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
Faithful, focus, godliness, God’s Word, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Now: How Are We to Practice Godliness in a Life of Tension?

In 2 Timothy, Paul talks about what will occur in the last days, or end times. Has every generation before now read this passage and thought, Is this now? I sure do. In a life of tension, how do we keep practicing godliness?



But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.

2 Timothy 3:1-5a, ESV

In 2 Timothy, Paul talks about the last days. Has every generation before read this and thought, Is this now? How are we we keep practicing godliness? Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #faithful #focus #godliness #GodsWord #life

Focusing on Godliness

It is hard to imagine things worse than they are right now. And who, aside from the Father, determines the length of “last days” as to how long they will go on? Technically speaking, any day after Jesus ascended to the Father could be considered the last of them. It is similar to the morbid saying that we begin to die as soon as we are born.

Nevertheless, what feels more pressing in this current reality is how much the church has allowed itself to be deceived. Yet would that not also have been the case in Martin Luther’s day? So, instead of focusing on the potential of these times being the “last,” let us draw our attention to the instruction given, and seek to do the opposite of the aforementioned verses.

  • Be others focused
  • Do not love money, or what it affords
  • Practice humility
  • Be gentle and kind to those around you
  • Show honor to parents
  • Be grateful
  • Diligently pursue holiness
  • Be compassionate and loving
  • Practice forgiveness
  • Seek reconciliation
  • Do not gossip; rather, be self-controlled
  • Be peaceable, loving what is good
  • Be trustworthy
  • Love God, and recognize Him as the giver of good things
  • Worship the Creator of pleasure rather than pleasure itself
  • Practice spiritual disciplines which can lead to true godliness, not merely the look of it

Helpful Warning

I am thankful for the monumental heads-up Jesus gave when He said we would have trouble in this world. Still more, I am grateful for the promise which followed—He has already overcome the world and has won the victory (John 16:33)!

Surely Paul would have taken this to heart as he encountered his own various trials. The brutal honesty in which Paul communicated the life of a Christ follower is refreshing. He could have stopped at simply disclosing the tribulations he endured for the sake of the Gospel, but he continually gave God the glory for rescuing him again and again.

My persecutions and sufferings that happened to me…which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me.

2 Timothy 3:11, ESV

Faithfulness Now

In Paul’s first letter to Timothy, he encouraged Timothy to pay attention! He charged Timothy to persevere in what he was learning and to keep a close eye on what he was teaching the people around him.

Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.

1 Timothy 4:16, CSB

In the second letter to Timothy, Paul reiterated his instructions.

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 3:14-15, ESV

The Word of God gives wisdom for salvation, both individually, and for the people who hear. Even more, since Scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16), studying and applying its instructions is sufficient to understand how to live a godly life. There is no higher authority! What a provision of grace! But this grace is not just for ourselves. As we pursue godliness, our lives testify of faith in Jesus Christ which leads to salvation.

Chasing Fairytales

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

2 Timothy 4:3-4, ESV

These verses are palpable in today’s society. The time has come. It is now. All the more, the truth of the gospel humbles and comforts me! How often do I go searching for someone or something that will tell me what I want to hear? Justify me. Validate me. Tickle my ears. It is a slow decline over time, one where daily meditation on God’s Word is gradually abandoned. Advice is sought elsewhere, even a wicked way of thinking within myself.

Solomon talked about this trap in Proverbs: it looks like a sparkly fairytale, but it ends in death (Proverbs 16:25). Therefore, every suggestion, whether from our own minds or others, must be weighed against the Word of God. Does it align with His character? Is the purpose to bring Him glory or myself? Will following the advice move me toward godliness or away from it? Where does it focus my affections?

How often do we go searching for someone or something that will tell me what I want to hear? However, every suggestion, whether from our own minds or others, must be weighed against the Word of God. Click To Tweet

Worthy Pursuit

The main pursuit of sinners is self—looking out for #1. If the interests of the world are adopted (such as whatever the current American dream is) then the pathway to God has been deserted. The quest is no longer holiness but an evil adventure of heartily approving of the ways of the world. Avoid this way! Why? Because delighting in the instructions of the Lord have incomparable purpose and joy; not just for the life to come, but now!

The life of success spoken of in the Bible does not look anything like the prosperity gospel being peddled to the masses today. Unlike the godly person, the wicked do not prosper in everything they do (Psalm 1:3-4). Even when we cannot see it, God knows, because the Lord knows those who are His (2 Timothy 2:19). With that assurance, we can make peace with the constant tension of living a life for the glory of God.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?

Romans 8:31-32, ESV

Now, children of the King, press on! 

In 2 Timothy, Paul talks about the last days. Has every generation before read this and thought, Is this now? How are we we keep practicing godliness? Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #faithful #focus #godliness #GodsWord #life

unsplash-logoShashank Rana
dependable, devotion, faithfulness, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Faithfulness: Replicating God’s Loyalty in the Lives of One Another

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 in January of 2016. 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 #dependable #devotion #devotional #faithful

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 2018 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!

It’s easy to look at failure through the lens of finality. But Jesus disrupted that when He rose from the grave! Letting failure take center stage emphasizes self, not Almighty God. Click To Tweet

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 in 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!

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 #faithful #devotion #devotional #scripture
Simon Fitall

anxiety, fear, faithful, nourishment, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Nourishment: Allowing the Psalms to Penetrate and Feed Our Souls

Food is one of the greatest joys and necessities of life. Yet, it isn’t our bodies alone that need nourishment. We must feed our souls with God’s truth. 



We all need food. Food nourishes us, sustains us. Without food, we cannot live. Food is one of the greatest joys and necessities of life. Yet, it isn’t our bodies alone that need nourishment. We must feed our souls with God’s truth. When my soul is hungry or wanting, I often look to the Psalms.

My emotions may be all over the place, but His Word is true. My life may be ever-changing, but He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Even if my faith fails, He remains faithful, because He cannot deny Himself.

Below are several of my favorite Psalms. As you slowly read each one, close your eyes, think about the meaning of the words, and let God’s truth be nourishment for you today.

Let the Truth of God’s Word sink deep into your heart, renew your mind and fill your soul…

It isn't our bodies alone that need nourishment. We must feed our souls with God's truth. Click To Tweet

Food is one of the greatest joys and necessities of life. Yet, it isn't our bodies alone that need nourishment. We must feed our souls with God's truth. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

 

God’s Faithfulness

Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, truly you shall be fed. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass.

Psalm 37:3-5, AMPC

» «

Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.

Psalm 27:14, AMPC

» «

But the mercy and loving-kindness of the Lord are from everlasting to everlasting upon those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him, and His righteousness is to children’s children.

Psalm 103:17, AMPC

» «

Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul, and forget not [one of] all His benefits— Who forgives [every one of] all your iniquities, Who heals [each one of] all your diseases, Who redeems your life from the pit and corruption, Who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercy; Who satisfies your mouth [your necessity and desire at your personal age and situation] with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle’s [strong, overcoming, soaring]!

Psalm 103:3-5, AMPC

Food for the Afraid

In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You, Lord, alone make me dwell in safety and confident trust.

Psalm 4:8, AMPC

» «

The Lord is my Light and my Salvation—whom shall I fear or dread? The Lord is the Refuge and Stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27:1, AMPC

» «

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Psalm 91:4, NIV

Nourishment for the Wrecked

They looked to Him and were radiant; their faces shall never blush for shame or be confused. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.

Psalm 34:5-6, AMPC

» «

[What, what would have become of me] had I not believed that I would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living!

Psalm 27:13, AMPC

» «

My heart throbs, my strength fails me; as for the light of my eyes, it also is gone from me. For in You, O Lord, do I hope; You will answer, O Lord my God.

Psalm 38:10, 15, AMPC

Food for the Wanting

For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand [anywhere else]; I would rather be a doorkeeper and stand at the threshold in the house of my God than to dwell [at ease] in the tents of wickedness.

Psalm 84:10, AMPC

» «

Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.

Psalm 2:8, NIV

» «

The secret [of the sweet, satisfying companionship] of the Lord have they who fear (revere and worship) Him, and He will show them His covenant and reveal to them its [deep, inner] meaning.

Psalm 25:14, AMPC

Jesus, thank you for this sweet reader. I pray these words will fill her to the full. Let your truth dive deep into her soul and set her free from fear, insecurity, anxiety, depression, and confusion. Fill her with the foods of peace, love, patience, and grace. Let your love dwell in her richly and may she always know she is precious! In Jesus’ Sweet Name, Amen.

Food is one of the greatest joys and necessities of life. Yet, it isn't our bodies alone that need nourishment. We must feed our souls with God's truth. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

comfort, trust, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, Spiritual Growth

Comfort: Learning Who to Trust Will Transform Our Lives

Trust can be extremely difficult. But, drawing close to God can truly bring us out of our comfort zones and into the comfort of His faithfulness. 



“If you behave, you’ll get some candy.”

We’ve all probably used some form of blackmail. Especially if you’re a parent. Most of the time it can be harmless, but what about when it crosses the line?

“If you don’t start behaving the way we want you to, we’re going to give you up for adoption.”

Sadly, all trust was broken when these words fell on little ears.

Trust is the glue that holds relationships together and when trust is broken, so is the relationship.

I’ve struggled to really trust people in my life. Seems like I’ve been trying to live up to everyone’s expectations because if I didn’t, they might walk away.

Earthly Trust

The definition of trust is the firm belief in the reliability of someone (Merriam-Webster).

Firm can be defined as solidly fixed. I think of “Gorilla Glue”: nothing is breaking apart what has been put together.

Sadly, most of us can agree that this type of trust is not of Earth. Living in a fallen world equals a lack of trustworthy humans. This makes any relationship daunting and even a little scary.

And, if you’ve experienced painful disappointment, you will attest to this; trusting in God can be hard.

We know we should do it, but it’s tough to put that much confidence in someone else. Perhaps you ask yourself how you can surrender it all to God when everything else in your life seems unstable and unreliable.

The fact is, we are surrounded by other broken humans. It can be difficult when all we hear them say is “the Lord is always faithful”.

Here’s the thing: we said trust is a glue to hold our relationships together. So if we don’t have some confidence in others, we won’t have satisfying relationships and we won’t be able to step out into greater things.

Comfort Zone

The same is true of God. We can’t grow in faith without beginning to trust Him. When we’re afraid to be “all in” with Him and trust Him completely, we will never achieve what His desires are for us.

We will remain in our comfort zone without growing in a relationship with God, fulfilling our purpose, or even having rewarding earthly relationships.

When Jesus appeared walking on the Sea of Galilee to the disciples, Peter called out.

Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”

“Yes, come,” Jesus said.

So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”

Matthew 14:28-31, NLT

Trust can be extremely difficult. But, drawing close to God can truly bring us out of our comfort zones and into the comfort of His faithfulness. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Trust Recognized

See how Peter asked Jesus to invite him, extending his trust, and stepping out? Then once he was on the water, he started to think of reasons why he shouldn’t trust and he started to sink; back into his comfort zone.

Sound familiar?

Trusting completely in someone is scary when all we’ve known is uncertainty.

Jesus then told Peter he had too little trust.

Peter’s comfort was the boat. Instead of reaching out to Jesus and allowing God to stay beside him, he sank. What if Peter would have remembered how faithful Jesus had already been in his life?

The key is focusing on Christ. God is always faithful, certain, stable, and steadfast.

When we ask God to grow our trust in Him, it will extend to our other relationships, and give us the confidence to leave our comfort zones.

Peter went on to be known as “The Rock” the early church was built on, just two short chapters later. If Peter was able to grow in trust, we know by following our Lord, we can be blessed with increased trust also.

When we ask God to help us trust in Him, it will extend to our other relationships, and give us the confidence to leave our comfort zones. Click To Tweet

Growing Comfortable in Trust…

Remain close to God through daily reading of His word.

Review God’s track record from the Bible.

Remove ourselves from the situation. (We’re sinful and can’t even trust ourselves).

Remember God is our source of blessings and life.

Rest in God. He can take our past, heal us and give us a future.

This girl with trust issues knows that she’s not where she once was, but she hasn’t arrived yet either. After reading Peter’s transformation, I know God can use even the pain of my past to drive me from my comfort zone to an always faithful Christ.



Julie Loos is the mom of 5 kids and has been happily married to Greg for 19 years. She loves to read, eat chocolate, drink iced tea and spend time writing in the midst of messes.

You can connect with Julie on her blog unmaskingthemess.com, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

 

 

Trust can be extremely difficult. But, drawing close to God can truly bring us out of our comfort zones and into the comfort of His faithfulness. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

training, battle, faithful, Oh Lord Help Us, ministry, Christian, women

Training: Being Equipped for Battle Through Daily Faithfulness

We cannot wait for the big battles of life to learn to fight. We need daily training. God will prepare us for battle in the day to day faithful small acts of doing life.



Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.”

1 Samuel 17:38, ESV

We cannot wait for the big battles of life to learn to fight. We need daily training. God will prepare us for battle in the day to day faithful small acts of doing life. #spiritualbattle #spiritualgrowth #ChristianWomen

David is a character in scripture that is deeply familiar to most. Who hasn’t heard of the big giant Goliath and the small shepherd boy David rounding off in the field between the Philistines and the Israelites? Goliath came out and stood on the battle field day after day shouting out at the Israelites to send someone to fight against him. “Choose a man and have him come down to me,” he would bellow. And the whole camp was “dismayed and terrified.” Until David came. He wasn’t really there to fight. In fact, he was on an errand. His father needed him to take supplies to his brothers and find out news. David was the youngest and spent his day tending sheep.

He shows up and hears Goliath ranting at the camp and he is not dismayed. He is insulted. But, have you ever noticed who David is defending? “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” David is concerned for the glory of his God. He hears Goliath and his first thoughts are not for his safety, his comfort, or his family. He is thinking about his God. When Saul dismisses David as just a boy, David reminds him of what he has been doing. “Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them…The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of the Philistine.“

And David does. He takes a stone and he slings one straight into Goliath’s forehead. He kills him and cuts his head off. And this is the best part: This is exactly what David has been doing for years tending the sheep; slinging stones and stopping enemies. Saul originally tries to get David to wear a suit of armor. He thinks he is a boy and needs defenses like the rest of the camp. But, the armor wasn’t going to be effective. It was too big and David could barely move.

Stones and slings were what he was familiar with. He had trained with those stones, using them many times before. He had struck down other adversaries. Goliath wasn’t his first kill. And to be honest, he had a lot more death to come in his future. But, here in this moment facing what was his first “real” battle, David used what he knew and what he had been practicing. He didn’t wait to learn to sling a stone in the midst of battle.

Training

Have you considered what made David ready for battle? It was only what he had been already doing. He had been tending sheep and killing enemies. He had been in training all that time. Fighting little enemies in preparation for the bigger ones.

My battles are going to look a lot different than David’s. But, I cannot wait for the big battles to come to learn to fight. While my battles may look different than David’s, they will be in essence, the same. They will require I engage the enemy. They will be for the honor and glory of my King. And they will require that I draw on the resources that are already stored in my spiritual well. God is faithfully equipping me for battle and I am a part of that equipping.

God is faithfully equipping me for battle... Click To Tweet

I am in His word (the sword) and I am meeting with Him, learning to listen to His quiet voice. I am doing my life with God in the middle of it when there are no battles raging; when the water is calm or calmer. I can look at the days ahead and know that God is preparing me. He is not expecting me to get my act together. In fact, He is getting my act together. He is and will prepare me for the battle in the day to day faithful small acts of doing my life. He has begun a good work in me and He will be faithful to complete it. I can rest in that and I can rest in Him.

We cannot wait for the big battles of life to learn to fight. We need daily training. God will prepare us for battle in the day to day faithful small acts of doing life. #spiritualbattle #spiritualgrowth #ChristianWomen

ITZIAR LORENZO

source, vine, branch, remain, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, ministry, encouragement

Source: Stop Toiling, God is the One Who Produces the Fruit

Constantly toiling to do good works is draining. We strive to produce good fruit, missing the point. God is the Source, the One who produces the fruit. We are only to remain in Him.



God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

2 Thessalonians 2:13, NASB

Sanctification means to be purified. Purification isn’t a one-time act; it is a continuous work of the Spirit. But that isn’t meant to be a frightening thing for believers. I have found much of my toil to be self-inflicted. I get an idea of what God requires of me as a Christian so I charge full speed ahead like, “I gotch-u, God!” Inevitably, the outcome of my valiant service doesn’t look at all like what I thought it would. Discouragement and frustration flank me and I start dissecting where I went wrong.

Purification isn’t a one-time act; it is a continuous work of the Spirit. Click To Tweet

Constantly toiling to do good works is draining. We strive to produce good fruit, missing the point. God is the One who produces the fruit. We are only to remain in Him.

The Source

One of the ladies in my bible study shared an enlightening interpretation of John 15 this past week. She said when Jesus described Himself as the vine and us the branches, we often misunderstand the call He is making. As branches, we strive toward producing fruit. Yet we cannot manufacture any of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) apart from being an extension of the vine. Therefore, our chief goal is not to produce fruit for the Lord, but to stay joined to Him. God will do the work of producing fruit through us as we seek to gain life from Him.

Our chief goal is not to produce fruit for the Lord, but to stay joined to Him. God will do the work of producing fruit through us as we seek to gain life from Him. Click To Tweet

The dilemma I keep running into is I forget my role as the branch. I want to be able to see how God is working and why. That way, I can help speed things along, you know? God usually moves at a snail’s pace. The Bible reveals that nothing happens without God’s knowledge or permission. But there are days when that isn’t comforting to me, because I want to know why.

The Mystery

A few weeks ago, when I was wrestling with this truth, one of my pastors brought some peace to my grappling. “Be more okay with mystery,” he said. In this information age we want to know and be in control of everything within our grasp. If there’s something we don’t understand or cannot explain — we reject it. Yet there is no way for anyone to know how some suffering or tragedy will be used to sanctify or bless someone else 50 or 100 years down the road. What Satan means for evil, God always uses for good.

There is no way for anyone to know how some suffering or tragedy will be used to sanctify or bless someone else 50 or 100 years down the road. What Satan means for evil, God always uses for good. Click To Tweet

Our enemy whispers to us that we need to understand more in order to gain a better grasp. If we can hold on to something, we can control it. It’s the devil’s way to use such a good thing for his purpose of separating us from God. It’s so difficult to just believe a truth without being able to maintain some sort of personal responsibility for it. It’s actually kind of funny. We often don’t want to be responsible for anything concrete and real. But we will kill and destroy for an idea that requires no responsibility at all.

The Fruit

Jesus is the vine; I am the branch. I do not always fully understand His methods or purposes for pruning in my life. Perhaps so I will know He is my refuge. He has never forsaken me.

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from You.”

Psalm 16:2, ESV

My little branch is being sanctified, and I am confident my source of life is solely in the Vine. As I have stepped back from taking charge, God has been producing fruit through my faithfulness to Him. Instead of trying to peddle the value of kid’s ministry, I went to the Source and He is providing! I also have a desire to shepherd younger women, but I don’t have much formal training beyond life itself. But through studying God’s word and listening to my loving Master, He is bringing people into my life I didn’t even know. It is humbling, at times agonizing, and completely joyous. I LOVE watching God work.

Constantly toiling to do good works is draining. We strive to produce good fruit, missing the point. God is the One who produces the fruit. We are only to remain in Him.

Aaron Burden

Watercolor by Katie Braswell
broken, brokenness, beauty, faithfulness, redeemed, redemption

Making Mosaics

God, the Master Artist, looks at the shards of our brokenness and sees beauty that we can’t. God uses the brokenness and creates a new, beautiful mosaic.



I don’t know anyone in this world who has escaped brokenness. I know I haven’t. In fact, brokenness touched my life in profound ways early on in my life. I spent most of my adult life thus far trying to hide how broken I was, but once I began to acknowledge all the scattered pieces of me laying all around, I found myself desperate to find a way to put the pieces of me back together.

I found myself on a journey towards healing from childhood sexual abuse. But every time I thought I had finally fit two pieces of me back together, I would see a new pile of all that was shattered in a corner I didn’t see before. I pleaded with God to put me back together. After all, He promises “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3, ESV). Surely healing meant He would put me back together.

As I have walked this journey, I have come to understand healing isn’t what I envisioned it would be. I thought of healing as God putting the broken pieces of me back together like a puzzle. While I can’t possibly put all the countless pieces of me back into the places they were before, I was certain God could. Yet, He hasn’t. His healing isn’t about putting me back together.  It’s about making the old new.

His healing isn’t about putting me back together. It’s about making the old new. Click To Tweet

The problem with putting the pieces back together is that once the pieces were fitted where they were to begin with, they provide an appearance of wholeness yet are still fractured. A puzzle put together still breaks in the same places.  It appears whole, you see the entire picture the pieces come together to create, yet it’s perpetually broken, fractured forever. God’s healing won’t put the pieces back together to give me an appearance of wholeness while leaving me still broken. So what is He doing instead?

God isn’t putting me together like a puzzle. When He looks at the chaotic mess of my scattered shards, He sees a new work of art as only an Artist can. He not only sees this new work of art, He begins creating it. He picks up each broken piece of me, lovingly cleans it and polishes it, and He places it in its new place in the mosaic He is making out of me.

When He looks at the chaotic mess of my scattered shards, He sees a new work of art... Click To Tweet

A mosaic, you see, is made by taking broken pieces and arranging them into a work of art held in place by some kind of glue or cement. That glue holds all those broken pieces together as one work of art. It is whole yet comprised of what was once broken. But the eyes of the artist saw beauty in the midst of the broken, and created something new out of what once was old. Unlike a puzzle, a mosaic, though made of broken pieces, is completely whole. It is held together, cemented in place, so it can’t be taken apart.

God, the Master Artist, looks at the shards of my brokenness and sees beauty that I can’t. The abuse that broke me cannot be undone (trust me, I’ve tried), but God uses the brokenness and creates a new mosaic. He doesn’t place all those shattered pieces back where they once were to create the appearance of wholeness. No, He does more than that. He honors the story of each broken piece, polishing it off, and places it in the glue of His grace and mercy and love. That glue can never be broken again. Out of old, broken pieces, He is fashioning a beautiful, new mosaic.

Of course, the brokenness can be seen and each shard still has a story to tell, but the glue of His faithfulness holding all the pieces together creates a whole piece of art that tells of His goodness through the brokenness. It tells of a love that refuses to leave me shattered. Healing is not putting the pieces of me back together. It’s much greater than that. Healing is making a new work of art…wholeness made out of brokenness.

...the glue of His faithfulness holding all the pieces together creates a whole piece of art... Click To Tweet

As I said at first, I don’t know of anyone in this life who has escaped brokenness, and I don’t know what it is that broke you and left you in pieces. So my dear and precious sisters, broken and scattered, take heart. He is not putting the old you back together. He is not merely fitting pieces of an old puzzle back where they once were so all can see where you broke.

He loves you too much to leave you with the appearance of wholeness yet perpetually broken. He is taking all the broken pieces of who you used to be and artfully creating a new masterpiece, telling a story of how you are being put back together…a story of how where you have walked will shape who you become. You, my dear sister, are not a puzzle to be fit back together into the old. You are a mosaic being masterfully made new.


God, the Master Artist, looks at the shards of my brokenness and sees beauty that I can’t. But God uses the brokenness and creates a new, beautiful mosaic.