Monday, February 17, 2020

Our Imperfect Vision

By: Joanne Viola

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it give us assurance about things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1, NLT)

Faith can be such a hard concept to figure out and we often turn to Hebrews 11 to gain understanding.

The chapter list the many acts of faith which the heroes of the faith endured. Each one is amazing, building our confidence in God. As we read the chapter in its entirety, recently, we find there were those who endured but did not get the outcome they expected.

They had great faith yet we are told:

“All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.” (Hebrews 11:39-40, NLT) 

They prayed in faith, believing their prayers would be answered, yet they did not see the answer in their lifetime. They have been commended for holding on and believing, even when they could not see the fulfillment of the promise. Basically, they died believing.

In 1 Corinthians 13, we read:

“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” (verse 12, NLT)

We may not be able to see every circumstance clearly in this life. They may not ever all make sense. Some will receive that which they pray for. And others may not. But it does not change who our God is – loving, merciful, faithful, and full of grace.

It means He sees the complete picture of His plan from beginning to end.
We only see a small part.

It means we see things like a puzzling reflection.
He sees clearly.

May we pray and live in faith.
Believing in our God.
Whether we see or not.

*This is an edited post from 2016 found HERE .
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Never Forgotten

"But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me,
And my Lord has forgotten me.”
“Can a woman forget her nursing child,
And not have compassion on the son of her womb?
Surely they may forget,
yet, I will not forget you.
See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;
Your walls are continually before Me." Isaiah 49:15-16

The enemy is a ruthless, relentless liar. He is especially cruel in his craftiness and targets us with lies and accusations against God and His love and care for us. "God has forgotten you. God doesn't care for you. You are abandoned by God. There is no hope for you. God is not keeping His promises to you."  For good measure the enemy turns and targets us with some of his lies and accusations. "You've messed up too many times. There is no recovery for you. God has given up on you because you're such a screw up. God has turned His back on you."

In this passage from the book of Isaiah, the people of Jerusalem are hearing the enemy whisper in their ears his all too familiar lie, "The Lord has forsaken you and forgotten you." We've all heard that lie before. The enemy especially takes glee in shoving our head underwater with those words when we are drowning in difficult circumstances. But God gives us words to remember, to imprint on our mind and heart, to keep handy as a weapon against the lies of enemy. "I will not forget you."  Then, the word goes even further and implies that it is impossible for God to forget you. "See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands." Think of this, your hands are the part of your own body that you see the most. You have to look in the mirror to see your own face, but you watch your own hands constantly, as you work, as you write, as you eat, etc. It is not happenstance that God tells us that our names are, in essence, tattooed on His hands. Perhaps this is a reference to the scars that the Son of God has on His hands from being nailed and hung on a cross for our salvation. When He sees the scars on His hands, He sees us, the ones He loves and died for.  We will face tests and trials and difficulties. We will sometimes wonder why we are having to wait so long for answers to prayer. We may suffer and wonder why God has allowed it. But this is a promise we can stand on - we are never forgotten by God.

Friday, February 14, 2020

When You Need to Remember You Are Beloved

By: Sarah Geringer 

Do you know that you are a dearly beloved child of God?

Today, you may hear the word "love" over and over again, but not feel deeply loved. I remember past Valentine's Days when this was a big struggle for me. If you don't receive gifts, hugs or kisses, acts of service, words of affirmation or quality conversation and attention from loved ones today, you may not feel very loved. I understand this well.

Before disappointment overtakes your heart, let these truths from God's Word permeate it. Despite how you feel about others' love toward you, God's love is constant and faithful. He delights in you no matter what you look like, how much money you make, what you are able to do, how hard you work, etc. God loves you as-is, and he considers you his treasure!

I encourage you to slowly and intentionally meditate on these love notes from God to you. They were not just written by Solomon for his bride. They were written to affirm God's love for his people, and these words are personal for your relationship with God. I gain peace, joy and hope from meditating on these scriptures, and I hope you do too!

How beautiful you are, my darling!
    Oh, how beautiful!
Song of Songs 1:15

Arise, come, my darling;
    my beautiful one, come with me.
Song of Songs 2:13

You are altogether beautiful, my darling;
    there is no flaw in you.
Song of Songs 4:7

I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.
Song of Songs 6:3

I belong to my beloved, and his desire is for me.
Song of Songs 7:10

His left arm is under my head and his right arm embraces me.
Song of Songs 8:3

Place me like a seal over your heart,
    like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
    its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
    like a mighty flame.
Song of Songs 8:6

Let Jesus spread his love over you today. He is inviting you to deeper relationship. Will you let him in? Reread these verses as many times as necessary to let his love enter your heart, mind, soul and spirit. I pray that the Prince of Peace will bless you with the knowledge that you are his beloved.
Thank you for calling me your beloved.
I confess that I sometimes turn away from your love.
I sometimes look for perfect fulfillment in human love rather than yours.
I forget that you are the only one who can love me perfectly.
Deepen my relationship with you.
Help me know that your presence is real and constant.
I thank you for always being with me, inviting me to greater faith.
In Jesus' name,

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Have a wonderful weekend!

Blessings and God's peace to you,

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Wednesday, February 12, 2020

What Do You Do When You’re Thirsty?

By: Jenifer Metzger

When you are thirsty, what do you do?

You get a drink. Of course.

Do you read a book about getting a drink? Do you listen to a radio message on getting a drink? Do you read a blog about getting a drink?

No, you go to the source, get a drink and have your thirst quenched.

When you are thirsty for God, what do you do?

Do you read a book? Listen to a radio message or preaching message?  Do you read a blog?

These things are not bad. In fact, they are good. They are often very helpful and encouraging. They can give you a new outlook or remind you of a truth you once knew. But they will not quench your thirst.

When you are thirsty for God, go to God. Go to the source. The Real Thirst Quencher. Spending time reading the Word, praying, worshipping, just being in the presence of God is the only way to quench that thirst.

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.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Pharoah’s Daughter and the Quest for a Rescue

Photo Courtesy of: Neil Thomas

“Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river. And her maidens walked along the riverside; and when she saw the ark among the reeds, she sent her maid to get it. And when she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby wept. So she had compassion on him, and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.” Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?” And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the maiden went and called the child’s mother. Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him. And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. So she called his name Moses, saying, “Because I drew him out of the water.” ~Exodus 2:5-10

If you think about it, Pharoah’s daughter was an incredibly bold, principled, fearless woman. Here she was, the daughter of the reigning leader of all Egypt at the time, and she intentionally and willfully went against his wrongful decree. Because he feared that the Hebrews’ ever-increasing population numbers would lead to their outnumbering his own people and therefore would lead to their overthrowing his rule, the pharaoh had ordered that all baby boys born to the Hebrews be killed upon birth.

One such baby, Moses, had a birth mother who refused to give up on him. His mother had had two midwives who refused to murder the baby they had just delivered into the world. And now, upon Pharoah’s daughter’s discovery of this little baby floating all alone in a basket on the Nile, she, too, decides to be one of the female heroes in Moses’ life story.

For years I never thought about the bravery which would have been required for Pharoah’s daughter to do this. To rescue the baby and decide to bring him up as her own at a time when her father surely could have deciphered that this was a Hebrew baby was quite the daring move! But as full of dire consequences her actions could have potentially been, she nevertheless chose to do what she knew was right - she rescued the little baby.

No doubt Moses’ birth mother thought his situation looked dire and hopeless. Though she had concealed his existence from the Egyptians as long as she could following his birth, the day nevertheless came when she knew she must relinquish him into God’s hands and hope for the best. But now as a mother myself, I can only imagine the anxiety she experienced and she hoped and prayed for rescue for her son but feared there would be none.

If there is something this amazing story shows us, however it is that Moses’ God is a God of rescue. He had a plan for that little baby’s life, even in the midst of incredibly dark and terrible circumstances. All along He had a plan that would involve this baby growing up to become the one Whom God would use to rescue His people from their years-long enslavement under Pharoah. It didn’t make sense to Moses’ mother how things could possibly work out, but they did, because our God is a God of rescue.

The same goes for where He has you right here, right now, in this Lenten season. I don’t know what your current life circumstances are looking like. I don’t know what you are in need of being rescued from. I have no idea. But God does. And He hasn’t fallen asleep at the wheel. He hasn’t forgotten about you. And He certainly isn’t chomping His proverbial fingernails trying to figure out what He is going to do about your situation and how on earth He is going to come to your rescue. 

Whatever you are experiencing, God’s got this. He’s got you. And your rescuer and helper will not tarry, will not delay, and will not forsake you in your pain and in your trial. Psalm 18:1-3 says, “I will love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.”

This was true for David, and it is true for you, too. Do you need rescued today? Are you striving to find hope, to discover answers, to know what to do in this unbearably dark season? Look to the Lord. He is your Rescuer. And you need but rest in Him, ceasing from your striving and worry. “For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength (Isaiah 30:15a)”.