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When Ministry Begins With a Simple Mug

A Cup of EncouragementIt needed a creative title. Or so I thought until this verse came to mind.

“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today…” Hebrews 13:3

Suddenly, having a carefully crafted title for this mini-ministry involving mugs didn’t matter all that much.

Because at every turn, we find people in need of encouragement.

So, how do we become more intentional in observing those around us who are in need of spiritual refreshment? Here are four ideas to get us started.

Pray. We can’t be everything to every person {Whew! What a relief!} but we can pray for the Holy Spirit to expand our spiritual vision and sharpen our discerning senses.

Watch. It’s one thing to pray for the Holy Spirit to open our eyes but it’s another to remain alert to His workings. When we pray, we’re to do so in expectation that He will answer. We don’t know how or when, but why bother praying if we’re not going to believe He is at work in and through those prayers? Yes, we pray first, but then we remain alert⎯sensitive⎯to what God may doing around us each day.

Listen. We must spiritually-hone our listening skills. This may will mean talking less and listening more.

Act. As God leads, we must be willing to follow through with what He begins, whether that’s approaching a person letting them know we’re praying for them, fixing a meal for a busy mom, or simply sharing a mug filled with prayer and encouragement.

So, for the past several weeks, snippets of an idea have been forming into what I’m sharing today. I pray it will continue becoming whatever God wants it to be, but so far, it goes something like this.

   blogpurchasemug
Purchase a mug. TJ Maxx and Ross offer an array of mugs, all under 5.00 each. Ideally, I try to spot one with scripture as we know God’s Word never returns void. He alone knows how His words brimming with life will touch another.

blogpraymug

Pray over it. Who might God want to encourage through this small gesture of caring? Pray, trust, and act.

blogfillmug

Fill it. Two things will be included in my mugs. A note letting the recipient know I’m praying for them, along with a specific scripture reference, and an inexpensive but thoughtful treat to enjoy during their time with God. Practically anything can be shared in the mug {more on this next week!}. One of my mugs is filled with tea bags and another one, Hershey kisses. {Next week I’ll share ways to tie simple items to scripture.}

blogsharemugShare it. You can hand it to the person, leave it on their doorstep, or mail it. In the past, I’ve left gifts on friend’s front door stoops with a gift signed simply from Jesus, because ultimately, the glory is all His anyway for it is His love that compels us to love in return.

blogpassitonEncourage the recipient to purchase another mug and pass that mug on to another person. This could be written on the card that you’ll enclose, or you can share the idea when you hand it off.

Consider how many people in our community could be encouraged by a simple mug and a sincere gesture.

Ministry in a mugThe author of Hebrews exhorts us to encourage one another daily because he knew the weight of this world would beat heavy on our exhausted souls.

The sooner we stop believing the lie that we must offer some grand gesture to make a difference, the sooner more souls will find rest⎯the kind of rest a good, good Father desires for His children.

Cou●rage: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.

So, who do you know, or who will you cross paths with this week, that is need of mental or moral strength to be the spouse, parent, son, daughter, friend, or fellow God-glory seeker He has called them to be? They might need a hug, financial assistance, babysitting help, or they might simply need encouragement in the form of a Psalm 46:10 moment, with mug in hand.

What’s one simple way you encourage others?

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Love It or List It? Let’s See!

by Cathy Baker @cathysbaker

A favorite HGTV show (after Fixer Upper, of course) is Love It or List It.

The premise of the show? One spouse wants to stay put in their current home {LOVE IT} and the other wants to sell it {LIST IT}.

One host, David Visentin, tries to help their decision making process by showing the couple new homes. The other host, Hilary Farr, does her part by fixing up their home to the point in which they can’t help but choose to LOVE their home by the end of the show.

In recent months, Brian and I have experienced a little reality ourselves, minus the co-hosts. Truth is, we love our old house. We remodeled it a bit and the location is certainly prime for city dwellers, but sometimes there’s a tug on the heart that simply can’t be denied.
It’s that undeniable tugging in the spirit that says maybe…just maybe, God has a bigger and better plan.
I’ll share more about this tugging and how it’s playing out in next month’s posts {beginning this Wednesday!} when we focus on the subject of change, and how it can be a beautiful thing, even for us creatures of habit.
Whatever is decided with our old house, neither of the two banter-loving co-hosts of Love It or List It will be involved. Only one Host will lead and guide in our decision making process. And one thing’s for sure⎯when God is leading, it’s always an adventure, right?
I hope you enjoyed this month of L-O-V-E as much as I have. I pray others were blessed as we loved with the kind of love that far surpasses one day on a calendar. 🙂
One more thing! This is the last day to enter the Herbal Rose Tea Giveaway {See below}.

 

If you’ve not tasted Herbal Rose Tea, you’re in for a treat!
Imagine sipping tea in a rose garden. {No fancy gloves required!} This is one of my all-time favorite teas, so I had to share a canister with my peeps in this month’s giveaway.
To enter, simply leave a comment on today’s post sharing your favorite flavor of tea, or ways I can pray for you, or both.
{I’m assuming you’re a tea drinker if you’ve read this far.} This
Wednesday, March 2, I’ll announce the winner of the random drawing done
via Random Name Picker.
Thank you and good luck!

NEW February Series – All Things Love and Who Won the Journal?

by Cathy Baker  @cathysbaker

Welcome! This month we’re talking about all things love.

Last week, our area experienced a dusting of snow. Enough to brighten the spirit but not enough to make snow cream. Still, it made for an interesting backdrop for an idea I’d had since purchasing this heart-shaped chalkboard at Target a few weeks ago.

In a snap, I handed Brian chalk for writing the series title on the board while I grabbed my sweater, scarf, and brand new camera (thanks to my awesome hubster!)

After returning from our photo excursion we couldn’t wait to upload the pics. Being the perfectionists that we are, the first thing we noticed was the erasure mark around the top of the “L”. For a moment, we considered pulling out the sweaters and camera to run outdoors for a redo… but something within whispered,

“Isn’t that the real meaning of love? Embracing our imperfections and those of others?

Funny how that works. I have no problem admiring blue Mason jars with crusty lids or drinking tea from a cup with a few tea stains dappled here and there. Yet, sometimes I miss the beauty found in loving those, who like myself, have crusty edges if something doesn’t go as expected. Or those who’ve been stained by past choices, circumstances, fears and such. {Yes, we are clean in Christ, but consequences can often linger a little longer. Sometimes, a lifetime. Trust me.}

I don’t know about you but I was raised not to focus on myself — to put others first. I’m thankful for it, but when it comes to love⎯real love⎯we must look at ourselves first because if we’re confident in God’s love despite our own crusty edges and permeated stains, then we are empowered by a Love greater than we comprehend to extend that same real love to others…even when it gets messy.

 

This month we’ll focus on the subject of love in all kinds of ways. Beginning with this Wednesday’s post. When I thought of ways we could love our neighbors and community well with the love of Christ, Kim Steele Rhodes immediately came to mind. Join us as she shares how her family celebrates Val Day. You do not want to miss this!

Before we close out, congrats to Lori! You won the Dayspring journal that I secretly wanted to keep. Please message me via Facebook with your mailing address.  

 

Re-Booting Our Quiet Time in 2016

by Cathy Baker
It is of no use for you to attempt to sow out of an empty basket, for that would be sowing nothing but the wind. -Spurgeon

I’ve attempted to sow from an empty basket for longer than I ever imagined possible. One day turned into two, and those melted into three, then four.

Maybe you can relate?

His voice slips into the background of our days. That is, until we need to hear from Him the most, and it’s then, in that quiet moment, we realize just how empty our basket really is—void of His power, strength, and wisdom.

“Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it.”

Perhaps I’m not the only one in need of a fresh start when it comes to spending time with God.

If not, I invite you to join me in asking God for a teachable spirit as we spend this month immersing ourselves in learning (or re-learning?) what it means to be still and know that He is God.

After all, if we keep doing what we’re doing, we’re going to keep getting what we’re getting.

Not sure about you, but I don’t want to settle for anything less than God’s best for me. Too often in 2015 I went to gather encouragement, soul-keeping rest, and love for the unlovely from my basket only to come up empty. I was spent, discouraged, and distracted.

While we can’t do anything to make God love us more (or less), we can draw near to Him through His Word, in prayer, and simply being still in recognition of who He is.

His nearness fills the emptiest of baskets.

Hope you’ll join me this month as we’ll peek into the quiet times of some of my dearest and most Father-loving friends every Monday. On Wednesdays, we’ll consider additional ideas to spur on our time with the Father.

Welcome to the January series, Drawing Near to God. It is a blessing to have you here.

 

 

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