Encouraging Words Blog 

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Mighty Is the Lord

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I am blessed to have Lynn Severance as my guest blogger today. I became friends with Lynn through her writings on Rest Ministries and am so pleased she is sharing with us today.  Thanks Lynn!

"Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit" (Psalm 147:5).

One of the frustrations I carry within myself, is my desire to understand.  I want to have a better understanding of people, of my own self, of situations, and of God. …

Revisiting: For Now We See Through a Mirror Darkly

I'd like to thank one of my readers, Marlyne, for sharing her list of her favorite posts from this blog with me. This is one I'd like to revisit today, with the hope that it may bring encouragement to you.  If you have any favorite posts that you would like to see "revisited," please let me know!  I'd love to hear what postings have been meaningful to you.  

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. …

Seeking Help

helping

While I don't think it is as common as it once was, I still occasionally hear words from others who think that Christians shouldn't use medications or see doctors - that that is a sign of unbelief in God.  I have heard this most in the realm of those who deal with problems like anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, etc.  

The reason I have heard this is that at several points in my life, members of my family have had to deal with mental health issues.  …

You Gotta Have Hope

sunflower

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

When I was younger, one of the songs that I often heard was "You Gotta Have Heart." I think it is a fitting song for those of us who face chronic challenges.  The words are something like this:

"You've gotta have heart
All you really need is heart
When the odds are sayin' you'll never win
That's when the grin should start

How Confident Are You?

12 66 10 prev

I remain confident of this; I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Psalm 27:13

I don't know about you, but I am beginning to realize just how easy it is for me to spiral down into negativity.

I am on the email prayer chain for our church and I'm not sure a day ever goes by without one or more requests, some of them devastating.  I've friends who have been diagnosed with cancer and other serious diseases.  …

Revisiting: When Bumblebees Fly

Hope you all don't mind another "revisit" today.  I'm having some arm pain that seems to be aggravated by a lot of hand movement.  With so many seemingly impossible things around us, this seemed like a good choice for today.  Have a Christ-filled day!

So he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty. Zechariah 4:6 (NIV)

Another crisis looms large in front of me.  …

Revisiting: Weeping Endures For a Night

dancingjoy

I felt this was a good devotional to revisit today.  As many of you know, we have been dealing with my husband's health issues that had escalated this past week.  While he is doing better (thank you all for your prayers and support), I started what must be a flare from fibro making it painful to breath and keeping me awake.  Many times, after I finally get to sleep, the pain dissipates.  This morning, when the pain awakened me, I felt disheartened.  …

Saying "Yes"

yes-no-maybe


As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 1 Peter 4:10 

Since I don't get to church anymore, I have tried different ways to have a "church" experience.  One of the best things for me is to read.  Somehow I get "lost" watching television or online services .. my mind tends to wander.  

So, I've found that for me, having a sermon I can watch on YouTube and have the email transcript works well for me.  …

Up All Night

5 Candles

In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for you alone, O LORD make me to dwell in safety."  Psalm 4:8

I've written about this verse before.  Today it found its way to me once again and seemed to call to me.

Sometimes, when issues storm around our family, I fail to realize one word in that verse.  "For You alone, Oh Lord, make me to dwell in safety."

I know prayers are important.  I pray and ask those I know to pray when things get difficult.  …

The Perils of Pauline

220px-The Perils of Pauline VideoCover

In the early part of the 20th century there was a 12-part serial cliffhanger that was played in movie theaters.  The main character, Pauline, would go from disaster to disaster leaving the moviegoer wondering how she would get out of her current dilemma.

Sometimes my family's life feels rather like "The Perils of Pauline."

This morning my husband is at the ER after having had chest pains for several hours.  

Last night, after my first physical therapy evaluation and set of home exercises, I had a bout of irregular heartbeats that kept me from sleeping.  …

Five Simple Words Link

I apologize for the broken link in yesterday's post.  The article can be found at this site.

His Love Endures Forever

cloud of witnesses

It helps me to focus on God no matter what is happening in my life.  I often do that by listening to praise songs.  They become even more meaningful for me when I see their direction connection to Scripture.  This is one of those pairs.

The Scripture:  Psalm 136

 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.
 Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever.
 Give thanks to the Lord of lords: 

Five Simple Words

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;  to be made new in the attitude of your minds;  and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.  Ephesians 4:22-24

I was poking around online this morning.  It takes me a while to become fully awake and what passes for functional (lol!), so putzing around various sites helps my brain to wake up.  …

Revisiting: I Did Not Sign Up for This!

This has been a 'grape press' kind of week. This devotional came to mind and I'm not sure I could say it any better now than I did then.  Even though it is a repeat from earlier this year, I pray it can speak to you if this day (week?  month?  year?) is a day when the pressure from life is intense.

"The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman and the planter by the one treading grapes. …

Blah Days

quiet benches



... and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life.  1 Thess. 4:11

I don't know if you have had them.  I'm guessing you have.  Those in-between days .. the ones where I feel neither really good - nor bad.  The days when I want to do something productive, but don't free quite good enough to actually do anything.

Sometimes these are the most difficult days.  There is so much I'd like to do or want to do - or sometimes even need to do (think housework) but I can't quite get to the doing part.

Can You Believe It?

elephants

What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? Romans 3:3

Every once in a while I run across something that just leaves me speechless.  While on the surface this appears to have little to do with chronic conditions, it seems to me that for those of us who believe, it has everything to do with it.

Perhaps you have seen the story/video that is making its rounds on facebook.  …

Devotional: What Really Matters

cross

There is a difference between having chronic pain/illnesses/challenges as a Christian and living that same life without God.  At least, I think there should be.

My guess is that folks who live  this life without a knowledge of God have different life goals than we do.  

I know we all want to be better.  We'd like the pain to decrease or go away.  We'd like the challenges to stop.  We'd like to have days with no challenges on the horizon.

Emptiness

Emptiness

Adjective

1. containing nothing; not filled or occupied

2.  having no meaning or likelihood of fulfillment; insincere 

3. having no value or purpose 


“Even to your old age I will be the same, And even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; And I will bear you and I will deliver you.” Isaiah 46:4 NASB

I wasn't looking for this verse.  In fact, I had a completely different topic in mind for this devotional and had gone to Biblegateway.com to search for the verse I had in mind.

This verse sat waiting for me on the search page.

Revisiting: Broken Branches and Scattered Leaves

 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.

But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.  (Psalm 1:1-3 NIV)

Doesn’t that make a lovely word picture?  …

Finding God in a MRI

Modern 3T MRI


"I don't know how I'll do it."

Those words came from my lips as I prepared for an MRI appointment.  I needed a lumbar spine scan to find out the damage from shifting vertebrae.  The doctor had told me an x-ray wasn't enough.  It could show what the vertebrae were doing, but not what damage that had done.

"You've already suffered nerve damage.  That is why your foot is weak and numb.  I have to see what is happening."

The God of "Now"

jesus

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.  Psalm 113:3

I have this tendency to compartmentalize God.  Sundays (in my religious belief - I know that some of you celebrate a Sabbath Saturday), are God's days.  I have my prayer time, Scripture reading time, etc.  Then there are those  times when I come to God, mostly when things are going wrong.

I am learning, as the Psalmist states, God is not something we can compartmentalize.  

The Next Step

lettinggo

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;  do not

Each of Us - A Living Stone?

foundation

As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him—  you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  1 Peter 2:4-6

I'm almost afraid to try to write post for today.  What if this is a "discouraging word" rather than the encouragement that is the intent of this blog?

When Fear Comes to Visit

fear

“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You." Isaiah 26:3

Here I am again, Lord.  I feel myself spiraling down with fear again.  Why is it, that when I am sure I have this conquered  -  the fears descend again.

It's so disheartening.

Have you ever thought of this, child?  That when you feel that you are at the place where you have it conquered - you have no need for me?  

Who is it who conquers ... you - or me?

Revisiting: When Holding On Isn't a Good Idea

clouds2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, Hebrews 12:1

Have you even seen that poster of a kitten who is holding on to a branch desperately trying to keep from falling.  The words on it convey the idea of "hanging on" when things get tough.

Yes, holding on can be the thing we need to do.  …

Worthless, Useless, and Hopeless?

fall leaves

For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

Yesterday was a nice day for our family.  Some of us got together to have a small celebration (all we can manage anymore!) for my mom's 95th birthday.  

It was a joy to celebrate with members of our family, not only being with my mom; but playing catchup with others lives.

My brother mentioned someone in his wife's family who has had a very successful (in the eye's of the world) life, retiring early - being rather wealthy.  

When the Pain Never Seems to End

darkness

"I'm down in a pit.  I hate it here.  I am surrounded by fears.  It feels as if they seek to suffocate me. Dark things, scary things, no - terrifying things seem to descend upon me and it is so dark I can not even see what they are.  I feel them more than I see them." 

Words from my journal, written in despair.

Some days it all just floods over me.  I feel overwhelmed.  I feel .... lost.

I used to feel guilty when those types of feelings would overtake me.  …

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