Encouragement · mentoring ministry · podcast

A Podcast for Women!

The day is here! The Refresh Her podcast launched today! I finally got all most of the little technical details finished so that my podcast was ready to be uploaded. You can listen to the intro episode here. You do not have to log into Buzzsprout. When you click my link, look at the top paragraph that says, “Are you trying to listen to a podcast?” Then click, Listen Now.
This first recording is an introduction of who I am, and the burden I have for encouraging women via this podcast. I hope you’ll listen, and perhaps also share the launch episode with others.

Continue reading “A Podcast for Women!”
Conflict · Empty life · Encouragement

Go Pray

It was one of those epiphany moments. A keen understanding of an essential truth came to me while I was doing a calligraphy drawing on my pantry chalkboard. I had been heavy hearted and downcast regarding a situation and had been slugging my way through the day with it wrapped around my heart like a snake’s grasp on a bird. Then as I was writing the words,

Pray without ceasing.

the Spirit of God whispered to my heart, “Yes, Denise. You need to go pray.”

Earlier in the morning I had my quiet time with the Lord. I had read His Word and spent time in prayer, giving Him praise and also my burdens. Then this issue had cropped up and the quietness had dissipated. Filling its place was unrest and uneasiness. I felt anxious and irritable.

Up until this moment, I had stuffed that anxiety with scrolling Instagram and other futile minute-wasters. The result was only more emptiness.

Now at God’s prompting to obey this verse that I had carefully written on my board, I did just that. I went back to my quiet place – kneeling at chair in a room upstairs. I poured out my heart before God, asking for His intervention and help. I asked Him to help me appropriate the peace that is mine in Christ. Colossians 3:15 I rose from my knees with a peace that truly does pass human understanding.

How foolish it is of me not to return to that place of prayer often, if not physically, at least in my heart. It’s the only place where I’ll find rest. It certainly isn’t in found in my own thoughts or secular entertainment. It’s found in the presence of my Savior.

If your heart feels anxious, instead of stuffing it with a Netflix series, food, or social media, may I encourage you to go find a place to be alone with God and pour out your heart to Him? Why? Because He cares.

Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

I Peter 5:7

He can also do something about your situation! But He is waiting for you to ask.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

Matthew 7:7

Perhaps this blog post is your epiphany to “Go Pray!” God loves you enough to invite you to bring your burdens to Him, then to listen to you when you do.

Now, Go Pray.

Encouragement · Pastor

Encouraging Your Pastor

When you think of your energy level on Sunday evening after a day of being in God’s house, where would you rank it? A 2 or 3? Yeah, It thought so. There’s a good reason for that, and its has to do with more than wrestling the patent leather shoes onto a three year-old.  

Every Sunday when you get yourself (and perhaps your family) ready and head out the door to worship, you are doing battle – a spiritual one. Satan doesn’t want you there where you’ll hear the Word of God. He doesn’t want your marriage strengthened and your children in a place where they’ll be taught Truth from the Bible, and so he fights us. Attitudes get out of whack, you fight to concentrate on the messages, your children are the crankiest on that day. By the end of the Sunday services, we’ve done real battle with the enemy  – and it’s exhausting!

If the believer in the pew is fighting a spiritual battle, imagine what your pastor is facing as he endeavors to stand in the pulpit and preach the Word of God! He sees people nodding off, passing notes, flipping through their phones, or looking uninterested, and the devil plants seeds of discouragement in him. He fights with just wanting to sit down and quit. He struggles to remember passages of Scripture or the next illustration. The power point is almost sure to fail during his most important point – even though he spent much time and effort putting it together to aid the preaching of the Word.

It’s for all these reasons and many more that every pastor desperately needs the prayer of the saints. I’ve made a list of some of my favorite passages of Scripture to pray for my husband or whoever will be in the pulpit at our church. Here are the verses I like to pray, with a brief description:

II Thessalonians 1:11,12 – For God to make him worthy of his calling to preach.

I Timothy 1:12 – Thankful for the calling to the ministry.

II Timothy 2:7 – That he might have understanding.

II Timothy 2:9b – That he might remember that the Word of God is not bound.

Titus 1:3 –  That he would remember that the Word of God is manifested through preaching.

Ephesians 6:19, 20 – That utterance would be given to him and he would preach with boldness.

II Corinthians 4:1-6 – That he would preach the Word with sincerity and to magnify Christ.

Colossians 1:9-14 – That he would walk worthy of the Lord.

After you spend some time praying through some passages of Scripture for your pastor, why not write him a note or send a text and let him know that you’ve prayed specifically for his preaching? It’s sure to refresh him and encourage him as he heads to the pulpit to deliver God’s Word.

Will you pray for your pastor and then let him know?

Refresh your pastor,

Encouragement · Hope

One Word Can Change Everything

Benign.

Innocent.

Passed.

Completed.

Free!

Think of the scenarios in which those words would make all the difference in a person’s day! They would mean…
No Cancer!
You were found not guilty!
You can graduate!
The last of the hard project is over!
The prisoner is no longer captive!

One word can, indeed make all the difference in a day.

As I recently read through the Book of John, I was struck by this thought as I heard Jesus say one word that would change everything for Mary. Remember that she is the first one to the tomb after Jesus’ death. She found the stone rolled away and then seeing a man, she assumed he was the gardener. Then He called her name,

Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

Mary went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and that He had spoken to her. In my mind’s eye, I see her joy, I hear her amazement and relief! She was no longer weeping! Hearing Him say her name had changed everything for her with just a single word.

Is your heart heavy today? There is so much going on around us to cause grief in our heart, but we can have the same experience that Mary had; we can get alone with the Lord, open His Word and allow Him to speak a single word to us to give us joy and remove our tears.

Forgiven!

Hope!

Loved!

Rapture!

Heaven!

Mary was encouraged because she went looking for Jesus on that early Resurrection morning. We, too, must “go looking for Jesus” as we open the pages of His Word. Then we will find comfort and then everything will be changed when He gives us the Word that we need to hear.

What word has the Lord given you today that has filled your heart with hope again, even in the midst of heartache?

Refresh your heart with One Word from the Lord!

Encouragement · God's Presence

I Will Look Up

Some years ago I had the blessing of visiting Spain. One sight I saw many times in the countryside were shepherds walking with their sheep. It was the typical picture I’d seen only in paintings – the sheep all herded together, baa-ing and bleating, while the shepherd walked, a bit stooped over as he cared for them and guided them. The shepherd bends over so the sheep can look up.

It’s so easy for us to let the cares that surround us cause our hearts and heads to be bowed down, isn’t it? All we have to say is 2020, and everyone nods. We get it. This hard year has often caused my own heart and head to be bowed down. Just this week I’ve heard of these hard things…

  • Emergency appendectomy
  • Reconstructive surgery following cancer
  • Covid outbreaks
  • Cancellations of long-awaited plans
  • People who are isolated and lonely
  • Stressed-out mom, worn down emotionally

But wait, little sheep! We have a Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Who carefully watches over us. He bends His ear to our cries and He reaches out to guide and comfort us in our heartache. Proverbs 2:8 reminds us that He preserves the paths of His saints. The Lord IS shepherding us, but we have a responsibility. We find it in Psalm 121 ~

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

Did you catch it in verse one? I will – This signifies that the psalmist makes a choice of his will (a volitional choice) to look up to God. How often when faced with a test, trial or affliction, I choose to look down in self-pity or around at adverse circumstances, rather than gazing upward to my Omnipotent Father!

This also indicates that the psalmists recognizes that man continually stands in need of and dependence on the Lord’s help. He waits — he expects — he obtains. The truest vision is soul-vision. Looking up in contemplation, expectation. He looks “Up,” from the mud and mire of earth, and the sins and sorrows of self.

What “mud pit” are you looking up from today? Sickness? Disappointment? Loss? Grief? Sin? Hardship? We each need to have a little personal dialogue like the psalmist had and say, “I Will Look Up!” This isn’t just some kind of psycho babble…this is based on doctrine…on His Word here in Psalm 121. He is your keeper. He will preserve (keep) your going out and coming in. Our Shepherd is bent over us. That means we can look up to Him! He will care for us, provide for us and lead us home.

When the out -look is bleak

Remember the up -look.

The Good Shepherd is the One who made those hills, and He hasn’t forgotten you! Look up!