Encouraging, uplifting , positive thoughts rooted in the love of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Category Archives: Encouragement

1 In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. ..

18 – 22 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”

Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said:  “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.

In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.   Job 1 -22

Job is often cited when we face difficult situations. The Bible says “Job was blameless and upright”, yet Job lived through one of  the most painful experiences as recorded in the Bible.  Losing his children was the last in a series of disasters, yet the Bible records that Job’s response was to worship!  Despite  all he endured, Job maintained that his “Redeemer lives”, and he lived in expectation that God would deliver him.

When we are in the midst of joy and prosperity, it is easy to sing “Blessed be Your name.”  In the midst of our awful trials and life-altering testings, we don’t always want to hear that “God is in control”, or ‘God knows best”, and that we should give thanks in and for everything.  Our natural inclination is often to go with our feelings, instead of willing ourselves to look at our situation from God’s perspective …

It is often easier for us to believe for others than it is to believe for ourselves. Perhaps today you are in a low place and you need someone to believe for you. Perhaps you are on the mountaintop and celebrating what God has done in your life. Wherever we are today, our awesome, amazing God is standing right beside us.  May we never forget this when life changes come, and may we always remember “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Inventory/Introspection: How can my daily living demonstrate my belief that  “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord” ?

Personal Application:  I will trust God with my circumstances, believing that “blessed be the name of the Lord” can become my automatic response in any situation.

Father, You are all we need – even though we don’t always know it! We are thankful that nothing in our lives is an accident or a mistake, and that we never come across anything that You are not aware of! Blessed be Your name!

Life sometimes goes in a direction we did not anticipate, and often we don’t understand where we need to go, but we are thankful that we can place our lives in Your hands, knowing that You have it all under control. Blessed be Your name!

Job  rested in the knowledge  that nothing gets by You. May we know and understand that You are the same God that visited Job , and the comfort that You gave to Him is available to us. We will rest in Your peace.  Blessed be Your name!!

It is so much easier to praise You when life is great and plans are unfolding as we desire.  At other times, not so much… Today we stand alongside those who have lost and are in pain, and we celebrate the good that You have done in their lives. We are thankful that whatever You do is done in love, and we do declare “ Blessed be Your name!!

 

Amen

Blessings,

ann

 

Toni R

(c)

Except where indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 

 

 


Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

For most of my Christian life, I have heard Romans 12:1-1 taught from a position of sexual purity, but today God opened my eyes to another view. As we contemplate sacrifices and the importance of presenting sacrifices that are without blemish, let us think in terms of how we can make decisions that can make our sacrifices less than pleasing to God.

According to Strong’s Complete Word Study Concordance, the word for sacrifice in Romans 12:1 is thusia, and in this context it means “of service, obedience, praise offered to God, an offering, oblation (offering to God)”. For many of us who are in ministry, we often take on and do as much as we can for the Kingdom of God. We often wholeheartedly serve in different ministry areas, yet we hardly plan for time-off to physically rest and rejuvenate the bodies that He has given us – the same bodies that we are to present ‘holy and pleasing to God’.

I have been told that in any organization, there are always three types of individuals:

  1.   Those who always take on more than their fair share of work,
  2.   Those who will do just enough to get by.
  3.   Those who can be counted on to ‘pick-up the slack’ where others fall short

It is not uncommon to find these individuals in churches.

Our entire bodies are to be presented to God – our entire bodies and all we do whether we sleep, eat, rest, work … whatever we do needs to be a living sacrifice. There is no doubt that there is much to be done, especially in these last days. Sometimes it is hard to walk away, but are we doing the right thing when we overcommit and under-rest? If we are tired and worn-out from doing what we believe to be the work of God, are we able to offer ‘true and proper worship’?

Sometimes a simple ‘I am sorry, but I cannot take this on’, will leave more room in our day to spend time with our Papa, or simply to rest. While we acknowledge that God is more than able to sustain us through what He has called us to do, we also acknowledge that God Himself rested. Jesus told us to come and rest in Him. Rest is important in the life of a Christian.

May God grant us clear revelation so we know when to step forward.  May He also give us the wisdom and understanding to know when to step back and allow others to move forward, and may we find peace in the moments we choose to let go.

What God has ordained must be fulfilled – we need not worry that if we can’t do what needs to be done, then it won’t be done at all.

We are called to present our bodies as living sacrifices. We are not to conform to the expectations of the world, but to experience transformation that comes from having our minds renewed, then (we) “will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. When we know His will we can walk in His will, accomplishing what He has called us to do with the bodies He has given us.

Inventory / Introspection: How can I make sure my body is always presented to God as a living sacrifice? 

Personal Application:  Scheduling time away from ‘frontline’ ministry does not mean I am not offering a sacrifice that is pleasing to God.

Dear Father, we give you thanks for the bodies you have given to us. We know that we are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made!’

We confess that we don’t often treat our bodies the way we should. Please forgive us for the times we have neglected meaningful rest and meals and other ‘transgressions’ as we hurry about doing what we understand needs to be taken care of.  Help us to honestly weigh our schedules, and to make the right decisions when work needs to be done.

Eating well, resting well, and working smart are ways in which we can keep our bodies in ‘living sacrifice’ mode. Help us to make the decisions that enable us to offer worship that would give You the greatest glory.

Amen.

Blessings,
ann


Toni R
(c)
Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  


“…See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord”  Colosians 4:17

This verse seemed to pop off the page as I neared the end of Paul’s letter to the Colossian brethren. This was the second last line in this epistle, and although the words were written as a note to Archippus, we can apply this to our own walk with Christ.  Our ministry may seem different from those around us, but as  Paul outlined gifts and ministries in 1 Corinthians 12, he took care to note in verse 11 that “all these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He distributes them to each one just as He determines.” Each ministry is important to the building of the Kingdom of God.

We do not always understand why God asks us to do what He asks us to do, but when we are sold out fully to Him, we can walk where He leads us knowing full well that we are not walking alone. Sometimes fulfilling our ministries become more challenging than we anticipated, but if God has given us a ministry, then He will give us what we need to accomplish it. Some days may be easier to navigate than others, but thankfully for us, we serve a God who never changes.

Others may look at us and wonder why we do what we do. Sometimes the questions we are asked may cause us hurt and discomfort even as we try to explain why we remain in our positions, but when we know that we are doing the will of the Lord, we find renewed strength in knowing that we are pleasing Him. Our focus should be to do His will and only His will as we look forward to hearing Him say “well done.”

Keep working towards completing the ministry He has given you. It will be more than worth it.

Inventory/Introspection:  What has God asked me to do? What is trying to prevent me from carrying out the ministry that He has given to me?

Personal Application:   If I truly believe that God equips those He has called, then I am confident that He will give me what I need to accomplish what He has given me to do.

Father, You are amazing! We are so thankful for the fact that You chose to involve us in leading others to You, and we are grateful for the part You allow us to play. May Your name be glorified as we work on fulfilling what You have called us to do. We fully expect that obstacles and trials will come, but we are also fully confident that You are able to complete what You have started in us (Philippians 1:6).  

On our own we are bound to fail, but in You we aremore than conquerors!’ (Romans 8:37). May we trust You enough to seek You when we feel we cannot fulfil what You have asked us to do.

Give us the right words to respond to those who may ridicule or question the paths we have chosen to follow with You, knowing that ‘our labour is not in vain.’ It is our desire to do only what glorifies You.

Amen.

Blessings,
ann
Toni R
(c)
Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 


But if I go to the east, He is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. When He is at work in the north, I do not see Him; when He turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of Him. But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold. Job 23:8-10

A little boy was quite unhappy at getting his hair cut, and he cried uncontrollably as the barber tried to complete the task. The crying eventually subsided when the father of the child decided to sit in the barber’s chair and hold the little one in his arms, soothing him as the barber worked.

In looking at the child resting comfortably on his father as he went through the uncomfortable process, I thought of how our Father carries us as we go through our difficult or uncomfortable situations. Just as the little boy’s haircut was necessary for good grooming, some of the fires we go through are necessary for us to grow and develop in Christ.

In the passage above, Job was responding to his friend Eliphaz the Temanite, after Eliphaz attempted to determine why Job was suffering. Job knew he had done nothing wrong, but unlike the little boy in his father’s arms, Job did not see God and felt like he was on his own. Still, he was determined to go through whatever God needed to take him through. At the end of the story, Job gets an understanding of who God is, and the fact that He can do whatever He pleases, and nothing can thwart His plans. After Job had endured his trials, God restored him and poured out multiple blessings on him (Job 42).

The circle of our Father’s embrace is a very safe place for us to be. Like Job, we may have to walk through valleys we don’t understand, but it is important to know that even though the trying of our faith develops perseverance (James 1:3), our Father will never leave us on our own! 

Inventory/Introspection: Do I allow my Father to hold and comfort me in the difficult times?  

Personal Application:   I will trust God, even when I cannot see what lies ahead.

Father, we are thankful that Your hand extends to the farthest depths and the highest heights, and that it doesn’t matter where we go, we are never so far that Your love and grace cannot reach us.

The little boy in the barber’s chair was able to go through the experience because his father’s arms were holding him. Those who witnessed what happened marveled at how the love and comforting words of a father brought peace to the troubled child. As Your children, we shout ‘Hallelujah!’, knowing that You care for us much more than anyone else ever could. Job felt abandoned, but he refused to give up on You. We know that some journeys in our lives are not what we desired, but like Job, we are certain that although we may not see You when we look around us, we know that we will come through “as pure gold” after You have finished testing us.

Teach us how to relax and allow You to embrace and comfort us as we encounter the unfamiliar.

We are thankful for the way You love and care for us. May we learn to love and care for others like You do..

Amen.

Blessings,
ann
Toni R
(c)
Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13

This simple verse says much, and requires little commentary.  🙂

Uncertainties await us as we stand on the threshold of a new year. We can honestly say we have no idea what direction our lives will take, but we can say with equal certainty, that the God who spoke our world into existence, holds our lives in His hands.

May the trust you place in our God truly fill you with joy and peace to the point where you  overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit!

Personal Application:   My life and times are in God’s hands. I will trust Him to the point of overflowing with hope!

Father, our world has seen its share of turmoil this last year, and although much has taken us by surprise, we rest in the confidence that You are all-knowing and that You are still in control. We are thankful that Your grace and mercy kept us.

2013 may be a new year for all of us, but we know You already see the end of time as we know it. As we remain poised to step forward to new beginnings, we ask that You would order our steps, and that we would live lives that are pleasing in Your sight.

We pray for those who have lost loved ones in the past year. May You be our Comfort.

We pray for those experiencing financial difficulties. May we allow You to be our Source.

We pray for those in uncertain situations. May we trust You to be our Guide.

We pray for those experiencing sickness or ill-health. May we trust You to be our Healer

We are fully confident that times and seasons are in Your hands. We believe You are able to take care of any and all circumstances that we come across. We believe that Your name is above any sickness, pain, disease or situation that we may come across. May we trust You to make Your strength be seen in our situations.

We confess that You are all that we will ever need and so much more. May Your name be glorified in our lives as we move forward to this new year and whatever it brings. Yesterday is behind us, we will move forward in You!

Amen.

Israel Houghton – Moving Forward

Click here to watch on YouTube

Thanks again for your encouragement and support as I missed a few weeks to focus on school and family. May God return to you a hundredfold!

Blessings,
ann
Toni R
(c)
Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


14. Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she began to sob.

God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.  Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”

Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.

God was with the boy as he grew up… Genesis 21:14-20

Genesis 21:14 picks up the story where Hagar and her son had been sent from the home of Abraham and Sarah.  Finding herself alone in a desert, with no water in sight, and overcome with her circumstances, Hagar began to cry.  In the middle of her distress, God sent her a word of comfort and opened her eyes to the provision that He had made. There is nothing to suggest the well was not always there, but the scriptures clearly state that “God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water.” Maybe Hagar was so zoned in on what wasn’t going right, that she did not notice the well. When we are faced with insurmountable problems, we sometimes get so locked into what we are up against, that we forget that “greater is He that is in us, than He that is in the world!” (1 John 4:4)

Abraham had given Hagar a skin of water … that was enough to keep her for a while, but not enough to sustain her through the desert experience. That finite skin of water was enough to take her to the infinite Source of all she could need and more. Help may come from those around us, but only God can fully satisfy all our needs. It is important to recognize that He is the ultimate provider, and to trust Him even in the midst of our crisis situations.

Hagar likely felt helpless at what she was facing. She loved her son, no doubt, but she had done all she could do. Her response was to make him as comfortable as she could in the hot desert sun, as she walked away and left him there, fully expecting him to die.  Unknown to her, God had other plans, and right there in the middle of her circumstances, He opened her eyes! In the fullness of time, He caused her to see that He could take care of her needs.  We may not always see what God is doing, but that does not mean that He is not working on our behalf!

Sometimes we need to do something to bring miracles to life, as in the case of Naaman who had to go wash in the Jordan (2 Kings 5:1-19), or the blind-man who was healed when he went to wash his eyes (St John 9). Moses needed to throw his rod down (Exodus 4), and Jonah needed to be tossed overboard for the storm to subside (Jonah 1), but sometimes God allows us to just “stand still” and see what He is about.

In 2 Kings 6, Elisha asked God to open Gehazi’s eyes to what was around them. In St Luke 18: 35-42 the blind man called to Jesus and received his miracle of sight. Hagar did not have anyone to speak on her behalf, but in the midst of her tears, God chose to open her eyes. May our God open your eyes to what He has placed around you today.

Genesis 19:21 shows that God was with the boy as he grew up.  He was not left alone after the miracle. When God takes you out of  a ‘bad patch’, He does not leave you alone either. May you see with new vision that He is looking out for you, and that He has already taken care of what you need!

Inventory/Introspection: Are my eyes open to what He wants me to see?

Personal Application:   God can use the finite circumstances to show His infinite provision. “My circumstances do not change the fact that God is good.”

Father, Your faithfulness knows no end! We are thankful for the way You send Your word in perfect timing, even when we feel we can’t even look at our circumstances any more.

Your word says that You call the stars by name (Psalm 147:4) , You number the hair on our head, (Luke 12:7)  and that You saw us before we were formed (Psalm 139:16). We are grateful that even though we do not always see what You are doing, we find comfort in the fact that You are working it all out for our good to the glory of Your name!

For those of us who are facing impossible situations, we choose to give You thanks for the way of escape You have already prepared. For those of us who have crossed over, we give You all praise and glory for having taken us through what we could not handle on our own. For those of us yet to experience Your miracle working power in the midst of our distress, we thank You for sending the Word ahead so can know to rest on Your power and grace to help us over the hurdles.

Nothing about us escapes You! We are truly grateful! May we never forget that You are working on the things that concern us, even when we cannot see Your hand!

Amen.

Footnote: On Friday afternoon, my sister and I were discussing the importance of trusting God for the things we cannot see. On Friday night, this topic came up for discussion among members of our prayer group, and on Sunday at church, the sermon was along similar lines, as the preacher spoke on how God worked miracles with what Moses had in his hands. Hearing this three times in one weekend was enough to convince me to share in today’s blog. I am praying this will encourage your heart.
 
Blessings,
ann
Toni R
(c)
Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 


1 Kings 17:7-14 – Oil and flour miracle (Elijah)

13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’” 15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family.

2 Kings 4:1-7 – Oil miracle (Elisha)

3-4 “Here’s what you do,” said Elisha. “Go up and down the street and borrow jugs and bowls from all your neighbors. And not just a few—all you can get. Then come home and lock the door behind you, you and your sons. Pour oil into each container; when each is full, set it aside.”

 5-6 She did what he said. She locked the door behind her and her sons; as they brought the containers to her, she filled them. When all the jugs and bowls were full, she said to one of her sons, “Another jug, please.”     He said, “That’s it. There are no more jugs.”     Then the oil stopped.

In 1 Kings 17, God worked through Elijah to bring blessing to the home in which he had been fed. The widow had been making preparations for her last meal when she met Elijah. At his request, she used the last of her oil and flour to make bread for the prophet, and God rewarded her by providing her with enough oil and flour to last her throughout the drought. God fulfilled His promised as “…the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.” (v. 16) – We can conclude that the oil and flour did not stop flowing until after God sent rain.

A similar but slightly different miracle took place in 2 Kings 4:1-7. This widow had nothing but ‘a little oil’, and no way to pay her debt to one who wanted to take her children as slaves in lieu of the debt. When she sought Elisha’s help, he told her to borrow all the containers she could find.  She was about to see how God would miraculously stretch the little oil that she had. Her instructions were to “Pour oil into each container; when each is full, set it aside.”  The woman kept pouring, because as long as she had containers, the oil flowed. She was able to fill up every vessel.  The oil only stopped flowing after she ran out of jars!

In the first story, the oil and flour stopped running when the rain came. That was a God-act. In the second, story, the oil stopped flowing only after the woman ran out of jars. While God is not at all limited in what He can do, He chose to allow the oil to flow as long as the widow had somewhere to store it. His blessings and goodness are infinite. It is impossible for us to contain all He is able to provide for us, but we can place ourselves in positions where He can fill us over and over again.

In both cases, the women were asked to do what defies logic, but they obeyed anyway. God could have carried out both miracles without input from either widow, but He chose to involve them in the process. There may be times when we seek His help, and He may ask us to step out in faith and do something to ‘help our miracle along.’ Trusting His words mean we will do what He says, even when it doesn’t make sense to our natural minds.

Inventory/Introspection: What resources do I need to pour out so that God can miraculously replenish?

Personal Application: Some of His instructions seem easier to follow than others, but I can choose to walk in obedience and trust, knowing that He is giving me an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than I am.

Father, we are thankful that You can use the little that we have to do what seems impossible.

The widows found themselves in need, but you used the ‘hardly anything’ that they had to bring them their miracles. Sometimes you ask us what’s in our hands, like you did with Moses in Exodus 4:2. At other times, You work with what we bring to You, as you did with Gideon (Judges 6). You are “the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.” (Romans 4:17), and we know You don’t need us to perform miracles, but we are thankful that You choose to involve us. Help us to trust You even if we don’t see the blueprint.

In Genesis 22, we see that Abraham was willing to give back to You the miracle You gave to Him, and Noah built an ark because You told him to – even though he had probably never seen rain (Genesis 2) … May our obedience be no less as You call us to experience greatness in You.

Amen.

Blessings,
ann

Toni R
(c)

Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.