Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Broken Crayons Still Color

By: Melissa Baker

I have learned over the years that no one is perfect, not even pastors or people who we hold up to higher standards, not our bosses, co workers, or even our friends or family. Sometimes I see someone at church or on Facebook and I think, "their life and marriage must be perfect and flawless. They really have it all together!" But, the Bible tells us that everyone sins and falls short of the glory of God. 

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.
Romans 3:23-26

So if God can be fair even though others sin, shouldn't we follow in His footsteps, and be fair to others even though they may sin?  Let’s face it, we ALL sin, and to God, sin is sin. He did not punish those who sinned in times past, but included them in what he would do in the present time!  So when we are given a chance to allow someone minister to others, it shouldn't matter if they are perfect or not.  Because after all, no one is.  They can still be used by God!
And if you yourself are broken, if you mess up daily, even if you struggle with sin, you are still usable! God can use your testimony to minister to others in ways that you wouldn’t be able to, had you not gone thru your brokenness and sin. It’s amazing how what we think is bad and worthless, God can turn around and use for good to further His kingdom. 

God can use anyone! Even if you are constantly having marital issues. Even if your finances are a mess. Even if you keep falling into sin, over and over again.  Even if you are completely broken. Don't be discouraged. God will use you just as you are! You may be bent and broken, but you are not destroyed. You still have something to offer. You still have the ability to reach others for Christ! And that is the ultimate goal!


Have a great day!

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Merry Christmas

From our families to yours,
Merry Christmas!

Elizabeth Stewart & her husband

Joanne Viola & her family

Melissa Baker & her family

Jenifer Metzger & her family

Debi Baker & her husband

Sarah Geringer & her husband, & Sarah's kids

Emily Miller

We will be taking a break from the blog until January 2, 2019. Come January, we will have a new look and new devotions. In the meantime, we will remain active on social media and would love to connect with you there!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Reflecting Back on 2018

By: Sarah Geringer

As each year draws to a close, I take one day to reflect on the past year and learn from it.

Every year is full of both blessings and sorrows. Challenges and joys. Setbacks and accomplishments. I take time to reflect and thank God for how much he has taught me in the past 12 months.

I've got a naturally reflective personality, but maybe you don't. Today I'll share my tips for how to reflect on 2018 so you can see how much your faith has grown. 

Here are three simple ways to reflect on 2018:
1. Go through the photos on your phone. As you look at the photos, remember the moments when you took them. Think about your feelings and what you were doing at the time. Use these moments to offer God thanks and praise.
2. Scroll through your social media posts. You may be surprised at how much has changed in your life as you survey your social updates. Even if you shared tough things online, dig in deep to look for reasons to praise God anyway.
3. Search your Sent folder. I don't do this very often, and maybe that's why my email storage is usually clogged. But when I take the time to look at my sent emails, I notice my thoughts and feelings that I shared. They usually hint at ways I can give God the credit for all he's done in my life.

Use any of these methods to compile a list of faith milestones for the past year. Then spend 15 minutes alone with God, praising him for everything he taught you along the way.

Moving forward into 2019, make it easier to reflect next December by keeping a gratitude journal. It can be as fancy or as plain as you wish. Simply record several items every day (or at least once per week) to keep track of your blessings. Then you'll be able to flip through it and thank God all over again at the end of next year.

While you are reflecting, meditate on these verses:

I will study your commandments
    and reflect on your ways.

16 I will delight in your decrees
    and not forget your word.
Psalm 119:15-16 NIV

I hope you find many reasons to praise God for the ways he worked in your life in 2018. 

May God grant you peace and blessings in 2019!

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Have a wonderful weekend!

Blessings and God's peace to you,

Photo from Canva.com

Reflection questions:

1. Which method will you use to reflect on your 2018 blessings?

2. What time on your calendar for the next week is best for 15 minutes alone with God?

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Sacred Holidays

By: Jenifer Metzger

I love holidays! All holidays. I love celebrating and spending time with family. I love good food and sleeping in. I love the colors and sounds. I love it all.

As much as I deeply love holidays, I will be the first to admit, holidays are crazy chaotic! My son-in-law to be spent his first holiday with us on Thanksgiving. I think we overwhelmed him a bit. And it wasn't even the whole family! (smiles)

With holidays come families, laughter, and joy, but they also bring high volumes of noise, financial debt, plans to make, and just in general busyness. With this busyness we often forget that holiday actually means holy day. The holiness, the sacredness, is shoved aside and chaos takes center stage.

Becky Kiser understands the struggle and has learned all about making holidays less about chaos and more about Jesus. In her new book Sacred Holidays, Becky reminds us that holidays are meant to draw us closer to God, not leave us feeling depleted.

Becky walks through each holiday from New Year's to Christmas and everything in between, including birthdays. She teaches us how the holiday can point to Jesus and how we can celebrate Him.

If you feel the stress of the holidays, or maybe you just long to put Jesus at the center, Sacred Holidays is the book for you. This is not a book you read once and place on the shelf, it's a book you'll want to keep on hand and refer to often. So pick up a copy today and start making your holidays sacred!

*Disclosure: I received this product for free in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions are my own. Links on this page may be affiliate links. Thank you for supporting this ministry by using the affiliate links.

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

Inlinkz Link Party

Monday, December 10, 2018

A Christmas Wish List

By: Joanne Viola

I went through my teenage years listening to Amy Grant and Kathy Troccoli music.  It should not come as a surprise that one of my favorites Christmas songs is on Amy Grant’s Christmas CD. I have loved this song for years. Even at other times of the year, this song speaks to my heart.
"Here’s my life long wish, my grownup Christmas list. Not for myself but for a world in need."
More than ever before, I am more aware of the brokenness which is in our world. In our lives. And it is into our brokenness our Savior broke into on that first Christmas. Or perhaps He broke open our brokenness.
"No more lives torn apart, that wars would never start and time would heal all hearts."
Time does not heal all hearts. But the Babe in the manger did come for that very reason.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)

 He, Himself, dresses our wounds, and bandages our hearts so we do not hemorrhage.
"Everyone would have a friend."
It is at this time of year, loneliness is most on display. May those who are alone experience the truth that we have a friend that sticks closer than a brother (Prov.18:24). The Life born in the stable came to bring life and to call us His friend.
"Right would always win and Love would never end."
Right will always win. One day He will right all wrongs. And in the meantime, we keep loving others. Loving Him.

"Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”
(1 Corinthians 13:7-8, ESV)

Perhaps our Christmas Wish List should look more like this: 

“He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8, NIV)

What are you desiring this Christmas?

In His Love,
Photo by DiEtte Henderson on Unsplash