Warm Wednesday Words: Who Inspires You?

I love being inspired by others.  Here is the definition of “inspired” from the “thefreedictionary.com”:

v.tr.

1. To affect, guide, or arouse by divine influence.
2. To fill with enlivening or exalting emotion: hymns that inspire the congregation; an artist who was inspired by Impressionism.

3.

a. To stimulate to action; motivate: a sales force that was inspired by the prospect of a bonus.
b. To affect or touch: The falling leaves inspired her with sadness.
4. To draw forth; elicit or arouse: a teacher who inspired admiration and respect.
5. To be the cause or source of; bring about: an invention that inspired many imitations.
6. To draw in (air) by inhaling.

7. Archaic

a. To breathe on.
b. To breathe life into.

v.intr.

1. To stimulate energies, ideals, or reverence: a leader who inspires by example.
2. To inhale.

First, I am inspired by my God, who rescued me from sin and is always at work in my life and that of my family.   I am inspired from His inerrant Word and from the words of spiritual leaders and friends He has placed around me in the local church and elsewhere, including our pastor and some amazingly supportive women in the (in)courage online groups.   I also am inspired by the Lifeway Sunday School literature commentators and many great authors and bloggers including C.S. Lewis, Jack Graham, James MacDonald, Stormie O’Martian, Beth Moore, Ann Voskamp and Holley Gerth.

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I am inspired by my devoted and faithful husband who works with grit, determination and tenacity.  He does his best to walk in Godly wisdom and high principles in our family and marriage.   He is a behind the scenes kind of guy, whose influence is not lost on those who are discerning.  When I look back over the years, I am amazed at all the frightening stresses God has helped us through to land us in the place we are now, which is happy, indeed.  Though stresses still loom here and there, they don’t cripple us.  They are refining fires and maybe because of that, I can emphatically say we are best friends.

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I am inspired by my parents.  Besides loving their entire family as best they could (which was usually by giving and serving), they were the most hard working, giving and helpful couple I know.   They were often volunteering to drive someone to the hospital either an hour or two hours away, sharing from their garden, visiting people in the nursing home or in prison (my dad, who is no longer with us, did the latter), and involved in various church responsibilities.  At any family get together Mom is usually trying to do more than her share of work.

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I am inspired by a friend and mentor who lives out her faith in God and in others lives, including mine.  She is a bit further down the path I’m on, and a sweet blessing to me.  She sends scripture verses for me to ponder by email or texts, hands me books to read and has spent much time in prayer for me and my family.  She “speaks life” to me once every week or two, usually over a cup of coffee.   She does not hesitate to gently and humbly exhort, nor does she hesitate to pass on encouragement and compliments when she sees something good in me, whether I see it or not.  Since we are doing the same dated devotional journal, occasional texts have been know to begin, “look at day…”.mentoring, inspiringhttps://www.etsy.com/listing/77823945/teach-teacher-art-print-school-gift

I am inspired by many prayer partners, both online and in real life.  One, in particular, meets with me regularly.  We  spend considerable time in prayer for our families, our churches, current events, persecuted Christians and missionaries (the latter two greatly inspire me as well).  She has taught me to hang in there in prayer and we have been blessed to see God at work in many of the things we pray about.

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I am inspired by my children.  Each one is a blessing to us and has something unique.  Some of the traits that inspire me most among them are:  gentleness, graciousness, a sense of humor, humility, compassion, goodwill, helpfulness and cheerful enthusiasm.

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I am inspired by Augustine’s mother, Monica.  She prayed fervently and persistently for her entire family, and at length for her wayward son.  She enlisted others in praying for him, also.  After 17 years of Augustine cruelly putting her off and breaking her heart while indulging in much sin, he converted to the faith of his childhood.  Shortly after his conversion and during a family discussion on the subject, Monica said her life hope and purpose had been fulfilled.  Within five days she came down with a fever and on the ninth day died in Augustine’s arms (A.D. 387) at the age of 56.

Augustine & his mother, MonicaTo be inspired is to be enlivened, stimulated, and energized by divine influence.  Who inspires you?

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Warm Wednesday Words – What Brings You Joy

joy

Have you ever stopped to think about what brings you joy?  My greatest joy comes from being in a relationship with a God who will never let me go, who is my Savior, and my constant friend, counselor and comforter.  He rewards me as I grow in faith and trust.  His joy in me empowers me to find joy in life whether or not life is going the way I would want it to.  Even as I write, He is thinking of me (and you) and preparing that place in eternity for those who love and obey Him.

He is a rewarder of those who seek Him

My number one people relationship joy giver is my husband.  He is faithful, dependable, hard working, courageous, lives wisely and Godly, a great listener,  has my best interests at heart and makes my life more fun.

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An awesome source of happiness and fun times is family.  I have entrusted them to God and am thankful that He woos, guides, disciplines, keeps and sanctifies them (just as He does me and all who are His).  My deep joy for my children is not about the circumstances they are in or where they are at.  It is about the state of their hearts.  I want them in eternity with me, more than I care about their “success” in this life.  “I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 1:4)

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Friendship is a huge source of pleasure and joy, whether in my church, online or in my community.  C. S. Lewis says, “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.”    That pretty much sums it up.

friends on a limb

Maintaining good habits can foster joy.   Starting my day with a workout and spending a few minutes or more in Bible readings and a devotional get my day off to the best start.  Expressing love and art to my family  via a scent, a meal, a craft, or home making effort brings joy to home life.   Ministering to others outside the family on occasion also brings me joy.

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What about you?   What brings you joy?

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Warm Wednesday Words: No Matter What As “His”

be mineNo matter what happens you’re going to be okay if you’re “His”.   As Valentine’s Day approaches, you may see fun “Be Mine” messages everywhere, but the best “Be Mine” message is from Isa. 43:1b and it is, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”  Know that to be His trumps all the trials and difficulties that you may find yourself in.

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As “His”, you are not defined by your mistakes.  He is constantly at work to refine you.  As “His” you can count on having your perspective changed  from lies to truths as you seek Him in prayer and the Word.  This leads to constant and refreshing renewal.  As “His”, you can always have hope in a better tomorrow.  As “His” you have a unique story and a purpose that no one else can fulfill.

climb is steepestAs “His”, you are part of a crowd that helps pick you up when you fall down, cheers you on when you’re discouraged or overwhelmed,  prays for you whenever you ask (or even if you don’t), and loves you with the kind of forgiving and forbearing love that can only come from Him.  As “His”, you belong to the One who made you, sees you, knows the number of hairs on your head, plans the best for you,  specializes in bringing down walls around you that are impossibly impenetrable, and deposits a part of His very self in you to do more than you could ever hope to accomplish on your own.

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This Valentine’s Day if you have never truly made yourself “His”, then I hope you’ll consider the best “Be Mine” offer ever.  If you are already His, delight  in that and feel His arms of comfort around you, because no matter what happens, as “His” you’re going to be ok, maybe not yet, but definitely for eternity.

the one who holds the future

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Warm Wednesday Words – Encouraging Words

ok to not be ok

build someone upWhat are the encouraging words you want to hear when you’re having a hard day?  I have days when nothing seems to go right.  I have waltzed into a prayer meeting thinking it was church dinner night, casserole in hand and hungry guest in toll.  I have woken up from a nap in a fog and suddenly realized I was due to have a meal to a family with new twin babies in less than an hour without a single dinner plan formulated.  I have texted an unknown recipient for weeks thinking it was one of my kids.  I have forgotten the minutes for the church business meeting numerous times.  I could list many more bumbling annoyances and catastrophes, but you get the idea and probably have a few of your own.

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I have been overwrought on occasion by much more horrific pitfalls than self induced trivial embarrassments.  Like most, I have been mired down and burdened by misunderstandings, criticisms, gossip, slander, multiplied tensions, financial hardships, broken relationships, heartaches, troubling addictions and more.

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When I am having a bad day or going through a trial, these are some of the words that comfort me most, whether regarding the affliction or not:

“It’s going to be ok.  Maybe not just yet, but I know it will”.

“You have my support.”

“Here, this is for you.” (Anything that implies thoughtfulness).

“I know how you must feel.”

“I like what you’ve done,” or “Good job”, can make any little accomplishment worth the trouble.

While the words don’t need to be perfect, just any kind response speaks love and is far more comforting than the neglectful or disdainful silence of no response at all.  Some of the most poignant “words” to me are the silent words from a knowing smile or a tender hug.

animal hugsSo, back to Holley Gerth’s writing prompt for this week.  What are the encouraging words you want to hear when you’re having a hard day?  Can you think of a place for them in someone’s life this week?

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http://holleygerth.com/

Click on the above link for more posts on encouraging words.  You may like Holley’s devotional,  “If we could have Coffee” and the just released book “You’re Going to be Okay”.  These are books I devour like a medicine to dispel discouragement.