Monday, October 2, 2023

An Encounter With a Burning Bush

 By: Joanne Viola

 The story of Moses, and his encounter at the burning bush, remains amazing no matter how many times it is read. Let’s gather around and take a closer look at this experience.

Moses is pasturing the flock of his father-in-law, tending to his mundane daily responsibilities. He looks over to see a bush fully consumed in fire yet, it was not consumed. Intrigued, Moses draws closer to see what was actually occurring.

When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look,
God called to him from the midst of the bush and said,
“Moses, Moses!”"

(Exodus 3:4, NASB)

God calls to Moses, and calls him by name. And He does the same today for each of us. He specifically calls us by our individual names.

But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;

I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.”

(Isaiah 43:1, NKJV)

As the story unfolds, God gives Moses specific directions.

Then He said, “Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet,
for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”

(Exodus 3:5, NASB)

God longs to direct our paths as well each day.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go;
I will counsel you with My eye upon you.”

(Psalm 32:8, NASB)

God then identifies Himself to Moses.  

He said also, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham,
the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”

(Exodus 3:6, NASB) 

God does the same for us today, identifying Himself as our Father:

Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts,
crying, “Abba! Father!”

Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son;
and if a son, then an heir through God.”

(Galatians 4:6-7, NASB)

God assures Moses He has seen all that His people have gone through, and is concerned for them. He offers a promise and hope for the future. God does the same for us today:

For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord,
‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”

(Jeremiah 29:11 NASB)

From this encounter long ago, we can learn and apply four truths to our lives today:

God calls us each by our name.
God warns and instructs each of us that are His.
God identifies Himself and establishes relationship with us.
God offers us a promise and a hope.


Which of these truths do you need to be reminded of today? Perhaps write down the corresponding Scripture on an index card and hold onto the assurance of His Word.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Try One More Time

 By: Paula Short

"When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish." "Master," Simon replied, "we worked hard all last night and didn't catch a thing. But if you say so, I'll let the nets down again." And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear!" Luke 5:4-7— NLT

Peter is tired from a long night of toiling. He's spent the past twelve hours trying to fish. As he watches the sun rise, he thinks about the pile of bills on his kitchen table. His son needs new shoes. His wife needs to see the doctor.

There's just not enough to go around.

He's failed to provide for them. Again.

Then Jesus appears on the scene. Peter's heard of the Carpenter from Nazareth, His miracles, and His healing. The Carpenter tells him to let down the nets once more.

Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets."

To Peter's surprise, his nets were filled with so many fish that they began to break. He had to call for help from his partners on the other boat. They were all amazed by the catch.

Are you where Peter was? Have you tried again and again to accomplish something in your own strength? But no matter what you do, you just can't seem to get it together.

This passage teaches us that we should never give up, even when we are tired and discouraged. When we follow Jesus' instructions, he'll work through us to accomplish great things.

Here are some additional thoughts on the story:

  • Peter was a professional fisherman. He had been fishing all night, and he knew what he was doing. But he was also tired and discouraged. He had tried his best, but he had failed.
  • When Jesus told him to let down his nets one more time, Peter was hesitant. He didn't want to fail again. But he trusted Jesus, so he did as he was told.
  • To Peter's surprise, his nets were filled to overflowing. He had never caught so many fish in his life. This miracle showed Peter that Jesus had the power to bless him even when he felt like a failure.
  • The same is true for us. When we feel discouraged and hopeless, Jesus is always there to encourage us to try again. He knows our limits, but he also knows our potential. He wants us to trust him and to believe that he can do great things through us.

In the face of hopelessness and despair, Jesus is whispering over you the same thing He said to Peter, "Try one more time."

Let's Reflect

  1. What does it mean to you that Jesus is whispering over you, "Try one more time"?
  2. Are you willing to try one more time, even though you're tired and discouraged?
  3. What do you believe Jesus is saying to you in this moment?

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Joy in the Morning

 By: Grace Metzger

Weeping may last through the night,
but joy comes in the morning.
Psalms 30:5 NLT

I've held this verse very close to my heart in times of sadness and worry. It's a wonderful reminder that no matter what is happening to us currently that God's is still in control. I love that reminder. I came across this verse again this week and it reminded me of the day my nephew had heart surgery. He was only one month old and because it was a major surgery I wasn't allowed to see him the day of or the day after the surgery. So I went into work completely clouded in fear and anxiety. I ended up in the bathroom having a panic attack over the situation my nephew was in. While I was trying to calm down I looked up verses that I hoped would bring me peace and I stumbled across this one. And it worked! Every time the enemy tried to place fear in my heart I would recite this. 

The ending of that story is that it's been a year since his surgery and he's a healthy, happy, goofy little boy now. That day caused a lot of weeping but now I get to be in the wonderful season of joy. There was times during that situation I thought we would never get out of this storm. But God was there for us throughout the whole thing.

He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
Psalm 147:3 NIV

The Bible never promised us that we wouldn't go through difficult times. Sometimes we have to go through those nights of mourning and sadness. But the Bible does promise that God will heal our broken hearts and bind up our wounds. We may still have to bear the storms but we get to bear them with God. He will walk with us through the storms of life until we get to the joys that come. 

God has a wonderful plan for our lives, plans full of hope and a future. In fact, in Revelation 21:4 it says, "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” His plans for us are full of happiness and joy, we just have to bear through the storm a bit. 

Discussion Question: What verse do you hold onto in times of mourning?

Friday, September 29, 2023

A Heart of Wisdom to Manage My Days

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by all the choices and opportunities swirling around me asking for my time. There’s obviously the housekeeping, the childrearing, the churchgoing and serving. But which books should I read? What social events do I RSVP to? What hobbies could I take up? How should I allot my time to all the various demands? And in these moments where I feel paralyzed by possibilities, I pray these words:
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12 (ESV)
This verse is from a Psalm by Moses, and in my Bible, it is found beneath the heading, “From Everlasting to Everlasting.” How fitting. God is eternal. I am finite. How do I organize my finite days to get a heart of wisdom? And what would that heart of wisdom teach me about managing my time? 

Here are three ideas:

1) Create a mission statement. A mission statement isn’t only for businesses and organizations. A mission statement can help us determine what things are worth our time and energy. It can help us clarify what may or may not help us achieve our goals. 

2) The importance/urgency matrix. Imagine a four-quadrant grid. The lines that separate the four quadrants represent low to high importance, and low to high urgency. You end up with four boxes with these designations: 
    • high importance, high urgency
    • high importance, low urgency
    • low importance, high urgency
    • low importance, low urgency
If something is important and urgent, take care of it immediately. If something is important, but not urgent, make a plan for tackling it another time. If something is not important, but is urgent, ask yourself if you can find help with it or delegate it (i.e., could my spouse help with it, or a friend, etc.). And if it is not important and not urgent, are you willing to eliminate it (i.e., scrolling on your phone)?

3) And of course, let prayer cover it all. Sometimes I might think something is important, but once I devote it to prayer, I see that my perspective was wrong. And other times, something that I thought wasn’t urgent suddenly becomes urgent if I allow the Holy Spirit to convict me about it. 
How do you effectively manage your time?
Has this post sparked any ideas you would like to try?


Thursday, September 28, 2023

Do You Struggle with Unbelief?


By: Donna Bucher

If you have visited my blog, Serenity in Suffering or read my posts regularly, you know I write about the hard places of life. At times the Lord asks me to truly share from a place of painful brokenness.

Having opportunity to write here at Woman to Woman as well as other blogs and publications, truly encourages me. But I still struggle with anxiety every time I submit an article for publishing consideration.


Never sure if my work will be accepted, I sometimes question if what I have written is “good enough”. Of course, rejection letters come, but the bottom line is learning to trust God with the outcome.


Trusting God with outcomes in our lives often reveals our personal struggle with unbelief. How many times I ushered up prayers for situations or loved ones, asking God to intervene, only to find I still had anxiety over the outcome.


Do You Take God at His Word?


God promises to hear His children when they call, providing for our needs and comfort in trial. (Jeremiah 33:3, Isaiah 65:24). Knowing this truth, we come to Him with the concerns and troubles of life, yet because of unbelief, we fail to find rest in taking Him at His word.


"Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me."


Do You Pray Believing God Will Answer?


We often usher up numerous prayers, especially for those situations of most concern and pain for us. Illness, financial hardship, wayward children, and salvation of loved ones top our long prayer lists.


But is your prayer list more like a Christmas “wish list”?


You ask for what you truly desire, but in no way have confidence you will receive it. Admittedly, my own prayers fall into this category much of the time. And when I fail to receive the answers I anticipate, I stop praying.


Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Mark 11:24

Do You Move Forward By Faith?


Sadly, when met with opposition from the enemy of our souls as we commit our prayers unto God, doubt fills our hearts. Old insecurities creep in, we stumble, second guess our needs or motives for asking, and worst of all, we stop believing God.


No longer trusting His instruction and promise, we often give up or become discouraged.


But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

James 1:6




Faith=Taking God at His Word

Without faith, our prayers are but empty words; nothing more than wishes we cast to the wind and wonder if they will reach their destination. We must pray, believing God will answer, and then when He does, move forward with that same faith, rooted in confidence "that it shall be even as it was told us". 


Anything less is living a defeated life. We delight God by our bold faith and trust in Him.

My Friend, are you living a defeated life?


Are you held hostage by unbelief?


And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Hebrews 11:6


Take heart, Christ already holds the victory; pray, believing and move forward in confidence today!




Which verse above speaks most to your anxiety in trusting God with the outcomes to your prayers?


Seek to memorize one verse above this week.


Find more encouragement and FREE Resources at Serenity in Suffering!


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