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Archive for the ‘Encouragement’ Category

Dear Friends,

I used to get offended when people would tell me that I was “religious.” I choose to not get offended anymore because I now know that most people don’t know the difference between being religious and simply being a Christian. The dictionary describes the word religious as someone that is concerned with religion, a person exhibiting religion, or someone associated with a religion. Jesus was not happy with the religious leaders because they were proud of knowing religion but in their hearts they didn’t love God. Paul says in Romans 2: 23 (NLT) “You are so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonor God by breaking it.” Paul also says in Romans 5:9 (NLT) “And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s judgment. For since we were restored to friendship with God by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be delivered from eternal punishment by his life. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God—all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us in making us friends of God.”

I am not a religious person, I am simply a Christian. What does that mean? Simply that I am a follower of Jesus Christ. He is my friend and I have a personal relationship with Him. I LOVE Jesus and I will forever (literally – for eternity) be grateful to Him for dying on the cross for my sins so I could have eternal life with Him in heaven. There is nothing that I can do nor will ever be able to do to repay Him or to earn salvation. It is a gift. And we can only obtain it through faith by God’s grace.

Paul says in Romans 10:8-11 (NLT), “Salvation that comes from trusting Christ—which is the message we preach—is already within easy reach. In fact, the Scriptures say, ‘The message is close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.’ For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.”

So today I encourage you to take that step and invite Jesus into your heart. The letter from Paul to the Romans is one of the best books to understand the message of salvation so I encourage you to read it. Having Jesus as your friend will help you get through the struggles of life. I will leave you today with what Paul said to the Romans in Chapter 5:3 (NLT), “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation.” When bad things happen to you, remember that God did not cause them nor allowed them, but He will be there for you and help you get through them.

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Dear Friends,

The world we live in has a lot of distractions so we must stay focused on what it is we really want to do with our lives. Our work and career is part of our lives so we need to choose carefully the types of jobs we want to pursue and stay on the path that best suits us.

Today I want to share a devotional from my book, Devotions for Working Women, that will encourage you to stay on your path—the path that God has set before you and where you will reach your own promise land. Enjoy!

Stay On Your Path

# 250

Deuteronomy 5:32-33 (NLT)

You must obey all the commands of the Lord your God, following his instructions in every detail. Stay on the path that the Lord your God has commanded you to follow. Then you will live long and prosperous lives in the land you are about to enter and occupy.

 

I believe the words of encouragement Moses told the people of Israel still apply to us today. If we break down this verse into smaller pieces, we can see the first thing to do is to stay on the path. This means don’t divert to the right or to the left. Don’t look back either, only move forward on the path “that the Lord your God,” not anybody else, not your parents, not your spouse, not your boss, or your friends, has “commanded” you. God commands a path for each one of us that we must follow and obey.

It is also important to know that God is into details, as verse 32 clearly states. His path for each person is very detailed—to our every moment here on earth. The key is for us to know the details of His plan and then to obey and act in faith on every detail and step He asks us to do.

We all miss details on a daily basis because we are human. But, that’s okay. God is merciful, and He helps us through the Holy Spirit and forgives us when we repent from our heart.

Even in this messed up world, there is a Promised Land for you that you can only enter with God’s direction and protection and by your faith and obedience. Your ideal job is part of your Promised Land. Don’t give up. Stay on your path.

 

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Dear Friends,

True friends go through different experiences together. You could say that they “experience life” together in many ways. True friends laugh together and also cry together.

If you recently experienced the loss of a loved one, know that your true and closest friends are suffering with you. You are not alone. Your true friends want into your heart and be there with you while you go through the grief. So I urge you to reach out and share your suffering with your close friends and family—those you know that truly care for you. Just as your true friends want you to share your good news when you get a new job, get engaged, are expecting a baby, receive a promotion or anything else that is good in your life, they also want to be included in your life when something bad happens.

Today I want to encourage you to seek out God and remember that He will get you through your grief and distress. I would like to share a devotional from my book Devotions for Working Women that will encourage you to continue your race while you hang on to God and share your life with your true friends.

Dealing with Grief and Distress

# 94

Psalm 31:9 (NLT)

Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am in distress. My sight is blurred because of my tears. My body and soul are withering away.

During the course of our lives, we experience times of great distress and situations when we feel we are withering away from grief. Losing our job can create great pain for us because our work is a major part of our lives. Yet the loss of a loved one could be much more impacting in our working life. When we lose someone to death like a child, our spouse, a parent, or a close friend, it creates a wound in our heart that only God can heal. Divorce, separation, or a child leaving home prematurely can also be as catastrophic.

These events change our lives forever, and it is in those moments that grief can settle into our hearts. It is normal to go through a grieving period, but we cannot stay there too long because it is deadly for us just as David said in verse 10, “I am dying from grief; my years are shortened by sadness. Misery has drained my strength; I am wasting away from within.”

Even though we never forget tragic or sad events, we need to move on and let go of the grief and pain. We must continue the race God has set for each one of us and finish it. There are two things we need to do. First, just as David never gave up trusting God and kept running to Him for protection and comfort, we have to trust God that He will help us and lift us up. “So be strong and take courage, all you who put your hope in the Lord!” (v. 24). Secondly, we need to do what Paul did. He said to the people of Philippi, “No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven” (Philippians 3:13-14 NLT).

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Surviving Tragedy

Dear Friends,

What do you tell a friend who just lost her husband today? How do people recover from losing a loved one? Once someone, who had lost a 14 year old son on his 14th birthday, told me that “You never recover. You simple learn to cope.”

We all go through terrible experiences during the course of our lives and I believe we can share those experiences with others to help them get through these situations. But ultimately, we need Jesus in our hearts in order to survive these life changing and hurtful events.

Today, I want to share a devotional from my book, Devotions for Working Women, that brings hope to you if you are going through one of these situations in your life.

I Will Not Be Shaken!

# 124

Psalm 16:8 (NLT)

I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.

When you know in our heart that the Lord is with you, you have a peace that surpasses all understanding. It is the peace of God working in you so you are not shaken.

There are certain life events that can shake you, such as the death of a loved one, the loss of your job, divorce, or living through a natural disaster. If you find yourself living through any of the above situations, know that God is with you. He is right beside you, walking through it with you. He is holding your hand and lighting the way when it’s dark all around you. He is your comforter, your helper, your hope, and the one who loves you more than anyone on this earth.

The Lord Jesus is your Rock. Building your house on the Rock means you build your life based only on the truth of God’s Word. It is doing always what’s right and knowing the foundation is the love of God. Everything He does in your life is founded on His amazing love. In fact, the whole plan of salvation is based on His eternal love for you and desire to be with you forever.

When you build your life, your house, on Him, you will not be shaken when the storms of life come. Your house will stand. When the storm is over, you will still be standing on Him and His Word. It doesn’t matter what it looks like on the outside or around you. You will know where you stand because of what you believe.

Remember these words when you go through a storm in your life. Hang on to the Lord, and you will not be shaken.

 

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Dear Friends,
This week I have been reflecting on “my ways” versus “God’s ways” for my life. Sometimes we make plans for our lives and we are sure that those plans are what God wants for us. But when those plans don’t manifest the way we expected, then we get confused. Were we wrong with our plans? Or should we wait until God’s perfect timing, which is usually not ours? I don’t know what the right answer is but I do know that God’s plans are better than ours. Here is a scripture that helped me in a recent situation. Isaiah 55: 8-9 (NLT) “My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

I also want to share with you one of the devotionals from my book, Devotions for Working Women, that will encourage you to wait on the Lord.

Wait Expectantly on the Lord
# 143
Psalm 5:3 (NLT)

Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.

David’s plea to the Lord was a daily act of faith. Every morning he talked to God and made his requests known to Him. He then waited on God and expected Him to listen to his prayers and answer them. We often treat God as a magician. We tell Him what we want and expect Him to respond immediately, like magic! We don’t wait patiently on Him. Other times we pray to God and don’t even expect Him to hear or answer our prayer. Then we get discouraged and stop asking altogether. We lose our faith in God. Both extremes are wrong. We are to ask God to meet our needs and wait expectantly as David did.

When we wait on the Lord we put our faith, hope, and trust in Him. This act blesses God. He then gives us the grace we need to wait until His answer manifests. We must learn to wait patiently because His timetable is not ours. He knows what’s best for us and that includes the right time. When His timing comes, He will give us a solution better than any we would have thought of on our own.

If you need change in your workplace, a new boss, a different job, or want to change fields, wait expectantly from the Lord. Expect to receive whatever He thinks is best for you, not just what you asked Him for. Once you give your request to Him, sincerely believe in your heart that He will answer your prayer and thank Him in advance for the answer.

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Dear Friends,
Today I want to share with you about the power of forgiveness. We encounter opportunities to get offended almost on a daily basis and it is important to recognize when we carry offense in our hearts. Once we realize we got offended and that we are carrying a grudge against somebody, we then need to go through the process of getting rid of that luggage. How? Simply by forgiving the person that offended us.

I recently experienced this situation and when I chose to forgive that person, a great burden was lifted off my back. It felt like I did leave a piece of luggage behind. My attitude changed, my heart was changed. And then, the situation was turned around completely. Only because God helped me forgive so I could move on. The devotional I have for today from my book, Devotions for Working Women, is a reminder that when we pray, if we want our prayers answered, we must believe but also need to forgive others.

Forgive Before You Ask
# 157

Mark 11:24-25 (NLT)
“Listen to me! You can pray for anything, and if you believe, you will have it. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”

We hear verse 24 all the time. Ask, have faith, and you will get your prayer answered. But we hardly pay attention to an equally or more important thing we must do before praying in faith. “First forgive…,” are the words Jesus used, “…anyone you may be holding a grudge against.” Forgiving others is key to having our prayers answered. Not only that, but if we don’t forgive others, God will not forgive our own sins. Without God’s forgiveness, we are not going to enter His Kingdom. Being unforgiving is destructive in every way—physically, mentally, and spiritually. It is more destructive to our lives than to the person who offended us.

You can ask for anything in faith, but first you must forgive before you can receive your answer. Examine yourself on a daily basis and see if there is anybody who offended you whom you haven’t forgiven yet. Of course, I believe the easier way to do this is to not get offended in the first place. At the moment the offense occurs, you have the choice to take the offense or to let it go. It is a decision you can make in an instant, but if you choose wrong, it can take you the rest of your life to forgive. It will be your baggage and burden for years until you give it to the Lord and have Him take care of it. God is looking for pure hearts and pure hearts don’t have unforgiveness. The workplace is the perfect place to put this into practice on a daily basis, so start today.

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Dear Friends,
Recently, I have not been spending time in prayer as I would want to. When I don’t allocate special time to be with God, I can see how it affects me in several areas of my life. I start being more impatient, less compassionate toward others, and experience less joy in my life. Every so often, I need to recommit my time with the Lord and refocus on Him. When I do that, I can also see the results right away. I am more relaxed, more compassionate and patient with others, and I am simply happier with my life overall.

Today, I want to share with you a devotional from my book, Devotions for Working Women, that will encourage you to spend more time with the Lord in prayer. Enjoy!

Spend Time with the Lord in Prayer
#12

1 Peter 4:7 (NLT)
The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers.

In this verse, Peter is talking to all of God’s chosen people, therefore, he includes us. No matter how successful we are or want to become in business, we cannot prosper without prayer. The Bible says we are to pray earnestly and we are to do it on a consistent basis. Prayer is what connects us to God, our Father. Through prayer we get close to Him, and He gets close to us. Through prayer we get to know the person of God, we receive His blessings, and the revelation of His Word.

We are to live our lives as if Christ is coming back today and as if the end of the world (the church dispensation) is ending soon. The signs of the end of times are evident in these last days. Therefore, spend time with the Lord, and schedule Him in your life as the most important appointment of your day. Just as you protect the time you have allocated for a customer or vendor meeting, or the time you allot for a special training, you need to protect the time you set aside to be with your Father. The meetings with the Lord and your time in prayer will help you succeed in all the areas of your life.

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Dear Friends,
It is hard to keep the faith and continue the fight when you get bad news or when your prayers don’t get answered. But today I want to encourage you to continue and not give up believing God for an answer to your prayers. He does listen to you even though you may not hear back. Today, I would like to share with you a devotional from my book Devotions for Working Women that will encourage you and lift your spirit. Enjoy!

God Does Hear and Answers Our Prayers
#159
Psalm 116:1 (NLT)

I love the Lord because he hears and answers my prayers.

Part of trusting God is knowing in your heart and believing that He does hear your prayers and that He does answer them. What are you praying for lately? What prayers have you been asking God that He has not answered yet? Are you expecting an answer from Him? I encourage you to continue to pray until you see the answer manifested.

Some prayers take longer to be answered than others, due to various reasons. Sometimes we are not ready to receive the answer and we need more preparation. Other times, we don’t fully trust Him to perform what we’re asking. Other times we may not be in His will, and He knows that what we’re asking will harm us.
Every situation is different, every prayer request is different. If you are asking for a new job or for a work situation to be resolved, ask God to give you patience to wait for His perfect timing. If you are feeling He is not answering any of your prayers right now, thank Him for everything He has done for you in the past. This will lift your spirit and encourage you to continue to pray until He answers your prayer.

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Dear Friends,
Today I want to share one of the devotionals from my book Devotions for Working Women that touched my heart when I read it because it reminded me that God is always there for us. Enjoy!

God Helps Us through Grace by Faith
#161
Isaiah 41:10 (NLT)

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

Those are God’s words for His chosen people of Israel. We must grab hold of those promises as well because we are Abraham’s seed by faith. Galatians 3:14 (KJV) says, “The blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

If you have accepted and received Jesus in your heart as your Lord and Savior, then you qualify by faith to receive all of God’s promises to His chosen people. You are a chosen one too.

Read this verse again and capture the depth of this promise. God the Father, the Creator of all, promises to help you, to lift you up when you’re down, to strengthen you when you are weak, and to uphold you with His victorious right hand. What else can you want? He is the answer to all of your problems, hurts, desires, and needs.

It is difficult to believe these promises when you are going through difficult times in your life. But God can help you and get you through. He will give you supernatural grace to withstand the attacks of the enemy and win the fight. It is a special and unique grace to deal with every situation—one at a time. “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9 KJV).

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Dear Friends,
I have not been able to write for several weeks because I went on a two week vacation to Paris, France. During this trip I had time to reflect in my life and on all the gifts that God has given me. Even though I had a great time and Paris is full of beautiful historical buildings, museums, parks, and amazing art, I still think America is the best place in the world to live in. My trip was over the 4th of July so I missed being here to celebrate the birth of our beautiful country. In short, I missed America!

It is still July, which I consider the patriotic month of the year, so take some time today to reflect on the wonderful gift that God has given you by being an American.

The other thought that I reflected on a lot is that it really doesn’t matter where you are in the world. What matters is who you are with in the world. I have a good friend of mine who was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer and when you see life from that perspective, everything changes immediately for you. You start focusing on the things that are truly important in your life—the people you love and your personal relationship with God.

If only we would live with the constant awareness of what’s important, how much more we could accomplish during our time here, how much less we would fight with those we love, how many people we would not hurt along the way, and how much deeper our relationship with God would be. Today, I encourage you to reflect on your life and make changes where you see necessary to focus on what’s truly important and show your love to others.

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