Sunday, May 29, 2016

In the cleft of the rock...


  1. He Hideth My Soul by Frances J. Crosby
    A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
    A wonderful Savior to me;
    He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
    Where rivers of pleasure I see.
    • Refrain:
      He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
      That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
      He hideth my life in the depths of His love,
      And covers me there with His hand,
      And covers me there with His hand.
  2. A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
    He taketh my burden away,
    He holdeth me up and I shall not be moved,
    He giveth me strength as my day.
  3. With numberless blessings each moment He crowns,
    And filled with His fullness divine,
    I sing in my rapture, oh, glory to God!
    For such a Redeemer as mine.
  4. When clothed with His brightness transported I rise
    To meet Him in clouds of the sky,
    His perfect salvation, His wonderful love,
    I’ll shout with the millions on high.

    Franny Crosby was the most prolific hymn writer in history.  She was also blind since her infancy.  Her perspective on her disability in her own words was, "It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me." It seems her troubles drove her to the cleft of the rock, the secret place of God's presence, where she saw, not with her physical eyes but with the eyes of her spirit, "rivers of pleasure".  It was there that she fell in love with the Lover of her soul, for she also said, "when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior"

    I've too often resisted the very things that drive me closer to the heart of God. I've fought the testings and the trials. I've fought the loneliness that has often been my portion, yet it is the thing that drove me to know Jesus as my intimate friend since I was a little girl.  It's in the cleft of the rock, the secret place where we meet with God, that we are most close to Him.  It's there that He covers us gently with His hand, where He speaks tenderly to us, where He reveals His lovely and loving face to us.  Perhaps it's time for us to give up resisting and resenting the things that drive us near to God's heart, and to instead see them as gifts in disguise. 

    still following,


Friday, May 27, 2016

Dry Bones

By: Sarah MacKinney

Ezekiel 37 tells us the story of the dry bones. Ezekiel was taken by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley filled with bones that were scattered everywhere. The Lord told Ezekiel to speak a prophetic message to the bones and say, "Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord. Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. You will come to life. Then you will know that I am Lord." And as he spoke the message, guess what began to happen?  Suddenly there were rattling noises heard all throughout the valley. The bones of each body came together and muscles and flesh began to form over the bones. The skin formed and covered their bodies but there was still no breath in them. As if that isn't cool enough! This is the really AMAZING part of the story. Again Ezekial spoke and said, "Come Oh breath from the four winds. Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again." Then they all came to life and stood to their feet, a great army. Wow! This is one of my favorite stories in the Bible. I mean, we all know that God performed miracles because He is powerful and supernatural. But can you imagine looking over a large valley of dry bones and seeing muscle and tendon begin to attach; to witness breath being breathed into them and they actually got up and began to live?

He longs to breath life into you again, He wants to give you fresh dreams, visions, desires and goals.  He doesn't want you to wander around aimlessly in a valley of dry bones; He longs to restore you, and He knows just how to do it. #drybones

Maybe you can relate to the dry bones. Maybe the joy has been snuffed out of you. Maybe due to a loss of a loved one or your job, stress in ministry, your busy schedule; all the demands of life have left you feeling overwhelmed, tired and well....dry. Perhaps you need a second wind. Perhaps you need the breath of God to breath on you and give you what you are lacking. Peace, joy, hope, restoration, self control. He longs to breath life into you again, He wants to give you fresh dreams, visions, desires and goals. He doesn't want you to wander around aimlessly in a valley of dry bones; He longs to restore you, and He knows just how to do it. I've been around many people in my life who were content to stay in the valley. Life had dealt them some very tragic and unfair hands, and they couldn't seem to find the strength to move on. I know grief firsthand and I know it is a process and for each one of us the timing is different. But when we become comfortable in our grief, complacent in our valley; then we run the risk of "drying up" for good. Sometimes it takes every ounce of strength we have to call on the name of the Lord, sometimes all we can do is muster a weak whimper asking God to reach down to us. I get it. I've been there. But I also know the Bible tells us that He is a strong tower where we can run for safety and refuge. We have the answer, we know where our source of strength and hope comes from. We know who has the ultimate victory, so we can take heart in any situation. We are also told in the Bible to cast all of our burdens on Him because He cares for us. He cares for you. Yes you, you reading this right now. The Nancy's of the world, the Tina's and the Carol's. The Karen's and the Jessica's. He see's you and He cares. You aren't invisible, your life isn't a mistake, you were made for more than dry valley living.

Make the decision today to call on the name of the Lord. Even if it is a whisper, call on the name of the Lord. Ask Him to restore, to refresh and refuel. Ask Him to birth ideas for your ministry, strategies for your marriage, renewed joy in mothering. Ask Him to put breath into your dry bones, to join together the tendons and muscles and joints of your soul. If He can do it for an entire valley of dry bones, imagine what He can do for you! We call out to dry bones, come alive, come alive!

Sarah

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Whose Battle Is It?

by Debi Baker


"This is what the Lord says to you:  'Do not be afraid or discouraged 
because of this vast army.  For the battle is not yours, but God's.'" 
2 Chronicles 20:15

Those 27 words may be some of the most comforting words in all the word of God.  All too often we forget that we aren't in this thing we call life all alone.  God is our heavenly Father.  He created us.  He loves us.  He goes before us.  It's time we stop looking at the circumstances or the 'army' ahead of us and trust that God's got the battle and we don't have to.  We just need to let go and let God!

Between sickness and the emergency c-section premature birth of my newest grandbaby and the graduation of my oldest granddaughter and 3/4 of my church being sick with this crazy bug and my new grandbaby having to be readmitted to the hospital...life has hit my family full force!  I have been knocked down...hard...these past several weeks!  With the latest battle, my precious, premature grandson was transported by ambulance and admitted to the local children's hospital.  I felt like I couldn't handle any more.  But with the love and support of precious friends I saw that this was just a battle.  It's not the war.  And this battle would need to be handled by God, not Debi.


This verse was such a comfort as it has been in the past.  I have no reason to be afraid.  I have no need to be discouraged.  This battle, like every other battle I've ever had or will ever have, is God's!  I can...and should...step back and let God handle it for me!  And I did!  Once I had cried, screamed and held on the the battle, I had to repent.  Repent!  Yes, I had taken the battle out of God's hands and tried to do it on my own.  I had to repent and tell God how wrong I was and that I was sorry.  I gently handed it back to Him and let Him do what He does best...defeat the enemy!  As a result, we are on the mend.  My precious grandbaby was healed and released from the hospital.  My granddaughter, she graduates Saturday.  And even though I couldn't be more proud of her, I know I will blubber like a baby when she walks...as will her mama, my beautiful daughter (different daughter than the beautiful mama of the new baby).

These battles, while they may feel like they will be the end of me, are not mine.  They belong to God, and to God alone!  Have a blessed, battle-free day!

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Christian's GPS

By: Jenifer Metzger

My favorite GPS app is called Waze. I seriously use this app all of the time. This app tells me how to get where I am going. It also tells me how long it will take to get there. It even tells me things like when there are obstacles ahead such as construction, a police car, a stalled car is ahead and if there is an accident. This app is so great because it helps me get to my destination and helps me deal with the things ahead.

The Christian's GPS.

As Christians, we need a GPS. We need something that knows our end destination, Heaven, and can help us get there. Something that can guide us through the obstacles that lie ahead.

God knew this, He knew we would need this kind of GPS. So He gave us His Word.

The Bible knows our end destination and tells us exactly how to get there. It even tells us what to do when there are obstacles in our way and attacks from our enemy come.

The thing is, we have to open the Bible. My GPS is great! But if I don't open the app and plug in the address, it won't be of any help to me. If we don't open the Bible and study it, it won't be of any help to us. We must open it.

Today, open your GPS, the Bible, and study it. Let it become a priority in your life.





It is time for the Woman to Woman Word Filled Wednesday Link Up. We 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 in their comments.

Use hashtag #w2wwordfilledwednesday

Three rules to this link up:
1. Must be a {Christian} faith post.
2. Link back to W2W somewhere in your post. (Feel free to use our button if you want!)
3. Visit and comment on at least one other blog in the link up.

Woman to Woman Ministries

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomato Orzo


Recipe and image courtesy of www.EatingWell.com
Sun-dried tomatoes and Romano cheese pack a flavorful punch along with the tantalizing aroma of fresh marjoram in this rustic Italian-inspired dish. Serve with sautéed fresh spinach or steamed broccolini.

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces orzo, preferably whole-wheat
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes, (not oil-packed), divided
  • 1 plum tomato, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 3 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram, divided
  • 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed (1-1 1/4 pounds)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 9-ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded Romano cheese, divided

Directions:

  1. Cook orzo in a large saucepan of boiling water until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and rinse.
  2. Meanwhile, place 1 cup water, 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, plum tomato, garlic, 2 teaspoons marjoram, vinegar and 2 teaspoons oil in a blender. Blend until just a few chunks remain.
  3. Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent burning, until golden outside and no longer pink in the middle, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate; tent with foil to keep warm.
  4. Pour the tomato sauce into the pan and bring to a boil. Measure out 1/2 cup sauce to a small bowl. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes to the pan along with the orzo, artichoke hearts and 6 tablespoons cheese. Cook, stirring, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Divide among 4 plates.
  5. Slice the chicken. Top each portion of pasta with sliced chicken, 2 tablespoons of the reserved tomato sauce and a sprinkling of the remaining cheese and marjoram.