Are you Surviving or Thriving?


 “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” 2 Peter 3:18

Have you ever received the response, “It is just one of those days,” from a friend after asking them if something is bothering them? Do you ever just have one of those days? I have to be honest and say that I have many of those days. As a wife, mom of three, volunteer teacher, and blogger, there are times in which, by the end of the day, I am spent. I feel as if I have given every ounce of myself to the world and I am empty. I come in from a long day and say, “Thank God, I survived.”

Have you ever responded, “I survived,” when asked how you did in a particular situation?  I can remember times in the past in which our children would have to do a task that seemed very difficult to them. They would come to us when it was complete and we would jokingly ask them, “Did you survive?”

So many times in life we find ourselves in this same place. We simply survive each day.

How many days do you go through just surviving? The end of the day comes and you say to yourself, “Whew, I made it!”

These are the times when I find it most comforting to pour my heart out to God. I know that I can go to Him in prayer and He will give me the rest that I am seeking. As I allow Him to speak to my heart I am reminded that God wants more for my life.

This song that I shared this morning is very special to me. The first time I heard it was at a revival service that was held at our church. I remember how I felt when I heard the words, ” We were made to more than just survive. We were made to thrive” Wow, what a sweet message that was from God! I realized in that moment that I was not thriving as I should. I realized that I was simply surviving every day.

I am in no way saying that we will never get tired and weary. I believe that God understands our human limitations. Jesus himself ,while he was on this earth, had to take time to rest. I do believe, however, that God wants to give us that rest we need. He offers it to us daily. It is up to us to allow Him to meet that need. As we go to God, seeking what we need, we will find that He also gives us the strength not just to survive this world, but to thrive in it.

You see friends, God did not put us on this earth to simply survive every day. He put us here so that we can thrive. God wants to see us succeed. He wants to help us learn, grow, and daily become more like Him. God made us to be ministers for Him. He created us as lights through which His love can shine. We can not do this if we are only surviving.

As a parent, I want nothing more for my children than to see them thrive in life. I do not want to see them struggle and just survive through every day. We are God’s children. I believe that He wants the same thing for each of us.

My prayer today is that we will thrive as Christians. I pray that we will allow God to minister to our hearts and give us the strength that we need. As we allow God to work in our lives, we will find that we have what we need in order to do His will every day.

The question I would like to leave you with today is this: “Are you going to simply survive, or are you going to thrive?”

Looking for Direction


paths

And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21

Are you restless? Are you looking for direction from the Lord? Do you feel like you should be making a move but are unsure of which way to go? I want to encourage you today with a few verses that always bring comfort to my heart.

I know it is difficult when you feel like you should be moving but God’s will is not clear. Sometimes God wants us to step out in faith yet other times He tells us to wait. How can we know what we are supposed to do? We need to pray. We need to seek direction from God and allow Him to lead us. There are many promises in the Bible on which we can stand.

Here are a few of my favorite verses about seeking God’s will and direction. I pray they are an encouragement to you as you seek God’s direction for your life:

  • James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

I believe that the first things we should ask of the Lord when we are seeking direction is wisdom. So many times we simply do not know what we should do. We feel in our hearts that we should be moving yet we do not know where to go. I encourage you to take time to seek wisdom that can only come from God.

  • Psalm 25:4-5 “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.”

Psalms is full of great verses on seeking God’s will for our lives. After we have asked God for wisdom let us ask Him for direction.

  • Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

In this verse we are given instructions on how to find God’s will for our lives. We are told to search for it. We can rest in the assurance that if we seek then God will be faithful to open the door and show us where we should go.

  • Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

What comfort my heart feels when I realize that I serve the One who will direct my paths. I do not have to wander around, hoping that I am going the right way. I am told to trust the Lord, even when I do not understand where I am going.

  • Proverbs 16:9 “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.”

As humans we often want to figure it out ourselves. God gives us this freedom, however, if we are wise we will seek His direction. Many times God allows us the room to “make our own way.” What I mean by this is that He gives us room to choose what we will do inside His guidelines. We must be careful to earnestly seek God’s will before we make any decisions concerning our lives. You see, God has a perfect will for us. If we are careful to stay within His will, we are sure to find true peace and happiness.

  • Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

This is one of my favorite Bible verses to think upon when I am facing a decision. My heart feels such peace when I remember that God has a plan for my life. He has not left me to wander around this world trying to find my way. No! He has a plan for my life.

Friends, I know that there are times when we feel like we should move. I also understand that these times can be full of doubt and worry. I pray these verses I have shared with you today will bring some comfort in uncertain times. Remember, God loves you and He has a plan for your life. Seek wisdom, seek direction, and allow God to guide you. He will show you the way He wants you to go.

What Kind of Vessel are You?


gold_vessel

“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.” II Timothy 2:20-21

Do you own any items which are special to you? Maybe you have something that has been passed down to you over the years or something that once belonged to a famous person. How do you treat these items? Do you just throw them around or do you keep them protected some place?

How would you feel if you came home one day and your children were making mud pies in great-great-grandma Martha’s fine china? What if you came home from work to find your children playing outside with your limited edition football that had been signed by Joe Montana?

I love to collect vintage items. In my kitchen I have on display all of the many items which have been passed down by my grandmother. I also have a set of china that was given to me by my aunt. It is on display in my china cabinet. Only on very special occasions do I take it out and use it. You see, I have set these items apart for a special purpose.

Do you know that God sees each of us this way?

We were all created by God in His image. There are certain things about each one of us which make us unique and special. We have all been given different talents and gifts which are to be used to bring honor and glory to God.

The question I want us to think about this morning is this: What kind of vessel am I?

In the Bible we can read about certain vessels that were made for specific purposes. There were items made of gold that were never to be used for anything except the particular job for which they were created. It was a great dishonor if these items were ever used for anything else. You see, they were holy vessels, vessels that had been cleansed and committed to serving God.

We are all beautiful vessels yet we are all born with sin in our hearts. We are created by God but are naturally dirty on the inside. We must decide whether or not we are going to allow God to work in us and clean us up. It is our choice whether or not we allow God to use us for that special purpose for which He created us.

When we make the decision to accept Jesus into our hearts we allow Him to come in and cleanse us. We ask Him to forgive us of our sins and we are made new. We are empty vessels waiting to be filled.

Sadly for some people this is as far as they get. They somehow miss the next step, which is sanctification. Being sanctified is being completely cleansed and set apart for a special purpose. It means that we empty ourselves of everything that could hinder the Lord’s work in us and we give ourselves to God for His service.

I want to encourage you, today, to allow God to work in your life. Allow God to cleanse your heart and set you aside for a special purpose. Our verse today says that there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. What kind of vessel will you be? Will you be an everyday vessel that is never really used for anything special, or will you bring honor to God by allowing Him to cleanse you and set you aside for a special purpose? The choice is yours to make. 

Is All Hope Lost?


Flag 

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”2 Chronicles 7:14

9/11, what does this date mean to you?

September eleventh at one time was just a date on the calendar. I am sure that somewhere in the world someone was celebrating a birthday or an anniversary, but for the most part it was just a regular day like all the rest.

Oh how quickly things change!

Thirteen years ago, today, we were all going about our lives just as we always had. Some were getting ready for work. Some were already at work. Others had not even awakened, yet evil was upon us. It was already headed our way and we were completely unaware.

In an instant our lives changed. What was once just a date on our calendar suddenly became a day we would never forget. All at once chaos was upon us. Disaster had struck. People were frantically looking for answers, yet no one seemed to have any.

I know that day will forever hold a place in our hearts.

Today, I want us to take a moment and remember the ones who lost their lives in that senseless act of violence. I want us to also remember the families who are still left with the heartache of losing their loved ones. I pray that God will wrap his arms around each hurting person today and bring comfort that can only come from Him.

*****************************************************************************************************

I wish that I could tell you this morning that we will never have to face anything of this sort again. I am afraid this may not be true. In my heart I fear that we are in even more danger now than we were thirteen years ago. There are enemies upon us and they are seeking to destroy us.

Is all hope lost?

No, all hope is not lost.

You see, we serve the One who is bigger than any trial we could ever endure. He is larger than the worst attack this world could ever face. He is more powerful than any terrorist we could ever encounter.

God is the creator of this world. He holds it in His hands, and He is longing for us to turn to Him.

While we are scrambling around, trying to figure out what we should do about all the problems in the world, God is calling to us. He is calling out, “Give it to me. Come back to me.”

We have, however, become so callused to the calling of the Holy Spirit that we can no longer hear. We have wandered so far away that we can no longer hear the Shepard calling for His sheep.

We have decided that we can make our own way. We have decided that we can handle it ourselves.

Friends, I am here today to tell you this simply is not true. Without Jesus Christ we are hopeless. Without the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us we will never find our way.

People are sitting around trying to figure out how to stop the evils of this world. They are trying to find some way to get our world back on track.

There is only one answer.

This, dear friends, is where our hope lies: “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”2 Chronicles 7:14

The answer this world is searching for is Jesus Christ. He is our hope and our salvation.

Feeling Honored


blogger award

I am  honored today to accept the Very Inspiring Bloggers Award. Thank you Meredith’s Musings for nominating me. I apologize for taking so long to accept and nominate others.

I understand that bloggers have their own opinion of awards and whether or not they should be accepted, but I feel very blessed each time “Encouragement For Every Day” is nominated. I do not accept these awards because I feel as if I have done anything to deserve them. I accept them because I feel that God is doing great things through EFED and I want to give Him all of the honor and glory for every thing that is accomplished here.

I believe that as Christians we are called to share the love of Jesus with those around us. Everyone needs a word of encouragement from time to time. Everyone needs to hear that Jesus loves them and that He died on the cross to save them from their sins. I pray as each story is shared here at EFED that my readers will leave feeling encouraged and inspired to keep on trying. I pray that each one who visits this blog will leave with a better understanding of the love that Jesus has for them.

You see, this blog is more than just a hobby for me. The passion of my heart is not only to blog, but to minister. I feel extremely honored that God would choose me to spread His love to each one who visits here.

 

Here are seven facts about me that I was asked to share: ( I am sure that some of you already know these, but I will share them again just for the fun of it)

  1. First and foremost, I love Jesus Christ with all my heart and I thank Him for saving me.
  2. My marriage and my children are my greatest accomplishments. I praise God for blessing me with them.
  3. I am very passionate about most everything I set out to accomplish. If I do not feel passionate about it, it most likely will not be completed.
  4. I love to encourage others.
  5. If I can make you smile or laugh when we are together then I have succeeded.
  6. I do not trust easily, but I dearly love and cherish the ones whom I do trust.
  7. My favorite candy is Skittles.

As I said before, I understand that many people do not accept awards. If I nominate you and you fall into this category, I apologize. Please feel honored that you have been chosen as an inspiring blogger.

That being said, here are my nominations for the Very Inspiring Bloggers Award: * I may not have 15. That is A LOT!*

Ray of Sonshine

Waiting for Baby Bird

Deeply Rooted in Him

Testimonies of His Goodness

Proverbs Way

Eyes Wide Open

A Display of His Splendor

Burning Fire Shut up in my Bones

Doodles Invigorate

A Devoted Life

Toad’s Tool

Daughter By Design

Unshakable Hope

Thank each of you for allowing God to use you to minister for Him. I pray that He will continue to bless you and your ministry. I am honored to be a part of your blogging community and I pray that you will be encouraged today. God bless each of you.

Here are the requirements for accepting this award:

  1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
  2. List the rules and display the award.
  3. Share seven facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
  5. Optional: Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated  you.