Hope and Encouragement for Today

But blessed is the man who

trust in the Lord

whose confidence is in him.

He will be like a tree planted

by the water

that sends out its roots by the steam.

It does not fear when heat comes;

its leaves are always green.

It has no worries in a year of drought

and never fails to bear fruit.

Jeremiah 17-7-8

I can’t recommend Jesus enough.

When the news reels play or the social media feeds fill up with doom, despair, disrespect and every other negative thing- I wield this scripture like a sword to slay the anxiety and fear that threatens to over take me. This promise and every other promise in the Bible are without condition. It does not say in Jerimiah that if the Republicans are in power that I will be like a tree planted by the water. It doesn’t even specify which country I should live in to experience the promises of God. The only requirement is that I trust in the Lord.

Trust in the Lord= I do not need to fear difficult times.

I will take that deal. Notice that this scriptures does not say that drought never came to this tree. It says the tree has no worries in a drought. Not only does it not worry, but it never misses a year of production. Friend, this is a no brainer.

The world can keep their fear and fighting, hating and destruction- I will go with God. Regardless of what comes in this world, I will be like a tree planted by the water. God is my hope, my trust is in HIM. He has proven himself to me time and again.

Make no mistake, we are in a world at war. This war is between good and evil. It rages everyday. Battles can be bloody and I may take a hit, but my hope is in the Lord, I trust in the Lord to bring his promises to bear. So, turn off the television and internet feed and turn to the One who is able to save your soul and drench you with so much love that it drives out all fear.

Jesus Christ came and died for you and for me. He restored us to a perfect relationship with God. He didn’t come to steal all your fun and wrap you in chains of shame and guild. Jesus came to give you life. The only thing that Jesus want to take from you is fear and death. Give your life to Christ, you will be glad you did!

Guaranteed Encouragement

When my heart or my mind or my soul or all of the above are troubled, I remind myself of the promises made to my by the King of kings and the Lord God Almighty.

Here’s how I read this out loud (I like to read it out loud on my balcony so that these words are spoken over not just me and mine, but over my island.

Psalm 91

I dwell in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
I say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save me
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover me with his feathers,
    and under his wings I will find refuge;
    his faithfulness is my shield and rampart.
I will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at my side,
    ten thousand at my right hand,
    but it will not come near me.
I will only observe with my eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

I will say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and make the Most High my dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake me,
    no disaster will come near my tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning me
    to guard me in all your ways;
12 they will lift me up in their hands,
    so that I will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 I will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    I will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because you  love me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue you;
    I will protect you, for you acknowledge my name.
15 You will call on me, and I will answer you;
    I will be with you in trouble,
    I will deliver you and honor you.
16 With long life I will satisfy you
    and show you my salvation.”

Glory to God, Halleluja! This comforts me in a way that nothing else can! Share this with everyone you know, we all need comfort and encouragement right now. The One True God, the Name Above All Names has made you a promise and HE is faithful.

Here is the orginal text:

Psalm 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

Training Your Children

Proverbs  20:11 says “Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right.” This is a scripture that we have used with our children in training them to be people of integrity and to be productive.  We have always tried to tie in the Word of God and the end goal with the instructions we were giving to the kids.
In telling them that their actions told people about themselves, we wanted them to think about what they wanted someone to know about them and then act accordingly. The scripture in Proverbs backed that up and helped them to understand that we were speaking to them not for our own gain, but for their benefit.  Of course, well behaved children are certainly a benefit to parents!
This was made very real to the kids this past week.  It is not uncommon for us to get compliments on our children’s behavior whenever we go out or travel.  However, this past week it was really over the top.  As I have mentioned in previous blogs, we bought several greenhouses and other equipment and this past week had to take it all apart and haul it home.  I was so grateful to my kids and how hard they worked.  I cannot count the times the other men out there would tell us what great kids we had.  For these crusty old fellows, it bordered on gushing.  One man asked Tony several times what we did to get kids like ours.  How do you sum up eighteen years of hard work in a sentence or two?  We passed all the compliments on to the kids- “even a child is known by his actions…”
Each child comes with his or her own special gifting; I am convinced of this fact.  Another fact I am convinced of is that this gift is the child’s place to shine and succeed or – not submitted to God- is the place for the biggest failure.  As I seek to train a child in the way he should go, I am not looking to have them go my way, but the way their gifts point them.  One of the cool things about the Bible is that there is a scripture for every subject that we may encounter in life.
Savannah is my second child and she came equipped with a very high intellect, wicked if not a bit warped sense of humor, and a strong desire for action.  Couple these things with her love of the ocean and animals and she is headed to be a marine mammal behaviorist.  Without any spiritual training, those personality traits add up to a kid who loved to stir up trouble and aggravate her siblings.  To Savannah, peace in the home was boring- I know because she told me so herself as if I had not already picked up on that fact.  So her personal scripture was Psalm 34:14 “Depart from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it.”  Every time she was getting into trouble because of her unique gifts, I would have her go to the refrigerator where her verse was posted and read it aloud.  Then, it was not a battle of our wills as to how she was to act; it was between her and God.  I was just the messenger.
Savannah was not the only one with personal scriptures.  Cheyenne is a natural born leader a huge gift in her life- the flip side of that coin is that she can be BOSSY.  So, she would have scriptures pertaining to using her words carefully.  Sierra is intensely driven- the flip side to that is she can drive you intensely insane.  Jonathan on the other hand is very laid back, certainly a good thing to be when you are the fourth child with three strong-willed females ahead of you.  However, that easy going disposition makes him inclined to be lazy.  So we focus on showing him truth about hard work and what it is to be a man.
Never do I look at my kids personalities or gifts as something to be changed or done away with, I look at them as simply needing to be trained in the things of God.  I do not know what each of them is called to do, that is between them and their heavenly father.  He sent these children to me prewired with the gifts they would need to accomplish his purpose for them, how dare I try to rewrite their story to fit my desire or crush that which I do not like.   My job is to create and environment in which they can hear Him and to train them to discipline themselves so that their gifts do not destroy them.
The best tool for doing this is the Word of God.  Imagine that.  It is really the simplest way.  With a good concordance you can look up any word and find multiple scriptures dealing with it.  Once I found a scripture that fit what we were dealing with, being sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s prompting, I typed it up on the computer or wrote it on index cards.  Then these scriptures were put on the fridge and the bathroom mirrors.  According to their behavior, sometimes these verses were read aloud a lot, but most of the time they would read them as they brushed their teeth in the morning and at night.  I did not require them to memorize and repeat them to me, but they did memorize them.
Jonathan working hard in the garden
Just the other night, we were all laughing and talking.  Something was said that I can’t even remember now, but Savannah said “I remember my verse” and she quoted it.  Then she said that she could remember another one but not its address – scripture reference.  Then Cheyenne spouted off, I can “Jeremiah 29:11 I know the plans I have for you says the Lord….” and said the whole verse.  I can’t tell you how happy I was!  If you have ever dealt with children, you know what I mean.  You feel like you repeat yourself constantly and wonder if any of the good stuff is sticking.  Well, it is sticking.  You just have to wait a few years to see it.
 
Sierra and Cinnamon
Savannah & Misty     Cheyenne & Aurora