January 1, 2021 Word of Encouragement

Post by Dyane Forde

Featured Image by Ben White on Unsplash

I just finished reading a YouVersion devotional called “Meeting With God” (see link below). I love Day 6. It talks about prayer and how Christians sometimes try everything except prayer, when they face problems.

An explanation about why this is came to me while I was reading: we don’t pray because we don’t believe God really cares for or hears us, or we fear He won’t answer. Taking the latter point further, maybe we fear that when He answers, we won’t like His response.

During these extremely difficult times, it’s easy to feel defeated, discouraged, even helpless. The world is on edge, and we may be fearful for the future. I have been on vacation from my work as a social worker these last two weeks, but my subconscious has been fighting back waves of stress and worry about going back to work next week. I feel dread and anxious. I’m worried. But deep down, I know that God has me there for a reason, which means I have a purpose there. My struggle is to trust that He will carry me through whatever I will face upon my return. To do that–to grab hold of His strength and to deepen my faith in Him–I must pray.

In truth, regardless of what we think or feel, God is true. He is the Lover of our souls, and He works on our behalf for our good.

I hope these words encourage and support you, if you are struggling with something in your life. Let’s trust God today. As His children, let’s cry out to Him. Let’s pray to Him today.

Blessings!

Discouragement: 7 Ways to Respond

Discouragement: 7 Ways to Respond 

by Faith Rogers

photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

During this difficult season, many people have been launching their brands, starting a business, investing, studying for exams, writing books, or just growing in God. All of those ventures are wonderful. However, fighting to get back up when you feel discouraged is difficult. Many people look at the results of their efforts and begin to rethink their choices. Some begin the task and then fear convinces them they will fail. If that is you, trust me, you are not alone.

Keep Moving Forward

There are times when the past looks more appealing than the effort of moving forward. New ventures are not for the faint of heart. There are times when hopelessness creeps in. However, remembering that what we are called to do is bigger than us and that we are not just working–our work will be a blessing to others. There is an audience waiting for you.

“But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today” Deuteronomy 8:18 NIV.

Discouraged but Don’t Quit

There are many successful individuals who have struggled to achieve their goal. The emotions of being discouraged or the thoughts of quitting crossed their mind, too. However, when God births an idea within, he will provide the means that will lead to prosperity. When you are following him, trust his plan because he will never leave nor forsake you. It’s not always easy but that’s why communicating with him is important. If you are battling with whether to give up, talk to God first and follow his leading.

Below are some ideas that may help you if you feel discouraged:

  • Meditate on God’s promises
  • Don’t forget why you decided to make that particular
  • Put on worship music, and rest in God’s presence
  • Share what you’re feeling or experiencing with those you trust
  • Wait for God to guide your footsteps 
  • Ask God to lead you to Godly mentors
  • Know that it’s ok to feel what you feel

Reasons to keep going

When we do all these things, God gives peace that surpasses all understanding. I pray that He will give clarity and guidance to you about what to do next. You may not see the results you want but keep going in order to glorify God. I also pray that He gives you strategies and resources. Trust the process and know that the results will grow. 

Another important point is that we have to put in the work to become knowledgeable about our God-given assignments. When we commit our plans to the Lord they will succeed (Proverbs 16:3). He never said when, but He said they would bear fruit. He is with you and has already gone before you. God is no mere human! He doesn’t tell lies or change His mind. God always keeps his promises (Numbers 23:19 CEV).

About Faith Rogers

Faith Rogers is an assistant teacher who loves working with kids. She is a lifestyle blogger and aspiring author. Rogers is the youngest of three children in a family of five. She loves spending time with her family and sharing God’s Word to enrich the lives of others. Visit her website for more.

The Lost Pen Magazine Preps for Issue 3: You Can Help

Hey everyone! I hope you are all safe and healthy as we wait out this unprecedented quarantine. Things are tough and uncertain, but it’s in these moments that we must remain strong in the Lord and trust in His provision and care.

In the meantime, I am moving forward. The end of March is approaching, which means I am slowly starting to prepare myself for getting Issue 3 off the ground; I have submissions to read, decisions to make, and a layout to design. But, even though times are hard and sometimes discouraging, I wanted to let everyone know that the Lost Pen Magazine is still here and will continue to lift up the Lord and shine His light on His people. With that in mind, the following shares where I’m at and how you can help:

1) If you know anyone who has art or fiction they’d like to submit somewhere, please suggest LPM because we have space. Please send submissions here.

2) If you would like to help out somehow with the third issue, please let me know. Moving forward, it’d be nice to have a team of people around me that I can rely on. The task is quite big and it has the potential to grow.

3) I’d love feedback (good and bad) on the LAST 2 ISSUES, as well as info on what you’d like to see in upcoming issues. I intend to keep tweaking each issue until I find the right formula, but I need information and feedback to do that.

To contact me about points 2 or 3, or to ask questions, please contact me here.

So, things are moving forward. I ask for your continued prayers as I get this big machine off the ground for a third time. And, thank you, everyone, for your ongoing support and encouragement.

Blessings!

In God We Trust—But Do We Really? Learning to Let God Handle Our Busyn – Armor Of God Coffee

If you’re a goal-driven person struggling with anxiety, stress, busyness, and learning to trust God, this post may be just what you need…

Thanks to Armor of God Coffee for publishing this devotional on their blog.

https://www.armorofgodcoffee.com/blogs/armor-up/in-god-we-trust-but-do-we-really-learning-to-let-god-handle-our-busyness

The Naked Beauty of Winter Trees: When Words Won’t Come

Here in Durban, South Africa, we don’t really have a winter. Temperatures drop no lower than 9 or 10 degrees Celsius (48 or so Fahrenheit) and the trees, many of which are tropical succulents, remain green all year round. 

In contrast, when visiting the UK over Christmas at the end of last year, where temperatures are cooler and winter is real, I was struck afresh by a landscape punctuated by the skeletal outlines of bare trunks and twisted branches. Shapes, textures, and patterns usually lost under the finery of foliage were now revealed in all their naked beauty.

And that got me thinking. How often do I allow myself to be stripped of all that covers and hides? To let fall all the things that I think identify and define me? Do I persist in trying to be an evergreen succulent when, in fact, I am created deciduous, required every now and then to be stripped back to the bare essentials of who God says I amHis forgiven creature, His blood-bought child, His redeemed Beloved?  

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve found it increasingly hard to sit down and write, to unearth the concepts that need words for their expression. I’ve struggled to find the right phrases, to paint the pictures I normally so enjoy creating. In fact, I’ve found it hard to even find the images that need to be painted. Each day, I set myself a goal or task, only to find myself unable to complete what I start. The sense of frustration and the nagging feeling that I’m not doing enough has been nibbling away at me.

So, yesterday, I decided simply to stop. To do something else, to take the day off, to tell myself I wasn’t even going to think about my to-do list. I slept in a little later than normal, ate what I felt like when I felt like it, watched a bit of TV, and read a novel. The weather, which has been so dry for weeks, took a turn towards the wet, and I revelled in the sound of the rain falling, watched as the ground grew soggy, and delighted in the damp smell of a refreshed garden.

By the middle of the day, I was ready to pause, sit, and reflect. My thoughts, inevitably, turned to my writing. I began to wonder why my next book, which I am impatient to get started on and yet seem unable to develop beyond the first few pages, was proving so elusive. I began to ask God for answers and for a stirring that would renew my focus and unlock my imagination. And He started— very gently—to remind me of what He has spoken in the past: “Write what you see in a book.” This was His very specific command to me a couple of years ago. And I’ve done that. My first book was published in May of this year. But then I’ve added to that marketing, social media posts, newsletters, speaking engagements, and fundraisers. All beautiful signs of summer, like green leaves of health and life, but not the solidity of the trunk and its branches.

Have I the courage to let the leaves fall, to stand naked in the simplicity of God’s call, silhouetted for all to see? To trust that God will do with me what He chooses when He chooses? Do I believe that growth is determined by how deep my roots are rather than the lushness of my leaves? 

Funnily enough, after our “conversation” and being shaken a little by the wind of the Spirit, ideas began to form and coalesce, planning became a poem. And words appeared.

 

About Anna Jensen

image002I am a British ex-pat who has lived in South Africa for nearly as long as in England. I have exchanged squirrels in the garden for monkeys; the caw of crows with the terrified-seeming cry of the hadeda ibis. I swelter under a hot summer sun, rather than shiver in the freezing rain.

And it is here, under a wide-open sky, that I have begun to write in response to a call from Jesus to ‘write what I see in a book.’  My first book, The Outskirts of His Glory was published in May of this year.

I trust the eyes of your heart will be opened as you read the words I’m privileged to put on pages.

Contact Jensen at:

Website

Facebook:   @annaloujensen

Twitter:       @annalouj

Instagram:  @annaloujens

 

%d bloggers like this: