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Posts Tagged ‘encouragement’

One of the best things about Facebook is wonderful encouragement from my friends.  A week ago I was having a bit of a hard time with several things going on in my life.  So I asked my Facebook friends:  What are your favorite, most helpful verses on trusting or resting or releasing?

I received responses from around 35 people—wonderful life-giving words.  Here are a few of them to hopefully lift and encourage you as well:

Kari andAnita:  I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. (Psalm 27:13,14)

Sara:  “… if our God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31)

Carol: God has said, “I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down nor relax My hold on you–assuredly not!  (Hebrews 13:5b Amplified Bible)

Kar-Lei and Carmelita:  “My help comes from the Lord,who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber….The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand….The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore. (Psalm 121:1-8)

Robin:  “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” (Psalm 56:3)

Naty:  “The Lord will vindicate me; your love, Lord, endures forever—do not abandon the works of your hands. (Psalm 138:8)

Jeanie:   Jesus said, “Come unto me all who are weary and heavy laden. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your soul.”  (Matthew 11:28-29)

Joy:  “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3)

Nelly:  “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Roman 8:28)

Catherine:  “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord is the One who goes before you. He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)

Zillah: “I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them.  O taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! O fear the Lord, you His saints; for to those who fear Him there is no want.  The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; but they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing. (Psalm 34:4-10)

And one of my all-time favorites:

“…so do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

So, if worry and fear have trapped you, if you are weary in the battle, if you are struggling to trust God in a situation, may these words from our God strengthen, encourage and refresh you.

What about you?  What Scripture has God used to give you peace and hope?

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Manna.

“What is it?” the children of Israel asked?  “Bread from Heaven,”  the Lord told them.

“It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey… the bread I gave you to eat in the wilderness when I brought you out of Egypt.” (Exodus 16:31-32)

I feel like I’ve been walking in the wilderness lately, and God has sent me bread from Heaven.  The encouraging, sustaining words from some of my praying friends are strengthening me in the journey.

May you be refreshed and strengthened with their holy sustenance:

You are not alone. You are an encouragement to many. This e-mail encouraged me and I will pray that you reap what you sow–a hundred fold.

Thank You Lord that You continue to hold us in Your loving arms through all of our valleys and mountaintop experiences.

Prayers continue and know that you have done all that you could and God has to do the rest as you rest in Him.

A mother’s heart feels the pain her child goes through.

His Grace is sufficient.  We are humans.  Relinquishment is required.

“…just as we must learn to obey God one choice at a time, we must also learn to trust God one circumstance at a time.  Trusting God is not a matter of my feelings but of my will….” by Jerry Bridges

Praying for peace and comfort with all that is feeling like a loss in the moment.  May the LORD do exceedingly, abundantly above all you could ask or think.  We serve a God of miracles.

The truth is, “old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new.” In my life it is more like they are becoming new. Praying for (him) to walk in newness of life as he draws closer to the Comforter in his pain.

I know about control and struggle with it in many areas of my life.  Giving God total control of (my daughter) scared me… I finally understood that God wanted to change me too.  This wasn’t just about her.  Do I like going through the wilderness deeper and deeper and feeling like progress she made is all gone to waste?? NO….  Am I the same person I was 4 years ago? Thankfully, NO! …Do (her choices) keep me awake at night?? Very few nights, I am happy to say, because when I go back to my old habits of trying to manipulate and control the situation, I look at scriptures and sayings I have written down to remind myself that God has this!

May His goodness surprise you today!

What about you?  What manna has refreshed and sustained you?

c2012 Judy Douglass

Related articles:

A Wilderness Experience: Loving Prodigals, Release, & Rest

In the Wilderness: Words of Encouragement and Admonition

When Faith Falters: Relearning Rest

 

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The past few weeks have brought story after story of heartbreak and pain for many of my friends and family. Brokenness, loss,  relapse, destructive choices have caused heavy hearts, fear, even despair.

In my years of walking the heights and depths of prodigal wilderness, God’s Word has been a refuge, a haven, a place of courage and hope.  These are some the passages that have infused my heart and mind with peace and gratitude in even the darkest days.  May they do the same for you.

Jeremiah 24:6,7:  My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land.  I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them.  I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord.  They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.

Jeremiah 31:16,17:  This is what the Lord says:  Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded.  They will return from the land of the enemy.  So there is hope for your descendants.  Your children will return to their own land.

Isaiah 54:13:  All your children will be taught by the lord, and great will be their peace.

Isaiah 59:21:  As for me, this is my covenant with them.  My Spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of descendants from this time on and forever, says the Lord.

Job 42:12:  The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part.

Philippians 1:6:  Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Romans 2:4:  Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance.

A blessing for you from Psalm 20:  May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.  May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion.  May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.  May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God.  May the Lord grant all your requests.

Psalm 21:6:  Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence.

Deuteronomy 31:8:   The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you.  He will not fail you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed.

Colossians 3:12-13:  So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

James 1:5:  But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God,  who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Hebrews 4:16:  Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

I Thessalonians 5:18:  In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 34:5-7:  For those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.  This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.  The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.

Psalm 34:18-19:  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.

Isaiah 60:22:  I am the Lord; in its time I will do this swiftly.

What about you?  How has God encouraged you in a wilderness journey?

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I’m wrapping up a delightful few days at the beach—time for just Jesus and me.  So as I was packing up books to bring, I threw in Just Jesus, a new devotional by my friend Lindsay Clifford.  It’s just what it says:  just the words of Jesus.  It is in two parts:  The first half is everything that Jesus said, in order, through the New Testament.  The second half is done by topics, with just the words Jesus spoke.

I’m so glad I brought it.  I read through the entire second half, letting sweet Jesus speak to me over and over.   So today I am sharing with you a few of the encouraging words He said to me.  On Monday I will post those more challenging words.

So be encouraged by Jesus Himself:

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.  (Matthew 28:20)

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.  Take heart, daughter; your faith has healed you.  (Matthew 9: 2,22)

Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.  (Matthew 14:27)

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear…. 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?  (Matthew 6:25,26)

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. (Luke 12:6)

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me…. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.  (John 14:1;16:33)

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  (John 14:27)

Do you want to get well?  (John 5:6)

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.  (John 8:36)

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.  (2 Corinthians 12:9)

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.  (John 8:12)

 Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.  (John 4:13-14)

 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.  (Matthew 11:28-30)

What about you?  What words from Jesus encourage you?

C2012 Judy Douglass

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Almost 37 years now!  Steve and I still love and enjoy each other.  We have three amazing children, all married, and four remarkable grandchildren, who call me Jeedoo.

We know it is God’s grace that we have continued to truly delight in our life together.  But there are some truths that have contributed to our peace and joy.  I will share just three of them, with a few specifics in each.  The three realities:  We are compatible.  We are complementary.  We are complimentary.

I talked about the first two in post 1-compatible and post 2-complementary.  In this third article, I will talk about how we are complimentary. 

We are complimentary.

This word, spelled with an “i”, means, among other things, “to respect and to speak well of.”

I think one of the most destructive things husbands and wives do is speak ill of each other—to each other, to others, in complaining, in anger, even in jest. Which is so sad, since this person is the most important one in your life or my life.

Here are three arenas in which we seek to live out“complimentary” as much as we can:

In public

We are careful to always speak of each with love and respect, which we don’t find difficult because we do love and respect each other.

We often tell stories of our lives together, and sometimes we joke a little—especially about our long dating relationship, always careful not to be hurtful.   We truly appreciate the character and lifestyle of the other, and we make sure our public words always reflect that.  Sometimes I am amazed at the kind and affirming things Steve says about me.  I find it easy to talk about the incredible and humble person he is.

In prayer   

We pray for each other.  A lot.  We ask each other what prayer is needed.  We pray then, and continuing.  Steve often asks how he can be a better husband to me, then asks God to enable him to do that.  I do the same for him.

When we see an area of challenge or struggle in the other, we pray more than give advice.  An important prayer lesson that has helped me tremendously is to always pray for, not against. It’s so easy to see something we don’t like, even in a spouse, and to pray against that “problem.”  Instead, we find it is better to pray for the godly characteristics we desire to see developed.  God knows what to do with it.

In encouragement   

One of the best parts of our marriage is how we encourage each other!!  We believe in the other.   We are supportive when God gives the other a ministry assignment.  For example, we have both written books.  For one to focus on writing, the other has to pick up more on family needs.

Sometimes one of us will have to sacrifice for the other to say yes to an opportunity.  We view each other’s responsibilities and callings as equally important and we partner together to make them happen.  I never get over how much Steve believes in me, and am so grateful for his help and encouragement.  His affirmation of who I am and what I can do is amazing!  I pray I encourage him as much.

Be assured, our marriage is not perfect.  I am often strongly opinionated, even stubborn.  Steve can be pretty focused on what he is doing.   But we seek out the other’s ideas and input as we make decisions together.  We have worked through lots, laughed and cried together, and learned so much from each other.  These truths—being compatible, complementary and complimentary—have been great helps along the journey, giving us a beautiful blessed alliance.

What about you?   Are you compatible with your mate?  Do you both complement and compliment each other?   If you are not married and hope to be, are these characteristics on your “list to be and look for”?

 

c2012  Judy Douglass

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One of my favorite things is to bless people, and my daily blessings over the past weeks seem to have blessed many.  So I have chosen some of the ones that brought the most response for “A Blessing for You.”

This blessing just fits on a page, if you use the right font and size. WordPress changes my layout, so you may want to recenter it, especially the title.  You can print it out for yourself, or to give to another.  Put someone’s name in it, frame it and give a blessing.  You can choose your favorite blessings and make it smaller, to fit in a 5×7 frame.

Read more about writing and giving blessings in my Scattering Blessings post.

So be blessed:

A BLESSING FOR YOU

               May you know that God delights in you and is crazy in love with you.         Zephaniah 3:17

           May you know that you have been rescued from darkness and brought into the light of the Son. Colossians 1:13

May you know that God will be with you when you go through the floodwaters and through the flames.   Isaiah 43:2

May you be built up, not torn down; planted, not uprooted.  May you turn to God with all your heart.   Jeremiah 24:6-7

                   May you comprehend that it gives God joy to always do good to you.        Jeremiah 32:40

                          May all the days and years of your life stolen by the evil one be restored.                 Joel 2:25

                       May the light of your life shine brightly into the darkness around you.             Matthew 5:14

  May the saltiness of your life make people around you thirsty for the living water.  Matthew 5:13

                             May your faith cause you to take risks in the power of the Holy Spirit.              Luke 8:25

May God take the hurts and losses of your life and redeem them in great blessing and healing to many people. Isaiah 58:11-12

               May the sacrificial love of Jesus cause you to lay down your life for others daily.   John 15:12-13

May you never settle for less than God’s best.

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Making Music

We celebrated the life of Mama Jewell Saturday.

Mama Jewell was 92.

She was blind, with all sorts of failing body parts.

But oh how she was loved.

I didn’t know Mama Jewell well, but I knew her daughter, Judy, who is a beautiful–in every way–woman.

What a celebration it was!  At least 14—men and women, young and old–had stories to tell of her impact on them.  Plus the pastor, and Judy and her husband, Bart.

Personally, I was amazed, encouraged, amused and convicted.

Convicted?  Yes by a number of things.  Let me share just 3.

Singing 'The Love of God'

She Encouraged People

Everyone related how Mama Jewell encouraged them.  She knew them.  She recognized voices.  She asked about them.  She listened to them.  She spoke love and God’s Word to them.

I think my primary gift and calling is to encourage people.  And I do that.  But somehow I don’t think it is always on such a personal, attentive level.

So Lord, may I truly speak and write my encouraging words from a genuine heart of care and compassion.

She Was Joyful

Mama Jewell was always joyful.  She never complained.  Everyone said so.  Did she have reason to complain?  Oh yes, more than most of us.  Basically blind for many years, she was always dependent on people.  She was in and out of the hospital, often in pain.  The closest she came to complaining?  “My Judy is just too good to me.”

I’m an editor.  I’m pretty good at seeing what’s wrong with writing and making it better.  Unfortunately I often apply my editing skills in other arenas.  It’s so easy to see what is wrong, who should change, what really needs some work.  And I don’t always keep my edits to myself.

So Lord, would you turn my edits, my corrections, my negative thoughts, into joy and gratitude.  May I dwell in the good and beauty you have given.

Almost Home

Her Language Was Praise

Look at the pictures of Mama Jewell.  In every one her hands are raised in praise to God.  This was her normal response to anything and everything.  She saw God in big and little circumstances.  She applied the Word in all things.  And she praised the Lord always.

I usually get around to thanking and praising in the circumstances of my life.  But usually I have a little conversation with God first, pointing out what is not okay, suggesting a new approach, sharing my ideas.  Then praise.

Lord, may my first response increasingly be:  Thank You, Lord.  Praise You, Lord!

Someday, when my friends and family celebrate my life, may encouragement, joy and praise cause each one to lift their arms to our Lord.

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How do you say good-bye to a child?

I just watched the memorial service for 5-year-old Ava Hunter, daughter of Josh and Lisa, granddaughter of Joel and Becky.   I am deeply touched by the emotion, the tears, the faith, the pain, the humor, the hope that were expressed in this celebration of little Ava.

A few thoughts from the family:

Josh Hunter: “ Nothing but time.”  Josh shared poignant words about the time they had, about desiring more time.  And now she lives beyond time.

Lisa Hunter:   We will have to learn to journey through this life without her.  She loved to dance and run, and I can picture her dancing and running and leaping—with Jesus.

Isaac Hunter:  Blessed are those who mourn—we mourn because we were blessed to know Ava.  We were blessed by her kindness and her love and her faith.  We were blessed by her courage—she had moxie.  Even when the cancer bully was invisible and seemingly invincible within her, she stood right up to it.

Blessed are those who mourn, because they shall be comforted.  Comfort comes in Christ Himself, and in the assurance that one day God will set the world—in us and around us—to right.  Then there will be no more mourning.

Joel Hunter:  Ava’s life changed people.  Her death reminds us to treasure each moment with children, family and friends.  God is not here to grant us whatever we want, but to grant us intimacy when we don’t get what we want.  We must be able to say with Job, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”

Five years of joyful memories.  A beautiful good-bye.  Time and longing in the days ahead.  And sure hope of Ava’s freedom now and a glorious reunion with her and our Lord who comforts and redeems us.

You can watch Ava’s memorial service online at

http://www.northlandchurch.net/ava/

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I love to listen to Josh Groban sing–what a powerful voice!   I especially love
“You Raise Me Up.”

This song inspires me to believe God for MORE and to want to encourage others to do the same.   Just look at these words:

You raise me up to stand on mountains:   To be strong and courageous as I follow where God leads me, to go to the highest places He has prepared for me.  To trust Him to give me “hind’s feet on high places” in His journey for me.
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas:  Each of us has storms in our lives. Too often as we follow Peter and step into the stormy waters, we also take our eyes off Jesus and begin to sink.  When we call out, “Lord, save me,” He is faithful to reach out and raise us up.

I am strong when I am on your shoulders:  Think of a dad lifting his child to his shoulders–because he is too tired to go on, or so he can see over all those towering above him.  And then remember all those who have built into your life, who have blazed trails and attempted the impossible and opened doors–so you are able to go where God is leading you.  God gives strength–through His Spirit and the people in our lives: He carries us on His shoulders.

You raise me up to more than I can be
:   Most of us just hope to become all we can be.  But God will raise us up to MORE than we can be.  He wants us to be more like Jesus, to reflect more of His glory, to trust Him more completely.  We may have big dreams for our lives, but God’s dreams for us are more than we can imagine.

God calls us higher, and I am so grateful.  He reaches out and raises me up to the highest mountains, in the stormiest sea, on His very own shoulders–to more than I can ever be on my own.

c Judy Douglass

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