Categories
Devotions VOTD

Preserving Because Jesus Christ {VOTD}

One of my favorite ways to read, study, and blog is using the Verse of the Day feature on many “Bible sharing” websites I frequent. On Bible Gateway, our daily verse is the same as our VOTD from earlier. So, I hopped over to YouVersion, and it is one we desperately need.

Are Trials Bringing You Authentic Joy?

Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:2-4, CSB).

On Netflix, I have been watching “In Lawfully Yours” lately. In the movie, there is a scene where a recently divorced young woman finds herself in church for the very first time and stands up to question the pastor’s message. She finds herself confronted with a biblical truth that we should consider trials pure joy. Many of us, like this main character, might want to question or argue through this scriptural truth.

Have you ever found yourself at odds with God’s truth considering trials pure joy?

Remembering This Eternal Reward?

Through trials God continues to produce His good work inside of us; our great God offers us His abundant, amazing, eternal life. Our faith in Him can stand strong, despite the winds of life’s trials. We don’t have to sacrifice our faith, in order to survive our trials. Instead, our great God wants to reveal Himself to us during these dark moments in life.

Blessed is the one who endures trials, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him (James 1:12, CSB).

This truth is exactly why we can consider trials to be something worthy of joy.

Pain in trials will not thrill our soul, but the joy is in experiencing God continuing His good work.

As we continue to willfully choose and prize our Lord Jesus Christ over everything else, the Lord is the reason why we can endure through all of the hard things.

It is entirely possible that the Lord has asked you to walk through fiery circumstances that no one around you – can fathom living through, and you can fully endure

. . . because of the One who goes before you and gives you every ounce of strength you will need.

Now this is what the Lord says— the one who created you, Jacob, and the one who formed you, Israel—’Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine.  I will be with you when you pass through the waters, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you.’ (Isaiah 43:1-2, emphasis mine)

This same God who raised our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, is the very God who is going to help you with whatever you are facing.

Friends you can walk through this hard thing, because of this God you serve who has shown Himself to be all powerful! He has charted our life’s course, and gives us the victory to run this race.

Featured image by Cezanne Ali from Unsplash.

Seeking Him,

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Categories
Blogging for Books Reviews

31 Proverbs to Light Your Path {Blogging-For-Books}

31 ProverbsIt’s no secret that Liz Curtis Higgs is one of my favorite Bible study teachers. I have reviewed several of her books, including her last devotional – which is much like this one.

Today, I am here today to joyfully share with you her new book. 31 Proverbs to Light Your Path is a devotional that meets us where we are, and walks us through specific proverbs found in the Bible.. The Lord has much to share with us, as we draw near.

We are invited into beautiful conversations about God’s life altering truths and their power. While we are met with God’s truth and learn what it looks like to apply them in our lives, we are given a special section at the end of each devotion – that might make the most difference in applying the devotional truths immediately.

In “One Minute, One Step,” we are urged to take the time to remember these special God-given truths and consider what it means for our own lives. It is by God’s absolute grace that we can hear His truths and allow the Lord to change our lives through them.

There are 31 Proverbs placed in this book that can radically change our lives. And, friend? It is simply the beginning. Jesus has so much He wants to share us, as we sit here in community with Him and each other. Let’s seek out our sweet Lord and take this gift we have been given.

My Story –

One night a few weeks ago, I found myself awake in an insomnia moment. After realizing “Okay, I am not getting to sleep,” I finally got up and grabbed my reviewer’s copy of this God initiated book and just kept reading.

I couldn’t stop, and truthfully I didn’t want to. The more I read, the more the Lord spoke to me – filling my soul with His truth!

As I continued to read, the sweetness of the Lord and His comfort washed over me. I just sat and continued reading as one day turned into seven days, and so on. That night, I made many notes, highlights, and even followed up on a specific urging the Lord placed on my spirit.

Friends, the Lord can use this book to speak to us. As we are being changed by the truths and our relationship with our great God through His Son Jesus Christ, He will change others. Our job is simply to be obedient.

For a long time, it was hard for me to read the Proverbs – because there are many transformative truths (“How do I remember them all?”). All we have to do is begin with one proverb, and start there.

Let’s allow Liz Curtis Higgs, to be our friend who shows us how the Lord is helping her apply His truths.

God can definitely use this devotional to speak to His people. Friends, let’s meet up, share our brokenness, and open up our hearts to His truth. The Lord will meet us wherever we are.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the “Blogging for Books” book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Categories
Truth in Trials

God Cares {Truth in Trials}

Each of us face a diverse set of circumstances.

There are times, where we can feel like we are all alone.

There are days, when we aren’t sure how much strength we have left.

There are even honest days, where we feel disappointment and misplace the true reason for our hope.

We may all have days where we find ourselves in these very places, but there is a key truth we need to grasp. God is deeply concerned for each of us.

The Often Forgotten Truth

In the lives that each of us lead, it is so easy to miss this truth. It is easy to forget or misplace this spiritual truth, especially so when it seems like there is a lack of concern for our well-being.

Even when we find ourselves there, God profoundly cares for you and me. And, He never stops caring for us either!

Scripture reminds us that God is compassionate and caring for us. Throughout the Gospels, we are given a specific picture of how God acts on that concern.

Before the Gospels even really get started, we are taught about the depth of God’s compassion and concern for us in John 1:14 where God decided to dwell with humanity by coming to earth.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son (Jesus Christ), who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Remembering God’s Concern

Even when it seems like we are walking through our ever-present storm alone, let us remember that God is deeply concerned for us. We are not stranded on our own, but He loves us and His heart aches for us. He longs to be with us, and help us with whatever it is we are going through.

I am not talking about some low level or humanistic concern that has limits, but the world-turning-and-going-to-the-cross (and God powered) kind of concern. This is what God has for us. This intense longing and concern about whatever it is we are going through.

This is what God feels for each of us, and He is beckoning us to come to Him and allow Him to be our shoulder to cry on. He wants to help us carry our burdens, even when we feel like it is us against the world.

The Scriptures

I want to share a few Scriptures today, that highlight this truth.

Exodus 3:7-8a
The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them…”

Matthew 9:35-36
 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

1 Peter 5:6-7
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Also, consider the truths we find in Psalms 91 and Psalm 23. He wonderfully cares for us, enabling our place of safety to be found in Him. God is concerned, and promises to be our resting place. Even, inviting those of us who are weary to find rest in Him (as we are taught in Matthew 11:28-30).

I ran across two articles that help us to continue digesting this special, spiritual truth. He Cares and A God Who Cares seem like both may be helpful reads to us, as we learn that God honestly does care for us.

Not only does He care for us, it is not limited to a short amount of time. God cares infinitely more for us, than we could ever imagine. God is on our side, and His heart aches for us. We can continue running to Him, especially as we face troublesome days. All because He cares for you and me. His concern for us is of great depth and unmeasurable. That is how much God cares for us.

Feature image by Nicole Honeywill.

Until next time,

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Categories
The Best Yes

Run with Purpose

phil 2-16Are we holding fast to the Word of God?

In the Amplified translation, it is a bit different:

Holding out [to it] and offering [to all men] the Word of Life, so that in the day of Christ I may have something of which exultantly to rejoice and glory in that I did not run my race in vain or spend my labor to no purpose.”

Are we living out our life, holding to His truth, and offering that same truth to others? Or, do we allow other things to get in the way? Even in hard times when we think a different approach to something could be made, we need to hold even tighter to the Word of God, His Grace, and what all of the Bible has to teach us. The more time we spend in prayer and studying the Word- the more we can share His love and Truth with those around us.

Resolve to hold to His truth. It isn’t about what we think is right. It has to be about God’s Word. It has to be about sharing God’s Word with others. We need to investigate what the Bible has to teach us, so we can know God’s stand on the stuff we face. God has the answer!

Here are just a few important truths that I know I need to focus more on.

  • Leaving my understanding to the side.
  • Putting arguments aside
  • Keep God’s Word at the center.

To me, these are things that truly matter. So often, it can be easy to throw our opinions out at people. Often, without any consideration of how they may feel about it. It needs to be about more: We need to place God’s Word above our understanding and opinions.

The second part of this Scripture is equally important as the first. Why, do these things? Why, try to limit sharing my opinion? Why, put His Word first? Why, keep the arguments aside? Simply put, it is for the glory of God! 

We run now and give God our best in every area, because He is worthy! At the end of my life, I want to be able to have something to show for it. I want to make my life to count. God has given me so much. I want to make sure that I am not foolishly wasting it (my time, gifts, sphere of influence, etc). I want to make sure that I am wise in my decision-making, and running the race that God has set me on. Are we running with no purpose? We must run with purpose, running to give God the glory and honor as we seek to live an obedient life. In our God-given assignments, let it be for Him.

As we seek wisdom and discerning our best yes, let us remember this truth:

“… So that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ (Phil. 1:10).”

Categories
Blogging for Books Reviews

God Gave Us Angels Review

God Gave Us AngelsMy favorite set of children’s books are by Lisa Tawn Bergren. I love the stories that are used to teach God’s truth in an easy-to-understand way. Bergren teams up with Laura J. Bryant for the artwork. Each page is filled with the most beautiful pictures, that go so well with the story that is being told.

I was given a free copy of God Gave Us Angels, by Blogging for Books (Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers). This review is my honest opinion of this book and all that is mentioned. God Gave Us Angels reminds me why I enjoy Bergren’s books and Bryant’s artwork.

In this book,  a bear cub begins a search to deliberately find angels. The bear’s papa catches onto this, and it just a teachable moment to pour into the young cub and share the truth of God’s Word concerning angels. This is an excellent book for young children. Angels are a topic we don’t talk about too much, especially with our young children. This book is perfect for providing our kids with a book that is filled with truths about angels. The characteristics of angels are described throughout the book.

My favorite line in this book:

“Angels live to serve God. Whatever he wants them to do, they do. And he loves us. So sometimes they bring messages from him to us. Other times they guard us or even fight for us. And they’re always worshiping God.”

This is an invaluable resource for helping us teach our children concerning angels. And, it is such a blessing to receive this book! It is one definitely to keep on hand, and use it every chance I get.