Friday, February 15, 2019

Facing Fiery Trials With Faith

By: Sarah Geringer

Today I'm facing a trial that's been coming for some time. I've looked for a way out. I've prayed for a way around. But God is telling me, "The only way to move forward is through."

I don't want to walk through this tunnel of flames. I'm no circus performer who can tumble through without getting burned. I'm just a regular person. A woman of faith, yes. But made of steel? No.

Surely you have also faced situations that were unavoidable, painful and necessary, friend. Does one of those times come to mind right now? Whether it was a test, move, breakup, or job change, you probably bear a few scars from that trial.

Maybe you're headed into another trial as we speak. Maybe the scar has barely healed, and God is showing you another flame tunnel right ahead. You might be thinking you aren't strong enough to handle it. You may be digging in your heels and staying put. You may be worrying about the long-term effects after you pass through.

I'm there with you, friend. If I had a magic machine to fast-forward my life right now, I'd use it without regret. But I know that this flame tunnel has a specific purpose, and God will use it for my good.

This morning I read my One Year Bible, which provided a flame-retardant garment for me to wear today. I'll share a portion of the reading with you and pray that it offers you the same protection.

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare of the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I am trusting him.
For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from the fatal plague.
He will shield you with his wings.
He will shelter you with his feathers.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

Psalm 91:1-4 NLT

Let's pull a few applications from this passage:

God gives us shelter. Like a baby bird is protected under her mother's wings, God shelters us in our trials.
God gives us rest. The trial does not last forever. He will give us rest from it after it passes.
God gives us safety. Our trials can be dangerous, but God is our safe place, no matter what.
God rescues us. We don't have to bear the trials on our own; he will provide rescue for us.
God protects us. He keeps the trial from destroying us. No flames will burn us down, because he offers protection.
God shields us. He goes before us with his shield, defending us in our earthly and spiritual battles.
We can cling to God's promises. By reflecting on his promises when we face trials, we can be protected from spiritual attacks and unnecessary wounds.

I know I didn't write this out only for my own benefit. I'm sure many of you are suffering today, and I hope that this psalm brings you the comfort and the strength you need to move forward.

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,

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Reflection questions:

1. What fiery trial are you facing now?

2. How has God helped you in past fiery trials?

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Love Is...

By: Jenifer Metzger

Valentine's Day is tomorrow. I am still not sure how I feel about this holiday. My husband and I firmly believe that we should show our love to our spouse 365 days a year, not just 1. We should do those little acts of love regularly, not just when the calendar tells us to. Yet on the other hand, it is nice to have that day to do extra things and go all out.

Whether you are one of those who goes all out red and hearts and lovey-dovey for the day or one who dismisses the day completely, this is for you.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails...
I Corinthians 13:4-8

The Bible tells us in I John 4 that God is love. So let's do this again a little differently.

Jesus is patient, Jesus is kind. He does not envy, He does not boast, He is not proud.
He is not rude, He is not self-seeking, He is not easily angered, He keeps no record of wrongs.
Jesus does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. He always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres. Jesus never fails...
I Corinthians 13:4-8

Oh that describes Jesus perfectly! Jesus is all of those things. He is love. Well, we are supposed to be Christ-like. Correct? So let's try this yet again.

Jenifer is patient, Jenifer is kind. She does not envy, she does not boast, she is not proud.
She is not rude, she is not self-seeking, she is not easily angered, she keeps no record of wrongs.
Jenifer does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Jenifer always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres. Jenifer never fails...
I Corinthians 13:4-8


If I were honest with you, I would say that is not true. I am not always patient and kind. I am, at times, easily angered. And yes, I have been known to keep record of my husband's wrong doings. I do fail.

The Bible tells us what love is and it tells us that God is love. It also tells us that we are to be like God. Take out the word love and add your name. Does it match up perfectly? I would imagine it doesn't.

Friends, we need to commit to our spouse, and even to our families and friends, to strive to be like God and to be love. I want to encourage, this Valentine's Day and all the days that follow, let's be love. Memorize I Corinthians 13 and practice putting your name in there and striving to make it true.

I want to be like Christ. I want to be love.

*Please read below as our Woman to Woman Word Filled Wednesday Link Up has changed.

The link up service we previously used now places ads on the link up. Some of the ads do not follow with our faith and we felt it was inappropriate. In order to remove the ads, we must pay and as a ministry with no income, we are not able to do that. So we are changing our link up! Each Wednesday we'd like to 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.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Let's Become Love

By: Joanne Viola

This week we will celebrate Valentine’s Day – a day when it is traditional to send a card or give a gift to the people one loves. I read a study which stated that the average person will spend $146.84 with an expected total of $19.7 billion. Can we even imagine all the chocolate, roses, jewelry, and cards purchased every year? 

The chocolate will be eaten, the flowers will fade and get thrown away eventually, and the cards may or may not get saved for years.

"Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection,and take delight in honoring each other." (Romans 12:9-10, NLT)

As in last Monday, the question again arises: How are we to love? Paul answers the question powerfully: 
  • Love does not wear a mask. True love is free from all pretense. Love will not disguise itself to gain something from another person. There is no personal agenda when loving from a pure heart. 
  • Love hates evil and holds onto the good. True love will not tolerate mean and hurtful behavior. True love will hold tightly, like glue, to acting and reacting in a just and merciful manner to others. 
  • Love is genuine. Do we love one another, deeply, as if we were a family? Love displays a mutual concern and a commitment to others. 
  • Love honors others. Love will not seek to outdo or outshine others. Love thinks of others as better than oneself, and seeks the best interest of others.
"God doesn't want us to just study Him like He's an academic project. He wants us to become love."
(Bob Goff, Everybody Always, prologue)

Love must rule in all our relationships in our homes, churches, and communities. Jesus put it this way:

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35, NIV)

Let’s make the love of Jesus recognizable to the world around us!

Photo by Will O on Unsplash


Sunday, February 10, 2019

The path of life...

We all must enter the path to relationship with our Creator, Father God, and to the hope of eternal life through one narrow door-our belief in and receiving of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as our Savior and Lord. (John 14:16, Acts 16:31) But, you and I all know that the life path that we walk after we make Jesus our Lord, and before we enter into eternity, is a very individual one. No two journeys through this life look alike. The truth is, there has been more than one occasion when I have glanced over at someone else that I think is on a much easier path than mine and asked God why. However, I've also observed someone whose life path has been so much more difficult than mine, and felt ashamed of ever complaining. I assume you can relate.

I'd like to share some of my thoughts with you as I have pondered some of these things this week.

God will show you the path of life.
The path God wants you to walk never has to be a mystery. If you are willing to follow Him, if you have made the choice to yield and submit to His direction, if you are committed to obeying Him, then it will be impossible to not be on the path He has for you. If you get to a spot where you are stuck on what your next step is or which direction you are to go, stand still and be quiet until you hear what to do next.(Isaiah 30:21) If you make a wrong turn or ignore one of God's directions, repent and get back on the path and then simply keep moving forward.

Just because we are doing our best to follow God, that does not mean our path will be easy. Sometimes we can foolishly and willfully insist on our own way and wander off of the path that God wants us to walk. Proverbs 19:3 describes the results of doing so. "The foolishness of man subverts his way [ruins his affairs]; then his heart is resentful and frets against the Lord." We wander off on our own, wind up in a mess, then are resentful and angry at God. 
But, let's assume that most of us are committed to following Jesus. We are submitting ourselves and yielding ourselves to Him. We want to stay in the center of His will. And then our path takes twists and turns, testing and trials come that we didn't expect and sure didn't want. We question God. "Why me?" "What did I do wrong?" The truth is, the Bible sheds some light on our struggle. Not one single Bible hero/heroine had a smooth, easy, pain free path! For example, this week I reread the story of Joseph. WoW! His life path included the worst kind of betrayal, false accusation, and undeserved imprisonment. Yet, God's favor and blessing was still on Joseph even when his circumstances were awful. Unbeknownst to Joseph at the time, his rocky, winding road was leading him right into a position of power and influence. 

Who we are on the path with makes all the difference.
Yes, our path through life can take some unexpected twists and turns. We can face some rough and rocky places. But, if the Presence of God is our companion on the journey, there is strength, comfort, and even joy through all of the ups and downs we face. Moses knew that the Presence of God was his utmost necessity. 
"Moses said to God, “Look, you tell me, ‘Lead this people,’ but you don’t let me know whom you’re going to send with me. You tell me, ‘I know you well and you are special to me.’ If I am so special to you, let me in on your plans. That way, I will continue being special to you. Don’t forget, this is your people, your responsibility.”God said, “My presence will go with you. I’ll see the journey to the end.”Moses said, “If your presence doesn’t take the lead here, call this trip off right now. How else will it be known that you’re with me in this, with me and your people? Are you traveling with us or not? How else will we know that we’re special, I and your people, among all other people on this planet Earth?”God said to Moses: “All right. Just as you say; this also I will do, for I know you well and you are special to me. I know you by name.” Exodus 33:12-17

Grab God's hand.
It's comforting to know that whenever the path gets rough, steep or scary, God's hand is always there to hold on to. " You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore." Psalm 16:11AMPC God's right hand is the place of honor. As we walk the path of life with God, we are walking it as His beloved son/daughter. His strong hand is there for us whenever we are afraid, or weak or weary. All we have to do is reach up and grab hold of Him.  I'm so very thankful for that, aren't you?

Friday, February 8, 2019

A Time to Be Quiet

By: Sarah Geringer

A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
Ecclesiastes 3:7 NLT
What a noisy, rushed, busy culture we all live in today. It's hard to sort out the many messages we receive, and it's difficult to feel heard among the masses.

I have a very difficult time keeping up with emails and tests, maintaining connections with friends, and carving out time to visit extended family.

I'm not the model to follow, to be sure. But I know time to be quiet is an essential counterbalances to all the hustle.

My quiet time is in the morning, before anyone else is up. I get up before 5:00 a.m. and sip my hot tea while I read my Bible. I treasure this quiet, uninterrupted time to commune with God before my busy day begins.

On days I miss out on morning quiet time, I am off-kilter the rest of the day. Small irritations seem huge. My words have an edge to them. I'm not content with anything.

Even on mornings I sleep late, I try to squeeze in 10 minutes of quiet time, because I'm well aware of the cost of not doing so.

Quiet times are ideal for meditating on God's Word, recalling his faithfulness to you, and praising him for what he's doing in your current season of life. You can also use your quiet time to place your trust in him for what's ahead.

My quiet time is the best time for me to draw closer to God. On the days I make time for quiet time, I have greater peace all day long. Yet on the days that I don't get morning quiet time, I try to have it at lunch, during my commute, or even right before bed. It's important for me to choose quiet time every day, because I want to connect with God.

If you're not yet in the practice of having daily quiet time with God, I want to encourage you to try it out. Unlike our human relationships, God is always ready to meet with you. You don't have to schedule an appointment. Simply sharing ten minutes with God every day will grow your faith and increase your peace.

Today's devotion is an adaptation from Chapter 13: Silence and Speaking in my book Newness of Life.
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,

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Reflection questions:

1. When is the best time for you to have a quiet time with God?

2. If you don't have a regular quiet time, will you try it for just one week and see if it makes a difference in your peace level?