Tag Archive | encouragement

Step 6 – Enjoy the Rewards – Reward #3

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Reward #3 – Enjoy the Encouragement

Who doesn’t want to hear an encouraging word from God? We all desire His unfailing love. There’s a God-shaped hole inside each of us only He can fill. He designed it that way. Sensing unmet needs, we search for things that will satisfy us: love, relationships, food, alcohol, drugs, material possessions, independence, wealth, success, and recognition. When we acquire and achieve those things, however, we remain empty and unsatisfied. We continue to yearn for the one thing that will bring us long-lasting happiness and fulfillment.

God created human beings with a hunger and thirst only He can satisfy. He wants us to be dependent on Him for everything. He wants to be in close relationship with each of us. Only God can love us perfectly and completely. No human being can match the love He has for you and for me. Nothing can satisfy our longings except the One who placed those desires in our hearts. Food, alcohol, and drugs bring temporary satisfaction until the effects have worn off, leaving us craving more. Material possessions and wealth provide the illusion of happiness for a time. However, some of the richest people in the world experience poverty in their spirits. Money and personal belongings do not bring lasting joy. Success and fame are achieved through long hours of hard work and dedication, often leaving little time for relationships and an unbearable loneliness.

As stated earlier, God used my depressive episodes to get my attention. He wanted me to experience more of Him, so He could fill me up with His love, encouragement, and companionship. I exude gratefulness as I remember how God worked through my Christian mentor to fascinate me with a new and exciting relationship with Jesus. I received spiritual guidance on how to get close to God by listening to His voice. It was the best thing He could have done for me. It sparked my interest in pursuing a deeper, more intimate relationship with my Lord.

In my depressed and dejected state of mind, I had a very low opinion of myself. I felt unattractive, unappreciated, unwanted, and unloved. Each time I met with God, He rebuilt my soul with kind, encouraging words. In our daily conversations, God told me what I meant to Him. He informed me I’m made in His image and He doesn’t make mistakes. He stated I’m beautiful on the outside and the inside. He reminded me He wanted me and loved me before He created the world. He showed me how precious I am to Him and how much He enjoys spending time with me. He demonstrated my value as His creation, and He revealed my worth as His heir. He delivered me from my enemy, Satan. He liberated me from captivity. He refined me and equipped me to carry out His purpose for creating me. He helped me see myself through His eyes.

Below is one of my Quiet Time journal entries. I hope you find God’s words encouraging for yourself, too. My thoughts are written in regular text and God’s words to me are italicized.

Journal Entry on 10/09/2004

Lord, I read through yesterday’s journal. I see You want to be involved in everything I do, even the small stuff. Lord, would You help me remember to let You in and check with You on everything throughout the day? Please speak to me today. I would love to hear from You.

O My daughter, I love you. I love to listen to you share your heart with Me. I want to hear from you all day long. I want you to share every emotion, every struggle with Me. I want you to breathe a prayer to Me all day long. Pray without ceasing. Let Me in on everything. Nothing is too small for Me. I want to know all the details. When you seek Me and trust in Me this way, you will experience the kind of intimacy your heart desires. I am your Father, your friend, the lover of your soul. I desire to dance every step of your life with you, but I will not force you to spend time with Me. I wait for you to desire it too and find your way to Me. Then I’ll welcome you with open arms, embrace you, and lead you through the dance of your life. I’m always with you—not just in the morning. You can talk to Me all day long. I expectantly wait to hear from you. I love you, and I long to spend time with you. Give Me a chance. You won’t believe what you will feel. It will be better than anything you could imagine. I’ll be right here waiting for you. I love you.

I love You too, Lord. I want what You want. Please help me get there.

 

Before and during my depression, my fire for life had burned down to a mere ember. Meeting with God daily and listening to His voice ignited a new fire of passion in me for knowing the living God who dwells in me. When you recognize and hear God’s voice on a regular basis, it brings new meaning to an otherwise dull, lifeless existence.

Let God be the fuel for your heart’s fire. Listen to what He says to you. As Paul stated in 2 Thessalonians 2:16, let God’s words to you “encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” Make time to meet with God daily. Enjoy the encouragement, and let God love you. Discover the deeper, long-lasting joy that comes from being obedient to the Holy Spirit’s instruction.

Click here to order this book now.

Book One in Hearing God's Voice Series

Book One in Hearing God’s Voice Series

Step 6 – Enjoy the Rewards – Reward #1

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Step 6 – Enjoy the Rewards

Hearing God’s voice for the first time resembles discovering a buried treasure. God’s amazing treasure chest holds at least seven priceless jewels.

7 Rewards of Hearing God’s Voice

Healing

Forgiveness

Encouragement

Instruction

Conviction

Wisdom

Peace

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Reward #1 – Absorb the Healing

My first depression plagued me most severely. The word shattered best describes the way depression feels to me. I felt shattered into a thousand pieces on the inside, held together only by my skin. I appeared completely normal from the outside, but I felt weak, fragile, and broken on the inside. Looking back, I now know God allowed me to hit rock bottom so I had nowhere else to turn but to Him. He permitted me to hit rock bottom, but He didn’t leave me there alone.

Through Christian counseling, God showed me what kept me from the life He intended for me. I had to confront my past. I had to be delivered from the bondage of my belief in Satan’s lies before I could effectively relate to God and worship Him with all my heart. I did the work of digging into my childhood to figure out what caused me to be stuck in this life.

We all have emotional wounds. Some of them are given to us by people we love and people who love us. My most major emotional wound came from believing lies in the words my mom used about me. I’m sure she didn’t intend to wound me, but Satan used the things she said to deceive me into believing his lies. As a young girl, I remember my mom telling other people of me, “She was an accident.” I heard my mom say I was an accident many, many times. Those words stabbed deep into my little girl heart. Those words gave me my identity:

I am an accident. I am not wanted. I am not loved.

Notice how Satan used the words, “You are an accident,” and twisted them to accuse me of his lies: “You are not wanted; you are not loved.” In John 8:44, Jesus exposed the devil’s ways: “When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” The enemy wanted me to believe lies that would keep me in bondage so I could not become all God wanted me to be, and I fell for it like a boulder plummeting down a mountainside.

Knowing I was unwanted caused me to become a people-pleaser. My entire life was driven by my desire to be needed and loved. My constant striving to satisfy and delight everyone required me to give large chunks of myself away. The more I gave, the more empty, unloved, and unappreciated I felt. My zest for life slowly drained out of me, leaving me unfulfilled and unhappy. I had a decent life, but if it equaled the life God had planned for me, I wasn’t sure I wanted to live. I had everything I needed and wanted, yet I lacked something. What I had was not enough to carry me through emotionally.

By believing the father of lies, I had let the deceit of Satan rule in my heart. God allowed me to experience depression so I would seek Him for help, answers, and healing. God wanted me to confront the emotional wounds from my past so He could wrap me in His blanket of light. God used my counseling as the venue where He performed the emotional healing I needed.

My counselor and I would spend time in inner healing prayer, bringing my wounds before Christ and asking Him to replace the lies I believed with the truth. Jesus showed me His presence in my childhood memories. He Himself told me of His great love for me and revealed the truth about me and the circumstances of my birth. He crushed the lies of the enemy. God planned me from the beginning; I was no accident. He wanted me and loved me.

This experience compelled me to trust Jesus even more. He is the way, the truth, and the life. The voice of Jesus in my memories transformed my life. When you are set straight by the God of the universe, it’s a permanent healing. It’s a healing you can’t get from counseling alone or from anything anyone else says to you. When God Himself meets you in your memories, shows you His presence in your life, speaks about how much He loves you, and couples it with strong, truthful feelings in your heart, it changes everything.

My beliefs about my own identity began to change. It no longer mattered that my mom didn’t want me, because the God of the universe planned me before He created the world. He wants me and loves me. I am His child, created in His image. I am a high priority to Him. My existence is important to Him. He wants to spend forever showing me how much He loves me. I know He feels the same about you.

God does speak to you in your thoughts. He can use your memories to bring you emotional healing and to show you His presence throughout your whole life. Come to Him, and quiet yourself enough to listen to what He has to say. He will enlighten you with His truth, replacing the darkness of the lies you believe.

In John 8:36, Jesus says, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” I live a new life of freedom—a better life—because Christ set me free from my emotional prison, the bondage of the lies I held onto. That’s what Jesus came here to do—to “set the captives free.” (See Isaiah 61:1-3.) He is the truth.

Jesus Christ already won the battle over Satan, sin, and death with His obedience even unto death on the cross. God raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in heaven to rule over everything here on earth and in all eternity. God saved us by His grace, raised us up with Christ, and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms. Satan has been given his place already. He now resides under the feet of Christ, below His authority and below the authority of Christ’s body, the church, which includes all believers.

I believe in Christ; therefore, I have Jesus’ power and authority over Satan, sin, and death. Through the Holy Spirit living in me, I have the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. If you believe in Jesus, so do you. Exercise authority and stand firm in the finished work of Christ, believing the truth. Resist the devil, and don’t be trapped by His snares of falsehood and temptation. Don’t give him more power than God has given Him. You are alive in Christ! Live in the grace and authority of Christ so you may carry out the work God prepared in advance for you to do. (See Ephesians 2:4-10.)

Through inner healing prayer and conversations with God, He spoke sincere, truthful words to me, healing the deepest wounds of my heart. He exposed my childhood belief in the deceit Satan had fabricated in my heart and mind. He gave me a new identity: “I am a child of God; He wants me and loves me.” Not only did my thinking change, but Jesus Christ Himself engraved it on my heart. He showed me the truth, and the truth set me free. God loves me more than I will ever comprehend, and He wanted me, even before He created the world. He feels the same about you.

God wants you and loves you very much. He desires to spend time with you daily in two-way conversation. Make time to listen to His voice and absorb His healing words.

When you have some time to yourself, seek God and ask Him to replace the lies you believe in your heart with His perfect truth. Ask for His protection from your enemy. Listen to His voice of truth in your thoughts. Confirm what you hear by finding God’s truth in His Word, the Bible. Spend time developing a deeper intimacy with Him. Ask Him what He wants to teach you. Absorb the healing He gives! Then find it in your heart to forgive the one(s) who hurt you.

Click here to order this book now.

Book One in Hearing God's Voice Series

Book One in Hearing God’s Voice Series

 

 

The Perfect Parent – Encouragement for Moms

“Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him.” (Deuteronomy 30:20, NIV)

My precious daughter, you are the apple of My eye. I am captivated by your beauty, both inside and out. You are made in My image. I am the God of love, joy, peace, patience, and perseverance. These are the same attributes you need most to parent your children well.

Love

My love for you is unconditional. I love you no matter what you do or don’t do, what you say or don’t say. Nothing you do can make Me love you less. Nothing you do can make Me love you more. My great love for you is unchangeable. I love you longer, higher, deeper, and wider than you will ever grasp.

Likewise, you must love your children in the same manner. Love them no matter what they do or don’t do, what they say or don’t say. Nothing they do or don’t do should make you love them less.

My love for them shines through you, when your love for them is unwavering. Let them see My great love for them in your words and actions.

Joy

My joy is your strength. Seek Me and I will fill you with joy and peace as you trust in Me wholeheartedly. By the power of My Holy Spirit, you will overflow with joy in all areas of life, even in the difficult times.

Children bring great joy to a home. Savor the joyful times, and recall them when facing the challenges. A spirit of hope and joy is the result of confidence in Me. Trust in Me with all your heart, and find sweet joy in your faith. When you know and believe I am in control of all things, the heaviness in your heart fades and gives way to joy and expectation. I will not fail you. Trust in Me, joyfully, and draw on the strength My Spirit brings you.

Peace

Jesus is the Prince of Peace. When you accept Jesus into your heart and walk with Him, His Spirit lives inside you. You have the peace of Christ living in you. To experience peace, simply look deep within your heart and you will find it. Get in touch with My Spirit that dwells in you, and find the peace you long for.

This is the peace that passes all comprehension. You may experience My peace, even in the midst of your trials and challenges. When you are angry and frustrated with your children, seek My peace within. No matter the current test, spend a few moments alone with Me, and draw on My peace. I am with you always. Then deal with your children from a spirit of peacefulness.

Patience

Where there is wisdom, patience is found. When you seek My wisdom for childrearing, you will discover a greater measure of endurance for the task. In wisdom, you will handle the challenges with patient tolerance and unwavering determination.

The outcome of your confrontation will be determined by your patience in the battle. When your patience is tested to its limits, reach within your soul and receive power from My Holy Spirit. Breathe a silent prayer to Me and receive what you are in need of at the moment. Pause to take a deep breath, inhaling My peace and exhaling more patience.

Perseverance

Parenting requires perseverance and consistency. Let Me determine your steps, and then, devote yourself to the cause. Trust in Me with all your heart. Do not operate solely from your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Me and I will instruct you on the right course. (See Proverbs 3:5-6)

When you seek Me and listen to My voice, I will direct all your steps, big and small. Ask Me, and I will let you in on the plans I have laid out for you. Then you may parent with confidence and a firm resolve, knowing that your wisdom comes from Me. Persist in the major battles, and let go of the minor conflicts. Draw on the strength of My Spirit as you proceed on the path of My will for you and your children.

Battles with children are a test of the wills. Whose desire shall prevail? When you are confident that your desires align with My will, persevere in the battle. Press on toward the goal, and do not surrender.

In Summary

You cannot do any of this successfully in your own strength. You must rely on Me. I am the vine, you are the branch. Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. Apart from Me you can do nothing. (See John 15) Remain in close relationship with Me by spending time with Me. Yes, talk to Me, but also, listen to Me. I have so much to say to you.

When you make time to listen to Me, you will receive My encouragement, my wisdom, and my guidance for all areas of your life, including your parenting. I am waiting patiently for you to seek Me, know Me, listen to My voice, and hold fast to Me. I am the perfect parent and I will help you parent well.

Make Me your first priority. Seek Me before everything else. Spend time with Me daily, away from all noise and confusion. Draw your wisdom, strength, and power from Me. Receive your hope and confidence from your Father above.

Emotionally and spiritually healthy children come from emotionally and spiritually healthy parents. Maintain a healthy, spiritually intimate relationship with Me that will be seen and passed down to your children and their children. It is My greatest desire to be in constant two-way communication and relationship with each of My children, including you. Learn to listen to My voice and receive everything you stand in need of. Now choose life and hold fast to Me.