Purposeful Faith

Tag - encouragement

Seeds Planted

My friend Bev Sheasby of Liberated Living Ministries has been helping me limp across the finish line of a very hard season. She says wise and beautiful things that come at just the right moment. Words of affirmation, wisdom, and encouragement.  She’s been such a comfort to me.

We recently had the loving privilege of handing our long-term foster daughter back into her birthmother’s restored arms.

Simultaneously, our oldest son became a Marine.

That same week, our oldest daughter eloped.  This was a blessing, we are thrilled for the happy couple. But it has just been one thing after another.

And then another.

We welcomed an injured foster placement that same week.  I may be a glutton for punishment, but actually, she has been a delightful distraction.  It’s an honor to care for her.

Still, sending adult children off into the great beyond, I wonder… was it enough?  Did I teach them everything they needed to know?

And I am not of the mindset that the Jesus I love was wholly made theirs simply by my prose.  Scripture memory, “Jesus Loves Me,” and “Larry and the Giant Cucumber” are a start, He will have to take them to the finish.

But what about these “temporary” sons and daughters?  There’s a chance they’ll hardly remember me?  Let alone the whispered prayers or the lullabies of a Jesus who adored them, unto His death.  I panicked, not so much in a lapse of faith, but a lack of confidence – a state of weariness.  That sinking feeling, you know the one, where you feel you must be everything to everyone, every second of every day.

And something Bev said came into my mind, as I let some tears fall and whispered some small, but heartfelt prayers for healing.

“Within the seed is the potential for the entire plant.”

In my quest to provide for all, I realize what I often forget is how very small I am.  Barely a seed myself, yet I think I must do it all and be all and fix all.

Alas, if I planted an apple seed, I could water it – but would it be me that would turn it into a tree?  Would I be responsible for ensuring it produces a harvest?  Could I even accomplish this? Even if I wanted to?

Furthermore, if I planted an apple seed and then I moved to a different farm in another state and left it to the elements, would it not be watered by the sky? Fed by the sun?  And pruned by the wind?  Isn’t it completely likely, aside from placing the seed in the earth, the earth would take care of the rest?

Within the seed is the potential for the entire plant.  My comfort and rest come from this.  I will continue to plant the seed and trust the Maker of all to finish the rest.

“The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.” Deuteronomy 28:8 (NIV)

 

Jami Amerine is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her onFacebook or Twitter.

 

The Give and Take of Thanksgiving

Are you a giver or a taker quote by Katie M. Reid for Kelly Balarie's Purposeful Faith

Post By: Katie M. Reid

We used to live and work at a Bible Camp. The camp director often challenged the campers to move from being takers to being givers. He explained that it was a sign of maturity to focus on giving instead of getting.

“…It is more blessed to give than receive.” -Acts 20:35b

Times are tough right now.

People are hurting, grieving, accusing, and fighting. People are taking jabs at one another in light of the pain they are feeling. People are pointing fingers and striving to be heard above the roar. Some are spitting out venom, in hate. Some are even using fists to crush.

I’m afraid we are a sorry bunch as we walk around bruised, mocked, and wounded.

Yet, I have hope. I have hope that the Spirit of God who resides within us will lead the way through the gray.

We have the holy honor to give instead of take.

May we offer empathy as the hurting gather near.

As we pass the mashed potatoes, may we dish out compassion. As we fill up glasses, may we pour out refreshing words. As we look into the eyes of those around the table, may we focus on what we already have—not what we lack. As we partake of what’s been given, may we express thanksgiving for the sacrifice (of family, of employers, of military, of leaders).

As we gather around the table, may we remember that table spread all those years ago—the bread torn, the wine poured. The Body broken, the Blood spilled—that we might receive the very thing we lacked; salvation.

I’m afraid we have forgotten to be thankful for the One who was bruised, mocked and killed on our behalf. 

Jesus stood silently before the angry crowd. He heard their false accusations yet He forgave them still.

Jesus demonstrated great restraint in order to extend a Greater Love.

He is Hope. May we offer Him our life.

May we follow in His steps…

As we pass the marginalized, may we hand out compassion. As we fill our social media feeds, may we pour out refreshing words. As we look into the eyes of those with whom we disagree, may we focus on what what we share—not where we differ. As we partake of His grace, may we express thanksgiving for the sacrifice of our Savior.

Let’s remember the Ultimate Giver—of life, of salvation, of hope. Our sin separated us from God yet Jesus came to bridge the gap. We can be restored through Christ’s Ultimate Sacrifice, if we believe and receive.

Let’s build a bridge, instead of a wedge—not through compromise of the Word, but by following Jesus’ example to love others—even when it’s not reciprocated.

Let’s give thanks for life, and breath, and everything else. Let’s take time to pray for the restoration of this upside down place we find ourselves, in this season.

The give and take of Thanksgiving has never been more needed than it is today. Let’s bow, let’s bend, let’s stay grounded in the Word. Let’s give love. And let’s take note that Jesus does not change and that perfect Love casts out fear.

The Perfect One is here. The Unchanging One is near. Jesus has taken our sin, this we believe. He has given us salvation, this we receive. It is done. King Jesus has won!

God will turn the upside down, right side up. He can heal the hurt. He can set the captives free. He can draw all men to Himself. He can do anything.

And so, we have hope!

We give praise that He is able. We take stock of His good and precious promises. We give up the right to control. We take up the sword of the Spirit. We lay down our pride. We put on the armor of Love.

We gather around the table and we offer Grace.

It’s Good News, after all.

Author & Speaker Katie M. Reid image by Adopting Nations

Katie M. Reid is a writer and speaker who encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. She also inspires women to embrace their identity in Christ and live out their God-given purpose. Katie delights in her hubby, five children, and their life in ministry. Cut-to-the-chase conversation over hot or iced tea is one of her favorite things.

Connect with Katie at katiemreid.com and on Twitter and Facebook.

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Everybody Needs Encouragement

Encouragement

I could not be more delighted to welcome Jan Greenwood to Purposeful Faith today. Her book, Women at War, both uplifted my heart and rekindled fervor for Christ. Jan, a natural encourager and an endurer, is flame-lighting the world with truth. Thank you for that, Jan. We are truly blessed by you and your mission. Love, Kelly

Post by: Jan Greenwood

Most of us are starving for a little encouragement.

We’re walking around parched, prone to self-doubt and focused on what must be done.  Some of us are downright afraid.  Some of us have fallen into a pit of discouragement and feel totally alone.  Some of us are riding the mountain top of breakthrough and find that even good, God things bring stress and fear.

Can you relate?

I’ve recently been in a serious battle for my health. I’m grateful that many have been encouraging me.  However, I often run into friends who say something like “I have been thinking of you, but I didn’t want to bother you.  I know so many others are already encouraging you.”

I wonder why we think we should limit encouragement?  

Or why we think our encouragement is inferior or too late?  

People are made to be filled with courage…
to be comforted, built up, and empowered by you.

I Thessalonians 15:11 says “Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up…”

I cherish every face-to-face encounter, notecard, email, text, post or even a like, love or follow on social media. They remind me I’m not alone and fill me with courage. But everyone needs encouragement to arrive in ways they can manage the impact and influx.  It’s not that they don’t need encouragement but simply they need it delivered in a manner they can receive it.

I think this is the major reason we limit our encouragement –we’ve experienced encouragement from another in a manner that was insensitive to how we are feeling, out of order, embellished or at a moment where a response was expected of us that we simply didn’t have the capacity to give.

I’d like to share some of my favorite ways to both give and receive encouragement that are simple, inexpensive, really effective – and never arrive at a bad time.

It’s never a bad time to send a note.  I still love snail mail.  It speaks to me and says “I care.  I thought about you enough to buy a notecard, think of something kind to say, write it down, and even spend a little more to put the stamp on the envelope.” It makes me feel special and cared for. A written word, no matter how small or short has great value. So go ahead and send a text, email or social media like.  It all lasts…it lingers…it can encourage multiple times.  If you add a scripture or a brief prayer – double points for you!

It’s never a bad time to pray. Pray each time that person comes to your mind and trust that you are depositing faith, hope and courage into your friend.  (You’ll notice I didn’t say it’s never a bad time to pray with the person you want to encourage.  Ask permission, don’t make it too long, and be sensitive to the environment, timing and how the person is feeling.)  I like to imagine I have a giant prayer bowl on the altar of God that is filling with the beautiful aroma of prayer.  When I feel weary, afraid or even downright fearful, I will lift my eyes to heaven and ask God to throw down some fire from that altar. The prayers of others get me through.

It’s never a bad time to say I love you. People are drawn to those who can express an authentic concern and affection for them and their needs. A thirsty man can spot water from a mile away.  People will be drawn to your genuine encouragement.  That same thirsty man can smell insincerity. Never lie or overstate your concern.  Keep it simple.  Touch them if appropriate.  Look them in the eye.  Don’t overstay your welcome.  Follow their cues.

It’s never a bad time to send a gift card especially for restaurants or grocery stores. People love to eat (have to eat) and often in the midst of a difficult season preparing a meal for your family can be a really big drain on your limited strengths or resources.  (I also love home cooked meals, but they require a lot more coordination/energy for both parties. Cards allow me to meet the needs of my family as they come and on tough days that means I’m not in the kitchen at all. Double points for me!

So go ahead and act on your impulse.  You are made for this!  You are an encourager and your love and concern for others is powerful.  Don’t withhold.  Don’t worry.  Don’t delay.  Someone right in front of you needs to be encouraged.

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About Jan

encouragementJan Greenwood, author of Women at War and Pastor of Women at Gateway Church, is a fervent developer of women.  As a speaker, author and pastor of women, she’s taught many how to create powerful, healthy female relationships.  Jan and her husband Mark have been married over 30 years and live in the Dallas/Fort Worth Texas area. Follow Jan on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

 

 

encouragement

About Women at War

Women at War is revolutionizing the way women treat one another and the value they place of their own gender.

Pink Impact

Learn more about Pink Impact, the annual women’s conference at Gateway Church.

 

 

 

10 Biblical Ways to Grab Hold of Contentment

Grab hold of contentment

My son loves baking with me. He certainly takes the cake for the best assistant. But, it wasn’t his baking skills that astounded me, it was God’s lesson of contentment really left a taste in my mouth.

My son stirred the entire contents of the pancake batter in his bowl, yet his eyes were transfixed on the paltry 2 teaspoons of milk in his sister’s. He was aggravated, annoyed and discontent. Suddenly, he didn’t like his bowl; he wanted his sister’s.

I felt sad for him, because:
He didn’t realize the value of what he held.
He didn’t realize that I had given him something special.
He didn’t realize his ingredients were vital to breakfast.
Instead, he became so distracted with her plate, he neglected his own.

Didn’t he know that we were about 3-minutes away from eating some light and fluffy delicious pancakes?   He was missing out, missing the point and missing the joy.

His joy was stolen. Envy was eating him up.

How much of our attitude is just like his?  One of discontentment?

How often do we see past our portion – to only see another’s?  How often are our blessings soured by wandering eyes?

What does God think about this?

It gets me thinking – when our eyes wander to another’s portion, we miss the delight of our own.  We miss the joy, the anticipation, the thanksgiving, the appreciation, the purpose, the passion – and the moment.

The whole time, my son had what was better right before him
– but he couldn’t see it.

He was too transfixed with the matter of someone else’s batter.

Like him, are we so worried about “getting” that we miss what God is “giving”?  Let’s change this attitude to start enjoying what the Lord has placed before us.

10 Ways to Grab Hold of Contentment:

10. Believe that the Lord has given us exactly what we need for today.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (Mt. 6:26)

If the Lord wanted us to have more, we would have more. But, we don’t.  Why?  We can’t always know, we can’t always tell and we can’t always understand – but we can understand that the Lord’s ways are not our ways. He knows better than us. Faith is trusting no matter what things look like.

9. Understand our deepest needs are already met.

Much like my son, we don’t realize that we already have the bigger bowl, the better goods and the sizable portion (we have Christ).  However, because we allow envy to creep into our hearts, we become disillusioned by what we see around us – and we miss what the Lord has done in us.

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:19)

8. Realize that underneath the other person’s baked goodies, often lies a chipped, cracked and discolored plate.

While we may say, “wow, what they have looks so good,” we never really know what the other person is dealing with.

Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. (Prov. 4:25)

7. Face reality: We can’t have our cake and eat it too.

We ask God for contentment, endurance and patience – while demanding, coveting and envying material goods.  God is not a genie in a bottle and we are not his master. When we trust God as supreme – we appreciate what we have.

One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor. (Prov. 29: 23)

6. Realize that joy is found when we find contentment.

If my son had worried less about his sister’s bowl and more about his – he could have enjoyed the moment. However, his joy was cut short.  He instead embraced jealousy, anxiety and frustration because he saw what he didn’t have.

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Ps. 37:4)

5. Walk by Faith: We never know what God has for us around the corner.

Frankly, we may have less than another today.  But, we have no idea what God has in store for us in tomorrow.  If we are always playing the comparison game  – we will either feel prideful one moment and neglected the next or vice versa.  Why indulge in this constant sin-cycle?  It’s not worth it; it clouds our calling. It throws us off track.

In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Prov. 3:6)

4. Rest in the knowledge that the Lord will provide.

He will provide for our deepest needs.  We don’t have to look side-to-side any longer because we can look high-and-up to the King that stands ready to bestow all good gifts.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Ps. 73:26)

3. Even if we have less, we have a great opportunity to rely on God.

In these moments, we can fully rest in our Lord’s faithful providence. It is here where faith is grown. It is here where real blessings surface.  It’s not material blessings, but immaterial blessings that blow us away with joy, peace and purpose.

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. (Phil 4:11)

2. Grab hold of God instead of material goods for true significance.

“Not having” gives us the chance to “have” the greater gift – a gift that fills insecurities, quells fears and provides security.  What was once insecure, becomes secure with Christ.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (Jo. 8:12)

1. Praise, honor and thank God for what we have. The more we do, the more we can celebrate – him.

The more we lift God up, the more we realize – one day – we too will be lifted.  The more we glorify God, the less we desire to be glorified by our own might.

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (Jo. 14:13)

We find contentment when we realize that the Lord has placed just the right portion in our bowl. But, the key is, we can’t let our eyes drift.  We can’t miss the moment. We can’t miss his work – in us and through us.

Like my son, we have no idea what will come from our share. While he thought his sister’s portion had value, it was his that actually had true meaning. It was his that would make something lasting.  She only held a drop of milk.  His was nourishing, sustaining and valuable.

What has the Lord placed in front of you?  Is your gift eternal? Are you missing its value? Are you thanking God for this gift? 

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