Day 55 -Encouragement Required…

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11

I was reminded by a Pastor friend of mine recently that I could be a source of encouragement to others.  His response caught me off guard because I had been complaining and feeling discouraged myself.  At that moment when I had felt defeated, he spoke words to me that was not only what I needed to hear, but it also took me out of the funk that I was feeling within my little pity-party.  This Pastor friend told me to look around and find people who needed encouragement, and to be that encouragement I was looking for in others towards them.  It got me thinking, how much different the world would be if we all were looking out for each other and going out of our way to encourage.

youWe might not know what THAT person is facing or going through, but just by being an encourager can make all of the difference!  A few kind words might be all that is needed.  Perhaps praying with them or for them will be your way of encouraging them.  Whatever it might be, do it…step out there and go out of your way to reassure someone that God loves them and you do too.  A little bit of love goes a long way.

Homework assignment today:  Look up.  Look out, and go to someone you may or may not know and encourage them in some way, shape or form.

Prayer:  Lord grant me your eyes to see the needs of those around me today and this weekend.  Help me to share your love with those I come in contact with.  Thank you for encouraging me, now help me to encourage others.  In your name I pray these things.
-Amen.

New Things, New Year’s Brings!

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Many people want a clean slate.  Some are hoping to just get through this year and with breaths of relief cruise into a new year, hopefully less bruised and battered.  It is almost 2014, can you believe it?  For some this year flew by (I would be in that crowd), while for others it slowly, geriatrically creeped by.  

Perhaps some look forward to that big New Year’s day bash, while others will happily avoid the festivities and regale themselves with a cup of tea and a good book before falling asleep well before the clock strikes midnight.  3-2-1…Happy New Year!!  

I, for one, have a tough time when getting to the new year and writing that “2014” on the checks from my check book…I’m sure I’m not the only one…anyway I digress.  

What will 2014 have in store for you?  Do you have dreams and hopes to plunge into?  Have you already filled your calendar with them?  I’m not much of a long range planner, but I do have some aspirations for the new year.  

ASPIRATIONS: 

as·pi·ra·tion

 noun \ˌas-pə-ˈrā-shən\

 
Definition of ASPIRATION
1
:  audible breath that accompanies or comprises a speech sound

 

:  the pronunciation or addition of an aspiration; also :  the symbol of an aspiration

2
:  a drawing of something in, out, up, or through by or as if by suction: as

 

:  the act of breathing and especially of breathing in

 

:  the withdrawal of fluid or tissue from the body

 

:  the taking of foreign matter into the lungs with the respiratory current

3
a :  a strong desire to achieve something high or great
 
There we go, #3 in the dictionary…something to achieve…this is the kind of aspiration I’m talking about.  
 
Here is my bucket list for 2014…(AKA my bucket of aspiration) 
 
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1) I want to write better and increase this audience: 
I know, perhaps it sounds ambitious, but we need things to aspire to and I want to become a better writer as well as help others along the way within the content of what I write…so here goes!  
 
2) I want to improve my preaching and my application of the Word!  
It goes without saying that ministry is tough and there will be times when I won’t have all the time I would like to write my sermons but my desire is to dedicate more time the application of method of my sermon writing. 
 
3) To stop and take in God’s beauty more. 
I love the outdoors, I enjoy photography as well as poetry and this year I would like to stop and just relish the beauty of God’s creation around me.  In the process of taking time for 1 & 2 I want to be able to look up from my computer or my books and spend time in the nature around me, to truly appreciate it more and say “thank you” more often to the Lord of these provisions.  
 
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4) Be all I can be as a good parent. 
I have four kids who need good parental role models and I can (and should) strive to be that to them as their father.  God blessed me with these four wonderful humans and it is both my responsibility as well as my Wife’s responsibility to bring them up properly.  I aspire to be a better parent in 2014.  
 
 
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5) Be all I can be as a Husband.
My Wife deserves it, and I can and should show the love of my life how a husband can cherish and love his wife!  She deserves my best effort and love as well as attention to her every needs.  I aspire in 2014 to win “Husband of the year”…okay maybe that’s pushing it, but hey the sky’s the limit!  🙂  
 
Anyway, new things, new year’s brings…it’s simple…take time, appreciate life, and contribute positively to it in ways that God has blessed you through gifts, insight, and abilities.  Remember life isn’t only about what you’ll get out of it, life is far more rewarding if we all include others first into the grand scheme of our perspectives.  
 
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God Bless you, and Happy (Pre)  New Years!  Now get aspiring!  

For Today. (Poem & Prayer)

Lord, today I confess I’m struggling 

my heart not brave enough for the fight 

how can I be your light of encouragement 

when this heaviness weighs groaning on me? 

You know me better than I know myself

all of my heart aches, heart breaks, 

heart’s yearnings and attacks. 

Today, though I don’t feel like it

I will serve You.  

I can’t hide, or fake it…I can’t fool you!

Ignite in me, again your passion

blow into flame this desire

set my hopes and dreams aflame

ignition begins again on my knees

in prayer.  

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Give us today our daily bread

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Do you know where your next meal is coming from?  Do you wonder how your next month’s rent or car payment or other bill is going to get paid?  Our basic essentials in life obviously come because we can pay for things…right?  What we make at our jobs generally helps to pay for our lifestyles.  Sometimes, though we realize that we have not been living within our means when we run up a credit card or lease/buy a vehicle that we cannot afford the payments on.  Living within our means forces us to realize that we ought to separate our needs from our wants.

When we pray to our Father in heaven the way Jesus has instructed us in what we call “the Lord’s prayer” what we realize is that we are placing our entire being, fully surrendered, at the foot of God himself.  When we pray “give us today our daily bread” we are not praying for tomorrow’s supplies or tomorrow’s worries, we are strictly and implicitly focusing on what is right before us within this very day.  Who knows what tomorrow holds, but when we focus on God, his might and power and his kingdom, we can’t but help realize that He is ultimately in control over our basic needs.

When we pray this portion of ‘the Lord’s prayer’ we quickly realize that it’s not our wants that He will supply but our needs.  What is it that you need today?  What do you struggle with daily?  Have you prayed about it?  Is it really a need or is it a want?  “Daily bread” isn’t necessarily the food that we eat but every human supply of our needs is included here.  God is supremely over all and through all!  When we come to this conclusion even the little things in life are blessings given to us by God and we ought to thank Him for these daily…even moment by moment.

Do you have needs?  Are you lacking today?  Have you prayed about it?  Are you surrendering it all to your Father in Heaven?  Consider the works of His hands today and consider how blessed we are because He can and will provide for us the things that we need.

In the hopefully’s and the maybes (A Poem)

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Walking past the old mailbox

and thinking of how many times 

I’ve traversed there to collect 

the metered mail, the junk mail

the birthday cards and solicitations, 

it’s raining again today

making it feel like an old sock 

worn too thin with holes in the heel 

the sun has yet to make an appearance 

as another round of thunder peels off

into the distance like an encore far away 

yet close enough to hear…

in these solemn moments

when all is silent in the house

stepping back into it, making the door

creak shut, trying not to disturb

the slumbering home with its constant

creaks and whirrs and electric hums

brick and mortar snoring in this sleepy  

corner of the block.  

Casting one last glance outside

I imagine far different days than these

days in which we try to grasp, 

hold onto for dear life, treasure deeply

breathe in their fragrances 

yet they disappear far too soon

but the magic is never too far away

it still resounds, a myriad of choral sounds

beckoning us back to a place that will never

come.

Still we sigh, casting out our hopes and dreams

into a net of maybes and hopefully’s as I shut the door

tomorrow steps up to the front stoop

and begins its knocking.  

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