Posts Tagged With: encouragement

The Voice that Matters

Voices. They are everywhere.

It’s the voice of your 7-month-old daughter as she practices her consonants saying “Mamamamama” while she clamors for you attention on the kitchen floor during supper preparation.

It’s the voice of your Beloved spouse saying he will/won’t be home tonight and needs you to please do this or that before that point.

It’s the voice of a friend who regales you with tales of her life as you smile and listen intently.

It’s the voice inside us that finds our flaws and tells us that the jeans are too tight or that she has prettier hair or a better marriage.

It’s the voice of the TV or radio advertisement saying “You will be happy when you have THIS.”

It’s the voice of Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest that makes you WANT what they have.

It’s the voice of the Enemy whispering you failed. You aren’t good enough. You shouldn’t even bother to try.

These voices cover the gamut of the good, the challenging, the encouraging and the downright disheartening.

But we are forgetting the voice that truly matters.

The voice of God.

God is always speaking to us– but if you are anything like me, you might not always listen. God isn’t a bully and He isn’t going to yell over these other things to get our attention. (Not very often, anyways.)

God’s words to us might be sweet, encouraging, challenging, enlightening or convicting. But ALL of His words are rooted in love.

See, that’s the difference between the voices of the world and the Enemy as opposed to God. Those other voice are not always sincere or coming from pure motives. But God’s are.

While the voices of the world can seem pretty loud sometimes, they typically aren’t bad news in themselves. However, I struggle most with recognizing then combating the voice of the Enemy.

And here’s how to tell a difference between Satan and God’s voice in our lives…

Satan brings on guilt… We feel like we failed, we are unworthy. God convicts, opening our heart to a mistake we made but provide an avenue of redemption.

Satan lies. God is truth.

Satan is sneaky. God is honest.

Satan will distract. God clarifies.

Satan brings chaos. God brings peace.

Satan destroys. God builds up.

Satan hates. God loves.

Satan kills. God gives life.

I recently read a phrase that really spoke to my heart…

“Satan calls you by your sin and forgets your name… Christ forgets your sin and calls you by name.”

Dearest friends, those voices can be overwhelming. The confusion, anxiety, suffocation you feel– that is not how God intended for us to live our lives. He died a criminal’s death to give us speak. He speaks love into our lives daily… We just have to be willing to listen.

So all of you that have ears to hear… Let’s tune in and really listen to The One True Voice that matters.

Listening for His Love,
SGK

“Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” ~Mark 4:9

Listen for His Love...

Listen for His Love…

Categories: listen | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Yep. They are your friends. (Five Minute Friday)

Five Minute Friday
Greetings, folks!

It’s Friday, which ’round these parts can only mean one thing– time for a lil speed writing, heart-sharing Five Minute Friday.

For anyone who might be new, here’s the deal: Each Friday I link up with our favorite gypsy mama, Lisa-Jo Baker. She gives us a prompt, then we write. No over-thinking. We just write.

It’s pretty cool to see what Jesus comes up with sometimes when that timer goes off…  So let’s see what He has in store for us today.

Today’s Prompt: FRIEND

Ready? GO!

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You know ’em. You love ’em. You hate to leave ’em. And the good ones? Yep, sometimes they are hard to find.

They are your friends.

They are there in the joyous moments. They are there to wipe your tears. They hug you, love you, feed you, encourage you. They pray with you. They speak the truth in love when you won’t listen to anyone else. And you do the same for them.

Yep. They are your friends.

They might live on the same block… Or in a different time zone. You might see them every day… Or maybe only once a year. You might know them best for the memories you built together. Or maybe you look forward to the gut-splitting memories that are in the making.

Yep. They are your friends.

No matter where you go, what you do… Your friends are there– in real life, online, on the phone, or in spirit. They come is all shapes, sizes, colors, ages. A rainbow of diversity and love. What a beautiful gift, those friends.

And the one thing that bonds you together more deeply than eating an entire bag of chocolate together and swearing each other to secrecy? Your shared love of Christ.

You see, these friends aren’t just friends for now. But they are friends for a lifetime… And beyond. You keep each other rooted in Him, focused on Him, following Him.

And when you discover the sweet, irreplaceable experience that is having Jesus as your best friend… you discover a connection that will last from here to the other side of eternity.

Yep. THEY are your friends.

STOP!

****

What attributes do you look for in a friendship? In what ways do your friends lead you to Christ? How can you encourage them to turn to Him in all circumstances?

As I wrap up, I also want to thank YOU for reading… For supporting this ministry with prayer, encouragement, comments. Some of you I know personally, some are a name on a screen. But either way– if we are all striving to live for Christ with the limited time we have– you, sweet reader, are a friend.

Thanks for that. 🙂

What a friend we have in Jesus,

SGK

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” ~Proverbs 17:17 NIV

Categories: Five Minute Friday | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Everyday Jesus: He is in the Water

Greetings once again, dearest readers, and welcome to another exciting and heart-motivating edition of “Everyday Jesus.” I am so blessed to introduce you to Amy, a fellow writer and sister in Christ. We are not only friends in the digital world, but real-life friends as well, since we traveled to SheSpeaks conference in North Carolina last year. (And created lots of inside jokes in the process.) I pray that you show Amy the love today both here at 7 Days Time and also over at her place via comments and encouragement. 

Are you ready? It’s time to jump in… 

SGK 

****

Have you ever had a message or a theme seem to just jump on board your life for a period of time?  That happened to me recently as I prepared for my annual day apart with God.  The theme was water.

I prayed that God would give me a picture to begin this day.  He did.

In my picture I was standing on the edge of a high cliff with moving water below.  A ball of “stuff” was advancing toward me and I had to decide if I was going to try to keep the stuff from rolling off the edge or if I was going to heed God’s conversation bubble directive to “JUMP”.  Looking at the water, Jesus and the Holy Spirit were already in it and were waiting for me to just do that thing.

Photo from rgbstock.com

Photo from rgbstock.com

So, I jumped into the time with God and into cleansing water of confession, praying, listening, and Word soaking for the day.

I was bathed as the plunge freed me from all the surface trappings that call to me for rescue but are actually siren songs of distraction from focusing on Him.

At the conclusion, I had let go of some things I had been trying to finagle. I assumed He was through with getting my attention about some things but Sunday’s sermon on Jesus’ baptism kept the theme afloat.

My pastor incorporated a visual aide that day as he held a large sheet of butcher paper filled with loving words God says about and to His children.

Then he stated things we hear others say to us that erase His words.  He proceeded to crumple up the paper.  It was a moment earlier when I had allowed a man-word to wash away a God-word.  Why, even my own thoughts drown me!

Plop.  A tear fell to the opened pages of Luke 3 in my lap:

“As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, ‘I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’” (Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 NRSV).

I let His Word and the pastor’s message wash over me.  God is pleased with His own.

What began as letting go for a day apart with God flowed into a culminating spring of tears letting go of hurts.

What about you?  Are you overwhelmed by the deluge of real life stuff?  Is your sweet little spirit crushed by the weight of unkindness toward you, intentional or not?  I so understand that.  So does Jesus.

Jesus is in the water that calls us to jump out from the stuff that wants to swallow us in our various seasons and circumstances.

Jesus is in the water that refreshes us as we pray with our mouths and hear with our ears as He speaks to us when we take the time to just be still and listen.

Jesus is in the water of his word that washes us and regenerates us to life as we erase words that don’t hold any water compared to God’s cisterns that hold living water of His truth.

Jesus is in the water of identity where we are cleansed from our sins.  Stains of past mistakes are washed cleaner than any of the latest stain lifters could possibly manage.

Encouragement for today:

Sweet reader, won’t you just jump in?  The water where Jesus floats is just fine.

Opportunity for response:

What keeps you from jumping?

****

Amy Ward Headshot

Amy Dickson Ward lives in Columbus, GA with her husband of 26 years, Rob. They have two adult sons and a daughter-in-love. Amy is real about life’s ups and downs, including her battle with breast cancer in 2010.  Amy enjoys blogging at www.amydward.com when she’s not busy leading Bible study, knitting, and using her degree in Home Ec (yep, that’s right) and minor in journalism at home.  She has been published in Espresso.

Categories: Everyday Jesus | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Right Where He Wants Us

Every now and then… I need to be encouraged.

Life can get a little ooey on occasions– I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m still super blessed, but life (for me OR you) isn’t easy. If it was, it wouldn’t be called earth… It would be called heaven.

But unfortunately for those of us in the here and now, we live in a fallen world. (Thanks a lot Adam and Eve! Oh, who am I kidding– if they didn’t mess it up, somebody else would have come along 20 seconds later, listened to that Satanic snake and jacked it up for us regardless. But I’m not bitter. It’s fine.)

Anywho, back to my original point. Sometimes we just need to be encouraged. Reminded that we aren’t floating aimlessly about, drifting. That God has our back– no matter what. He has us right where He wants us.

No matter where you find yourself... Trust that He is right on target and has you right where He wants you...

No matter where you find yourself… Trust that He plan is on target and He has you right where He wants you…

Remember last week when I talked about prayer week at church and the cool messages He revealed to me? Well, today is another installment of that– only this time, this is directly from the Big Man Himself.

I pray that the following message encourages your heart and shifts your perspective a bit if it’s a little muddied by the junk of the world as of late. (Sidenote: The prompt for this particular prayer night was work #4 of Christ, His ascension. Oh, and just as a fun fact in case you didn’t know the five works of Christ off the top of your head, they are incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension and return. There. Now you have something to talk about at the dinner table tonight or share with your neighbor down the street as you wait to pick up your kids from the bus stop.)

So without further ado.. here’s God’s message for us…

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My Beloved~

I have you right where I want you. No matter what season, what circumstances, what trials you find yourself facing, please know that I am behind it. I know sometimes you think it would be easier to follow me if I were still on Earth… But just like you are right where you are supposed to be, so I am– at the Father’s right hand here in heaven. 

Although it might not look like it, you are in a great position. Because of my ascension to heaven, you have an opportunity to interact with Me 24/7– My Spirit is ALWAYS with you!! Please beloved~ be encouraged by this and keep running after me… Every single day, in everything you do. Remember that I will never leave nor forsake you! I promise. 

Continue to say yes to me… THe more you submit to me, the higher you also ascend into my presence, til one wondrous day we meet face-to-face and you run into my outstretched arms at the gates of heaven. It will be a joy unlike you have ever known. 

Your union with Me will give you peace. And it is not a worldly peace. It is MY peace. Don’t succumb to the voices of this world– no matter how loud they might be. Instead, stay closely joined and united with Me… 

For someday, we shall be together not only in Spirit, but dancing together, as bride and groom, in the kingdom of heaven.

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Wowzers. Can I get an AMEN!?!? If this spoke to you or encouraged your heart in any way, I would love your feedback– comment below.

Encouraged by Him,
SGK

“For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.” ~Ephesians 2:6 NLT

Categories: encouragement | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments

Blessed Abundantly (Versatile Blogger Award)

God just keeps pouring on the blessings to this ministry. Wowzers. (Sidenote: Wowzers is a super fun word.)

This week, I was nominated for The Versatile Blogger Award. I’m humbled. I’m flattered.

I’m stinkin’ excited.

So today, I simply rejoice in the continual and abundant blessings of the Lord. (Yes, you have my permission to let out a huge sigh of relief since I will not be giving a 35 minute acceptance speech thanking everyone from my puppy to my first grade teacher. Oh, and Jesus. Can’t forget Him.)

But with this recognition come a few responsibilities. (Don’t worry– they aren’t major and it is an honor to participate!)

First…. Thanks to Peach State over at JustBetweenCousins for this wonderful honor. You rock. 🙂

Share 7 (yes, 7– I see that number continues to surface!) random facts about yourself. Hmmm… Ok, here goes:

  1. I am a certified auctioneer. (Seriously. I have a diploma to prove it.)
  2. Chocolate Avocado Mousse is my favorite dessert… to eat and make.
  3. I wore Duct Tape to my senior prom. (Total cost: $32.)
  4. I own a pair of ruby red slippers. (Hey. Don’t judge. I’m from Kansas.)
  5. It is a physical impossibility for  me to play any sport that involves flying objects without getting hit in the face or bruised. (Not kidding. I once split my lip open playing ping pong. Sigh.)
  6. I’m allergic to peanuts. (Yes. That means no PB & J sandwiches or Reese’s cups. Rough life, I know.)
  7. I believe that the top three most acoustically effective places to sing are in the shower, elevators and stairwells.
Finally, I need to nominate the next batch of amazing winners for this award. (The “Rules” say 15… but I am nominating my top 5 favorite blogs to follow, just to keep this from being overwhelming.)
FullHerLife-– Amy Alves
A Pause on the Path— Shanda Oakley
Finding Heaven— Jen Ferguson
One Degree Ministries— Tracy Steele
So congrats to the new winners… thank YOU for blessing me with your amazing words each day 🙂

Isn’t it simply amazing how God gives little snippets of encouragement on our journey? How does God encourage you? Is it with a song? Affirmation from another? A hidden blessing? I would love to hear about it. Please leave a comment here to share how God is encouraging you in your daily walk!

Remember friends, He is so loving and faithful… Just ask and obey– He will bless you abundantly!

Abundantly Blessed,
SGK

“The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.” –Proverbs 11:25 (MSG) 

Categories: affirmation, blessing, cheering, encouragement, faith, God | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

To All His Good and Faithful Servants

God's love and affirmation can come in my forms...

God speaks to us in many ways… Sometimes it is through Scripture. Occasionally through song. Or another person.

And sometimes, He just straight up talks to us. However– we have to be willing to listen.

Today’s post isn’t eloquent or hilarious or exceptionally creative. It is a loving word I received from Him during the last few moments of my sabbatical in Pine Mountain this past weekend.

The following are words that He wanted me to hear– but as I prayed over them, He wanted me to share His heart with you as well.

So this post is for all you who are doing His work, whether that is praying, blogging, living a Christian life in a secular world, ministry, raising a family in Christ, you name it. If you have been called to live a Christ-like life, then this message is from God FOR you…. To All His Good and Faithful Servants.

“Place Me first and foremost in all areas of your day. I promise I will give you the energy and strength to accomplish what I have planned for you. Rely on Me to do the hard work– your trust in Me is the ultimate remedy to avoid exhaustion, frustration and burn-out.

I love you for who are, NOT for what you do. Your love and obedience is all I ask of you. Receive My gifts of power and truth that I am giving to you. I will strengthen you for the journey ahead, My beloved and mighty warrior. 

Remember that a ‘successful day’ is NOT determined by what you cross off your to do list, but rather how much you keep in touch with Me. It’s not what you do, it’s ultimately about how you glorify Me. Your personal plans of earthly things to do will never be completely accomplished. But that’s ok, because it is My purpose for you that truly matters. The more you are in tune with Me, the more opportunities I will give you to bring Me glory. In turn, I will fill you up from the inside out, overflowing with love and motivation. 

Get plenty of rest by spending time in my presence. Remember that people are a priority, not things. Keep your eyes open for how I am moving  and when you can love on someone. 

You are doing a great job, My Beloved One. I adore how you yearn to please and worship Me. Just remember that this is a learning process and I am the Ultimate Teacher. Any mistakes you make along the way are fully covered by My Grace. Keep running towards Me, My Good and Faithful Servant!”

I don’t know about you… but I am going to hold this precious message very close to my heart. My prayer is that this message from Our Father has spoke to you– empowered and encouraged you wherever He has called you. Keep pressing forward, my friends. I believe in you… and more importantly, so does God. After all, Beloved, He calls you His Good and Faithful Servant.

Pressing Onward for His Glory,
SGK

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” –Matthew 25:23

PS: Don’t forget! “A Latte Love” contest to win a Starbucks gift card is still going on until the article runs in the Bayonet this week. If this post (or any others) has moved you in any way, I would love for you to share with your friends and leave a comment here!

Categories: accomplishment, affirmation, cheerleader, glory, God, grace, obedience, plans | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Some Comments On Commenting

Aight, beloved readers… (That means “All right” for those of you not currently residing in the south.) Today, for essentially the first time in my blog history, I write to you from atop my soapbox.

No, we will not be discussing politics. (Yikes.) And no, I will not be preaching about the “hard stuff” from the Bible. Instead, I am going to share with you my comments… on commenting.

Yes, I am writing about commenting on blogs. Those of you in the “blogging community” will <hopefully> understand and support this idea… but for you beloved readers who don’t have a blog of your own, I just want to share with you how important it is to comment on blogs.

You can't actually comment "here" per say... but you can scroll to the bottom and comment. Just sayin'.

Before I you think I am an ungrateful blogging heifer, please know that I am INCREDIBLY thankful for my loyal followers who have the courage to comment on my blog (or other folks’ blogs.) Seriously. Ever since I  “launched” this ministry two months ago and migrated to WordPress, my blog comments have been tremendous compared to my old site. So on that note, here are a few facts you might not know about commenting on our blogs…

1. Your comments keep us going. This is so, so, SO important, especially for us faith bloggers that are currently working for Jesus dollars, not world dollars. Blogging, especially daily, is freaking hard. Yes, it can be incredibly rewarding. But little tidbits in the form of your comments keep us pressing forward in the name of Jesus when our brains are mush and our fingers are sick of typing. Second to God, YOU are who we are writing for!!

2. We LOVE hearing your thoughts. When you respond to our post(s), it encourages our hearts that people actually DO read our stuff. Yeah, our stats might say people are stopping by, but a few comments mean more to us than a hundred page views. If you comment, it helps us to believe even more deeply in the mission to which we have been called. Plus, we love the interaction– writing to a silent screen can get a little monotonous. And if we talk to ourselves while we write (especially in public places like Starbucks) people think we are nuts. So save us the embarrassment and talk to us through the screen! 🙂

3. Your comments don’t have to be “profound.” If I EVER figure out who started THIS nasty little rumor, I am going to cut them. Or at least judo chop them in the neck. Seriously. Yeah, we love it when comments reflect/respond to something we actually wrote (because it means you actually read it) but your comments don’t have to be profound. We aren’t expecting a greek translation or a Scripture quote or a profound revelation that changes our lives (although sometimes that does happen, which is awesome.) But sometimes, just a simple “Amen sister!” Or “Great thoughts!” or “Really spoke to me!” can make all the difference.  We comment on Facebook statuses and pictures all the time… why not take 14 extra seconds, comment on the actual blog and make it permanent? We appreciate ANY comments we receive on our blogs! (Except spam… we despise blog spam. It’s almost as yucky as the luncheon meat stuff.)

4. Your comments help our “legitness” factor. Yeah, so I made up that word… but seriously. When others view a blog, one of the first things they probably do is glance down at the bottom to see how many comments have been made. I certainly do that. If there are a lot of comments, that makes me think either A) Whatever the blogger wrote is super legit B) They have such an incredible platform that they could blog about ketchup and people would still love it or C) They are paying people under the table to leave comments. (I am pretty sure options A & B are the most feasible here.) Seriously though– if a “big dawg” publisher, minister, blogger, whoever lands on our page… Comments can make or break an opportunity that might lurking around the corner.

Blogging is like wearing a different outfit each day… although in our world, they are never going to be the SAME outfit. Sure, there are going to be occasions where a blog post might be the equivalent to t-shirt and sweats, but most days, we bloggers are hopeful that someone will notice and comment. Think about how you feel each time you sport a new haircut or outfit and someone positively mentions it to you… It can keep you going for the rest of the day! Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. And for those of us in the Jesus blogging world– we love warm and fuzzy. (Or feisty and festive. Whatever.)

Finally, we know that God encourages us throughout Scripture. From the beautiful and romantic words of Song of Solomon to the promises of Jesus, He offers encouragement to keep us going. And while those reminders keep us reaching for Jesus, sometimes we need a little earthly help from our readers to have the courage to face our keyboard again as we share our hearts.

Aight… (it’s slacking grammar day if you can’t tell…) I hope the above case for the importance of commenting on blogs has empowered you to take heart and reach out to those of us who have been called to blog for Jesus… And before you roll your eyes thinking this is a desperate attempt for feel-good moments, please note that this is not a plea for more comments on my blog. If you don’t believe me, comment on some of these other Jesus gals’ blogs if you don’t feel called to comment on 7 Days Time. It’s not about the numbers… It’s about the mission.

Check out (and comment on– hint, hint!) these other blogs…

Kelli (my beloved boss) at Living for One.
Jen over at Finding Heaven Today
Shannon at Jesus & My Orange Juice
Lisa-Jo at The Gypsy Mama
Colleen at The Restarter Home

WHEW! Aight, I need to click publish before the view from my soapbox makes me so dizzy I pass out (or chicken out.)

Oh… and just in case this post actually stuck… feel free to leave a comment here. 🙂

Sharing the Jesus Comment Love,
SGK

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” –1 Thessalonians 5:11

Categories: blogging, encouragement, God, Kelli, Love, mission, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 45 Comments

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