Monday, March 4, 2024

Persevere in His Strength

 By: Joanne Viola


They say “a woman’s work is never done.” But I am not sure anyone’s work is ever done.

We catch up on laundry, only to have to do it all over again in a few days. We go food shopping but will surely need to go again next week toting our list. We pay bills and yet, the mailman will bring more another day. Furniture will need to be dusted, floors will require a mopping.

Babies will cry and need to be fed, changed, rocked, and played with, day after day.

Kids will need to be driven to school and activities week after week, probably until they are able to drive themselves. Then we sit up waiting for them to come home, night after night.

Life starts over each morning, each week, each month, each season, and each year. The days ebb and flow, some easier than others, while some are more trying than others.

We can get tired – physically, mentally, and/or emotionally. We question where will we find the strength, or maybe the energy, to do it again when we wake in the morning.

Perseverance has been defined as: “continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition” (from merriam-webster.com). It’s the quality or action of being steadfast. Determined to keep on going. Like the EverReady Bunny.

“Perseverance is not a long race; it’s many short races one after another.”
(Walter Elliot)

But where does that quality come from? It might be a good time to look at the source of our strength:

  • I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13, NASB)
  • He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.”  (Isaiah 40:29, NLT)
  • My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NLT)
  • My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26, NASB)

We cannot rely on our own strength or abilities to get us through the next day’s tasks. It is only as we rely on Him to give us what is needed that we will be able to persevere and meet challenges.

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying ‘I will try again tomorrow.‘ ”
(Mary Anne Radmacher)

Rely on God’s strength each day.
Hear the quiet voice say, “I will try again tomorrow.”
Persevere.


 

Reflection:
How do you find strength to persevere? Is there a verse which you turn to when you need to persevere?

 

Photo by Venti Views on Unsplash


 

 

Sunday, March 3, 2024

She Walks With Us | Finding Inspiration in the Women of the Bible

 

By: Paula Short

For centuries, the Bible has captivated readers with its tales of faith, resilience, and triumph. Yet, often overlooked are the remarkable women who grace its pages. From fearless leaders to loyal companions, these women offer powerful lessons that transcend time and resonate deeply with our modern lives.


Delving into their stories reveals a spectrum of experiences


Esther, the courageous queen,  risked her life to save her people. We learn about facing our fears and using our voices for justice.

Ruth, the unwavering daughter-in-law, who exemplified loyalty and devotion. We discover the beauty of compassion and selfless love.

Deborah, the wise prophetess and judge, led with strength and discernment. We gain insights into leadership, courage, and navigating challenging situations.

Mary, the humble handmaid, who became the mother of Jesus. We explore the depths of faith, surrender, and embrace unexpected blessings.


More Than Just Names


We often encounter these women as names on a page, but delving deeper reveals their struggles, triumphs, and profound contributions. Even the seemingly minor characters, like the unnamed woman at the well or the Canaanite woman who persisted in her pleas, offer glimpses into the complexities of human nature and the power of faith.


Lessons for Today


These women's stories are not relics of the past; they mirror our lives. We see reflections of our doubts in Rahab, our resilience in Ruth, and our unwavering hope in Mary. Their journeys offer invaluable lessons on:


Overcoming adversity: Whether facing societal norms, personal challenges, or external threats, these women teach us to find strength within ourselves and persevere through hardship.

Leading with courage: From Deborah's battlefield leadership to Esther's quiet determination, these women inspire us to step up and make a difference, even when faced with fear or uncertainty.

Living with faith: These women's stories testify to the power of faith, reminding us that even in the darkest moments, we are not alone and that God's presence guides us.


Each woman's story offers a unique perspective and valuable lessons. We can learn from Deborah's unwavering leadership, Esther's bravery in facing danger, and Rahab's willingness to redeem her past. We see the steadfast faith of Hannah, the fierce protectiveness of mothers like Jochebed, and the unwavering devotion of Mary Magdalene. These stories resonate across cultures and time, offering guidance and encouragement in our own journeys.


More Than Just Stories


They are living testaments to the power of faith, resilience, and the divine feminine. By studying their lives, we better understand ourselves, our faith, and our place in the world. So, let us open the pages of scripture with fresh eyes, ready to be inspired by the whispers of these remarkable women.


Today Let's Journal

  1. Choose a woman from the Bible. Identify a strength or quality she embodied. How can you cultivate that quality in your own life?
  2. Imagine encountering this woman today. What advice might she offer you?
  3. Reflect on how her story shapes your understanding of faith, courage, or any other personal theme.




Saturday, March 2, 2024

Compassion Towards Others

By: Grace Metzger

 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts,
kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another 
Colossians 3:12-13

Compassion is something that everyone thinks they have. If you asked me if I was a compassionate person a couple of weeks ago, I would not have hesitated in saying, "Of course!" However, I recently discovered that it not true for me, and I think it's safe to bet a lot of others as well. The story of how I discovered my lack of compassion starts with an older couple walking into my work about thirty minutes before we were to close. As soon as I saw them walked, in I inwardly groaned and instantly went onto teams to complain to my coworkers, because I knew from experience that when them came in, it was usually an hour to two hour process of explaining the same thing over and over again. When I first met them I knew they were older and didn't mind taking the time to explain this concept that was difficult for them to understand, but as time when on I lost my compassion for them and started viewing our interactions as bothersome.

I know that this is something other people struggle with as well. Everyone has that one coworker who, despite you telling them how to do something twenty times, they still do it wrong; a siblings who just can't seem to make the right choices; that one person in front of you in a line taking ten minutes to order; those people walking so slow in front of you you start to wonder if they are purposely walking a snail speed. We encounter these type of frustrating situations with others on the daily. 

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving 
one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32

God calls us to deal with these situations with a kind, tender heart. He didn't call us to deal with it in anger or frustration, that is our human flesh allowing our negative emotions to get the best of us. We are called to be compassionate! You might be wondering what the big deal is, everyone acts like this. I think back to the saying you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. We are supposed to be leading people to Christ but how we can lead people when our words and actions are like vinegar? Who would want to listen to someone who is acting rude, angry, or impatient to them?

The Lord is gracious and righteous;
 our God is full of compassion.
Psalm 116:5

I think back to how the world has treated God. How we have used His name in vain, cursed Him, doubted His existence, and yet God is still full of compassion for us. If He can be compassionate to us after we treated Him so horribly, then why can't I be compassionate to that mature couple who just need some extra help? What would happen if we start treating everyone we come into contact with, with kindness, compassion, and a tender heart? How many people will we lead to God if we started treating them like God treats us?

Humans are known for allowing their emotions to take over them, for speaking without thinking, for acting out in frustration. But as Christ followers we are to be different than everyone. We aren't supposed to act like that, we are called to be slow to speak, kind in our words, and treat others with compassion. So before you start getting frustrated at that person who is taking forever in the Chick-Fil-A drive through, take a breath and think "How would God treat me in this situation? Would He become frustrated and angry with me or would He continue to be kind and compassionate?" Once you start thinking this before acting out in angry you life will take a positive turn!

Discussion Questions!

1.) When you do feel like you start to lose patience with others?

2.) What do you do to remain kind to someone who's getting on your nerve?

3.) Do you remember a time when someone showed compassion to you while you show frustration towards them?



Friday, March 1, 2024

What Is Jesus Inviting You To?

 By: Lauren Thomas 

I have a question for you: What is Jesus inviting you to? 

 

The Bible is replete with instances of God giving invitations to His people, of Jesus giving invitations to His followers. He invites us to forgiveness, to obedience and holiness. He invites us to rest. He invites us to spiritual sustenance and satisfaction. He invites us to a great wedding feast in Heaven. He even invites us to meet our physical needs! There are so many invitations. What is He inviting you to?



This question was recently posed to me. I can’t tell you how much peace washed over me when I heard it. I hope the same is true for you. This question is one of contemplation. It is a question to bring before the Lord in prayer. If you don’t sense an invitation immediately, then wait expectantly for it. He has an invitation specifically for you. I truly believe He is always extending some kind of invitation to us through Scripture and the Holy Spirit. 

 

Here are some passages in which we see His invitations given in Scripture:

 

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30 ESV

 

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
    come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
    and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
    and you will delight in the richest of fare

Isaiah 55:1-2 ESV

 

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

Mark 6:31 ESV

 

One thing I love about the Lord’s invitations is the way they shift my focus to what matters. When I tune into what He is inviting me to, it often involves a refocusing or a shifting of my current priorities. Suddenly, what I thought was so important fades into the background and something more wonderful takes the foreground. Usually that something is Jesus himself. Often an invitation from the Lord involves less striving, more Jesus. Less work, more trust. Less exhaustion, more rest. And always, there is something specific, intentional, and purposeful in His invitations.


Reflection:

What is God inviting you to?

What is your favorite invitation in Scripture? Share it with us!



Thursday, February 29, 2024

Savoring God's Love

 




By: Donna Bucher


Pondering the theme of Love throughout the month of February drew me into creating more intention both in loving God and loving others well. Jesus summed this up as the first and second great commandments in Matthew 22:37-40.

This week taught me the impact of savoring the unchanging intentional love of God on both loving God and loving others.

 

The intentional nature of God’s love emphasizes the magnificence of his free choice in loving his people without condition.

Embracing God’s intentional love for me captivates my heart, while at the same time the pang of insecure fears grimaces my hope. God’s willful choice of bestowing his love upon me invites me to be fully known.

 

Matching my own desire to be fully known and subsequently still fully loved, God fills scripture with the treasures of his love. In revealing his multi-faceted love, he invites you into the deeper intimacy of knowing him.

Intentional Love and Mercy

Moved by your dreadful entanglement in sin, God intentionally lavishes love upon you through his mercy and compassion. Deeply affected by your trials, oppression and temptations, his faithful love knows no bounds.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in him.

 

Lamentations 3:22-24


Perfect Love

Known by many as the “Love Chapter”, 1 Corinthians 13 often surfaces at weddings as the gold standard for love’s behavior towards others. Perhaps you heard the admonition for placing your name in place of the word “love” in verses four through seven.

But, instead, have you considered placing Jesus’ name there?

Jesus is patient and kind; Jesus does not envy or boast; Jesus is not arrogant or rude. Jesus does not insist on his own way; Jesus is not irritable or resentful; Jesus does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Jesus bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

 

1 Corinthians 13:4-7


A Father’s Love

The character of God’s unchanging love washes over you in compassion, mercy, relational patience, and endurance. Yet God delights in also showing you his love as your gracious Heavenly Father by reminding you of your position as his beloved child!

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! 

 

1 John 3:1

 

 

Sacrificial Love

No journey into savoring the unchanging, intentional love of God is complete without considering the sacrificial nature of his love. Testifying of his steadfast, unchanging love, the scriptures also portray God’s demonstration of a compassionate love knowing no limits.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

 

Experiencing God’s intentional love for you, impacts your intentional love for him by transforming your perspective on God’s love. Time spent savoring the depth of God’s steadfast, enduring, perfect, sacrificial love lavished upon you in the intimacy of relationship, creates vulnerability.

From a place of vulnerability, the embrace of God’s unchanging love penetrates fear and uncertainty with joy and acceptance.

Held in a place of joy and complete acceptance; fully known and fully loved, God’s love fills every space of your heart flowing back to him in an intentional sacrifice of praise and worship.

Flowing from this exchange of holy love, comes an exuberant love capable of loving others. A love transformed by the unchanging, intentional love of God, offering the same healing, grace, mercy, and acceptance, given you.

Make it Practical:

Which aspect of God’s love do you need most today?

Take a few moments and write a short prayer expressing your need to Him today.




 

 



Find more encouragement and FREE Resources at Serenity in Suffering!

 

If you enjoyed this post, please share on social media with the buttons below!

Photo from Canva.com