Posts Tagged ‘encouragement’

God’s message for Jesus while on the cross?

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, hung on a cross between two criminals.  All 3 were to be put to death. Jesus’ torture prior to the cross was  especially brutal but His suffering went beyond the physical.  Among other things, He was mocked, humiliated, abandoned, and treated unjustly.  The degradation the Son of God took upon Himself was enormous, as He took the sin of humanity upon Himself.

As Jesus was nearing His last breath one of the criminals spoke.cross

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong. And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:39-43

 

I can not imagine a criminal having this revelation in the natural and telling the other criminal,  “Do you not fear God?  We are being justly condemned and getting what we deserve. ”  No, I think there is more to this.  I get a strong sense  that the Father was speaking to the Son through the mouth of this man hanging next to Him.

I could imagine the Father saying,

  • Son, you have done everything right.
  • My Son, rest assured, you will soon be with me in the kingdom once again.
  • My Son, remember the divine reason for which you are doing this, this man will be the first of many to enter the kingdom because of you.  The job is almost complete.  The way is almost made.

There have been many times when I have been in need of a strong word of encouragement and it came to me from an  unexpected source.  When this happens to me I believe it is the Divine reaching out to me, encouraging me, helping me, prodding me on to the finish line.  If God can do that for me, why not for His Son that was in dire need of  encouragement?cross-of-stone-small1

How about you, are you sensitive to God meeting you in unexpected ways?  Do you know that God can use you to speak His words of hope and blessing to those around you?  God is amazing.  I believe when we are sensitive to Him, and the way He moves in our lives, He does so even more.

God longs for relationship with us.  He longs to communicate with us and bless us.  This was the purpose of the cross.  To make a bridge between us and God so that we could be in relationship with Him through His Son Jesus.

If you are not familiar with Easter/Resurrection Sunday, it is a holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, which occurred three days after his crucifixion at Calvary.  For the whole account you can read Luke 22 to 24  HERE.

john 3 16Happy Easter.  May you have a very blessed day.  I hope you saw a different side of God and the Easter story as you read this post.

Leslie Rose K

 

30 Posts of enCOURAGEment Post 29

As promised post 29 of this series is about encouraging others.  Your health issues with lupus or other autoimmune diseases may be such that you feel you do not have the ability to be an encourager. I pray you will feel differently as you read this post about an amazing encourager.

Imagine moving to a different land with your husband and two young sons because there is a famine where you live.  Family-Travel-How-To-Make-PlansYou do not know anyone, you do not know the area, but over time you adjust.   One day you become a widow, and there is more adjusting to do.  Your sons marry and you wait expectantly for grandchildren.  Years pass and tragedy strikes instead.  You now find yourself a childless widow with two daughter-in-laws.   It is time to adjust some more, but you are spent.

Let me introduce you to Naomi from the Old Testament of the Bible.

After hearing  there was food again in her homeland, Naomi decided to return home.  To her surprise,  both daughter-in-laws offered to leave their homeland and go with her.  She urged them to return to their people knowing that moving to a new land and culture would be challenging for them.   Reluctantly Orpah left, but Ruth clung to Naomi saying,

“Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you.  For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”  Ruth 1:16 & 17**

Most people have no idea that these amazing words were first spoken by a daughter-in-law to her mother-in-law.  We tend to relate them to lovers at a wedding ceremony.   But if anyone needed to hear words like this it was Naomi.

Imagine these two women traveling alone 100 miles over the mountains, across the valley, and up through the wilderness*, probably by foot, maybe by donkey.  It sounds overwhelming, scary, and long to me.  Then there is the arrival.  I would not like being the center ofCedar_Mtn_Wilderness attention, and the recipient of everyone’s  sympathy or pity.  It would, however, be comforting to be with familiar people in a familiar place.  It would be good to be home, though very bittersweet.

Whenever I read the book of Ruth I cringe as Naomi tells the people at home  “I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty.” (Ruth 1:21a)  In my opinion the Lord did not bring her back completely empty.  Yes, she was home without her husband and sons but God gave her a tremendous gift in the person of Ruth.

Ruth was not about to let her mother-in-law make the long difficult journey alone.   She had no intention of letting her be comfortless on the journey and was not about to let her face her people alone.  Ruth was a loyal encourager.   She was there to inspire hope, ruth naomicourage, and confidence in Naomi, during one of her most difficult hours in life.

Ruth had her own challenges.  She no longer had the companionship, love, and protection of her husband.  She had to fend for herself at a time when it was extremely difficult for widows.  She was going to a place where she would be an outsider.  Ruth did not let her own challenges and heartbreak stop her from reaching out to someone else in need.  In the end Ruth was greatly rewarded for her selfless actions.

If you read the Book of Ruth, you will see Naomi helped Ruth catch the attention of a kind and loving relative who took her as his wife. She later had a child bringing Naomi much joy.  The real reason however, that she was able to catch this man’s attention was her love and devotion to Naomi.  He saw her heart.

Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” 11 But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. 12 The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” Ruth 2:10-12**

Even though you may feel like Naomi in the struggles you go through with your health, I urge you to be a Ruth, and reach out to someone in need of your encouragement.  Reaching out selflessly will have its own rewards.  I guarantee you will be blessed in one wayHe-who-refreshes-otherswill-himself-be-refreshed or another.

Many blessings to you.  Leslie Rose K

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Romans 12:12  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer

*Reference: Who’s Who in the Bible By Joan Comay and Ronald Brownrigg

**English Standard Version Of the Bible

30 Posts of enCOURAGEment Post 28

As I begin to wrap up this series, I would like to pull together information scattered throughout my posts on encouraging yourself.  This is meant to get you thinking about what you like, what makes you happy and what could help you through a discouraging time.  Your lists will not look like mine.  You will find other resources.  I hope you will find some valuable suggestions here.

I bumped into a friend  that will have knee surgery soon.  I asked if she had help for after the surgery.  It is a wonderful thing when you need help, and friends and family gather around.  Some bring meals, others take turns driving you to appointments,  someone else helps keep the house clean, and others  cheer you up.  Then there times when you need to be encouraged and  there is no one there to encourage you.  Or, if they are there, they are unaware of the need, or unable to meetDiscouraged_thumb it.

What can we do to remedy that situation?  There are several choices we can make.

  • Give in to self-pity
  • Allow depression to take hold
  • Yield to destructive behavior such as self-medicating
  • Decide to be proactive on own behalf

It is this fourth option I want to write about today.  Whether we have lupus and/or other autoimmune diseases or not, we have all been in this situation.  I would like to share some of the things I have learned while coping with illness.

The information gathering

  • The internet has extensive information on encouragement.
  • If you are a reader, books can offer more details, examples, and Gathering-Information-How-to-Reach-Third-Parties-300x199strategies.  I highly recommend Being Sick Well by Jeffrey H Boyd M.D., M.P.H. It brings you  into the lives of others struggling with health issues and shows you how they cope.
  • Websites that pertain to your particular situation such as The Lupus Foundation of America may  help  in this area.
  • Certain TV programs offer valuable input on how we can help ourselves through different situations.   Oprah has her powerful Lifeclass weekly, which covers a variety of issues on personal growth, and freedom from emotional pain. 
  • People  have life experiences that can help us.  Small groups can be a big help.

Monitor Input

One of the biggest helps or hindrances to our frame of mind and state of emotions is input.  Everything we take in influences how weneg feel.  We need to faithfully guard ourselves against negative influences.  Just like the information in step 1 is helpful, the wrong information is harmful.  We do not want to feed on a steady diet of everything that can happen.  We want to limit exposure to people who make us feel more defeated than before we spoke to them.

Self Discovery

This is the time to figure out what encourages you, makes you happy, or gets your mind off your troubles.  To help you get some ideas here is what I have learned about myself  on this lupus journey.

  • quilting, wool applique, and doing handwork with friends has a way of shifting my attention.   It is really hard to be depressed when my hands are busy making pretty things.  See my Post A Body in Motion for more valuable information.
  • Prayer, the bible and church have lifted my spirits many times when nothing else could.  See Glazed Looks and God for more on this subject.
  • Being around uplifting family and friends does wonders to get my mind off of things.stick_figure_insert_key_black_hole_pc_800_1287
  • I have learned that proper sleep, exercise and eating right make it easier for me to stay upbeat.
  • I have learned about the crucial impact of gratitude on our frame of mind.  See A Grace Journal for more valuable information on this topic.

Action

After making our way through the first three steps, we are ready to carry out some of what we have discovered.  Unlike my friend, who has family and friends  to help her, we may have to be courageous and reach out to people.  We may have to fight guilt as we take quality time for ourselves, keeping in mind it is crucial for our well-being.   No one can do this for us.  Our emotional health impacts our physical well-being just like exercise, sleep and eating right do.  So, the next time you are feeling discouraged, decide what  you want to do to lift your spirits, and do it.  You will be happy you did.

Please read the links to the past blogs. They will give  more practical information and encouragement.  I hope you share  your thoughts with us. Thanks for stopping by.  I pray this blog is a blessing and encouragement to you.  Next time…encouraging others.

Until then,

Many blessings to you.  Leslie Rose K

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Romans 12:12  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer

30 Posts of enCOURAGEment Post 25

A few weeks ago, in post 19, I wrote about my duck tape encrusted light switch cover, and change.  I do not know if you are in the process of working on a life change, but I do know that the ordinary challenges of each day with autoimmune disease can make it seem impossible to add anything else to the mix.auto-immune  When you have to live everyday with  lupus, CFS, sjogren’s, etc, life changes will often need good doses of, not only courage, but encouragement.   A faithful encourager, walking beside you, is invaluable.

Several years ago I got up the nerve to invite a couple that we did not know over for  dinner .  They sat across from us in church, and I felt drawn to them for several weeks.  During church I asked them if they wanted to come over that day for Easter dinner.  It was a crazy thing to do.  I was sure they would think I was a nut, like my daughter did, easter_mealbut after church they said yes. That was the beginning of our friendship.

As time went on, I taught my new friend some quilting.  Later, I stepped out of my comfort zone, and asked her to be a prayer support for me during a challenging time of writing this blog.  A couple of years ago, we made a decision to try to get together as couples once a month.  In the meantime my friend made a life choice to lose weight.  She had great success.

While I was happy for her and my other close friends in church that had recently lost weight, I did not think I could do it.  I had tried several times with little success.  After months of consideration, I saw Chris Powell on Dr Oz.  His plan clicked with me, and I decided to give it a try.9781401324452

Let me tell you, I do not know what I did to deserve it, but my friend became my biggest encourager.  Every week she sees me, she is quick to ask how I have done, and tell me how good I look.  On weeks when I have struggled, she has boosted my morale.   She is quick to share her tips and her struggles.

We went to their house the other week anticipating another great time of fellowship.  Shortly after arriving, she looked at me with such sincerity and told me how great I looked.  She amazed me with her consistent encouragement.  Little did she know, I was not feeling particularly good about myself that night.

I know you live in the same world I do, and you probably know how rare this soul is, and how blessed I am that I have been given such a gift to help me with this challenge.

As for my friend, perhaps she is standing with me because the battle is still fresh in her mind as she struggles to lose the last few pounds herself, Girls friendshipbut I do not think so.  I think she has made a choice to make a difference in my life, knowing the day-to-day struggles, not just of losing weight, but of living with chronic illness.

As for me, I am truly thankful for this encourager God has planted in my life.

Are you an encourager?  Perhaps it is time to step out of your comfort zone, and ask for encouragement for yourself as you deal with the daily challenges of illness, or with a  life change you are making.  Or maybe you know someone who could use an encourager,  and could be as invaluable to them as my friend is to me.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:  If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

I welcome your comments.  Until next time….Leslie Rose K

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Romans 12:12  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

30 Posts of enCOURAGEment Post 21

Those of us dealing with lupus and/or other autoimmune diseases have a lot of experience dealing with adversity.  Adversity affects people differently.  If you follow social media you see this repeatedly.  Even those who are usually strong in the face of adversity can sometimes  give in to the pressure of it.  Fortunately, for these people the fall is usually short-lived.

Baron Batch, football player for the Pittsburgh Steelers, notes that our frame of mind is the deciding factor with how we deal with adversity.  I think it is the same living with chronic illness.  Adam from post 20 is a prime example of this.   Adam made up his mind he was going to do the Tough Mudder.  He set his mind to doing the training and following through with the race even when it became very difficult.
764064640 click photo for link
In his article for lubbock on line, Batch writes,
Overcoming is a skill, and should be practiced as such.  As I journey though life I pass fellow travelers who get stuck at certain trials, and can’t seem to overcome them because they lack strength and become stranded. They wander searching for an alternate route, but sometimes there isn’t a way around. There’s no shortcut. Sometimes you have to go through. Some people embrace this, and some simply shut down at the thought.

Baron has strong feelings about overcoming adversity and how the past affects the future.

It’s what we do with our past experiences and trials that dictate how we deal with our future ones. It’s not enough to get through them.  The important thing is storing them for when the next trial or injury arrives and remember the process — because the process is what’s important.

Don’t call it a comeback. Call it part of your journey, a chapter to your story.  Comebacks don’t exist, only the process.

No one is exempt from adversity and it will never stop coming into our lives in one form or another.  Adversity builds character, makes us stronger, and able to relate to the many around us that are struggling in one way or another.  Batch relates our trials to things we put in our backpack and carry around to make us stronger for the next bout of adversity, much like an athlete in training.

Besides writing and having a popular blog, Baron is also  an up and coming artist.  He was able to hone his skill, a childhood fascination, during his most recent injury.

Papa Time by Baron Batch

Papa Time by Baron Batch

Elizabeth Regner, executive director of the Lubbock Arts Alliance says “…his artwork is a fabulous example of contemporary folk art”.  Read more and see a short video here. 

Like Adam, I think Baron Batch is a great example of someone who would not let adversity derail and discourage him, like turning lemons into lemonade.  (I love lemonade.)  So how about you?  Are you making lemonade today?  I hope so.

30 Posts of enCOURAGEment post 16



The Old Fisherman

A True Story by Mary Bartels Bray

Our house was directly across the street from the clinic entrance of John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. We lived downstairs and rented the upstairs rooms to out-patients at the clinic. One summer evening as I was fixing supper, there was a knock at the door. I opened it to see a truly awful looking man. “Why, he’s hardly taller than my eight-year-old,” I thought as I stared at the stooped, shriveled body. But the appalling thing was his face – lopsided from swelling, red and raw.

Yet his voice was pleasant as he said, “Good evening. I’ve come to see if you’ve a room for just one night. I came for a treatment this morning from the eastern shore, and there’s no bus ’til morning. “He told me he’d been hunting for a room since noon but with no success, no one seemed to have a room. “I guess it’s my face… I know it looks terrible, but the doctor says with a few more treatments…”

For a moment I hesitated, but his next words convinced me: “I could sleep in this rocking chair on the porch. My bus leaves early in the morning.”

I told him we would find him a bed, but to rest on the porch. I went inside and finished getting supper. When we were ready, I asked the old man if he would join us. “No thank you. I have plenty.” And he held up a brown paper bag. When I had finished the dishes, I went out on the porch to talk with him a few minutes. It didn’t take a long time to see that this old man had an oversized heart crowded into that tiny body. He told me he fished for a living to support his daughter, her five children, and her husband, who was hopelessly crippled from a back injury. He didn’t tell it by way of complaint. In fact, every other sentence was prefaced with a thanks to God for a blessing. He was grateful that no pain accompanied his disease, which was apparently a form of skin cancer. He thanked God for giving him the strength to keep going.

At bedtime, we put a camp cot in the children’s room for him. When I got up in the morning, the bed linens were neatly folded and the little man was out on the porch. He refused breakfast, but just before he left for his bus, haltingly, as if asking a great favor, he said, “Could I please come back and stay the next time I have a treatment? I won’t put you out a bit. I can sleep fine in a chair.” He paused a moment and then added, “Your children made me feel at home. Grownups are bothered by my face, but children don’t seem to mind.” I told him he was welcome to come again.

And on his next trip he arrived a little after seven in the morning. As a gift, he brought a big fish and a quart of the largest oysters I had ever seen. He said he had shucked them that morning before he left so that they’d be nice and fresh. I knew his bus left at 4:00 am, and wondered what time he had to get up in order to do this for us.

In the years he came to stay overnight with us there was never a time that he did not bring us fish or oysters or vegetables from his garden. Other times we received packages in the mail, always by special delivery; fish or oysters packed in a box of fresh young spinach or kale, every leaf carefully washed. Knowing that he must walk three miles to mail these, and knowing how little money he had made the gifts doubly precious.

When I received these little remembrances, I often thought of a comment our next-door neighbor made after he left that first morning. “Did you keep that awful looking man last night? I turned him away! You can lose roomers by putting up such people!” Maybe we did lose roomers once or twice. But oh! If only they could have known him, perhaps their illness would have been easier to bear. I know our family always will be grateful to have known him; from him we learned what it was to accept the bad without complaint and the good with gratitude to God.

Recently I was visiting a friend who has a greenhouse. As she showed me her flowers, we came to the most beautiful one of all, a golden chrysanthemum, bursting with blooms. But to my great surprise, it was growing in an old dented, rusty bucket. I thought to myself, “If this were my plant, I’d put it in the loveliest container I had!” My friend changed my mind. “I ran short of pots,” she explained, “and knowing how beautiful this one would be, I thought it wouldn’t mind starting out in this old pail. It’s just for a little while, till I can put it out in the garden.” She must have wondered why I laughed so delightedly, but I was imagining just such a scene in Heaven. “Here’s an especially beautiful one,” God might have said when he came to the soul of the sweet old fisherman. “He won’t mind starting in this small body.”

All this happened long ago – and now, in God’s garden, how tall this lovely soul must stand.

——-

Our Lives are not determined by what happened to us, but by how we react to what happens, not by what life brings us but by the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes. It is a catalyst, a spark that creates extraordinary results.

Old FishermanReblogged from Inspire21.com
Many blessings, Leslie Rose K
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Romans 12:12  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.


30 Posts of enCOURAGEment post 15



It’s All in the State of Your Mind

by Jack Bottinger

I’ve never talked about this before. Doing so now is a result of my sister Lorraine reminding of these events that happened over 50 years ago.6323440907_a3447458c8_z

While running high school track during my sophomore year in the spring of 1955, I pulled up with a pulled hip muscle. The coach said to take it easy, but before long, I could not stand on the right leg. The pain was unbearable.  Down to the ground I went, and the EMTs were called, and a trip to the hospital was in order. The x-ray showed a fracture of the pelvic bone caused by (of all things) the musculature being so tight or strong that the muscles splintered a part of the hip bone.

The prescribed treatment by our family doctor was to lie on my back with a board between the mattress and box spring for a month. No cast or brace was needed;5463 just lie flat and do not move.

When I inquired as to when I would be able to run again, the doctor said I may not be able to run again.  With my muscular and skeletal configuration as it was in the hip, running track again could be out of the question.

Needless to say, I was stunned by the doctor’s statement, but decided that was not going to happen.

Fast-forward to the fall six months later.  It was September, and I had worked my way to the starting halfback position for the high image021school football team and was ready to run the first play in the first game of the season. My number was called, and 65 yards later, standing in the end zone, I felt that I could put that never-running-again theory to rest. I was fortunate to score 12 TDs and average over 100 yards a game–all in a seven-game schedule!

Again, fast-forward to age 70, almost three years ago.  Standing on our SUV bumper attempting to throw a piece of luggage up onto the luggage rack, I slipped and fell and broke my hip once again. Another ride to the hospital, three screws in the hip, and a long recovery regimen.

While in the hospital after surgery, my son-in-law Kyle Horga challenged me to be well enough in six months to walk in the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon, a distance of 13.1 miles, which at that time seemed as far away as the moon to me.

However, five months later I walked the half marathon in Myrtle Beach and have135pm-walking-in-trash walked two additional walks since and plan to do two more this year.

When you reach my age, you will reach the concrete conclusion that human achievement is based solely on the proper state of your mind.

True story from Inspire21.com

Many blessings, Leslie Rose K

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Romans 12:12  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
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