Tag Archives: encouragment

Seeing God in Answered Prayer

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Exodus 17:12- When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset.

There was a battle going on against the Amalekites. Moses sent Joshua to fight against them while he, Aaron, and Hur went to the top of the Hill. Exodus 17:11 says, “ As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.” And that’s when verse 12 comes in to play, when Moses’s hands grew tired Aaron held up one and Hur held up the other, and they won the battle.

Yesterday, I could tell that my husband was wearing thin from the countless hours of mowing, weed eating, koi pond work, and his many other jobs. He was short with us and a bit on edge but I didn’t take it personal because I knew he was just exhausted.

As I woke this morning I got down on my knees and I was very specific in my prayers. Lord, please send someone to be like Aaron and Hur to my husband to hold his hands up…please. I specifically asked for someone to help with all of the mowing- that was my prayer.

As the day went on he mentioned that an old friend (not old, but, like, they’ve been friends for a long time) was coming over for lunch. This friend lives in Frisco, Texas and was in town for a business meeting, but his meeting got rescheduled for the next day. I believe God orchestrated this, I really do. And so I didn’t think much of it and went about my day.

And then as I was driving out to pick up my daughter from school, I saw my husband’s friend, Julio… on the lawn mower. I said hi as I drove by and the Holy Spirit quickly reminded me of my prayer earlier today, and I just about lost it.

This friend could have done anything he wanted on this day. He could have hung out by the pool or watched movies all day! It’s his day. And he had NO IDEA how much my husband needed this encouragement.

I saw God in my answered prayer. Word for word what I prayed for and on the exact same day. He sent my husband someone to be Aaron and Hur and lift up not only my husband’s arms, but his spirits. Here’s the post tonight from my husband:

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You just never know, you might be the answer to someone elses prayers. As I end this day I am once again reminded that God not only hears our prayers, but answers them too.

Thank you Lord, and thank you Julio.

Psalms 66:19-20 (NASB) But certainly God has heard; He has given heed to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, Who has not turned away my prayer nor His loving-kindness from me.

Your Life is a Gift

Celeste podcast
About two years ago, the Lord put it on my heart to start a podcast. And I’ve been thinking and praying about it ever since! At the beginning of the year I felt like it was time to start. Here’s Podcast #1- Your Life is a Gift. And we hope to have them up on Itunes by next week so you can subscribe. I will start writing every Monday and Podcasting every Wednesday. This is new to me, so it is a work in progress! They will usually last between 7-10 minutes. It’s a way to get a dose of weekly encouragement, and to be challenged to be all that God has called us to be (Your best brave). So grab a cup of coffee and your journal, and enjoy! (Would love to hear your feedback- feel free to comment and share!)

You are a Gift!

 

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“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10 NIV)

 

You are a gift; a treasure really. Have you ever thought of yourself in those terms? Most would quickly dismiss calling themselves this in thoughts of seeming prideful or haughty. Me, a gift? Surely not. Oh, but others, they are gifts; gifts to this world with their time and presence. But me? Truth is, others might look at you and see you as a gift and you would have to either reject their theory in order to stay humble or you could accept this as fact and as God given.

This subject has been floating around in my brain all month and at last, it must come out. When I missed going to church or missed some event, and someone approached me later to let me know that they had missed seeing me, I would secretly think they were saying. “oh, what happened to you?” Translate- Are you backsliding? Everybody else came, why couldn’t you? My glasses had more of a self-conscious filter on them.

But I’ve had somewhat of an epiphany on this. I had to put it in the context of other people, before I put it on myself. If there was a church or family event, and I let someone know (that didn’t make it) that they were missed, what am I really saying to them? For me, I’m really saying that they are special and when they’re not around, that it is noticed, and that truly, they are missed. No judgment on why they had to miss, but just the simple truth that their missing presence was known.

Here’s the deal- you, yes, you reading this, ARE A GIFT. And when you are not around, there is something about you that someone will miss. People might not always say it, so don’t keep a journal to find out how many people have said they missed you in the past month. The very being of who you are is so completely different than anyone else, God fashioned and formed, that no one will ever be able to replace you.

When I first moved here I went through a funk. Has anyone ever experienced that? The feeling where you can’t even really explain it, but you’re just not in a good place and the only way to describe it is that you’re in a funk. That was me. And the more isolated I became, the deeper the funk. I actually said these things in my head. “It doesn’t matter if I go or not, it’s not like I know anyone.” “It’s just one event, no one will notice if I go.” How many of you know that the enemy loves to isolate people? Because when he can isolate you, he has you captive to speak lies and deceive you. What else happens when you’re isolated? You don’t give yourself a chance to meet people, to get lifted up and encouraged, and you allow your own fears to rule and run your life. And again, the enemy has exactly what he wants. He will feed you with things like, “What if I go to the new members class and there’s no one like me?” Can I stop you right here, and tell you that there’s no one like you, and that that is a good thing? “What if there’s that awkward silence?” “What if everybody is just doing that fake ‘nice’ thing?”  And the enemy wins again. You, and your gifts, stay home.

I think we all need to take a realistic look of how the Lord views us. You and I are unique. We are a gift from God. He does not make mistakes, I assure you. If you are an introvert, rejoice. This means that you are probably very good at sitting down and talking with people and getting to know them, while people like me (uhm..) have a tendency to get fidgety and want to work the room in hopes of making sure I’ve had a chance to say hi to everyone. This is good. The extroverts and introverts must work together as a team, not competition! We all need each other.

 

Look in the mirror before you leave your house today and say these words: I am a gift. There is only one of me. God made me unique. When I am away, I am missed, and that is good.

I no longer filter those words of someone noticing I wasn’t there as them being religious and noticing every time I’m missing (and if they are, well, that’s between them and God, isn’t it?). I’m accountable to Him for what I do with my time, not man.

Just remember today if you catch yourself asking if it really matters when you’re not there- you matter. You make a difference. Some of you have a strong presence of joy on you when you enter a room- don’t keep that all to yourself! Share it, it is a gift to others. Some of you carry Gods peace wherever you go. Don’t keep it at home, there just might be someone at that event or gathering that needs to feel a little of that peace. Someone needed to be reminded of this today. Without you, Gods piece of the puzzle is missing and its just not complete! Go out today giving away the gifts He has given you and watch them multiply. Share your joy, share your gift of conversation, share your wisdom, spread your peace, and rejoice in the fact that there is no one exactly like you! How boring would it be if we were all the same? Thankfully we have creative Father who has made us to celebrate our differences instead of criticize them! So what are you waiting for? You are a gift! Go give yourself away!

Lord, anoint me to be used by you today. Thank you for these gifts you have given me- help me to not hide them, but to use them freely, as you would please. And thank you, that you have made me a gift to bring you glory. Amen

You are a manager of the gifts God has given to you. They may be great or small in your eyes, but they matter to God. “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful” 1 Corinthians 4:2 (NIV)

Encouraging Yourself in the Lord

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There are very few things more harmful than to expect from another human being what only God can supply. Ken Davis

Have you ever had one of those mornings? You know what I’m talking about. Your kids know what I am talking about. Let me start off by telling you about my morning. Actually, let’s back up a few days. First day of school- I was over prepared (so proud). We left way early. Everyone was at peace. Day two was about the same as day one. I had pre-packed their lunches the night before. I laid out their uniforms. I packed their P.E. clothes in their backpacks. I put their names on their water bottles for P.E. I knew what I was making for breakfast and had all the ingredients needed to make pancakes. Day three was pretty good. Then came today. Day Four. I should have done a laundry load with uniforms, but I didn’t. I should have gone to the grocery store the night before, but I didn’t. I should have purchased my sons uniform shorts like I was going to- but I didn’t. I should have at least pre-packed lunches (then I would have realized our food shortage) but, you guessed it, I didn’t! And as you can only imagine, I had one of those mornings!

I awoke (thank goodness had my quiet time or who knows how bad it could have been!). I quickly realized we were out of milk for cereal and eggs for, well, eggs. My pancake recipe called for eggs, so that didn’t work. I was out of fresh fruit, so I resorted to yogurt. Complete with pre-teen attitude and all, “ugh, yogurt mom?” Yes, hunny, yogurt- eat it! (Of course, said in love. Ha!) My 8-year-old son Joel was wearing shorts that obviously were not his size and came near his ankles, but luckily, a belt kept them intact. I then decided to rummage through the dirty clothes to find his one pair that sort of fit (suck it in baby!). Then comes the assembling of the lunches. I always put in 5 items- drink, fruit, small sweet item, chip, and main item like sandwich. Today, I wasn’t out of everything (thank you Lord!) but I did have to make Nutella sandwiches & peanut butter and jelly, which I’ve already done this week and we’re only on day 4 (and also comes with no shortage of pre-teen attitude, “A sandwich again?” God bless her). So finally, 8:00 comes and we are ready to run (literally) out that door. We heard the train and that’s never a good sign because that means we have to wait an additional 7-10 minutes if the train is coming. And wouldn’t you know it, but as we opened the front door (no joke) it started raining cats and dogs (not literally). What’s worse, my van is old and both (yes, both) of the door handles are broken off of the kid’s sliding doors. Stay with me here. We were nothing short of a comedy scene for the average observer! So thankful God isn’t posting this one on Youtube! The kids ran out. I also ran out to click unlock on key ring, and then run back in to look for their rain jackets. The kids ran back in, and I ran out and yelled, “it’s unlocked, go!” But usually they have to climb over the driver seat to unlock the sliding door to the back- let’s just say, we were all a little wet and frazzled by this point! And just like Humpty Dumpty, it felt as if my morning had come tumbling down. And then as I drove, I said, “wow, what a morning!” And my kids didn’t even need to say a word- their silence was loud enough. Then I prayed for their day as I always do on the way to school, but included myself in that prayer today.

So, back to my original question, have you ever had one of those mornings or one of those days? I think we can all answer, unequivocally, shout it from the rooftops, yes! Unfortunately for Humpty Dumpty, there was no one that could put him back together again. But fortunately for us, there is!  I know for some of us we have days where we would like to hide under a rock, and just see if we could start all over again tomorrow. But I want to challenge you today, just as I have had to challenge myself. What if instead of crawling under a rock and just ‘hoping’ tomorrow gets better, what if we crawled under The Rock and put our hope in Him? Psalms 18:2- The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.  Psalms 31:2- Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.

Truth is, we all go through stuff, whether self inflicted or others inflicted. We are humans, imperfect, living in a fallen world. I am not here to show people that I live a perfect life, because I don’t. I am here to show people I serve a perfect God who is more than able to meet my every need. I know sometimes when we’re going through something our first impulse is to look to people to meet those needs. We scour the blogs, Facebook, and Twitter searching for something to hold on to. And don’t get me wrong- God uses people. I believe God uses their writings and scriptures posted as a source of encouragement, but I also believe God would want us to look to Him for ourselves (not always depending on other people). That we would know for ourselves, not just because of someone else, but for ourselves, that we would taste and see that the Lord is good and that He truly is who he says He is. Hebrews 5:12- You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s Word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.

Please know my heart here. I am preaching to the choir. I know me (okay, that sounds weird!). I know that I can be prone to pick up the next big book, or the next best Christian this or Christian that. I wonder if God ever looks down and says, “Okay Celeste, just let Me know whenever you’re done looking to everyone else for advice, I’m here.” I believe God has blessed us with an abundance of amazing tools to ‘help’ us in our walk like teachings, blogs, books, and articles. And I will always be a fan- always.

But the question I have for you today is this- what is your source? Or, better yet, ‘who’ is your source? At what point will we seek Him first for guidance, wisdom, direction, and ultimately peace?  And usually, if we seek Him first, we see different things throughout our day that confirms what He’s already spoken to us, whether it is a scripture someone’s posted or an article that really hit home. Matthew 6:33- But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Right there in God’s Word, BUT SEEK HIM FIRST.

I am going to tell you something that might shock you, so listen closely. You are just as able to hear from God as a pastor or someone in an area of ministry. True story. Before you decide to throw out all of your Joyce Meyer CD’s and stop going to church, listen- as the body of Christ we need these people, and we need each other. Ephesians 4:11- Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers (and we could add writers, bloggers, etc.)Why, do we need them you ask? Ephesians 4:16- He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. So, in a nutshell, in order to be healthy & growing, we will always need each other. But don’t ever discount your ability to seek the Lord for His encouragement, guidance, and direction for yourself.

Ok, let’s get practical here because I’m a practical girl who needs practical steps! These are just some ways to hear from Him on your own.

1)   Time- Set side time each morning to spend with Him.

2)   Location- Have a spot where you always keep your quiet time essentials so your not wasting time on gathering items.

3)   Reading plan- Whether it’s a one-year Bible, or a book in the Bible you want to read all the way through (there are many reading plans online too). The point here is to have some direction in your quiet time.

4)   Study-There are many study helps out there that help us if we are unclear what a particular passage means. Online, Bible Gateway is one of my favorites. A commentary is used right alongside your Bible. If you’re not sure who wrote the book, or the date, or unsure of the meaning- you can usually look it up in a commentary. This just helps to have deeper meaning of the scripture.

5)   Record your journey– Have a pen & journal handy. If a certain scripture pops out, write it down. Thank Him for His Word for you that day! Sometimes it helps to have a journal to reflect back on the journey.

6)   Pray- Talk to Him about your needs and the needs of others. Just be real, He already knows us even better than we know ourselves!

7)   Worship- I like to put on praise and worship and just sing to Him. It’s amazing what happens when we just let go and give Him the glory, thank Him, and love on Him for a bit. Invite His presence.

8)   Listen- Sometimes I will just sit there after talking and be still. We need to shut the world out and get quiet before the Lord. There have been times when He comes in and just fills me up with such a peace. It takes practice to quiet our hearts before the Lord, but He will bless that time.

9)   Mediate- If you like me had your quiet time and still had a rough morning, it is ok.  Find scriptures to chew on throughout the day. Write down scriptures that remind you of Gods goodness, Gods faithfulness, God’s promises. His Word is powerful and as we meditate on His Word, it changes us. His Word changes our perspective and the way we view things.

These are just some suggestions of ways that you can hang out with Him and hear from Him. There is no set formula, no wrong or right way. He knows our hearts. I am desperate for Him and for more of His presence. I want to be a person that runs to Him when I’m feeling anxious or nervous or insecure (or if I’ve had a bad day). I want Him to be my portion; my more than enough. I want to cultivate that seeking of Him in my own life. If you’re like me, hungry and thirsty for more of Him, just know that He has promised us that if we seek Him, we will find Him. If we get in the habit of seeking Him first, everything else will just be confirmation. Are you done drinking the milk yet? Rumor has it there is plenty of meat to be had!

Lord, I thank you for the many people you have gifted in the area of speaking and writing and encouraging. What amazing gifts they have! But I do pray that you would help us to seek you first before always running everywhere else and that you would teach us how to find our encouragement in you. I pray that you would open our ears to be able to hear from you. Help us to set aside time to cultivate our hearts towards you and the things of you. Let us grow in wisdom and understanding of your Word. We will thank you Lord for your peace, for your presence, for the power your Holy Spirit in us. We love You Lord, we are hungry and thirsty- fill us up with more of you and less of this world. Thank you that you are our Rock and our refuge- and it is you who puts us back together again. Amen

 

Isaiah 45:19- I publicly proclaim bold promises. I do not whisper obscurities in some dark corner. I would not have told the people of Israel to seek me if I could not be found. I, the Lord, speak only what is true and declare only what is right.