Category Archive “Simple’ Callings

ByAngie

LOVE The Lost MORE Than The Enemy HATES Them

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. John 15:9-14 NKJV

While praying about my one word, song, and verse for the year, I asked God to take me on a journey. I figured it would be something I didn’t expect, because that’s what He does. But I had no idea it would be this. I had no clue as to what I would learn about Him, myself, and others. It has been painful, but necessary… and I still don’t have a word, song, or scripture. Instead He gave me a phrase, a playlist, and sent me flipping through my Bible looking up all kinds of scriptures (not claiming to be an expert or anything like that. I’m definitely a student here.) I feel led to share part of this journey for some reason, even though it is very personal to me. So I’m following the Holy Spirit on this. Please know that I do not mean to offend anyone, act like a know-it-all, boast pridefully, or anything else negative. I’m simply stating what I have learned recently, because maybe just 1 person out there needs to read it… and when God says write, I write. You may not like me after reading this, and that’s okay. Feel free to stop following and reading, etc. because I don’t care about numbers, that is not why I blog. I don’t make money doing this so you’re not hurting me by quietly slipping away… though I hope you don’t and instead see the honesty of my heart in what I am going to share. This journey is far from over… but here is where I have traveled and where I am now… (It was originally going to be a simple post with a few graphics, music videos, and barely any words. Next thing you know, it’s a really long post. Bear with me on this, please and thank you.) 

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 NKJV

1 John 4:11 it says Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. – Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://i1.wp.com/raisingstickyhands.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/LOVE-the-lost-MORE-than-the-enemy-HATES-them-1-John-411-scripture-reference-Raising-Sticky-Hands-To-Heaven.jpg?fit=300%2C300" data-large-file="https://i1.wp.com/raisingstickyhands.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/LOVE-the-lost-MORE-than-the-enemy-HATES-them-1-John-411-scripture-reference-Raising-Sticky-Hands-To-Heaven.jpg?fit=500%2C500" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-5121" src="http://raisingstickyhands.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/LOVE-the-lost-MORE-than-the-enemy-HATES-them-1-John-411-scripture-reference-Raising-Sticky-Hands-To-Heaven.jpg" alt="LOVE the lost MORE than the enemy hates them - In 1 John 4:11 it says Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. - Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven" width="500" height="500" srcset="https://i1.wp.com/raisingstickyhands.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/LOVE-the-lost-MORE-than-the-enemy-HATES-them-1-John-411-scripture-reference-Raising-Sticky-Hands-To-Heaven.jpg?w=500 500w, https://i1.wp.com/raisingstickyhands.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/LOVE-the-lost-MORE-than-the-enemy-HATES-them-1-John-411-scripture-reference-Raising-Sticky-Hands-To-Heaven.jpg?resize=150%2C150 150w, https://i1.wp.com/raisingstickyhands.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/LOVE-the-lost-MORE-than-the-enemy-HATES-them-1-John-411-scripture-reference-Raising-Sticky-Hands-To-Heaven.jpg?resize=300%2C300 300w" sizes="(max-width: 500px) 100vw, 500px" />

Imagine for a moment that there is a woman who has only two options of places to live. Both potential roommates offer for her to live in their homes for free.

The first one says that he loves her and will take care of her every need, but actually hates her and is extremely jealous of everything about her. While he is very abusive, he has others in the home show her ways to dull the pain, lie to her, and cause her to feel an artificial love so that she is content and does not always feel the strain of the abuse. His intent is to strip her of everything with one hand while he pretends to care for her with the other. While the smiles are false, her roommate (slave driver would be more appropriate) steals everything he is jealous of and she is constantly watching her back. The words in her ears sound positive and her body momentarily feels good.

The second one offers to care for her with nothing asked in return but love… which comes easily the more she gets to know Him. He has many gifts for her, some of which she will attain over time, and while He is honest about the fact that there will be difficult times He makes sure that she knows that He will always be there for her. He asks the others in the home to help her get settled in, but instead some of them berate her, tell her that she is not good enough for Him, and become angry at her for not already knowing the rules of the house upon arrival. While the Homeowner is grieved and tries to let her know that He does not feel this way and that the others are wrong, she is so hurt and confused that she considers returning to the home of the one who had no love at all… If the others in the home feel that way and tell her that she is not good enough for Him, she assumes that He must feel that way as well.

 

LOVE the lost MORE than the enemy HATES them

 

Okay, I didn’t promise the best writing or illustrations here. HA! It may read out pretty lame, but you probably already get where I’m going with this… because you’re smart and saw the title and the story was obvious… but anyway, this is a big part of what has been going through my heart lately. It seems that we as Christians are so often misunderstood, and to be honest, sometimes we are just flat-out harsh when we should try a different approach. We are quick to judge, defend too fast, and try to dictate instead of love. To someone who didn’t grow up in a Christian home to know and understand what some of what we are conveying to them means, it comes out kind of hateful. How would you feel if you walked into a new friend’s house and their daughter started critiquing every bit of who you were? Not so good. But that’s how we come across sometimes to people who have been lied to their entire life by an enemy that hates them more than we love them.

Oh, he hates them alright. He hates all of us. 1 Peter 5:8 in the NKJV states “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Satan is jealous of us because we are made in God’s image, we serve God, and we are loved by God. When someone is living in sin, satan is happy because if he can deceive the person enough their hearts will become hard and cold towards God. It’s the only way that satan can hurt God, by stealing those that Christ loves and dragging them into eternal punishment with him instead of them spending eternity with our Father.

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. John 15:18-19 NKJV

Am I saying to not call sin what it is and help others see the way? Certainly not. What I am saying is that we need patience and compassion. We also need to realize that most people who are lost have never read a Bible and many that are lost are not likely reading one currently, so we are the only Bible that they are “reading.” Ouch, hurts, doesn’t it? We are so wrapped up in our doctrine and appearance of holiness that we have forgotten the great commission of going out into the world and preaching the gospel… and that none of it means anything without love. (See below.) We are not of the world, but we are in it. We should be going out and sharing the Word of God, not judging, condemning, and nitpicking. Although our intentions are well and we know where our hearts are, we don’t take the time to listen to ourselves and hear how we are coming across. While some are brought in with tough love, it does not work for all. Especially for those who have grown up in a world that has treated them brutally. We have to speak the truth, yes, but we have to consider how we are delivering it.

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:15-18 NKJV

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:1-8

I’m also going to include 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 (I suggest reading the entire chapter, it’s not long.) translated in the Amplified version, because of the depth that it explains these scriptures:

IF I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God’s love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God’s love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody). Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or in order that I may glory, but have not love (God’s love in me), I gain nothing. Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 Amplified Bible

(Both translations, and many others, can be found at Bible.com and BibleGateway.com.)

 

My “AHA!” moment

We have all heard the phrase “you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.” Why do we forget this simple metaphor when it comes to winning the lost? We need to be honest and let the Holy Spirit lead us so that He may bring the conviction on their heart to turn from the sin they are living in. You see, it was in my own life, recently, where I realized that I was putting out more vinegar than honey when it came to witnessing to a particular soul that I care a great deal about. Funny (actually, not so much) thing is, that is not how I was won back to Christ when I recommitted my life to Him about 8 years ago. Many had tried that approach, because they knew that I knew the truth, but they had also made me feel shunned and unworthy. It was actually Karen and Emily’s Mom and Step Dad, Momma Ann and Poppa C, that told me that they loved me, even in my sin, and that Jesus still loved me too. They didn’t judge, condemn, or preach. But they did tell me often how much Jesus loved me. Oh how I hated hearing that at first, but eventually it got through my tough skin and caused my heart to yearn for Jesus again. It wasn’t protesters or loved ones rolling their eyes at me. Not being told that I was becoming nothing and going to hell. It was love, and hearing that Jesus still loved me after all that I had done against Him. That was what drew me back in. So why would I think that the negative approach that I hated so much should be practiced by me? Ugh. Hypocritical, much?

Ephesians 6:12 states “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Yet here I was, fighting my loved one instead of the evil and wicked that is trying to steal their life. I kept reminding them of everything wrong they were doing and how disgusting it was in the eyes of God instead of declaring the love that God has for them when they are so hated by an enemy that wants to see them dead… And THAT is how this new favorite phrase of mine was born.

I want to LOVE the lost MORE than the enemy HATES them.

Not only those that I know and love deeply on a personal level, but anyone who is living without Jesus. Just because they don’t realize that satan is there, or maybe they do not even acknowledge him, it does not mean that he is not lurking, tempting, perched and posed, ready to devour them. The fact that God loves them with more love than anyone can ever comprehend is not changed by their blindness or denial of it.

He said "feed My sheep", not to slaughter them before they are gathered. - Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven

How can we make them want this love that we have? How can we fight the enemy? With fierce unbridled love!

Getting angry at a sinner for being a sinner is 1: hypocritical (Not one of us is without sin, only Jesus.) 2: like getting mad at an apple for being an apple (They need a transformation, which can only be done through Christ.) 3: getting nowhere (Stating the obvious doesn’t fix a problem.)

Love overcomes all. Love, with faith, can move mountains and transform the world. Who wants to become like the angry person? No one. It is the kind and compassionate that cause others to say, “what has that person so happy? I want to be like that…” When you show the love of Jesus fiercely, unconditionally, and abundantly… THAT is when you will see the lost running to the cross, the world transformed, and hearts softened. Not with flashy shows, angry finger-pointing, and weak theology. Too many are running lost. It is time that we sound the alarm and flood the darkness in this hate filled world with the LOVE of JESUS!

 Again, my point is not to stop calling sin what it is or to not stand up for what is right… we should do those things. But we need to carefully and prayerfully consider our approach.

 

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:12 NKJV

By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 1 John 3:16 NKJV

(For those that may be curious, here are just a few of the songs on my long playlist for 2015… I’m tellin’ ya, it’s a LONG playlist!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

ByAngie

Are We Really Supposed To Help Others? (& A Link Up!)

Be warned: I am preaching to myself a lot in this post. I’m sure it applies to others as well, but I have pondered and prayed over this very thing.

 

Deuteronomy 24:19" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="https://i0.wp.com/raisingstickyhands.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Deuteronomy-2419.jpg?fit=300%2C225" data-large-file="https://i0.wp.com/raisingstickyhands.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Deuteronomy-2419.jpg?fit=500%2C375" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-4917" src="http://raisingstickyhands.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Deuteronomy-2419.jpg" alt="Deuteronomy 24:19" width="500" height="375" srcset="https://i0.wp.com/raisingstickyhands.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Deuteronomy-2419.jpg?w=500 500w, https://i0.wp.com/raisingstickyhands.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Deuteronomy-2419.jpg?resize=300%2C225 300w" sizes="(max-width: 500px) 100vw, 500px" />

 

So many times I will see someone in need, someone broken, someone hungry and hurting and then think to myself, “If only I had the ability to help.”

“If only…”

It is so easy to forget that we are supposed to always be willing and able to help another in need. We are surrounded by billboards and voices telling us that we need to look out only for ourselves and keep everything we can. We are so overcome with greed that we are sometimes unwilling to give up our material items when God asks, let alone another human being that hasn’t even asked but rather obviously needs help. Of course, I wouldn’t even be talking about this if our current way of living was not contradictory to what is written in The Word.

When you reap your harvest in your field, and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. – Deuteronomy 24:19

We are so stubborn and stingy, that we sit on our own material goods until they rot underneath us. What could have been shared with someone in need, we keep tightly in our grip.

What if we actually followed scripture? Oh sure, the Bible says to leave some of the harvest in the fields for those who pass through, and if we all had farms that would work. When we compare it to something we could do now, it all becomes so simple and doesn’t have to leave us in the poor house as well.

What if instead of ignoring the homeless man with a sign, we take him a meal and a coat? What if instead of spending money on something frivolous, we send help to missionaries or those working with refugees like those I talked about earlier this week with the #IAmYourVoice campaign? How about when we buy a pack of pencils in August, we pull out a few and set them aside for Christmas shoeboxes and/or stockings? Food banks for food we will never eat. A family in our church or a local shelter for clothes we never wear.

Now, I’m not saying to help someone else until you are in debt. I’m saying to share.

God calls us to help those who require help. To pray, to give, to have extra on hand should it become clear that someone needs it. God didn’t say to ask yourself, “If only”. He said he would bless us for all the work of our hands.

Will you join me? Let’s get to work!

 

A Look at The Book

 

Now, time for the link up!

 

Group Look Graphic

 

Our Host, Ren & The Ladies at A Look At The Book
Fellow Co-Host, Bethany at Graceful Country Diva
Fellow Co-Host, Mandy at Women of Worship


ByAngie

Help Speak For Refugees In Iraq & Syria #IAmYourVoice

Let your mouth be open for those who have no voice, in the cause of those who
are ready for death.
Proverbs 31:8 BBE

#IAmYourVoice

 

I don’t feel that I need to explain to you who ISIS is at this point. There have been 3 well covered beheadings in the news now. Many of us have seen the footage of what they have done to towns and villages and why. ISIS has the mission to demolish anyone and everyone who is Christian or does not agree with them. Their message is “convert or else.”

 

There are families on the other side of the world at this very minute that are torn apart. They had no choice. They fought with all they had. They begged. They cried. I’m sure they fell to the ground and wept more than we have ever even come close to. But yet they still watched while ISIS either divided them by viciously murdering parts of their family by beheading or crucifixion and then taking the women as slaves, or they were somehow able to run. Run as far as they can without anything but each other… if they were able… because some of them had to run completely alone leaving all of those that they loved behind lest they save themselves.

#IAmYourVoice
Now they are living in conditions that are difficult to imagine. Dirt camps, makeshift tents, uncompleted buildings, or wherever they can find to sleep. They need food, water, blankets, clothes, hygiene items, shoes… the list goes on and on.

I think many of us have become too numb. We are so comfortable. Especially those of us in the United States. Oh sure, we complain and such. No matter where we stand politically. But we have freedom of speech and religion. We still get up every morning, go about our lives, run to the grocery store for food, hug our children, and go about our lives.

[tweetthis url=”http://tinyurl.com/qebcl9t”]Alone, we are nothing, but through the blood of Jesus we are family and we will speak for you. #IAmYourVoice[/tweetthis]

It is time that we speak for those who cannot. Will you join us?

Planet Mommyhood has teamed up with Food for the Hungry and Heidi St. John to launch the #IAmYourVoice campaign. A way for us to let those who are refugees from Iraq and Syria to know that we hear them, we are praying for them, and we are sending help.

Here are some ways that you can help:

  1. Pray. There is no limit to the power of prayer. Pray for their hearts, souls, minds, and for their rescue. That our leaders will do what needs to be done to take care of the enemy.
  2. Have a family meeting and decide what your family can do. As a family, you can work together for the sake of refugee families. Visit IAmYourVoice.orghttp://fh.org/refugees, watch the video posted above, more than anything pray, and maybe come up with a creative way for your family to raise money for Christians that have been persecuted. There is even an #IAmYourVoice downloadable printable pack for children at PlanetMommyhood.net.
  3. Give. $22 for one family for hygiene items, $65 – Ensures that three families receive essential hygiene items, including a bucket, jerry can, soap, and disinfectant, $125 – Provides one week of emergency food rations to 10 people to guard against malnutrition. No gift is too small. Donations can be made at http://fh.org/refugees
  4. Stand up and say #IAmYourVoice. Take a photo of yourself holding a sign with the hashtag #IAmYourVoice and post it on social media along with the link to IAmYourVoice.org. Tell your friends to text “refugees” to 90210. (With the text, you are not giving a donation, you are simply asking for more information.) Change your profile and cover photos to the photos available on IAmYourVoice.org.  Share the video on your Facebook page, Tweet it, Instagram it, Pin it, + it. Share it everywhere you can. Ask your pastor if the video can be shared during this Sunday morning’s service. Be creative. Let these people know #IAmYourVoice. You would want someone to do it for you.
  5. Attend the Facebook Party on September 18th. On Thursday, there will be an #IAmYourVoice Facebook party that everyone is invited to in order to learn more about how we can help. While there will be prizes and such, we consider this to be a very serious event and would love for you to attend. Invite everyone you know, as well.

On behalf of those who have no voice, I would like to thank you for participating in any way you can to let them know that #IAmYourVoice. God bless.

#IAmYourVoice

ByEmily

4 WAYS TO POSSESS THE HEART OF AN ENCOURAGER (The Encouragement Challenge)

**NOTE:Please check out my previous posts about the National Day of Encouragement here:

http://raisingstickyhands.com/2011/09/01/a-new-kind-of-party/
    http://raisingstickyhands.com/2012/09/10/encouragement-be-involved/
    http://raisingstickyhands.com/2012/09/11/encouragement-snail-mail/
My Snail Mail offer always stands! 🙂

    http://raisingstickyhands.com/2012/09/12/encouragement-todays-the-day/
    http://raisingstickyhands.com/2012/09/13/encouragement-printables/
    http://raisingstickyhands.com/2012/09/14/encouragement-dont-let-it-stop-here/
    http://raisingstickyhands.com/2012/11/12/encouragement-follow-up/
    http://raisingstickyhands.com/2013/09/12/encouragement-day-2013/Encouragement Challenge 2014


National Day of Encouragement is coming up on Friday, September 12. It’s time to get prepared! In doing so, I want talk to you about having the heart of an encourager. In the past, we’ve discussed the definition of ‘encourage,’ ideas about how/who to encourage, and how the National Day of Encouragement began. Now I want to get to the heart of the matter.

Being an encourager doesn’t always come naturally. It’s sort of like the old saying, “It is better to give than to receive.” Actually, let’s say it this way, “It is better to encourage than to be encouraged.” This is a lesson we have to learn.

For example, as a child on Christmas morning, you wake up with anticipation. Your anticipation goes a little something like this…..Oh, I can’t wait to see what’s under the tree with my name on it! I hope it’s the doll I asked for!

As a parent on Christmas morning, you also wake up with anticipation. However, lessons through the years have taught your anticipation to be more like this…..I’m so excited to see the look on Suzie’s face when she sees the doll she’s desired for so long! I hope Bill sees the candy in his stocking and remembers when I gave him the same kind our first Christmas!

It’s not always easy at first, but eventually we learn to grasp a heart for encouraging because we realize the old saying is true. We find that it’s in the giving of encouragement that we ourselves can be uplifted. It’s the little things- like wandering down the card aisle when your eye catches the perfect one for your neighbor, so you pick it up fresh anticipation of sending her a bit of a smile. (If you’re anything like me, you may not even send it til a month later, but we’ll get to that in a minute. 😉 )

In a way, when you learn how to have the heart of an encourager, it becomes your guilty pleasure. You realize you have the chance to be the sunshine that pushes away someone’s dark cloud. You can choose to not only brighten, but maybe even completely change the mood of depression/anguish/hurt/pity/et c. You finally understand that there are benefits to having an encourager’s heart. The guilty pleasure turns out to be an extra measure of joy in your own life!

1. BE HUMBLE

The best part about having the heart of an encourager is that everything you do can be done quietly. When you are truly giving encouragement, you know that it is not about you. Quiet encouragement brings just as much joy, if not more. You may even enjoy encouraging anonymously. Create a smile and watch someone wonder. 😀

“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.”

Matthew 6:1-4

2. BE INTENTIONAL

Many times encouragement is spontaneous. For instance, when that perfect card for your neighbor just so happened to catch your eye. Spontaneous encouragement is fantastic, but intentional encouragement comes with having the heart of an encourager. Intentionally seek to uplift someone. Decide that today you are going to make that phone call to check on a family member or that you’re going to treat your new co-worker to lunch. Definitely keep the spontaneity, yet make an effort to intentionally encourage, as well.

3. EVERYONE NEEDS IT

Please don’t make the mistake of overlooking those with sunny dispositions! Yes, there are certainly people struggling that are in obvious need of encouragement. Then there are people who live their daily lives with positive attitudes, constant smiles, and glasses that are half full. Remember that these people need encouragement, too. Sometimes the merriment is a facade and there may be a secret urgency for encouragement. Sometimes the always cheerful is genuine, but I guarantee unexpected encouraging doesn’t hurt. Encouragers especially know how to appreciate encouragement.

4. DON’T STRESS ABOUT TIMING

Earlier I mentioned how I may find that perfect card only to stick it in my purse and not send it til a month or so later. I might see it while I’m grabbing out my keys and think, “Oh! I need to send that as soon as I get home!” Then I get home and have to cook supper and switch the laundry and the card is forgotten again until a few weeks later when I spot it again. At this point, I may actually have a free moment to get the card sent. Until then, I refuse to stress about the timing of it all. I know that when it’s all said and done, the encouragement will be received just when it’s needed.

I remember one time I woke up with a sister on my mind and thought to text her and tell her I was praying for her. I got busy and it was several hours later before I actually remembered to send the text. Later, she told me how much she needed it at that particular moment. She said, “I was having a really rough day and as I took my lunch I told God that I needed Him to please show me somehow that I was going to make it through. Just then I received your text that you were praying for me and I knew that God was listening.”

Don’t stress about timing, but don’t put it off if the timing is now. Someone may be waiting.

THE ENCOURAGEMENT CHALLENGE!

Social media is crazy right now with challenges galore! Cold Water Challenge, ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Grateful Challenge, Gospel Challenge, you name it! Well, I’ve decided to nominate myself and ALL OF YOU to participate in the Encouragement Challenge. The best part is you get to pick who and how. As I said, the National Day of Encouragement is September 12. Seek to possess the heart of an encourager and be thinking about how you will complete this challenge. Pray about it!

If you need some inspiration, check out our previous posts on encouragement. Speak up by  letting us know in the comment section how you plan to participate or maybe how you’ve been blessed by an encourager. And don’t forget- true encouragement is year round!

EXTRA! EXTRA!

A few months ago, Melanie from Only A Breath (onlyabreath.com) shared on her blog and her Facebook about her plan to start a secret sister system that is sort of like a grown-up version of pen pals. This was right up my alley and I couldn’t wait to be a part! If this is something you may be interested in, head on over to Melanie’s blog and check it out!
http://www.onlyabreath.com/2014/05/online-secret-sisters-and-we-need-you/   

http://www.onlyabreath.com/2014/06/details-for-the-secret-sister-encouragement-brigade/

 

 

 

 

ByAngie

The Girl Who Waits – Help Bring Masha Home

This is a guest post from my dear friend, Cindy. She brought the story of Masha and the New family to my attention and it immediately melted my heart. With Cynthia New‘s permission, Cindy and I have put this post together so that you may read this story as well. God’s hand is all over this, and I just love watching it all unfold. Let’s bring Masha home!

~Angie

A girl waits

 

A long time ago in an orphanage far, far away (okay, a decade, and in Ukraine), a group of girls grew up together.  Surrendered to the system and ignored by society, they waited… waited to hear those magic words, “A family is coming to meet you.”  Eventually those girls aged out of the baby house that had been their only home.  Fortunately for them, they all ended up at the same orphanage for older children, and the only family they had known remained intact.

 

Help bring Masha home! Visit thenewsadoptionjourney.wordpress.com for more info.

 

One by one, families came for the girls.  One by one, they left their orphanage for a new life.  So one by one, the group got smaller, and smaller.  And the girls left behind smiled and sniffled through their friends’ farewell parties, wondering when it would be their turn, and whether they would ever see their friends again.

 

As many of those girls were adopted by American families, they have seen their friends again.  Though they may live across the country from each other, miracles of modern communication helped to connect the families and reunite the girls in their new lives and with their new families.  But there is an empty seat at the table.

 

Today, as you are reading these words, a girl waits.  The last of her friends from the baby house, and stuck with a “special needs” health label that scares off many prospective parents, a wonderful little girl waits, hoping that some day it’ll be her turn to hear those magic words.

 

A mother dreams

 

Here in America, a serviceman’s family with two boys of their own had an extra seat at their table.  They always knew they’d like to add to their family through adoption, but never pursued it because they did not feel they could afford it.  But still, the mother dreamed.

 

The desire to adopt was reawakened in them when their pastor adopted two girls from Ukraine.  One of those girls belonged to the group that had grown up together and reunited in America.  She was very excited to be going off to a new life with a family of her own, but sad to leave her best friend behind, to wait some more.

 

Her name is Masha

 

One day, after a sermon on adoption, the family approached their pastor.  The idea of adopting weighed heavily on their hearts, and they felt God leading them to make a leap of faith and find a child to adopt.  Their pastor asked if they had someone specific in mind, they didn’t.  He knew the perfect girl, “Her name is Masha.”

 

Since that day, Andy and Cynthia New have been working tirelessly toward the goal of adopting Masha, and bringing her into the very community her best friend now calls home.  They have completed all the home studies, background checks, and other paperwork for their dossier, which the Ukraine adoption authority has already approved, and are waiting to be assigned an appointment date to fly to Ukraine and begin the in-country process of adopting Masha.  But one thing stands in their way: funding.

 

Here’s where you come in

 

Adopting a child is not cheap, and bringing home and caring for a child with health issues even less so.  This passionate, loving family, who have already accepted Masha into their hearts, need your help to go get their child.  They have already raised thousands of dollars through yard sales, tamale sales, online fundraisers, etc.  But they need thousands more.

 

The New family has now been given a date to arrive in the Ukraine to bring Masha home, but they still need the funds to do so. The day is only a few short weeks away, and they need all the help they can get! 

 

This Christmas season, you will have many charities reaching their hands out, hoping to benefit from your holiday generosity.  Of course, you hope that a majority of the funds you give go where you intended.  But here is a different sort of opportunity for giving.  And you know it’s not getting siphoned off the top for advertising or executive salaries.  Will you commit to helping the New family bring Masha home?

 

HOW YOU CAN HELP

 

You can contribute directly to Masha’s adoption fund here (she is listed on the site under a pseudonym, as are all the children on Reece’s Rainbow): http://reecesrainbow.org/69114/sponsornew

Any donation made through that site will be tax deductible!

 

Want to read more?

 

You can follow the New family’s adoption journey at: http://thenewsadoptionjourney.wordpress.com/

 

Here you can read their pastor tell Masha’s story: http://www.jarrodjones.com/2013/05/bring-marnis-best-friend-home/

 

Hopefully next time those smiling girls get together, a new smiling face will join them.  Once again the way to donate is at this link: http://reecesrainbow.org/69114/sponsornew

 

~Cindy K

 

 

ByAngie

Thank You To All Military: Past, Present, & Future

In honor of Veteran’s Day, the girls and I wanted to take a moment to give recognition to those in our lives who have served in the military.

 

The Veterans of Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven

 

Thank you, not only to these men, but to anyone and everyone who has, is, or will serve.

God bless!

ByKaren

“God, You Want Me To Intercede?” – Being A Prayer Intercessor

This post contains affiliate links. Using these links helps us with the cost of maintaining our blog.

 

Answering the call of intercessory prayer

 

“God, how much more do You think I can handle? You said You wouldn’t put more on me than I can bare!”

Most Christians struggle with what God has called them to do with their life. “Lord, do You want me to sing? Preach? Pastor? Evangelize? Teach? Be a missionary? What Lord?”

We are all called to be a witness for His Kingdom. To spread His gospel to anyone that we can and sometimes, that’s just by letting His light shine through us.

But there is another calling that most people try to ignore. It can be heavy, burdensome, time consuming, and definitely takes dedication. That is the calling of “Intercession”.

In Beni Johnson’s book, The Happy Intercessor, she defines the calling of being an intercessor as “capturing the heartbeat of Heaven and declaring or praying it into your world.” It’s true agreement with Heaven.

As I read this book, I found myself identifying with almost everything that Sis. Beni wrote about. For as long as I can remember, I could feel the “emotions”, “spiritual joy or turmoil” or the “attitudes” of those around me. I could “discern” things from a very young age. I knew when a situation was considered Godly or un-Godly.

I also “learned” to carry the weight of those around me. I would let it bother me and worry me to the point I would make myself sick. I didn’t know how to lay it down. Sometimes, I still get to the point where the burden is almost too much to carry. I will pray about it, cry, lament, whatever, but when it comes to fully “laying it down”, I still get stuck at that point.

 

I didn't know how to lay it down

 

God never meant for us to carry the burdens. He meant for us to lay them down at the feet of Jesus and LEAVE them. Not pick them back up to take back with us.

Interceding on the behalf of others can be hard work. Satan is doing his job well. He came to steal, kill, and destroy and Christ came that we may have life and have it more abundantly! As an Intercessor, we have to make sure that we are doing our job. You’ll know when you have that sudden urge in the pit if your stomach that something isn’t quite right. Sometimes, you feel it when you are around certain people or approaching a certain situation. It could be the very prayers that you’ve prayed that it takes to turn a situation around.

 

God never meant for us to carry the burdens. He meant for us to lay them down at the feet of Jesus and LEAVE them. Not pick them back up to take back with us.

 

I pray for my husband and my children everyday. For God to place a hedge of protection around them. What if I didn’t pray for them everyday?

Have you ever had an inkling that something was wrong or was going to happen before it happened? Well, God prepared me for such a thing about 2 years ago that involved my husband. Two weeks before an incident occurred, God overwhelmed me with a burden to pray. I knew something was going to happen, I just didn’t know what. I was in spiritual and physical turmoil. Constant intercession. If I wasn’t prayed up and prepared, I would not have been able to deal with the situation that happened. It could have been much worse if I had not been prayed up and had not covered my husband with prayers.

If you believe that you are called to be an Intercessor, there are several books out there about it, but I highly recommend The Happy Intercessor by Beni Johnson. It will definitely help you find the joy of being called to intercede to know what a privilege it is to be able to join in the heartbeat of Heaven.

 

 

This post is not a sponsored review, just a statement of personal opinion.

ByKaren

Ticket To Nineveh

Has God been calling you to do something and you are running away from it faster than a cat with it’s tail on fire?

Well, as most of you know, Jonah had to stop running eventually. When God told him to go to Nineveh, Jonah was like, “no way, no Sir, no how!” He even turned and went the opposite direction to put as much space between him and his destiny as he possibly could. No matter where he went though, he could not escape the calling of God Almighty.

 

God is calling - How will you answer - Will you be like Jonah or answer the call to Nineveh

Because of his disobedience, he had to be thrown overboard from the ship to Tarshish. He didn’t realize beforehand that the decisions that he was making, had a great effect on those he was in company with or those around him. His decision to disobey God caused the boat to sway to and fro in a rage. The other men on the boat were scared and knew that this kind of rage could only come from God.

God had already had the “big fish” prepared to swallow Jonah up. Can you imagine being in the actually belly of a fish? With all the stomach acids and inner parts? You know that it couldn’t have smelled very well. He wasn’t just there for one day either, but 3 days and nights!

This gave him plenty of time to think, pray, and humble himself before God. After those 3 days, he was vomited up onto dry land, and from there, Jonah went on to Nineveh as he was supposed to in the first place, which led to a mighty work of God in that city.

Do you realize that if you’re not walking in His calling, you are pulling against Him? Your decision affects those around you. You could be the only Bible that other people read. There may be someone around you that doesn’t know Jesus and YOU are the one that is supposed to be a witness to them.

If God is calling you to something, which ticket are you going to purchase? One to Tarshish or one to Nineveh?

ByAngie

Inspired to Help Oklahoma

Last week, when I first heard about the tornadoes that devastated a portion of our nation, I was saddened. Later in the day when I first saw photos and video footage of the storm and it’s aftermath, my heart broke. Then to hear the first hand stories of the victims… All I could do was cry out to God and ask Him to touch those affected. I can’t explain the emotions I felt or the thoughts that were going through my mind. All I know is that right now, the only thing that can be done is to pray and help in every way that we can.

At this moment, the best way to help is to donate funds or to volunteer time. Thanks to the wonderful and creative ladies that I am blessed to know via the Inspired Bloggers Network, I am able to present ways that both you and I can help those in need.

Inspired to Help

The devastation in the United State’s Midwest region breaks our hearts, and the Inspired Bloggers Network desires to use our influence and the power of our blogs to make a difference.

How Can We Help?

Volunteer

One of the charities we are choosing to feature, Samaritan’s Purse, is currently enlisting volunteers. So, if you are close to the areas affected, please visit the Samaritan’s Purse website to see how you can serve those in need.

“Our prayers are with all of those who are suffering because of this massive storm. We are going to stand by them and do everything we can to help them recover physically, emotionally and spiritually.” – Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham

Volunteers are already in action and more help is needed. Please consider donating your time to Samaritan’s Purse and if you are not available to serve physically, keep those who are working in your prayers.

Contribute

If you are Inspired to Help, please make a donation to either Samaritan’s Purse or the American Red Cross to support their relief efforts in Texas and Oklahoma and help us track our impact by marking the amount you donated in the form below. If you would like, you can let us know you joined our effort by commenting on one of our blogs listed below.

samaritans purse donation button american red cross donate button

Message and data rates may apply.

The following bloggers are all participating in the Inspired to Help campaign by posting a call to give on their blogs on Memorial Day… Monday, May 27th.

Please visit on or all of these blogs for their personal thoughts on the Inspired to Help campaign.

What is the Inspired Bloggers Network?

The Inspired Bloggers Network is a group of over 250 women bloggers of various niches, backgrounds, and experiences but all are united as they seek to support and encourage one another while growing their blogs in order to impact the world in a positive way.

How to join the InspiredBN

To join the Inspired Bloggers Network, you must be 1) female and 2) a blogger. Ask to join our Facebook group HERE.

For questions or media inquiries, please contact Tabitha.

ByAngie

Spoiled

This morning I went into my closet. I felt stressed as it was already and was having trouble finding clothes that I felt like wearing. The stress? Caused by my house being cluttered by too many toys, looking for documents needed to close the deal on the home my husband is purchasing for us, and worry because I forgot to take meat out of the freezer for dinner tonight.

Seriously? Pathetic. Talk about first world problems at it’s best. I felt sick as I searched through my closet. Sure, I don’t have a lot. I don’t have the best of the best. But I have clothing. I have a roof over my head. My kids have toys and we are fed every meal. We know Jesus, and we know his love for us…

Do you know how many in this world don’t even know who Jesus is? Who have never felt his love wash over them? Too many.

How many each day go hungry, not having even a cold meal to eat, let alone a hot one?

How many children out there are left cold, just wishing they had a jacket or shoes? The last thing on their mind is toys.

God, forgive me for taking all of your many blessings for granted.

I challenge each and every one of you: DO SOMETHING.

We can all sit here and say “Oh, bless their hearts. It’s Christmas and they’re cold and they don’t even know why we have Christmas.” So what? That does nothing. DO something. Give to missions, become a missionary, make a difference in just one person’s life. Whether where you are or abroad. Put in some effort. Pray? Yes, of course. But something more. ANYTHING more.

The simplest act could change the world.

I’m challenging myself to do more. I’m not going to wait until the New Year, I’m starting now.

Will you accept the challenge and join me?