28 March 2011

Spring Cleaning (of our Soul)

“Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection,
not in books alone, but in every leaf in spring-time.”
- Martin Luther

The winter months are finally long gone and the first signs of spring are beginning to appear. It’s actually been officially “spring” for one week now and I was thinking about how that might relate to our peace-journey.

Everything outside is beginning to bloom, birds are singing and there is a freshness in the air. We want to bring that freshness indoors so our “Spring Cleaning” projects begin. We vow to clean and organize our homes beyond our regular weekly chores, in order to prepare for the changes that will occur once the nice weather is here to stay. We anticipate doing more entertaining, having out-of-town guests come for a visit, or having our homes inundated with kids who are enjoying their spring and summer breaks. Whatever the reasons... spring cleaning is a necessity.

As our spring cleaning begins, we also continue on our journey to seek God’s peace. So, we are reminded that “God is not a God of disorder but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33). We need to get rid of the broken, unused and unfixable. We need to un-clutter and gather donations for garage sales and thrift shop. Maybe it’s even time for us to freshen up our spiritual houses.

1 Corinthians 6:19 tells us “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” We may need to take a spiritual inventory, and the change of seasons is the perfect time to do this. Have we been as committed or disciplined as we’ve wanted to be? The good news is that it is not too late to get back on the right path. Just wash away those obstacles. Are our words, thoughts and actions pleasing to the Lord, or are they a little dusty? Not to worry, get out the mop and sweep away those little dust bunny temptations. What is in our spiritual closets? Have we locked the doors and hidden the key? No problem, God has the “pass key” to all of our rooms, included the doors in our hearts. And He already knows the junk we have hidden in the closets.

When we clean our home it takes time and lots of supplies such as cleansers, mops, buckets, trash bags, and much more. But when we do our spiritual clean-up, we only need one thing.... God’s Word.

Here are some cleaning supplies (scripture verses) that might help make spring cleaning easier:

"Create in me a clean heart, O God;
and renew a right spirit within me."
- Psalm 51:10 (NIV)

“Finally, my friends keep your minds on whatever is true, pure,
right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don't ever stop thinking
about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise.”
- Philippians 4:8 (CEV)

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." - 1 John 1:9 (NIV)

“Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house.
Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another
using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God!
Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done
in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every
step of the way.” – Colossians 3:16-17 (The Message)

“For He Himself is our peace.” – Ephesians 2:14

I remember when I was a young girl and my mom would tell me to clean my room. I would grumble and procrastinate, but when the job was done I remember the great feeling of accomplishment that came over me. I also remember seeing the smile on my mom’s face. I can’t help but think that as I attempt to do some spiritual spring cleaning, I will experience the same sense of accomplishment and just maybe, God will be looking down on me and smiling.

Have a blessed week, and happy spring cleaning!
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

“Peace is always beautiful.” – Walt Whitman

25 March 2011

Prayers: Short, Simple & Sweet

“For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” - Matthew 7:8

Prayer is an essential part of a Christian’s faith journey.... it is not an option. The Bible gives us so much insight in to prayer, after all Jesus was the best example of all. His life shows us not only how he prayed, but where he went to pray, when he prayed, and for whom he prayed. In Matthew 6:5-7, Jesus even tells us how not to pray...

Verse 5: We are told not to pray like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners just to be seen and heard.
Verse 6: Jesus asks us to go to a private place since our Heavenly Father already knows what we are going to pray about.
Verse 7: Jesus tells us not to babble on and on, but to be specific in our petitions. It’s not the number or the enormity of our words.
Verse 8: We are once again reminded not to pray like heathens.

If we continue reading in Matthew, verses 9-14 give us the best guidance when it comes to prayer.... the words of the Lord’s Prayer.

When I think about my prayer life, I am constantly asking myself the following 4 questions:

Do my prayers honor God?
Do I pray for the needs of others (blessings and encouragement)?
Do my personal prayers include asking for wisdom and direction rather than a list of “wants”?
Do I really trust Him to answer my prayers?

If you’re like me, I like to pray in a variety of different ways. Sometimes my prayers are in the stillness of the late evening, or in my car on my way to work, or “chats” during the day as opportunities or thoughts arise. Prayer is and should be a personal experience with God, so there is not one specific time, place or style for everyone. The important thing is that we use our prayer time as a daily communication, a time to both speak and listen to God. Think about the person that you are closest to in the whole world.... what would happen if you forgot to talk to them for long periods of time, or if you only chatted when you needed something, or if the conversation was always one sided? Now, think about your prayer life.... is your communication with God.... consistent or sporadic, fresh or boring, balanced between speaking and listening, or very one-sided?

It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle... action required... Below are three “types” of prayers that might offer some new prayer opportunities that may affect you, your family and your community.

V Short: Breath Prayers.... a great way to communicate all day long

The name "Breath Prayer" draws its origin from the words for breath and Sprit which are very similar in the biblical languages. In Romans 8:26-27 the Bible tells us, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God."

Breath Prayers use daily experiences to prompt simple prayers spoken in one breath. A few words, relaxed and spontaneous.... whispered to God throughout the busy-ness of our day. Matthew 18:3 tells us to pray with the heart of little children - simple, reverent, specific, and trusting. Here are some examples of Breath Prayers.... breathe in, now breathe out saying:

Give me patience, Jesus
Forgive me Lord
Thank you for this day
Make me a blessing
Protect me from temptation
You are my hope, Lord
Give me a willing heart
Take away my shame
Make me a better friend
Be my rock, God
Teach me your way
I give all my cares to you, Lord

V Simple: Five Finger Prayer.... an easy way to teach a child to pray

In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, the Bible says pray without ceasing, but what should we pray for? Sometimes it’s hard to remember everyone on our prayer list, so just hold up your hand and start praying. Use each finger as a reminder for a specific prayer request.

1. Your thumb is nearest to you. Begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you. They are the easiest to remember.
2. The next finger is the pointing finger. Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal. This includes teachers, pastors, and doctors. They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction.
3. The next finger is the middle finger, which is the tallest. It reminds us of our leaders. Pray for the president, leaders in business, industry, and community. These people shape our nation and guide public opinion. They need God’s guidance.
4. The fourth finger is our ring finger. Did you know that this is our weakest finger? It should remind us to pray for those who are weak, in trouble or in pain. They need your prayers day and night.
5. Lastly is our little finger, the smallest finger of all, which is where we should place ourselves in relation to God and others. Your pinky should remind you to pray for yourself. By the time you have prayed for the other four groups, your needs will be put into proper perspective and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.

V Sweet: Jellybean Prayer.... a great evangelism tool

Psalm 34:8 tells us to “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” Type up the Jellybean Prayer shown below, and put it in a small baggie with one jellybean of each color. Hand them out and share the message of the Good News. Great family project!

Red is for the blood He shed.
Green is for the grass He made.
Yellow is for the sun so bright.
Orange is for the edge of night.
Black is for the sins we made.
White is for the grace He gave.
Purple is for our hour of sorrow.
Pink is for our new tomorrow.

Everything we do should have a foundation of prayer. By doing so, we recognize God for who He is and give Him all glory and honor. Jesus constantly went to God in prayer to seek God’s will and direction, to ask for courage and strength in order to resist sin and temptation. He offered thanks and prayed for others.... How can we possibly think we should do any less?

May your weekend be filled with prayerful moments and God’s Peace...
Chillin’ in His Grace, Donna Weaver

“We must alter our lives in order to alter our hearts,
for it is impossible to live one way and pray another.”
- William Law

21 March 2011

Easter Eggs and Holy Boldness

“The story of Easter is the story of God's
wonderful window of divine surprise.” - Carl Knudsen

Easter is one of those times for me that brings back such fun childhood memories. We have seven kids in our family and when we were growing up, we loved to color eggs. There was lots of laughter and creativity, and when we were finished we looked as colorful as our eggs. The result was baskets loaded full of eggs of every color of the rainbow. One of my favorite parts of the process was writing on an egg with a white crayon and then dipping the egg in coloring so the words would magically appear. I always let my eggs soak extra long so that the colors ended up being very bold, but some of my brothers and sisters preferred to make theirs pastel colors.  Thank God for individuality.... the results were so beautiful!

A few weeks ago I wrote about Lent being a time of preparation... not only for Easter but for the fulfillment of God’s promises. The first step in my Lenten journey began with some questions of “Self Reflection.” As I have been examining the changes that I have been working on this year, I praise God that I am not in the same place I started, but also thank Him for opening my eyes to the areas where I still need work.

The second step in my journey of preparation has been my “Prayer Life.”  Second Corinthians 13:5 tells us to “Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don't drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it.” What I know for sure is that God is faithful to hear my prayers. I also understand that the purpose of prayer should go beyond my own personal daily struggles.

As I was thinking back to our family baskets of Easter eggs, the words “Holy Boldness” came to mind. David Wilkerson, founder of World Challenge Inc., had this to say about Holy Boldness, “The more someone is with Jesus, the more that person becomes like Christ, in purity, holiness and love. In turn, his pure walk produces in him a great boldness for God.”

Just as I chose bold colors for my eggs, I am reminded that God is calling me to be bold like Jesus. Boldness doesn’t require an education or degree, but it relies on one’s ability to stand firm in their beliefs. Ephesians 3:12 says, “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” This verse reassures me that I can go to Him in prayer, anytime...  how awesome, but if I say I am a Christian and I am secure in my identity in Christ, I need to remember that He hasn’t given me a spirit of fear, but one of power through my faith in Christ. So, these days I am using my Lenten devotions to draw me closer to God and also praying that He will help me step out in faith, to share the celebration of Resurrection with others. My prayer is that as I am fixing my eyes and thoughts on my Savior, I will be filled with a peace-ful spirit that is ready to choose Holy Boldness.

May your week be filled with blessings as we share Christ’s journey to the cross.
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

Prayer: Lord, Teach me to walk with the confidence of Your Spirit's power.
Make me a humble servant that will speak out boldly as
the witness
You have called me to  be. Help me to recognize and resist
Satan's efforts
to obstruct me.  May You be glorified in all that I do.  Amen.

18 March 2011

Praying “Heiwa” for Japan

“The love of God is like the ocean,
you can see its beginnings but not its end.”
- Author Unknown

Did you know that the distance from the Denver Airport to Narita Airport (Tokyo) is 5,787 miles? Today it seems like we are separated by much more than miles or even an ocean... I don’t know about you, but my heart just aches for the people in Japan. Earthquake! Tsunami! Nuclear Disaster! Any one of these events is devastating on its own, but experiencing all three at the same time is more than I can fathom.

Headlines this week read: U.S. Urges Americans to Leave. I have friends that have been serving as missionaries in Japan and on Wednesday I received an email from them. In the subject line it said “We’re Heading Home.” Their email continued, "having mixed feelings and are in a bit of shock with all that’s happened and with being completely uprooted in less than a week.” And they added, "Praise God for His faithfulness and His supreme wisdom in all things!

I am thankful that they will soon be home and safe (especially because they are expecting their first baby), but I am sad that their mission work has ended so abruptly. At the end of their email they quoted a Bible verse. As soon as I read the verse I knew that their faith was still holding strong, and God willing, someday their work in Japan would continue. I was brought to my knees to thank God for reminding me once again, that He is in control. The words were from Hebrews 1:3... “The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and He sustains everything by the mighty power of His command.”

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a mountain,
glowing in the night for all to see. “
-Matthew 5:14

It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle ... action required... Our hearts are breaking for the survivors in Japan, so it is important to remember these very wise, very true words.... “We can’t do it all, but we can all do something!” This week’s “sparkle” idea is like a beacon, a ray of light, directing others to the source of hope and salvation. There are many ways we can help make a difference for the Japanese people, and I am highlighting two of those ways below.

The first way we can make a difference is by offering our PRAYERS. Did you know that the word “heiwa” means peace in Japanese? As I started writing this blog today, I thought, “Oh, yes.... I will pray God’s peace for Japan.” But as this story continued to evolve, so did my prayers.

The Presidential Prayer Team is a resource I use a lot when I am searching for specific ways to pray for our country/world. Today they offered the following prayer on their website and listed some specific prayer concerns for the people of Japan. I am sharing them both below, but to check out the website for yourself or sign up for their daily devotion, go to: http://presidentialprayerteam.com/

Thank You, Father, for being our Lord in all things. Thank You that we are sheltered by Your wings, and that You have hidden us in the cleft of the rock. Teach us as we wait upon You more. Give grace and mercy to the people of Japan – to those who have lost homes and loved ones, and to those who are in shelters and fearful for the lack of food and water. Be with those who are on search, rescue and recovery teams. We pray for miracles even yet, Lord. You are awesome, and we love You. Amen.

Prayer Concerns...
• Intercede for the leaders of Japan, that they would be able to quickly assess the damage and reach those still desperately in need.
• Pray for those making critical decisions concerning the power plants, that they would have wisdom and be able to avert further calamity.
• Ask God to provide opportunities for Christians in Japan to be beckons of hope when there seems little left to hope for.
• Finally, pray that the Lord will grant you wisdom in how to offer support and for the Holy Spirit to guide your prayers as you intercede for those in need.

Just like Americans turned to prayer after 9/11, so too are the Japanese drawing on their spiritual resources (their gods) after the recent disasters. After reading an interesting article entitled “Japan faces disaster ‘praying for compassion, for miracles’” my prayers have grown deeper than the survival of the Japanese people, my prayers will include petitions for their salvation. To read the entire article, follow this link: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/Religion/post/2011/03/japan-disaster-prayer-buddhist-/1?csp=34

The second way we can make a difference is by GIVING. Here is an article that offers great tips for giving wisely to Japan... http://austin.bbb.org/article/bbb-warns-donors-to-give-wisely-to-japan-relief-efforts-26059

Also, K-Love radio has a list on their website, containing information on the following agencies that are recommended as legitimate relief efforts. To read more about any of these agencies, check out their link at... http://www.klove.com/promodetails.aspx?i=6544

Food for the Hungry
World Vision
Save the Children
Baptist Global Response
Convoy of Hope
Samaritan’s Purse

I’m sure for many of us, the news reports have been overwhelming, but let’s not dwell in sadness, depression or hopelessness. Hebrews 10:23 tells us “Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.” Let’s use the events in Japan as a wake-up call to humbly kneel before our God...our Hope and our Redeemer.

God’s Heiwa, Donna Weaver
平和 (peace)

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean,
but the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”
- Mother Teresa

14 March 2011

Luck or Grace?

Irish Blessing
May the road rise to meet you, May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face, The rains fall soft upon your fields
and, Until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

I don’t know about you, but with gas prices rising so quickly it seems like it is getting to be quite a challenge to stretch my budget from paycheck to paycheck. I know everyone is feeling the crunch, but sometimes that doesn’t offer much consolation.  Just about the time you think you have it figured out, life happens...

... the battery in your car dies and payday isn’t for another week
... it’s been a very stressful day, you really need to talk to someone and your husband is out of town for a few days
... you forgot that it’s your child’s turn to take snack to her dance class on Wednesday night, and you are already trying to stretch your groceries until Friday

BUT, just when your peace and security are beginning to dwindle and you think you are losing the battle, the repairman tells you he will hold your check until payday, your neighbor stops over to check on you and brings your family a casserole for dinner, an unexpected check appears in the mail. Blessing upon blessing.... is it LUCK or GRACE?

LUCK:  fortune, chance, fate, destiny, coincidence
GRACE: mercy, favor, blessing (unconditional, undeserving, unexpected)

Matthew 6:33 tells us that “He will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the kingdom of God your primary concern.” God’s provisions are not just for our big things or the major crisis’ in our lives.  You can rest assured that He doesn’t leave the small things to luck (or chance), he hears the smallest details of our prayers and even our unspoken concerns. In Romans 8:28, Christians are given the promise that “...in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” God is sovereign over everything, so we can trust that nothing is merely a matter of chance. God suffers with us through our painful times and takes joy in the wonderful events in our life. And because God knows our every need, sometimes he even uses other's to reveal His grace through their kindess, generosity, and servant's heart... aka the way they "sparkle."  On the other hand, luck, unlike faith in God, is not personal. 

Today my "pot of gold" is only a coffee mug filled with pennies, but for that I am grateful!  I'm not going to wish you a "lucky" St. Patrick's Day, but a "grace-y" day!  Catch you again Friday... God's Peace, Donna Weaver

LEPRECHAUN DUST (fun treat for kids)
Jell-O Brand instant pistachio pudding • Milk • Ziploc baggies • Spoons
Put 1 tablespoon of leprechaun dust (pudding mix) into a
sealed baggie  for each child.  Add 1/4 cup of cold milk and let
them shake until the instant pudding turns green. Yummy!

11 March 2011

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
- Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

If you’re from my generation you just might remember a popular tune song by the Byrds called "Turn! Turn! Turn!" The song was adapted entirely from the Book of Ecclesiastes (with the exception of the last line of the song) and put to music in 1959 by Pete Seeger. It became an international hit in late 1965, when it reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. The Seekers also recorded the song for their 1966 album, Georgy Girl (one of my fav’s). And nearly three decades after the Byrds released the song as a single, the recording was featured in the 1994 movie, Forrest Gump.  I think it’s safe to say that the song definitely holds the record as the “#1 song with the oldest lyrics.” Just think how many people sang the words of scripture without even knowing it. My first thought was “Oh, how God must have rejoiced,” but when I thought more about it I realized how sad it must have made Him - to know that the words were spoken (sung) but not necessarily understood.

There are many verses in the Bible that tell us about the importance of reading and understanding God’s word. Here are just a few...

☮ “The word of God is full of living power.” - Hebrews 4:12

☮ “Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path.” - Psalm 119:105

☮ “This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is changing lives everywhere, just as it changed yours.” - Colossians 1:6

☮ “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” - Psalm 119:11

☮ “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” - Ephesians 6:17

☮ “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” – John 1:1

Thinking back on Ecclesiastes 3, we are told that “there is a time for everything.” As we go through the different seasons and journeys in our life, God knows the plans for each second of our day and His Word can direct our path. Why not use this Lenten season to grow deeper in His Word?

Listen to the Bryds sing the beautiful words of scripture found in Ecclesiastes 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4ga_M5Zdn4&feature=related

It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle... action required...  Speaking of “a time for everything,” Daylight Savings Time begins this weekend. So on Sunday, March 13, 2011, set your clocks forward one hour at 2:00 a.m. (Arizona and Hawaii are the only states that do not currently participate in the twice-yearly time change.) And while you’re at it, why not call a neighbor or friend and remind them to change their clocks too. It might just be the “perfect time” to invite a friend to church. Wouldn’t it be great if instead of having people missing from the pews because they forgot to change their clocks, the churches could be packed with people who not only arrived on time but brought some visitors with them! “There’s a time to invite and a time to sleep in”... which one will you choose?

This week I will be praying that the God who created all time and seasons will help you desire to “sparkle” in ways that will share the Good News!

God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

“The Future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of
sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.”
- C.S. Lewis

07 March 2011

It's Time to PREPARE

“People nowadays take time far more seriously than eternity.”
- Thomas Kelly

Can you believe that it’s already March and the season of Lent begins this coming Wednesday?  For many people, Easter is just a time for chocolate peanut butter eggs, marshmellow bunnies and jellybeans. However, many Christians use the 40 days leading up to Easter as a time for fasting, sacrifice, and renewal of faith.

There are two questions that you may be wondering about: (1) Why Lent? and (2) Why 40 days? First, nowhere in the Bible does it say that we are required to observe Lent, however as Christians it has become a custom that has been observed for more than two thousand years. As for the second question, the number 40 has many Biblical references. Here are a few examples: God sent rain for forty days and forty nights in the great flow of Noah (Genesis 7:4), Moses spent 40 days on Mt. Sinai with God (Exodus 24:18), and the Hebrew people wandered in the desert for forty years while traveling to the Promised Land (Numbers 14:33). In connection to the events leading up to Easter, Jesus fasted and was tempted in the wilderness for 40 days (Matthew 4:1-2, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-2).

Our observance of the Lenten season can become a way of imitating Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness, but I must stop right here and make a confession. Year after year, I’ve used the Lenten season as a time to “give up” something (mostly sweets), in hopes that any sacrifice I made would benefit me, possibly even resulting in weight lost. God did not design fasting as a tool for penance, beating ourselves up, or developing will power. Looking back, my efforts seem so selfish. After all, it’s not about me. It’s all about Him!

No matter what way we choose to prepare our hearts and minds for Easter, the purpose should be so that we can think, act and live His way in all that we do.

This year in light of my journey to seek God’s peace, I want to make this Lenten season a special time of self-reflection and prayer, preparing my heart, mind and spirit for the celebration of the Resurrection. I also want to be able to “sparkle” in ways that share the good news with others.... Jesus is not dead... He is alive!Lent is a time “to prepare,” not only for Easter but for the fulfillment of God’s promises. As He is changing me, I want to keep my eyes open to the way in which He is “making me new.” And so, this week I will begin the first step in my Lenten journey, “Self Reflection.” Here is a sample of just a few of the questions I will be asking myself...

• Do I put forth a conscious effort to nurture my personal relationship God and others?
• Have I continued to cut out the “stuff” and busy-ness that keep me from God?
• Do I have a gracious, forgiving and fruit-filled attitude toward others?
• Have I continued to seek God’s direction when it comes to commitments, clutter, and chaos?
• Am I reaching out to others, and being a good steward of my gifts, talents and resources?
• Is my peace contagious?
• Am I reading my Bible and studying God’s Word on a daily basis?

As God transforms us so that we are more like Christ, our changes happen at different times and in different ways. And the questions you and I use for self-examination may be different, but I pray that as we reflect on our answers, God will reveal not only our positive changes but also areas we still need to work on. Every Christian looks forward to God's promises by living a life filled with God's peace, reconciliation, righteousness, fairness, generosity, forgiveness and steadfast love. Praying that your week is filled with blessings, as we anticipate the coming Easter season.

God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

“ ...I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. ”
- John 10:10

04 March 2011

It’s Fun Being Anonymous!

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up..."
- 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Check out the picture: Avoidance or Anonymous? I know these people personally, so I say it is the second choice. What about you.... do you “hide” because you don’t want to get involved or because you want to remain anonymous?

It is my passion to share God’s love and peace through words of encouragement. I’m always looking for unique ways to reach out to others, and if those opportunities happen to involve “anonymous” acts, all the better! Today I am going to share with you two ministries that offer ways to make a difference in the lives of those who are hurting, lonely, and in need of uplifting words.

Anonymous Encouragers... was founded in June 2010, by two sisters from Texas. Jessica and Jennifer started this Christian ministry because they wanted “to do something tangible for God.” It didn’t take long for their idea to catch on and word spread quickly when K-Love radio mentioned it on the air. In fact, that is where I originally heard about this awesome ministry.   And because of my passion for writing letters and sending cards, I knew that I had to check it out for myself.

According to their website, “Anonymous Encouragers is a Christian ministry designed to encourage individuals and communities. By writing simple cards, anonymous encouragers spread God's love and faithfulness to individuals and communities around the world. Anonymous encouragers do not write these letters to receive personal recognition, but to serve others selflessly for God's glory.”

I absolutely love any organization that encourages others to send “written words of encouragement” ... you know, it only takes a stamp! (I just can’t say that enough.)

There are many ways that you can become an Anonymous Encourager. You can send anonymous letters to people in your community, or choose to use AE requests, or maybe you prefer writing to the U.S. military. You can also request that an encouraging letter be sent to a friend or family member... all it takes is a “click.” To find out how to get started, read more about how AE began, find inspiring stories from the encouragers and recipients, and even find “letter-writing” tips, check out their website....


Make a Child Smile (MACS) ... celebrating 12 years of making kids smile! Founded in May of 1998, this organization has been a source of support and encouragement to children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses, and their families.

The purpose of MACS is to share the children’s stories and give website readers the opportunity to mail a cheery card or letter to brighten their day. You can click on the “Featured Kids” page to read a child’s story, see their picture and find each child’s mailing address. You don’t have to sign up for anything.... just send lots of encouraging mail to as many kids as you wish!

I have been blessed to be involved with this organization for a number of years and can tell you that it has been such a rewarding experience. Even though I sign my name to the cards and letters that I send, I think of my efforts as “anonymous” for two reasons: (1) I don’t know these children personally and they don’t know me, and (2) because the families’ days are filled with doctor’s appointments, hospital visits and very busy schedules, I don’t expect anything in return. The joy comes from knowing that I am sending God’s love to the hurting. I am making a difference in the lives of others!  Check out the website and “Frequently Asked Questions” to find out more.


It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle.... action required...  Why not consider letting your children get involved with the MACS outreach. Even young children can experience the joy of serving others. You will be amazed at the power of a picture.... connecting the face of a sick child with a name, and sending a card.... what a great opportunity to teach your children about compassion. As you work together and share the blessing of helping others, it can also become a great prayer opportunity for the entire family!

Mark 9:41 (The Message) says Jesus was pleased. "Don't stop him. No one can use my name to do something good and powerful, and in the next breath cut me down. If he's not an enemy, he's an ally. Why, anyone by just giving you a cup of water in my name is on our side. Count on it that God will notice.”  There are eternal blessings to each and every act of Christian service... anonymous, or not.

As you enjoy your weekend, don’t forget to buy some stamps! Remember... it’s fun being anonymous.

God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

“Make me an instrument of your peace.” – St. Francis of Assisi