Speaking Words of Encouragement

Recently I went for a much-needed walk around my neighborhood. It was one of those nights when my mind was swirling with the details of life and my heart was heavy. As I walked, I saw an elderly couple that lives down the street. I visit with this couple from time to time, but we are not close friends. We talk about their health (which isn’t good), my kids, and we let our dogs sniff noses.   When I saw this sweet couple in their yard that night, I decided to stop and visit. It was a short visit but …

Receiving Encouragement Requires Courage

  “If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp.” So he and Purah his servant went down to the outposts of the camp.” Judges 6: 10-11 Do you see the irony here? If you’re afraid with only 300, take just one and sneak up into harm’s way. God is offering to reassure Gideon, but even the means to receive the reassurance requires an extraordinary step of faith. If caught, surely they would be put to death and …

The Ultimate Encourager

  Encourage~ to inspire with courage, spirit or hope; to spur on, give support; to help When I look at the definition of encourage, all I see is Jesus.  He is the ultimate Encourager; He never stops spurring us on or dampens His encouragement for His children.  As believers and followers of Him, He has sent us a “helper” too, His Holy Spirit. “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever.” John 14: 16 (ESV) With this “Helper” inside of us, we, too, are able to be a source of encouragement for …

The Power to Encourage

  Encouragement is powerful.  It’s incredible.  It inspires, it motivates and it lifts people up.  On the other hand, discouragement is just the opposite.  It put people down, it hurt and injure them.  And for some, it stop them in their tracks and keep them from moving forward. In the book of Acts we are told of a man by the name of Barnabas.  While there are many aspects of his life, it is specifically noted in Acts 4: 36 that he is called the “Son of Consolation.”  However, Barnabas was certainly good at “lifting another’s spirit”. Consequently we see …

Laura MacFarland’s New Study

Join Laura Macfarlan shares news about her new 4 week study in Psalms.  To sigh up Go here to subscribe to the Cross My Heart Ministry YouTube channel (it’s totally free!): YouTube.com/CrossMyHeartMinistry Then check back on May 8 (or later) to watch the Introduction to the Study. Download the free Bible study here: www.JoyofLiving.org/free-studies Complete the daily questions on your own.  It is available in both pdf or Word format. You can even write out the answers on your own paper if you don’t have access to a printer. Take your time with these. Think. Pray. Ask God to teach …

Humble Beginnings

Call to Action

    “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”  2 Chronicles 7: 14 Bible Verse for Meditation: 2 Chronicles 7:1 3-15   Humility. What comes to mind when you hear that word? Well, if we were having a conversation about this, I would probably tell you that when I think about this word, I often think of the character of Jesus and it is a word that we …

Worship in the Wilderness

Reading: Acts 16: 25-32 Acts 16: 25-26  “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened.”   This time that we are all experiencing together as a world is filled with so many emotions such as fear, anxiety, uncertainty, loneliness, depression and worry. It can be mind-consuming and heavy and with the weight of our circumstances pulling us down like a gravitational …

Peace in the Pause

      John 14: 27 (ESV) “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” Bible Verse for Meditation: John 14: 25-31   The word peace is defined as freedom from disturbance and it is one of the most priceless things to grasp and secure, especially in this season. During this time of great pause, where everything around us that we knew as normal is on hold, it can be very difficult to absorb peace but …

Pray with Purpose

      James 5: 16 “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” Bible Verse for Meditation: James 5: 13-16   About one year ago, God began to nudge me to form an online prayer group. I was not sure why and did not feel qualified enough to organize it, but I did so after much hesitation. It started with five and then decreased to four around the fifth month, but then began to pick up great …

Feed Your Faith

      Reading: Matthew 17: 20 “He said to them “Because of your little faith. For truly I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”   Bible Verse for Meditation: Matthew 17: 14-20 In these stressful times that we all are experiencing, the testing of our faith is becoming more and more palpable, to the point that if we are easily moved then its foundation may be shaken to its core. In …

Invitation in Isolation

      James 4: 8 “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” Bible Verse for Meditation: James 4: 7-10   In this new era of limiting ourselves socially, you may feel as if you are missing out on canceled invites or activities that may have filled your calendar to address your social agenda and depending on whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you may not be phased by this new normal of solitude or you may have extreme cabin fever, but what I do know that we all have in common is that …

Are Your Plans, God’s Plans

        Psalm 127: 1 – “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.”   Have you ever made plans for something and nothing happened? Or, have you desperately wanted your life to go in one direction, and it went down a totally different path? I have, many times. It’s tough when you try to do your best and be good to people, but when things keep getting worse, you’re left to wonder why even try. Looking back on life always brings wisdom. We learn from our mistakes. …