Gratitude, thankful, thank you, joy, provision, peace, community, strength, God’s love, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

Say Thank You: Remembrance and Gratitude are Keys in A Life of Joy

How many times do we slip into the muck of life because we are stuck in our own pity-party? Get out of the muck, and say thank you. Enter a life of gratitude and joy.



“It’s ok to have your pity party, but then you need to move on.” This is some sage advice given to me by my husband’s grandmother when I was a newlywed. I cannot for the life of me remember what prompted this advice, but it has stuck with me for nearly two decades. Perhaps this wisdom was shared in a moment of tough love, but I received it well, and treasure it greatly.

There are still days when I have my pity parties. Things seem too difficult. I feel too tired. There are moments when I want to throw in the towel and call it quits. Days I feel all alone in a crowded space. My feelings are hurt, yet again. And before I know it, I am wallowing in the muck.

In the middle of the muck is usually when I heap on a big dose of guilt and shame. You know, to make myself the martyr of my own demise. I think I shouldn’t feel this way, I should be tougher, I should be better, I should do more. No wait – I shouldn’t do more – I should do less. I should be grateful. Meanwhile, the promise of abundant life slips by.

How many times do we slip into the muck of life because we are stuck in our own pity-party? Get out of the muck, and say thank you. Enter a life of joy. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #gratitude #thankful #joy #ThankYou #PityParty #provision #community

Pity Party

There are things that are too difficult. There are problems I simply cannot fix because I do not possess the means. But, hallelujah! They are not too difficult for God.

I do feel tired at times. But the things I am doing like parenting and leading and teaching are good things. They continually bring me back to my knees.

There are moments I want to quit. A life of joy doesn’t mean easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. It means peace. Things can be hard yet peaceful.

There are days I feel alone. The loss of friendships has left gaping wounds. I hide behind facades, too afraid to let people see the real me. But I am NOT alone. God continually meets my need for community.

My feelings do get hurt. Having a sensitive heart is a strength of compassion. This is how God created me, and I am confident it is a gifting He gave on purpose. But honestly, it is often my own insecurity that causes my wounded pride.

Gratitude

Gratitude is woven throughout a life of joy. And gratitude begins with awareness. By acknowledging and remembering the blessings in life, our attitudes shift from doubt to confidence.

Remember God’s faithfulness of provision in your life. And say thank you.

If we are able to solve our dilemmas on our own, we would not need to rely on the Lord. And if we provide the solution, then we receive the credit. When there seems to be no solution, God will provide. He will receive glory, and we learn to trust in a deeper way.

Remember God’s strength gives you endurance. And say thank you.

We are in continual training. Every trial we go through prepares us for further work. This is our hope and comfort. Because we know that our future is for eternity and that our life has purpose by glorifying the Father, we see value in these trials.

Remember God’s peacefulness brings you comfort. And say thank you.

Because the task we are enduring is one we are called to, part of His provision is comfort and peace. There is a difference between stretching our faith, and a struggle with the Spirit within ourselves. We have His peace within the discomfort.

Remember God’s plan for community. And say thank you.

Instead of focusing on the loss of friendship, focus on the friends we have. Invest in these people, build trust, and love them well. God does not desire us to be alone, He created us to need community.

Remember God’s love for you and all His creation. And say thank you.

Getting the focus off of ourselves, onto others, we can see that we are loved and cared for. Recognize this. Be thankful for the love other people give. Receive it well.

Move On

If you find yourself in the muck, go ahead and have your pity party knowing you will not stay there. Feel all the feelings – sad, stressed, overwhelmed, hurt, scared. Then remember. Remember how God cares for you, the provisions, the blessings. Acknowledge the good in your life. Focus on what you have, love who you have, use the time you have and do it all for the glory of the Lord.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18, NLT

Feel all the feelings – sad, stressed, overwhelmed, hurt, scared. Then remember. Remember how God cares for you, the provisions, the blessings. Click To Tweet

How many times do we slip into the muck of life because we are stuck in our own pity-party? Get out of the muck, and say thank you. Enter a life of joy. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #gratitude #thankful #joy #ThankYou #PityParty #provision #community

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Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Plateaus: Trusting that God is Always at Work in Us

We often look at plateaus with a negative connotation, but all they are is room for growth. Why are they room for growth? Because they represent an opportunity to change. 



We all hit plateaus. We all have days, weeks, even years of no movement. Are you standing still right now? I am. In several aspects. Spiritually. Relationally. Mentally.

Plateaus

I recently wrote a memoir about my struggle with anxiety for an English assignment. I used an analogy that these challenges we face are like injuries. The healing process builds thicker skin. In our case, stronger faith. It is another disguised challenge put in place to strengthen us.

How, then, do we make it easier to face? How do we look beyond the disguise and see what God is revealing and showing? That’s a tough one. I think in the simplest terms we must trust. Trust that God’s not done with us. Trust that when God says He doesn’t leave us where He finds us, He means it.

How do we remain hopeful that there will be another uphill? To be truthful, I have no idea. But, I would love to journey through it with you. Let’s find the answer together, as I march through my own personal plateau…

We often look at plateaus with a negative connotation. But all they are is room for growth because they represent an opportunity to change. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #anxiety #community #personalgrowth #growth

True Confessions

For about a month now I’ve been having a constant “off day” if you know what I mean. I’ve had a couple of rough panic attacks and long-lasting moments of anxiety. Smelly teenage boys have somehow wiggled into my priority list and I cannot focus for the life of me! For example, in the midst of that last sentence, I looked up for really no reason at all and got completely distracted by a cloud floating by through the window.

Where is the self-awareness and realization that something outside has crept inside?

I still experience anxiety to an extent, but this elongated unassuredness has certainly shown to be more than an episode of my chemical brain structure. I’ve also begun to show unhealthy eating habits, and I can’t seem to stay awake for a whole day despite the 8+ hours of sleep I get every night. What the heck?! It’s quite frustrating. Compared to who and where I was seven months ago, I was in tip-top shape. So why the change?

Always Moving

I took for granted the high ground I’d worked so hard to reach. I lost focus on God’s role and I lost sight of the bottom I’d once stood on. And I only allowed myself to see that I was going nowhere. Something I need to remind myself of, and that I’d implore everyone to remember is, when you hit these seasons of flat ground, you’re still moving forward. You’re still going.

What’s going on in your life that you’ve unintentionally neglected? Or deemed not as important? For me, I need to take care of myself more (in light of how God sees me). I need to allow myself room to feel things I think I should or shouldn’t feel. I’m trying to suppress feelings I don’t want to feel. Then they pile up waiting to be felt. If I were on the flip side and someone came to me with this challenge, how would I respond? Would I offer grace? Of course! Then why is it so hard for me to accept?

And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

1 Thessalonians 5:14, NIV

All the Feels

I’m piling things up instead of dealing with them. Instead of appreciating the place I’m in, I’ve taken it for granted and now I seem to be in another valley. Ladies, feelings are a piece of work. But what does God have to say about all these feelings? Let’s look back at the Bible.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

Jeremiah 17:9, NIV

Well, that’s a bit intense. The verse is intense, but what is the context? Where do I find myself in the midst of God’s promises and Christ’s hope for me? Not the whole world, but me. Is what I’m going through just a couple bad pieces of fruit or is the root system bad? How do I reach out to ask for help? God understands my heart. He understands my need for crying out and people to cry out to.

Reach Out

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:5-6, ESV

In harmony. I love that. Different notes working together to make one beautiful sound. Millions of image bearers working together for one glorious King. How then do we hold back our struggles? We serve a loving, caring God who has given us loving, caring people with which to share our struggles. When you hit these plateaus, because you will, and when you walk through these valleys, because you will, who are you reaching out to? Are you surrendering to your pride to receive help? Please, reach. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for the community God’s placed me in. Reach out.

We serve a loving, caring God who has given us loving, caring people with which to share our struggles with. In harmony. When we hit plateaus, all we need to do is reach out! Click To Tweet

We often look at plateaus with a negative connotation. But all they are is room for growth because they represent an opportunity to change. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #anxiety #community #personalgrowth #growth
Ronald Baars

community, help, serving, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Helping: Sharing God’s Love Through Actions and Generosity

God calls all of us to provide helping hands whether it be in our schools, churches, or neighborhoods. We must all take part in providing for the needs of those around us.



A couple of weeks ago, two members of my church family, my community, helped me in a time of need. I previously wrote all about how 3 trees made their way on top of my house during a snow storm.

One person in my community of people graciously got them off my roof. And this week, 2 more dear friends helped me get them chopped up and cleared away. They were living, breathing examples of helping our siblings in Christ when they need it.God calls us to provide helping hands in our spheres of influence. We must all take part in providing for the needs of those around us. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #community #love #help #serve #encouragement

Acting in Freedom

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.

Galatians 5:13, NLT

We have freedom from sin through Christ’s death and resurrection. We are called to use that freedom to serve one another. That doesn’t mean when it is convenient or easy, it means helping where there is a need.

We must be self-sacrificing like our Savior. He surrendered Himself for us. We cannot satisfy ourselves and be susceptible to our sinful nature, but use our time, freedom, and resources to love each other.

Share What You Have

Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have because God is pleased with these kinds of sacrifices.

Hebrews 13:16, CEB

This verse does not say to share when you are in a time of abundance. It did not say to only share certain things. It clearly states to share what you have. Whatever that may be.

Some people only have time and energy. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you have, we have been implored to share. The act of helping is what is important. And why? Because it pleases God.

We are not just to share during times of abundance or only certain things. God's word tells us to share what we have. It doesn't matter how much or how little, the act of helping is what is important because it pleases God. Click To Tweet

Faith Without Action

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

James 2:14-17, NIV

When we claim to have faith, our faith must be backed by our actions. If we ignore the needs of those around us and refuse to offer help, we are not acting in acceptance of our Savior. Scripture says that when our actions don’t support our faith, then our faith is dead (James 2).

It is not enough to wish someone well, tell them that you are thinking of them, or even that you are praying for them. We do need to pray for each other, of course. But if we have the means to help someone and turn our back, only providing words of comfort, our actions are not reflecting what we believe.

Jesus did not simply wish us well when He came to Earth. He saw our need and He acted taking our place on the cross and dying for us. He acted in obedience to the Father. We have to follow His example.

Abide in Love

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?

1 John 3:17, ESV

If we want to abide in God’s love, we need to help each other in times of need. This proves God’s love and sets an example for those who witness our actions. Let’s take time out of our schedules to bring a meal, help with yard work, donate unwanted items… Let’s abide in love.

How can you lend a helping hand today?

God calls us to provide helping hands in our spheres of influence. We must all take part in providing for the needs of those around us. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #community #help #serve # love #encouragement

help, weak, community, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, ministry

Help: Crying Out to the Lord Who Delivers from Trouble

Often, we move forward boldly, trying to accomplish things on our own, not asking for help. When is the right time to ask? What is at stake when we don’t?



“Oh Lord, help us” is not just the name of this ministry, but the cry of my heart.

It’s 11 o’clock on Tuesday night and I committed to have a devotional submitted by the end of the day. A week ago, I had a handful of ideas on what I wanted to write about. Clearly, seven days later, none of those panned out. This morning I put together some thoughts that were decent, but they were messy and didn’t flow or connect. This evening, after another hour of typing, I crawled underneath my covers and stared wide-eyed. I told my husband, Sean, “It’s crap. I have no space in my brain for writing right now.”

My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart…I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.

Psalm 7:10, 17, ESV

David gave God glory for the protection he received. I, too, must sing praise to God for His righteousness and cry out to the Most High.

Often, we move forward boldly, trying to accomplish things on our own, not asking for help. When is the right time to ask? What is at stake when we don’t? Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Opening Up

What happens when I need help and don’t ask? Uh…tonight. I’m totally sitting here crying. Which is kind of cleansing, but why ask for help to begin with? Well, for starters, to avoid getting to a place of hysteria. Haha. But all the more because I need community and I am weak. And that’s not just okay, it’s Biblical.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

Matthew 7:7-8

In one of Sean’s notebooks is written: Patience with God changes us from a different angle. His knowledge of what’s next isn’t the point. Our desire for His will is.

Giving Up the Ghost

On days like this, I try to align myself in community with God, fighting for humility to get to that place of sacrificial praise. I know it’s okay for me to ask for help from my husband or my kids when I’m spent. But I forget in the moment. Today, I feel used up. I realize I haven’t had space to breathe. So many worthy things vie for my attention and I genuinely want to be available. However, when I was driving to pick up my son from basketball camp this afternoon I had a fleeting thought of how nice it would be to keep driving. Not to leave him or escape my family, just to recharge.

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

Romans 8:26, NASB

The Spirit in the heart helps, dwelling in us, working in us, as a Spirit of grace and supplication, especially with respect to the infirmities we are under when we are in a suffering state, when our faith is most apt to fail; for this end the Holy Spirit was poured out.

Matthew Henry

I know it’s okay for me to ask for help when I’m spent. But I forget in the moment. Today, I feel used up. I realize I haven’t had space to breathe. Click To Tweet

Feelings Are Tricky Tricksters

The funny thing is, I love my home. It is bright and peaceful. I like my neighbors. Being at home is not a burden. I guess it’s my mind that has taken on a hostile stance. Many intensely emotional situations have occurred in the past few weeks. Some joyful, some heart wrenching. All of which I desperately want to be present in. I want to sit with sisters who are battling fear, depression and loss. I want to be waging war in the spirit realm for my brothers and sisters who are fighting the good fight of faith. To add on to the pile, I started school this week. It is a worthy undertaking, yet it is putting more constraints on my time.

I recall to mind a text Sean sent me a few days ago: Don’t let your feeling direct you. Be driven by purpose. Feelings come and go and are rarely righteous.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Proverbs 19:21, NIV

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4, ESV

Help Is on The Way

This reminds me that when I say oh Lord, help me!…there is actually a God to call on that answers with hope and He reveals Himself to me in Christ. When I fall down at the feet of Jesus, He hears and redeems me from all of my worries. He continually exceeds my expectations through the work of His Spirit.

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.

Psalm 34:17, ESV

Often, we move forward boldly, trying to accomplish things on our own, not asking for help. When is the right time to ask? What is at stake when we don’t? Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Nine Köpfer

home, community, fellowship, alone, mentoring, Christian, scripture, Oh Lord Help Us

Home: Five Tips for Building Community Where We Are

Where we feel the most at home, isn’t always where we end up. Often times, it takes our own will power to seek out and build community where we land.



There’s something about going “home”. I love returning to the place of my childhood. Especially in the summer. I was able to return to Indiana this past weekend, and so many things made me miss my home state. The cool grass on my bare feet, the summer breeze that rarely happens in the South, the tall corn fields that make me feel protected. When I close my eyes, I can feel and smell and sense that this is home.

Community

Those pleasing sensations really do make me miss my home. But, when I close my eyes, I also see the community we left behind. Most of my family lives there, our beautiful church family, the friends I made as an adult, long-time family friends. The deepest parts of my soul, long for familiar community again.

I left a piece of myself, a piece of my heart, in all those I cherish.

With community comes a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose. There is confidence that no matter the season of life, we are not physically alone. When one is weak, the other is strong (Ecclesiastes 4:10).

Where we feel the most at home, isn't always where we end up. Often times, it takes our own willpower to seek out and build community where we land. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Home Alone

When we moved to North Carolina, it was easy for me to seclude myself. I have a hard enough time making relationships, let alone attempting this while grieving the loss of my community. No one was checking up on me. No one making sure I was going to church or getting involved. This is dangerous for someone who is prone to hermit-hood…

Just let me be in my house, my safe place, and I’m happy. Or am I?

And the Lord God said, “It isn’t good for man to be alone; I will make a companion for him, a helper suited to his needs.”

Genesis 2:18, ESV

God knew, even from the beginning, man should not be left alone. It’s not healthy for us to be alone, left to our own thoughts and plans. We need companionship. We need community.

It's not healthy for us to be alone, left to our own thoughts and plans. We need companionship. We need community. Click To Tweet

Building Fellowship

Fellowship isn’t always effortless. There are times we have to be diligent in creating it, but as I said before, I tend to be a hermit. I’m learning to break through this personality flaw. It’s only taken me 4 years to realize I have had the power all along. Through prayer, God is showing me ways I can stretch…He always answers prayers. Here are the areas He’s laid on my heart:

Go to church and get involved…

When we exhausted all the church options in our new area, we found that the effortlessness of our old church was very rare. I was not prepared to have to put effort into feeling like we belonged somewhere. I thought we would just fit right in, in the right church. Thus, creating a horrible habit of not even attending church. We are still working on fixing this habit, but we have found our church. Now, it takes ME to get involved and make it home.

Open up our homes, be hospitable…

I’m awful at this, Lord knows I need to work on my “grumbling”. Whether it be busyness, messiness, or lack of funds, I seem to always have an excuse to not open my home to others. This is not the command of God…

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

1 Peter 4:9, NIV

Practice sacrificial giving…

One way to build relationships and solidarity with others is to give what you have. It can be time, money, food; whatever we have. Everything we possess must be held with open hands because it all flows from God, above.

All believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.

Acts 4:32, NIV

Share our stories, our testimonies…

Vulnerability and transparency have been my battle cries for about a year now. We all have our stories and they are important to share. Every single one, points directly to our good Father! No matter how wretched we were/are, God is still so good. And, in that truth, we find commonality. Camaraderie.

So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind.

1 Thessalonians 5:10, MSG

Show love, always…

This seems like a no-brainer, but so often we fall short of this commandment. When we put on love, fellowship falls right into place. All these other tips just seem to happen. Love is the greatest commandment. To put it plainly, love the Lord and love your neighbor (Matthew 22:37-39). Making sure our actions align with God’s word, is a good way to prove we are achieving love and building community with one another….

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Colossians 3:14, ESV

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:

1 Peter 4:8,10, ESV

Where Are You?

Are you in this position? Feeling alone, left out, like you don’t belong? Have you found yourself in a place that doesn’t feel quite like home? In a place where community seems so distant? Trust me, I truly know this walk. I wish with all my heart I could walk alongside of you. Help you create a new community. But know this, when you are struggling to build that community with your own efforts, God has just what you need.

Where we feel the most at home, isn't always where we end up. Often times, it takes our own willpower to seek out and build community where we land. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Masaaki Komori

Oh Lord Help Us, love, neighbor, faith, spiritual growth, Christian, women, ministry

Neighbor: Living the Great Commandment of Love

Loving our neighbor is more than loving the people directly next to us. It is loving all those whom God has created and has compassion for.



The dark was so encompassing on the cloudy night. It crept right up next to the young girl as she held tightly to her mother’s hand. They stumbled through the night desperately trying to keep up with the group that they prayed would lead them to freedom.

They were leaving behind a life of slavery and injustice. For over a year her mom had socked away a few coins from every odd job she could find. Her father had run ahead of them a few years before and had sent word that they should try and come. He had found a job, found a little house that he was sharing with some others who had escaped, and he missed them terribly. So a few weeks ago the little girl’s mom had given every penny she had saved to a group of men who promised to take them to freedom. And now here they were in the darkness, running across the rocky uneven terrain, stumbling, slipping, and praying for freedom.

The Darkness

That’s when the little girls life was turned upside down. The men who were “helping them” told her mother it was the little girl’s turn to help the men get more energy. The little girl was four years old. Mom screamed for her to run and then told the men she was happy to take on that responsibility, if they just let her girl go on her way. The little girl ran, hid behind a big rock and watched while a group of men did unspeakable things to her mother. They left her mother lying in the dirt. Torn and bloodied.

Even though there were many people in their group, no one spoke up. They turned their backs, covered their children’s eyes, and when it was over, kept walking through the darkness, leaving the little girl and her mother behind.

As day broke the mother moaned, got to her feet, took her daughter’s hand and kept walking. Now with no water, no clear sense of direction, and a broken spirit. They encountered another group later in the day. But were turned away because they couldn’t pay. One lady gave the little girl some water and a slice of bread though, and that kept them going for two days. That’s when they made it to the mighty river.

A Neighbor’s Help

The little girl’s mom told her that crossing the river was going to be tough, but after they crossed, freedom was on the other side. She took all their clothes, made a rope out of them and struggled across. Naked, broken, tired they trudged into the raging water. Barely half way across the little girl got dragged under. The mother, with her last burst of energy, yanked the rope to pull her daughter up.

From the other side a young man saw the two struggle. As fast as he could he ran down to the bank to help. He dragged the two out of the river. They didn’t speak the same language and couldn’t understand each other. The little girl was trying to cover her mother afraid of what another man would do to her. Thankfully this man was truly a helper. He wrapped the mom in his shirt and took them to his house, fixed them up as best he could without taking them to a doctor.

The Light of Neighbors

This was a story told to me by a fourth grader almost 15 years ago about how she and her mother came to our country. They lived in a little shack not far from the school and I had the pleasure of going to visit them several times. They were always so welcoming and kept their home open to anyone, any neighbor, who needed a meal. Can you imagine? Going through such horror and still opening your home to feed others. And let me tell you those tamales were the best I have ever had. The love in them was so evident.

Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?

Jesus replied: ‘Love the lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets and on these two commandments.

Matthew 22:36-40, NIV

Loving our neighbor is more than loving the people directly next to us. It is loving all those whom God has created and has compassion for. | Faith | Spiritual Growth | Christian Women | Scripture

Neighbors are Good Samaritans

Jesus made it very clear that loving God is most important, but loving our neighbor is also important. In the story of the Good Samaritan, He reveals God’s definition of neighbor as not just someone who lives next door, or someone who has the same faith, or language as you.

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

 ‘Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?’

Luke 10:30-36, NIV

God’s Call to Our Hearts

In a world that is turned topsy turvy about who our neighbor is, let God clear your eyes and heart. We are all neighbors in His eyes. While we may have to live within man’s rules and laws, God’s law comes first.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13, NIV

Dear God,

Please help us be the hands and feet of Your church. Let love be our guiding light. Thank you for showing me stories of people who have lived through life’s worst fears and come through with Your love and grace shining through them. Your word has been an anchor in my life and shown me the way, even when the world around is so loud and confusing. Thank you for the map and light in the darkness. Please help those in crisis and help us all be more like the Samaritan.

Love,

me

Loving our neighbor is more than loving the people directly next to us. It is loving all those whom God has created and has compassion for. | Faith | Spiritual Growth | Christian Women | Scripture

chuttersnap

community, friends, growth, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, ministry

Community: God’s Invitation into Spiritual and Personal Growth

Having friends, working side by side toward a common goal is the definition of community. God gives us an invitation into His community helping us grow.



We went to the park today to play. My son wanted to have someone to play with but he can be shy in new situation. He tends to mirror play until someone invites him to join in. As soon as that happens, an invitation, he opens up. Laughing, running, smiling. As a mom that simple joy makes me so happy.

Invitation…

I think that is how our Heavenly Father is with us. He want us to find friends. Those who will invite us in and make us feel part of a community. I imagine when he sees us together, laughing, talking, loving each other, He is so happy.

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

John 15:12-15, NIV

My husband, Phillip and I have tried several small groups over the years. Some have been good, some boring, some felt exclusionary, and some have tried too hard. All of them I think had good intentions and truly wanted to spread God’s love. But none of them felt just right for us. Some came close but none were the kind of fit where you just felt comfortable and free to be yourself.

Having friends, working side by side toward a common goal is the definition of community. God gives us an invitation into His community helping us grow. #community #friendship #spiritualgrowth

Finding community…

In the last year we have joined a small group that feels like family. There are a lot of us and we can be overwhelming when you first meet us. There are more kids in our small group than I have in my classroom. The first night we met everyone, Phillip and I weren’t sure what we had gotten ourselves into and were wondering how to politely get out. But very quickly we saw how much these people loved each other. They would do anything within their power to help each other out. When I need help someone is always willing.

We all come from different parts of the country, have a variety of jobs and interests, and everyone has a different story about how they came to know God. But God is our connection. He is our foundation that all our connected links start with.

Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.

Proverbs 27:9, NIV

We have had various members who have been sick, hurt, or have surgery in the last year and our group texts are quickly replied to: What can I do to help? Can I bring you something? We are praying for you. When you see all the outpouring of love and genuine support you are so uplifted and encouraged.

Occasionally someone needs help with a task. Picking up a washer and dryer, yard work, help with child care. Within minutes our team has agreed to help out and you know you can depend on them.

Growth…

This small group restores my soul, fills my faith and refreshes my love. For that I am eternally grateful that God placed them in my path. Because of them and other believers in my life, I am able to be mighty and sure when an unbeliever crosses my path.

To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.

Thomas Aquinas

Not that I agree exactly with Thomas Aquinas here, but I think it shows the struggle of speaking with non believers. It can wear you out. Last year our group volunteered with the Raleigh Dream Center. We went out and delivered food, fun and fellowship to an underprivileged neighborhood. It was awesome and exhausting.

I had a little boy tell me that his mom liked when those church people brought food but wished they would keep their praying to themselves. I must admit I am easily discouraged by such things. One of our small group leaders is just the opposite. Though she didn’t know that the little boy had said this, I saw her pray with every person she came in contact with, including that little boys mom. I saw the mom give a big hug to my friend toward the end of our time, even after she had prayed with her. These seeds of God’s love being planted create a new view of faith that comes in rushing waves. I am thankful to Him for the experience.

Your invitation…

I encourage you to find people who share God’s love and purpose. Yes we should bring Him to the unchurched and those who don’t have a personal relationship, but that can drain your spirit and make you question. Faith and grace are found in the midst of a group of believers who you share your life.

For where two or more are gathered in My name, there I am also.

Matthew 18:20, NIV

Faith and grace are found in the midst of a group of believers who you share your life. Click To Tweet

Dear God,

Thank you for family. Not just the family we are born into, but Your family of believers.

love,
me

Having friends, working side by side toward a common goal is the definition of community. God gives us an invitation into His community helping us grow. #community #friendship #spiritualgrowth

Hannah Busing

joy, God's goodness, good deeds

Joy: Impacting Others with Our Deeds, Showing God’s Goodness

As believers, God’s goodness is the driving force behind our joy. We have the ability to impact others with the joy we hold inside.



Joy is contagious, even if it’s for a moment. We have the power to influence others with our countenance. So, what if we all chose to use our power in positive ways? What if we chose to share the love of God through smiles and joy? We would definitely stand out. What would the impact be on our world around us?

A Rare Smile

I’m not one to wear a smile. It’s not that I’m unhappy, it’s that my face just doesn’t rest on joy. My husband’s goal every day is to get me to smile. Genuinely smile. I just don’t think about it. My resting face is typically blank. That being said, a quick moment made me realize how important a smile can be…

I stopped for a pedestrian. It’s not uncommon, as my usual driving route takes me through a college campus. This day was different, though. It was raining. I saw her yellow rain coat coming down the stairs, her arms full of books and coffee, and no umbrella to shield her. I didn’t receive the awkward wave that usually ends pedestrian/driver interactions. Like I said, her hands were full. So, all she could do was smile at me. It wasn’t a quick glance, smile, and walk on. She smiled and kept smiling to make sure I saw her. We locked eyes and I couldn’t help but smile too. I acknowledged her, she acknowledged me, and for a brief moment two strangers brightened each other’s day.

I know that there is nothing better for people, than to be happy and to do good while they live.

Ecclesiastes 3:12, NIV

Joyful Deeds

On a gray, rainy day, I needed some light. One thing that usually makes me happy is helping others. In fact, acts of service is how I show love. Yeah, obeying traffic laws isn’t much for “acts of service”, but I’ve seen other drivers speed through this campus, paying no mind to people trying to get from one point to another on foot. So, I serve my fellow humans by slowing down and pausing my day for them.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:16, NIV

Now, I don’t know if “Yellow Raincoat” actually needed her day brightened, but having good done to her, made her happy. I could tell her smile was genuine, not forced. She didn’t know I needed to see her smile, but God used her to uplift my spirit. It’s goodness this world needs, and for a moment we helped each other.

As believers, God's goodness is the driving force behind our joy. We have the ability to impact others with the joy we hold inside.

Provision Through A Smile

You could say “Yellow Raincoat” not only brightened my dreary day, but she inspired me to write about joy. God is so good. He heard my heart, and provided sustenance to multiple needs through one small action. I needed inspiration and to be uplifted. I needed to be reminded that there is still goodness in this dark world.

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

Hebrews 13:2, NIV

Our interaction reminds me that I have an impact, even if it’s small. Humans are silly. We all walk around, acting like we don’t need one another. The truth is, we all need each other. We are in this world together. Each one of us has an effect on the other. Whether it be our day, our mood, our whole life, the effect a stranger can have is undeniable.

Whether it be our day, our mood, our whole life, the effect a stranger can have is undeniable. Click To Tweet

Joy in God

So, which way does the can go? Does the stranger have a positive or negative effect? Unfortunately, the latter happens more often. There is an underlying heaviness in us all. We feel the darkness in the world. We carry it around, knowingly or unknowingly. It shows all over our faces, postures, beings. Because we are human, we are prone to negativity. It’s easier to be sad and depressed, than to push through with joy.

Our joy rests in the goodness of God. He is so, so good. We have a merciful, generous Father. He bestows undeserving redemption on us every day. His goodness and love breaks through any darkness, heaviness, or tragedy. We can find happiness and joy in this life, because He is our God.

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

Psalm 90:14, NIV

Don’t hide your powerful smile. Be intentional about showing joy. Allow your joy to reach strangers and don’t pass up opportunities to allow your joy to testify of God’s goodness.


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As believers, God's goodness is the driving force behind our joy. We have the ability to impact others with the joy we hold inside.