Words of Encouragement


Somewhere sandwiched between Halloween and Christmas is a holiday known as Thanksgiving. As Christmas commercialism grows stronger each year, there seems to be little time to reflect on the true meaning of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a time when we as a nation and as individuals should be thanking God for all He has done for us. However, in the rush and busyness of everything else, God and Thanksgiving are something we just push aside.
I have had to ask myself if I have pushed God aside and failed to thank Him for all He has done for me. The scripture that comes to my mind is Psalm 103:2: “Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”
According to Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, “forget not all his benefits” means forget not any of his favors. In Hebrew the word “benefits” gemûl, means an act, worth doing, whether good or bad. Barnes goes on to say that what God has done through his divine dealing with us is in calling us to give Him praise and gratitude.
WHAT!!! I have to praise Him for the bad as well as the good! It is not difficult to praise and thank Him for the “blessings and benefits” that are good but when things have brought pain into my life, it is a struggle to look at that from a point of gratitude. The truth is that God is in control and He will use anything we go through for our good and His glory.
This year as I reflect upon all the blessings He has showered upon me, I also have to thank Him from all the benefits I received when I broke my hip. I am so thankful for the way He took care of all my needs as I sat at the bottom of the stairs for 12 hours. I am grateful for the outstanding doctors, nurses, aides and physical therapists who worked with me over my stay in the hospital and rehab. I am thankful to God for all the lessons I learned through this experience like giving up control and depending on Him. I am also grateful for the spiritual lessons I learned by going through physical therapy. I rejoice that I had the opportunity to share the love of Jesus with so many while I was in rehab.
Most of all, I am overwhelmed and grateful for the love and comfort given to me by my daughters, family and friends. The visits to the hospital, rehab and home meant more to me than words can ever express. I am thankful for all the cards and flowers that were sent; they not only blessed and encouraged me but were a very strong witness of the love of Christ to my daughters.
Breaking my hip is just one reason I can say, “Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”
Have a Blessed Thanksgiving.

God loves you and He is in control

1 Peter 1:5-7
“ 5 You are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to struggle in various trials 7 so that the genuineness of your faith — more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire — may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. “
Trials and sufferings is something no one likes to go through. Just recently I found myself in one of those unlikable trials. I was going down the basement, missed the last step, fell and broke my hip. As I sat at the bottom of the stairs unable to move, I knew for the next several months I no longer had control of my life. I had to let go of all of my daily activities and plans and depend on others to help meet my needs. I had a hard time accepting the lost of control. As I shared this struggle with a close friend she encouraged me with these two thoughts:
God loves me and He is in control.
I laid in my bed many nights repeating the words over and over again:
God loves me and He is in control.

Sometimes I wish God would wave a magic wand and all my problems, hurts or pain would disappear. However God’s ways are not my ways but are so much greater then I know or understand.

I Pete 1:6 says: “now for a short time you have had to struggle in various trials.”
It is reassuring to know that our struggles and trials will come to an end. For some it might be a few months. For others it might be a few years or even much longer, but the fact is that it will come to an end. In the meantime encourage yourself with these words: God loves me and He is in control. At times you may not feel as if God loves you and that He is not in control. The truth is that He loves you more then you could ever know or imagine and He is in control of every area of your life.

Never go by how you are feelings for feelings can lie to you about the truth.
The truth is: God loves you!!! (Zephaniah 3:17)
God is in control!!!! (Isaiah 55: 5-6.)

Isaiah 55:8-11
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Zephaniah 3:17
The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

We are never alone!

"The steps of a man are directed and established by the Lord when He delights in his way. Though he falls, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord grasps his hand in support and upholds him." Psalm 37:23-24
Don't be afraid of your mistakes, but instead have an attitude of learning from them.

God knows the yearnings of your heart. Don't be afraid to tell Him how your heart aches, about your fears for your loved ones, about your concerns for your children, about how overwhelmed you feel at this time meant for Christmas.
"Peace I leave you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
John 14:27

Gratitude begins by acknowledging who God is and what He has done.
You are never alone

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understaanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
The God of Encouragement

One cold winter morning, the kind we are so familiar with here in Cleveland, I woke up feeling down and discouraged. I went to the window and opened the blinds to let in some light, hoping that would cheer me up. However, the sky was as gray as I felt. I knew that discouragement had made its way into my heart.

As I was having my “wake me up” coffee, I remembered I was meeting my friend Dinah later that morning. A small light of hope began shining through my discouragement. I always enjoyed being with her as we caught up on our family and ministry.

As Dinah and I were in the mist of our conversation a woman stood at our table and called out my name. When I looked up I recognized her as a single mother who had attended one of our Solo Parenting support groups. Michelle (not her real name) and I began talking and catching up on all that she and her son were doing. Michelle was a school teacher but had started her own consulting business for preschools. Her son who was a special little boy was now attending college. Sometimes we forget how quickly time goes by.

Towards the end of our conversation Michelle told me she was remarried. I asked her if she was happy. A big smile lite up her face. Her face said it all; yes, she was happy. She told me she could have never married again if she had not attended the support group. She held anger in her heart towards men and was very hurt and wounded. In the support group she had learned how to forgive and receive the love and hope that Jesus and the other mothers had for her. She told me how much Complete In Him helped her and how much it meant to her. She wanted me know that she would do anything to help me in the ministry.

We hugged goodbye and said we would keep in contact. All of a sudden I could feel joy flooding my heart, washing away all the discouragement. I was so grateful to God for encouraging me and allowing me to see how Complete In Him has changed the lives of women. I know in the future we will see many more” Michelles” who are healed and will reach the destiny God has for them.

If you are a single mother or if you know a single mother, please invite them to our upcoming Solo Parenting Support Group in September. Help them reach the destiny God has for their lives. For more information about the upcoming group, check out the newsletter or go to the web at: completeinhim7.com.

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. NIV