Frankly Speaking—“Light”


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You are the light of the world.
A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Matthew 5:14

In our home I have a library. I must say that I’m rather proud of it! I have books, books, books! I love them. I have read most of them and the rest I hope to read sometime in the future.

The other morning, as I was entering my library to have my devotions, it was dark outside the library window and it was dark in the library. Before I turned on the light, this thought struck me—these books are useless unless there is light to read them by! Hmm.

These books contain words of history, psychology, humor, biographies, theology, and many more subjects, but if there is no light to read them by, then they are useless.

My books also contain words of hope, encouragement, admonishment, teaching, etc., but if I can’t read them because I can’t see the words, then those books are useless to me. I must have light in order for those words to help me.

This has me thinking about what Jesus once said—“I am the Light of the world.” Hmm. Why is He the Light? How is that Light to be used? What did He mean—Light of the world? Why does the world need light since we have the sun, moon, and stars? And electricity?

I think He means He gives Light to the darkness of men’s hearts. Why is this so important? It is important because all of us are born into darkness when we entered this world. We lost the Light of our life when Adam and Eve gave it away in the Garden by believing Satan’s lie! They ‘lost’ the ‘Light’ of the Garden which was God Himself. Therefore, Jesus came to show men and women and boys and girls how to see God once again by His life/Light! In so doing, that Light reveals how they can have a relationship with Him. Does this make sense?

Here’s another observation—if man’s heart remain dark then it breeds all kinds of evil, wickedness, harm, war, unrest, and death. And the only way to stop this awfulness is the cleansing Light of Jesus!

But Jesus goes on by saying that once we have met Him, we can be a light for Him as well. He wants to use us as ‘lights’ to take the Light of His Gospel to the whole dark world. Our light is the talents and gifts He has given us to witness to those around us. Because His Light is in us, it draws people to us, which allows us to share about Him! Oh friends, just as assuredly as an outside house light draws bugs to it in the night, the warmth and glow of Jesus in us will draw people who are in their dark like nothing else can!

So is the Light of the world shining in you today? Is the Light of the world shining through you today? If not, let Him ‘trim’ your wick or ‘clean’ your reflecting mirror and lenses so you are able to do so! Then shine, Friends! Shine! Let His LIGHT reach those around you with hope, love, and peace.

The Joy of the Lord is my Strength


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The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17

Dear Friend,

Our family was in a battle last week. I am not talking about a physical battle, of course, but a battle nonetheless. The enemy tried every trick in his book to defeat us. His tactics ranged all the way from sick pets to problems with our water well. We even encountered a problem with our internet on Monday that could not be fixed until Friday. All of this combined with a few other mishaps had me feeling very much under attack! We knew immediately where these fiery darts were coming from and through faith we were not going to be defeated. At times that is easier said then done.

I chuckled a few times through our ordeal and thought to myself, “This must be how Job felt.” I do fully understand, however, that our experience was nothing compared to Job’s suffering. I must admit that it was quite enough for me.

I am sure as you are reading these words you too are remembering times when you encountered the same kind of attack. Maybe you are in your own battle right now. Maybe you or a loved one are facing what seems to be an impossible situation.

I want to encourage your heart today by reminding you that God is not deaf to your pain. He has not turned His back on you in your time of need. Too many times we are quick to think that God has forgotten about us when we fall into these various trials.

Do you remember the story of Job? God allowed Job to be tested as a witness to His faithfulness. Satan was looking for someone whom he could test. God said, “Have you considered my servant Job?” Wow! God knew that Job was up for the task. Although Job did have a moment of whining where God had to put him in his place, he never turned his back on God. Even after having his own wife question his sanity, Job remained faithful to his Lord and Savior. Job said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”(Job 13:15) 

Will you choose to have that type of faith today? Maybe God is wanting to use you as an example just as He did Job. Maybe God is wanting to grow your faith. Even though we often do not understand God’s ways, we can still trust that He has our best in mind. We are His children, His creation. He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. Rest in that promise today, Friend.

Last week, as we faced our various trials, what kept us going was remembering the promises of God and the times He had already carried us through. We faced one hurdle at a time, together.

I would love to tell you that I confidently jumped every hurdle we crossed. However, I must be honest. I stumbled and fell a time or two. The weight of the battle became more than I could bear. Although tired, I did not admit defeat. I went to Jesus physically and emotionally worn out. Do you know what I found? I found peace, and comfort. I did not find chastisement or ridicule. I found the strength I needed to pick my sword back up and head back into battle. You see, Friend, I knew that I had God on my side and that He was fighting for me.

Whatever you are going through today remember that God is fighting for you. He loves you. He is rooting for you. Trust in Him. Rest in Him. Let him carry you through that trial with which the enemy is testing you. Take some time today to remember all the times that God has carried you so far. He has not failed you before and He will not fail you now.

Be encouraged, Friend. God is fighting for you.

Love,
~Valarie~

Frankly Speaking—“The Hobbit”


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For the word of God is alive and active.
Sharper than any double-edged sword,
it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit,
joints and marrow;
it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

Are you a ‘visual’ person? Or are you a ‘reader’? I guess I’m a little of both. I like to read but I also like people ‘showing’ me how to do something. And if I can get ‘hands on’ experience! Voila! I’m a happy camper!

Currently, I’m re-reading “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien. Yes, ‘re-reading’! Why? You see, though I’ve seen the movies a couple of times and love them, I’ve never ‘read’ the books until one of my nieces ‘encouraged’ me to do so! Oh, friends, I’m so glad I did!!!! The movies can’t put in everything and didn’t! There’s lots of ‘really good stuff’ in the books!

So why am I going down this road today? First, let me ask you this—have you ‘read’ the Bible clear through at least one time? If not, can I encourage you to do so this New Year? Why? You see, church is really the “Visual” form of the Bible. Church can’t possibly ‘put in’ everything in just the ‘hour’ the pastor has on Sunday morning. Therefore, it is critical, yes, critical to ‘read’ the Book, God’s Word, to get the information we need to live like God wants us to!

Our pastors try hard, with the Holy Spirit’s leading, to give you really ‘good stuff’ for your soul. But my friends, it’s up to you to ‘dig’ into the Book, God’s Word, daily to get the ‘good stuff’ you need to serve Him that day. That’s something the pastor can’t do! You have to ‘feed’ yourself. You need to do this to get ‘the rest of the story’ as radio commentator, Paul Harvey, used to say.

One more thing. Keep reading the Bible. It’s the only book I know that will ‘grow’ with you. It says one thing to you when you are a child, something else when in your teen years, and still more into your adult years. For sure, the words haven’t changed, you have! Your life’s experiences continue to ‘grow’ you. Thus you need God’s Word, regularly, to help temper those experiences so you can discern what truth is. So keep reading my friends! Keep reading.

And if you have a mind to, dive into “The Hobbit” as well!

New Things to Come in a New Year


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Iron sharpens iron;
so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
Proverbs 27:17

Friends and mentors are such a blessing!

Have you ever met someone who made an impact on your life?

Do you have anyone in your life who has influenced you over the years?

One of the many blessings I received as a missionary kid was to travel and meet new people. Our family not only served on the Navajo Indian reservation for many years, but we also visited churches throughout the United States raising support for our missionary work. At other times our family would have to travel in order for my parents to attend meetings and classes as part of their missionary work. I met many people along the way of whom I have fond memories. Each state visited would bring about new experiences. Some of my favorite childhood stories come from our time on the road.

An unforeseen blessing of meeting so many new people was the chance to build lasting friendships. Often times we would meet people, spend a weekend in their home as we visited their church, and then move along to the next meeting. However, there were times when we would meet new people who would have such an impact on our lives that they almost became like family to us. Some of these people we have been blessed to stay in contact with over the years, even after leaving the mission field.

Today I want to introduce you to a man named Frank Martin. When my brother and I met him and his wife we were small children. They were introduced to us as Uncle Frank and Aunt Sharon. The honorary titles stuck and have carried on into our adulthood. Uncle Frank and Aunt Sharon have been great influences in our lives as missionaries and still are today. We were blessed to get to stay in contact with them after leaving the mission field. That blessing continues on today as we are able to keep in touch with them all these years later.MartinPhoto.jpg

I have asked Uncle Frank to join me on Encouragement for Every Day to share some of the wisdom God has given him over the years. As he began to share on social media the messages God gave to him, he titled them Frankly Speaking. I thought it fitting to keep the name as he shares here with us.

I am in the process of adding Uncle Frank’s biography to EFED’s page so you will be able to learn more about him and Aunt Sharon. I pray you will come back and visit with us as I begin to share Frankly Speaking with you. I look forward to all the blessings God has in store for us as we share in God’s word together and continue to sharpen each other.

I want to encourage you to be that friend that today’s Scripture talks about. Be the friend that adds to the lives of those around you. I believe that one of the greatest blessings we are ever given is the gift of Godly friends.

 

 

Your Past Does not Define You


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“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
Isaiah 43:18-19

Do you ever reminisce? Do you like to sit with family or friends and talk about the way things used to be? Maybe you discuss experiences you have had or lessons you have learned?  Does your past ever trip you up? Maybe there are things that you would rather forget.

I would say I fall into both categories. I love to sit with family and listen to old stories being told. I enjoy the memories that go through my head as my brother and I reminisce about our younger years at home together. I laugh with my husband as we remember our dating years. Yet amid all the fun memories there are many I would rather not speak of. There are sections of my past which I am happy to leave right where they are. There are even some over which I still trip from time to time.

One of my favorite parts of a new year is the feeling of freshness that comes with it. For me it is like turning the page in a book and beginning a new chapter. Sure, you can go back and visit the previous pages if you would like, but oh the excitement that comes with the many blank pages that lie ahead, just waiting to be filled! The possibilities are endless.

Many times, however, the devil wants to steal that joy from us. Yes, he wants to hold us back, to bind us down. He reminds us of our mistakes. Often times he tortures us with our past. You see, satan has no hope. He was given a choice many, many years ago and he made it. His fate is sealed. Now he wants nothing more than to keep you down, to hold you back. Remember friend, the devil is the father of all lies. (John 8:44)

I want to encourage you today with these words. Your past does not define you. No matter what you have done, or what your past may hold, God loves you. He sent His Son in order that you may have a future. When you confess your sins and give it all to God, He makes all things new. He wipes your slate clean and gives you a fresh start. (Psalm 103:12) What better way to start a new year than with the realization that you are God’s child? The plans He has for you are amazing! (Jeremiah 29:11) Do not let your past failures hold you down any more. Do not allow the devil to fill your head with lies. Hold fast to Jesus and the promises that He has made you.

Will you commit with me right now to put the past behind? Can we lay down the weight of our past mistakes and boldly walk into the future that God has for us? My prayer for you today is that you will take hold of the hand of Jesus and allow Him to lead you to the things He has waiting for you in this new year. The possibilities are endless if we will let go and let God.