Sunday, January 26, 2014

(in)courage Communities: Doing Life Together

Life is so busy these days. It's hard to find time to meet with friends in person, but it's easy to find 15 or 20 minutes to browse Facebook. So, why not combine the two?

(in)courage communities are a great place to find other women who share your passion or are in the same stage of life as you. Are you...
  • pursuing a writing career
  • caring for a special needs child or an aging parent
  • transitioning to an empty nest
  • a stay-at-home mom who needs some adult conversation
  • a single, professional woman
  • looking for fitness encouragement
  • in a ministry or looking for Bible study pals

(in)courage has many different communities that meet on Facebook in a closed group where we find friendship, share prayer requests, a love for Christ, and most of all...encouragement. If you are interested in joining a group, visit our community group page today!

And...If you're a single woman, join me at (in)Joy!  It's a fantastic community of like-minded women who desire to grow in God's truth and discover what it means to daily find our joy in Him. This group has been a blessing to me. We learn from each other as we walk in this place of singleness.

By the way, there's no cost to join the group and no commitments required. Just sign up and participate as much as you like. If you'd like to learn more about the groups, visit the community FAQ page.

Registration begins Monday, January 27, 2014. Hope to see you there!!

Monday, January 13, 2014


I've mentioned before on this blog that whenever the Lord is teaching me something and then I write about it, I can usually expect a test to follow. Last week was one of those weeks.

Last week I wrote about praising God through the trials. Uh-huh...I bet you can see where this is headed. Every time I turned around it seemed one more thing was going wrong. Most of the issues ranged from minor to major annoyances such as: frozen/burst water line, pet rescue problems, a family member's health crisis hundreds of miles away, car issues, and work deadlines.

I try to keep things in perspective, though. As far as problems go, these were all manageable even though they were coming at like waves at the seashore--each one got a little larger. I kept my sense of humor early on. I kept praising God in the midst of it and was amazed at how He worked out many details. As the week wore on, the wearieness set in and the fussing. (For those who don't live in the South, fussing is another way to say complaining.) Finally an emotional cry out to God to carry me became necessary. I seriously needed Him to take over in the places where I could no longer do anything but pray and and asked for strength to keep going. I have to say that the problems didn't magically stop, but God was faithful to answer my prayer.

My One Word for 2014: Endurance.

I chose this word shortly after the new year began. Little did I know that I would be applying that so soon! This word comes from a Bible passage that I've come to love.

Hebrews 10:35-36

So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. 
Remember the great reward it brings you!  
Patient endurance is what you need now, 
so that you will continue to do God’s will. 
Then you will receive all that he has promised.

The official definition of endurance is...

::: the ability to do something difficult for a long time
::: the ability to deal with pain or suffering that continues for a long time

As I look back at where I've been and forward to the year ahead of me, I believe endurance will be required. Here we go into 2014!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Giving God Praise in the Trials

Remember the story in the book of Acts when Paul and his buddy, Silas, were thrown into prison and an earthquake caused the prison doors to open? That Bible story has always fascinated me, especially after I heard a song based on this story. [Here's a link to the song if you're interested: "Jailhouse Rock" by Farrell and Farrell.]

These guys were dedicated to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world, but life wasn't going so well at the moment. People got really mad at Paul and Silas and they were tossed into prison. I think the thing that always fascinated me was the fact that the prisoners didn't run when they could have! If I were in that situation I certainly would have tried to escape.

Here's the scene:

Paul and Silas Acts 16: 25-30
But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!” And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

Another thing that is really fascinating about this story that I never picked up on until a few years ago was the fact that they were singing praise songs in their time of trouble! What an example these two missionaries are for me.

Paul and Silas had absolutely no sane reason to be singing praise songs in their situation. They did it anyway. God moved mightily on their behalf. Their response? They didn't try to escape from their current problem. Their decision to stay was a witness to others and allowed them to lead the jailer to Christ.

Giving God praise and thanks in those hard times is something He's been teaching me. When I feel like grumbling or escaping, I've been reminded to sing His praises. It's not easy to do and it's definitely not the first thing I think of. But, I trying to...

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen. (The Doxology)