A Challenge to Bless

In lieu of a devotional today, I am offering up a challenge.

In the last 9 days I have attended two memorial services. In both cases the death was unexpected and surrounded by tragic circumstances. In both cases the person that left us to be with Jesus was a loving person who regularly demonstrated that love to others and therefore was greatly loved.

I know it is a bit cliché, but I am again reminded of our mortality and the unexpectedness of this life. It also reminded me that God has given us a very powerful gift. Our tongue. With it we have great power. The power to praise God. The power to demolish strongholds. The power to tear ourselves or another down. And the power to build up and strengthen, validate and encourage another person. The power to let them know that they are valuable to you; that your life is better for them being in it; that you appreciate something about them. This power can be directed toward a neighbor, a friend, a sibling, a parent, a spouse, a child, someone who lives in your house or around the world. This is an awesome power, let's not waste it!

The Challenge: Pick someone you like, someone you love, someone you appreciate and tell them so today! Tell them why. If you are a really inspired tell two people. If each person who receives our newsletter tells one person, that is 90 people for whom the day just got better.

If you choose to take this challenge, like this page below to let others reading this blog know you did.

Proverbs 16:24 (NKJV)
Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,
Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.

Proverbs 18:21 (NIV)
The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Proverbs 25:11 (NKJV)
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold
In settings of silver.

"Love is Key" by Darla Beardsley

Love. What a powerful word. It makes sense that it would be, because 1 John 4:8 tells us that God is love. Last Sunday in service Boby Jubberread 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 inserting God in place of the word love. It was very thought provoking concerning the nature of God. God is Love.

This morning in prayer I was wrestling with what I am doing with my and how I am spending my time. Am I doing everything God wants me to do? Should I get involv3ed with this? Should I do more of that? Am I spending too much time on this project? Another “love” scripture popped into my head, so I turned to Revelations, the second chapter and read the following:

“I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have preserved and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works.”

So God, what you’re saying is that it is possible to be busy trying to do all the right things and still miss my mark? Love is more important. This got me thinking about my motivations for doing the things that I do. Am I trying to impress God or other people with my performance or in my actions? Do I love the Lord and the people He puts in my life? Am I worried about looking worthy or is it love that drives me? Most likely, I’s a little of both.

I believe that I am only scratching the surface of what God has to teach me in all this, but I think getting to the heart of the love issue is key. What motivates me? If love is not in the answer to that question then chances are I will miss the mark. So how do I become motivated by love? By pressing into, spending time with, and receiving from He who is Love.

I love what Dusty always says, “When in doubt, default to love.

(1 Corinthians 13)

"Walking with God's Spirit" by Darla Beardsley

I find it amusing when I set out to do something that I feel is ministry to someone else and then God uses it to teach me something. That happened recently. 
A couple of months ago, Pam approached Sue Paris and me to do some acting for this year’s kid’s camp. So we got together to brainstorm on an idea that had been floating around in our heads. Sue felt she had a scripture and a direction, so we took off from there.
Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
As the Epic Kingdom camp criers we would proclaim these attributes as proper kingdom deportment and hopefully drive home to the kids that this was only possible by walking with God’s Spirit. So I took notes while we laughed and devised screwy characters. Afterwards I took all our ideas and put it to dialog. A funny thing happened while we were memorizing and rehearsing. I found that the lines said more to me than I had been aware of when writing them down. Ideas connected that I hadn’t thought of during the brainstorming and laughing. I felt like we had received a word that we didn't fully hear until we attempted to share it with the kids.
I found myself looking for the Fruit of the Spirit in my life. I wondered if I really understood what it meant to walk with God’s Spirit. How do I do it? Is it an action? Is it an attitude? Can I measure it? I am sure that praying, reading His Word, worship and fellowship are all part of the process. As I pondered this another scripture came to mind—the revelation of which was life changing for me many years ago.
Jeremiah 29:12-13
Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
I know I don’t have all the answers, but I have a direction. I don't know how to do everything, but I have a great, wise and patient Teacher. I know Who to ask. And He promises me that if I put my whole heart into it, I will find Him. So I will seek to learn to walk with God’s Spirit, something I am sure will take me all of my life. Sometimes I see this fruit in my life and sometimes it is greatly lacking. But my prayer is that next year I will look and see more of it, more often and so on year after year, from glory to glory.
Last Sunday John spoke on the proper perspective of work in the bible. We are not saved by our works, but work has been prepared in advance for us to do. If we have faith but no works that give evidence to it, then our faith is dead. I have an additional thought. I cannot work my way into heaven by exhibiting all the attributes in Galatians 5: 22-23, but because Jesus took care of my sin on the cross I can seek to walk with His Spirit and see these things become a part of my life. When I fail and fall flat on my face, God’s grace gives me the option to get up and try again.
Encouraging Words:
Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Jeremiah 29:12-13
Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
Isaiah 30:15
For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:
“In returning and rest you shall be saved;
In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”

Practicing The Prophetic

This summer I had the privilege to participate in a mini women’s retreat held at Julie and Dusty’s home. Nicole Cade, a Foursquare pastor and friend of Julie’s, taught on prophecy. After the evening teaching we broke into groups and practiced praying and listening for words of prophecy. It was an encouraging time and since we were “practicing,” I felt no pressure to be “perfect”.
Following the retreat I read a story in the Bible as suggested by Nicole. In Numbers 22 & 23, the story of Balaam reveals that a prophet can speak only as the Lord speaks. In John 14;10, even Jesus says He spoke by the Father’s authority. I also reread the story of Ezekiel prophesying over the dry bones in Ezekiel 37 where God tells Ezekiel to prophesy over the bones and God gave them life again.

Later that month, my husband, Mark, and I planned to join his mom, dad, and family in southern Oregon for a reunion. I had been looking forward to it all summer. At this time the fires broke out in southern Oregon causing bad air quality throughout the region. People were warned to stay inside. Some in Mark’s family have asthma and it looked like the reunion may be canceled. People were disappointed, myself included. News and weather reports brought no hope of things clearing up in time.

I began to have a strong impression that God was telling me that He would allow me to prophesy over the geographical area for clear and healthy air. I knew that I could only do it if God was doing it, and I believed He was. So I did. I spoke clear, healthy air over the area. I had the opportunity to tell family in an email that I was praying and believing God for the provision of good air. Everyone decided to take the chance and meet and hang out indoors if necessary.

The day before we left the air was a bit better. When we got there, there was a bit of haze but so much clearer with only an occasional smell of smoke. It evened rained at one point. The air cleared so much that we had NO issues for the entire four days, and were able to do everything we had planned outdoors. Someone in the family remarked at how well everything had turned out, and to think-we had almost canceled! I really felt that God was glorified and my faith was strengthened through this experience.

God is good!

Darla Beardsley