Monday, June 17, 2019

Questions, Doubts, and Answers

By: Joanne Viola


Devotional books have a unique way of speaking into our current lives even when they may have been written years ago. They have a way of reminding us that nothing escapes the eye of God. Not a single blessed thing.

The enemy whispers his dirty little lies in which he attempts to make us think we are alone, or forgotten, or God won’t work in our lives.

Then God shows up in the reading of a devotional and proves the enemy wrong – every single time.

Recently as I was reading, some thoughts went through my mind:
  • God’s work in our lives will not be without pain. So why do we expect it to be?
  • Hard things in our lives can still be His working in our lives. Why do we think otherwise?
  • Faith will give meaning to our pain? Why do we think pain has no meaning?
  • God wants us to collaborate with Him, not Him with us. Why do we think He has to go along with our thoughts?
  • The adventure of life is a “sacred” adventure which means God is at the helm. Why do we think we are in control?
Perhaps these thoughts and questions have been the very ones man has been wrestling with since the beginning of time.

My devotional brings me back to the very Scripture which has been crossing my path over the last few weeks:

"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT)

The promise had been given to God’s people, who would be in exile for seventy years and suffer greatly during those years. But it was a promise which reminded them, that in spite of difficulty, God still had a plan for them which included good and a hope and a future.

God wanted them then, and us now, to seek Him and love Him and serve Him wholeheartedly. He promised an end to their captivity (and ours in difficult situations as well) and restoration.

This word from the prophet gave the people a renewed commitment to God and to His Word. It does the same for us.

It is truly OK to wrestle with questions and doubts.

For when we bring those very doubts and lay them against the canvas of God’s Word, we discover ...

He is God.
He is good.
All that He is doing will be good.
And when that truth floods our souls, we find ourselves trusting Him once again.


Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash




 

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Abba Father...


This Sunday we celebrate Father's Day.  No earthly father is perfect, but some people are blessed to have a father who lovingly tried his best to be a good dad. There are many others who had a father who failed them, who left them, who hurt them, and for them Father's Day may be difficult.  If you grew up with a loving father, thank God and remember to tell your dad how much you appreciate him. If your father failed you in some way, I pray that you will allow God to take you through the process of forgiveness and healing. (If you're interested, here's the story of my journey of forgiveness  towards my dad. Click here for part one  part two  part three)

On the Saturday before Father's Day quite some years ago, I was mourning the lack of fathering I had experienced in my childhood. Very clearly, God interrupted my thoughts and reminded me that He had stepped up to the plate for me when my own daddy had left me. He had become my Abba Father, not just some abstract, cold and impersonal, far away sovereign of the universe, but my heavenly Daddy. When I needed a shoulder to lean on, He was there. When I needed to talk, He was a ready listener. When I needed a protector and a provider, He never failed to take care of me. As God reminded me what a Faithful Father He was to me, I said aloud in worship and gratitude, "Happy Father's Day!" to Him, tears of love and appreciation streaming down my face. Every Father's Day since that time I've never mourned the fathering I didn't have, I've remembered the Father Who stepped in and adopted me as His own and lovingly cared for me. 

When you received Jesus as your Savior and Lord, Father God adopted you as His own. God wants to step up to the plate for you wherever your earthly father has failed you. He wants you to know Him as your very own loving, faithful Abba Father. 




Friday, June 14, 2019

How the Sky Inspires Our Praise




By: Sarah Geringer

The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known.
Psalm 19:1-2 NLT
When did you last look into the night sky? It's been a while for me. I live in the woods, which covers up most of the night sky. Yet since I am blessed to live in a rural area, I can see the stars fairly easily on a clear night.

The night sky is a beautiful reminder of our place in this world.
It makes me feel somewhat small. The vastness of stars, millions of miles away, remind me that I'm just one part of God's creation. My life is a vapor, yet it is of priceless value in his eyes. The stars cause me to say, "Wow!" out loud to God.

The daytime sky is just as glorious. Ever since we got a Labrador puppy this spring, I've enjoyed early (yes, 5:00 a.m.) morning walks. My Memphis and I get to see the sun rise over country fields. The colors from God's paintbrush are amazing!

Whether I see clouds or sun in the daytime sky, I see God's handiwork. They truly praise him day after day. They show his might, power, and majesty. His glory shines through sunbeams, lightning bolts, and snow clouds.

My favorite view of God's creation has always been the sunset. I must drive to see it, because the trees in our woods block the view. But the short drive is worth it. When God sets the sun below the horizon, I revel in the multicolored beauty left behind.

I encourage you today to lift your eyes to the skies. Use them as your springboard for praise. God loves to hear your voice lift praises to him. Take what you see and craft it into a moment of praise and worship. Your spirit will be lifted, and God will give you peace as you look at his masterful creation in awe.

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Have a wonderful weekend!

Blessings and God's peace to you,





Photo from Canva.com



Reflection questions:




1. Where is the best place for you to view the night sky? A sunset? A sunrise?



2. What time will you look at the sky today and praise God? Go ahead, set a timer to remind you!


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Honoring God Through Kindness

By: Jenifer Metzger

My daughter works in a bank and she often tells us of experiences with rude customers. People speak rude and treat her unkind, she is yelled at and belittled, all for doing her job and following guidelines -often Federal guidelines- set before her. My other daughter works in a retail store. She has had much of the same experiences. People yelling at her and treating her rudely, all for doing what she was taught and trained to do.

If I can be honest, I have been the rude one. Upset when something didn't go the way I thought it should. Yelled at a worker for simply doing what they were supposed to do. Last year while shopping, I found this shirt I loved. The price was right so I decided to make the purchase. At the register, the cashier could not get the shirt to ring up. She called the manager over. The manager informed her that there was a recall on the shirt and they couldn't sell it to me. I was upset. The shirt was still on the floor with a tag on it. Why not sell it to me? It's was women's clothing, what kind of recall could it possibly have? I was unkind to the manager, and she was just doing her job.




The Bible tells us over and over to be kind. We are called by God to be kind to one another. The thing about the Bible is there is no fine print. It doesn't say, be kind unless they do something wrong or be kind unless they have treated you unfair. It simply says be kind.

You never know what someone is going through. You never know what they have faced. When we treat someone rude out of our own frustration, we are only adding to the problem and we are certainly not being the light of Jesus. Maybe that cashier you yelled at for taking so long has been up all night with a sick child. Maybe that bank teller you were rude to just lost a parent. Maybe that car speeding by and cutting through traffic just got a call that her husband was rushed to the hospital. You don't know the other side so instead of treating someone unkind, step back, take a deep breath, and be kind. Offer a smile. Be compassionate.

Let's be women who honor God by being kind and compassionate to one another.





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, June 10, 2019

So encourage each other ...

By: Joanne Viola


Encouragement has been defined as “the ability to inspire with courage, spirit or confidence” (dictionary.com). The word has been stuck in my thoughts for days now bringing me to dig a bit more deeply.

In his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul uses the word “encourage” seven times in the NLT. In chapter five, he reminds us to “encourage each other” (verse 11) and “encourage those who are timid” (verse 14).

Paul recognized something occurs within us when we receive a word of encouragement.

“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:11, NLT)

A simple word of encouragement can:
  • Bring cheer. "Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up" (Proverbs 12:25, NLT).
  • Bring strength. "Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body" (Proverbs 16:24, NLT).
  • Bring support. "Share each other's burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2, NLT). 

At times we need a little help to grab hold of the God-given dream which resides in our hearts.

Who will you encourage today?



Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash