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Archive for the ‘encouraging verse’ Category

Lent

 
I call out to the Lord and
 
He answers me.
 
Psalm 3:4
 
 
My friend Beth just forwarded the following e-mail to me from youth Pastor Damon Kelly.  It was a timely e-mail as my family was discussing Lent tonight. 
Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the season of Lent in the church year …. For those who might not know a ton about Lent, it is a time of taking stock of our lives with God and one another and taking a 40 day period to consider where we are at in relationship to God. This time has become a time to potentially give up something that may be rivaling our attention from God and then also ADDING something in it’s place that would encourage us towards God in some way. Maybe TV gets less and God gets more somehow. Maybe lack of exercise gets less and caring for our bodies, God’s temple gets more. There is no right or wrong about the subtracting something and adding something as long as it is pointing us Godward. 
 
You could gather at dinner tonight or sometime in the evening or even at breakfast tomorrow and spend time sharing about the idea of Lent with your family. There is no pressure to start tomorrow on Ash Wednesday. There is no pressure for this to look a certain way, but it is an opportunity for you as Dads and Moms to love and lead your students towards God in a simple family observance.
 
Here is a link that you could use or even read as a family that talks a bit about Lent and the ideas behind it.”
http://www.upperroom.org/methodx/thelife/articles/lent101.asp
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The past few years I have abstained from sugar, but this year I felt like I needed to do something different.  I have decided to “give-up” talking on my cell-phone (conversations with family and friends) and to “add” praying for my family and friends more deliberately.  My decision was confirmed by my children’s adamant belief that I will not be able stay off the phone!   

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overflow with hope

 
May the God of Hope
 
Fill you with all joy and peace …
 
So that you may overflow with Hope.
 
Romans 15:13
 
 
When I find something that truly helps someone who has overcome horrific physical and emotional pain, I pay attention.  My friend Christine gave me the book The Allure of Hope for my 40th birthday.  This book helped her tremendously after she was burned in a grease fire.          (You can read about her story by clicking here.)
 
In the book The Allure of Hope, Jan Meyers Proett clearly shows how hope is not a passive concept, but an active, life-changing reality.  This book touched my heart by giving words to how it feels when I am “jolted by life’s suffering.”  Seeing hope as a radical way of responding to life, rather than a mere desire for something good to happen, helps me to coexist with pain.  When you live with pain on a daily basis, it is hard to have hope, but it is possible.  This book invites you to do the courageous — and glorious work — of hoping.
 
Hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts.  Romans 5:5
 

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eat with joy

 
Go eat your food with joy ….
 
Ecclesiastes 9:7
 
 
I found this verse last year, on the last day of my fast.  I wrote it in my journal along with these words: “God wants us to enjoy our food and appreciate it.  Not eating for a while certainly makes you appreciate food!”  I know that sounds simple, but fasting helps put food in its proper place in life — something to be enjoyed in a healthy way.  Our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, and taking a break from eating (or eating certain foods) causes you to notice how you are caring for your body.
 
Eating can be very complicated for some people.  I have one dear friend who is struggling with an eating disorder and another one who is trying to lose weight.  For them, food is not a source of joy, as God desires.  Thankfully, there is hope for all who struggle with food issues.  Embracing hope is one of the first steps to discovering how eating can be a joy. 
 
 
You still the hunger of those you cherish.  Psalm 17:14
Fast 
Book recommendation: The Allure of Hope, Jan Meyers
 
Disclaimer:  I am not recommending that anyone with an eating disorder fast or that fasting be used as a weight loss strategy.  I am only recommending fasting as a spiritual discipline for healthy adults.  
 

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Always

 
“I pray for them.”  Jesus
John 17:9
 
 
Jesus is able to save
 completely
those who come to
God through Him,
because He always lives
 to intercede for them.
Hebrews 7:25
 
 
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy & find help in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

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How GREAT is the love
the Father has
LAVISHED
on us.
1 John 3:1
 
 
Do you know, on an emotional level, that God passionately loves you? 
 
When we are facing difficult circumstances, it is tempting to think the difficulties indicate an absence of God’s love.  Equating circumstances with the quality or quantity of God’s love is damaging to our hearts.  God’s love remains the same, regardless of life being painful or comfortable.
  
“God has an intense love for us, and He wants our love in return.”   My friend Catrina A.
  
 
Dedicated to Cindy W. for inspiring this post. 
 

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You are a shield around me, O Lord;
 
You lift up my head.
 
Psalm 3:3

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In the book To Be Told, Dan Allender, Ph.D., encourages his readers to share their life stories.  In some of my favorite quotes from the book, he says,

We will never come to embrace the heartache of our story until we see it profit another human being.  Even then the sorrow doesn’t leave, but seeing someone benefit from our pain adds hope to that pain, and our gratitude begins to transform the past.”

“It is nearly impossible to feel someone’s pain if we do not know that person’s story.”

After reading this book, I realized that I want to share my story with you.  I have not had a day or a moment without a headache in eighteen years.  The last day I can remember not having a headache was my wedding day, May 25, 1991.  I probably had a few days that summer without a headache, but I didn’t know then to treasure those pain-free times.  Since the winter of 1992, I have felt an incessant headache, all day and all night.  Fatigue constantly accompanies these headaches, and I have had to learn to live with both. 

Over the years, I have had many diagnoses; however, the words we use to define ourselves are powerful and should be chosen carefully.  I do not want any diagnosis to define who I am; God defines who I am.

Thank you for taking the time to read about my journey, and if you are interested in more details, they can be found in the comments section below.  I am thankful that I have found true joy that is larger than my pain.   

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 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? 
Romans 8:35
 
 
Dedicated to those who risk their lives to follow Jesus.
 
“Place your ear against the chest of the Savior so that when troubled times come and you don’t know what will befall you, you can hear the steady pulse of Christ’s boundless love.”  (paraphrase of a quote by Beth Moore)
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Who shall separate you from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness of danger or sword?  For Jesus’ sake you face death all day long; you are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.  In all these things you are more than conquerors.  (based on Romans 8:35-37)
 
“There are more important things than staying alive.  Jesus’ followers must love him more than their own lives.”  (Randy Alcorn, Safely Home)
 
To help persecuted Believers, contact Open Doors, Voice of the Martyrs-Canada, or Voice of the Martyrs-USA.
 

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