Friday, June 20, 2008

Daily Encouragement

Brothers, if you have a message of encouragement for the people, please speak." (Acts 13:15 NIV)

As a homeschool mom, there have been many days when I have felt discouraged. Not only do I grow weary when teaching my children, but in every area of my life. Let's face it, life can be very demanding and the feelings of wanting to give up can be overwhelming. It was during one of these disheartening times I started crying out to God to give me the hope and encouragement I needed to stay in the race of life. What I had discovered each time I felt this way was that God is a God of encouragement. Every time I went to Him with my feelings of inadequacies or burnout He would send me just what I needed, whether it be a phone call from a friend, a Scripture that spoke to my heart, or just a deep sense of His presence. He was always there.

You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and You listen to their cry, (Psalm 10:17 NIV).

As I continued to study the Bible, I learned the importance of having godly relationships in my life. I was not meant to live a lone ranger life, but rather a life of community with other Christians. We are all called to build each other up and give encouragement. When I am loving others and they are loving me, it brings great joy and it actually refreshes our hearts.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thes. 5:11 NIV)

Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints. (Philemon 1:7 NIV)

We are not just called to encourage others once in a while, but we are told to do it daily. I believe the reason we are to edify each other day by day is because the Lord knew we needed it that often. That is one of the reasons it is important for our spiritual lives to be connected with other Believers on a regular basis.

Being in prayer, reading the Bible and having times of fellowship with others will strengthen us and lift us up when we are down. Do you know someone that needs a word of encouragement today? Don't hesitate to speak it!

More verses about encouraging others:

Acts 15:32
Acts 16:40
Acts 20:1-2
Romans 15:4
2 Cor. 7:13
2 Thes. 2:16

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Journaling Refreshes Our Memories

This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: "Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you" (Jeremiah 30:2 NIV).

When I was a young girl I used to keep a journal. I loved my journal and I was faithfully writing in it. Now I see a love of journaling in my oldest daughter, Sarah. I always encourage her in this because it is clearly a gift God has given her. She is continually putting things down on paper. She has been doing this for as long as I can remember. She can tell you the exact date when things happened. Her childhood memories are fresh in her mind because she has written her story.

Journaling refreshes our memories. As our memories fade, journaling can bring things back to our remembrance. A few years ago, I started writing down the life lessons that the Lord taught me. When I am feeling discouraged or weary, I look through my journals and find encouragement and God's faithfulness shining brightly throughout the pages.

Many times in the Bible God instructed people to write down what He has shown them. I think He did that so that His faithfulness wouldn't be forgotten and the wisdom He taught them would be passed down to the next generation. Journaling is a wonderful way to remember God's activity in our lives. So, let's pick up our pencils and get writing!

Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll, that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness. (Isaiah 30:8 NIV)

C. Beavin
May 14, 2008

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

For This Child I Prayed

For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. (1 Samuel 1:27 NKJ)
After the birth of my second daughter, I was content with the size of our family. That was until she reached five years old. Surprisingly, I started having an overwhelming desire to have another baby. Since my husband didn't feel the same way, I prayed and asked God to take this longing out of my heart or to put it in my husband's heart. Week after week, nothing changed except this strong feeling was increasingly growing.

We lived in an apartment during this time and I would regularly go out after dinner to take a walk around the neighborhood. It was during these strolls that I would pour out my heart to God about this issue.

Many walks and prayers later, the Lord did respond to my request. The morning I found out we were going to have another baby I was excited! To my surprise, my husband was thrilled to find out about it too.

After my husband left for work, I sat down at the table to do my Bible study. I immediately thanked God for answering my prayers and for giving me the desire to have another baby. I believe He was preparing me for what He already wanted to give us. During my study, I came across a verse in the book of John. As I read it several times, it became evident to me that the Holy Spirit was speaking.

For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom He is pleased to give it (John 5:21 NIV).
Although this Scripture may not be referring to pregnancy, that is exactly what it meant to me that morning. God was telling me that it was His pleasure to give me the life (baby) that was growing inside me. For many months I thought the Lord wasn't listening to my prayers, but as I read that verse He let me know that He was there all along.

My faith has grown a lot since those early years of marriage, but when I remember back to that morning and when I see the face of my precious son, it reminds me of a special time in my walk with God. For years, there have been many things I continue to ask God for. But, I now know that God is hearing me and if it pleases Him to do so, He will answer me in His own timing. In the meantime, I'll just keep praying.

Lord, thank You for answering my prayers. Thank You that you definitely are listening to me. Please help me not to get discouraged when you delay or if you choose not to answer the way I think You should. I love You. In Jesus' name, amen.

C. Beavin
June 11, 2008

Monday, June 9, 2008

A Cluttered Heart

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God (Matthew 5:8 NIV).

A few months ago, I went to a prayer conference for women. It was an enlightening time for me. One of the speakers challenged us to be honest about the condition of our hearts. She spoke about the importance of having and keeping a pure heart before God. She encouraged us to pray as David did.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life (Psalm 139:23-24 NLT).

After she read these verses out-loud to us, she prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to speak to every woman in the room. Using the paper and pencil that was given us, she then asked us to write down everything the Holy Spirit brought to our minds. After about three minutes my page was completely full of little offenses, bad attitudes, unkind words I had spoken to others and things I needed to forgive. Once I started putting these thoughts down on paper, I was amazed at how easily they flowed out of me. My eyes were opened to how quickly my sins can pile up. After the writing was finished, we then ripped up our paper thanking God that He has forgiven us. It was an awesome experience.

It's these seemingly small issues that clutter up my heart and stop me from becoming the woman of God I desire to be. I have become fully aware how I need to be careful with my heart, being alert and quick to confess my sins. Now as I make this a regular practice in my life, I find my spirit is renewed and I can now walk closely with God with a clean, uncluttered heart.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; And renew a right spirit within me (Psalm 51:10).

Lord, thank You for your unlimited patience with me. Help me to keep short accounts of my sins and to confess them immediately to You. Please search my heart and bring to mind anything that offends You. I want my heart to be pure, clean and uncluttered so that nothing hinders my relationship with You. I love You. In Jesus' name, amen.

C. Beavin
June 6, 2008

Saturday, June 7, 2008

One Small Word

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36 NIV).

A couple of years ago, while having a heated discussion with my husband, I responded in a way that was anything but godly. I immediately knew my behavior was wrong and asked him to forgive me. He graciously did, but the guilt lingered on me for several days, causing me to feel very depressed.

During this heartsick time, I switched on a television program that had one of my favorite Bible teachers on it. Beth Moore started talking about forgiveness. It was through this program that I realized I was having trouble forgiving myself.

Beth said something that really caught my attention and I knew the Lord was speaking directly to my heart through her. She said, "The Lord doesn't only forgive you, He forgives you indeed." The word "indeed" pierced my heart. According to the Webster's Dictionary, the word indeed means "most certainly; without a doubt."

I immediately went to the bathroom and cried. The tenderness in the word indeed and the kindness of the Lord was so precious it overwhelmed me. Even though He didn't excuse my ungodly behavior, He forgave me completely, even when I didn't deserve it. It was at this moment I was able to let go of my shame and allow God to set me free from it. I became aware that day how alive God's Word is and how much God cares for me, even when I don't do the right things. It only took one small word from God to bring emotional healing to my soul.

The Bible says that God's Word is powerful and sharp like a sword. Nothing is hidden from God, and nothing is insignificant in His eyes.

For the Word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. (Hebrews 4:12-13 NLT).

Lord, thank You for the way You love me. Your tenderness can be overwhelming, but it causes my heart to love you even more. All it takes is one word from You and I am indeed restored. You are so good to me. Thank You! In Jesus' name. Amen.

Crystal Beavin
June 4, 2008