The Ministry of Encouragement

What an excellent message!  It will encourage you! 

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My Heart Cries “Abba Father!”

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My Heart Cries “Abba Father!”

One of my dearest friends recently lost her daughter to breast cancer. It was heart wrenching to hear her sobs when I spoke with her. My heart ached for her, and I felt so helpless because I live two hours away, so there wasn’t much I could do to help her. When you add to that burdens I was carrying for some of my own family, you have a perfect recipe for a heart that is overwhelmed.

There were times I just wanted to run away. At times, I just wanted to immerse myself in watching Netflix. I quickly discovered that activity only left my spirit parched. There were other times when I wanted to do what I often did when I was a distressed little girl: Run into the strong arms of my dad, crying, “Daddy!”

As God’s beloved children, we have the wonderful privilege of crying out to Him, “Abba Father!” in our own distress. What awesome comfort and peace we can have in those times when we are overwhelmed with life!

Do you need to cry out to Abba Father?
© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

 

Lord, Help me to Endure This Trial

When Ice Forms on Your Wings

This is an excellent message!  I found it especially encouraging because I have recently gotten back to my passion — writing.  Just last week, I wrote some devotions dealing with the topic of wings, as well as the topic of waiting on the Lord and how it is not a passive action.  And Pastor Conlon addresses both of those topics here.  The confirmation was sweet to my soul.  Stay tuned — those devotions will be posted once I get them copyrighted this week.

God’s Faithfulness

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God’s Faithfulness
As I headed out to work early one morning, I looked up to see an awesome display of stars filling the sky. There is something so majestic about a dark, starry sky.
Other times, I have seen stunningly beautiful sunrises on the way to work. In those times when I am able to view God’s exquisite handiwork, I can’t help but audibly exclaim, “Lord, it is beautiful!”
Seeing His glorious creation reminds me of His faithfulness; for even on those cloudy days, we know the sun is still there – we just can’t see it. And that sun never fails to rise or set.
We all have seasons of life where we struggle. It may be due to an arduous trial, or perhaps a struggle with our own faith. We even have times when we feel like our prayers fall on deaf ears because we aren’t hearing the voice of God or seeing any changes to our circumstances.
It’s in those times when I begin to reflect on the ‘constants’ of creation. When I remind myself of how that sun rises and sets every single day, I remember God’s faithfulness to His children. He is there. He remains faithful to us, even when we can’t see Him – much like we can’t see the sun on those cloudy days.
© 2017, Stacy R. Miller

 

Weightlifting

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Weight Lifting

One Wednesday night, Pastor asked if anyone lifted weights.  One gentleman, who has a rather large belly, replied, “I lift my spoon!”

We are admonished in Gal. 6:2 to carry each other’s burdens.  We can probably think of several people who are carrying heavy weights right now.  Why should we desire to help them?

Jesus left us an example when He wept with Mary and Martha over the death of Lazarus.  (Jn. 11:35)  When a friend is going through the loss of a loved one, we can cry with them.  We can take a meal to them.  We can remember to call on them in the days after the viewing and funeral are done.  Now, some of us may be saying, “But I won’t know what to say.”  Moses said the same thing, but it didn’t excuse him from what God wanted him to do.  If we just tell them that we were calling to see how they are doing and tell them that we care, it will speak volumes to them.

Jesus also touched the untouchable.  (Mt. 8:3)  When I was a new Christian, we had a foot washing at our church.  I will never forget seeing one of the women approach another lady who would have been considered “untouchable” by many.  This lady was partially retarded, she smelled, her clothes were too small and they didn’t match.  That left a profound impact on me.  I’m not saying that we need to be looking for opportunities to wash everyone’s feet, but there may be someone in your church who often gets ignored because they are “different.”  One way that you could “touch” this person is by sending a “thinking of you” card, or even a card at Christmas.  Why not physically touch them when you greet them?  It may be the only touch they have received all week.  Think of how you would feel if nobody took the time to hug you, shake your hand, pat you on the shoulder, etc.  I call those kinds of touches “God-touches.”

He fed those who were hungry.  (Mt. 15:35-38)  The virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 leaves us a good example;  she opened her arms to the poor and extended her hands to those who were in need.  We can make the choice to buy a few nonperishable items when we shop, then once a month, drop them by a food pantry.  Years ago when I worked at a bank, instead of tithing to the church from my Christmas bonus, I would go to the store and spend my tithing amount on food, then deliver it to the Rescue Mission, which serves food to the poor on a daily basis.  Another thing we can do is to take a batch of cookies to new neighbors.  They may not be physically hungry, but I am sure that they are “hungry” for some friendship in their new neighborhood.

Abigail leaves us a wonderful example.  In I Sam. 25, we find that she is married to Nabal, whose very name means “fool.”  He was careful in living up to that name as well!  When he refused to give food and drink to King David, Abigail found out about it.  She was quick to see that the King’s needs were met.  Her intercession on behalf of this foolish man ended up sparing his life because King David was prepared to see that he was destroyed.  Do you know any people who you would classify as foolish?  What about the teenaged girl who was raised in church, yet she finds herself pregnant and unwed?  Too often, we want to talk badly of her, as well as her parents.  We aren’t called to be judge and jury over their lives.  We are called to love one another fervently.  (I Pet. 1:22)  We are told in I Jn. 3:18 not to love with words, but with actions and in truth.  If you know of an unwed, pregnant teenager, it is going to do far more good to reach out to her and help her in a tangible way.  Purchase some items for her, even if they are from garage sales.  Throw a baby shower.  Encourage her that she made the right choice to give life to her precious child.

In Mk. 2:1-5 we find the story of the lame man whose friends carried him and lowered him through a roof so that Jesus could heal him.  We may not be required to physically carry a weight of this kind, but when you know someone who has been diagnosed with cancer or any other kind of terrible disease, you can “weightlift” by praying faithfully for them.  (James 5:16)

Maybe you know of some people who are going through some trials, but you think that they don’t need your help.   Maybe they seem to be self-sufficient so you don’t want to offer to help.  Even our precious Lord asked for help.  In Mt. 26:38, He told the disciples that His soul was overwhelmed with sorrow, and He asked them to keep watch with Him.  In Jn. 19:28-29, He said, “I thirst.”  After they helped Him, by giving Him a drink, He was able to cry out those famous words:  “IT IS FINISHED!”  My prayer is that those words will encourage you to look for people who may need you to do some “weightlifting” on their behalf.  You may never know this side of heaven how much your help meant to them.  Your “weightlifting” may help them to do the impossible.  I know that we can’t do it all, but if we look around, we will surely find something that we can do.

© 2003, Stacy R. Miller

Bad Math – Tim Dilena

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