Showing posts with label A Dose of Encouragement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label A Dose of Encouragement. Show all posts

Wednesday

How to Keep & Share A Thankful Heart - A Dose of Encouragement


Who or what are you thankful for & happy about today?






So many times we are drawn to think on the more unpleasant things in life which lead to unhappiness and they can keep us from being thankful for anything when we are in that frame of mind.  


What can we do to keep the right frame of mind and not get into that attitude that can get worse and worse as we dwell on the hurts and unpleasantness caused by others?







We can remember that we are blessed.


There is a little song that we used to sing years ago in church and maybe we should revive it to remind us that we are blessed.

I am blessed, I am blessed,
Every day I walk with Jesus I am blessed.
When I wake up in the morning,
When I lay my head to rest,
I am blessed, I am blessed.

If we are God's child, saved by the grace of Jesus and living by the power of the Holy Spirit then we are blessed more than be could be in any other way.


Being Blessed is not having all the money you want, having great possessions or having a great life which never sees sadness.

Being Blessed is described in Numbers 6 v 24-26 which I learnt as a song in the Presbyterian Church I grew up in as we sang it each time a baby was christened.






We are blessed as Christians because we know:

We are kept in the hand of God 
We are favoured by God 
We are in the Grace of God
We know we have the peace of God






So every day we know we are blessed and we should remember to thank God for His blessings to us.

As we thank God repeatedly we will build up a thankful heart.






As we become more thankful we will also love God more.

As we love God more we will build up a loving heart.







As we love God more we will also become more loving towards others.

As we love others more we will build up a more caring and giving heart.






I'm sure we know people who are very generous and do think often of helping and giving to others but we as Christians have the greatest thing to offer others and that is the Love of God, through the Gospel.


We can't go around saying - Oh I'm better at showing God's Love to others by giving to people rather than telling them about God's Love.

Because of God's love to us we should have a thankful and loving and giving heart which should mean give people out of the abundance of love in our hearts but that should always include the best thing we have and that is telling them about God's Salvation.



Amy Carmichael put it very simply and clearly in this quote below
because 
she knew that we cannot truly love God without giving this gift to others.






 John Wesley entreated us as believers to speak as we truly believe 
because 
he wanted us to act as the bible has also told us.







How to Keep a Thankful Heart?

Recognised how God loves & blesses us each day and remember to thank God each day.




How to Share a Thankful Heart?

React out of the Thankfulness we have which makes us more loving towards others and then we will share the Love of God. 































I Love Butterflies - A Dose of Encouragement


Where do I begin?


I cannot remember when I was not interested in something which had a butterfly on it.



Most people who know me well will be able to tell you that

 I love Butterflies.







I have Butterfly 

     necklaces,    rings,    scarves     &    brooches

 - not sure how many I have but because of these items many people know I love butterflies 


Over the years my family have bought me scarves, vases, bags and necklaces at Christmas time all decorated with butterflies.


Even the Ladies who came to the International Christian Club of Brussels knew I loved them as I was often found with a butterfly brooch pinned to my jacket.
When I was leaving Belgium to return to live in Northern Ireland I was given a lovely white lace Butterfly brooch from one of these ladies as leaving gift.



Isn't it beautiful?




My daughter even had a mug specially printed for me with butterflies on it for my Birthday one year and I featured it in a humorous blog post called 3 More Coffee Mugs








I have bought myself bags with butterfly designs, clothes with butterflies & room decorations with butterflies.








Then there was the time Fred and I spent a lovely afternoon in our home in Belgium taking pictures of the butterflies that were on a bush just outside our lounge window -  I was going to miss the Butterflies






It just makes me smile to see butterflies around the house and in our garden with our Buddleia (butterfly) bush here in Northern Ireland too and we manage to get some nice pictures of the bush in full bloom




 with butterflies around it each summer.









Why do I love Butterflies?

Because they are beautiful, intricately patterned, delicate creatures.

They are also a great reminder of new birth in that they start as caterpillars and turn into beautiful butterflies.

Just like I was once a person marred by my sin and through God's Love and the Grace of Jesus I was able to experience a new birth and share Christ's beauty.

I love to share about the butterfly in Kids Work that I would do to explain to the children that God offers them a new life in Jesus through His blood because of His Love for them.

Children hear that Jesus died on the cross but they need to know that He did this for them individually and that His beauty can become their beauty.  They need to know that he didn't stay dead but rose again and is still alive today so that they can know He talks to God about them and shares in all their feelings.

Children need to feel loved and secure above all else and Jesus wants them to accept His love and assurance that He will never leave them.


But you and I need to know exactly the same thing.


There is something very important that we all need to know.


You and I need to know we are loved and that we are safe and that there is a God planned future for us.

You and I need to experience this new birth and know that we can be beautiful in the eyes of our creator because of His Son.


There is one last Butterfly I would like to share with you today




This Butterfly sits on the Vanity Unit in our ensuite and I see it every day at the start of my day and the end of my day.


I believe in miracles.

Do you?


The Butterfly is an example of a miracle in that it changes from an ugly creature to a beautiful one.

Can you believe in Jesus and experience Him work this miracle in your life too?












Promises - We Can't Always See Them - A Dose of Encouragement







Not very long ago I read of a Canadian school teacher who on his 27th time reading through the Bible decided to take a note of all the promises he found there.  
This took him a year and a half and he came up with a grand total of 

8,810 
PROMISES. 




We are NOT going to look at all those promises!!!!



Although if you are interested in some of them you can have a look at 
Bible Verses for  10 Great Promises of God.

or you can have a look at a reminder of many things God has Promised in Promises


However it got me thinking about this and I wondered how many times have we promised something
  • to others
  • to ourselves
  • to God

You know the things we have said:

Yes, yes, yes I promise!   -  when we are not really interested and just want to get on quickly to something else.

Of course I promise!

I Promise I really do!

I never promised!


Do any of those sound familiar?

Can any of us say we have never broken any of the promises we have made?

We just need to admit that we can't remember all the promises we have made in our lives and we probably don't remember if we made any yesterday.


Perhaps we speak too soon about things, or too quickly, or perhaps we don't take promises too seriously.

Perhaps we want to forget about a promise we made because we don't really want to be held to it.

Surprisingly we can forget that others have promised things too.

So thinking back to that 8,810 promised that were found in the Bible we can be sure that many of those were made by God and we should never forget about God's Promises.  In fact we should take some time to learn more about them.


Sometimes the reason we forget about people or things is because we can't always see them.   This can be the same for promises.







One promise that God made to everyone is easy to remember because God gave us a sign in the bible which is still repeated physically for all the generations since to see.


The Promise of the Rainbow from Genesis chapter 9 v 12 - 17





12 And God said: “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: 
13 I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. 
14 It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; 
15 and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 
16 The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 
17 And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.” 



When we know that God gave us this great reminder of His Promise then we know He intends to keep His promise.

This should encourage us to seek out more of the promises for us in the Bible and get to know more about them.  

Then start remembering that


 



GOD KEEPS HIS PROMISES

even though

we can't always see them 



Every morning as we have breakfast together Fred and I pray to thank God for the previous day and the things we are thankful for from that day.  Then we pray for family, friends and other needs we know about and end by asking for God's care and protection & wisdom.






We can pray this way because
 
we believe God's promises to us

and

because 







God does not forget what He has said!



Because God is not like us who so easily forget.

 We must look at God's Promises in the light of 
WHO GOD IS 
and not who we are.











 


Thankfulness & Happiness go Hand in Hand - A Dose of Encouragement








When you think of Thankfulness what comes to your mind?



When you think of Happiness what comes to your mind?








When my husband and I think of thankfulness we often talk of God's protection over the years.         

       One winter Sunday evening we were driving home on the same road on which we then travelled twice every Sunday to go from our home in Banbridge to the church we attended in Lurgan. The drive takes 20/25 mins depending on traffic but on Sunday evenings there is normally very little traffic on that road.


        A certain section of the road has a few quite significant dips so that as you drive up towards one of these you have no real view ahead and the road is clearly signed to tell drivers about this in advance. So as we drove along in the dark around 8.30pm and came to the slight brow of a hill before one of these dips we suddenly saw several lights of cars coming towards us but as well as this we saw a set of lights coming towards us on our side of the road. 


       This is a country road with a very narrow footpath and hedges or walls etc. so usually no room to manoeuvre. A large lorry (truck for my American friends) was trying to overtake 3 or 4 cars and was still on the wrong side of the road; he had obviously ignored the signs about the dips in the road and also the road markings which clearly showed that no overtaking was allowed on that stretch of road.


        The only thing my husband Fred could do was to swerve in to the side of the road as the lorry tried to cut back into his proper side in front of the lead car. Up until then there had been no break in the narrow footpath but at the exact place that we had to cut in there was a gap in the footpath and in the hedge because there was an entrance to something there. 

Just enough room for our car to get in out of the way as the lorry skimmed past us.


Obviously God had brought us to the right spot at the right time

 and saved our lives.



There are big things in our lives that can cause us to be thankful & happy like this time 
and the other times He has protected us in the car. 

 You can read about these occasions at:
4 Accidents and a ????  (pt1)
4 Accidents and a ????  (pt2)
4 Accidents and a ????  (pt3)
4 Accidents and a ????  (pt4)
4 Accidents and a ????  (pt5)



But there are also the other smaller things everyday that we sometimes forget to be happy about. 

We have had several times when we have been thankful to God because of his hand of protection but so many other times we forget to be thankful for the things that make us happy.  Most of us will have something each day which makes us happy but often we forget to thank God for that (however small) thing He has provided in our life.




Then also we often forget to thank others who in some big or small way help us out.

One example is the time I was happy to have been able to help someone I only knew online, with somethings that I used to have to ask others to help me with.






Isn't that nice that Caroline acknowledged the help I had given her, she didn't need to do that, but thankyous are always appreciated.


Then there are the friends that you make that no matter what happens throughout the years you know they will always be your friends.  The ones who know you for who you really are.  Such a gift to be thankful for.








Who or what are you thankful for & happy about today?


So many times we are drawn to think on the more unpleasant things in life which lead to unhappiness and they can keep us from being thankful for anything when we are in that frame of mind.  






What can we do to keep the right frame of mind and not get into that attitude that can get worse and worse as we dwell on the hurts and unpleasantness caused by others?





 

We can remember that God has not promised us that everything will always be perfect for us, that every day will not be full of happy events, that many days will bring upon us the more unpleasant things in this imperfect world.

 

One of the saddest times in my life was when I miscarried my first pregnancy.

All those years ago most people did not know what to say or how to comfort someone but God sent me someone – not a particularly close friend, not someone who had gone through a similar experience, not someone who was even married.

He sent me someone who simply said they were sorry about what had happened and were praying for me and then they gave me a card with a little poem.  Somehow that card got lost – I just don’t know how or when but then one day I saw the same poem

 




I bought this box and it sits in my study now (empty) but it reminds me to be thankful and happy that God will care for me through the worst of times.


Memories of times when we proved God's comfort and love are GOOD! 




God’s word also reminds us that: 
  • God’s love to us never ends.
  • God’s mercy to us never ends.
  • God’s faithfulness to us never ends.







So let's not forget that:
  • God has promised to be with us at all times, the best and the worst.
  • God has given us His Holy Spirit to guide us in all our days.
  • God is still with us even when we don’t feel we are close to Him.
  • God is still demonstrating His love even if we are not looking for it.









How To Be More Encouraging on Facebook - A Dose of Encouragement


I want to be more encouraging to others.

I want to share items that will make others laugh, smile, learn something worthwhile, help, and encourage people.  


You probably want to be a good friend to others too!

So we all really want to be good encouraging friends on Facebook!



I just thought I would share a little story with you because if we were out for a coffee together I would have told you this.  I love sharing little things that happen to us (or rather mostly me) if they are funny as it is good to laugh.

I love my slippers.

For years now as soon as I get into the house off come the shoes and on go the slippers.  


But last year I got worse!


Yes I started getting into the car in my slippers and taking a pair of shoes with me for putting on at my destination.

Before anyone starts to worry about safety in the car let me assure you this is perfectly ok as I am not driving very much now and my husband Fred does wear his shoes as he drives.


So one day I opened the hall cupboard and grabbed my black sling backs and headed on out to the car in a hurry.

However when I got to my destination and went to put on my shoes I discovered I had lifted two left shoes.


Yes I have two pairs of the same shoes!








They must have both got thrown in to the same part of the cupboard and in my hurry I did not look closely enough to make sure I was bringing out the correct pair of shoes.

Now the thing is 2 left shoes are very useful if you have the two right ones to match up with them but 2 left shoes on their own are not good.

Firstly they are exactly the same shoe but my feet are not, no way is a left shoe going to fit properly on my right foot.  I could get my foot in but it would not be the correct shape so not a good fit.

Secondly it would not be wise to try to walk with the wrong shoe.  Of course I did try but it is so uncomfortable especially around the toes and the arch.   Wearing shoes like this would end up injuring my foot.



What do we learn from this little story?


Not everything is what it immediately looks like!

Be more careful!

You must look carefully at what you are going to use!


In a pair of shoes, both will look exactly the same in colour, size, design but they are not identical.  We have to look closely at them to see which is the right one for each foot.

Something like this happens as we scroll through our facebook.
We will see posts that look like great Christian posts but we need to look closely at them to know whether they are the "right fit" for us.

Remember there will always be imitators of all good things and there are plenty of them on Facebook

but it may be a while before you see their true colours

for example

A.  In a group of what were supposed to be "Christians" I had a lady private message me and call me "the Devil" because I had spoken to her friend about the reference for a verse she was using to instruct other women.  She was actually taking a verse out of Job and using it wrongly but did not want us to know so she just said it was in the book of Job and then scoffed that we obviously did not know our bibles well enough when asked for the reference.  I gave her the reference of the verse and then asked her to treat it properly in context with the verses around and that is when she got mad at me and her friend messaged me (twice in fact because she claimed this lady was very holy).
Obviously these two ladies had to be blocked by me on facebook so that I would not have to put up with being cursed at on messenger and called names and I also left the group because being in it was going to bring me into contact with more of this type of person - trying to teach the word wrongly.







B.  Then there are the lovely pictures we see on Facebook but they are not being shared by Christians - they are being shared by people who just want more attention and followers and have sometimes even stolen other people's pictures to use - as was the case a few years ago when someone took a picture I had made and shared it but they had removed my name from it before they put it on their page.

These people are not there to help or encourage others but to gain something for themselves.

They don't care if they are sharing misquotes of the Bible or of well known Christians, they don't care so they don't check their pictures or words are TRUE.

(This is completely different from the people who share pictures of mine straight from my page and I have several people who do this regularly and I do appreciate their support.)


I don't want to share things on my Facebook personal page or on Sandra's Ark Facebook Page 
that would not be fun or educational or encouraging or beneficial to others and I certainly don't want to share posts that are advertising/promoting something I do not believe in.

So I am very careful to avoid certain posts on Facebook.



How can we we tell which posts to avoid?



1.  Take a little look at the bottom of the picture or in the corner and you may see the credit given to whoever or whatever organisation created this picture, you may have a good hint from this name whether it is a Christian post or NOT.

NOTE. 
Almost anything with "Spiritual" in the name will indicate other religions and not true Christianity. 
Spirituality does not = Christian and if you don't know what I mean here take a look at all the categories in bookshops - Spirituality there will present you with Mysticism and Occult and other Non-Christian Religions.

I actually wrote a previous short blog post about    Spiritual = Christian?



2.  Look and see who originally posted this on Facebook and you may get a clue about whether or not this is a Christian post or NOT.

NOTE. 
If they regularly tag loads of people they are looking for lots of likes and shares, if they are looking for an amen comment or if they are trying to make you feel bad for not commenting, liking or sharing their post, they are using a form of blackmail so just let it pass by.



3.  If you are not sure about the poster/page when you find out who originally posted it, just click through to "about" on their Facebook page  (about is sometimes now under "Community" on the side) and then scan through what you find.

NOTE.
You will most likely see a link to a website with a strange name, or a website which when you click through to it and scan down a page or two will obviously show you whether you can trust it or not.

EXAMPLE:

You may see "Project Happiness" and it looks like a good name.

These two links will indicate what it is like

https://www.facebook.com/projecthappiness

http://www.projecthappiness.org/

(you don't have to scan far on either of these two sites before seeing a person or a small logo of a person in a sitting yoga meditation position - and no you cannot have Christian Yoga)




4.  Not everyone who calls themselves
 Apostle / Prophet / Prophetess / Pastor / Pastrix (new term used for a female pastor) / Minister / Elder / Deacon / Deaconess, 
are actually ordained by a true Christian Denomination. 


Matthew 7 v 21-23
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

NOTE.
Most Christians worth following on Facebook rarely mention their true titles.




5.  One thing that stands out to me is if the picture or the cover pic of the page that shared it has angels or a type of celestial look to it just avoid.


Another Tip!
Look at quality of the picture that is shared - if not good or looks like it has been altered then think twice before you click the like or share button.





I know this all takes a bit of time but it is worth it not to be passing on something that is linked with someone or some organisation you really would not intend to advertise to others.


And remember EVERYTHING we do on Facebook
 actually does promote ourselves and others
 whether we mean it to or not.


I make a point of not feeling that I have to just share anything I see.

I make a point of not feeling that I need to daily fill up my personal page or my Blog Page.

I make a point of thinking twice about whether the item is good to share onwards.



When we have a safe, friendly, encouraging page or group or personal profile on Facebook 
we will be an encouragement and blessing to others. 



For further help in checking out other FB pages see my earlier blog post  Spiritual = Christian?








Here are some Facebook Accounts to avoid:

Jen Hatmaker
Heidi Baker
Paula White
Christine Caine
Ann voscamp
Joshua Mills
Bill Johnston - Bethel (California)
Joseph Prince



Here are some Facebook pages to avoid:

Letting Love Flow  by Mary Ruth Velicki
Wisdom of the Women rising
Soul Awakenings
Butterflies rising
Embracing yourself
The Warrior within You
Project Happiness




Here are some Words / Phrases to avoid:

Angelic
Spirituality
Christian Yoga
LDS - Latter Day Saints (Mormons)
Good Thoughts
Sensing your spirit
Spiritual energy
Crystals