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, oath, preparation, prepared, God’s promises, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

Faith Over Preparation: Can Preparation Get in the Way of Trusting God?

Preparation is not a wrong value, but it is when I put it over faith. God has made an oath to His children and He can be trusted. We can have faith beyond our preparation.



Preparation is something I value. But with 4 kids, it can be fleeting. I mean as in impossible

Preparation is not a wrong value, but it is when I put it over faith. God has made an oath to His children and He can be trusted. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #fear #faith #oath #preparation #trust #promise

Distanced Rally

It was 6:30 in the morning. My daughter was texting me that her load of clothes for school had just come out of the dryer with ink all over them.

“Ruined,” she said. “What can I do?” she asked.

“Is your Dad dead?” I asked.

Silence. 30 minutes later she calls…

“You didn’t order my lunch.”

The lunch she has to order because she is at a charter school that only buys enough food for what is ordered and paid for. Yikes. She is realizing this as she and my husband are walking out the door.

Did I mention I am 10 hours away? I’m about to move her brother out of the hospital, into a Ronald McDonald house to stay for 2 months and I am beyond scared. So, what do I do? I panic, and panic for me looks like a ‘rally the troops’ situation. In an effort to fix the problem, I message, Facebook, and text everybody I know in the county. It’s full-blown attack mode. Solve the problem. Find a solution. Plug somebody into the problem. I can’t figure this out.

Preparation’s Oath

Then I get it. I wanted this problem off my radar because the problem with my son was really demanding my attention. But, if I am honest, this whole situation was really revealing a bigger problem. Could I trust God with even this?

See, my husband and I are really good together. He does a lot of stuff and I do a lot of stuff. I can, however, kind of try to overcompensate. Ok, take over. It starts small and before I know it, I just do it all. He doesn’t ask me to. He doesn’t expect me to. It’s really a subtle irony. Rodney is maybe the easiest-to-please-person I know.

But, I’m not. I want to feel productive, prepared, together. I like knowing I took care of things…10 hours away. I couldn’t take care of things. The fear ruling my heart: Would I be able to replace the clothes if they were ruined? Budget is tight. Things are scarce. God had already had people step up and buy these school clothes once. What was I going to do? Trust that if she needed more clothes that He was and is big enough to supply them again.

God’s Oath

As long as I am responsible for the clothes, or my son’s health for that matter, I will be racked with fear. Fear is not a happy place to be. It says it’s up to me. But thankfully the cross says a different story! God’s oath to us:

So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. 19 This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.

Hebrews 6:18-19, NLT

Jesus tore the veil that stood between God and myself, so I could trust in something greater than the Law. The law, which says I have to measure up and be good enough.

Faith over Preparation

Any time I think that I am about to look less than good enough, I have to remember Who is better than and not just good enough. I think this is summed up beautifully in the hymn “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”:

And though this world, with devils filled
Should threaten to undo us
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us
The Prince of Darkness grim
We tremble not for him
His rage we can endure
For lo his doom is sure
One little word shall fell him.

I know for me, confidence in 3 words is beyond enough. Jesus uttered the words, “It is finished.” Hallelujah! I am grateful that He reminds me over and over. I can trust Him with inky clothes, with a sick child, with being 10 hours away, with my sin, with my future. Thankfully, you can too! Faith over preparation!

Fear is not a happy place to be. It says it’s up to 'me'. But thankfully the cross says a different story! Click To Tweet

Preparation is not a wrong value, but it is when I put it over faith. God has made an oath to His children and He can be trusted. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #fear #faith #oath #preparation #trust #promise

unsplash-logoPeter Oswald
altars, past, present, promise, brokenness, sin, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Altars: Readying Our Hearts for New Transformation

We can be distracted by the ways God showed up in the past, that we miss how He is showing up in the present. We dance around old altars, instead of readying our hearts for a new transformation.



It seems to me that we often, almost sulkily, reject the good that God offers us because, at that moment, we expected some other good. Do you know what I mean? On every level of our life…we are always harking back to some occasion which seemed to us to reach perfection, setting that up as a norm, and depreciating all other occasions by comparison.

Readings for Meditation and Reflection, C.S. Lewis

When those words crossed my vision path I was staggered to a halt. Like Sleeping Beauty’s finger, my spirit was instantly pricked with sharp conviction, prohibiting me from continuing on to the next paragraph. How often I have gazed longingly back to previous seasons of my life, whether spiritually or otherwise, and viewed those times as perfection.

I wonder, now, how much I have missed in all my present moments while I stood gazing backward at the altars I had erected.

But these other occasions, I now suspect, are often full of their own new blessing, if only we would lay ourselves open to it. God shows us a new facet of the glory, and we refuse to look at it because we’re still looking for the old one.

Readings for Meditation and Reflection, C.S. Lewis

We can be distracted by the ways God showed up in the past. We dance around old altars, instead of readying our hearts for a new and present transformation. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #altars #past #present #promise #brokenness #sin #devotional #scripture

Old Testament Altars

Altars are scattered throughout the Old Testament. God instructed Noah to build the first altar in Genesis 8:20. He later instructed Abram, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and many others to build altars). They are mentioned often in the New Testament, as well, (Matthew 5:23-24; Acts 17:24-25; Hebrews 13:10; Revelation 6:9-11, 16:7). Sacrifices were involved in the Old Testament. The ultimate Sacrifice had come in the New Testament.

Thomas W. Davis wrote in Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology: “Altars were places where the divine and human worlds interacted.” I personally identify with how former Pentecostal Pastor and songwriter Jack Hayford said it:

Altars represent the occasion and place where we have had a personal encounter with God.

Past Encounters

I imagine that many of you can envision times in your past, even the recent past, when you have had beautiful encounters with God. The presence of His Spirit was more real than the person sitting next to you or in the next room. Jesus felt closer than your best friend.

My husband and I have been mightily blessed in our lives to be involved with a few spiritually rich churches. While different, each was graced with Biblical pastors and anointed worship leaders. Each offered altar moments for us – beautiful, corporate encounters with God…which helped increase intimate, individual altar moments. Those were amazing grace gifts from our Father.

Everyone knows we can’t live on the mountaintop, don’t we?? But…isn’t it pretty up there? Isn’t it a gorgeous view?! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to stay on that high peak forever?

For us, life changed; sometimes sin invaded, (as it usually does, since we humans are prone to let our guard down,) and the mountaintops crumbled. A church split, a pastor caught up in sin, a move, whatever the circumstance that created the change, Gary and I found ourselves gazing back at our altar moments rather than looking ahead expectantly to new encounters God had in store for us in the present. In essence, we had taken our altar moments, our powerful, grace-filled encounters with God and demanded an encore!

Repeat Appearance

That, my friend, is a travesty, in the least, and sin at most.

And the joke, or tragedy, of it all is that these golden moments in the past, which are so tormenting if we erect them into a norm, are entirely nourishing, wholesome and enchanting if we are content to accept them for what they area, for memories. Properly bedded down in a past which we do not miserably try to conjure back, they will send up exquisite growths.

Readings for Meditation and Reflection, C.S. Lewis

Altars appear throughout scripture for different reasons – a place of encounter being one. The most common altar built was the altar of incense, the holy place where the priests offered worship to God on behalf of the people and themselves. Even the pagans used an altar to worship their false gods.

We can stumble into error when we take a gift of God, such as an altar moment, a time of a holy encounter with the Lord, and attempt to turn it into a precedent or demand for God. We can become like the prophets of Baal in I Kings 18:20-40, when they attempted to dance furiously around their altar, demanding Baal to perform, attempting to prove that he was more powerful than Almighty God.

Our attempts to stay in the past, clinging to old altars, are perhaps out of fear that our Father won’t show up again. Fear that despite His power and nearness in that moment, He won’t love me enough to do a repeat appearance.

Our attempts to stay in the past, clinging to old altars, are perhaps out of fear that our Father won’t show up again. It's sometimes easier to look back at what God did then than to allow Him to work in us today. Click To Tweet

Price of Altars

However, my sisters, it could also be our fear of the price that altars have. It’s sometimes easier to look back at what God did then than to allow Him to work in us today. As Jack Hayford stated:

God intends that something be ‘altered’ in us when we come to altars. To receive the promise means we make way for the transformation.

In Genesis 22, Abraham was required to offer his only son to God on an altar – a test of Abraham’s faith. Was God truly His provider? Indeed, He was.  

After Jacob encountered God in a dream in Genesis 28, he built an altar. Jacob was so overwhelmed by God’s promise to him that he vowed to God a tenth of everything He gave to him.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:23-24:

Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.

And there is the beauty…no shame, no guilt…just go and reconcile, repent, then return to the altar and worship. We can bring our brokenness to the altar; His arms are open wide.

We can be distracted by the ways God showed up in the past. We dance around old altars, instead of readying our hearts for a new and present transformation. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #altars #past #present #promise #brokenness #sin #devotional #scripture

Olena Sergienko

expectations, resentment, promise, pursued, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Expect: Counting on God’s Promises Not the World’s

It can be easy to expect our due rewards if we follow all the rules. God does not promise an easy life or guarantee earthly rewards. He does promise to pursue and love us even though we don’t deserve it. 



There’s a story in scripture most commonly known as the prodigal son. Tim Keller calls it the story of the two sons in his book The Prodigal God. I know I read the book when it first came out, but I read it again recently and it touched a tender spot in me…

It can be easy to expect our due rewards if we follow all the rules. God doesn't guarantee earthly rewards but He does promise to pursue and love us. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #resentment #expectation #promise #pursued

Rule Follower

Jesus tells a story about a man who had two sons (Luke 15:11-32). One son asked for his inheritance then took it to live loosely and fast. When this son wakes up and all the money is gone, he decides to return to his father and ask for forgiveness. The father forgives the wayward son and throws a massive celebration. A celebration that causes the son who stayed behind to be irritated and upset. I am that older son.

Keller says that people tend to fall into two camps. They look for satisfaction in either moral conformity or personal discovery. It’s pretty easy to see which one I fall into. I have always been a rule follower. I liked coloring in the lines, knowing how things are going to turn out, and depending on clear expectations. Knowing I can expect a + b = c. But, most of us know life doesn’t work this way…

Does It Matter?

There are really very few things we can count on. The older I get the more I know this to be true. As a young person, I poured myself into education, my children, my home. These weren’t bad things. I put my efforts there because I knew the scriptures commanded it. But my heart was not in line with my obedience and this is a problem.

I don’t know why it is hard for me to believe that I am unconditionally loved and accepted, but it is. I see that in the things that make me angry and discouraged. When one of my children struggles, I can quickly think: I don’t deserve this. The older brother was mired in this type of thinking. He told his father, “I have not even asked for so much as a goat” (Luke 15:29). This really cuts to the quick. Inherent in this conversation is a realization that all of his hard work didn’t seem to matter; that the son who left and wasted resources still got a celebration.

What to Expect

There is another parable similar to it where a man hires workers (Matthew 20:1-16). Each worker is hired later and later in the day and when the day is over, they all receive the same pay. The ones hired in the morning are pretty upset that they do not get more than the ones hired later. But, the manager says, “Did I not clearly tell you what to expect?” (Matthew 20:13).

Hasn’t Christ clearly told me what to expect. There will be suffering in this world. He will see me through to the end. I am loved with an everlasting love. I can quickly think I am not getting what I deserve. But there’s something better. Something I cannot see with my eyes or touch with my hands.

Never forget your promises to me your servant, for they are my only hope. They give me strength in all my troubles; how they refresh and revive me! Proud men hold me in contempt for obedience to God, but I stand unmoved.

Psalm 119:49-51, NLT

What can I do when I find myself angry that others get what I want or think I deserve? I confess it to Him, who wants to celebrate with me. He knows I will be tempted to rely on my own righteousness and this will cause me to fall into despair and even pride. But the Father was generous and patient with both sons. He wanted both sons to come to celebrate.

This world has a way of making us think we aren't getting what we deserve. But God promises something better. Something we cannot see with our eyes or touch with our hands. Click To Tweet

Pursued

God knows my heart and how tempted I am to rely on something besides His cross. He knows I am tempted to rely on my own ability to do the right thing until I just can’t push any harder or do anymore. The Lord pulls me to Himself and listens to my confession: all my running has been like chasing after the wind. He is good that way.

God did not pursue me because He knew I could figure this all out and turn my life around. He pursued me because He knew I could not. I am tempted to think I can with a little more effort. But thanks be to God, it was not my effort that drew Him to me. And it does not draw Him to you either. He forgives. He changes us. God looks for the lost coin and sheep. Even the ones who don’t think they are in need. I am grateful for that kind of God. I know you must be too.

It can be easy to expect our due rewards if we follow all the rules. God doesn't guarantee earthly rewards but He does promise to pursue and love us. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #resentment #expectation #promise #pursued
Matthew Henry

promise, signs, rainbow, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Rainbow: Seeking and Recognizing Signs from God

The Lord knows we need to see signs from Him in order to believe. So as we walk with Him, we can ask for and receive a rainbow that builds our faith. 



Then Jesus said to him, Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.

John 4:48, NKJV

The Rainbow…

I remember the scene vividly. I had just left my mom’s place and was driving from the country back into the nearby town. As I crested a long, steep hill on the highway, I saw the sign. Although it had stopped raining over an hour earlier, seemingly out of nowhere, a huge rainbow appeared. And this was not your ordinary faint, wispy post-rainstorm showing. This was a phantasmagoric display of epic proportion! The giant parabola stretched from one side of the sky to the other, setting the entire horizon ablaze with its bright, almost neon cascade of colors.

It was the kind of incredible sight that could cause an unbeliever to seriously consider the prospect of an actual God. But to me–a believer, who desperately needed His reassurance–that rainbow was an impeccably timed sign that put my troubled heart at ease. You see, I had just left my mom at her place, and I did not feel good about the situation. At all. I’d been praying for the Lord to show me what to do. Should I have left her there? Should I turn back around and insist that she come with me? Would she be safe?

The Lord knows we need to see signs from Him in order to believe. So as we walk with Him, we can ask for and receive a rainbow that builds our faith. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #encouragement #promise #rainbow #signs

Another Fall…

Mom had recently been discharged from a rehabilitation facility where she had completed a couple months of physical therapy. At 77 years old, she had fallen and fractured her pelvis in five places. But, miraculously, she had healed extremely quickly. And now, her sole focus seemed to be going back home to her little off-the-grid shack. But given the severity of Mom’s injury, her history of heavy drinking, and the rigors of her rustic lifestyle, my siblings and I were very reluctant to let her go home. She would be all alone there, and we worried that she might have another fall.

So, we had devised a plan for Mom. She would transition from the rehab facility to her friend’s place while we tried to secure a small efficiency apartment for her. I had traveled from North Carolina to Indiana expecting to have a week or so to look at apartments and get Mom’s living arrangements squared away. But my first day there, Mom’s friend called and said that she couldn’t stay there any longer. Apparently, Mom had been drinking, getting mouthy, and being downright belligerent. And her friend refused to take the abuse another day. So, I rushed over to pick Mom up, but at that point, there was nowhere for her to go…other than back to her place.

Heading home…

The dark rainstorm matched my gloomy mood as I slowly drove the winding, narrow country roads back out to Mom’s homestead. Despite the dreary weather and an abrupt departure, Mom was practically giddy with excitement. She’d been away from her little shack for the whole winter, and now she was finally going home! Her excitement was so palpable, it was nearly contagious. As we pulled into the little gravel patch that constituted the driveway, I was trying to muster up some positivity about the whole situation.

But as we got inside the house, my heart hit my stomach. And as I took my first breath of the thick, musty air, my stomach about made a return trip–bypassing my heart and heading straight for my throat. The curtains were drawn, yet there was just enough light to see a scene that would make an arachnophobe run for the hills! Entire colonies of spiders appeared to have taken up residence–their elaborate webs weaving a thick tapestry throughout the entire space. As my eyes adjusted to the dim light, other disturbing sights came into view. There were old wooden soup bowls with moldy, putrid bits of who-knows-what and bushel baskets brimming with rotting root vegetables.

She Intended to Stay…

Emphatically, I told Mom there was no way I was going to leave her there. I suggested we go into town to buy some cleaning supplies and stay at a hotel. The next morning, we could come back out, and I’d spend the day cleaning the place up. That way, at least it would be somewhat inhabitable until I could find her a suitable apartment in town. But Mom flat out refused to leave. She said she was finally home, and she was not going anywhere.

I tried to reason with her. I pleaded with her. But all to no avail.
Mom was home, and it was clear that that was where she intended to stay. She really wouldn’t even allow me to clean anything up. As evening approached, I was feeling extremely worried, overwhelmed, and defeated. Futilely, I offered one more time to take her with me, but she simply said, “No.” So, telling her I’d come back in the morning, I gave her a hug, said goodbye, and left.

The Weight of the World…

As I drove away, I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. I knew I had just left my mom in a potentially dangerous situation. Even though it was her choice to stay, if something were to happen to her, I’d never forgive myself. Hot tears welled up and flooded my face as I cried out to the Lord to show me what to do. “Should I go back, Lord? Will she be safe there, Lord? What should I do?!”

The tears were coming on so strongly that I could barely see to drive. So I decided that when I got to the top of the hill, I’d pull over and pull myself together. And when I reached the top of that hill, that’s when I saw the sign. The biggest, brightest rainbow I have ever seen in my life. And right then and there, it was as if all the weight of the world were lifted off my shoulders. Precisely when I was in desperate need of reassurance—some clear confirmation that my mom would be safe—God gave me a sign.

I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind…

Genesis 9:13-15, NIV

Showing Me Rainbows…

As I sat there taking in that amazing view, I was so touched because I knew the Lord was ministering directly to my heart. You see, for about six months, He had been showing me rainbows. My husband and I had been in an extremely difficult wilderness season. And when I’d get to what felt like the end of my rope, I would go for a walk. Almost every time, I would just happen to look up and either see a rainbow prism in a clear sky or an actual rainbow following a storm.

Once I saw a complete 360 degree rainbow around the sun, and twice I saw a double rainbow. My rainbow sightings were happening so frequently that I could no longer write them off as mere coincidences. Even when my faith felt very weak, and I was angry with God, He would still show me these signs. And I couldn’t deny that He was right there with me, even in my wilderness.

So sometimes it’s a rainbow. Or maybe for you, it’s a butterfly, a certain number, a song, or a scripture He uses. The Lord shows up and speaks to us in so many different ways. Each sign is so idiosyncratic–so specific to who we are and what we need at that exact moment! As Jesus said in John 4:48, He knows that we need to see signs in order to believe Him. Because His signs confirm His word. They show us that He truly is good. That He is, in fact, paying close attention to us. He is who he says He is, and that He does what He promises to do.

God's signs confirm His word. They show us that He truly is good. He is paying close attention to us. He is who he says He is, and He does what He promises to do. Click To Tweet

Somewhere Over the Rainbow…

A few months after I saw that rainbow, I got a call from Mom’s friend. She said, “Oh Hopey, I’m so sorry to tell you this…but your mommy died today.” She went on to say that from what they could tell, it looked as if Mom had died peacefully in her sleep. She was in her own bed. In her own house. She was home. And as hard as it was to hear those words, in some way, it all made perfect sense.

During those last few months, as Mom was alone with the Lord, she had managed to set her house in order. Many old disputes with friends and neighbors were resolved. Folks who had visited her during that time said she was the happiest and healthiest they had seen her in years. One woman even told me that the last words Mom said to her, eyes twinkling as she beamed from ear to ear, were, “I just love my Lord Jesus!” Knowing Mom, she’s probably up there, perched on a rainbow, singing with Him and the angels this sweet little refrain: “Somewhere over the rainbow…”

Has the Lord shown you a sign? What does He use to speak to you?

The Lord knows we need to see signs from Him in order to believe. So as we walk with Him, we can ask for and receive a rainbow that builds our faith. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #encouragement #promise #rainbow #signs #scripture
Corey Hearne

fear, oath, promise, trust, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Oath: God Can be Trusted Through the Most Fearful Times

Being prepared is not a wrong value, but it is when I put it over faith. God has made an oath to His children and He can be trusted.



Preparation is something I value. But with 4 kids, it can be fleeting. I mean as in impossible

Distanced Rally

It was 6:30 in the morning. My daughter was texting me that her load of clothes for school had just come out of the dryer with ink all over them.

“Ruined,” she said. “What can I do?” she asked.

“Is your Dad dead?” I asked.

Silence. 30 minutes later she calls…

“You didn’t order my lunch.”

The lunch she has to order because she is at a charter school that only buys enough food for what is ordered and paid for. Yikes. She is realizing this as she and my husband are walking out the door.

Did I mention I am 10 hours away? I’m about to move her brother out of the hospital, into a Ronald McDonald house to stay for 2 months and I am beyond scared. So, what do I do? I panic, and panic for me looks like a ‘rally the troops’ situation. On an effort to fix the problem, I message, Facebook, and text everybody I know in the county. It’s full-blown attack mode. Solve the problem. Find a solution. Plug somebody into the problem. I can’t figure this out.

Being prepared is not a wrong value, but it is when I put it over faith. God has made an oath to His children and He can be trusted. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Preparation’s Oath

Then I get it. I wanted this problem off my radar because the problem with my son was really demanding my attention. But, if I am honest, this whole situation was really revealing a bigger problem. Could I trust God with even this?

See, my husband and I are really good together. He does a lot of stuff and I do a lot of stuff. I can, however, kind of try to overcompensate. Ok, take over. It starts small and before I know it, I just do it all. He doesn’t ask me to. He doesn’t expect me to. It’s really a subtle irony. Rodney is maybe the easiest-to-please-person I know.

But, I’m not. I want to feel productive, prepared, together. I like knowing I took care of things…10 hours away. I couldn’t take care of things. The fear ruling my heart: Would I be able to replace the clothes if they were ruined? Budget is tight. Things are scarce. God had already had people step up and buy these school clothes once. What was I going to do? Trust that if she needed more clothes that He was and is big enough to supply them again.

God’s Oath

As long as I am responsible for the clothes, or my son’s health for that matter, I will be racked with fear. Fear is not a happy place to be. It says it’s up to me. But thankfully the cross says a different story! God’s oath to us:

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain.

Hebrews 6:19, NIV

Jesus tore the veil that stood between God and myself, so I could trust in something greater than the Law. The law which says I have to measure up and be good enough.

Any time I think that I am about to look less than good enough, I have to remember Who is better than and not just good enough. I think this is summed up beautifully in the hymn “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”:

And though this world, with devils filled
Should threaten to undo us
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us
The Prince of Darkness grim
We tremble not for him
His rage we can endure
For lo his doom is sure
One little word shall fell him.

I know for me, confidence in 3 words is beyond enough. Jesus uttered the words, “It is finished.” Hallelujah! I am grateful that He reminds me over and over. I can trust Him with inky clothes, with a sick child, with being 10 hours away, with my sin, with my future. Thankfully, you can too!

Jesus tore the veil that stood between us and God. We can trust in something greater than the Law. The law which says we have to measure up and be good enough. Click To Tweet

Being prepared is not a wrong value, but it is when I put it over faith. God has made an oath to His children and He can be trusted. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

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Pattern: Preparing Our Hearts for the Bold Promises of God

There’s a Biblical pattern to inherit the Lord’s promises: the Lord makes bold promises, prepares us to receive them, and helps us enter the promised land. 



Recently in my quiet time with the Lord, the Holy Spirit dropped two very specific scriptures into my spirit: Deuteronomy 1:8 and Deuteronomy 8:1. I love it when the Holy Spirit guides me to specific passages of scripture. Even though I am studying my Bible, I definitely am not a seasoned Bible student who has memorized the Word, chapter and verse. So, when He directs me to specific passages, I pay close attention. These two verses were all about entering the promised land. Although I was excited by His invitation to enter the promised land, I needed to understand what exactly this meant.

There's a Biblical pattern to inherit the Lord's promises: the Lord makes bold promises, prepares us to receive them, and helps us enter the promised land. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

The Promised Land…

So, what is the promised land? And how do I get there? The Lord has been expanding my notion of what the promised land actually is. As a new believer, I simply equated the promised land with heaven. Further along in my faith walk, I learned that the promised land was a physical place that the Lord had promised to the Israelites. But more recently, the Lord has been showing me a much more nuanced picture of the promised land–as a spiritual process that follows a particular pattern.

Although it can be a physical place, this is not the only form that the promised land can take. The promised land can also be a spiritual promotion in a certain area of our life. So, we can experience a promised land in our physical health. A promised land of financial blessing and abundance. And a promised land in our relationships with friends and family. Ultimately, the Lord invites us to enter into a place of promise–a place of wholeness and abundance–in every area of our lives.

The Pattern…

But this process doesn’t happen all at once. In order to fully enter into these different areas of promise–these promised lands–we must go through a process of spiritual development. And this process follows a Biblical pattern. No matter what the promised destination might be (health, wealth, relationships, etc.), there is a pattern that emerges in scripture that shows us how to arrive there.

If we hope to enter into the Lord’s promises in different areas of our lives, we can expect the pattern to look roughly like this: First, God makes a bold promise. Next, He takes us to a wilderness season, where He prepares us to enter into His promises. Finally, He leads us into the promised land and helps us fight the battles to fully possess it.

The Promise…

By examining the Israelites’ journey from captivity in Egypt to freedom in the promised land, we can clearly see this pattern emerge. First, God made a very bold promise to Abraham:

And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.

Genesis 17:8

Mind you, God made this promise to Abraham when Abraham was 90 years old. God promised that he would have a son with his wife, Sarah, who was barren. And all of Abraham’s descendants (the Israelites), would inherit the promised land. Bold is perhaps not even a strong enough word to describe God’s promise here. Impossible might be better suited to describe the magnitude of what God was offering!

And this is how we know a promise is from God. It is big. And bold. And we can be absolutely certain that we will not be able to accomplish the promise in our own strength. We will have to learn to rely on God. And as we can see in Abraham’s story, God is faithful to fulfill the bold promises He makes. Ultimately, God honored His covenant with Abraham. He opened Sarah’s womb, and she bore their son, Isaac. And as promised, Abraham’s descendants–the Israelites–indeed would eventually inherit the promised land.

This is how we know a promise is from God. It is big. And bold. And we can be absolutely certain that we will not be able to accomplish the promise in our own strength. Click To Tweet

The Wilderness…

Eventually is the operative word here. Because the promise would not come to pass for many centuries. First, the Israelites endured 400 years of captivity in Egypt. Then there was the exodus into the wilderness. And not long into their wilderness season, the Israelites were already getting impatient. They thought that they were headed to the promised land, but now they found themselves in very immediate danger. They were being pursued by the Egyptian army and pressed up against the Red Sea with nowhere to turn. That’s when they started to question Moses, and ultimately, God.

And they said unto Moses, ‘Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? Wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?’

Exodus 14:11

This might sound strange, but this particular passage of scripture has haunted me. It reminds me of a very difficult season when my husband and I were going through a wilderness in our finances. To spare you all the ugly details, let’s just say I was having a very hard time trusting God’s process, and I did not understand this pattern that I’m describing now. I was complaining, grumbling, worrying and doubting. Gripped by fear, essentially I was accusing my husband and God of trying to harm me rather than help me. Had I understood then what the Lord has shown me now, perhaps I would have handled that wilderness season with much more peace and grace!

Preparation…

But so often when we have a promise from the Lord, we get impatient because we think it should happen right away. He says it. And just like that: boom! We’re in the promised land. Wouldn’t that be nice? Well, actually it wouldn’t be.

If the Lord were to allow us to go straight into the promised land, we would not be prepared to handle the battles or the blessings there. So, in His infinite wisdom, God first leads us in a direction that seems to be the opposite of the promised land. Although it might not be where we want to go, the wilderness is precisely where we need to go.

It’s in the wilderness that God prepares us to eventually enter the promised land. Consider all the preparation that the Lord gave the Israelites. Within the first two years, God gave them manna, and He led them in perfect safety. He gave them law with the Ten Commandments, and He established the feasts they would follow. He also provided them instructions for how to build the tabernacle. All of these preparations were to equip them to enter the land of Canaan.

Lengthening Our Stay…

Just like the Israelites, we don’t get to know exactly how long our wilderness seasons will last. But we can see from the pattern with the Israelites that if we don’t learn the lessons the Lord is trying to teach us, we can lengthen our stay in the wilderness.

After a couple years of preparation, the Israelites were just on the brink of entering the promised land. When the twelve scouts went into Canaan to get a lay of the land, ten of them came back with a negative report. They frightened the rest of the Israelites as they described the giants that inhabited the land.

Only two scouts, Caleb and Joshua, said that the land was truly the wonderful promised land that the Lord had promised them. Full of faith, they tried to assure the people that the Lord would help them defeat the giants. But swayed by their fears, the Israelites opted to turn away from the promised land, thus returning to wander the wilderness for another 38 years!

For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: unto whom the LORD sware that he would not shew them the land, which the LORD sware unto their fathers that he would give us, a land that floweth with milk and honey.

Joshua 5:6

Beloved, even when the testing and trials of the wilderness seem impossible to face, we can rest assured that the Lord is up to our good. It is not His plan or desire to abandon us in the middle of the wilderness. But it is His purpose to prepare and refine us there so that we will be fully equipped to enter and possess the promised land.

Entering the Promised Land…

It is not God's plan or desire to abandon us in the middle of the wilderness but to prepare and refine us there so that we will be fully equipped to enter and possess the promised land. Click To Tweet

When the Israelites finally entered the promised land, they had to face the giants there. But the Lord promised to fight for and protect them:

Understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD hath said unto thee.

Deuteronomy 9:3

So often in the battles, God simply instructed the Israelites to show up and stand still. As they stood firm, the Lord fought and won the battles for them. And this is how they fully possessed the promised land. By having faith in the One who had made the bold promise, by trusting the One who faithfully instructed and led them through the wilderness and by putting their confidence in the One who delivered them from all their enemies in the promised land.

The Lord is leading each one of us into greater and greater promises as we walk with Him. If we’ll trust His process and follow His divine pattern, we too will inherit His promises. We too shall enter His promised land.

If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.

Numbers 14:8

Has the Lord made you a bold promise? How has He prepared you in the wilderness? Have you entered a promised land in an area of your life?

There's a Biblical pattern to inherit the Lord's promises: the Lord makes bold promises, prepares us to receive them, and helps us enter the promised land. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

All scripture references are from The King James Version of The Bible.
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Unavoidable: Making Peace with the Impact of Turmoil

Brace for impact! Turmoil in life is unavoidable, and there is no sense of control. Do we trust God with our lives? What about the lives of our children?



Last week, I had a lengthy conversation with my sister-in-law. She told me, “You have a whole heckuva lot going on in your life right now. I’m not gonna sugar coat it for ya.” Laughing, I asked her if I could quote her on that. I tend to downplay stressors in my life. Someone always has it worse. Searing loss has not ripped through our family. Yet things simmering beneath the surface are draining. They bring me to my knees, but I’m not going back often enough.

Brace for impact! Turmoil in life is unavoidable, and there is no sense of control. Do we trust God with our lives? What about the lives of our children?

A Dream…

My husband, Sean, awakened me from a nightmare a few mornings back…

In the pre-dawn hours, I was driving in the hills of West Virginia en route to Louisville. My kids were with me; two in the back and one riding shotgun. Charging up a steep grade, we passed several cars pulled onto the shoulder that were having mechanical difficulties.

I asked my daughter to check the weather to see what we were going to be running into. As I neared a large, dark colored truck in front of me I saw my passenger side headlight was out in the reflection. I felt frustrated because I had just been through the safety inspection. In the distance a siren was blaring, getting steadily louder as we closed in on its position. The sound was coming from a white Honda Civic which was driving in reverse on the side of the road. It was alerting oncoming traffic of a wreck. Just past the Civic there were multiple cars moved off the main road that had clearly been in a major pile up.

My daughter mentioned something about possible icy conditions ahead. The sun had begun to illuminate the mountains’ dark shadows. I was behind the wheel but I could also see what was happening from the outside. An invisible force stretched across the interstate catching the front of my car. It slowed the car, extending like a sling shot. The tail end began to lift off the ground. My breaks were no longer of any use as we went airborne across the median. We made contact with the ascending terrain only once, spinning us like a fast ball toward the stone wall of a mountain. I groaned in terror as we hurled over the oncoming traffic, suspended in air and closing fast to impact. Bracing myself I thought O God; I don’t want my kids to go like this.

I could hear my muffled moan like someone had wired my mouth shut. Reality gripped as Sean shook me awake. All was quiet.

Brace for impact! Turmoil in life is unavoidable, and there is no sense of control. Do we trust God with our lives? What about the lives of our children?

A Promise…

Unable to fall back to sleep, I went downstairs to write. Sitting down, I smiled. I knew what my dream meant. I was Louisville bound. It’s my hometown. That’s where my mom and dad are. They represent comfort, rest, security. The cars and wrecks are the heartache and hardships in the people around me. My busted headlight stands for unrest in my own life. The invisible force could signify not being able to ignore my own turmoil any longer. Propelling through the air denotes I am 100% out of control. Bracing for impact is feeling that what is happening is unavoidable. I can make peace with that; my future is secure.

Crying out to God for my children was telling. I want to shield them from the kind of agony that could end them. I feel responsible for not protecting them from hurt. Yet I know from experience, “there is no growth without pain, no integrity without self-denial,” (Brennan Manning). I don’t want to rob my children of learning to trust God’s character for themselves. Do I trust God with the lives of those I love most? My answer must be yes. Alternatively, if it is no, I have resigned to simply existing. God loves and cares for my family more than I can conceive.

Homera Homer-Dixon said “freedom from suffering leads to uselessness.” There are some days when the onslaught of pruning feels unbearable. But God will never leave us or forsake us.

I cry to God Most High, to God who accomplishes all things for me.

Psalm 57:2, NASB

There are some days when the onslaught of pruning feels unbearable. But God will never leave us or forsake us. Click To Tweet

Brace for impact! Turmoil in life is unavoidable, and there is no sense of control. Do we trust God with our lives? What about the lives of our children?

Inheritance: The Source of Our Future and Present Hope

Our hope, and our inheritance is not found in earthly things. Our inheritance is the promise of the Creator Himself.



In the early hours of December 10, my mom took her last ragged breath in this world and took a cleansing, pure breath in the next one. Her mind and body were instantly restored as she was welcomed home by a loving embrace from her heavenly Father. I’m sure my dad was standing or kneeling somewhere nearby and a joyful reunion likely followed.

My parents were middle class folks. Any meager savings they may have accumulated was spent on medical bills during the years my dad faced his battle with cancer. An inheritance isn’t something that ever entered my or my brother’s minds.

My father-in-law is 91. He worked in and retired from a factory. He and my mother-in-law had 6 children, so he also worked many odd jobs, in addition to any extra shifts he was asked to work at the factory. They were frugal; she sewed, grew a garden each year, and canned vegetables. As a result, their six children never had an unmet need. However, other than a small, rundown farm, an inheritance of large sums of money is unthinkable.

Since her death, my husband and I have attempted to close my mom’s estate, such as it was. We have chuckled at some of the absurdities of government, (don’t get me started)…such as having to take a $13.67 check from the bank to the nursing home so that Medicaid would not think we were stealing from the estate. Really. Oh! And having to call the Veteran’s Administration twice to inform them of her death only to have them deposit her funds, and then send us a letter to send it back. You can’t make this stuff up…

Inheritance: The Source of Our Future Hope

Inheritance. What comes to mind when you think of the word? The child of a wealthy person? People sitting around an attorney’s desk with an air of expectancy? Siblings fighting over heirlooms or the jewelry? The Jerry Springer show? Interesting where our thoughts initially go when that word comes up.

Recently, I was remembering a favorite passage of scripture I turn to in difficult times. You wouldn’t think Lamentations could give anyone cause for hope (!), however, these verses always renew mine.

This I recall to mind, Therefore I have hope.
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”

Lamentations 3:21-24, NKJV

Our hope, and our inheritance is not found in earthly things. Our inheritance is the promise of the Creator Himself.

The Lord is my portion…

Today we have a tendency to think of a portion in regard to food, (as in smaller portions, since dieting is such a huge marketing focus.) Not surprisingly, there are other nuances of the word in the Old Testament that have become lost in today’s vernacular. In our simplification of the language for texting we often lose the richness of word meanings.

For decades the Psalms have given me much solace through seasons of trial, pain or loss. However, the full weight of the meaning of Psalms, such as Psalm 16:5, have only recently been dawning on my spirit.

Oh Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You maintain my lot.
The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places.
Yes, I have a good inheritance.

Psalm 16:5, NKJV

Let your heart rest on that for a moment, as Asaph finally did in Psalm 73 after feeling jealous of his enemies.

GOD, everything HE IS, is our inheritance when we belong to Him. What does it matter if we have houses and lands? We have HIM, the God of Creation.

Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is nothing upon earth that I  desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalm 73:25-26, ESV

Our hope, and our inheritance is not found in earthly things. Our inheritance is the promise of the Creator Himself.

Inheritance: The Source of Our Present Hope

You might be thinking, “Well, yeah, in the sweet by and by He’s my inheritance, but what about now?”

David answers you…

I cried out to you, O Lord: I said, “You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living.”

Psalm 142:5, NKJV

God is our inheritance here, too.  He is our strength, our refuge, our deliverer, our fortress.

So, again, from where will your portion come?


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Our hope, and our inheritance is not found in earthly things. Our inheritance is the promise of the Creator Himself.

Quinsey Sablan