Encouragement – We All Need It

Encourage someone

Encouragement – We all want it, heck, we all need it!

I’ve found that things are a little different in the kingdom than they are in the world. For instance, if I need something, I usually have to begin to give something away. If I need kindness, I need to be kind. It’s a kingdom of opposites in some ways.

What seems right to a man is death, (Prov. 16:25) Hmmm. I think this scripture may have something to do with the ‘kingdom-way’ of doing things. If I keep doing things only for me, me, me, all it will do is bring death. If I am so full of things or information and never give back or pour back out to others, I’m a virtual dead sea with no outlet. I’m dead.

So, when I need encouragement, I encourage others. When I need wisdom, the first thing I do is ask, and then I give away what He’s given to me because others are seeking it. God has always been faithful in giving me what other’s need. He probably does the same for you.

Encouragement is often like an affirmation. It’s the turbo boost we sometimes need at the very end of a project or season. When things seem like they couldn’t get any harder but still do, encouragement is the juice that will keep us contending for the breakthrough we know is just around the corner. It will cause us to stand up straighter and know that we are doing what we are supposed to be doing.

So, am I right; don’t we all need encouragement? I would challenge you to purpose your day to go out and find someone who needs exactly what you need and encourage them to not give up, to keep pressing until the breakthrough comes. Tell them exactly what you need to hear, use the same exact words you are longing to hear yourself. You will be amazed how refreshed you feel. Holy Spirit may even now be whispering to you some of the things you need to do or say to bring about this refreshing to others and vicariously, for yourself too.

I’ve done this before with great success. This is not a formula of course because we all need different things. But it can be a principal or a tool. One day when I was feeling pretty discouraged I went into the grocery store to pick up a few things. All I wanted to do was get what I needed as quickly as possible and then go home.  When I got my things and approached one of the checkout lanes, I noticed that one of the cashiers was really looking down and discouraged. I knew that if spoke some encouragement to her and simply spoke blessings over her, she would be lifted up and maybe even begin to smile; she would be encouraged.

Of course, that’s exactly what I did. I began by telling her what an awesome job she was doing and that immediately brought a smile to her face. I spoke other encouraging words over her and not only did her countenance change but so did everyone else who was standing in line behind me. By the time I left the store, which was really only a matter of ten minutes, I was encouraged myself! Win, win.

The kingdom of God is here, living inside each and every one of us. It’s not supposed to remain there. It’s supposed to be shared, transplanted in dark places or even in people who have no hope left. We have the answers to all they need. When we encourage others we are bringing light into their current darkness and isn’t that where light belongs, in the dark places? Aren’t we to be messengers of hope? I believe encouragement can be (and is) a great big doorway into bringing the kingdom to earth and transforming our neighborhoods and cities; one kind encouraging word at a time.

Let’s purpose to do this and if you do, come back and tell me about it; I will be greatly encouraged too!

So go! Get out there and encourage someone, right now, today!

 

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Speaking in tongues – judging not the Body

Sunflower half

 

Speaking in tongues…

Acts 2:4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

 The scripture referenced above is the one I think of most often when I think about speaking in tongues and maybe I’m not the only one.

Do we all think this? Do we expect everyone, ALL to begin to speak in other tongues when they are filled with the Holy Spirit? Do we allow for any exceptions in this?

I hope so, my experience is an exception.

The day I surrendered to Jesus was an ordinary day, starting out like many other days. I was in my breakfast room it was only me and Father God; no one else. There wasn’t an altar call that led me weeping down to the front of the church to repent of my sins and beg that Jesus accept me. No, it was nothing like that at all…but that is another story for another day.

At that time, I didn’t know a thing about speaking in tongues. My husband was praying for people in the Healing Rooms every week and fairly soon, I began to join him there praying for people too.

As it turned out, everyone in the Healing Rooms spoke in tongues. Apparently, it was a big deal and it WAS the definition of intercession, at least according to one of the leaders there. Well, guess what folks; I didn’t have my prayer language yet and that made things a little awkward. Yet, even though I didn’t have a prayer language, I still heard and was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Every Saturday morning we went to the Healing Rooms to pray for people. Before those needing prayer arrived though, we would always have intercession over the day and the needs of the people coming, or whatever the Holy Spirit led us to pray for. We started off by worshiping first and then we would move into let into intercession.

During intercession, most people would pray in tongues, their prayer language. When they did, I kind of felt left out because I didn’t have a prayer language yet. One of the leaders kept telling me to pray in tongues, use your prayer language! I had to confess to him I didn’t have a prayer language yet.

Sorry.

Once I confessed I kept feeling like I was viewed a little differently than everyone else. I felt like my “salvation” was in question.

I began to believe it and I hated it! I felt like a fraud. Since I thought I couldn’t contribute to the intercession, the only thing I could do was whisper “Jesus” over and over again while everyone else interceded. I wanted to give up and go home. It didn’t help when the leader kept looking at me as if I wasn’t trying hard enough! He was a little frustrated with me; I was a little frustrated with me. I couldn’t figure out why I was different and what I did wrong that didn’t allow me to have this gift. I began to dread intercession and wished it were over so we could pray for the patients; that I could do.

I felt the Holy Spirit move through me as I prayed for others. I was even beginning to hear His voice more. I prayed over people every week – I even used words of knowledge to speak into their lives so why couldn’t I speak in tongues? Sure I tried all the practicing and babbling that people will try and get you to do, hoping that would somehow trigger a language that is right there, just beyond reach, waiting for the right trigger to release it; all to no avail.

It wasn’t until almost a year later that I got this precious, long-awaited gift.

Paul was out of town and I went to a Kingdom Entrepreneurs meeting by myself. There was a guest speaker I really wanted to hear. (I can’t remember this gentleman’s name, sadly.) This man was a disciple of Dave Roberson, the author of The Walk of the Spirit the Walk of Power, which I had read two times already. I was so excited about this meeting that I was even willing to go without Paul which wasn’t normally the case.

During the meeting, this man told testimony after testimony about speaking in tongues. He spoke of how so many breakthroughs came in his life through this gift. My longing was stirred up so much while listening to him! I kept praying, “Lord, I want this gift!” “Lord, why can’t I have this gift!” and so the night went with even more stories.

When he had finally finished speaking of such powerful things, he did a version of an altar call; except this time it wasn’t for salvation – it was for the gift of speaking in tongues! I ran…lol. I was first in the line of about 8 other people.

When I got up there, he didn’t pray, he spoke to me instead. He then grabbed my hands, touched my head and said, “Speak” and I looked at him in a funny way. He said it again, “Speak”! And I spoke! I spoke so much I was laughing and crying, all at the same time. It was amazing, it was weird and I couldn’t stop! No seriously, I couldn’t stop! For three or four days, I spoke in tongues – out loud, under my breath, and even in my sleep.

It changed so many things. Now I could pray even when I didn’t know what to pray – finally!

Do I always know what I’m praying? No, I don’t. But what I do know is that when I pray/speak in tongues things happen in the spirit and in the natural. Things move that I don’t know about until much later sometimes.

Something I find interesting about praying/speaking in tongues is that my language changes over time. It also changes depending on the need. My prayer language for general intercession and warfare are much different. One is almost like worship and the other is more like a weapon. Neither is consciously decided upon when I start praying, it’s moved by the spirit.

Sometimes I pray out loud and sometimes under my breath – I think under my breath would be the most typical. You know, at work, at the grocery store, at the bank – wherever there is a need for prayer but not necessarily a need to be heard by everyone.

I probably take this gift for granted a lot of the time. It’s simply something I do, not something I think about. But whether I think about it or not it is an amazing gift from God that can and will move mountains. And by the way, it has nothing to do with salvation. Nope.

I tell you these things because we as a Body need to let God be God in peoples lives and give grace to those who may not be walking the exact path that we are. So what if they act or believe a little bit differently. So what if what they are currently preaching is “old hat” to you and you believe differently. It matters not! There is one Body, but many parts,  (1 Corinthians 12:12-27). We are not all supposed to be the same. How boring would it be if we were?

I have a group of believers that I have gathered around me. Or maybe it was God who did it. Either way, we are not clones, these friends of mine. We are a diverse group of believers who learn from each other and hold each other accountable. But, we are not alike in every aspect of our theology or beliefs. That is what Grace if for and we love and honor each other greatly.

I would admonish us all to give grace to those who differ from us. Give honor to those who are different because they are God’s favorite ones and He loves them more than we can even know.

(I apologize for about 4 different rabbit trails! 🙂 )

 

 

 

WAIT – Walk Always In Trust

God is my mentor

Give up worrying. Trust that God is with you, always.

In my walk with God, I’ve done a lot of teaching and equipping. While I do this with joy, sometimes I would love it if I had someone who was sowing into me, maybe a spiritual mother or a mentor. I’ve never really had either of these. It’s been more of me coming alongside other leaders and serving them…
One day a few years ago I was on my long commute from work heading home, and my heart was somewhat heavy. I was feeling a little worn out and lonely. And yes, even having a wee pity party. I began asking God, “When would I get a spiritual mother or a mentor that would sow into me. When would I find someone who would teach and equip me?”
That’s when I heard God speak. Very softly He said, “Ginny, these things you want, that’s what you are to many others. You teach and equip them for their journey and you pull treasure out in them that they never knew was there. I do these things for you. For now, it is enough.”
When He said these things, it WAS enough. I felt peace envelop me and I wasn’t sad or lonely anymore. It was my answer and I’ve never worried or cried about it since.
Today, I have others who come alongside me share to share this journey.  They encourage me and teach me, often without even knowing it. They are amazing and life wouldn’t be the same without them. I know God placed each and every one of them beside me.
If you find yourself feeling discouraged or even sad about things in your life, be sure to listen carefully – I’m pretty sure God has a plan for you too. He is your greatest encourager and the greatest mentor you could ever find.

Compassion – Do we show it, or just talk about it?

Love lock pink

 

I was thinking about empathy and compassion this morning and brought to mind a post I shared a while back. It said, “Name a movie that made you cry.” There have been many comments on the thread, which is great, but not the point.  Many of the movies named have been pretty predictable while others have not. Many of these movies I hadn’t thought of in years and others I had never even watched, which is also, great.

But what got me thinking was some of the comments from people who said they never watched sad movies. Some even mentioned the reason was because there was already so much sadness in the world. Others didn’t explain their reasons…all fine and good too. There are many times I simply cannot watch a sad movie because I’m already in a sad place myself and what I need is joy and hope.

If we never watch sad movies, those movies that cause us to be in the midst of the suffering, does this speak of our compassion or our lack of compassion and empathy towards those around us? Is this something we avoid because it is uncomfortable and messy?

For instance, if we look at this through a bigger lens, I wonder what this says about the human condition when we avoid situations that we know will make us sad; you know, the widow down the street who not only lost her husband but has now just lost her son to disease or sickness. Or the man who just lost his job because he has addictions and can’t afford rehab and doesn’t know of any other kind of help.

Yes, it breaks our heart, it really does but it would hurt in a different and more tangible way if we were to go and enter into that suffering with them. I think there is a fear of involvement that wants to keep us “safe” behind our doors. It’s easier to talk about compassion than it is to show compassion.

If we were to simply go and let them know they’re not alone or to let them know there is someone who loves them and can maybe help, it might change their world. Yes, that would definitely cost us something in the end.

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I do think we (I) need to count the cost more and pay the price for others. What’s the worst thing that can happen, we make a new friend? Or we get to help a neighbor gain freedom? Who knows? I need to come out of the “safe” cave of me and GO out more and then enter into the lives around me.

What about you – are you showing compassion or simply talking about it? What are your thoughts?

Those Other Family Members

Micah

Today I wanted to tell you about our kitties; primarily about Micah and Cyrus. No, it’s not a God story but it is a story of life and a story about some of God’s little creatures – and a conversation perhaps.

We have been experiencing a lot of rain this month and when it rains, it means that I had better have plenty of paper towels on hand! Why you ask? Let me tell you…

Our cats are indoor and outdoor kitties – they have the best of both worlds. They love to be outside, lying in the sun or some out of the way place, for hours on end. Also, they love to watch the birds and squirrels; try to sneak up on them to maybe even catch them. Sunny days are the best days as far as they are concerned.

When it rains though, they try and stay outside and bird watch but usually, it’s not for very long. Eventually, they come into the house to escape the rain but become very bored inside. Inevitably, they will brave the rain and go outside again, getting soaked in the process.

When they do come in, they come into the kitchen and begin meowing so someone (ME) can come and dry them off. They didn’t start out doing this, that is for sure!

On rainy days when they come in tracking up the place with muddy footprints, so wet you can visibly see the water dripping off their coats, you have to do something about it. And so I did…

I grabbed a paper towel and began trying to dry off the cat. I rubbed their back first while trying to hold them still with my other hand, then picked them up to try and dry off their paws but mostly that is hit or miss. For some reason, the paws are practically off limits! But, when I flip them over in my arms and begin drying off their tummy and chin, the purrs begin to erupt – they are in heaven.  All of this with a paper towel or two, depending on how wet they are.

Once I get them dried off as much as I can, they get a treat because it’s a reward for being still. And, they insist.

At first, the cats tried to bolt and run away but I made them stand there and get dried off -whether they liked it or not!

Cyrus, the baby, is the one I dry off the most. He comes in to be dried off up to 6 or 7 times a day when it’s raining; sometimes he’s only been sitting on the porch and isn’t even wet but cries as if he is. Yes I know, I’m pretty well trained too because I ALWAYS fall for it!

Cyrus

They get all dried off, petted and even a snack before running back out the door to get wet all over again. Rinse and repeat!

I guess I’ve created little, spoiled creatures who love comfort, treats, and attention!

“It’s not spoiling unless you keep it up” ~ Ginny

Sigh…

 

Falling in Love, Again

Falling in love - again

Falling in love is one of the sweetest things in life. Who are you falling in love with today?

I fall in love with my friends over and over again with each experience or conversation we have. No, that doesn’t make me fickle because I fall in love all the time – it’s not like I fall out of love with my friends. It’s more about my knowing them deeper every time we connect and that gives me more reasons to love them.

Falling in love can be (and is) a conscious decision we GET to make with each encounter we have.

Choosing to love people is really a gift. Love is so much easier than judgment and offense. When we learn to look for the treasure in others, we will begin to see them through the eyes of our Father. He has placed treasure in each and every one of us and it is our good pleasure to find it, brush it off and polish it up. We are made to make each other shine!

So often we don’t see the worth that is in ourselves – it takes someone else to point it out or reveal it to us. We are blinded by our past wounds and difficulties. Have you ever met someone who is simply amazing and they impress you by everything they do? I have and the crazy thing is, they don’t know any of this. They don’t know they are amazing – they feel the exact opposite actually. When I mention some of these things to them, speaking how I see them, they are frankly incredulous. They have never seen themselves in that light.

Because we so often can’t or don’t see the truth of who we are, especially who we are to other people, we walk around with half of our identity missing. This is why it’s so important for us to fall in love with people! They have no idea how lovely they are and if we don’t tell them, who will? All they will hear are the lies running around in their head that is designed to defeat them and keep them from being who they were made to be.

So again I ask – Who are you falling in love with today? Will it be a friend or will it be a total stranger? Could it possibly be a family member who is hurting? It’s up to you to decide.

G

Love Thy Neighbor

neighbors

The other morning while I was just waking up – you know, that sweet place between being fully awake and fully asleep, I was thinking about love. I was thinking about loving my neighbor and how sometimes it’s easier said than done. Yes, I do know the scripture actually says, Love your neighbor as you love yourself. But, we’ll save that “Yourself” part for another time.

I was pondering this and praying that God would give me a love for those who I seem to have a hard time loving on my own. Help me love even those who irritate me and make me twitch at the mere mention of their name. Help me love the (seemingly) unlovable ones.

After praying and pondering this, I had a sudden thought of actually falling in love with these people – my neighbors and others. Seriously, falling in love? But, the more I thought about it, the more it made perfect sense.

What better way to serve someone and demonstrate the kingdom at the same time. That is, without an agenda whatsoever.  People see agendas coming a mile away and there isn’t any real love in them when it comes to relationships like this. The end “game” is love, not another notch on your evangelistic belt. (I don’t have a belt, btw.)

For me, the Gospel is and should be preached by demonstrations of love and practical things that people need and can understand in their lives, more than by words preached at them. I find that when words are being used to preach the Gospel, it is for the Believing body. Not always, but this is what I see most often. It’s always pointless to point out what we think is wrong with someone, especially if we haven’t even taken the time to love well first. There is no fruit in that.

We throw the word “love” around all the time. Often when we use the word, it’s for things, to people. For instance:
I love coffee

I love bacon

I love these jeans

I love Sunday mornings

I love Christmas

We also use this word love when we think and talk about our friends and relationships – which is what I’m talking about here.

Can we take a moment and think about this thing called love? What is it really about?

When I met my husband on a blind date, oh so many years ago, I fell head over heels in love with him. My thoughts were always on him. What was he doing? Was he thinking about me? When would we get to be together again?

Things have changed only slightly these days. Instead of me being in a state of head over heels, – I am able to take my eyes and thoughts off of him so I can accomplish some things. (That is sometimes necessary for functionality!) But that is what love is all about. Falling in love with Paul is something that I choose to do every morning when I wake up. It’s like the “Groundhog Day” of love. I get to do it all over again but the difference is, I am full of love when I begin the day, not emptied out only to start from scratch.

I used the illustration of me and Paul about falling in love because it’s a perfect picture of what we are capable of as people: We can fall in love with those around us and we can do it every day.

This thing called love is really about choosing a place of humility. If we do that there will be no room for judgment or accusation for those who believe differently than us or act differently than we would in a given situation. We can love them because we give them honor from exactly where they are not someplace we think they should be.

 Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.

Love never ends. . .(1 Cor. 13:4-8)

Falling in love with our neighbors is where the rubber hits the road. Love is a fruit of the spirit and if you know anything about fruit, it doesn’t suddenly appear. Fruit is grown from seeds planted and tended over time. Like fruit we won’t excel in love always, but we can develop love, deep love over time.

We need to treat people like our most beloved and cherished friend. We need to take the time to listen because they have a story that will rock our world and it needs to be told. If we treat them like beloved friends, that is what they will become. Can we love well enough to listen and actually show that we love?

I believe it’s time to fall in love with those around us. I believe it’s time for us to go out as an army of love and conquer the neighbors around us. Then let’s go take the world!

I’m falling in love, all over again.

G