Home » Encouragement
Category Archives: Encouragement
Have you noticed that God puts things on our heart long before He reveals it to us? I really struggle with this because I have a strong desire (need) to know exactly what is expected of me so I can figure out precisely how I will get done what needs to be done. I like to have a plan, an organized detailed plan.
Thankfully, God is always giving me opportunities to be patient and trust His timing and His plan. Of course I always have dozens of questions for Him as to how He plans for this and when. I also have many, many, many suggestions how He can get things accomplished in ways that I feel would be best. These are the times God is usually quiet, waiting for me to be silent so He can speak through His gentle loving gracious merciful whisper.
In the spring of 2002 my husband and I decided it would be best for me to stay home with the kids and be a Stay-At-Home-Mom. I was thrilled at the idea, mainly because I was bored out of my mind with ‘work’ and needed a change. About 13 years later, while in the midst of Chaplain training, God gave me the desire to ‘work’ again.
What would I possibly do? Go back to Accounting? Work as a Chaplain? Open a business? How would I have time for my family, friends and the church? What? How? When? Why? These are just a few of the questions I asked God while trying to figure it all out myself. So exhausting! The thought of creating a resume after, now 14 yeas of not ‘working’, overwhelmed me. I convinced myself no one would every want to hire me, so why bother.
When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Your consolations delight my soul.~ Psalm 94:19
Then, the funniest thing happened. A position for an Administrative Assistant/Bookkeeper became available at the church I attended. I mentioned I MIGHT apply and the next thing I knew, the job was being offered to me. Why is this so funny? Well, I was currently on Session, an Elder, over Admin and Finances and the CFO. I kind of had an idea about the job that needed to be filled. Of course I would have to step down from Session before being allowed on staff, but easily done.
I was excited to be the bookkeeper but terrified to be responsible for the weekly bulletin. Could I handle representing the ‘church’? What if I messed up? Could I handle having a set schedule every week? I made my own schedule for so long. What if I got bored? My days of sleeping in and getting up whenever would be over. Wait, who was I kidding, I was a mom of three, I almost never slept in or made my own schedule. Suddenly the thought of having a set schedule and a place to go and be organized and detailed sounded glorious.
I know I mess up or forget things all the time, but thankfully I work with an amazing staff and the best volunteers on the planet! I get to see and talk with my church family every day of the week, work with numbers and keep things organized. I’ve now been working for 14 months with no worry of EVER being bored. I never know what the day will bring except God’s goodness! I don’t believe there’s a better job out there for me!
I think I’ve adjusted well to ‘working’. I enjoy what I do and LOVE the people I work with. My family is having a slightly more difficult time adjusting. When they call to tell me about their day, which is great, I gently remind them I’m at work and will talk with them more when I get off. Well, I’ve been told, in a nice way, how my ‘job’ is sometimes inconvenient for them. I love seeing how God is working on them as He is working on me.
Ask and it will be given to you;
Seek and you will find;
Knock and the door will be opened to you.
If you are in the season of the unknown, maybe with a strong desire for change, ask God your questions about it. He would like to be invited in and can certainly handle your concerns. Don’t stop seeking God’s answers because they are usually better than you could imagine.
My Prayer for us today ~ Thank you Father God for the tender, loving patience you have with us. Lord, I pray for Your wisdom, courage and strength to continually seek Your plan for us. I pray we trust You are at work in all things as we patiently wait upon you, Amen.
Hello again friend! Remember about a year and a half ago I asked everyone to pray for me as I embarked on a new adventure. I was beginning an online Emergency Chaplain course and had no idea where it would take me. Then, I pretty much disappeared from the world of blogging. Sorry about that. It was harder than I expected to add a class to my routine and I completely underestimated the amount of mental exhaustion it would cause.
Thank you to everyone who prayed for me! Your prayers gave me courage to walk into the unknown, trusting that God would be there every step of the way, guiding me and helping me through the Holy Spirit. Your prayers helped me to be in the moment, seeking God where I was, not worrying about what I was to do with what He was walking me through. Your prayers helped me focus on all the information given to me, without many distractions…..SQUIRREL!
I began the journey of studying to become a First Responder Chaplain because that’s what my husband is. He was a paramedic before I met him and a Deputy Sheriff when we met. I thought it would be nice to come along side him to help the spouses of the First Responders he assists, especially because I have been one for 18 years.
God has not chosen to use me in this capacity, yet, but wow, has it given me some great perspective. I believe God used this part of my chaplain training to teach me compassion for my husband and what he does. I was seriously lacking in this area. I have always believed that his ability to help others as a Chaplain was a gift from God, but now I have a deep love and respect for him and what he goes through each and every day, regardless of the pain and agony it may cause him.
If you have any interest in becoming an Emergency Services Chaplain, I highly recommend this online program run by Robby Jernigan.
Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. ~Hebrews 13:20-21
Let me back up a bit. I had my first taste of Chaplain training in February of 2016 when my husband suggested I take a 3-day class taught by icisf (International Critical Incident Stress Foundation), which was being sponsored by KLOVE at no cost. It was on Assisting Individuals in Crisis and Group Crisis Intervention. I really didn’t think I belonged there amongst all the Nurses, Fire Fighters, Police Officers and Counselors, but found the information extremely helpful with everyday interaction with people. I’m not a Counselor, Nurse, Fire Fighter or Police Officer and I come across broken hurting people everyday.
July of 2016 is when I began the Emergency Services Chaplain Training courses. I studied Emergency Services, Christian Chaplaincy, Emergency Services Chaplaincy, Death Notification and Related Issues (this is what my husband does quite often), Psychological First Aid, CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management) and Ministry to a Suicidal Subject. There are many more classes offered through this training center that will take you deeper into the life of a Police Officer, Fire Fighter, etc. but I hear enough first had from the work my husband does, so I didn’t go any further.
Then in January of 2017 I took an online class through FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), an Introduction to the Incident Command System. Why? I honestly couldn’t tell you, but I did find it very interesting.
As I was busy processing all of this information and trying to figure out what I would do with it, if anything, God opened a door, for more training! I signed up for a Church Compassion Team Chaplaincy Class put on by Educational Ministries in Rocklin, CA. This class was once a week from 6:00 – 10:00pm for 8 weeks followed by a Graduation Ceremony. This class was about an hour away, but I signed up with a friend, so we made it into a weekly fun and educational outing. We took turns driving, which was nice, and started each trip with dinner and dessert before heading to class. Dessert was the highlight of each trip, oh and of course the silly conversations that would come about each week.
for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. ~Philippians 2:13
I’m thankful God has given me the opportunity to train as a Chaplain and trust God will enable me to use this training when He sees fit. It was an amazing and fun experience bulking up my brain. More importantly, it’s helped me gain a greater respect for all First Responders; Police Officers, Fire Fighters, Paramedics, Dispatchers, Nurses, Doctors and Counselors. They have extremely difficult jobs and are on high alert 24/7 with your well being in mind. If you know someone in one of these positions, please find a way to express your appreciation of who they are and what they do.
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the amazing men and women you call into the roles of First Responders. I pray we would see them through Your eyes and treat them with respect, compassion, kindness and love, Amen.
As some of you may know, my husband is a Chaplain for First Responders. He works with local Police, Sheriff, Fire, EMS and Dispatchers. He visits these various stations and offers emotional and spiritual support and a helping hand when needed. The call he gets most often is to give a death notification. Which means he has the job of telling someone that their close family member has died, usually because of a tragic unexpected accident.
Very rarely does a week go by that he isn’t called out to give a death notification. As you might imagine, I hear about most calls he goes on, including the death notifications, as well as the follow-ups.
Death is something we all must face at a time unknown. When asked why we must die, the response is usually “because we can’t live forever”. As a believer in Jesus, I think we (Christians), those who believe in God and have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, can and will live forever. Not forever here on this earth, but eternally in heaven and someday the new earth with Jesus, who is seated at the right hand of God.
Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Romans 8:34
Recently, I heard that a dear friend, who had been fighting her second battle with cancer, had weeks, possibly days, to live. My heart was overwhelmed with sorrow. I thought about her being a light in the community and to anyone she came in contact with. She has a true servants heart with a desire to build the Kingdom of God and share the love of Christ.
I immediately began lifting my sweet friend in prayer, asking God Almighty for a miracle. I believed that He had cured her the first time around, so I asked Him to do it again. A day or two later, I heard things were not looking good, so I added to my prayer. I asked that if He were calling her, His child, home that He would allow her to slip away from us into His loving arms filled with His peace, feeling calm and with no pain.
The next evening, the world lost an amazing woman, a true light.
For all those who are affected by this devastating loss, I am overwhelmed with sorrow. I pray God will reveal Himself to them in ways that fill them with peace and comfort as they process their grief and adjust to the loss of the relationship they had with her.
For my sister in Christ, I am filled with joyous praise. Why?
- She has reached her eternal home in heaven with Jesus.
- I will get to see her again, when God calls me, to my eternal home.
- Her sorrow, tears and pain have come to an end.
- God blessed me, and many others, by knowing her
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4
My heart breaks for everyone across the world who does not know God, chooses to hold Him at arms length or who simply reject Him. I cannot imagine living eternally without experiencing God’s love, grace and mercy, which we all receive at some level as we walk through this life here on earth.
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the gift of eternal life with You, through the life Your Son Jesus gave for us. I pray you would soften the heart of those who do not know you so they would see You through the love, compassion and help they receive from others, Amen.
Have you ever had one of those moments when you felt like you’ve been hit upside the head with a brick? I’m not talking about a light bulb moment, I mean a moment when you realize the stupidity in our actions and the deep desire that comes over you to fall down on your face and cry out to God “forgive me Lord!”
Well, I had that moment while at church. The scripture for the day was Luke 6:17-26. We’ve been going through the book of Luke and I’m enjoying the different parables. Today was about those who will be blessed and those who will not. I thought it was simply a reminder to always help the less fortunate. Wow, was I wrong!
He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.
Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.
“Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.
“But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets. Luke 6:17-26
When the Pastor said “being blessed is when you are satisfied doing what God calls you to do” is when I felt the brick hit me upside the head. I had to face the fact that I was not satisfied with what God had called me to. I wanted more!
Months ago, God pointed me in the direction of becoming a Chaplain and revealed a plan to do so. I was so excited to see what doors God would open for me as I entered this new season of my life. I was so excited, that I became annoyed when it didn’t happen in my timing. My plan was to take the necessary course and become a Chaplain before the end of summer. Summer was now more than half over and I had not started the course. I started wondering if maybe God gave me the wrong direction.
Through the statement made by the Pastor, I realized I had not been acting like a person who had been blessed by God. I was not trusting in God’s timing or in His plan. I wanted what I wanted and I wanted it NOW. I was not taking into consideration the fact that I was knee deep in work at the church or that I has already committed to helping a dear friend edit her book. I also was not factoring in that it was summer, which was time for family fun, not extra work.
Thankfully, God was aware of every detail and had it all perfectly planned. Things are now calm and steady at church, my friend is able to work on her book with her own computer and plans have been made with the family that will take us through the summer.
As my schedule lightened, I was officially approved for the Chaplaincy course and ready to start. I’m embarrassed and frustrated with myself for my poor behavior. I can’t believe that I once again had a three-year-old tantrum when God didn’t give me what I wanted when I felt I needed it. I hope and pray that next time, when faced with waiting upon God, I will do better and not freak out when things don’t go as I expect them to.
Jesus took the sins of the world, our sins, upon Himself on the cross, so when I realized the error of my ways, I was able to seek forgiveness and be forgiven. Is there something you would like God’s forgiveness for?
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the patience you have with us. Lord, I pray you would open our eyes to see our stubbornness and give us the strength, courage and wisdom to seek your forgiveness. May we always be satisfied doing what you call us to do, Amen.
The Fruit of the Spirit this week is Love. I’ve chosen a strawberry since it’s often used to represent love due to its shape that’s similar to a heart.
When you love someone, their happiness is important to you. You behave in a kind and caring way toward them and wish to protect and support them, in a selfless manner.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.1 Corinthians 13:1-3
The above scripture tells us that it’s pointless to say, know or do anything without love. Love is the key to making an impact for the Kingdom of God. What are ways you can demonstrate love in the way you speak, through what you know or how you react?
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
These verses tell us, as discussed in an earlier post (Godly Love), what love, in the eyes of God, look like. I use this scripture as a checklist to see where I’m struggling (usually in multiple areas). It helps me know what I should be praying for. I find myself having a hard time not keeping a record of people’s wrongs, which then causes me to have a hard time trusting. What aspect of love are you struggling with right now?
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:8-13
This piece of scripture opens with the statement ‘love never fails’ and ends by telling us that the three gifts from the Holy Spirit to remain are faith, hope and love, with love being the most important to have. The speculations, words and knowledge of man will fade away, but our faith, hope and love in God will never fail us. This makes me want to focus my attention more on the Word of God, than of man, because the Bible is the key to our hope and faith, which will lead us to a love that never fails.
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for Your Word, and the guidance it gives with the help of the Holy Spirit. I pray we would love You and others, even those we see as enemies, the way You love us, Amen.
The Fruit of the Spirit this week is Joy. I’ve chosen a watermelon because it’s a fruit I usually eat in the summer months, which means the weather is most likely hot, and experiencing the heat (90+) brings me great joy.
Joy is a feeling of great happiness. It’s when you are pleased or happy. Joy is when you experience an emotion of great delight caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying.
Rejoice always ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16
When you encounter joy you can’t help but rejoice. You show or express outwardly, the joy you feel. When I’m experiencing a joyous moment, my go to reaction is usually to cry or weep. For example, I recently sent my son off, on his 13th birthday, to camp with a group from our church. I was extremely happy for him and excited to hear, when he returned, how he encountered God while there. This brought me great joy, so of course I had many moments, while saying our goodbyes, of secretly sobbing behind my sunglasses. How do you usually react when overcome with joy?
Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. ~Psalm 47:1
Praising God during worship on Sunday mornings fills me with joy and I often find myself unable to sing (not that I could). I become overcome with joy thinking of what God has done for me through His Son, Jesus. I use to try desperately to hold back the tears, afraid it would make someone uncomfortable or I would be seen as an over emotional weirdo. I can handle the later, because in reality, I am. What brings you great joy?
Do not be full of joy when the one who hates you falls. Do not let your heart be glad when he trips. The Lord will see it and will not be pleased, and He will turn away His anger from him. ~Proverbs 24:17-18
There are times, as explained in Proverbs 24, when it is not a proper time to feel joy. When we do let ourselves express joy, outwardly or even within our hearts or minds, we can lose a blessing from God.
True joy is a gift given to us through the Holy Spirit. When our hearts and minds are focused on the goodness of God we can experience joy, regardless of our circumstances.
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit, which enables us to see the joy you offer us rather than the joys within the world. I pray we would keep the worldly things behind us as we focus on Jesus and what He has done for us, Amen.
The Fruit of the Spirit this week is Peace. I’ve chosen grapes because they grow together in a group, a community. We grow best, when together with a community, rather than alone. A community does better as a whole when its members feel at peace and not restless.
Peace has many different definitions and is described in assorted ways by various people. How would you explain peace?
Those who experience peace are not easily disturbed and feel calm and not worried about life in general. People who encounter peace live and work well together with others in a friendly way.
When you are at peace, you feel secure, your mind is free from annoyance, distraction, anxiety and obsession. You are untroubled, tranquil and content. Are you at peace within your circumstances today?
Experiencing peace has nothing to do with having an easy life or your circumstances. How you react in different situations in your life can show others if you are at peace or in turmoil. Would other describe you at a person at peace or in turmoil?
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:4-9
I find this passage in Philippians is comforting as well as encouraging. It reminds me to bring every situation, with a thankful heart, to God, because God alone can offer us peace as we walk through the trials and tribulations of life. As we pray, talk with God, seek to have a relationship with Him, He will be with us. God doesn’t wish for us to be anxious about anything. He calls us to bring all our troubles to him, so we can experience the peace He desires us to have. How have you experienced God’s peace?
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the peace you offer us, regardless of our sinful nature. I pray we would turn our troubles over to you before they can cause havoc in our heart and mind. My we seek Your peace and not the peace offered from the world, Amen.
The Fruit of the Spirit this week is Patience. I’ve chosen a pomegranate because it’s a fruit that takes time and effort to eat. You cannot simply grab it and take a bite. You must work at it. First open it, and then get through the maze of its inner pieces to get to the scrumptious juicy morsels inside. This my friend takes patience.
Patience is being able to stay calm and not get annoyed under any circumstance. A patient person can also bear provocation, misfortune or pain without complaining, losing their temper or becoming irritated. A patient person is quiet, works with steady perseverance and is even-tempered.
Patience is the one thing I often hear we should not pray for, because God will answer by giving us a situation in which patience is needed. I don’t know about you, but I think patience is the most difficult Fruit of the Spirit to master. When have you seen someone demonstrate patience? How did it affect your mood or behavior?
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:9-14
As it says in Colossians, we as believers in Christ Jesus, have the ability to call upon His power, which will strengthen us, equipping us with the patience needed within our circumstances. When we lose our temper or become irritated, it’s because we have taken our focus off our heavenly Father and looked to our own selfish desires or needs. You see, only God, through Jesus and the Holy Spirit can enable us to demonstrate true patience in all situations.
I lack patience with my family more often than I should. I lose my temper when they don’t treat me the way I think they should and then I fail greatly at being quiet. I can even get irritated when they don’t take my advice and do what I think they should. Imagine that! When have you lost your patience? Without a doubt, I always seem to lose mine when I don’t take that second to call upon Jesus in the difficult times.
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank You for Your patience with us. You shower us with love, grace and mercy every day, offering guidance. I pray we would call upon the power of Jesus and the help of the Holy Spirit, so we too may serve with patience in all areas of our lives, Amen.