Category Archives: Blessing Others

The Matchless Love of God (March)

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God’s love toward us is simply amazing!

The Scriptures contain the story of God’s love for us, which was demonstrated through the sacrifice of His Son on the Cross.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
(John 3:16)

It is so amazing that God would love us – sinners who have sinned against Him throughout our entire existence. The Bible explains a lot about God’s love. Here are a few characteristics about His love I would like us to ponder.

God’s love is sovereign. He explained this to the Israelites:

“For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”
(Deuteronomy 7:6-8)

God does not choose us because we are good. He loves us simply because that is what He wants to do. What mercy!

God’s love is abiding.

This means that God still loves us no matter what situations we go through or what sins we commit. Because of His abiding love He will save us. The Bible says,

“The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is might; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”
(Zephaniah 3:17)

God’s love is unalienable. Nothing can ever separate us from the love of our Savior!

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
(Romans 8:35-39)

Jesus also said that we are safe once we are His. “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:28).

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The Bible also tells some things we should do when we realize that God really does love us.

“Because thy lovingkindness is better than life,
my lips shall praise thee.”

(Psalm 63:3)

God does lots of things for us because He loves us. He provides for us in many ways. Some we do not even think about or know about. He gave you that breath that you just took. This should cause us to give Him unceasing praise.

David expressed this well. He said,

“What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou has made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.”
(Psalm 8:4-5)

We are called to be like Christ. Therefore, we as understand how much He loves us, we should walk in His steps and show His love to others around us. Are you and I striving to be loving young ladies? This is a question that makes us search ourselves and our lives.

May we grow to understand the love of Christ for us, and live in the freedom of being His forever. Let’s strive to reflect that love to others in all that we do and say!

What are some ways you can show others love today?

-Guestpost by Abigail L. (12)


Sharing Love with the Lost (October)

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by Andrea N.

“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not;
charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.”
{1 Corinthians 13:4-6}

If you don’t know her now, she is someone that you probably have known in the past. She is a girl who laughs loudly, dresses inappropriately, and is obnoxious.

While our first reaction may be repulsion, the truth is that she needs love. Most often, love is the very last thing we want to give. Though we may not admit it, to you and me, a girl like this seems irritating, and sometimes just plain wicked!

However, honestly, we are the first to need a change of heart. We must realize that the thing a girl like this needs most is love, and that if we were in her place, we would want someone to reach out and encourage us. But how do we change our mindset from that of disgust, to a mindset of love?

We must first understand that “but for the grace of God” I would be her. It is not of my own power or goodness, but because God in His wisdom chose to place me in a Christian home and give me salvation.

“By the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace
which was bestowed upon me was not in vain.”

{1 Corinthians 15:10} 

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I am blessed to work on a church bus route and bring folks of all ages to our church each Sunday morning. Through this ministry, I have been able to meet several girls, and I get to see some of the “why” behind the way they act. I visit her home each Saturday. I have heard her parents yell at her. I have smelled the filth and seen the clutter in her home. All this leads me to realize two things.

First, there is a reason behind her behavior. She is loud, not only to get attention, but also to try to block out some of her world. She dresses atrociously to get attention and maybe just to fit in. She doesn’t even feel like she fits in in her own home. She is clingy because she feels that she has found someone who truly thinks of her as a person and she is starved for that love.

Secondly, I see that she is in desperate need of love. At some point, I had to come to the realization that God put these girls in my path for a reason. He doesn’t want me to turn my back to their need. It is more comfortable for me to stick with my little group of friends, but the Christian life isn’t about our personal comfort. Jesus certainly stepped out of His comfort zone when He died on the cross.

“Above all these things put on charity,
which is the bond of perfectness.”
{Colossians 3:14}

That being said, what are some practical ways we can reach out to these precious souls?

Smile straight at her. You will be delighted at the beautiful countenance you can pull from a seemingly hard, sullen girl. It sends a message that you care.

Take an interest in her. Fire questions until you find a subject she will talk about. Once she starts talking, listen! Try to have an interest in the things she is talking about, even if you don’t have an interest in it! (If the subject is inappropriate, gently lead the conversation elsewhere.)

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After you have won her confidence, you can start encouraging her in the Lord, but do not “preach.” One of the best times to encourage is when she asks you a question. When she says, “Why do you wear skirts?” Explain that you use the Bible as your foundation for everything including dress, or that you desire to honor your parents’ standards, or whatever direction you need to take it. Direct any question into the plan of salvation. If she is saved, a good way to encourage and direct the conversation is to ask about her Bible reading. That accountability is so important.

Let us not be classified is as “Christian snobs.” If others don’t see Jesus in us as His daughters, where else will they see Him? So the next time you feel repulsed by a worldly girl, let me encourage you to try to reach out to her instead. May God bless you as you show His love!

“Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.”
{Matthew 25:45}

-Andrea N. (19)




Can I Give Up? (August)

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by Sarah Lee Bryant

“Charity suffereth long… Beareth all things,
believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”

(I Corinthians 13)

That morning…I was feeling discouraged.

“Lord, this is so hard. It just hurts so much to extend love and kindness when it’s returned with scorn. How long must I keep trying? It would be so much easier just to let it go, to not try anymore…to say I’ve done my part.”

Have you ever experienced these feelings? The point when you felt ready to give up and recoil into the safety of your own comfort zone? When you wonder—What’s the use? Is it worth the pain? Will there ever be fruit?

In my quiet time, I flipped to Hebrews 12.

I began reading the familiar words…

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”

Although I have read this passage countless times, this morning that phrase in verse three struck me afresh. “Lest ye be wearied…” What did it say I should do? I was all ears!

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Consider Christ. Two powerful, life- and attitude-changing words!

Mentally, I began to lift my eyes from my circumstances and up to the beaten Savior being led to the hill of Calvary. He was carrying a heavy cross, barely able to bear the burden. Even worse yet, He was bearing the insults, hatred, curses, and immeasurable pain from those who had rejected Him and insulted Him beyond comprehension. Jesus had met with more opposition than any other human on earth. And oh, how it must have penetrated the depths of His soul, the One Who could feel perfectly and Whose heart loved more deeply than we can imagine.

Yet those pains were light compared with the weight of sin He bore, as He suffered and died for His people. My sin! “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (II Corinthians 5:21).

Oh—I inwardly groaned.

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As I considered the love He poured out to the uttermost, I saw how light my difficulty was.

How little I really had given. It wasn’t even worth calling a loss. Hebrews continued:

“Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.”

I have not resisted unto blood striving against my sin. As I thought about it, I saw I’d not really fought very vigilantly at all. Maybe I’d not really tried very long (although it sure felt like it). Maybe this situation wasn’t as dramatic as I had imagined it to be! Maybe the Lord was actually trying to refine and humble me through this.

Maybe He wanted me to truly reflect one tiny shimmer of Calvary love. A love that knows no end, a bottomless abyss wider than the universe. A love that Christ has been shown me undeservedly innumerable times.

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That morning, I bowed in humble realization.

He has borne my sin on Calvary: me—a wretch, while I was yet in sin, completely undeserving and totally unable to return that love. So instead of calling this situation impossible and giving up, I can see it as a small way to reflect that Calvary love.

Even when it’s hard. Even when they’re hard to love. Even when I feel they don’t deserve it. Even when it seems it’s their “turn.” I must not notice the cost, but instead keep my eyes on Jesus, and leave the results to Him.

If I’m looking for results that would make me feel like my sacrifices are repaid, I would soon feel justified giving up.

But if I look to Jesus, the One Who has loved me despite all my failures, I can never give enough.

“Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”

And so, through His Word, He has given me what I need for this day…

…to set my hands and heart to anew to His will. Yes, it’s much easier said than done—but for this day, God had given me the wisdom I need to press on. I can’t give up.

I don’t know what you are facing today. But remember that God’s Word certainly does contain the remedy for weariness. Don’t give up – consider Christ!

Sarah Lee




Is it True, Edifying, or Necessary? (May)

by Samantha Parker

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“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”
(Proverbs 16:18)

Many of us have been told “You should never gossip.” “Okay!” we say. But what does gossip look like? Is it something you struggle with? If so, how can you guard against it? I think that most of us don’t realize that we have a problem with gossiping. Sure, we know of people who have that weakness, but we certainly know better. Beware of this attitude! It reveals a big problem – namely, pride.

So what is gossip after all? I had to look it up myself! Gossip is simply passing on unnecessary information. It is idle talk about someone else’s affairs, and often damages their reputation. Gossip typically (but not necessarily) involves details that are not confirmed true. We waste a lot of time that could be used to serve the Lord when we are “busybodies,” namely, the ones who are always trying to get the newest piece of information. (See 2 Thess. 3:6-12) This has been a tendency of mine, but over the years I have realized that I don’t need to know everything. As Paul told the Romans, we are to be wise unto that which is good and innocent concerning evil. (Rom. 16:19; see also 1 Cor. 14:20)

There is a saying that says, “loose lips sink ships.” How true! A few idle and thoughtless words can destroy a friendship or reputation. “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise” (Prov. 10:19, Prov. 21:23). “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” (James 1:19) Indeed, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” (Prov. 18:21) Note: Not only is death in the power of the tongue, but LIFE is as well! Our words have the amazing ability to build someone up, or to tear them down.

“Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.”
(Proverbs 14:1)

We get to choose: will we build up our house through encouragement, or tear it down with criticism? Do you want to be a builder? I sure do!

Many times we say things we shouldn’t because we want people to like us. We want others to laugh at our story. These are very self-centered feelings. Gossip is a very selfish thing. Before sharing something about someone else, evaluate your motives. Why are you telling them that story? Do you simply enjoy being the information source? My sister recently came across the following acronym, which reminds us of what we should do whenever we are tempted to gossip. Simply, T.H.I.N.K.!

  • T – Is it true?
  • H – Is it helpful?
  • I – Is it inspiring?
  • N – Is it necessary?
  • K – Is it kind?

Much damage can be done by someone who says a lot of words with very little content. “He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.” (Prov. 13:3, Ecc. 10:12-14 ) When we go on and on without talking about anything meaningful we are, quite frankly, fools. Proverbs tells us that the babbling fool will come to ruin. (Prov. 10:8) Our goal should be to edify and encourage one another with our words.

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth,
but that which is good to the use of edifying,
that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
(Ephesians 4:29-32)

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Jesus said: “…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.  A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things” (Matt. 12:34-35). Guarding our words goes much deeper than simply being careful about what we say. It is a matter of the heart. What is in our heart? What are we allowing ourselves to think about and dwell on? Are we looking down on someone, pridefully thinking that we “know better”? We might try our hardest not to say anything negative or hurtful about “so and so”, but if deep down in our hearts we are thinking hurtful or untrue thoughts, sooner or later they will come out in our words. Out of the abundance of our heart, the mouth speaks! Sure, we never meant to SAY anything negative to anyone about that person, but because that is what we dwelt on, eventually, that is what came out in our words. Make sense?

Let us seek to guard our hearts, and naturally our words will be guarded. Philippians 4:8 tells us,

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue,
and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Sometimes I would much rather meditate and think on untrue things, or unlovely things, or things I would be ashamed to tell anyone else. It is really hard to guard our hearts and thoughts, but God will help us if we simply ask Him. He can help us redirect and refocus our minds back on Him… replacing those wrong thoughts with thoughts that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy.

The solution is not to tape our mouths closed. Sometimes I think, “If only I could keep my mouth shut, I would stay out of so much trouble!” But good clear communication is very important and often lacking in our relationships these days. God gave us the ability to talk for a good reason. There must be a balance in our lives between talking too much, and not talking at all. This is a balance that we cannot obtain on our own. We can’t do anything, even something as basic as taking a breath, in our own strength!

Samantha and RebekahJesus’ own Words come to mind: “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.  I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing” (John 15:4-5). It takes humility to realize that we desperately need the Lord Jesus. Without Him, we can do nothing! Will you join me, dear sisters, in asking the Lord for strength, wisdom, and grace in this area? Let us echo David in Psalm 141:3: “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.”

“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart,
be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.”
(Psalm 19:14)

Seeking to follow Christ with you,
Samantha {Guest Writer}

P.S. Many thanks to my sister, Rebekah, who kindly allowed me to use her notes and insights on this topic!

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The Power of the Tongue, Part 2 (March)

Part 2 (read part 1 here)
by Sarah L. Bryant

Every word of God is pure:
he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.”
(Proverbs 30:5)

Last month, we looked at the power and influence of our words—they hold the power of life and death. What an encouragement this is to seek out how our Lord would have us to speak honorably. Proverbs 25:11 says that “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” The blessing that our words can bring to others is incredible. Have you ever received a kind word on a day when you were discouraged—and been blessed? We all have been given the ability to uplift and exhort one another with our tongue.

“The words of a man’s mouth are as deep waters,
and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.”
(Proverbs 18:4)

What a beautiful and peaceful picture is given here—the words of the wise are overflowing with wisdom, as a deep flowing brook. We remember from Proverbs 31 that the words of the wise woman are filled with wisdom and kindness. Isn’t the mental picture of a prudent Christian woman beautified, when we consider that her words spill forth with wisdom—not folly and idleness? James 3 says that “The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” Wisdom is shown/proven through good conduct and wise, meek conversation. Our words need to reflect that which is pure, peaceable, gentle, merciful, without partiality—and without hypocrisy.

“The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious.”
(Ecclesiastes 10:12)

Our words should not only be wise and purposeful, but also overflowing with grace…refined and gentle. Foul words, idle phrases or crude exclamations, flippant remarks, and degrading judgements should not be found on the lips of a wise woman. Some phrases and exclamations that are commonly heard in our culture are so easy to pick up, and before long, they become a habit. I encourage you to stop and think carefully about the phrases you commonly use. Are they gracious? Seek the Lord humbly, and ask Him to set a watch over your mouth. Ask for His grace in your life, to guard your lips before ungracious words come forth. The fool speaks before he thinks, and later regrets. Therefore, a wise woman must be one of few words. “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19). We must ask that the Lord would purify our mouths and help us use self-control in what comes forth.

Ephesians 5:1-4 contains some powerful exhortations on this topic. Let us break it down as we read…

“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;”

Are we saved by God’s grace? Are we His own precious, adopted children? Then let us take careful note of what follows—

“And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us,
and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God
for a sweetsmelling savour.”

We are commanded to walk in pure love, because Christ Himself walked in love, giving Himself for the redemption of our souls. We know this truth to be life-changing…

“But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness,
let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;”

Now, we might feel justified as we read—“Okay, I don’t usually have a problem with that list…”

“Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting,
which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.”

Wait—we need to stop and examine ourselves here! Fornication is very wicked, a sin that we tend to think we would never fall into. However, foolish talking and jesting? Now that something we all do at some point or another. Foolish talking in this passage refers to silliness, ridiculous talk, nonsense, useless/idle words, or “buffoonery.” Certainly, this is not a category that I want to fall under—but do I?

And what exactly is jesting? It is joking, teasing, making puns, or being “witty” just to gain attention. Wow! I find myself convicted by this very potent passage—a lot to evaluate in my own life. We find here in God’s Word that foolish or silly talking and teasing is not to be our regular practice and habit as Christians. There are possibly appropriate times for joking with those we love, but we need to guard against this becoming a regular occurrence, since it can so easily become a habit. It is easy to constantly tease our siblings to the point that we cannot have a sober, edifying conversation with them, to joke with our friends because we are uncomfortable with getting around to serious subjects, and constantly make idle remarks just so that others think we are funny.

This passage gives us a needed reminder to steer against light-heartedness, joking, and foolishness. This is a very heavy topic to consider and pray about, for I am sure most of us struggle with this at some point or another.

“Speak not evil one of another, brethren.
He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law,
and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law,
thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.”

(James 4:11)

Once again, we are shown in God’s Word that our words carry so much power. Speaking evil of one another, slandering one another, speaking unkind words—all of these things are using the power of the tongue to bring death, rather than life. It can be easy to let our guard down around our family, who we are around the most. We can let unkind words fall on those we love the most, sometimes speaking evilly against our family members behind their back. This should never be our practice as God’s children. We need to carefully guard against this, for the consequences can be far-reaching, beyond our imaginations.

“My tongue shall speak of thy righteousness 
and of thy praise all the day long.”
(Psalm 35:28)

Here is one of the positive ways we can use our tongue—God’s praise! God is richly glorified when we open our lips in praise and adoration of His infinite goodness and mercy. His praise should be on our tongue all the day long. It should spill forth in every conversation and lighten our countenance. Our Lord desires and is magnified by our humble praise. He has done so much for us—loaded us with daily and hourly benefits (Psalm 103:1-5). How can we but speak His praises? This is one way we can open our mouth and give forth life!

“A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things:
and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.

 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak,
they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 

For by thy words thou shalt be justified,
and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”

(Matthew 12:35-37)

Here, our Lord Jesus gets to the heart of the matter. What comes forth from our lips is what is in our heart. Sister, if your heart has not been regenerated—cleansed and redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ—you abide under judgement and will find no power within yourself to conquer the tongue (Romans 3:23). You must repent of your wickedness before a holy God, and beg forgiveness under the atonement of the Lord Jesus (Romans 5:8). He is ready and able to forgive, and wipe your heart clean (Ezekial 36:26). Jesus alone can cleanse your mouth and set forth His praise forevermore thereon (Romans 10:9-10)!

As I have studied God’s Word on this topic, I have felt the Lord’s conviction. I have seen areas that need to be changed. At first, I thought that it would be very difficult to discipline myself to be purposeful about my words, but as I sought the Lord in prayer to assist me in this goal, I found victory in Him. He enables that which He commands.

Sister, please stop and consider the words of your mouth. What category would most of your words fall under—wise, gracious, kind, foolish, idle…? This is no light matter before our holy and gracious Lord. We will be called to give account of every word (Matthew 12:37)! If you find that your words need to speak more life and your vocabulary needs refinement, please ask the Lord to purify your mouth! It is definitely not unattainable; the Lord’s grace is more than sufficient. He blesses our efforts to be obedient to His commands.

We have been saved by the precious blood of a Savior, Whose Words spoke this world into being (Hebrews 1:1), Whose every word was pure and loving. Who, by being the very Word (John 1:1-3), has shown us the way of redemption. He has given us the privilege to speak words as well. We can choose to embrace the power of the tongue to be a blessing on a daily—hourly—basis, if we refrain our lips from guile. “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.” (I Peter 3:10)

I don’t know about you, but I want my heavenly Father to be the doorkeeper of my lips!
Will you pray with me—

“Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth;
keep the door of my lips.”
(Psalm 141:3)

At His mercy,

P.S. There are countless other verses God has given us about the power of our words, and I encourage you to personally study this topic and seek the Lord as you evaluate your own life.
 

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