Welcome, Dear Encouragers!
This month I'm changing things a bit to provide a smorgasbord of tidbits to encourage you through the month of September. Inside this post, you'll find:
- Encouragement To Go
- What Does A "Heart Encouraged" Look Like?
- Spiritual Warfare - Are You Ready?
- Book Review - Wonderstruck
- News and Notes
Encouragement To Go
As you move through the month of September, keep these verses handy to stay encouraged. Who knows, God might prompt you to share these with someone who needs a boost!
What Does A "Heart Encouraged" Look Like?
It’s a heart that:
- grows a confident hope though evil persists in growing fear (2 Samuel 22:17-19)
- believes Jesus calls her his friend (John 15:15)
- trusts God is intently listening for her voice (Psalm 91:15)
- seeks Jesus for compassionate comfort in her brokenness (1 Corinthians 1:1-5)
- stands on the oath and promises of God (Hebrews 6:17-19)
- receives power to persevere, endure, and stand firm. (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12)
A heart encouraged is not a passive heart. It’s strong, confident, and steadfast. It brazenly leans into the power of life’s storm trusting the Spirit’s power is even stronger. It's a heart focused to perceive the Lord’s presence, anticipating God’s encouragement through the Spirit.
*All verses from New Living Translation
When Spiritual Attacks Strike, Be Ready!
The enemy is always on the prowl ready with a spiritual ambush. Knowing this, I still get caught off guard for one main reason: I’m not battle ready. To change this situation, I use mental imagery casting myself as a sheep, guarded by the Chief Shepherd. I assign Satan the role of the wolf, a predator seeking prey. These character assignments remind me I’m in a spiritual fight.
In the Book of John, Jesus describes himself as the good shepherd and we as the sheep, saying, “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy…. The wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.” Satan means to steal and destroy our confidence, hope, trust, peace, rest, and love. Love for Jesus fuels Satan’s anger.
Spiritual attacks are meant to control and damage the believers’ heart. Though the relentless pursuit of the wolf quickly exhausts our resources, not so for the Lord. The Great Shepherd is our greatest source of support and encouragement. The best move sheep can take is to face the wolf, stand our ground, and call on Jesus. Confronting Satan with God’s powerful truths strengthens our position, while diminishing the enemy’s.
Though the attacks attempt to overwhelm us, we attack with God’s Word. Whenever temptations, shame, guilt, or lies of the enemy threaten me, I attack with God’s Word. The enemy cringes at the Word for it’s a sword meant to defeat.
We’re in a battle and we need to bring it to the enemy: our faith as a shield, God’s Word as our sword, and trust in our Strong Shepherd.
John 10:10-12; 1 Peter 5:4; NIV
A Little More on Spiritual Warfare
My friend, Sarah Geringer, writes at Finding Peace in God’s Word has even more to say about spiritual warfare. Check out https://www.sarahgeringer.com/tactics-spiritual-battles/#more-8324
Book Review - WONDERSTRUCK: Awaken to the nearness of God by Margaret Feinberg
Powerful, personal stories re-ignite our curiosity and wonder for the Lord. WONDERSTRUCK directs the reader to experience God in new ways. The author creates fabulous imagery our minds and hearts can’t help to embrace. She reminds us intentional curiosity is a path awakening our soul to hear, see, and touch God at any moment.
NEWS and Notes
Here's what's going on at Hearts Encouraged! I'm in the process of creating weekly posts called "Heart Lifts" for a Hearts Encouraged Facebook Group I hope to start in January. The purpose of the group is to support one another with encouragement. Every day we're hit with negativity, disaster, and sadness. Whether we live it, or the media projects it into our lives, the constant flow erodes our hope and spiritual fervor. In Thessalonians, we are beckoned to encourage each other. Let's be encouragers and keep our cups full!
To further spread encouragement, I ask you pray for me as I embark on a journey to create a podcast for Hearts Encouraged. I work full-time as an oncology nurse with plenty of opportunity to encourage. But, more is needed. I believe God is calling me to podcasting and your prayers will mean much to keep me on track. Developing a podcast and working full-time will be challenging. Thank you for supporting me in prayer. I'll keep you informed as to the progress.
Please share your encouragement needs with our community in the comments or on the Hearts Encouraged FB Page. You can also contact me by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
God is for us,