Encourage Blog2022-05-09T15:12:38+00:00

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Breathe: Thy Kingdom Come

CHERYL MULLIS|GUEST Today was one of those picture-perfect days. Blue skies. White fluffy clouds. Bright sun. What a welcome change after several days of rain! The colorful flowers, gentle breeze, and vibrant sunshine filled my heart with gladness. It wasn’t long, though, before my gaze zoomed in on the weeds that had grown during the recent rainy days. In a moment, my grateful heart turned to a grumbling heart. Sadly, those weeds stole my attention and robbed my joy. Without a second thought I began to reorder the priorities of the day. Pulling out those weeds moved to the top of the list. But then an amazing thing happened. The heat of the sun beat down on me and I had to move my chair under the shade of the trees. From this new perspective, my gaze shifted from the weeds to the flower beds that my husband lovingly tended throughout the spring. In an instant, my perspective—and priorities—changed. My heart was filled with gratitude once again.  A Sovereign King  How quickly my focus shifts! One moment I am worshiping and praising God, creator of the universe, sovereign King over all, and then the next moment I am laser focused on myself and the weeds that entangle my life.   Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:10, Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven, make it clear that there is a sovereign King who rules His kingdom and accomplishes His purposes. And believe it or not this King is not me, or you. Often, I live my life as if I am in control. My will clashes with God’s will. There is a tug of war going on for control of my heart and life. What will it take for me to dethrone myself and acknowledge Jesus as the sovereign King over all? ...

Leaving a Legacy of Love: Creating a Spiritual Legacy {Part 2}

ELIZABETH TURNAGE|CONTRIBUTOR Editor's Note: This is the second in a two-part series on leaving a legacy. To read the first post, click here.  “Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of men” (Psalm 66:5). In addition to preparing well for death and blessing our loved ones by creating a practical legacy, we can also create a spiritual legacy. A spiritual legacy may include the stories, values, and wisdom of our lives that point to the “awesome deeds” of God (Psalm 145:6). Such a spiritual legacy is a gift our loved ones will cherish for years to come. Our Lived Spiritual Legacy In part, we create our spiritual legacy by the way we live our days. I will never forget my grandmother studying her well-worn Bible in preparation for teaching her Sunday school lesson. Maybe you remember finding your mother on her knees by her bed; another friend recalls a favorite uncle pointing out how marvelously God designed caterpillars and butterflies. When we take time out of our busy days to read children books, sing them songs, or listen to their stories, we demonstrate the goodness and kindness of a heavenly Father who delights in them. Every way we live out God’s story of grace in our lives becomes part of our spiritual legacy. Our Recorded Spiritual Legacy In addition to our lived spiritual legacy, we can pass on our God-given wisdom and gospel-grown gratitude in written form or in an audio or video recording. There are numerous types of legacies we night leave: stories, letters, blessings, albums, or lists. To create such a legacy will take time, intentionality, and prayer, but we can press forward, remembering that after we’re gone, our loved ones often become ready audiences to hear our deepest beliefs and best stories—about them, about life, about God. Let’s consider each type of spiritual legacy. Six Types of Spiritual Legacy...

Breathe: Honor His Name as Holy

MELANIE COGDILL|GUEST “OMG!” We have all seen that meme. It’s the ubiquitous cultural phrase to describe our shock or surprise and of course we say it means, “Oh, my goodness” or “Oh, my gosh.” But those are really replacement words for the casual use of God’s name in what is an expletive phrase or profane acronym that everyone (including many Christians) just tosses off casually or chuckles at. Christians do not consider regularly how they are to think about the name of God and how Scripture commands us to regard His name. A Name Worthy of Honor In Matthew 6 Jesus is teaching His disciples how to pray in the Sermon on the Mount. He has just finished saying that God is to be addressed as Father—God is personal and intimately cares about His children. Jesus then goes on to say, “Hallowed be your name.” What is a name? A name describes a characteristic of the person, creature, or thing that bears a particular name. We choose names carefully whether it’s for a building, a beloved pet, or a newborn baby. Jesus is saying that the very name of God is to be hallowed—honored as holy...

Reframing Royalty

HOLLY MACKLE|CONTRIBUTOR Royalty can get a bad rap. In the wake of disdain and disinterest by some in Britain surrounding the celebrations marking Queen Elizabeth’s historic 70 year reign, I’ve been thinking about my own presuppositions on the concept of royalty, and specifically, the less-than-appealing notion of princess culture. As Christ-followers and women, sisters of Jesus and therefore daughters of God, it follows that we would find princess attitude and princess mentality appalling, and much of the messaging on glittery princess tees slapped on four-year-olds downright barfy. But I fear we’ve thrown the baby out with the bath. Princess only looks bad when we seek it for ourselves—not when it’s bestowed. And there’s hardly anything more beautiful than a child of God, female or male, firmly rooted in their royal identity. Hold Up Just a Sec Most of the women I know have, shall we say, spirited opinions on princess culture, either to the positive or to the negative, but I’m hard pressed to find a neutral party. To combat my own long-held disdain I found it important to ask a question, specifically, why does princess culture resonate so deeply—positively or negatively—with us as women?..

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