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You are going to be okay because…

Eighty-five percent of what you worry about will never happen.

When your hope is in the Lord, hope will not disappoint.

In fifty years, you will not remember what is bothering you today.

The sun will rise and set tomorrow just as it does every day because the Creator of the universe is in control.

The One who controls the universe is able to control your circumstances.

If God takes care of the lilies in the field and the sparrows in the trees, why would He not care for you?

lily and sparrow

Grace has brought you to this point in time; as long as you have breath, you have grace.

The only things that really matter are the things you can carry into eternity.

Your life is played out for an audience of One; you only need to please one Master.

God promises He will never leave you or forsake you.

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http://www.holleygerth.com

You’re Not Alone

Sometimes you feel all alone in your thoughts and concerns.

How do I know this? — because I feel all alone sometimes, too.

My husband and I adopted a child who experienced bipolar disorder from the very early age of eighteen months. It was back when doctors thought it was impossible for children to have a mental illness.

No one understood; I felt all alone. The good news is that my alone-ness caused me to reach out to Jesus.

You see, sometimes we don’t know we need Jesus until He is all we’ve got. Medical help came for my little girl much later — at age seventeen. Jesus was all I had during those desperate years.

Even those closest to me didn’t understand my pain, my struggle. In their presence, I still felt alone. Their words were empty, like sounding brass echoing off the walls. Jesus was the only One who understood and I was not alone!

Where do you go when you feel alone?

When we feel alone, we need to get alone — alone with God, reaching out to Him. He is the one person who understands, empathizes, heals, encourages, and lifts us out of our alone-ness.NST

He has promised us that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deut 31:6).

Do you have a quiet, alone place, where you can seek the One who understands? — a place where you can reach Him? He is the only One who can meet your need.

You’re not alone!

View other posts on “You’re Not Alone” on http://www.holleygerth.com

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From the door of the preschool room, I watched a child playing. Wispy blonde locks surrounded her light Scandinavian complexion and azure eyes. She was a bit more shy than most her age.

Without interaction with the others, she quietly amused herself with a doll, dressing it in a formal gown and high heels. A momentary flash of panic crossed her face until she again spotted her teacher helping other children behind the indoor playhouse. All was safe again.

Then, from the hall, her daddy appeared and said, “Hi beautiful.” Her eyes lit up and her mouth smiled wide as she ran to him. He opened his arms, scooped her up, embraced her, and twirled her once around.

The daddy caught the teacher’s eye, waved, and said, “Thank you! We’ll see you tomorrow.”

What a lovely image of a daddy’s love—beautiful grace demonstrated to his princess. When she is much older, she’ll remember her father’s secure arms, his unconditional love, and his voice saying, “Hi beautiful.” Then, she’ll aptly discern the authenticity and the motives of other male figures in her life because she has heard the true voice of her daddy.

Every daughter, young or old, longs to have her father call her beautiful. Every wife needs to hear it from her husband—beautiful.

From the lips of any other person, it holds far less value. Why then, do some not say that word to their princess? Did their fathers not teach them? Perhaps four or five generations back, a father set a different example, and it trickled down to the present.

Oh, the beautiful grace of a loving father who expresses his love in a word, beautiful. Many are fortunate to have such an earthly father. However, some have fathers who, although they are good role models, they don’t know how to verbalize their love.

Others have fallen fathers who are angry, abusive, selfish, or ignorant, and they sin against their daughters.

Nevertheless, all of us have access to a Heavenly Father who scoops us up in His arms and says, “You’re beautifully and wonderfully made, and you’re mine.”

This Father—our Heavenly Father and Husband, expresses love to us in His Word:

…Behold, “you’re beautiful, my love; behold, you’re beautiful; your eyes are dove… (Song of Solomon 1:15)

(This article is from the book, “Sixty Days of Grace – God’s Sufficiency for the Journey” by Dorothy Ruppert.) To get a copy go to http://www.dorothyruppert.com.

 

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http://www.holleygerth.com

Maybe you can recite Bible verses that speak of the Father’s love for you…

and, yet…

Sometimes you simply need another human being to demonstrate God’s love to you in concrete form.

On a Mother’s Day long ago when my three children were young, I could not wait for the day to end. The two older ones had bickered from early morning, the house was in disarray, and the baby fussed. Nothing had gone right and at that moment, I felt unloved – unappreciated.

As my husband walked by where I sat licking my wounds in self-pity, I asked him, “Does anyone around here even care that I exist?”

He stopped in his tracks, pulled me up, put his big arms around me, and said, “We all love you, Mama; we just forget to tell you.”

and…

I felt loved.

Have you ever felt unloved in your Church? You know – that place that exemplifies community, fellowship, and Christian love! After attending a new church for almost a year, I still failed to find a place to share my gifts.

However, one day, a woman invited me to her home and we connected spiritually and emotionally. She used her gift of hospitality to restore me.

and…

I felt loved again.

So, today, let’s use our gifts to encourage someone. Let’s say to them, “You are loved, my friend.”

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness. Jeremiah 31:3

365 Offerings of Hope

In 2014, I want to give 365 unexpected gifts of HOPE to the people in my life.

I first thought of this idea at our December Writers’ Group meeting. Our group meets monthly to share what we have written and to encourage one another to keep writing. The hostess for December suggested we share a Christmas memory or a family holiday tradition.

One of the participants read his compelling story of an extravagant Christmas gift he received when he was six years old. Although his parents lacked financial resources, they gave him a Radio Flyer train set that year. He calculated that it might have cost as much as a week’s wages of both his parents.

You see, he had contracted polio earlier that year and the train set represented his parents’ gratitude for their son’s survival from the most feared childhood disease of that time. This sacrificial gift was an outward sign of their HOPE for his future.

The story of the train set evoked a memory from when I was about eleven-years old. Our family also lacked financial resources. One day in mid December that year, I found my mother weeping hopelessly at the kitchen sink. I asked what was wrong.

She whimpered, “We have no money to buy Christmas gifts this year and we won’t have a Christmas tree either.”

At that moment, I desperately needed to do something to encourage my mother. Christmas gifts were unimportant to me, but I had to find a way to get a Christmas tree because I knew it would make her happy again. I had no money. Where could I possibly get a free Christmas tree?

Then, it dawned on me — why not cut a wild evergreen from the forest on our farm? During warmer weather, I had spent many hours walking through the woods and I knew exactly where to find an evergreen tree within a half mile of the house.

Pulling my sled and with a rope and an old saw in hand, I trudged into the forest. There it was, my tree of HOPE, just where I had spotted it the summer before. I cut it down and tied it to the sled with the rope, pulling it back to our yard in the snow. The tree was only about three feet tall and a bit crooked, but it had a heavenly fresh evergreen scent.

In the forest, against the drab backdrop of the leaf-barren trees, the tree appeared green; in our living room, it took on a somewhat brownish cast. Nevertheless, Mom cried happy tears when she first saw it. HOPE had once again returned to our home.

That afternoon, she took leave from all her Saturday chores and dug out a tattered Christmas box from the back of the closet. On the branches of our fresh tree, Mom and I placed the old string of lights and then the familiar ornaments, each with its own sweet memory.

At the bottom of the Christmas box, we found the final touch, the tinsel that we had saved from year to year. We carefully removed strands of it from the slots cut in a piece cardboard from a writing tablet and placed them on our tree one by one. The tinsel filled the gaping holes between the branches and it sparkled with the slightest movement of air in the glow of the shining bulbs.

That year, Mom bragged about “the most beautiful tree she’d ever seen” to all our visitors. It was far from perfect in a physical sense, however, it was the perfect gift of HOPE for a discouraged mother. Oh, what joy I felt in my heart that Christmas!

The memory of our tree of HOPE gave me an inspiration for the coming year. Why not give 365 gifts of HOPE in 2014 – one each day to someone in my life? It could be a smile, a thank you, a compliment, a note sent in the mail, a phone call, an email, a Facebook message, a pat on the shoulder, a hug, or a small favor. What a difference a simple gift of HOPE might make for someone in desperate need of encouragement!

Join me in bringing an offering of HOPE to just one person each day this year! Then record your gifts of HOPE in a journal and share them here on this blog if you like. 

God has a way of making His profound wisdom appear everywhere before my eyes when He is calling me to make a change. The Holy Spirit had already been nudging me to respond with a gentle, compassionate answer when something ticked me off but, instead, I often reacted poorly. In my Bible study on God’s inheritance, I had just learned in I Peter 3:9 that I should not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this I was called so that I might inherit a blessing from God.
In my quiet time that morning, He nudged me again. I read the following words about reactions vs. responses written by Lysa Terkeurst from her “Unglued Devotional:”

• A reactor escalates the conflict. A responder dissipates the conflict.
• A reactor adds trouble on top of trouble. A responder adds grace on top of grace.
• A reactor either spews emotion or masters the silent treatment. A responder gives a gentle answer.
• A reactor only sees things her way. A responder realizes there are always two sides to every issue.
• A reactor demands her right to be right. A responder is more concerned about making right choices before God.

Nevertheless, that very evening, while I tried to negotiate through a new recipe for supper, I encountered an opportunity to test the wisdom I had recently received. My husband and granddaughter came to me within minutes of each other, bombarding me with two separate issues, which they expected me to fix on the spot. Inside I felt a reactive emotion well up—one that often comes when I am anxious or under pressure. I was agitated, annoyed, and, honestly, downright ticked. Couldn’t they see this was not the time to brazen out their concerns about weighty subjects that would take some consideration on my part? Couldn’t they demonstrate a little mindfulness here? I wanted to give them a piece of my mind and send them both packing, out of my face. I wanted to rant, rail, and react! Once again, right there in my kitchen, that nudging occurred and I deemed it more appropriate to still my sharp words. However, I’m convinced they both heard the deep sigh that came all the way from my gut!

A little later, as I dished up the food and sat down at the counter to test the new recipe, it became apparent that God was not finished teaching me about reactions versus responses. I realized that my deep sigh was really a reaction and not a compassionate response. I still felt angry and, frankly, I was pouting because I had stuffed my own feelings. That, too, was an unhealthy reaction, which might lead to resentment. How much better a gentle answer would have been for all of us.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. Proverbs 15:1-2

Grace Refused

News Flash: My second book, Sixty Days of Grace, Reflections on: God’s Sufficiency for the Journey,is now in the publication process. After two weeks of scrambling to get all the necessary materials submitted to the publisher, I am finally blogging again. This is an exciting time as I wait in awesome anticipation of God’s wonderful plan to come forth in my life; but it is also a little scary, not knowing exactly where His dreams for me will lead me. Today, I would like to share one of the reflections from Sixty Days of Grace.

Grace Refused

What do you think is the biggest slap in God’s face? Is it murder, adultery, armed robbery, or child abuse? While these offences all represent a disregard for God’s commandments, none of them are so egregious that they’re beyond the forgiveness of God. Just peruse the Old Testament of the Bible and you’ll discover that God forgave all the faith heroes of gross sin. In the New Testament, Jesus delights in forgiving sinners.

No, the biggest slap in God’s face is refusing His grace!

When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they refused His grace. However, their disobedience wasn’t a surprise to God. He’s an all-knowing God, therefore, He knew from the beginning they would sin and take all of us down the tubes with them. He already had a divine plan in mind to redeem His creation. That plan was to, one day, send His Son Jesus to suffer, shed His blood, and die on a cross as the final sacrifice for the sins of all men and women. This sacrifice provided an opportunity for people to be forgiven, redeemed, and forever live under God’s grace.

First, God gave mankind His moral laws. He gave these laws to reveal sin to the people, because without laws, they couldn’t discern right from wrong. For thousands of years people lived under horribly restrictive laws, which were impossible to keep. One of these laws required a priest to kill and sacrifice an innocent lamb on an altar to cover the sins of the people. However, this sacrifice only covered sin; it didn’t erase it forever. Therefore, the people had to continue to sacrifice lambs for sins, and live under laws that only pointed out their sin without redemption.

One would think that for these people, who lived under the Old Testament laws of sacrificing lambs for sins, Christ’s sacrifice for the sins of all would have made perfect sense. Unfortunately, most people during the time of Jesus didn’t connect the dots between the sacrifice of an innocent lamb in the Jewish religious ceremony and the sacrifice of Jesus, who called Himself the Lamb of God. Just like Adam and Eve, they refused God’s wonderful grace.

We gentiles also have refused God’s grace. Some can’t quite understand how Jesus’ sacrifice on a cross could be anything but cruel abuse leading to the death of an innocent man. At first glance, it seems like a wasteful exercise in futility. However, Jesus repeatedly taught that His sacrifice on a cross would redeem and make children of God all those who truly believed in this divine work. Rather than seeing this sacrifice as God’s greatest gift of grace, many still can’t connect the dots regarding its true significance. More than two thousand years after Jesus’ sacrifice, people still refuse to accept God’s redeeming grace. That’s the supreme slap in God’s face!

…the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers,

to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ,

who is the image of God. (II Corinthians 4:4)

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