Monday, July 22, 2019

He Journeys With Us

By: Joanne Viola

Life is a journey and that makes us "sojourners". The interesting thing about sojourners is this - they stay for a time in a place, living there temporarily.

If we apply this thought to the circumstances in our lives, we realize even circumstances are temporary. They will not last forever.

I recently read:

“And he is not served by human hands as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. And he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.” (Acts 17:25, 26, NIV)

In thinking about our sojourner status, circumstances, and the above verses, these thoughts came to mind: 
  1.  Everything fits into His majestic plan. Perhaps you have doubted the everything part. Maybe you have doubted that His plan for you was majestic. Either way, God handles our doubts and questions quite well.  But “everything” means just that —> everything. Everything which occurs – the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly – all of it fits into His plan.
  2. Our lives will form a beautiful pattern. I imagine our lives to look like a beautiful brocade pattern, made with rich and luxurious threads. We see only the underside, where the threads are knotted and no pattern or beauty seems evident. There will come a day where He will flip the material over and we will stand, jaw to the floor or perhaps, knees to the ground, amazed at the beauty He has formed.
  3. Now is what we have. It’s all we got folks. We will not get "the now" back as once it passes, it becomes "when". So let’s choose to live in the now. In the midst of now, let’s make the most we can of it.  
  4. He is sufficient for today. Let’s not worry about the future as we will find Him sufficient for today. He gives us “life and breath and everything else". He alone can satisfy every need. He determines “the exact places they should live”. He positions us in the very places we are to live, and work. And in that place, He provides all we need, satisfies and fulfills us.
And why does He do this for us?

“God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” (verse 27)

As fellow sojourners, may we remember,
He journeys with each of us.
Photo by Ivana Cajina on Unsplash

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Proverbs 3:5-6 - a favorite verse or a daily practice?

Have you ever felt prickly? You know, easily irritated, frustrated, discombobulated, anxious? I assume we all have at one time or the other. What triggers these feelings? I suppose the causes vary from person to person. For me, having to live in mess and chaos such as during a move or remodel, money struggles, too much busyness and not enough peace and quiet, relational misunderstandings, injustices...these can trigger me to become prickly and irritated.

I've had almost all of those triggers in the past two weeks-remodeling, a lot of busyness, some unexpected plumbing expenses related to our remodel, and an injustice involving the plumber we hired. I've, indeed, had some prickly emotions happening!

This morning I read Proverbs 3:5-6 in The Message Study Bible. 
"Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
    don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
    he’s the one who will keep you on track."

It's a familiar passage to me, but in a different translation.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths. (NKJV)

Unfortunately, I think we can get so familiar with a verse that we forget the importance of living what it says! Perhaps, we begin to take its truths for granted?
Trust in the Lord completely,
and do not rely on your own opinions.
With all your heart rely on him to guide you,
and he will lead you in every decision you make.
Become intimate with him in whatever you do,
and he will lead you wherever you go.(TPT)

This morning, I spent my devotional time focusing on this one passage, then I took everything that I was feeling frustrated, irritated or anxious about, wrote it down, and committed it to God. I felt so much better after choosing to trust and lean on Him about each specific situation or circumstance. I had been wrestling with my thoughts and trying to lean on my own understanding instead of relying on God. No wonder I was so frustrated! I think I need to make this verse more than a favorite passage that I've filed away in my memory banks - I need to make it a daily practice!

Friday, July 19, 2019

The Value of Negative Life Lessons

By: Sarah Geringer

Which negative experience are you going through now?

I experienced something slightly negative this week, but I'm choosing to search for the lessons in it rather than complaining and growing sour.

There's a lot to be learned from the negative things that happen in our lives. We can also learn from the negative experiences in others' lives. I don't want to repeat the same mistakes I've made, and I also don't want to repeat the same mistakes I see others making.

Learning from negative experiences can help us grow even more than positive experiences. When I look back on my life, my faith grew the most during times of learning from the negatives.

I think the apostle Peter could say the same thing. He is known as the disciple that constantly put his foot in his mouth. He could be impetuous, brazen and thoughtless. Just look up scriptures like Matthew 16:22-23 and Matthew 26:73-74 for examples.

I can see myself in Peter. I don't judge him for his mistakes. My heart breaks for him every time I read this verse, because I can see myself standing in the same negative path:

Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.
Matthew 26:75 NIV

But God used this negative lesson to water the seeds of great faith Peter had shown when he made a unique declaration and stepped out on the water. He shaped Peter into the rock of the early church and helped him mellow.

We can see a difference in Peter by reading his New Testament letters. If you read 1 Peter and 2 Peter closely, you can see that God has refined his words and seasoned them with salt and light. He is still using Peter's positive and negative lessons to inspire us today, thousands of years later.

If you are suffering from a negative lesson today, I encourage you to meet with Jesus like Peter did after his hardest lesson. Jesus drew him close, showed forgiveness, and gave Peter hope for the future.

Here's a prayer to encourage you today:

Heavenly Father,
I praise you for helping me learn from all things, both good and bad.
I confess that I often miss the lessons you are trying to teach me.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to learn from my mistakes.
Give me insight into negative lessons so I can make better choices in the future.
In Jesus' name, Amen.
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Have a wonderful weekend!

Blessings and God's peace to you,

Photo from

Reflection questions:

1. What past negative experience holds the most lessons for you?

2. How can meeting with Jesus help you get through a current negative lesson?

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Finding Peace In the Midst of the Pain

By: Tara Smith
Background image by: Simon Lehmann (Getty Images)

I watched through hot tear-filled eyes as our foster son was escorted from our home.  The child that had been in our care for over a year now.  The child we had worked so hard to break down walls with and create a safe space for.  The child we had grown to love through the messiness that is joining lives.  So many confusing emotions raced through my mind as the tears streamed down my cheeks into puddles on the entryway floor.  The only thing I could manage to mutter was "No matter what, we'll always love you."

Sometimes, seasons of life leave us feeling depleted and worn thin.  If we're honest, in those moments, we feel like we're just trying our best just to survive.  These circumstances rarely produce feelings of joy or hope.  In fact, that's the last thing we typically consider in those painful moments.  But friends, we're bound to face them.  From loss of loved ones to expectations gone unmet, the existence of trials is a fairly certain part of life.

You might have heard the phrase "God only gives us what we can handle."  But, I find that phrase false-thinking.  The plan was never for us to handle it alone.  The plan was never for us to lose hope in the struggle.  His plan for us is to find joy in our trials.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world."- John 16:33

But how? How does one take a disheartening circumstance and turn it into joy? When we walked through that time in our life of having to let go of our foster son, finding joy in the mess of pain and heartbreak felt like the last possible option.

Jesus hints at the "how" toward the end of the verse above.  "But take heart! I have overcome the world."  Nothing that we experience is beyond Him.  Nothing we walk through will overtake us.  It may feel heavy and it may seem impossible for the moment, but Isaiah 41:10 reminds us that God promises He will be with us always.  It is His strength we lean on (and survive on) in the midst of struggle.

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." 
- Isaiah 41:10

In times of hardship, we can't trust our emotions.  We should feel them, and sit with them for awhile to work through them, but they can't help us solve anything or move forward.  It's a knowledge of the truth that we have to recite to ourselves in those times.  And so that's what we do. We rehearse His goodness until our hearts can catch up with the truth. 

1. He loves me.
2. He is good.
3. He has good for me.
4. He is with me...even in this.
5. He is bigger than this.
6. He will bring me through this.
7. He will use this for His glory.
8. He will bring beauty from ashes.
9. He will heal me.
10. He will make all things new.

Pray with me: Lord, you know what we're walking through.  You know our darkest thoughts and deepest emotions.  You see it all and more importantly, you see us.  Uphold us with your righteous right hand as we walk through times of struggle and pain.  Remind us of your faithfulness and your redeeming love for us.  Let us feel held by you and comforted by the fact that we do not have to do this life alone.  Amen!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Write the Word

By: Jenifer Metzger

There is something powerful about writing something out in your own handwriting. It helps to remember it. It helps to get it into your heart and mind. Think about it. We have our kids write out their spelling words to learn them. When we write down an appointment we are more likely to remember it. Writing is powerful.

This is why I love Write the Word Journals by Cultivate What Matters. These beautiful journals are made from vegan leather so they are soft to the touch, but they are also strong and made to last. On the inside, you will find a place to write what today is. This could be the date or how you are feeling or what the weather is. Then a place to write something you are thankful for. Next, there is a Scripture reference and blank space to write out that verse. On the next page you will find a space to write out a prayer or draw some artwork to go with your verse.

I hesitated to start Write the Word Journals at first because my handwriting is horrendous! But I realized, it doesn't matter! It's my handwriting! I know what I am writing. My heart is touched when I write God's Word, no matter how messy. And one day when my children, grandchildren, or maybe even my great-grandchildren find my journals, they will be blessed by seeing God's Word and my prayers written out in my handwriting.

Cultivate What Matters launches four brand new Write the Word Journals today! First we have Write the Word Cultivate Worship, then Write the Word The Garden, next Write the Word Fruit of the Spirit, and finally Write the Word for Kids Fruit of the Spirit.

These journals are perfect for busy women who only have a few minutes or for the woman who wants to sit down and dwell. They are perfect for sitting at home with God or on the go while you wait in the doctors office or watch the kids play at the park.

The Write the Word Kids Journals are a wonderful additions to a homeschool curriculum or time with Jesus before heading off to school. The kids journals come with stickers and space to color. Your child will love getting into a regular time with Jesus using their very own journal!

Pick up your own Write the Word Journals today and begin to write out God's Word in your own handwriting! Just click one of the images!

The first 500 orders over $75 today will get free shipping and free Bible tabs! Click below!

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.