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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

Looking Ahead to a New Year


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But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary;
and they shall walk, and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31

I learned a long time ago not to make New Year’s Resolutions. Do not misunderstand me. I have nothing against them. I have just learned that they do not work out for me.  Many times in the past I have started my year with a resolution to lose weight, eat healthier, or save more money only to bomb after the first couple of weeks. I was left feeling like a failure before my year even got started. I do not know about you, but that is not how I want to start a new year.

I have learned instead to take some time and sincerely pray about what God has for me in the new year. I center my prayer time around tuning into the areas in which God wants to grow me more. I also pray and ask God to show me the things on which He wants me to focus.

Earlier this year I ran across a quote that reminded me what my focus should be in the new year.

“If you look at the world,

You’ll be distressed.

If you look within,

You’ll be depressed.

If you look at God,

You’ll be at rest.”

~Corrie Ten Boom~

Even the most well thought out resolutions will mean nothing for us if we do not keep our eyes on Jesus and His plan for our lives. I pray as you prepare to start a new year that you will take some time and ask God what He has for you in 2017. You may be surprised at the direction in which He leads you.

Happy New Year, my friend. May God bless you in every area of your life.

The Hope Within


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Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

As Christmas quickly approaches I can not help but ponder what this time of year means to people. What comes to mind when you think about the Christmas season? For some it means food, family, and gifts. For others it means sadness and pain. Yet, for others it means presents, trees, and stress. What word would you use to describe Christmas?

As I thought about this question, one word kept coming back to me. Hope. Personally Christmas is not so much about the decorations, food, or the presents. Do not misunderstand me, I love all of these things. However, Christmas is so much more! It is a time to stop and remember the gift that was given to each of us all those years ago. There were not immaculate decorations, tables of food, and tons of presents under a tree. No, there was a young woman and her husband, a stable, and a star. More importantly there was Jesus. There was Hope.

When I stop and think back on that first Christmas, my mind often turns to Mary. I can not help but wonder what she must have been feeling. What thoughts were going through her mind as she traveled with her husband on that long journey?

Any woman who has carried a child understands how Mary must have felt physically. We can all relate to the discomfort she must have been in and the anxiety she must have experienced along the way. As a mother I understand the uncertainty she must have felt concerning childbirth. I know the excitement she felt as she thought about holding her baby boy for the first time. But what about the deeper feelings Mary must have experienced? What must have she been feeling deep inside her heart knowing she would soon deliver the Son of God?

I believe above all else, Mary felt Hope. Not only did she feel that Hope inside her heart, but inside her body as the Hope of the world grew.  From the very first flutter she felt, Mary knew that Hope was growing. I believe as those flutters turned into kicks and nudges, Mary understood even more that she carried the Hope of the world inside of her.

Friend, do you have this Hope? The same Hope that Mary carried all those years ago is still a gift for you today. Amid all the busyness and stress Hope can be found. No amount of money can buy it. No store sells it. It can not even be put in a pretty box and placed under the Christmas tree. Hope only comes through salvation and salvation only comes through Jesus Christ.

Do you want to lay down the sorrow that has been weighing you down? Would you like to lay aside that shame and heartache you have been carrying? Today you can. Give it all to Jesus. Let go of all that has you bound down and accept the free gift of Hope that is being offered to you today. I promise that no other gift you receive will ever measure up to the one that was given on that first Christmas oh so many years ago. Find Hope today, friend.

Put on Your Armor


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Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 6:10-11

I often feel that I am in a battle. Trials sometimes come that I do not understand. There are days when I feel as if a war is being waged against our family. Can you relate to these feelings? If so, I pray that these words will encourage your heart today.

There are mornings it seems we awake to a battle being fought in our home. Before the first cup of coffee is poured we are under attack. Before I can get my eyes open and focused I am being hit from every side. Surely as you read this you are shaking your head in agreement because you too experience the same situations in your home. Your battle may look different from ours, but the struggle is the same. The aggravation is still there. The urge to pull the covers back over your head and wave the white flag of defeat is all too real.

Often times we are left asking, “Where is this coming from?” Is this just a figment of the imagination? Absolutely not. These battles are real. We can not see them with physical eyes because we are facing spiritual battles. There are wars being fought on a level we can not fully comprehend. My dad often tells our church if we could have our spiritual eyes opened to the world around us we would be scared to death at the war we would see being fought. Even though we can not see what is going on, we can feel the weight and strain of the fight. Often times these attacks leave us feeling discouraged and defeated. Be encouraged today, Friend. You have not been left to face these battles alone.

Paul understood these attacks all too well. With God’s prompting he penned the verses I am sharing today and many others  to encourage us as Christians. He also wrote these verses to guide us to victory. How great is our God that He did not leave us to fight alone?

I want to encourage you to daily put on the whole armor of God. Get into The Word and arm yourself for the fiery darts the devil is going to hurl at you. If you are missing even one piece of armor you will surely face defeat, but armed with your spiritual armor you are safe. God has equipped you with everything you need to face your day with boldness. He has also promised to go before you and fight for you. The battles will still come, the storms of life may toss you around, but you can rest assured that God has not abandoned you. Remember that He loves you, Friend.  With God on your side you are sure to win in the end. Let us suit up today and boldly go face the world!