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


10 Ways to Help Start A Good Daily Habit - A Dose of Encouragement

Oh go on admit it!

We all have habits.

Some are Good and then there are those ones that we just don't want to talk about.

Well they say
(don't really know who they are but I am always reading or hearing that this is what THEY say)


 if you do something for 30 days you will form a new habit

I took this seriously a few years ago because I seriously wanted to get into the habit of reading at least one verse of the Bible before I got into some kind of Social Media or something else on my iPad each day.

So if you read my  "Advice for a King & for Us post in my Encouragement Series you will know that I started with Proverbs 31.

Well I can tell you that 30 days
did not truly make this
 a habit for me!!!


We all know the saying

"An Apple a Day keeps the Doctor away"

So how about we make it

"A Psalm a Day keeps the Devil at Bay"?


Maybe it would be better to make it

"A Chapter a Day Gives The Lord His Say"?

A Chapter is not too much to read each day.


How do you get started?

Here are 10 suggestions:

Also don't miss the 3 TIPS at the very end of this blog post.

1.   Start at the very beginning.
If you are a methodical person you might find this suits you and of course the Book of Genesis gives us a good grounding for all that is to come later.

At the start of this year I chose to read through the Bible in one year Chronologically so it did not follow through the Bible in the order of the placement of books in the Bible but by the time in which they were written.

2.   Pick a Book you have never read before.
Something that will be fresh and new to you.

Even though I have read straight through the Bible a few times there are still some books like the minor prophets that I often can't recall.

3.   Pick a book you could read completely in one day.
There are 5 books that are only 1 chapter long:


The other 2 are
However it might seem strange to read 2 & 3 John before 1 John so see below to join up all 3 books

4.   Pick a short book that you could read within one week.
There are several books that have between  2 - 7 chapters.

HAGGAI  -  2
JOEL  -  3
NAHUM  -  3
2 PETER  -  3
TITUS  -  3
JONAH  -  4
RUTH  -  4 
2 TIMOTHY  -  4
JAMES  -  5
1 PETER  -  5
1 TIMOTHY  -  6
1, 2 & 3 JOHN  -  7

Or a combination of 2 or 3 from this list to make up a week's reading.

5.   Pick one of the Gospels.
Some people prefer to read the New Testament first before the Old Testament as they feel it is easier.
Some people prefer to read the narrative about Jesus before the other books.

Many people recommend John's Gospel as the first Book to read.

6.   Pick the book of Psalms 
Where each one can be thought of as a complete read on it's own.

There is great wisdom for us in the very first Psalm so a good starting point.

7.   Pick the book of Proverbs
Where each chapter is often thought of as easy to read.

This is a book which is full of wisdom and advice & I like to note the repetitions of phrases within it.

8.   Pick a book you have read a long time ago.
One not so familiar at the moment.

Like my choice of Song of Solomon in the recent past because I could not really remember it and I never felt I understood it very well.

9.   Pick a book that your pastor has preached on recently.
One you can think of in the light of what your Pastor has taught.

For me that would be Ruth.

Perhaps I should have waited to hear his teaching before I wrote these two blog posts. 

Ruth & Boaz - The Start of the Story

Ruth & Boaz -  Love & Perfection?

10.  Pick a book that your pastor is about to start preaching on.
One to prepare you for future teaching.

For me that would be Esther.


1.  Do Not start with the book of Job  -  long & hard to read

2.  Do Not give up with reading the Bible daily  -  if you feel you cannot understand a book then simply leave it
 and choose another.
You can always go back & read it later.

3.  Tell someone your plan and ask them to check up with you regularly to encourage you.
  Maybe you can do the same for them.

A Place for Everything and Everything in It's Place! - A Dose of Encouragement

  Where is it?

      Where did you leave it?

          Where did you last see it?

              Where did you last have it?

                  When did you last have it?

                      What did you last use it for?

I need

A Place for Everything!


All these questions and more are regularly asked in our house.

So the simple solution to all of this is my favourite quote

A Place for Everything and Everything in it's Place

But even though I have loved this saying for many years

                              I have never yet got to this ideal position in my home or life.

One of the reasons

                       is simply that there are

I often have to overhaul my Study and even there I pick a place to keep something and then later I change my mind and decide to keep in in a different part of that room and then the next time I want that item I go back to the original place and wonder why I can't find it there!

I have forgotten that I changed my mind!

This is especially so with my craft items.

One time I think that one box or container suits my stamps best and then I get some more and decide that the original container was not big enough to hold all that I now have 

or I have my embellishments in segmented containers and then I decide to sort them by a different criterion and find that the sizes of the compartments don't suit or the number of compartments don't suit.

So I rearrange them and then later when I want a certain item I have to go through all my containers again because I can't remember how I rearranged them.

I have forgotten that I changed my mind!

When we lived in America (many years ago) we bought a lovely piece of furniture.

It was a Computer Armoire.

While we were in America and also for some years after we had returned to Northern Ireland, we used it for our computer but then when we all had computers we stopped using it for this purpose and I claimed it as a Craft Armoire.

BUT this is what it can get like when I let it get out of control.

When I don't take the time to put things in their proper place inside it.

Unfortunately other things can get out of control in our lives too.

We start to order our finances with a nice little budget but then forget about or don't write everything down.

We start to be more careful about our eating habits and exercise habits and then after a few weeks we get lazy again.

We plan to do things but just keep putting them off.

What we could be tempted to say then is

I need a

Place for everything and Time for everything!

When what we really need is to get rid of the things that take up space and time in our lives and say

I need to

Concentrate on the good and sensible things that give meaning to my life.

by asking ourselves what God would have us do and going back to the reason we are on this earth

What is Man's Chief End?

Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.

Or in other words

What should we be concentrating on?

We should be concentrating on living our lives so that
 we bring
 glory and honour to God
 draw others to God

Then we will know the fullness of joy that the Bible talks about because we will be in the right place.

Then we will be content with our life because we will be in the right place with God.

Then we won't have perfect homes or perfect memories or be perfect but we will be in good relationship with  our heavenly father.

Let's Put the RIGHT things FIRST in our Lives and Homes.

Let's not keep changing what we think, what we do, what we hold on to.

Let's follow God and stick with what He leads us to.

Let's not keep forgetting or changing our minds.

I'ts time to be consistent in our faith.

God is an unchanging God

Can we be an unchanging people who stick to God's Word and obey all of it.

How to Keep in Touch & Encourage Others When We Have To Be Apart - A Dose of Encouragement

We are in lockdown in Northern Ireland just like many are in lockdown all over the world during this month of April in 2020 and may be like this for many weeks or months to come.

We are confined to our homes or as many of us would say - we are stuck at home.

Many of us want to keep in touch and encourage our family, friends and church family.

What can we do to encourage others when we cannot go out to visit, talk in person face to face, or meet together in our different churches?

Yes I'm sure it is in your mind right now that there is one obvious thing we can do - PRAY!

I agree the first thing we should do is pray for
  •  our situation 
  •  our families
  •  our friends
  •  our neighbours
  •  our church community
  •  the lonely, vulnerable and anxious people we know
  •  those who are ill
  •  doctors, nurses, other hospital workers
  •  home carers
  •  foodbank workers
  •  key workers


What else can we do to keep in touch?

What else can we do to encourage each other?

Yes here I am sitting at the computer as I do for at least a little while each day - okay much more than a little while most days - and in this day and age most people do spend time each day on computers, mobiles, tablets etc.

My computer is where I do most of my blogging, online shopping, work on kids resources,  playing with graphics, storing photographs and filing Home info.

My iPad is where I do most of my emailing, make lists and notes, facetime our kids, go on facebook, play a few games' and browse Ebay and Amazon.

My mobile is where I text, message, whatsApp, take pictures & videos

Now on each of these things I do have contact with other people but everything via these things is in a kind of shortened form.

However in the situation we are at this moment I need to change my ways and add something that is not so much in shortened form - I need to start using my phone as a phone.
I hate talking on the phone and will do almost anything else so as not to have to do it.
Partly because I don't feel that I hear these so clearly on the phone even though my hearing is fine.
Partly because I talk with my hands, and you can't do that while holding a phone and of course there is no-one to see it.
Partly because I can't see the person to see how they actually feel as they are talking to me.

So I'm going to have to get out of my comfort Zone and actually phone people because it is just not enough to ask Fred how each person is after he has called them.

That sort of brings me to what our church is doing in this time of Lockdown.

What our Church is Doing

  • Live online service each Sunday morning.
  • Online Prayer Meeting on Zoom midweek
  • Bible Study online midweek
  • Milk Note*
  • Leadership Phone contact rota
  • WhatsApp group for prayer requests and encouraging news and uplifting videos etc.
  • Videos of some of the congregation singing (individual videos put together)

*A little note put in the door (one day in the week) of people who may need some extra help during the week to get some extra groceries or something else from a shop and then collected another day and the items delivered as soon as possible.

Types / Groups of People within the Church Family

  • Elderly
  • People who live alone
  • People who do not have any family living locally
  • People suffering from Chronic illnesses
  • Couples
  • Families with teenagers
  • Families with young children

All of these people need to know that others are thinking about them, praying for them and care about them.

How can different people within the church family encourage each other?

What We can Do as Individuals

  • Phone calls - Just ring someone to encourage and check up on them.
  • Text Messages - a little check-in text is quick & easy & maybe a conversation will ensue.
  • Send Cards - it doesn't take long to write a greeting on a cheery card or postcard.
  • Write letters - it takes more time than to write a card but some of us are better at letters.
  • Support Foodbanks
  • Buy a special treat or make a tasty treat for someone on their own
  • Use our Hobbies - to support other organisations or people*
  • Use our Abilities - to support other organisations or people**
  • People living in the same area can take their daily walk some days to go past homes of others - wave to them or stop and have a brief chat or take a picture from a proper distance.
  • Encourage Each Other to Exercise - easy things together on facetime or phone & have a laugh  
  • Encourage Each Other to Listen to Good Hymns & Songs - send YouTube links* 
  • Encourage Each Other to Read the Bible - decide to read a certain passage and then chat on the phone about it or on facetime**
  • Encourage Each Other to Memorize Scripture - decide to learn a particular verse and then test each other on facetime or a phone call***
  • Use our Hobbies - to support other organisations or people****
  • Use our Abilities - to support other organisations or people*****

*Take turns to choose a song from your own play lists or decide to find new songs

I have some recommendations here:
  Looking for Good Songs 

**All you need is to pick a book of the Bible or chose a reading plan 

Here are some posts to help you:

***All you need is to determine you want to memorize a verse of the Bible and follow my tips 

****Remember that if you have any hobbies like card making, knitting, crocheting, quilting, cross stitching you can use them to encourage and show love and care for others.

*****Remember that if you have any knowledge of computers you can be of help to get other people online when there are church services and prayer meetings and Bible Studies available there. 


Help them set up a Zoom account for prayer meetings, Bible Studies or even ladies meetings - yes this is how I had to speak to ladies from another church a week ago.  Quite awkward when you have too many people for one screen as we did as you feel you aren't interacting so much because you can't see them.

Help them to get a facebook account set up so that they can access the live streams.

Help them  to find good facebook pages.

Help them  to get unto WhatsApp to be in a group of people for contact and prayer requests.

They may even want to come join others on my Facebook page which was primarily set up to encourage others as is this Blog.
  Just click on the pic below.

Sandra's Ark

IDEAS for Children to be Involved within the Church Family

Children can make cards for the older people on their own.
Our grandchildren made cards for us and because they know what they like to play with in our house and they know the things we like they customized them for us.
My card had a large heart and some butterflies because you will find hearts and butterflies all over my house.
Fred's card had a guitar on the front because he loves guitars.
Both of our cards had pirate stickers on them because our grandson Matthew loves to play with a pirate ship we bought him which stays in our house.

Parents can share little videos of the children

Families could take a little video of them all saying hello and waving to people.

Children can dictate little messages for their parents to send to others.

Our daughter-in-law wrote a postcard to me for our granddaughter who is not quite 3 years old yet and she wrote it by asking Ruby questions to help her think what she might like to say.
I can tell you now that we are going to have sausages and pasta the first time we get back to see them in their house after Lockdown, partly because she likes pasta and I like sausages.

People who know the children well can facetime the children to chat with them, read a story, sing a song with them, or play a little game.

We sing songs
with our grandchildren and find out if they have learnt any new songs recently that they can teach us.

We do a hide and seek over facetime where we get the grandkids to close their eyes and count while we hide a cuddly toy bear in different places in our house and they then have to tell us where to go in the house to look in the places they think we may have hidden it.

We can do a jigsaw together with them over facetime.
This was one that their mum got us for Christmas and it was rather special because it was made from a picture of Fred and I and the three grandchildren the day the youngest was born.

Here are some links to other blog posts for tested Facetime ideas:

The Church can produce simple materials for the children

The Church can choose themes or topics and produce a
  •  little prayer,
  •  story idea,
  •  colouring page
  •  simple memory verse
  •  and maybe a simple craft idea for the parents to use with the children.
for each one.

Having been a Sunday School Curriculum Writer and A Kid's Club leader for many years those kinds of things come more naturally to me and every church will have someone who can develop a little system like this.



Can you encourage someone?
Yes you can.

Can you do any of the things mentioned above?
Yes you can.

No matter who you are, you can do at least one of the things mentioned here in this blog post.

Do you think that one thing you are able to do can make a difference?

If you said no then you are wrong.

Every little thing we do out of love and concern and compassion for another person can make a difference to a day for them.

In times of loneliness, vulnerability, anxiety or stress one thing in the day can help to brighten someone's life - that's what encouragement is all about.

People always need to be reminded of God's Love

People always need to be reminded that:

I actually received that poem above many years ago after an extremely sad time in my life and I was very thankful for some encouragement.

Can you encourage someone?


To encourage someone means to leave them seeing their day, week, life, changed even in a very simple way so that they are lifted out of any discouragement, loneliness, dismay, they may be feeling.

With the added advantage we have of turning their eyes toward Jesus to know He still cares for them.

And what about the person doing the encouragement?

Well if you step out and do some act of kindness to encourage another I tell you it will also encourage you.

Let me encourage you from my own experience how simple acts of kindness encourage others.

I know how a little letter can help someone   -   See  Tears over a Little Letter

I know how receiving a handmade card can encourage someone.   -  just look above to the cards we got from the grandkids.

I know how a phone call can help someone   -   I'm not good at making them but I do appreciate them.

I know how keeping in touch on facebook messenger regularly can help someone.

I know how checking in with someone on WhatsApp helps them.

I know how thankful people are for little cards sent out to them to show your love and concern.

Here are examples of some of the lovely Postcards I found that I am sending out to people within our church who are on their own.

I picked them because of the attractive, encouraging Bible Verses they display.

I bought them from a company called "10 of Those" who are a UK company and sell lots of books as well with everything being at really good prices.

There are two packs of the postcards and they each have 5 different designs, the picture above show three from each pack.

I get no commission from "10 of Those" - I just wanted to give you an example of what you can get for a good price but I'm sure other Bible Book shops online will have similar products.

I also know how providing that bag of pasta or flour or toilet rolls or other essential items to a foodbank will not only help the people who receive gifts from the foodbank but will also help to relieve the pressure on the foodbank organisers.  -  Our son is in that position.

I also know that just being the person someone else can turn to at any time for prayer is a great encouragement.

I also know that being the person who is inviting you wot pray online with them, or read the Bible or sing the Psalms together online is a great help to others.  -  Our other son is in that position.

I also know that having someone just to remember you live far from your homeland and in a different culture and to make you laugh at times can be a great gift.  -  Our daughter is in that position.

So why not think how you feel and how you would like someone to encourage and help you and then do that for someone else.

You may also find the following blog posts to be of help for phone calls, letters and cards and even for encouragement on social media.




Or you can click on ENCOURAGEMENT in the Menu Bar at the top of this post for other blog posts on Encouragement.

There are also many FREE PRINTABLES available on this blog which may encourage you or others and these can be found in  SANDRA'A ARK RESOURCE LIBRARY  

Where Should Our Focus Be? - A Dose of Encouragement

Where is your focus?

Where is my focus?

Where are we told our focus should be?

What are we focusing on?

What should we really be focusing on?

Have you noticed the I, I, I mentality that people are exerting these days?

So many blog posts, tweets, facebook posts are all trying to direct us to focus in on 

what we feel, 

          what we think, 

                    what we want to do, 

                              who we want to be, 

                                        where we want to get to etc.

I saw a tweet a few months ago where someone wanted to encourage us to know 

"who we were and to cultivate the person we wanted to be"

Even in Christian circles and unfortunately also in some churches we are being led in the same direction with the focus being on how great we are and how we can be better if we see and know and push on to be the great person who is within us.


Does the Bible tell us that?

Does the Bible focus on us?


The Bible always focuses on Jesus
 and is constantly directing us
 to His Death on the cross
 not to ourselves.

Jesus is the one who leads us to God, 

               Jesus is the one who stood in our place, 

                              we cannot do anything without His strength, 

                                             we are not the overcomers Jesus is the overcomer.

Preachers like to take the story of David and Goliath and turn it all to be about us.
We are not going to overcome our giants as so many people preach today. 
God will do that. 

Any limelight is not for the preacher, 
 not for the congregation 
but for 


Preachers like to preach about us and our mountains.  
But what does the Bible really tell us?
Prayer will move mountains.
Faith will move mountains.  
We should not take the credit for anything we must give all the credit to God.

Preachers quote Mark 11 v 23

For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.

and preach on it giving the impression that if we believe it, then it will happen.

However as with all scripture it must be taken in context and then we see more of what Jesus had said hence giving a clearer picture.

Mark 11 v 20-24 

The Lesson of the Withered Fig Tree
20 Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. 21 And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.”22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

This clearly shows us that:

  • Our prayers will be answered if we have Faith in God.
  • God will move the mountains.

Preachers also like to quote Matthew 17 v 20

20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. 

However again let's take it in context and see the clearer picture. 

Matthew 17 v 19-21
19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your [e]unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. 21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

Nothing will be impossible for us because nothing is impossible for God.  
If God was not there then the things would be impossible for us.

We also know that Scripture backs up scripture and so looking at other places in the Bible such as Nahum we see the definite proof that it is God who has all power and not us.

The mountains do not tremble before us they tremble before God.

And further this is the reason it is God who has power over the mountains

Psalm 95 v 3-5

For the Lord is the great God, And the great King above all gods.  In His hand are the deep places of the earth; The heights of the hills are His also.  The sea is His, for He made it; And His hands formed the dry land.

because they are His.

Why does faith do anything?   
To bring glory to God.
Not to bring attention to us.

What is man’s purpose on earth?  
To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

So why should we be told that we are great?  or that we are the conquerors of our Goliaths?  or that we are strong?  or that we are the overcomers?  or that we can work miracles?

We can't 

But God can.

We can't, but God can!

Let us focus on Jesus and His love for us shown by His death on the cross and our salvation through faith by the grace and mercy of God.

Only by knowing Jesus and the Bible better will we grow in faith.

If you are wondering about this faith we are talking about then please click on the short 3.2.1. video on my sidebar.

When Can I Trust Him? - A Dose of Encouragement

Fred never asked me to marry him!

He never got down on one knee and produced a sparkling ring in a little purple box.

He never planned a day out beside a beautiful waterfall or wrote a bunch of short letters to guide me to a certain place so that he could ask me that specific question.

He didn't contact his mother and father and ask them to keep an engagement ring safely hidden until a special birthday would arrive.

He didn't contact his future mother-in-law to show her the ring he was planning to get.

No Fred never did anything like that.

He didn't even take a specific time to ask me to marry him.

With Fred it was just taken for granted.

When Fred talked about the future there was no "IF" but just the "WHEN".

You see Fred was sure that he loved me and he was also sure that I loved him so there didn't need to be an "IF we get married" it was automatically "WHEN we get married".

And me?
Well I just agreed with him because I loved him and I knew that he loved me.

Fred had decided he loved me before we even started going out together and in his mind that would mean there would be no-one else for him and it would just be the natural thing for us to get married.

We did not have that

"getting down on one knee in a beautiful surrounding with a friend hidden somewhere ready to step forward and take a picture at just the right moment as the ring is produced"

moment to be forever remembered.

No we had none of that and as our kids know Fred is often reminded of the fact that he did not propose to me at all!

Instead he just started talking about "when we get married".

Well of course that is all in the past and we did get married 41 years and two days ago.  The "WHEN" happened and Fred had been true to his word there was no going back on what he had said.

I have always been able to trust what Fred would say because if he meant something he said it and stuck with it but if he wasn't completely sure then the "IF" would be used.

And because of the proof I have already seen with Fred, I know that I will also be able to trust him in the future.  Just as the "I have trusted Fred" and the "I am trusting Fred" led me to say "I Will" 41 years ago.

These qualities that I see in Fred are the qualities that I have also seen in God.

God doesn't start talking about "IF" something will happen in the future, it is all "WHEN" with Him.

All God's promises are not statements about how something might come to be but instead each one is a definite fact.

God has proved himself throughout Scripture and Time so that we can trust in all that He says.

God has never promised anything He did not intend to do, He always speaks the truth and will never go back on His Word.

This means we can trust Him forever.

Some people will use the phrase "IF and WHEN....."
But does that even make sense?
I would not be inclined to trust in anything that followed those three words.

This means we can trust Him forever.

With God we trust

the "I Have"  

& the "I Am" 

& the "I Will"

We have trusted in Him, we are still trusting in Him and we will continue to trust in Him.

Throughout our lives together Fred & I have enjoyed the "Our Stories & His Stories" because we have trusted God and shared our lives with God.