Sunday, September 20, 2020

To the Weary, Weak and Wounded

by Elizabeth Stewart

 “...Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!”Hebrews‬ ‭12:1-3‬ ‭MSG‬‬

To you who are weak and weary in well doing. To you who have been wounded in the good fight of faith. It’s ok to be gut level honest with God. It’s ok to cry out to Him about your pain and your anger. It’s human to want to quit that seemingly impossible assignment God has given you. Get it all out before Him. He knows it’s there inside of you anyway. Then lift up your eyes and fix your gaze on your suffering Savior Who now reigns on the throne of heaven as the Conquering King. He never lost sight of the finish while He endured the cross. There’s a victorious finish for you and I too-there is a coming day when we will see Him and our Conquering King will make all things new. He will right the wrongs in this sin twisted world. Meanwhile, we lean on His strength, we depend on Him to help us to endure, as we learn to suffer well and keep on running our race with our weak and wobbly legs and our broken hearts. If we don’t quit, we will win in the end.

Friday, September 18, 2020

How to Cultivate a Thankful Heart


By: Sarah Geringer 

A thankful life means more than just telling God “thank you” for your blessings. It involves many other aspects of the Christian life. These verses will help you learn how God hears your thankfulness best, and they will help you cultivate a thankful heart.

Thank God by counting blessings

May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to His people, who live in the light. For He has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of His dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. Colossians 1:11–14

No matter your situation, you can always count your heavenly blessings. Jesus rescued you from the power of death by paying the price for your sins. He has given you an eternal inheritance. That’s always a reason for thankfulness! Counting your blessings, whether big and small, cultivates a thankful heart.

Thank God by keeping promises

Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High. Psalm 50:141

God wants us to keep the promises we make to him and to others. In doing so, we offer thankfulness as a sacrificial gift.

Thank God by trusting him

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. Psalm 28:7

When we trust God, we show our reliance upon him rather than upon our own strength. His help inspires joy and thanksgiving in our hearts.

Thank God through obedience

Everything you do or say should be done to obey Jesus your Lord. And in all you do, give thanks to God the Father through Jesus. Colossians 3:17

God knows we love him when we obey him. In every activity of our life, obedience and thanksgiving should be benchmarks.

Thank God through music

And each morning and evening they stood before the Lord to sing songs of thanks and praise to Him. 1 Chronicles 23:30

Whether you can carry a tune or not, God loves to hear you sing to him. Sing in the shower, in the car, in your home while doing chores. Your praises will create a thankful song to God.

Thank God through prayer

Do not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks. Philippians 4:6

It’s easy to fall into a habit of simply making requests of God in our times of prayer. But God wants more from us than our requests. He wants our praise and thanksgiving too. By thanking God for specific blessings in prayer, we gain a healthy perspective on life and quell anxiety.

Thank God with a positive attitude

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:20

Every circumstance, whether good or bad, presents an opportunity for thanksgiving. Even in the worst of times, we can be thankful for God’s constant presence and his provision. Staying positive is a way of saying “thank you” to God every day.

Thank God with reverence

Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping Him with holy fear and awe. Hebrews 12:28

We need to hold God in high honor, with respect and awe for his power and might. By taking a humble stance with God, we can thank him through our reverent worship.

Let these verses plant seeds of thankfulness in your heart and reap a thankful harvest for God every day through prayer, meditation, and worship.

Here's a prayer to encourage you today:

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for all your blessings to me!
They are greater than I can count.
I don't want to only go through the motions of thanking you.
I want to be fully engaged in a life of thankfulness.
Cultivate gratitude in my heart, Jesus.
May my thankfulness be a small gift
in return for all the goodness you show me.

In Jesus' name, Amen.

Want more tips on Christian meditation? Check out my book, Transforming Your Thought Life: Christian Meditation in Focus.

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Have a wonderful weekend!

Blessings and God's peace to you,

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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Follow and Obey

 By: Jenifer Metzger

Jesus answered, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep
my word. My Father will love him, and we will come
to him and make our home with him.
John 14:23

Follow and Obey #w2wministries #obedience #obey #follow #followGod

I recently got a hard lesson in obeying. I have a tooth ache. The dreaded wisdom tooth my dentist has been warning me about for a couple of years now. I’ve ignored her because, well, dental work terrifies me a bit. This past weekend the tooth became infected and caused a great deal of pain. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, and I could hardly talk. I just sat there crying. I tried numbing gel, numbing mouthwash, ice packs, and pain medication. Typically, I avoid pain medication, but this pain was severe enough to take it. Nothing was working, so I took more pain medication. After a few hours the pain had not subsided, so I took more. My husband told me that he thought I had taken enough pain medication, but I hurt too bad and ignored him as I popped four more tablets.

After almost forty-eight hours of non-stop pain and many tears, I called the dentist’s after hours number. She called in an antibiotic and prescription pain medication with an added drug to help me sleep. She gave me clear instructions and I took the medication as directed. After a couple hours, there was still no relief so I took a couple more of my regular over-the-counter pain pills. I thought surely the pain would ease up and I could sleep. 

Just the opposite. My stomach started cramping. It was the worst pain ever. Give me childbirth any day over what I was experiencing! My husband ended up taking me to the ER. When they heard all of my symptoms and my husband told on me about taking too much medication, they said I had overdone it and could possibly have a stomach bleed which would need emergency surgery. Oh. Great. Thankfully everything came back okay and I didn't have a stomach bleed and would not need surgery. They gave me an IV of medication to stop the pain. Once that kicked in, they sent us home.

The next day I stayed home from church and rested all day. But as medication from the hospital started to wear off, I started feel nauseous. I felt nauseous nonstop for two more days. All the effects of not following the directions on the pain medication's bottle. I could have caused myself a great deal of harm from not following those directions. Medication has clear directions for a reason.

But be doers of the word and not
hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
James 1:22

God has clear directions for us too. When we don't follow His directions, we can cause ourselves a great deal of harm, even eternal death. God loves us and He knows what is best for us. He knows our future and what His plans are for us. All we have to do is follow and obey Him.

God's directions can be found in His Word. The Bible is our instruction manual. It tells us exactly what we need to know. The more we read it, the more we understand it and the closer we get to God. The closer we get to God, the more we want to obey Him. It is all a beautiful cycle when we obey God.

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 15, 2020

Love is Proven by Action

 By: Rebekah Hargraves

Photo Courtesy Of: Austin Kehmeier

“God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His one and only Son into the world so that we might live through Him.” ~1 John 4:9

It is not simply enough to say that you love someone. We know that the love we claim to have for others absolutely must be proven by action or else it isn’t love at all.

This is a truth that has been running through my mind for several months now. And it was confirmed for me in the clearest way in a Scripture passage I read recently, the one quoted above.

Interestingly, the same exact concept written by John in today's verse was also taught by Jesus Himself when He said that *if* we love Him, then we will *obey* Him.”

Love is always proven by action. Mere words simply do not suffice.

Jesus commanded that we *love* one another. How would you say we are we doing on that? Are we loving people in word only? Or do they actually feel and see our love in real and tangible ways? Are we saying we love them, when really we are just judging everything they do? Are we saying we love them, when really we are shunning and rejecting them? Are we saying we love them when really we are only speaking truth to them, but failing to back up that truth with hands-and-feet-of-Christ action?

Throughout the Scriptures we read the concept that it is God‘s *kindness* that led to our repentance. If we want to reach the world for Christ, if we want to be an encouragement and edification for our brothers and sisters, we are going to have to love them. Which means that they are going to have to see and feel and know our love. Nothing else will do.

Monday, September 14, 2020

The Lord is My Shepherd

 By: Joanne Viola

For the next several weeks, each Monday, we are going to go through the familiar passage of Psalm 23. Phrase by phrase, we will dig a little deeper to uncover the precious truths and hidden treasure found in this beloved and oft quoted psalm.

Most, if not all of us, know this psalm by heart. The imagery is rich and immediately calls to mind a picture of a shepherd walking with his sheep.

“The Lord is my Shepherd …” (Psalm 23:1, NLT)

“After all, he [David] knew from firsthand experience the lot in life of any particular sheep depended on the type of man who owned it. Some men were gentle, kind, intelligent, brave and selfless in their devotion to their stock. Under one man sheep would struggle, starve, and suffer endless hardship. In another’s care they would flourish and thrive contentedly.

(from A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, by Phillip Keller, page 17)

What can we learn about our Shepherd from this simple declaration?

  • There is no one better able to take care of us than our Shepherd. He created us and knows us better than we know ourselves. “But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1, NIV). His heart is for us to come to know Him so intimately, that we entrust ourselves to His love and attention.
  • He already paid the price for us. Much the way a shepherd purchases their flock. our lives have been purchased and paid for by the precious life of Christ. The words to the old hymn come to mind: “Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe, my sin had left a crimson stain, but He washed it white as snow.”
  • Our Shepherd delights in caring for us continually. He never tires of the job, nor sleeps on the job. “The one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps” (Psalm 121:3-4, NLT). His care is constant.
“The only safe place for a sheep is by the side of his Shepherd,
because the devil does not fear sheep.
He only fears the Shepherd.”
(A. W. Tozer)
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay