Monday, September 16, 2019

Promise, Fight, and Victory

By: Joanne Viola

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” (2 Corinthians 10:4, NIV)


God has given us great and wonderful promises by which to live. I cannot help but wonder why there have been times I would expect them to come easily, without a fight.

Yes, God has given us promises. They are for us today; and He also tells us, we will engage in a fight to live in the fullness of all He has for our lives.

God promised Abram land – The Promised Land. God Himself says to Abram:

“To your descendants I give this land, from the rivers of Egypt to the great river, The Euphrates..”  (Genesis 15:18, NIV)

God promised the land, even telling Abram the boundaries. He was quite clear on what was being given to him and to his future generations.

God, in His great mercy, also continues to tell Abram what to expect within those boundaries:

“… the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.” (Genesis 15:19, NIV)

God tells Abram, the land is yours, but there will also be a fight to gain it as there are people living there who are your enemies.

God is mighty and with one swell breath, He could have wiped the land clear of those occupants. But He did not.

God knew the land was way too tall of an order for His people to obtain all at once. They needed to grow in number to have the strength and abilities, to not only continuing to conquer the land, but to maintain the land.

In a nutshell – they needed to develop. The same is true for us. God desires for us to grow in strength and depth of relationship with Him.

Several years ago, I experienced deep joy as I heard a loved one say, “I am a cancer survivor!”

The joy in being able to say this was obvious in her words, her tone, and her face. It had been a long, hard year. A battle. It did not come easily. But she knew the joy of the victory which God had brought to her.

God has given His promises so that we have all we need to fight and are able to obtain what He has promised.

Through the promises and the fight,
we come to know the thrill of victory with Him.

May we fight hard – each and every day!


Photo by Carolyn V on Unsplash
 


 
 

Sunday, September 15, 2019

God is Listening to What We Say About Him


Malachi 3: 13-18 The MessageGod says, “You have spoken hard, rude words to me. You ask, ‘When did we ever do that?’When you said, ‘It doesn’t pay to serve God. What do we ever get out of it? When we did what he said and went around with long faces, serious about God-of-the-Angel-Armies, what difference did it make? Those who take life into their own hands are the lucky ones. They break all the rules and get ahead anyway. They push God to the limit and get by with it.’”
 Then those whose lives honored God got together and talked it over. God saw what they were doing and listened in. A book was opened in God’s presence and minutes were taken of the meeting, with the names of the God-fearers written down, all the names of those who honored God’s name.
God-of-the-Angel-Armies said, “They’re mine, all mine. They’ll get special treatment when I go into action. I treat them with the same consideration and kindness that parents give the child who honors them. Once more you’ll see the difference it makes between being a person who does the right thing and one who doesn’t, between serving God and not serving him.”
Recently, while reading through the book of Malachi with She Reads Truth, I was deeply convicted as well as deeply encouraged as I read this passage from chapter three. In this passage we see two groups of people-the God accusers and the God honorers. The God accusers are upset at God for what they see as unfairness. Why isn't life better for the obedient than for the disobedient? Why do the disobedient get away with the way they live? I get it. I want to see the wicked punished and the righteous blessed. I get upset when those who love and serve God suffer and I get upset when I don't see God's justice against wrongdoers. Until I'm the one who does wrong-then I want God to be merciful and long-suffering! 
The God honorers talk about God when they get together. Obviously, God listens and hears the mumbling and complaining of the God accusers, because in this passage He's correcting them about it. But when the God honorers get together and talk about God with one another, God doesn't just listen, He takes notes! God writes down the names of the God honorers and makes them a promise. He tells them that when The Day comes when He makes wrong things right, when evil is judged and righteousness is rewarded, He will give the God honorers special treatment. He will call them His own and as a good and loving Father, He will show them His kindness and consideration. They will see clearly that serving God and living righteously has been worth it.
I want with all of my heart to be a God honorer. I don't want to fall into the snare of satan, who is an accuser by nature, and listen to his accusations against God. That's how sin came into this world. satan accused God to Adam and Eve of withholding something good from them. They listened to his accusations and believed his lies and ate his bait. Literally.
God is listening to what we say about Him. I tremble to think of Him having to correct me for speaking hard, rude words about Him as He did to the God accusers in the book of Malachi. But, I get excited to think of being on God's list of God honorers and of there being a book of remembrance of all of the God honoring things I've said about Him. My heart's desire is to be a God honorer and when I get to heaven I want to see that book that is filled with notes of the God honoring things I've said about Him. I pray it's a really, really thick one!



Friday, September 13, 2019

5 Love Letters from God



By: Sarah Geringer


Do you need a love letter from God? Scripture is full of them!

We all need a boost for our love tanks. Even the best relationships can't keep them full. Only God is able to always offer us love that truly sustains our hearts.


These five scriptures are God's love letters to you. Meditate on them slowly today, inserting your name in the blanks.

The Lord is compassionate and merciful,
    slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
He will not constantly accuse ________,
    nor remain angry forever.
He does not punish ________ for many sins;
    he does not deal harshly with ________, as deserved.
For his unfailing love toward ______
    is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
He has removed ______'s sins as far from ______
    as the east is from the west.
The Lord is like a father to his children,
    tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
For he knows how weak _______ is;
    he remembers ________ is only dust.
_______'s days on earth are like grass;
    like wildflowers, ________ blooms and dies.
The wind blows, and ______ is gone—
    as though ________ had never been here.
But the love of the Lord remains forever
    with __________.
Psalm 103:8-17 NLT

Nothing can ever separate _______ from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
 neither fears for today nor worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate _______ from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate ________ from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39 NLT

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved _______ so much, that even though _______ was dead because of sin, he gave ________ life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that _______ has been saved!)
Ephesians 2:4-5 NLT

And may _______ have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.
Ephesians 3:18 NLT

What marvelous love the Father has extended to ________! Just look at it—________ is called a child of God! That’s who _______ really is. 
1 John 3:1a MSG

I hope this meditation exercise has filled you up with God's love. As you continue to meditate on these beautiful verses, you'll know just how much God loves you!
If you want to share feedback on this post, please leave a comment below. You can always share at my site if you have any trouble leaving a comment here.

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Have a wonderful weekend!

Blessings and God's peace to you,





Photo from Canva.com



Reflection questions:




1. Which verse above encouraged you the most?

2. Which other portions of Scripture help you feel loved?


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Remembering

By: Jenifer Metzger

I was still lying in bed with my infant daughter. Watching her beautiful face as she cooed. The house still and quiet. My older two children were with my mom having a Nana night. My husband was at trade school. Suddenly the phone rang, my husband. He urgently said, "Turn on the tv now!" I couldn't believe my eyes. Was it real? It couldn't possibly be. It was.

That night our church kids had a skating party scheduled. I battled with canceling or not. We decided it was best to keep the outing. Our group the only ones at the rink. No one skated. We simply watched the tv screens, shocked.

Do you remember where you were? How could you forget? It felt like our whole world tilted.


On this 18th anniversary {can we really call it that?} of a horrid day in American history, we remember. We remember the moments our lives changed. The moments mothers lost sons, wives lost husbands, kids lost parents, we remember. We remember our first responders who diligently worked to save, only to have so many of them lose their own lives. We remember heroes who tried to stop the attack, knowing it would end their own life to save others. We remember service men and women who stepped in to fight for our freedoms. We remember.

We remember the days following when race didn't matter, politics didn't matter, differences didn't matter. We all loved each other. We all held each other. We all were kind. We lended a hand. We gave blood. We prayed. We cared. We were Americans. We were united as one.

What can we do to honor the lives lost on this day?

We can lend a hand to someone.
We can offer a smile to everyone.
We can forgive those who have hurt or wronged us.
We can apologize to those we have hurt or wronged.
We can love.
We can thank our first responders and respect them.
We can thank our service men and women and respect them.
We can put differences aside.
We can accept people.
We can pray.

Let's honor those lives lost today.

If you were personally affected on this day, please comment so that I can pray for you by name.




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, September 10, 2019

El Roi, the God Who Sees





Photo Courtesy of Ben White



"Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, 'Have I also here seen Him who sees me?'” 
~Genesis 16:13

It is such a beautiful practice to study the names of God, a practice which uniquely enables us to get to know our Lord better and to develop a closer understanding of His heart.
Today we are going to focus on the name Hagar attributed to Him in Genesis 16, El Roi, or "God of Seeing".

When You Feel Unseen and Alone

Are you going through a hard season in your life where you feel like you are all alone and nobody cares? Perhaps you are a young mama at home with your little children, working day after day to care for them and feel like no one sees or appreciates your work. Maybe you are going through a dark time with your husband having betrayed you and you are feeling ignored and rejected, alone in your pain and heartache. Or perhaps you recently lost a dear loved one, someone who always went out of their way to take time to bless and encourage you and now you feel like you have no one who cares. 

May I encourage you today? God sees. He cares. And He is with you.

Comfort in the Wilderness

If anyone could understand how you are feeling right now, it would be Hagar. You can read Hagar's full story for yourself in Genesis 16, but suffice it to say that this poor woman felt the same feelings of rejection, loneliness, and misunderstanding that you may be experiencing.

Hagar was Sarah's maid (Sarah being Abraham's wife) and was a majorly faithful one at that! She did all of Sarah's bidding - even the bidding which seems downright crazy and repulsive to us today. Yet, her obedience to Sarah - what should have led to her finding favor in her mistress' eyes - actually led to Sarah treating her harshly and unfairly. In fact, Genesis 16:6 says, "and when Sarai (Sarah) dealt harshly with her, she fled from her presence." 

In the following verses, we see that Hagar traveled into the wilderness upon leaving Sarah and was met there by the Angel of the Lord Himself, Who comforted her, "heard [her] affliction", and promised to "multiply [her] descendants exceedingly". Verse 13 goes on to say, "Then she called the name of the Lordwho spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees". 

Friend, take heart and see - the Lord is not unfeeling towards us! Far from it. He loves us deeply, views us tenderly as His daughters, and is always present - even when we are feeling hurt and alone, rejected and unseen.

Other Passages to Remember

I recently came across Hebrews 6:10, and it instantly struck me:
"For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister."
How well that applies to us busy ladies who are daily tending to the never-ending needs of our children or working to care for our husbands or dedicating time to the upkeep and productivity of our homes! We may feel unseen, forgotten, and unappreciated, but we simply are not. Our Lord sees our faithful work, remembers it, and values it.

The following are some other passages I find encouraging in this area:
"But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly." ~Matthew 6:3-4

" Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” ~Deuteronomy 31:6


Be Encouraged Today!

Sweet reader, please know that you are not alone. Whether you are once again washing a tower of dishes at your kitchen sink or staring at yet another newly-arrived bill in the mail, wondering how you will be able to pay it, or reeling from the heartache of some recent tragedy in your life, He sees you. Right where you are, He sees you. In this very moment with exactly what you are doing in this day, He sees you. And He will never look away.