New Coaching Group: ENCOURAGEMENT

Encouragment Crabb Book

en·cour·age

 verb \in-ˈkər-ij, -ˈkə-rij, en-\

: to make (someone) more determined, hopeful, or confident

: to make (something) more appealing or more likely to happen

: to make (someone) more likely to do something : to tell or advise (someone) to do something

a :  to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope :  hearten <she was encouraged to continue by her early success>

b :  to attempt to persuade :  urge <they encouraged him to go back to school>

2 :  to spur on :  stimulate <warm weather encourages plant growth>

3:  to give help or patronage to :  foster <government grants designed to encourage conservation>

Who doesn’t need some “encouragement”? We are living in tough times and no one is immune from some kind of personal or family challenges. So let’s build one another up with comfort, support and well chosen words. As we encourage we will receive blessings and powerful benefits. Let’s join together for a deeper fellowship as we search the Scriptures and apply the principles provided in this excellent resource. 

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:23-25 (NIV)

We will share more as we move forward in our focus on ENCOURAGEMENT

Carol church announcementHappy Birthday Ron!

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Soul Care

Soul Care: Knowing Who You Are It is well with my soul care[Part I]
I’ve been a victim of identity theft several times in my life. Each time varied from petty theft of stolen checks and debit card information to a former tenant taking my name for her financial gain. At the time these incidents were stressful but in the bigger scheme they were nuisances—we lost some money and spent time in court. But the real identity theft occurred by abusers who stole my innocence, messed with my mind, beat me and raped my soul. I will spare the details but I became a repeat victim unable to stand up for myself.
Soul Care is vital for us to live a good life. There are tough dark times when we seem to barely survive. Then the good times come and we thrive. But there are so many ups and downs with variations of good and bad in our relationships. It hurts to love and it hurts not to love. We are created to love and be loved…but sometimes it is hard to trust.
1. Soul Care begins with knowing you are loved.
God pursues us…this is the good news. We love because He first loved us. I had a very hard time believing this…in my victim mind I couldn’t reconcile a loving God with abusive relationships. I couldn’t trust anymore yet I was still willing to risk loving. Thankfully God didn’t stop pursuing me and I was finally able to embrace His love.
Soul care is really listening to God as He repeatedly tells us to love ourselves. * Jesus said if you love me you will keep my commandments. He also said the greatest commandment is to love God and then to love others as you love yourselves—with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.
Clearly the essence of God’s character is love. Obedience is the best response to God‘s love. Let’s agree it is good for your soul to love. It is totally great to be loved.
The Bible is filled with examples of God’s far reaching love for us. God is active in His pursuit. He will never let go, never leave you nor forsake you. He will heal our broken hearts and crushed spirits.
One of the worst consequences of being abused was the deep inner soul damage. I could heal physically. I sought help but the scars remain. I failed miserably at caring for myself. I had no boundaries. I became highly sensitive and didn’t stand up for myself. To avoid conflict I became a people pleaser and strived to keep peace at any cost.
I determined there are people you can never trust. First I found real love, inner peace and joy in Jesus. I know I can trust my soul with God. God pursued me and restored my ability to trust and love. I learned through trials, suffering and grief but my love is fuller and richer.
When I opened myself to really receive God I got to know Him. We share a deep abiding relationship. God’s Word teaches me how to love.
I now know that soul care is not … selfish; it is not about being self-absorbed or self-indulgent.
Soul care is compassionate intelligence. When we care for ourselves we make better choices for healthy living and wellness. When you truly love and nurture yourself you can be your best.
2. Soul Care is cherishing who you are— You are His special treasure.
 We are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), and formed by God’s hands and breath (Genesis 2:7),
 We are accepted and loved. We are redeemed by His one and only Son (Matthew 26:28)
We are adopted into His family…precious daughters of the KING.
 We are secure in His love and our relationship with Jesus Christ.
 We can trust that God will work all things for our good. (Romans 8:28)
 We are free from condemnation. (Romans 8:31-39)
 We are God’s Masterpiece. (Ephesians 2:10)

3. Soul Care is about fully recognizing our value and His special calling.
Think with me of all that God has done to bring you to this very moment in your life. God, in eternity past, chose you…He loves you!
The Bible says that long ago, before the very foundation of the world, God thought you up and chose you for his very own (Eph 1:4).
Long ago, before you were even born, God formed and numbered the days of your life (Ps 139:16).
Long ago God planned the path for your very own personal journey in life (Heb 12:1).
Long ago God decided and prepared good works that you would walk in (Eph 2:10).
 You are chosen and very significant in God’s creation. (John 15)
 You are God’s workmanship—His masterpiece created for good works. (Ephesians 3:12)
 You can be confident that God will complete the good work He started in you. (Philippians 1:6)
 You are complete in Christ. (Colossians 2:10)
He brought you forth into His world and set you on this life journey toward heaven.
Stay focused on the big picture of God’s eternal purposes.
Your calling as a woman–deeply involved in ministry
is a vital part of God’s eternal plan.

I am thankful God pursued me and drew me close to His heart. I am grateful God healed my wounded heart. God gave me a new identity. I am free to love and it is worth any risks. Only God’s love can complete us. Only God’s grace can change us.
May you experience the depth of His love
& truly love yourself as God loves you!
***
“And you shall LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD
With all your HEART,
And with all your SOUL,
And with all your MIND,
And with all your STRENGTH.’

The second is this, ‘You shall LOVE your neighbor as you LOVE yourself.”

There is no other commandment greater than these.“

Matthew 22:37-39; Mark 12:29-31; Luke 10:28 & John 13-14-15; 1 John
Deuteronomy 6:5; 10:12; 11:13; 13:2; Joshua 22:5

The Power of ONE Word Reminders

Persevere YW MtPERSEVERE.

What do you need most in your life right now? It is a question I ask myself and my clients often. Do you want to be healthier? Is your biggest challenge with a relationship within your family or at work? For whatever reason, I’ve been confronted several times this week with conflicts—from people’s expectations to struggling with trying to please people to my own detriment.

Several months ago I gave my small group a challenge to persevere as we experimented with a new coaching process I developed called “Simplify to Satisfy*.” The inspiration was from Hebrews 10. Little did I realize at the time how much I needed to pay attention to the WORD to persevere…

Every December, I seek the Lord for a guiding life verse for the New Year. I ask God for “ONE WORD*” as a theme for the new season. I’ve been memorizing Bible promises for over 35 years but along the way I began focusing on ONE WORD with Scriptures to bless me with what I need most from God. This year God led me to James 1:2-4, 12: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Aha! This verse gripped me because last year my ONE WORD focus was completion with the Bible promise from Philippians 1:6: “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

But wait a minute, I definitely want more joy in my life but I don’t want any more trials– enduring suffering has been a life long past time. Enough is enough! I would prefer to focus on “joy” and experience “love sweet love.” As I searched the Scriptures and prayed it became very clear that the answer to what I needed most was to persevere.

To persevere in my relationships…yes I value my FAMILY & friends.
To persevere in my work…yes I enjoy coaching, teaching and ministries.
To persevere in my writing…yes I want to complete several projects.
To persevere in my growth…yes I want God to develop my character.
Oh yes, I desire to lack in nothing and be complete in Christ!

The hardest part of character refinement is the chiseling brought on by fiery trials with people—especially those you love and trust. The WORD tells me it is a work that will continue until the day Christ Jesus returns. The WORD reminds me to remain steadfast, as I persevere in faith.

So this week was no different…there was relief from pain, there were unexpected problems and there was peace in spite of criticism. There is deep abiding joy as I am a work in progress with many unfinished projects.

God knows our situation; He will not judge us as if we had no difficulties to overcome. What matters is the sincerity and perseverance of our will to overcome them. We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive. What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step. C.S. Lewis

“Blessed is the person who remains steadfast and perseveres under trial, for when she has stood the test she will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12

If you would like more information about the ONE WORD process or Simplify 2 Satisfy send me an e-mail: caroljsmith12@gmail.com or connect by Facebook

Although I write daily either by prayer journaling, preparing sermons or coaching workshops as well as all the little communications via text/e-mail—it is not enough. I am compelled to consistently share some WORD of encouragement. Today I am striving to complete my simple monthly goal to blog. Right now I am determined to complete this blog as it is the 12th day of the month. I’ve started it several times, changed my mind on the topic, edited and deleted numerous times. So here goes…this is ONE WORD for the answer to what I need most. 2-12-16

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Focus: Trust

     My Reckless Abandonment – Part I

“What she trusts in is fragile, what she relies on is a spider’s web.
She leans on his web, but it gives away, she clings to it, but it does not hold.”

This verse aptly describes my formative years as the continuous strands of abuse, betrayal and abandonment formed my web of destruction. A spiral of sticky naïve ignorance kept me from making good choices and blinded me of my true worth. The venom caused painful symptoms in my mind and body; but fortunately it was not so dangerous to take my life. Although my past web has been abandoned the cobweb scars linger…so I learned to trust and found healing in a loving God.

My first twelve years I did what I was told; the next twelve years I did life my way! I was rebellious against every person who broke my trust especially my abusive addictive parents. My father was a raging alcoholic and my mother’s drug of choice were “Black Beauties” (the Rx for weight loss). I hated the agony and abuse they inflicted upon themselves and their six children. Since they abandoned me, I chose to leave the chaos and foolishly continued the destructive ways enlarging my own web of destruction.
I began a pattern of relocating and seeking love in all the wrong places. I preferred older men of influence: someone who would provide a way of escape. I settled for the “bad boys” choosing drug dealers who numbed my pain; then I switched to incredibly wealthy selfish men in Palm Beach. Next I sought the educated and dated successful business men, my community college professor, my Real Estate Instructor and Amway leaders. I eventually turned away my doctor, Willie Nelson’s drummer and even Jimmy Buffet. The reality was none of them proved to be trustworthy of my love.
My choices minimized my value and filled me with shame, guilt and sorrow. I added more addictive traits to my web portfolio. I knew it was time for another escape and relocation. I became a seeker replacing my self-destructive choices for a new spiritual journey. First I experimented with new age, meditation, yoga, Hinduism and Scientology. I was open to invitations so I attended Baptist, Episcopalian, Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and Seventh-day Adventist churches.
God seemed so distant, so far away and mysterious. I could not comprehend a loving Father nor could I understand His ways. To begin life, unwanted and abandoned is incomprehensible. To experience repeated abuse, abandonment and rejection over and over again creates deep wounds. I did not want to live my life as a victim. At 23, I was exhausted, wounded and ready to give up. I didn’t trust anyone especially myself and definitely not God. It was difficult to be unable to trust, so isolating without someone to love and so awful not to be loved.

I finally found hope in Jesus Christ. I fell deeply in love with God and found my first really satisfying relationship. I began a new journey of intentional abandonment to a loving Sovereign Lord. I learned how to experience absolute trust even in suffering, in spite of circumstances, even in the face of death, beyond my fears for genuine unfailing love.

A prayer of abandonment and trust in God:

“Dear Father-God, Open my heart that I may receive your love. Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may abandon my selfish and destructive ways. Forgive me and help me to graciously forgive. Lord, create in me a new heart, renew my mind and restore my soul. Guide me in your everlasting truth, grant me wisdom, and set me free in your grace. I believe and trust in You. I love You with all my heart, mind and soul. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

My next post will be how I learned to trust again and how to practice complete abandonment  to God and His divine providence.

A few of my favorite TRUST Scriptures:

“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…” Proverbs 3:5

“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.” Psalm 13:5

“In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?” Psalm 56:4

“Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture” Psalm 37:3

[1] Job 8:14-15 The first quote was actually a false accusation from one of Job’s friends Bildad, whose name means ‘son of contention.”

2012 Transforming Focus

Every year I ask God for a special “Rhema” which is an inspirational WORD to guide my choices and direction for the coming days. This year I couldn’t identify one verse so I was impressed to choose 12 Scriptures for 2012…some are special verses from past seasons, all relevant to my life journey and so very applicable to my present-future. Take time to pray, search God’s Word and let Him speak His special Rhema to you this season…share it and see how He continues to develop, enfold and shape your life.

I don’t like resolutions when they don’t come to completion…good intentions are not enough.  Whatever your next steps… my prayer is “we stay on God’s course.” BE focused and follow through for action and transformation!

If you already made some resolutions—good we hope they are going well. There may be some that have already gone by the wayside. Don’t give up, never give up, keep moving forward. Stay the course, remember your direction determines your destination!

It is not about perfection, rather process and progression. If you miss your target get right back to it and results will happen. Remember if don’t try at all you will never reach your goal. The way, the truth and life is found in abiding in His presence.

So where is God leading you? Are you willing to go the distance with Him? What or who motivates you? Do you have enough support or help to achieve the goals that are most meaningful to you? What will be your reward when you achieve these goals? Can you see yourself at the “finish line” having achieved some of these goals? Are you smiling, exclaiming, proclaiming & PRAISING?

 2012 Transforming Focus

Stay on course, keeping your focus on God and His life-map for abundant living.

1. Focus: Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:22 NLT

2.  Focus: “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:4-6 NKJV

3.  Focus: “My grace is sufficient; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks.  I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become. 2 Corinthians 12:6-8

4.  Focus: May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:5-7; 13

5.  Focus: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-8

6.  Focus: “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. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:11-12

7.  Focus: “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 1 John 5:1 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16

8.  Focus: “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18 NIV

9.  Focus: “You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him. Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set…” Psalm 119:1-3 The Message

10. Focus: “So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.” Philippians 3:14-16 The Message

11.  Focus: “God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. Now he who supplies seed to the sower …will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”  2 Corinthians 9:11-15

12. Focus: “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned…Then the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9

Living Water

“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water. For Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” John 4:10; John 7:37-39

Ways to Experience God

Overflowing Grace

Open your heart and let His abundant grace overflow into your soul.  There is nothing like a connection with God in nature. Breathe in His presence and enjoy! Look up and experience His creative power…abundantly overflowing for us. Some times we have to get away and be in awe of His creative beauty. It is both peaceful and powerful to embrace Him. God gives us so many good gifts, Lord help us to receive.

These are a series of waterfalls in the Columbia Gorge along Historic Highway 30 in Oregon. Can you name the different waterfalls? Could it be Bridal Veil Falls or Horsetail Falls?

It took us thirty years to return to the Multanomah Falls bridge, where my husband proposed during the summer of 1980. Ah, so much life in between. We met in Tennessee and after over 25 moves we made it back to Oregon. It was good to go back to celebrate our special memory of our commitment to love.  Our love endures because we continually seek God’s love, grace, forgiveness, patience and presence. We spend more time apart in the daily survival of work but we cherish the moments of quality. We nurture our time together as we find pleasure in nature: walking in the woods, along the ocean shore or high in the mountains. Love is being together.

God calls us to come away and be with Him, wherever we are, just as we are. Yes, I want to choose moments with God in nature in some way every day.  Most of the time we spend quality time within my home. It doesn’t really matter where. He wants us to experience spiritual wellbeing by being with Him in a relationship—the joy of sharing in His presence.

Breathe in the fresh mist and pure air of His Spirit. It is His desire to be with you…rest in His presence and experience God throughout your day. Receive His blessings of peace, joy and love right now.

Pause for a moment, just be still and soak in His love:

“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in  him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:16-19

Reflection: God reveals Himself in many ways; have you seen His works in your life and around you?  Write how has God blessed you today…

Prayer: Seek God, He is waiting. Speak to God, He hears. Prayer is “talking to a friend” in conversation. Lord I want to connect; I want more than talk, I want to hear you and receive you in my whole being.

Feel free to share your prayer requests on our prayer link.