Thursday, September 21, 2023

Moving Ahead Unhindered


By: Donna Bucher

Just two days ahead of the Autumnal Equinox, we stand poised to enter yet another season. Hopefully you enjoyed the last few weeks of summer and are ready to move ahead into Autumn totally present for this season.

But before rushing head long into this new, wonderful change, spending a bit of time in preparation ensures we move forward unhindered into all God has for us in the season ahead!


Welcome Falling Leaves

While too early for changing of leaves and watching them fall where I live, it is not too early for considering a truth the falling leaves illustrate for us. The important truth of letting go of that which no longer serves us.


One of the rituals I enjoy at the start of each season is renewing my commitment to God and following where He chooses to lead me in the days of that season.


Many times, commitments require renewed focus, but also leaving behind the things no longer helping us move forward. As we move into the new season of Autumn, consider releasing the negativity of old ways, habits, and mindsets, allowing space for moving forward with God in this new season.


Letting Go of Negativity


Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

Ephesians 4:31-32


The Apostle Paul’s words in Ephesians are the perfect springboard for taking inventory. Moving forward in renewed commitment, following and obeying God while leaving decayed attitudes piling up remains impossible.


Ask God to reveal negativity you harbor in your heart, through these steps:

  • Spend more time in the mirror of God's Word
  • Open your heart and mind to the work of the Holy Spirit and the changes He reveals must take place.
  • Seek to truly put off or remove from your life anger, resentment, bitterness, and complaining.
  • Choose to love and forgive others.
  • Avoid dwelling on the past, move forward.

A willingness for some fall housekeeping to remove the debris of poor attitudes and behaviors must precede a move into a new season. Only then will God empower you for a new season in your life of freedom, compassion, and service to Him.


 Don't Look Back


Though we may become discouraged realizing the extent to which negativity of old ways, poor habits, and mindsets has hindered our spiritual walk with God, we must seek a forward-facing attitude.


Regretfully dwelling on the past is not pleasing to God. He is moving forward; He wants you to move with Him unhindered by the past or the negativity of the present.


Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43:18-19


Are you ready and willing to walk into the new season God has for you?


Do you feel hindered because your heart is weighed down by the debris of old ways, habits, and mindsets?


Call out to your loving Heavenly Father, He longs for you to come to Him with your burden. Ask Him to shine a light on whatever is hindering your relationship with Him and with others, so you can freely move into the next season God has for you with joy and anticipation!



Which one of the five steps listed above can you work on this week?

What is the one hindrance keeping you from moving forward in deeper commitment with God?

Find more encouragement and FREE Resources at Serenity in Suffering!


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Wednesday, September 20, 2023

ACTS Prayer Model: Confession

By: Jenifer Metzger

Last week we began a four week study on the ACTS Prayer Model. To read week one, click HERE.

Today we will take a look at the C in the ACTS Prayer Model. Once we have spent some time in adoration or worshiping God, we then move on to the next step: confession.

ACTS Prayer Model: Confession #prayer #acts #repentance #confession

Confession in the ACTS Prayer Model is just what it sounds like, confessing our sins to God. Here's the thing, God already knows what we've done, said, and thought. He knows. It isn't a surprise to Him. But just as we desire our kids own up to their mistakes even though we already know what they did, God desires us to own up to our mistakes and confess our sins to Him.

What are we supposed to confess? We need to confess all our sins to God. A sin is anything that goes against God. It could be directly against the Ten Commandments {Exodus 20}, it could be doing something we know is wrong or that God has told us not to do, it could be not doing something He has told us to do, it is really anything that goes against God and separates us from Him.

When we confess our sins, it can be easy to lay down a blanket prayer and be done. "God, please forgive my sins." Simple. Says what we want. We're done. Yet, God wants us to go deeper. Like we said, He already knows but He wants us to actually confess what we've done. We need to examine our  hearts, minds, thoughts, actions, motives, and attitudes.

Then I acknowledged my sin to You
and did not conceal my iniquity. I said,
“I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,"
and You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah
Psalm 32:5 CSB

Instead of simply saying, "Forgive me of all my sins," we need to be specific. Call out our sins and ask forgiveness. "Lord, I had a bad attitude yesterday, please forgive me and help me to have an attitude that reflects You." "Lord, I was dishonest with my co-worker, please forgive my dishonesty and help me to make it right and be truthful."

What about a sin we might have forgotten about or didn't even realize we did? In these cases, we can ask God to reveal to us any sins we need to specifically repent of. God will bring it to our mind and we can then repent. Personally, I list my sins specifically and ask forgiveness, then ask God to forgive all my sin, and then ask Him to reveal to me anything I need to bring before Him and repent of. Sometimes, He immediately brings something to mind. Other times it may be a little while later before He reveals it to me.

Confession is a vital part of prayer and Christian living. We sin daily. God knows this, He knows we are not perfect creatures. That is why He sent His Son Jesus to bridge the gap and take our sins. But we have to do our part by confessing our sins.

By putting confession right up front in our prayer, we are cleansing our heart and preparing out spirit to continue on in a conversation with God.

1. Is confession a regular part of your prayer life?
2. Do you use the blanket "forgive me of all my sins" or do you intentionally dig deeper, calling out your sins? If not, are you willing to do so?

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

The Busyness Keeps Us from Feeling

 By: Rebekah Hargraves

Photo Courtesy Of: Jess Bailey

"Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts."

~Psalm 90:12

Have you ever been so busy, so caught up in your to-do list, that when someone in your family had a need you deemed it an inconvenient interruption? I know I have.

There have been moments when I’ve been so focused on the task at hand (and the other work I have to do when that task is done!) that when one of my children suffers a minor booboo in that moment, I’m quick to brush it off with a quick kiss and a distracted “You’re ok!”

There have been other times when I’m busy and a fight over a toy breaks out between my children. Rather than remember that God has entrusted these children to me and that mothering them is some of my most important work, I merely yell across the room, “Anna, give that back to James right now!” and then get back to what I was doing. No feeling, no empathy, no heart tuned to the underlying needs of my children.

Perhaps you can relate.

In this culture of go-go-go, we have lost our ability to feel.

A friend calls us up with a heartbreak and rather than enter into her pain, we stare at the clock thinking how much more time we can give to this call before we really have to go.

Our child calls out, “Mommy!”, and we roll our eyes, annoyed at being “interrupted” again.

Our husband walks into the room and asks us a simple question and we bite his head off because he has interfered with the important thoughts tumbling around in our heads.

Friend, this is not appropriate. This is not how it should be. What we need to remember is that we are the masters of our God-given time and our to-do lists. We can take back the slower pace we have sacrificed on the altar of busyness. We can let go of our to-do lists enough to truly focus on and listen to our husband. We can pull back from our work in order to re-learn and extend our empathy skills when our children need us and are hurting.

The busyness is depriving us of our ability to feel, and I say that cycle stops now. You with me?

Because the fact of the matter is, busyness and hurry were never a part of Jesus' earthly life and ministry. His pace was a slow, purposeful, intentional one bent on fulfilling the work the Father gave to Him - and only that. May we truly follow in His footsteps in the days ahead.

Reflection Questions: 

1) Have you found it to be true in your own life that busyness leads to our not feeling?

2) How would you say the pace and feel of your life compares to that of Christ and His example?

3) What possible changes is the Lord leading you to make?

Monday, September 18, 2023

The Goodness of God

 By: Joanne Viola

As some may know by now, I have watched each of our three granddaughters up until the time they began school. It has been a blessing beyond which I have no words. They each have brought much love, joy, laughter, and memories.

One of my favorite things to do each afternoon, with our middle granddaughter after nap time, was to have a snack on the back deck. I remember one day, after eating her snack, Jocelyn climbed up into my lap to snuggle and talk.

I said to her, “Let’s close our eyes tight and take turns telling each other what we can hear.”

She loved the idea and quickly began: She heard an airplane. I heard the wind chime. She heard a bird. I heard the wind. She heard the ant walking on my deck.

Say what?

I asked her to look at me and asked, “What does an ant sound like walking on my deck?” to which she quickly responded, “Just like an ant walking on your deck.”

I asked her to look at me and said, “What does an ant sound like walking on my deck?” to which she quickly responded, “Just like an ant walking on your deck.”

It wasn’t a sassy reply but a very matter-of-fact reply. I realized she had seen an ant walking when her eyes were open. Therefore, when her eyes were closed and she was “in the dark”, she could still “see” and “hear” what she knew to be true when her eyes were opened.

We all know God is good. We would all agree that He is a good God. And yet, if we’re honest, we have all faced times when we have questioned this very truth.

That day on the deck, Jocelyn had so beautifully provided the answer to handling those times in which we struggle: In the midst of difficulties, we believe in the dark what we know to be true in the light!

And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good?
There is only One who is good;
but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
(Matthew 19:17, NASB)

“Jesus describes a God who seems altogether good and is always out for our good, even if we cannot understand it.”

(from The Good and Beautiful God, by James Bryan Smith, page 42)

The goodness of God is a truth we can stand upon,
whether we can understand His ways or not.
Trust in the goodness of God.


Have you ever found yourself believing in God yet doubting when going through a difficulty? What do you do at those times?


Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash




Sunday, September 17, 2023

10 Autumn Quotes To Help You Slow Down and Relax


Hello there! It's that time of year again when the leaves start to change color and the air gets a little cooler. It's such a beautiful season, and it reminds us of all the blessings we have and how amazing God's creation is. 

 I put together a list of 10 autumn quotes from some of our favorite Christian writers and thinkers and a few other creatives as well. These quotes are full of wisdom and inspiration, and they encourage us to reflect on all the good things from the past year. 

 We're reminded to let go of anything that's not serving us and to find hope in the midst of change. I hope these quotes inspire you as much as they inspire us, and help you remember just how wonderful our Creator is. 


"Autumn is a time to reflect on the blessings of the past year and to give thanks for all that God has done." — Billy Graham 

"Autumn is a time to let go of what is no longer needed and to embrace the new beginnings that lie ahead." — Rick Warren 

"Autumn is a time to be grateful for the beauty of God's creation and to find hope in the midst of change." — Max Lucado 

"Besides the autumn poets sing, a few prosaic days, a little this side of the snow, and that side of the haze". Emily Dickinson 

"It's the first day of autumn! A time of hot chocolatey mornings, and toasty marshmallow evenings, and, best of all, leaping into leaves!"— Winnie the Pooh 

"Autumn is a time to be thankful for the harvest and to remember that God is the giver of all good things." — Elisabeth Elliot 

"Autumn is a time to be grateful for the gift of family and friends." — Anne Graham Lotz
"I loved autumn, the one season of the year that God seemed to have put there just for the beauty of it."Lee Maynard 

"I am struck by the simplicity of light in the atmosphere in the autumn, as if the earth absorbed none, and out of this profusion of dazzling light came the autumnal tints."Henry David Thoreau 

"It looked like the world was covered in a cobbler crust of brown sugar and cinnamon."Sarah Addison Allen 

 As we say goodbye to summer and hello to fall, we're reminded of how beautiful God's creation is. The leaves changing colors and the crisp air are gentle reminders of how creative and good God is. Let's take some time to find hope in the midst of change, let go of things that aren't serving us, and appreciate the simple things in life. 

 Let's Reflect 

1. How does the beauty of autumn remind you of God's creativity and goodness? 

2. What are some ways that you can slow down and savor the simple things this autumn? 

3. How can you be thankful for the harvest and remember that God is the giver of all good things?