Share Something Encouraging and Be Entered in Our Giveaway

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Is there a song, book, or Bible verse that has encouraged you lately? Perhaps a podcast, sermon, or conversation that filled you up? Or maybe time spent in God’s creation?

Post a comment with something that has encouraged you and be entered to win a $10 Starbucks gift card. The winning comment will be drawn at random on Monday, August 17. 

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Here is a new song written by my daughter, Pat:

PRAYER FOR AMERICA

SCRIPTURE FOR TODAY:

As an eagle stirs up its nest, Hovers over its young, Spreading out its wings, taking them up, Carrying them on its wings, So the LORD alone led him, And there was no foreign god with him. "He made him ride in the heights of the earth, That he might eat the produce of the fields; He made him draw honey from the rock, And oil from the flinty rock; Curds from the cattle, and milk of the flock.... Then he forsook God who made him, And scornfully esteemed the Rock of his salvation. (Deuteronomy 32:11-15)

... My people have forgotten Me, They have burned incense to worthless idols. And they have caused themselves to stumble in their ways, From the ancient paths, To walk in pathways and not on a highway, (Jeremiah 18:15)

"For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns--broken cisterns that can hold no water. (Jeremiah 2:13)

"Because from the least of them even to the greatest of them, Everyone is given to covetousness; And from the prophet even to the priest, Everyone deals falsely. They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly, Saying, 'Peace, peace!' When there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed; Nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; At the time I punish them, They shall be cast down," says the LORD. Thus says the LORD: "Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls.... (Jeremiah 6:13-16)

"Remember the days of old, Consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you; Your elders, and they will tell you: (Deuteronomy 32:7)

O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not

present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies. (Daniel 9:18)

SONG FOR TODAY: Prayer For America

Lord, we pray with hearts of mourning for the land we call our home.                                                                     You have seen our wayward doings, for we live before Your throne.
We have strayed far as a people from the ways which You have shown.                                                                    We have squandered many freedoms which our fathers long have known.

We Your people have forsaken God the maker of us all.
We’ve despised our Rock, our Savior, caused ourselves to stumble, fall.                                                                   We forsook the Living Fountain, drinking from a broken well,                                                                             Turned aside to broken pathways where no peace can ever dwell.

May we do as You have bid us: stand and see where we have come,                                                                        Asking for the former pathway, walking as we had begun.
May our liberty and freedom e’er be guided by Your hand,
So we’ll stand once more united as a people in this land.

O return our hearts and minds, Lord, to the paths which You have given.                                                                          Make us walk in truth and justice, do Your will as done in heav’n.                                                                         Hear our prayer, O God of mercy, hear our prayer, and heal our land.                                                                     Then we’ll find a peaceful resting ‘neath Your wing and guiding hand.

TEXT: Patricia Dys
MUSIC: Nettleton 8.7.8.7.D. Traditional American melody (Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing) 

Community Builder

"Be Not Afraid" by Nadia Bolz-WeberA Mini-Sermon on Fear, Love, and Kent Brockman

"Well, today I started to think that maybe it’s not safety that keeps us from being afraid. Maybe it’s love."

Love that. God does not keep us safe. He loves us like a mother hen. Like Aslan - is he safe? No, but he is good. He is love! And the song by Anne Murray, "...on the other side of fear is love."

I like imagining Jesus saying, "Go and tell that fox..." :D

So true that hearing "Be not afraid" does not actually make me not afraid. I had never thought before of the perspective Nadia writes about with the story of God as a mother hen:

But neither can I tell you that the Mother Hen thing means that God will protect you from Herod or that God is going to keep bad things from happening to you.
Because honestly, nothing actually keeps danger from being dangerous.
A mother hen cannot actually keep a determined fox from killing her chicks. 

and...

But Faith in God does not bring you safety.  

The fox still exists.  

Danger still exists.  

And by that I mean, danger is not optional, but fear is. 

Because maybe the opposite of fear isn't bravery. Maybe the opposite of fear is love. Paul tells us that perfect love casts out fear. So in the response to our own Herods, in response to the very real dangers of this world we have an invitation as people of faith: which is to respond by loving.

In tough times- with uncertainty looming, turmoil in the USA and around the world- we often overlook the goodness of God. The song 'Goodness of God' by Bethel Music is a reminder that he is the source of goodness in our lives and in him all things work together for good. He truly is a Good Good Father. 

Today, Aug. 5, Hillcrest School in Jos, Nigeria, opened (online, in accord with government standards) with the motto & song "All Things New." Back in April, the staff had just begun online programing simply to finish that year well. That's also when their Rev. 21:8 theme was chosen for 2020-21. It seemed good. More recent experiences and preparations have made it plain: This school year will most certainly be a very New Thing, assured by our Lord on the throne.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen."

And the first unseen but eternal thing Paul mentions, Carol, is his eternal house that is in heaven, made by God of heavenly stuff (I Cor, 15:47-50) which in the eternal "now" Paul has already put on. That's "far better" than "flesh and blood."

A book that is speaking to my heart these past 6 months is 'It's Not Supposed to be This Way' by Lysa TerKurst.  Life is full of disappointments, trials, unexpected tragedies.  God is our hope in these times. He is there holding us in His arms as we walk through unexpected waters. 

Actually engaging in a book study of this book with my 3 sisters - a whole new concept for us 60 something sisters. 

"This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."  Psalm 118:24

I was feeling discouraged and down. A few things encouraged me.  The first was a conversation with my husband who is reading Leap the Wall by Eugene Peterson.  In the book he talks about David and Goliath, and having a God-perspective versus a Goliath perspective.  My husband shared that all too often we feel limited by our circumstances and situations.  Are we expecting what God can do to be limited as well?  Are we thinking God is limited?  We have the same God who was, is, and is to come.
I also was feeling unsettled and in need of prayer.  I reached out to a woman in my church who is a prayer warrior and a strong woman of faith in Jesus and reader of God's word.  She prayed for me over the phone and has texted me prayers since.
God is so good.  He provided me with what I needed in various forms.  ALL the time, He is good, and I need to remember that and cling to him.

Participant

When I was sixteen my father died and dear friends of my mother, Pete and Ruth, became like a second set of parents to my siblings and me. They generously cared for a widow and four orphaned kids. They taught me to always try to give in such a way that the recipient would not know who the giver was so that all glory would go to God. They were always giving behind the scenes to help hurting and struggling people. Pete passed away years ago and Ruth went to be with Jesus late last year. As Covid19 struck our Village Church community we were confronted with all kinds of needs as people were laid off or had their income dramatically cut. We had the privilege of helping people pay rent or helping them with purchasing food supplies or to meet other financial needs. We opened the mail the day after receiving some rather disconcerting news that would seriously test our capacity to provide for each other and discovered that the church had received a sizable bequest from Pete and Ruth's estate. I laughed with joy that these lovely saints were still being generous and quietly giving to help struggling people from beyond the grave. It was so encouraging to see God work through his saints to care for his people in their time of trouble. I still tear up when I think about it. 

Community Builder

Psalm 94

As we see proud evildoers banding together in corruption and pouring out condemning words we are reminded that their ways are futile.  After all, God created eyes and ears so, of course, he has the power to see and hear what's going on.  He is our Rock and will support us.  He is their judge and will destroy them.   

"Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:4-7  Those verses became my personal theme.  With all that is going on it is easy to become discouraged, and overwhelmed.  Found that as long as I remember that the Lord is near, and He has things in control I can rejoice in His love.

Participant

I John 4:15-16, read in newer version: these are amazing tho'ts....also very assuring when used with I Corinth 12:3b...Blessings...

Participant

There are two songs that play over and over in my mind and regularly upon waking:

"The Steadfast Love of the Lord," sung by Dave Hunt

"Still Rolling Stones," Lauren Daigle (Social Distancing Version!)

I recommend Unto The Hills, A Daily Devotional by Billy Graham and published by Thomas Nelson. I’ve been using it regularly during this time of Pandemic and God has used it to refresh and grow me in my relationship with Christ.

Admin

Thank you all for sharing! Your comments were a blessing to this community. Using random.org, Patricia Haveman's name was chosen as the winner. Patricia, I will be in touch today. Thanks again to each of you!