My Divine Assignment: To Encourage Others

A dear friend who has gone to be with the Lord once told me I was her Barnabas which Biblically means "encourager." I never saw myself like that, but as I've grown in my walk with the Lord it seems that is my desire. I hope that what I share here will be an encouragement to you as we trust the Lord - for great is His Faithfulness.

My Divine Assignment: To Encourage Others.
In Christ's Love, Shelley

KEEP His JOY IN TRIALS, TEARS & TRIUMPHS ~~ A WOMAN'S HEART SHOULD BE SO COMPLETELY LOST IN God THAT A MAN MUST SEEK Him TO FIND HER ~~ Our desire to learn God's Word must be greater than our need to breathe ~~

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Empty and/or Full

     The word empty usually brings something negative to mind - empty gas tank, empty well, empty piggy bank or, for us big girls, empty checkbook. Of course, if all of those things are full, then we are happy. But they can't be both EMPTY & FULL, it's impossible. On the other hand, we can be both empty & full - full of ourselves & empty of the desire to please God.
     In this case, you can't be half empty or half full like a glass of water. It is impossible to be half full of ourselves & the other half full of wanting to please God. We need to EMPTY ourselves of all that keeps us from being filled with Godly desires.  Even if our deepest desire is to please God, the sins of selfishness can creep back in, but we MUST persevere.  I've found it helpful to pray Scripture back to God often using Galatians 5:22, 23 - "Lord, fill me with Your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness & self-control."  I dare say, if we can be FULL of the Fruit of the Spirit, there is not much room for anything else.
     Often when searching for a picture, I find one that gives me a different perspective on what I want to share in a post. The following picture was one of those instances.

As women are minds are always full - what to do next, places to go, who to call or pick up and on and on.  We often feel we can't shut our minds off when we go to bed.  When our heart is full of desires that please God then our mind will follow, But we must ask God to fill us with what pleases Him. We cannot do it - the desire may be there but we must ask.   I'd like to end with these Scriptures:   Matthew 22:7  Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'     Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.   Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Master Gardener

    On Saturday, I went to the Van Wert Master Gardeners' Walk.  We didn't make it tall all 11 sites because by noon it was HOT & HUMID, taking your breath away.  I love being in my garden this year as it has been a few years since I've really had the energy to be out there. I'm working on some vertical gardening this year.  I've pretty well "deleted" the squash bugs, only finding a few eggs here & there - I immediately remove them with duct tape.  Now I am at war with the the tomato worms.  I found out from my Master Gardener, Kylee, that it's the tobacco worm - they look similar.  She said I shouldn't kill them because of the moths they turn into, but I still need convincing after seeing what 4 separate worms have done to 4 tomato plants.
     The gardens we visited take time & dedication, especially the home of Fred & Louise Hartwig (photo frome their home), Kylee's parents, but how wonderful they look. Louise likes to stay busy & there is no doubt she is very busy keeping up with her amazing landscaping.  I admire her & the others' commitment but I'm not ready to "go there" myself, so I enJOY the beauty & hard work of others.
     That night as I was in my quiet time before bed, I opened up my Prayers for the Moment & randomly turned to a page.  The topic was Spiritual Growth with the page title To Draw Near to God.  What are the "chances" that on that page would be a reference to gardening??  Here's part of the prayer taken from John 15:7,8 - May we abide in the Vine, sustained by Christ's life, living by His Words, bearing His Fruit -- much fruit.  In preceding verses Christ says, "I am the Vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in Me & I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing."
     May we heed the call of our Master Gardener as we enJOY all the beauty of this earth He has given us.  Take the seeds He has planted in you & spread them wherever you go.  We may plant, another will water, but God does the gardening of the heart.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Survival of ....

     It's amazing what the Lord brings to mind at times.  I was out in the yard trying to catch up & get ahead of the weeds, etc.  I thought about what one of my daughters said the other day when it came to watering the plants or not.  Her outlook was "Survival of the Fittest."  Between work & caring for children that sometimes has to be the bottom line.
     Yet today, as I was considering what to do next, Survival of the Fittest came to mind but RIGHT behind it was Survival of the Faithful.  I LOVE WHEN THAT HAPPENS.
At some point, with the "dry spell" we are having, you have to decide how much water you will to use to keep things alive.  As Christians we also have "dry spells" & we may need to decide what areas of our lives need to be "watered."  But never forget the Bible PROMISES that the Faithful will Survive.  The best way to do that - grab The Survival Manual & dig deep until your thirst is quenched with the Living Water.  It's never in short supply.
     I am learning that being faithful  & persevering means making the choice to do it.  Sometimes it can be done quickly, sometimes it may take a day or a week, but do not give up.  It's not always easy, but it's always the right choice.  If you need help to get through, ask for it.
    I Timothy 1:12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that He considered me faithful, appointing me to His service.  
Revelation 2:10 ...Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you
the crown of life.
Revelation 14:12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ripple Effect

      As I pondered what I felt God had placed on My Heart to share, I had a few different thoughts.  Not by accident, one was confirmed this morning as I listened to David Jeremiah  while getting ready for church.  It was about encouragement.  This week I had thought about the word "courage" & how a few letters can quickly change the meaning.  What a contrast by either adding "en" or "dis."
     From - Courage as a noun: the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; have the courage of one's convictions, to act in accordance with one's beliefs, especially in spite of criticism.
Discourage - verb: to deprive of courage, hope, or confidence; dishearten; dispirit. Encourage - verb: to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence; embolden, hearten, reassure, urge; support, aid, help.
     Dr. Jeremiah shared these thoughts.  Encouragement is an urgent need in our day; it is a unique priority of God; it is the underlying purpose of the Bible & once begun has no end as the ripples of a pebble thrown into the water.  Either we have a heart for encouragement or we don't.  Like many things it is a choice & taking one brief moment for a hug, kind word, phone call, or short note will have a ripple effect now or eventually.  The Bible has much to say about encouragement.  Often the Psalms reveal the discouragement of people whether self-inflicted or from others.  Yet, most times those specific Psalms end with encouraging words because of their hope & trust in God.
      II Thessalonians 2:16,17 -  May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself & God our Father, who loved us & by His grace gave us eternal encouragement & good hope, to encourage your hearts & strengthen you in every good deed and word.
If you would like to study more Scriptures on this link to Study Light  & type in encourage, encouraging & encouragement separately - then choose a version of the Bible.  You will be ENCOURAGED so that you can encourage others.
      In times like these, we must have hearts of encouragement to bring the Good News of Eternal Life to others.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Pretty Nails

     After working in the garden these past 4 days along with 37 years of being a dental hygienist (almost 31 with Doc) I have AGAIN come to the conclusion I will NEVER have pretty nails.  I need to keep them fairly short for my job which is quite easy - even when they get to a nice length they soon break off .  Genetics has also made them thin.  Oh well, in about six months, I will reach that wonderful age of, shall we say thirty score?  For the most part it really does not bother me.  Sometimes the Granny arms & the spider veins aren't so "pretty" but they are easily covered up.
     So the pretty nails would be nice but pail in comparison with the fact that I am relatively healthy, can get out in the garden, & still enJOY my job (with a few neck & shoulder pains).  Most of all, I can be an active Grandma to 5 incredibly cute, fun & some times exhausting (what do expect at almost 60) grandkids.  I truly thank the Lord for that because long ago I prayed that my little ones could live close so that I could help them know & love the Lord.  Pray answered !!!  Wouldn't trade that for pretty nails or pretty anything else!!!!  And for those of you who have pretty nails I am on occasion jealous.
     As women of God it is not wrong to want to look nice or have nice things.  We know the most important thing is that our heart is right with Him.  Ipray that we age gracefully in the fact that we are fearfully & wonderfully made in His image.  When you look in the mirror or when others look at you, who do they see?
                                                                                                         Charm is deceptive, & beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.  Give her the reward she has earned, & let her works bring her praise at the city gate.  Proverbs 31:30, 31