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Blessings, Encouragement and Hope

older woman prayingMarch 19, 2017 – Blessings

Count your blessings name them one by one, Count your blessings see what God has done (Lyrics by John Oatman Jr.)

There were many years in my life that I didn’t think I was blessed, no, in fact I had gotten to the point where I completely had started to believe that hell was here on earth. I was stuck in an abusive situation and no matter how hard I tried, no matter where I turned, there didn’t seem to be any help.

Because of this abusive person, and some of the things he forced me to do I became an alcoholic and drug addict, mainly because he forced me to drink and do drugs with him and his friends. I would go to bed at night crying and praying and asking God what horrible sin had I committed that I should be punished so brutally.

When I look back at that time, I can clearly see lessons that I learned, many about humanity and the type of people who walk this earth. I learned a whole lot about people who claim to be Christian and who claimed to want to help, because when it came right down to it, they were just mouthing words. I learned first hand about many of the evil humans that walk this planet.

I can also see clearly the different levels, or steps that I went through before the Lord completely removed me from that situation, and instead of realizing it was him who did it at first, I spent a year complaining, whining and talking about the past situation.

After Jesus called to me, after I spent days on my knees, he opened my eyes to the fact that he was there with me the whole time, that he had my back and wasn’t going to allow me to go through more than I can take. Since then I have learned to count my blessings, to name them, to thank him for them; in fact that really is what this blog site is about. Today I am thankful for all the past blessings, all the present blessings and all the future blessings I know he holds for me.

sunrise-in-the-countryMarch 20, 2017 – Encouragement

How do you encourage people? Do you go out of your way to lift someone up on a daily basis or do you just select certain individuals to benefit from your encouragement? Do you hold back from saying or doing something that would encourage a person simply because you think it’s a waste of time or because you are so worried about what others would think of you, those who do not encourage, those who hold themselves above doing anything like that?

When I think back about the people who encouraged me, the people who held out their hands and hearts and said “here I am, let me help”, I have come to realize that there are so many that encouraged me when I was a new Christian. There were many who continually met with me at the alter and sincerely prayed for me as I unloaded all my past baggage on Jesus.

I’ve been through some trying times in my life, an abusive relationship, the loss of both parents, two sisters, my step-father and my son, addiction, depression, homelessness and so much more, but even through it all, I remember those who held out a hand to encourage me.

When Ken passed away and I went back to our former church because it was closer and there was a new pastor there. I sat at the back of the church, by myself, because there were not many left there that I knew. One of the ladies who had been there when I used to attend came back to me one Sunday, took me by the hand, told me I didn’t need to be by myself and led me to the front to sit with her. She was the only one out of several that I knew there that encouraged me. We are still friends to this day.

It doesn’t take a lot to encourage someone. Shake their hand, pat someone on the back and say “hello”. Hug a friend or neighbor or acquaintance that you know needs a kind word. Smile, wave, or wink when you see people you know or are acquainted with. Help someone with their groceries, open the door for someone, send a message or an e-mail or call someone you think needs to be encouraged.

We live in a small town, and while I don’t know everyone by name, there are always so many that immediately say “hello” or wish us a good day, whether we are at the hospital, the clinic, walking down the street or at the store. Just that little bit of encouragement, that little bit of kindness and acknowledgment has had a huge impact on us.

When my son passed away, a clerk at Walmart ran up and gave me a hug when she saw me and told me how sorry she was. It turned out she was a friend of a relative. I’d never met her before, I didn’t know her, but just the fact that she stepped away from her register to extend that kindness to me was a large encouragement. Today I am so thankful for all those who have encouraged me and it is my hope that I can, when the opportunity presents itself, encourage others.

Hebrews 10:24-25 “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”

Jesus with children 2March 21, 2017 – Hope

Merriam Webster defines hope as; to cherish a desire with anticipation: to want something to happen or be true; to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment: to expect with confidence

Where would you be today if you had no hope? Sadly there are many, mostly those who do not know Jesus that feel they have no hope. Even Christians in the war torn countries hold to the hope of Jesus Christ.

Most people hope for something; to be able to buy a new house, to pay the bills on time, to save up money for a vacation, to see their kids go to college, to see their relatives saved, to find that perfect job and so many more.

Some people just hope for a hot meal and place to sleep, while many others hope for material and financial gain. Some are hoping to get out of harrowing or abusive situations, and so many are hoping to find a way to get off the drugs and alcohol.

Without hope, there really isn’t much to look forward to in life. Elderly people may be hoping to see distanced relatives or hold their first great grandchild before they die. People afflicted with physical and mental ailments are hoping for a treatment or cure that works. A young single mother is hoping she can raise her child right while an orphaned child may be hoping someone adopts him.

Wives are hoping their husbands come back alive from the wars, while people in war torn countries are hoping that the war will end and relief will come. Our whole life is wrapped up in hopes, from the day we understand what hope is to the day we pass away.

Before I knew Jesus, I felt I had no hope. There didn’t seem to be any sun behind the clouds, no light at the end of the tunnel, no hope for the next day. Today I have so many hopes. I hope my unsaved relatives will be saved. I hope that so many others will turn from their sinful ways and I hope that so many afflicted and ill will be delivered from pain and disease. My biggest hope I find in Jesus. Without him, there is no hope. Today I am thankful for that hope I find in the Savior.

Romans 8:24-25 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

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