Why Encouraging Each Other Now is More Important than Ever.

(Originally posted March, 2020)

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”(Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)

Church is now closed on Sunday. We are undoubtedly living through tricky times, but humanity has endured tragic and hard circumstances before. Thankfully, church isn’tdefined by the building we meet in on Sundays. We love those buildings. We love fellowship with each other, live and in person.But, not being able to meet physically has not stopped the church from meeting together virtually, nor will it ever be able to stop us from loving people with the gospel hope of Jesus Christ.

God has gone before us, giving us the ability to connect digitally across the globe. His blessings abound, even in precarious times. Though the way we connect and serve each other currently looks different, it’s no less powerful or effective. Globally, as we make daily efforts to focus on the goodness of God rather than worry about what tomorrow will bring, it’s important to encourage each other. In fact, it’s more important than ever.

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8 Faith-Filled Deeds that Will Show Others Christ’s Love

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31 NIV)

The Christian faith began with an act of love. Out of His great love for us, God sent His only Son, Jesus, to walk the earth and die sacrificially for our sins. The outpouring of a heart beating with faith in Christ has the power to change lives. They say, “it’s better to give than to receive,” and that is oh, so true of God’s great love. Here are just eight everyday acts of faith that have the power to change someone’s life.

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“Breathe Again,” Niki Hardy

“What if we stopped waiting to feel grateful and were grateful anyway, believing God is good and has more for us?” Niki Hardy, “Breathe Again”

“Breathe Again” is an inspiring look into Hardy’s victory over cancer, and the way it allowed her to grow closer to God and mature in her faith. This book takes intentional moments to meet readers where they are at in their lives, cancer or not, and grow great faith. “Choosing brave is the challenging route to a full life,” writes Hardy, “not the easier path to a less-than life.”

“Breathe Again,” is a book that will both cheer readers on and challenge them to grow in their faith. The personal stories Hardy shares flow easily in an out of the Biblical stories and truths she weaves into the text. It’s a refreshing read of someone who clearly relied on God to get her through a tough time, and is passing on the love.

The book is divided into three main sections, “Finding Solid Ground,” “Learning to Breathe Again,” and “Keep Calm and Breathe On.” In the last section, Hardy provides real-time resources for readers to carry the lessons watered throughout the book to blossom into their daily lives. The book could be a quick read, but the follow up application throughout the book begs the reader to pause and work through the material, connecting it to their personal lives and current state. I particularly appreciated the prayers at the end of each major soul-search. They tied the truth of Scripture into the message and provided and encouraging way to connect more personally to Jesus.

I appreciate Niki’s bravery in sharing her journey with cancer. It takes guts to be able to look back and find things to laugh about after coming through a cancer surviving journey. She will inspire many, as her words come from an authentic heart seeking to love others for Christ. “You are stronger than you can ever imagine,” Hardy encourages her readers, “You are, friend. You are strong.”

(I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.)

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A Prayer for the Mom Struggling with Post-Partum Depression

Darkness can seep into the most joyful moments. Moms who are suffering with postpartum depression know what it’s like to live a sleepless life with the lights out. Whether you aren’t sure you’re suffering from PPD or know for a fact it’s attempting to disrupt your life, realize that there are many others wide awake with the same crippling fear.

Prayerfully surrender to Him, and bravely step out of the darkness and back into the light. Reach for the hand of the One who can save. He doesn’t shame, but He does miraculously heal… sometimes, through doctors and medicine. “Pray about everything,” (Philippians 4:6) and as we obediently follow Him, He will shine light on our lives once again. 

Father, Praise You for motherhood, even amidst the physical trials and emotional pain. Even in our weakness, Your loyal love (Nehemiah 1:5) holds us up. You are strong, and Your strength holds us together when we are falling apart. 

“My God, my soul is so traumatized; the only help is remembering You wherever I may be.” (Psalm 42:6) You are powerful enough to lurch us forward, up and out of the dark pit we’re drowning in. What feels like suffocating waves can bring forth a powerful witness. 

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Praying Doesn’t Have to be Hard: 4 Ways to Make it Easier

Why do we let waves of fear swamp our lives, instead of dropping to our knees in prayer? Why does anxiety continue to crush us, when all we have to do is look up? Jesus has already cleared a path for us to talk to God, but we often continue to struggle within our own minds for solutions to life’s problems. Weave prayer into the natural inclination to solve problems by surrendering what ails us to our God. He promises to hear us, defend us, and loves us… through it all. It’s that simple. 

1. Open yourself up to worship with music. 

“Let them sing joyful praises forever.” (Psalm 5:11

Because of Jesus’ victory, we can sing praise at all times. Prayer doesn’t have to be hard. Sometimes, it starts with a song. Music can quickly take over the melody of our hearts and the frame of our minds. Listen to the Christian station or singing a favorite old church hymn or song. God works through those melodies to connect us to Him. Music has always been a way to express emotion we cannot put into words, and it’s an excellent way to reflect in prayer. 

2. Look for evidence of God working in your life. 

“Remember what I have told you.” (Matthew 28:7

This verse was part of the frantic realization that Jesus had risen from the dead. In remembering the instructions they were given, their minds and hearts must have been flooded with the statements Jesus had uttered as they walk alongside Him during His ministry on this earth. Looking back to remember, they began to see Him more clearly. 

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