Friday, November 15, 2019

How to Serve as a Peacemaker this Season



By: Sarah Geringer



Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
James 3:18 NIV

Do you consider yourself a peacemaker?
As a believer in Jesus, the Prince of Peace, you are called to share his peace with others. This is especially important and needed during the holiday season, when so many people are desperate for peace.



The best way to share peace with others is to start with prayer. Before you leave your home for the day, pray that God will help you share peace with every person you meet. This includes difficult people at work, annoying drivers, relatives that get on your nerves, crabby cashiers, and total strangers. All of these people need a peace ambassador in their lives, and you may be the only person who shares peace with them during that particular day.


Praying beforehand helps you choose peace in challenging moments. Being a peacemaker isn't easy work. But when we rely on the Holy Spirit to bear the spiritual fruit of peace through us, he does the heavy lifting. We can simply share peace with friendly eye contact, smiles, kind words, and caring concern. Depending on your relationship to the peace recipient, you can use various techniques to share peace instead of strife.

Prayer is essential in your work as a peacemaker. It will direct you on where to sow seeds of peace. The Holy Spirit may lead you to unexpected places for peace sharing, where you will reap unanticipated blessings. As you sow seeds of peace this busy season, look forward to the harvest of righteousness that God will show you in hindsight. 

Prayer:
Heavenly Father,
Thank you for providing perfect peace that transcends understanding.
I know that you call me to share your peace with others, especially in this busy season.
Holy Spirit, I pray you will make me into an ambassador for peace.
I want to introduce others to the Prince of Peace through simple words and actions.
Show me where to sow seeds of peace through prayers.
In Jesus' name,
Amen.
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Have a wonderful weekend!

Blessings and God's peace to you,





Photo from Canva.com



Reflection questions:




1. Which relationship of yours needs an extra dose of peace?

2. When is the best time of day for you to pray about sharing peace with others?


Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Tears

By: Jenifer Metzger

Pain is something no one is a stranger to. We have all experienced it. We will all experience it again. The pain of losing a loved one, of a severed relationship, a dream stripped away, even physical pain. It's there. Sometimes we think we are past the pain, past the sleepless nights, when out of the blue, that dull ache comes right back.

There is one thing about pain though, we never face it alone.


God knows. He sees. He hears.

Sister, whatever pain you are facing right now, please know that God knows. He sees those sleepless nights, He knows when your heart races, He catches your tears. You are not alone.

**********

Knowing that God knows my tears prompted me to choose this beautiful necklace from Holly Lane Christian Jewelry. The necklace, lovingly called Tears, is a reminder that He hears our tears like prayers.


Holly Lane Christian Jewelry is handmade wearable reminders of Truth. Each piece comes with a story card, a note with the verse that inspired your jewelry piece. You can shop by jewelry or by Scripture verse. 

The quality of the jewelry is amazing. When you order online, you just never really know exactly what you are getting. With Holly Lane, you are getting high quality jewelry that will last you. Every piece is beautifully packaged and arrives to your door quickly.






To enter to win a $100 gift card to Holly Lane Christian Jewelry, click HERE.






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, November 12, 2019

Huldah and the Quest for Validation

By: Rebekah Hargraves

Photo Courtesy of: Bethany Laird


“Go, inquire of the Lord for me, and for those who are left in Israel and Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found; for great is the wrath of the Lord that is poured out on us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord, to do according to all that is written in this book.” So Hilkiah and those the king had appointed went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tokhath, the son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe. (She dwelt in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter.) And they spoke to her to that effect. Then she answered them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel,” ~2 Chronicles 34:21-23a



For centuries the pagan myths and stereotypes of patriarchy have seeped into the church, blurring our understanding of biblical womanhood and misconstruing whole passages of Scripture. For years, women have been made to believe that for them to teach men theology is for them to intentionally be in direct contradiction to God, His design, and His Word.

But this is simply not true. Throughout the Bible, we see instances of women being used by God to spread His truth - to men and women alike (we are not debating today whether or not women can serve as pastors; we are instead answering the question of whether or not it is ok for a woman to teach a man).  One such example of this - a truly fascinating one at that! - is the story of Huldah the prophetess. 

You can read her story in its entirety in both 2 Kings 22 as well as 2 Chronicles 34. Suffice it to say here, however, that she was powerfully used of God to teach right theology to the men who came to her for guidance and wisdom.

We read in both of the chapters referenced above that Hilkiah the High Priest had found the long-since-lost Book of the Law (which scholars believe to have actually been the book of Deuteronomy). Shaphan, his scribe, proceeded to read it aloud before the King. The King, however, was having trouble interpreting it, so he asked his men (a group of five most noteworthy men including Hilkiah, the High Priest; Ahikam, the father of the future governor; Achbor, the son of a prophet; Shaphan, the secretary of state; and Asaiah, the king’s officer) to go "inquire of the Lord" for him and for all of Judah, so that they might better understand the words contained in the book, as well as ascertain God's future plans for Judah. Hilkiah and his men did so, intentionally choosing to see Huldah the prophetess (even though the well-known prophet Jeremiah was also prophesying at this same exact point in history). This woman, Huldah, not only clearly went on to faithfully teach the men what was contained in the Book of the Law, but she even went so far as to prophesy about the future and what God would do to the people of Judah. God used this woman and spoke through her to the men. Interesting, isn't it?

Many Christian women today are on the search for validation. They have been sold a bill of goods when it comes to the Bible’s supposed patriarchal nature and teachings, when in reality, God’s design is something far more freeing and more beautiful than many realize. Many women are searching for their place in the church, wondering how they can and should serve the Lord. They are being bombarded on a daily basis by differing voices of all kinds. 

Regardless of where one lands on the topic of whether or not women should, for example, be senior pastors of churches, the Bible is abundantly clear on this: women and men were both created to be partners in this life, to be Great Commission workers and ambassadors of Christ, to be image bearers of God, and to be faithful proclaimers of God’s truth wherever and whenever God leads them to just such an opportunity. 

The fact of the matter is that Peter’s admonition for us to be always ready “to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (see 1 Peter 3:15) is a command given to both men and women. And God uses both men and women every single day to free others through the truths of God’s Word and sound theology.

Any time you are tempted to search for, strive for, and maybe even fight for validation from anyone and everyone, stop. Let go. And instead pour over the truths of God’s Word. Search out the narratives, the amazing stories God presents to us in His Word that show us how He uses both His sons as well as His daughters to further His kingdom and set captives free in countless ways. 

That is all the validation you need, my friend. Just as God used Huldah, He is ready and willing to use you, as well. Be a student of His Word, be a Berean (see Acts 17:11), and be ready to help others learn to interpret His Word even as Huldah did King Josiah and the men in his court. You don’t need to search for, strive for, or work towards validation from others. You already have it from your God.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Remember Our Veterans

By: Joanne Viola

“This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” 
 (Joshua 1:9, NLT)



Today is Veterans’ Day.
“Almighty God, we commend you for your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad. Defend them by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
(from The Book of Common Prayer, page 823)
 We must be grateful for those that have gone before our lifetime, and for those currently serving, to protect the freedoms we enjoy each and every day. We must not forget, nor minimize, their sacrifice. We need to also remember the sacrifice of each and every family, as they are without their loved ones for extended periods of time. May God be with, and keep safe, those that are now serving and comfort their families in their absence.

“Courage is almost a contradiction in terms.
It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die.”
(GK Chesterton)


Photo by Justin Casey on Unsplash
 




Sunday, November 10, 2019

Developing a Thanksgiving Lifestyle




Thanksgiving Day is quickly approaching! I believe that thanksgiving should be more than something we focus on for one day a year. For that reason, I am repeating this post about a simple way to make thanksgiving more than just a holiday. I believe it should be the lifestyle of the believer.

 It was really eye opening to me the day I stumbled upon Deuteronomy 28:47,(Amplified Bible, Classic Edition), in my Bible reading. In this verse we find out that one of the reasons that God's people were living a less than life was "Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joyfulness of mind and heart in gratitude for the abundance of all with which He had blessed you." Gratitude is important to God and it's life changing for us.  Ann Voskamp, author of the book One Thousand Gifts, writes, "Give thanks if you are joyful is, in reality, to be joyful give thanks." Did you notice in that verse in Deuteronomy how, to God, both our joyfulness and our gratitude are not only important, but connected? 

So, how do we become a more grateful, thankful person?  How do we make thanksgiving a lifestyle? I've found that one simple habit has been life changing for me in making me a more thankful person. Before Ann Voskamp wrote her book she blogged about her habit of gratitude journaling, of writing down at least three things that she was grateful for each day.  She encouraged her blog readers to do the same, and then once a week we would write blog posts filled with our weekly gratitudes and link it up on her website.  I began gratitude journaling, due to her encouragement, in 2009 and have been writing down at least three things I am grateful for every day since.  I've now journaled well over twelve thousand things I am grateful for in the subsequent years.  This simple practice has helped me to see, in the hardest of times and in the best of times, that God is always faithful and there is always something to be thankful for.  Thanksgiving has become a habit! It really is that simple. If you want to develop a more thanks filled lifestyle, why not give it a try.  All you need is some sort of simple notebook or journal, a pen and a willing heart!