Monday, March 18, 2019

"Inhale Spirit - Exhale Flesh"

By: Joanne Viola

In recent days, I have had several conversations with different people and the subject at hand was “fear”.

We often use other words to describe our feelings – like worry, concerns, anxiety – so we don’t use the word “fear”.

Our fears, if we are honest, are legitimate. We fear getting an incurable disease, the death of a loved one, losing our jobs, never finding a mate, our mate leaving us, our children becoming sick, having a car accident, and many other circumstances.

But here’s the problem with our fears – all of these situations may never occur in our lives. The fears live in our thoughts.



The very first day of reading a Lent devotional turned my thoughts to Psalm 1, where I read:

"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper." (verse 1-3, NKJV)

We desperately need to meditate on God’s Word, reading it every day, if we are going to successfully silence our fears. 
“Like a tree, the godly person is alive, beautiful, fruitful, useful, and enduring. The most important part of a tree is the hidden root system that draws up water and nourishment, and the most important part of the believer’s life is the “spiritual root system” that draws on the hidden resources we have in Christ.”

(from The Wiersbe Study Bible, commentary notes page 752)
We are to delight in His Law, meditate on the Word and therein, lies the blessing. As we reflect on His Word, thinking deeply on it so as to apply it to our lives, His Word begins to change us.
Psalm 1
to him who holds my breath
inhale Spirit
exhale flesh
You alone are worthy
of all of my words
to You, of You, from You
now and forevermore.
(by Karen Fendick, “From Ashes To Glory: A Psalm a Day”)


“Inhale Spirit – exhale flesh”, a little more each day.
Dispel the fears and discover anew,

there is joy to be found in following Jesus.


Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash


 

Sunday, March 17, 2019

The Creator's love seen in the beauty of creation...



God’s splendor is a tale that is told;
his testament is written in the stars.
Space itself speaks his story every day
through the marvels of the heavens.
His truth is on tour in the starry vault of the sky,
showing his skill in creation’s craftsmanship.
Each day gushes out its message to the next,
night with night whispering its knowledge to all.
Without a sound, without a word, without a voice being heard,
Yet all the world can see its story.
Everywhere its gospel is clearly read so all may know.
Psalm 19:1-4 The Passion Translation

I normally share a scripture and then some of my own thoughts in this space each week. This week I wanted to share some quotes relating to the scriptures found in Romans 1:20 and Psalm 19:1-4, both shared above. I have two books by author Dana Candler that I would highly recommend. Deep Unto Deep and Entirety In the quotes below, taken from Dana Candler's book, Entirety, she writes of how God speaks to us through the beauty of His creation if we only have eyes and ears to perceive it.


“The God whose pursuit of me has been from the eternal ages is also the One who searches for me in the present day, reaches for me in the beauties of creation and in the the smallest
events of my everyday circumstances…”

“The Lord’s love is so extravagant, and though the crowning revelation of that extravagance was in the giving of His Son even unto death, He has continued His proclamation in a daily manner through the messengers of the created order. The natural order serves as a window into the supernatural, bringing my heart closer to the Creator if it but hears the message and beholds the beauty of the creation and the persistent announcement of the Creator’s love behind it.” 

“Surely God has set the created order into motion as a continual witness, a voice that incessantly goes forth, a beauty that relentlessly exudes the message of His deep love and His extravagant kindness…Oh, to have ears to hear and eyes to perceive the heart of the Beloved behind this beauty!”

all quotes from the book Entirety by Dana Candler


Friday, March 15, 2019

Reaching Out for God's Comfort





By: Sarah Geringer

From eternity to eternity I am God.
No one can snatch anyone out of my hand.
No one can undo what I have done.

Isaiah 43:13 NLT


A little child instinctively reaches for her mother’s hand when she feels afraid. Simply feeling her mother's hand inside her grasp restores her sense of security.

We are wired to look for comfort and security when we feel insecure. As adults, when we are fearful we may reach for unstable things when we feel afraid. If we don’t reach for God’s hand first, we can quickly get in trouble.

Do you know that God is holding you securely in his hand right now? Because God is infinite and powerful, nothing can shake you from his grasp. You can feel secure knowing that what Jesus has done for you, no one can undo.

When I feel anxious, I imagine God holding me securely in his hand. I enjoy meditating on these verses with word pictures about God's hand:

So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;

    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10 NIV

For I am the Lord your God
    who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
    I will help you.
Isaiah 41:13 NIV

I sometimes need to be comforted by God just like a little child does with her mother. Thankfully, God reaches out to you and me when we need his comfort, strength and security. All you need to do is reach out to him in prayer when you need to be comforted. He will answer you and hold you securely.
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Have a wonderful weekend!

Blessings and God's peace to you,



Photo from Canva.com

Reflection questions:


1. How can you praise God for holding your hand in past struggles?




2. Which one of these verses brings you the most comfort, and why?

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

A Spring Cleaning of the Heart

By: Jenifer Metzger

It's the middle of March and the official start to spring is just days away. Many schools are on spring break, gardeners are beginning to work on gardens, and all over the world people are spring cleaning.

This time of year people are cleaning off decks and bringing their deck furniture out, cleaning windows, cleaning garages, packing away winter coats and boots, cleaning carpets, and the list goes on. We've been cooped up all winter. Our homes are stuffy and we are desperate for fresh air and cleanliness.

As we spring clean our homes, let's also think about spring cleaning our hearts?

God, create a clean heart for me
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10


Is there someone you need to forgive? Even if they haven't asked for your forgiveness, it's time to offer it. Let go of it. Unforgiveness is like dirty windows. It blocks everything, it doesn't let us see things clearly. Examine your heart and if there is any unforgiveness toward anyone, it's time to let it go and forgive. For if you forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. Matthew 6:14

Is there any sin you need to repent of? No matter how large or how small the sin may seem in the eyes of the world, sin is sin and it needs to be repented of. Have you wronged someone, have you had an attitude lately, have you failed at paying tithe or serving in your church, have you held onto a morally unhealthy habit? Examine your heart and if there is any sin that you have not repented of, it's time to give it to God and ask forgiveness. Therefore repent and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped out. Acts 3:19

Does your language need cleaning? Do you say words that are cuss words or, what my family calls, unacceptable words? Does gossip enter into your conversations? Do you say words that slander or hurt others, including yourself? It is time to examine your language and clean up anything that is displeasing to God. No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29

Do you need to do some weeding? Are there friends in your life that lead you away from God instead of draw you closer? Are there tv shows you watch that are displeasing to God? Music you listen to that doesn't glorify God? It's time to examine what influences your letting into your life and weed out the things that do not lead you to God. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2

Do you need to open the windows? Just as we open the windows for fresh air, we need to open up and let God in. Let God speak to you. Open your heart, eyes, and ears to a Father who loves you so much He sent His Son to the cross to spent eternity with you. For God loved the world in this way: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Let's spring clean our hearts and let the Son shine in!


It's time for Share A Link Wednesday! Each Wednesday we invite you to leave a link to your latest blog post in the comments. We still desire to connect women of God with one another and encourage each other in Christ. So grab a cup of coffee or glass of sweet tea, sit back and visit a few blogs. Be encouraged and share your own stories.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Jesus Asks A Question

By: Joanne Viola


Jesus asks a most critical question not only of His disciples but of us as well:

"Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves." (Luke 22:27, NLT)

Servanthood.

We like to think of ourselves as being willing to serve, but don’t want to be called servants. And we don’t mind “serving” if it is convenient, or something we want to do, or enjoy doing. But when it is hard, inconvenient and not something to be enjoyed – well, if we’re honest —- not so much.

Yet we still want to think of ourselves as serving others. How our hearts deceive us!

But Jesus – He serves, and stoops low, and loves His people. He loves us.

Jesus was the one to stoop low and humbly take the basin to wash the feet of the disciples. Jesus takes the standard of the world and turns it upside down.

Greatness in the world’s eyes infers being served by others. Yet Jesus, who is greater than the disciples, shows us by His actions that those who would follow Him should expect to also be the servants of others.

Jesus did not define “servant” solely with His words but went further by demonstrating with His actions. Servanthood – truly serving those around us – will cause us to meet the needs of those around us and empower them to be all that God has called them to be.

During these days of Lent, may we allow this time to be a season of emptying ourselves, so He can fill us with Himself.

May He create in us a heart willing to be servants and thus,
to be more like Him.


Photo by Di_An_h on Unsplash