, I tell the true story of Eddie Rickenbacker and his military buddies being lost at sea in 1942 when their plane went down. I am sure Rickenbacker, a Christian, prayed before, but one day when they knew they would die if they didn’t get food, he called for all the rafts to gather around for a prayer meeting.

The men bombarded heaven, and when Rickenbacker said “Amen,” a sea gull landed on his head. He reached up and grabbed a leg and the guys had a raw lunch, leaving only enough to use for fish bait.

The men received sustenance, hope they soon would be eating fish, and believed they would be rescued—and they were.

I remember many miraculous answers to prayer in my life. We had moved to Thompson, Utah, population 100, three bars, no grocery store except a few items sold in the bars, and no church.

I thought we’d missed God’s will for us. For a year I prayed. Then the Lord did a work in me and I told Him if He’d send a helper, I’d start a Sunday school. Within a week a lovely young Christian woman my age and her two little boys moved to town and we started a Sunday school in the schoolhouse.

One time when we moved from Arvada, Colorado to Pueblo, we’d prayed the Lord would help us sell our house. The realtor brought us the contract when we were loading the last few things in a U-Haul truck.

He’s done miracles of healing in our family. Gary, our oldest son, thought to only have a percentage of his kidneys working, found to be whole.

Doctors thought Gwen, our middle daughter, had multiple scleroses, but tests proved otherwise and she’s fine.

Doctors recently suspected our youngest son, Jaron, had leukemia because of consistently elevated white blood cell count. After prayer and retesting, he was negative for leukemia and the blood count was normal.

Another time, the hand of God shoved our car out of the way of an oncoming truck on an icy mountain pass as I screamed “Jesus, help us!”

God hasn’t always answered the way we wished. We lost our oldest daughter to cancer when she was age 31. But God’s comfort and peace was there. He doesn’t leave or forsake.

Keep praying. God is there.

 

PRAYER: Lord, give me faith to know you’re in all of our tomorrows. You made the world out of nothing and created us for your pleasure. Thank you Lord for your love and answering prayer.
©Ada Brownell March 19, 2014

WHY AM I HERE? The Answer!

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Ephesians 2:10

For we are God handiwork, recreated in Christ Jesus, that we may do those good works which God predestined for us, taking paths which He prepared ahead of time, that we should walk in them, living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live.

WHY AM I HERE? Isnt’ that one of the big questions in life? Scholars and philosophers have pondered this question since the dawn of history. Apparently, they haven’t been looking in the right place–the Bible.  The Bible answers this question again and again. The above verse is only one example, but I love this verse.

It sounds so simple: God created us to do good works. He prepared a path for us. If we walk the path, we will have a good life. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, real life isn’t always so simple. Some of us make a wrong turn and miss that path. And how are we even supposed to even know what path to take? After all, there are a lot of paths out there to choose from.

What did God create you to do?

When God starts our heart beating, His touch lingers for just a moment.

And in that touch, He creates us to be us.

And in that touch, He creates us to be unique.

And in that touch, He gives us talents, interests, abilities and gifts.

And in that touch, He pours passion into our heart.

And in that touch, He loves us as no other ever can or ever will.

So, what’s the answer to the question of what does God want you to do? He wants you to do something you love. Something He gave you passion for. Something you are good at. Something you care about so much that you will spend hours and hours doing it and enjoy it.

That something is YOUR DREAM.

Your Dream is God’s Purpose.

Here is some really good news.  He gives us all that we need to accomplish it. So no matter how crazy your dream sounds to you or to every one around you, God wants you to pursue that dream. And it is when we do we are filled with a joy and peace that can’t be explained.

As we pursue our dreams, we are fulfilling God’s purpose for us. Some may not understand it; some will call it a hobby; some a waste of time, but focusing on our God-given dream is a divine task.

My dream was to be a writer. And after many years as God as my partner, I am living that dream. No, I’m not getting rich or famous, but people love to read my books.  And I still love to write them.  GOD IS SO GOOD!

So, take a minute and share your dream with us. What would you love to be doing right this minue?