Monday, October 22, 2018

Maintain a Heart of Gratitude

By: Joanne Viola 

Last night I was suddenly struck with how it is getting darker earlier. I had not looked at the clock, was unaware as to the time, and I thought it was much later than it actually was. To look at the clock and discover that it was, in fact, early was surprising to me. Several questions went through my mind:
  • Was it this dark this early yesterday?
  • When did it become so dark so early?
  • How had I missed the progression of darkness?
Have you ever noticed we are not aware of the darkness until the light is gone?

Romans 1:21 tells us something about this process:

“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (NIV)
The people whom Paul is speaking about knew God. But they were not glorifying Him as God. In other words, they would not worship Him as God. Neither would they give Him thanks. 

And so began the process in their hearts. 

Their thinking became foolish. Their thoughts about God became confused. Their minds went dark.
“An unthankful heart eventually becomes dark.” (Albert Lindsey)
Gratitude is most important and critical to our spiritual health. Here we discover one reason we want to cultivate an attitude of gratitude - We want to keep the light on in our hearts. 

So, with that said, what are you grateful for today? 

In His Love,
Joanne Viola

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Sunday, October 21, 2018


Does it seem to you that the human mind is like a sieve when it comes to remembering our blessings, but like a steel trap when it comes to remembering our hurts, offenses against us, or our problems and cares?  Likewise, why are we so quick to forget God's faithful care for us when we face a time of need, test or trial? I don't know why that is, but it seems to be a common human condition.

To me, Psalm chapter 78, is the quintessential chapter that addresses this issue. God, through the psalmist Asaph begins the chapter by reminding the children of Israel that they are to remember God's deeds and wonderful works and to be sure to pass them on to the succeeding generations so "that they might set their hope in God and not forget the works of God but might keep His commandments".  God did not want them to be, "as their fathers-a stubborn and rebellious generation", who forgot God's works and the wonders He had show them - their deliverance from Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, the pillar of cloud by day and the fire by night to guide them, the water from the rock in the wilderness. Yet, whenever a test or trial came their way, they would forget all that God had done and begin to grumble and complain, question God's faithfulness, and demand their own way. But, God, He would remember. In His grace, He "remembered that they were but flesh" and would show them merciful compassion and forgive them rather than give them the punishment they deserved. Yet the children of Israel still "remembered not [seriously the miracles of the working of] His hand, nor the day when He delivered them from the enemy" Ps. 78:42. God is asking Asaph's generation, and us as we read His Word today, to not be like them but to make sure we are people who remember His goodness, His faithfulness, His care, His covenant, and His commandments and to train the generations to come to be people who remember.

Two practical ways to do this are to WRITE and to RECITE.

Keep a gratitude journal, a journal of answers to prayer, or some sort of diary of God's faithfulness in your life.
Write down things like -

  • your salvation story
  • stories of God's provision in your life
  • answers to prayer
  • God's healing in your life
  • ways God delivered you from sin and bondage
  • times God clearly guided you
  • times God protected you
Tell your stories of God's goodness and faithfulness in your life to your children and your grandchildren. Tell them to those you disciple and mentor. Tell them to your small group. Spread the Word of God's goodness everywhere and to everyone you can.

The more you write and recite God's goodness, the more it will help you remember God's goodness and faithfulness the next time you face a test or trial.

still following,

Friday, October 19, 2018

How the Holy Spirit Moves in Your Life

The Holy Spirit has been actively moving in my life this week. How about yours?

Do you recognize when the Holy Spirit is moving in your life?

My friend Suzie Eller wrote a beautiful book about The Spirit-Led Heart, and I highly recommend it to you if you don't know much about the Holy Spirit.

Today I'd like to discuss a special verse that describes how the Holy Spirit lives in us.

For in him we live and move and have our being.
Acts 17:28 NIV

I learned this verse as a child, because it's my mom's favorite Bible verse. We didn't talk much about the Holy Spirit in my church growing up, as I feel is common among traditional, conservative denominations.

But learning about the Holy Spirit was important to my mom, so on Sunday evenings, we watched Dr. Charles Stanley preach on television. His platform exposed me to the Holy Spirit in so many blessed ways.

When I was 15 years old I had a "born again" experience, when I submitted my will to God and invited the Holy Spirit into my heart. I've watched Him work in amazing ways ever since that time.

This verse gives me hints about how the Holy Spirit works. You can look up verses on to learn the roles of the Spirit, which include teaching us, advocating for us, counseling us, and reminding us of scriptures. 
He helps us live, move, and have our being...let's break that down.

Live--He teaches us how to live according to God's plans. He convicts our consciences and leads us in the path God chooses.
Move--When we need direction on how to proceed, the Holy Spirit shows us what to do next.
Have our being--He ministers to our spirit and soul, the parts of us that will last in eternity.

This is how the Holy Spirit worked in my life this week:
  • He moved me to pray after an intense conflict, revealing spiritual truths I hadn't seen before.
  • When I sent a prayer request to friends, He moved through their responses to help me pray differently.
  • He showed me a life-changing book in another friend's Facebook post.
  • When I read the book, He gave me direction on a new action to take.
As I look back over the week, I see ways the Holy Spirit worked that I could have never determined myself. 

When you seek the Holy Spirit to live and move in you, and you give yourself over to Him, He will mysteriously and wonderfully reveal truth to you.

If you want to share how the Holy Spirit is working in your life, 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

Reflection questions:

1. How do you feel about the Holy Spirit's relationship with you? Close or far? Why?

2. In what ways has the Holy Spirit recently worked in your life?

3. How can you develop your relationship with the Holy Spirit this week?

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

This Book of the Instruction

By: Jenifer Metzger

This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to
meditate on it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything
written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do.
Joshua 1:8

In Joshua chapter one, Joshua has just taken over as leader after Moses died. He instructs the people telling them to be bold and courageous. He also tells them to live by the Word, encouraging them to meditate on it and obey what is written. This is his formula for success.

This is our formula too. We need to be in the Word, meditating on it day and night, and obeying it.

There is a saying that goes, "The Bible is our daily bread, not cake for special occasions." We can't pull our Bible off the shelf for Sunday service or Easter morning and expect to know the heart of God. We need to read it daily and meditate on the words we read.

Here are a few tips to making this Book of Instruction part of our daily life:

Set a time.

Set a time that you will read your Bible each day. If you set a time, such as an appointment, you are more likely to stick to it. So decide what time works best for you, whether it's first thing in the morning, lunch break at work or while the kids nap at home, after dinner, or before bed. Whatever it is, set the time and stick to it. There will be times you need to be flexible with your time, especially if you have little ones, but sticking to your time for the most part will prove to be helpful in Bible reading.

Leave your Bible open.

When you are done with your daily reading, leave your Bible out and open. If the Bible is open, as you walk by throughout the day you can read a Scripture. When things feel stressful, what better help than to walk past your Bible and read a verse or two!

Find an accountability partner/group.

When you have a support system it is easier to follow through. Think of when you are going to the gym, when you have a partner there waiting on you, it is easier to make the move and go. Having an accountability partner who is waiting to hear from you will help. Woman to Woman offers private Facebook groups for this purpose. To join a Morning Reflections group, click HERE.

Remove distractions.

When you are reading the Bible, remove distractions. Turn off the tv and silence your phone. If possible, find a place that is quiet. Remove distractions will help you to focus on the Word.

Be intentional, not lackadaisical.

When something is important to us, we are intentional about it. The Bible is eternally important to us. It is our lifeline. We must be intentional about it. When it's hard to read, read anyway. When you don't feel like reading, read anyway. When life has you down, read anyway. When you are grieving, read anyway. And when it's too hard to read, cling to the Word and seek your accountability partner to help you through.

Let the Bible, the Book of Instruction, be a part of your life. A part of your every day.


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I love God's Word. I love the beauty He created in this World. The two together are amazing.

To purchase the (in)Courage Devotional Bible, click HERE. To enter to win an (in)Courage Devotional Bible from Front Gate Media, click the banner below:

Simplified Planner, Emily Ley, Daily Planner

Disclosure: I received this Bible in exchange for my honest opinion.

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.

On social media, use hashtag #w2wwordfilledwednesday!

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

Woman to Woman Ministries

Monday, October 15, 2018

Lessons From An Ant Farm

By: Joanne Viola

Going to Grandparents Day at the school of my granddaughters is always been a delightful time as the girls show off their classrooms, their teachers, their friends, and their work.

This year proved to be no different except in one way.

Jocelyn showed me the class "ant farm".

She proudly explained how they tunneled, kept busy, who the leaders were, and then the area where the "cemetery" ones were to be found.

The surprise came when left with my thoughts and the Scripture came to mind:
"Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter." 
(Proverbs 6:6-8, NLT)

The ant farm continued to stir my thoughts for several days and with a little “research” I discovered:
  • They work independently. Without someone watching over them, or giving them instruction, they are motivated to work.
  • They plan for the season ahead. They know to watch and plan for the days ahead.
  • They work hard. They make the most of their days, working hard in the current season in order to store up for the next season.
After visiting the first grade classroom, I found myself thinking on this small ant farm and the lessons they were speaking to my heart.

The Lord gave us the ants as a visual, an example by which we can learn and live wisely. May we work diligently as the seasons of life demand, so that we will always have the provisions needed.

Lord, help us to remember the ways of ants,
and may they keep us from becoming lazy.

In His Love,
Joanne Viola
Photo by Vlad Tchompalov on Unsplash