Gratitude, thankful, faithfulness, faithful, God’s promises, Jesus, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

His Faithfulness: Jesus is Our Confidence in God’s Promises

Faith means having confidence in someone else’s ability without proof. To be faithful means your allegiance is solid and persistent; true to your word. God gave us proof of His faithfulness to us by sending Jesus. 



An Incomplete Gift

For my mom’s most recent decade birthday (you know, 30/40/50…) I wanted to paint her an imitation of “365 Days of Happiness.” I purchased four rectangular canvases, acrylics, brushes, and sponges, then got to work. First, I coated each canvas with an ombré style base color to represent the four seasons. Once the background was dry I sketched the tree which stretches throughout the four pieces. Then I painted the tree and leaves on the middle two canvases.

At the time, my husband and I were working opposite schedules with all three of our children in school. In other words, I bit off more than I could chew and only ended up delivering two of the four canvases on my mom’s special day. I told her I would complete the final two prints by Christmas.

That didn’t happen.

Here we are, more than four and a half years later. So much life has transpired. I would say my faithfulness meter sank after the third year came and went without the completion of my masterpiece. Or perhaps it declined when we moved out of state. The two remaining partially completed canvases have moved with me twice now, and each time I come across them it is a glaring reminder of my failure to deliver on both the actual artwork and my word.

To be faithful means your allegiance is solid and persistent; true to your word. God gave us proof of His faithfulness to us by sending Jesus. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #gratitude #thankful #faithful #faithfulness #Jesus #promises

Being Compelled

Recently one of my pals referenced something a mutual friend of ours says to her three-year-old son: We can try again tomorrow. Those five little words have sprung to mind often since I read them. It reminds me of this reassuring passage:

…his mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness! I say, “The Lord is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in him.”

Lamentations 3:22b-24, CSB

Regardless of current circumstances, God is a proven refuge, a sure fortress. As the year comes to a close, it feels natural to look back at how the Lord has worked through, sustained, and grown me. I am able to see how God is teaching me to view my failures and my sin properly, not through morbid self-introspection—which is just another form of pride, but with humility. He who began a good work will complete it. And I know I am safe and secure in His capable arms. No failure or sorrow or tragedy can pluck me from His hand. I am His own…and He is mine. God’s faithfulness is inexhaustible!

…if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.

2 Timothy 2:13, CSB

I get stuck in the sinful pattern of living for myself, unsuccessfully searching for tips, tricks, and methods to be faithful. Yet Jesus calls me to once again look at His example and to allow His love to be the method that compels me to a life of faithfulness.

For the love of Christ compels us, since we have reached this conclusion: If one died for all, then all died. And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the one who died for them and was raised.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15, CSB

Restoring Faithfulness

It’s easy to look at failure through the lens of finality. But Jesus totally disrupted that when He rose from the grave! Letting failure take center stage emphasizes self, not Almighty God. Sin is super sneaky, planting seeds of cynicism and self-justification.

But we are free to try again.

Only when we do so, may it not be in our own strength, but through the proven power of Christ Jesus.

The question no longer is: Can I do it? Am I able? Can I overcome my moodiness, my laziness, my sensuality, my grudges, and resentments? The only question is: Is Jesus Christ able?

Lion and Lamb by Brennan Manning

In the spirit of Advent, and a discipline that comes straight from the Spirit of God, I completed the paintings. When I looked the original up online to reference which colors to use, the site noted that the picture is on the cover of—get this—“INSPIRED Faith: 365 Days a Year.” I laughed out loud that it had faith in the title! I took it as an affirmation from God that now is indeed the time to follow through. Then I ordered the devotional to accompany the paintings!

The Purpose

While I have no idea how my mom will react, the hope of her appreciation is not what constrained me to finish the artwork. It was confidence in and gratitude for the God who started a good work in me. Joy, anxiety, growth, misfortune, disappointment, and resolution can all occur between the beginning of something grand and its completion.

But God never stops pursuing or working out His purpose in us.

For a moment in history He turned His face away, but He had compassion with everlasting love and sent us a Redeemer (Isaiah 54:8). Regardless of how others will receive it, it is never too late to exhibit faithfulness. The purpose of demonstrating dependability is to be Christ-like, not to show off some personal impressive skills. Clearly. It took me almost five years to deliver on a promise! Still, in a small way, I am able to replicate Christ’s devotion to the Father and to us by producing what I said I would.

I’m so glad Jehovah didn’t give us an incomplete gift. Praise be to God for keeping His promise and raising Jesus to ensure our freedom! His faithfulness is a protective shield (Psalm 91:4). Hallelujah!

Praise be to God for keeping His promise and raising Jesus to ensure our freedom! His faithfulness is a protective shield. Hallelujah! Click To Tweet

To be faithful means your allegiance is solid and persistent; true to your word. God gave us proof of His faithfulness to us by sending Jesus. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #gratitude #thankful #faithful #faithfulness #Jesus #promises

unsplash-logoScott Webb
fear, faith, trust, mystery, faithful, unknown, safety, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

Walking in Mystery: The Holiness and Fear in Not Knowing

Walking in mystery can feel very much like stepping off the abyss. Yet, if we choose a life without mystery, we’ve chosen not to see beyond the surface of God, ourselves, or others.



The lack of mystery in our modern life is our downfall and our poverty. A human life is worth as much as the respect it holds for the mystery. We retain the child in us to the extent that we honor the mystery. Therefore, children have open, wide-awake eyes, because they know that they are surrounded by the mystery.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God is in The Manger, Reflections on Advent and Christmas

Walking in mystery can feel very much like stepping off the abyss. If we choose a life without mystery, we've chosen not to see beyond the surface of God. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #fear #faith #trust #faithful #mystery #safety #unknown

Literature

I love to read novels. All the major bookstores have long discovered that Dodie Smith is a sucker for books. They send me ads and coupons accordingly. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of my mother taking my brother and me to the library.

She also loved to read. She loved it enough to walk long city blocks with two young children to and from the local library so that we, too, would have the opportunity to enter the adventurous, mysterious world of books.

In the past, I read mostly literature and women’s literature, but for some reason, I’m tired of those. Many became too politically correct for me, I think. For several years now, I can lose myself for hours in a murder mystery.

Like my dad before me, I usually wait to read until an hour or so before bed; otherwise, I would never accomplish anything else! The nuances of discovering ‘who done it’ usually captures my mind rather quickly. If the plot moves too slowly or the main character isn’t likable, I move on to another book. Life is too short to stick with a boring book!

Mystery

Mystery. I often wonder why we lose the awe and wonder of childhood. At what point in life do we begin to feel the need to explain – or have explained to us – every, single detail of our existence? When did we decide that we wanted to be lord of our own lives…and over everything and have it all at our disposal, (Bonhoeffer).

I mean, that’s what it means, doesn’t it? The incessant, gnawing, obsessive need to know and understand everything…isn’t that a desire to be lord? To deny the presence of any mystery in our lives?

Yet, our God is and has always been, a God of mystery.

But there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these:

Daniel 2:28, ESV

»«

Can you fathom the mysteries of God?
Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?

Job 11:7 NIV

»«

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

Ephesians 5:31-32, ESV

Misty Fog

In Bible days, it was unfathomable to live without certainty. The people of God were surrounded by this God who spoke from a cloud of glory or from the mouth of a donkey and raised people from the dead. But they never expected to understand it; the mystery was hidden from them. They were not given eyes to see…as we have been.

In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit of God’s holy apostles and prophets.

Ephesians 3:4-5, NIV (emphasis added)

»«

Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began

Romans 16:25, NKJV (emphasis added)

Yet, Jesus came on the scene and told His disciples:

…Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven…

Matthew 13:11, NKJV

God, through His Son and His Holy Spirit, graciously…magnanimously opened our blinded eyes and allowed us to see through the mist, the fog, the cloud and behold His mystery!

I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness – the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Colossians 1:25-27, NIV

Walking in Mystery

Hallelujah!

On one hand, mystery has been revealed to us – the mystery of the gospel, the greatest mystery of all. On the other hand, each day God invites us to walk in mystery with Him, in faithful not-knowing, resting securely within the secret place of the Most High. However, He never forces our hand into His.

Walking in mystery can feel very much like stepping off the abyss…every day – during some seasons of life. Yet, if we choose a life without mystery, we’ve chosen not to see beyond the surface of God, ourselves, or others. In some situations, it can feel more comfortable or expedient. In reality, despite what we profess, we’re expressing that we prefer a calculated life, and perhaps a god we can tame or even control.

I’d never call Him a tame God, but the God of mystery is always, always safe.

Walking in mystery can feel very much like stepping off the abyss. If we choose a life without mystery, we've chosen not to see beyond the surface of God, ourselves, or others. Click To Tweet

Walking in mystery can feel very much like stepping off the abyss. If we choose a life without mystery, we've chosen not to see beyond the surface of God. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #fear #faith #trust #faithful #mystery #safety #unknown

unsplash-logoEvie S.
distraction, faithful, Holy Spirit, Fruit of the Spirit, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Distracted: Changing the Soil in Our Hearts to Allow God’s Good Work

The Parable of the Sower is still very applicable today. Our hearts can become distracted, blocking the good work God is trying to do in us. We must work to make Him first in our lives! 



Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed. As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it. Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died. Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants so they produced no grain. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! […] The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced.

Mark 4:3-8 & 18-19, NLT

The Parable of the Sower is still applicable today. Our hearts become distracted, blocking the good work God is trying to do in us. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #faithful #distractions #scripture #devotional

Conviction

We recently read this parable in Sunday school. I’ve known this parable since I was a little girl, but this time it hit me in such a different way. When Jesus explains the meaning of the parable to His disciples, He tells us the seed is God’s word and how His message is received in different ways. We looked at the four soils as representing people’s hearts: hard (footpath), unfaithful (rocky), distracted (thorny) and then faithful (good soil).

I’ve always felt I had a heart of good soil… I’m a believer. I’ve stayed faithful to the Lord since He disciplined me 9 years ago. I’ve produced fruit in my life by doing good deeds. I couldn’t help but feel convicted though. Upon honest self-reflection, I’ve allowed my good soil to slowly become thorny soil.

Fertile Soil

Jesus spoke in another parable that more accurately describes the condition I’ve allowed my heart to become.

Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!” But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”

Luke 12:16-21, NLT

Dodie wrote recently about altars in our lives. We can tend to not focus on where we are, in our relationship with God because we are too busy looking back at past mountaintop experiences. This was so convicting because I knew it was true for me. I look back at the time when I was very sick and was walking so closely with the Lord. I long for that closeness again. However, He hasn’t gone anywhere! He promised that He is always with us and will never leave us.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.

John 14:16, NLT

I Have Wandered…

So then the crux of the matter is… if He’s never left me, if I’m no longer close to Him, I’m the one who has wandered. I have allowed the cares of this world to interfere in our relationship and choke out the beautiful closeness we once had. They may not even be bad things. I used the example of greed above, but in my life, even doing good things for the Kingdom has been a distraction from spending quality time growing in Him.

Foster care and adoption, homeschooling, activities for my kids, cooking healthy meals for my family, volunteering at the church, blogging for Oh Lord Help Us, dating my spouse: none of this matters if I’m letting Him slide off of the throne of my heart and life! I get so busy trying to do all things and be all things to those around me, I forget WHO I should be dwelling in, resting in, and growing in- Jesus Christ, my Savior!

Distracted Works

I know this is a common struggle for many of us women who have been serving Christ a long time. We start to lose our passion and forget He is our first love. We get distracted by new and seemingly more exciting ventures than reading our Bible and meditating, praying and fasting.

These basic spiritual disciplines are absolutely our lifeline, though! Without them, the fruit of the Spirit that were once quite prevalent in our lives, rot away. We will become unloving, joyless, unrestful, impatient, unkind, not good, unfaithful, harsh and without self-control.

As I reflect on my behavior in my heart and home the last few years, I can see it. A steady decline in my Christ-like behavior and reactions and an increase in selfish, unloving, worldly reactions. Ladies, we must fight becoming distracted. We must guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Remember, we can be holy as He is holy, but it doesn’t happen without any effort on our parts. He told us in the Word:

The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?

Jeremiah 17:9, NLT

We must fight becoming distracted and guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. We can be holy as He is holy, but it doesn't happen without any effort on our parts. Click To Tweet

Loyalty

If you reflect today and find your heart of once-good soil has started to become rocky or thorny or even hardened, I pray you will turn from your sin and repent. Bow down before our merciful and loving God and ask Him to take our hearts of stone and give a heart of flesh. That we will return to our first love and allow Him to once again reign supreme on the throne of our lives. As we do this together, He will continue to finish the good work He began in us, and we will see the fruit of His Holy Spirit in our lives once more!

For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

Romans 5:10-11, NLT

The Parable of the Sower is still applicable today. Our hearts become distracted, blocking the good work God is trying to do in us. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #faithful #distractions #scripture #devotional

Vincent Burkhead

Faithful, God’s will, peace, trust, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Tapestry: Changing Our Perspective on the Big Picture

Sometimes our lives can feel like a huge jumbled mess of ups and downs. We may not be able to see the whole tapestry, but we must trust God has complete control. 



since God is not a God of disorder but of peace.

1 Corinthians 14:33, CSB

The lead pastor of my church, JD Greear, has used the analogy I am going to share with you today many times in his sermons. It always gets me thinking and helps to change my perception of things in my life. I pray it will do the same for you…

Sometimes our lives can feel like a huge jumbled mess of ups and downs. We cannot see the whole tapestry, but we must trust God has complete control. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #faithful #devotional #scripture #peace #trust

What Is A Tapestry?

I don’t know about you, but when I think of a tapestry, I think of a large hand-woven blanket that hangs on a wall in an old historic church. They look magnificent because of all the details they display. Anyone looking at one knows the hours upon hours of hard work and love that went into each thread. The completed work is simply amazing. Now, let’s take that same beautiful tapestry and flip it over on the opposite side. Have you ever seen what a tapestry looks like backward?  

A complete HOT MESS!!

There are threads going everywhere in all different directions. Colors are all out of whack and there are knots and strings dangling to and fro. The backside of this well thought out masterpiece looks like it threw up yarn all over the place!! If this thing were judged by its backside, no one would buy it, look at it or ever even think of hanging it as a piece of decoration!!

Understanding The Tapestry

Friends, God created each of us to see our lives like the backside of a tapestry. We are born, we grow, we make choices, good and bad. Then we die one day. We can’t always understand His reasons and ways for certain things happening in our lives. We won’t always be able to figure out or comprehend what He’s up too.

Sometimes we look at life wondering why everything around us seems so unorganized and dysfunctional. We go through life trying to find some glimmer of hope to help us understand this confusing threaded mess, but never seem to find a good enough explanation. We assume, panic, pretend, wonder, imagine, ask, pray, and everything else! Anything other than trust this absurd randomness. We forget far too easily that God is in complete control of our lives, holding our completed picture in His hands.

For it was you who created my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Psalm 139:13, CSB

Like the backside of a tapestry, hitting a bump in the road of our lives, is actually us running into one of the knots God strategically put there to end one thread and start another. Whenever you feel that BUMP, remind yourself that a new chapter is on the horizon.

We do anything other than trust the absurd randomness of life. We forget far too easily that God is in complete control, holding our completed picture in His hands. Click To Tweet

What A Piece Of Work

I personally stare at the backside of my own tapestry and think “Oh goodness me, that is a lot of mess going on. I’m a piece of work!!” Then, I realize who is designing this ‘piece of work’, and decide to trust the process knowing God’s in control.

Our Father in heaven knitted us with power for a divine purpose.

From him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.

Ephesians 4:16, CSB

He knows every sin and choice we will make before we even make them. God sees our life tapestry on the correct side knowing that we can only see the incorrect side. He did this on purpose as a way to reveal His details and reasons one step at a time.

When we see our sin as a jumbled up mess of black and gray strings, God sees the shadow He was weaving for the beautiful oak tree growing tall in our life. The timing of each placement of thread is impeccable. He makes no mistakes and never has any imperfections in His work.

The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.

Deuteronomy 32:4, ESV

Take A Step Back

We can each see His timing best when we step back and look at our past. Noticing how God used different situations and different moments to work His good and power in our lives is simply amazing. Babies being born, weddings taking place, conversations that arise, new job opportunities. Whatever they may be, God shows us His divine care when we take a minute to look back on where we’ve been.

This helps us become aware of how we arrived where we are today. Somehow, the storyline, in all its chaotic form, still seems to make sense. God is a brilliant and creative storyteller. He is writing your story and supporting you every step of the way. Scripture says it like this…

A person’s steps are established by the Lord, and He takes pleasure in his way. Though he falls, he will not be overwhelmed, because the Lord supports him with His hand.

Psalms 37:23-24, CSB

The Missing Piece

Trust me when I tell you, friend, He is working something so good in you right now! I promise it will be worth it when you finally see the pieces fall into place. Oh, how marvelous it will be when we one day stand before the throne of God. When we are able to see the completed work of our tapestries for the first time.

Your life tapestry is just one piece of God’s massive patchwork quilt that He has been creating all along. You are a piece to the much bigger puzzle being designed. Don’t ever let anyone steal your rightful place in the bigger picture.

For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to His good purpose.

Philippians 2:13, CSB

Today Dear Reader, let’s choose to walk faithfully forward and keep trusting the backward tapestry that will one day be flipped over for good!

Prayer For Today

Oh Lord Help Me to see your goodness as I go throughout this day! Thank you for the ability to see glimpses of my front-facing tapestry. Help me to remain faithful as I trust that you are in full control of my life working all things for good. Forgive me when I doubt your abilities to bring to completion the work you started in me. I pray you will teach my heart to desire things above and not of this world. Lord, give me eyes to see the beauty in the backward tapestry knowing good and well it’s not yet complete! I pray these things in my Savior Jesus’ name. Amen.

Sometimes our lives can feel like a huge jumbled mess of ups and downs. We cannot see the whole tapestry, but we must trust God has complete control. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #faithful #devotional #scripture #peace #trust
Fancycrave

mystery, unknown, safety, faithful, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Mystery: The Holiness and Fear Surrounding Not Knowing

Walking with mystery can feel very much like stepping off the abyss. Yet, if we choose a life without mystery, we’ve chosen not to see beyond the surface of God, ourselves, or others.



The lack of mystery in our modern life is our downfall and our poverty. A human life is worth as much as the respect it holds for the mystery. We retain the child in us to the extent that we honor the mystery. Therefore, children have open, wide-awake eyes, because they know that they are surrounded by the mystery.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God is in The Manger, Reflections on Advent and Christmas

Walking with mystery can feel very much like stepping off the abyss. If we choose a life without mystery, we've chosen not to see beyond the surface of God. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Literature

I love to read novels. All the major bookstores have long discovered that Dodie Smith is a sucker for books. They send me ads and coupons accordingly. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of my mother taking my brother and me to the library.

She also loved to read. She loved it enough to walk long city blocks with two young children to and from the local library so that we, too, would have the opportunity to enter the adventurous, mysterious world of books.

In the past, I read mostly literature and women’s literature, but for some reason, I’m tired of those. Many became too politically correct for me, I think. For several years now, I can lose myself for hours in a murder mystery.

Like my dad before me, I usually wait to read until an hour or so before bed; otherwise, I would never accomplish anything else! The nuances of discovering ‘who done it’ usually captures my mind rather quickly. If the plot moves too slowly or the main character isn’t likable, I move on to another book. Life is too short to stick with a boring book!

Mystery

Mystery. I often wonder why we lose the awe and wonder of childhood. At what point in life do we begin to feel the need to explain – or have explained to us – every, single detail of our existence? When did we decide that we wanted to be lord of our own lives…and over everything and have it all at our disposal, (Bonhoeffer).

I mean, that’s what it means, doesn’t it? The incessant, gnawing, obsessive need to know and understand everything…isn’t that a desire to be lord? To deny the presence of any mystery in our lives?

Yet, our God is and has always been, a God of mystery.

But there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these:

Daniel 2:28, ESV

»«

Can you fathom the mysteries of God?
Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?

Job 11:7 NIV

»«

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

Ephesians 5:31-32, ESV

Misty Fog

In Bible days, it was unfathomable to live without certainty. The people of God were surrounded by this God who spoke from a cloud of glory or from the mouth of a donkey and raised people from the dead. But they never expected to understand it; the mystery was hidden from them. They were not given eyes to see…as we have been.

In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit of God’s holy apostles and prophets.

Ephesians 3:4-5, NIV (emphasis added)

»«

Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began

Romans 16:25, NKJV (emphasis added)

Yet, Jesus came on the scene and told His disciples:

…Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven…

Matthew 13:11, NKJV

God, through His Son and His Holy Spirit, graciously…magnanimously opened our blinded eyes and allowed us to see through the mist, the fog, the cloud and behold His mystery!

I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness – the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Colossians 1:25-27, NIV

Secret Unknown

Hallelujah!

On one hand, mystery has been revealed to us – the mystery of the gospel, the greatest mystery of all. On the other hand, each day God invites us to walk with Him in mystery, in faithful not-knowing, resting securely within the secret place of the Most High. However, He never forces our hand into His.

Walking with mystery can feel very much like stepping off the abyss…every day – during some seasons of life. Yet, if we choose a life without mystery, we’ve chosen not to see beyond the surface of God, ourselves, or others. In some situations, it can feel more comfortable or expedient. In reality, despite what we profess, we’re expressing that we prefer a calculated life, and perhaps a god we can tame or even control.

I’d never call Him a tame God, but the God of mystery is always, always safe.

Walking with mystery can feel very much like stepping off the abyss during some seasons of life. Yet, if we choose a life without mystery, we've chosen not to see beyond the surface of God, ourselves, or others. Click To Tweet

Walking with mystery can feel very much like stepping off the abyss. If we choose a life without mystery, we've chosen not to see beyond the surface of God. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Omer Salom

loyal, friendship, faithful, love, pursue, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Loyal: Pursuing Steadfastness in Our Relationships

In times of stress, we tend to isolate ourselves from everyone and everything. But we need to be loyal to our relationships, our word, and our lives, portraying the steadfastness of Jesus. 



The little break between Christmas and New Years can be disorienting. What day is this? When did I shower last? I know I bought batteries…where are they? But tucked in the midst of confusion are nuggets of reflection. As I was mustering the strength to pack for another trip to Indiana, I found myself reflecting over this past year and the years before.

There were several major differences from previous years, but one stood out the most: friendship. I have never been the one to juggle many different relationships and friendships, but here I am. I owe a lot of this to Oh Lord Help Us and a bit to volunteering at church. No matter who I owe, one thing is for certain: I am rich in relationships.

In times of stress, we tend to isolate ourselves from everyone. But we need to be loyal in our relationships, portraying the steadfastness of Jesus. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Introvert

I know just as well as anyone that moving to a new place can be daunting. Making new friends is even harder. Especially for those of us who identify as introverts. There are different levels of introvert, but all the same, it’s difficult and paralyzing.

It’s been four years since we moved to North Carolina and I just now feel like I’ve found some of my people. It took me stepping out, being uncomfortable, fighting against my nature. It’s more than just fighting against myself, it’s following through. Showing I’m reliable, accountable, trustworthy. Showing how much I care…

Wholehearted

I never regret the moments I push past myself to be uncomfortable. Sadly, I used to be extremely fickle… cancel outings, not answer calls or texts. It took me a long time to realize how surface my life was without quality relationships. I can name a few dear souls that never quit.

Praise Jesus for those people who wait patiently for you to get your act together. The loyal, wholehearted ones who know there’s a special friend somewhere inside. They wait… and they wait. Those are the ones who you should hold on to. The ones you thank over and over for not giving up on you. For pursuing you through prayer, texts, invites, etc. I strive every day to live the gracious example of these special friends.

Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.

Proverbs 3:3, ESV

We need each other… through hardships, pain, seasons of grief. Because this life is ever changing with swells of inconsistency and unknown, we need to be found loving and faithful through it all.

We need each other... through hardships, pain, seasons of grief. This life is ever changing with swells of inconsistency, we need to be found loving and faithful through it all. Click To Tweet

Richness of Relationship

Financially, this has been one of the toughest years to date. But what I lack in monetary wealth, I make up for with rich, rich relationships. In previous years of financial strain, I would isolate myself; cut myself off from the support and love of a friend or even family members. I allowed the overwhelm and embarrassment to overthrow my faithfulness.

Not only was my dedication to those I loved strained, but my loyalty to the Lord suffered. My bank account was poor and so was my spirit. I became sporadic in going to church and was even more disloyal in my Bible reading. Hitting my knees? Yeah, non-existent.

Praise God He stays true…

This is a trustworthy saying: If we die with him, we will also live with him. If we endure hardship, we will reign with him. If we deny him, he will deny us. If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is.

2 Timothy 2:11-13, NLT

His loyalty to my heart didn’t bail me out of financial hardship, but it did draw me closer to Himself. In doing so, it showed me the value of relationship over wealth. Of loyalty over inconsistency. In this season, I’m thankful for that lesson. It’s kept my head above a tsunami of stress and encouraged me to draw close to those who love me.

Loyal Example

The Bible’s layout of loyalty is strictly relational. This is no coincidence. We follow Jesus’ example of loyalty straight to the cross. The cross is a symbol of loyalty to God’s divine plan and a devotion to all of us sinners. Not only did Jesus’ faithfulness make it possible for us to have a relationship with God, but also allows a devotion to one another.

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:29-31, NIV

We need to strive each day to portray our steadfast devotion to Jesus, and in turn to one another. Love God, love each other. Loyal servants, loyal friends.

In times of stress, we tend to isolate ourselves from everyone. But we need to be loyal in our relationships, portraying the steadfastness of Jesus. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Jan Romero

faithful, serve, small, trust, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Little: Being Faithful with the Small So He Will Entrust Us with More

As we serve the Lord, we are called upon to do many small things. Only when He finds us faithful in these little things, will He entrust us with more. 



For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice…

Zechariah 4:10

One recent morning, I found myself getting flustered. The night before, I had stayed up late making a costume for my daughter to wear for an activity at school. When it was time to don her getup, she refused to wear most of what I had made for her. Admittedly, this was a little thing. Yes, a very small thing indeed. Yet my response to her ungrateful reaction was to make it into a big thing.

Dressed as characters from their favorite books, my kiddos were off to school, and I was trying to settle into my morning. The alluring smell of brewing coffee and the sweet peace of quiet time with the Lord were beckoning me. But I was having trouble being still before the Lord. My thoughts were racing, my phone reminders were dinging, and my appliances were literally buzzing at me!

As we serve the Lord, we are called upon to do many small things. Only when He finds us faithful in these little things, will He entrust us with more. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

All. The. Little. Things.

Seems like most days, I never get to do what I really want to do because someone or something is demanding my time and energy. One moment it’s my kids arguing. Another it’s a friend in emotional crisis. Then it’s the school recruiting field trip chaperones. My church asking me to serve. Or just all the little daily things like kids wanting a snack (every five minutes or so), laundry needing to be folded, the dog begging for a walk, or the dishwasher waiting to be emptied.

All. the. little. things…which add up to a BIG time commitment. Sound familiar? And I’m a stay at home mom. I can’t even imagine trying to factor a full-time career into this equation. So how on earth can we manage to stay on top of all of these little things–commitments, needs, demands–and still have time and energy to tackle the big things that are truly life-giving?

Collecting Dust

A few years ago, when my kids were still a baby and a toddler, I was barely able to leave the house. Between the nursing, and the diapers, and the laundry, I felt extremely overwhelmed, isolated, and exhausted. I would cry out to the Lord for a time when I could do something that really mattered in this world.

Was I destined to only be a mom for the rest of my life and nothing more? My kids needed me, but I wanted to be used by the Lord in a greater way. I literally felt trapped by all the small things I had to do each day. I wanted to be used by the Lord, but I felt like I was stuck on a shelf collecting dust.

Greater Responsibility, Greater Sacrifice

As my kids have grown a little older, the Lord has begun to increase my responsibilities and expand my sphere of influence. Yet, here I am again. Finding myself in this place of resentment about all of the small demands on my time and energy. As if I should only have to offer myself to others in the ways that I selfishly want to use my gifts.

But the Lord is showing me that as my responsibility increases, so too does my level of sacrifice. And if I refuse to be faithful over the small responsibilities He entrusts to me, how can I ever expect to fully live out the greater purposes that He has planned for my life?

He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

Luke 16:10

Case in point, if I haven’t learned how to deal well with my own child’s ungratefulness, how can He trust me with the hearts of strangers who are hurting? When someone is in crisis and receives ministry, many times s/he is glad to receive the help. But often the helper never hears a ‘thank you’ or receives any kind of acknowledgment for the sacrifice that she has made in ministering to that person.This is how the Lord teaches and trains us. In the little things.

If we refuse to be faithful over the small responsibilities He entrusts, how can we ever expect to fully live out the greater purposes that He has planned? Click To Tweet

His Watchful Eye

Beloved, we are under His loving and watchful eye at all times. And He is weighing our motives, examining our hearts to see how we are treating others. He’s looking to see how we respond to all the little demands, and the big ones too.

For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him…

2 Chronicles 16:9

When His eyes fall on us, will He find us joyfully working in His vineyard? Will He see us sacrificing for others so that He is glorified? Or will He find us grumbling about all of our responsibilities? Or complaining about all the demands that others place on us? I want Him to find me faithful rather than flustered. Because ultimately, we are not just serving others. We are serving Jesus Christ.

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

Colossians 3:23-24

More Like Christ

As we pour into others–even in the smallest ways–we need to recognize that it is actually Christ whom we are serving. When we serve Him, our ultimate concern is whether He is pleased with our efforts. This kind of relationship with Christ frees us from needing the gratitude or the approval of others. It makes us more like Christ, who gave of Himself, expecting nothing in return.

When Jesus walked the earth, He didn’t just heal or deliver people when it was convenient for Him. He didn’t do it in the quickest way possible so that He could get somewhere else–somewhere where His true gifts could really shine. No. He simply moved about the land, helping anyone and everyone who needed Him.

Jesus did not despise the small things He had to do. Rather, He knew that they were preparing Him for the ultimate sacrifice that He was called to make. After all of His earthly ministry was finished, He did the biggest thing that anyone has ever done. And in so doing, He made the greatest sacrifice that anyone has ever made. He died a brutal death on the cross at Calvary so that all men could be saved.

Big, Eternal Rewards

When we live and serve sacrificially, the results and the rewards are eternal. When our days are done, all that we have accomplished in the flesh–for worldly approval or gain–will be burnt up as chaff. But all that we have done as unto the Lord will not have been in vain. All the small things will bring big, eternal rewards.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

1 Corinthians 15:58

For the Lord will have seen all of it. All the small things. All the big sacrifices. Our entire lives will be there before His throne. And beloved, if you are anything like me, you long to one day hear these words:

…Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Matthew 25:21

Have you struggled to serve the Lord in the small things? When you’ve worked as unto the Lord, have you felt His approval? What are the big things that you believe He will entrust you with when He finds you faithful?

As we serve the Lord, we are called upon to do many small things. Only when He finds us faithful in these little things, will He entrust us with more. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

All scripture references are from the King James Version of The Bible.