Advent, Christmas, hope, inheritance, refuge, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

Our Inheritance: Promise of Our Present and Future Hope

Our hope and our inheritance are 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.

Our hope and our inheritance are not found in earthly things. Our inheritance is the promise of the Creator Himself. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #Advent #Christmas #Jesus #inheritance #refuge #hope

Inheritance

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…

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

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, has 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

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?

Our hope and our inheritance are not found in earthly things. Our inheritance is the promise of the Creator Himself. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #Advent #Christmas #Jesus #inheritance #refuge #hope

unsplash-logoJoel & Jasmin Førestbird
Growth, Jesus, mountain, plateaus, refuge, relationship, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Everywhere: There is Nowhere We Can Go, Where He is Not

We can become comfortable on the plateau of faith, content in our relationship with Jesus. We must push through the up and down; run to Him everywhere, in everything, EVERY season!



Camp; A Wake-up Call

So, I just got back from a week at Young Life camp on Saranac Lake in New York. May I just say… Wow. Other than that, I have no idea where to begin unpacking the last 6 days. Every day consisted of crazy activities, great meals, laughs, singing until you lost your voice, and dancing until you couldn’t stand.

On the flyer, it says camp will be the best week of your life and that it’s worth every penny. But, there were definitely parts for me, as someone who is not a new believer, that just didn’t sit right or felt very elementary.

I think my main focus for writing this devotional, is going to be exploring why this week was so difficult for me despite all the amazing things happening around me. Where was God this past week? How can I discipline myself to go to God instead of myself? God is everywhere. How do I open my eyes?

We can become comfortable on the plateau of faith, content in our relationship with Jesus. We must run to Him everywhere, in everything, EVERY season! Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #growth #Jesus #mountain #plateaus #refuge #relationship

Out of the Depths

This morning was my first time at church in a while and we studied Psalm 130. Out of the depths, I cry to you, O Lord! Monday and Tuesday were the hardest days I think and I’m not really sure why. I had a mild panic attack on each of those days and overall I was quite frustrated with myself.

Why can’t I just enjoy myself? Why must my anxiety follow me everywhere? Something really cool happened in all those instances though. I was able to reach out to God within moments of feeling anxious or unsafe. As I spoke with my leader during our one on one, the only thing I really had to say was how grateful I am that God has opened my eyes to how much I’ve grown in Him; how far out of the depths I’ve come, but also how much farther I still have to go.

He is Everywhere

I believe that everyone grows in one way or another at a camp like Young Life. Relationships are built, beliefs are challenged, and our foundations are shaken by the hard truths of why we’re really there.

This past week I believe that my growth was in my friendship with Jesus. I’ve said yes to a life with Him and I’ve been saved in so many ways, but growth within that relationship has plateaued recently. I’ve come out of the valley, but I’ve been walking straight ever since. No ups, maybe some downs, but overall just a great sense of stagnation.

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him.

Psalm 34:8, MSG

It’s as if I’ve said that now that I’m getting better, now that I am no longer in the depths, I have no need for Christ. So I’ve tried to set Him on a shelf until I need Him again. Thank God for His constant reminders of how helpless we really are and desperate we really should be. We cannot contain Christ. He is everywhere.

Final Thoughts

I’ve been in a season lately where I just feel off. Now I feel that season is coming to an end and now I am in a time of transition and growth. There is a lot coming up in my life and I think instead of running to God with my fear of the changes, I’ve turned to any and everything else.

But this past week has opened my eyes to the fact that God will be with me through the change and it really is as simple as that. Christ is in everything. He is everywhere. We cannot outrun Him. My prayer for all of you is that you can find rest in whatever it is that challenges you because God is in your midst. There is nothing you’re going through that He isn’t a part of.

Where can I go to escape your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?

Psalm 139:7, CSB
Christ is in everything. He is everywhere. We cannot outrun Him. May we find rest in whatever challenges, because God is in our midst. He's a part of it all! Click To Tweet

We can become comfortable on the plateau of faith, content in our relationship with Jesus. We must run to Him everywhere, in everything, EVERY season! Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #growth #Jesus #mountain #plateaus #refuge #relationship

unsplash-logoMiryam León
repentance, conviction, condemnation, Oh Lord Help Us , Christian, women, ministry, scripture

Repentance: Understand the Difference Between Condemnation and Conviction

Condemnation leads to guilt and shame. Conviction, however, is God’s loving kindness leading us to repentance and back to His refuge.



There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:1, ESV

If that is true, why do so many wrestle with feelings of condemnation? I believe it’s the fine line between condemnation and conviction.

The difference…

Condemnation oozes from the knowledge of laws and rules. When I feel condemned, I seek to soothe the discomfort of guilt and shame. There are plenty of cheerful quotes on Pinterest to set me right. There’s generally glitter and flowers and unicorns on them, too. Or a Chevron pattern. Whatever floats your boat. Frankly, I’ve come to know that condemnation plugs the holes in my boat with a sponge.

When I feel condemned, I seek to soothe the discomfort of guilt and shame. Click To Tweet

Conviction is entirely different because it is borne from the Holy Spirit and leads to repentance. Understanding Almighty God fully loves me means I no longer fear punishment; I know I am His. In response to the sin that separates me from Him, conviction leads me back to His loving arms.

  • I’m not spending enough time with the Lord.
  • I don’t have enough self-control.
  • I’m not good enough for God.

Condemnation screams: “You should be more. You’re not good enough.” Well-meaning friends (and social media) argue “You are enough!” But the guilt perpetuates. Because the reality is—I keep falling off the proverbial wagon and landing face first in the mud. The cycle repeats ad nauseam. Why? Because contrary to popular belief, it’s not the thought that counts. Feeling bad about something and saying I’m sorry is about me. When I feel convicted I have to be vulnerable, repent, and ask forgiveness; because I know what I did caused brokenness.

Conviction says: You’re right. You’re not good enough. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.”(Ephesians 2:4, ESV).

Condemnation leads to guilt and shame. Conviction, however, is God's loving kindness leading us to repentance and back to His refuge. #repentance #spiritualgrowth #scripture

From death to life…

This can be a hard pill to swallow initially. It seems to contradict fairness and encouragement. However, when the Bible talks about us being dead in our sin it’s only figurative to the point that we don’t know when our physical bodies will perish. Yet we are literally spiritually dead as a doornail until God breathes life into our dead souls. We cannot ultimately save ourselves from anything.

No one is getting up and walking out of a morgue. You’re dead on a slab. Resuscitation is off the table—you have to be resurrected.

Edward Hunt, Associate Pastor Sojourn Fairfax

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

John 3:17, ESV

How deep the Father’s love for us! He sent Jesus! It is He who makes us good enough through the work of His Spirit. Friends, it is God’s kindness that is meant to lead us to repentance. Not fear of judgement or completing our check-list of self-punishment.

The Lord redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

Psalm 34:22, ESV

Refuge…

When the boat is sinking back into condemnation land, or the wagon threatens to throw us off, we must find refuge in Christ. And if we still feel swept out to sea and can’t see any redemption or refuge in sight, let’s do a little backwards planning (as my husband likes to say). The instruction in Psalm 34:22 is to run to the Lord for rescue. Deliverance isn’t found anywhere else.

Those who look to him are radiant with joy; their faces will never be ashamed.

Psalm 34:5, CSB

When sin creeps in, don’t allow condemnation to drown you. Instead, permit conviction to bring you back to the One who loves you with an everlasting love. Take shelter in His arms; and worship your Redeemer.

Condemnation leads to guilt and shame. Conviction, however, is God's loving kindness leading us to repentance and back to His refuge. #repentance #spiritualgrowth #scripture

Rest: Five Ways to Rejuvenate and Give Your Soul Rest

We often rush to convenient measures to cope with tiredness, instead of practicing rest in our Father. God has promised all who are tired will be given supernatural rest for their souls.



Picture it: You get comfortable on the couch, turn off your brain, and watch a few hours of Golden Girls. Yep, hours. “Thank you for being a friend[…]” harmoniously sounding. You are genuinely thankful for their lack of judgement. You can tune out, not think, let those four friends whisk you away to some retirement-aged fantasy world. All the while, reality surrounds you. Messes, finances, relationships…

Welcome to my world…

Most recently, my daily routine consists of: Taxi-cab driver for my kids. Looking at half-done chores. Questioning the unknowns of life. Thinking, thinking, thinking. Shutting down. 🎶 “Thank you for being a friend[…]”

Disguising Rest

Like many people, most of my exhaustion happens in my brain. I internalize almost everything. Questions about life’s unknowns bounce around in there sucking bits of energy, little by little. Sometimes for weeks, or until there’s an answer to the question. My mind races around “ifs”, “whens”, and “hows”. I ultimately shut down; turn off completely.

Unfortunately, life is a great big ball of unknowns. So, as you can imagine, I’ve watched through Golden Girls and other mindless shows, more than once. Recklessly abandoning reality. I’ve found myself on the couch more often than I’d like to admit.

For some reason I believe “checking-out” brings refreshment. “I’ll have more energy, later.” Of course, this is a lie. This routine just puts important items on hold. They don’t go away. One could say this is a major procrastination habit. It is.

False Energy

Another way I disguise rest is in actual rest; sleeping. Now, I’m not sure if you are aware, but motherhood has a funny way of screwing up sleep habits. When I say screwing up, I mean turning sleep on it’s beautiful head and shaking until unrecognizable. “I can sleep when I’m dead”, has been stated five times, this week alone.

The weekends usually allow for some extra z’s. However, I am still tired. How much vitamin B do I have to take!? How many cups of coffee do I have to consume?

Ahha! There’s that glorious word. Coffee. If life had a beverage of choice, coffee would be very high on the list. If not #1. “Come here you beautiful cup of coffee, and lie to me about the things we will get done today.”

That’s just it. Another lie. Coffee is a bandaid for tiredness. I drink coffee all day. It helps me pretend I actually have the energy to finish the laundry, run errands, be taxi-cab driver. Pretend. I lie to myself and those around me that I’m operating on a full tank. Just one more cup will top me off.

Come here you beautiful cup of coffee, and lie to me about the things we will get done today. Click To Tweet

We often rush to convenient measures to cope with tiredness, instead of practicing rest in our Father. God has promised all who are tired will be given supernatural rest for their souls. 

Soul Rest

We can’t pretend with God. He sees our empty tanks. He sees our check-out’s. Our lies. “Why don’t you intervene, God? Don’t you see this mountain of stuff? Don’t you see how tired I am?” Is that for real?? Did I really just say that to God?! I sat on my bum for three hours, watching fictitious characters and I’m questioning Him? No wonder I’m tired. My soul is tired.

God can’t energize me when I continually usher Him out the door. I allow convenience and tangibility to trump God. Worldly “rest” is easier than waiting on the Lord. But Jesus says…

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30, NIV

It’s my own fault I am tired. I procrastinate, lie, ignore God. Yet, He still invites me to lay it down and seek refuge. I can’t emphasize enough how GOOD our Father is. We create the mess, He helps tear it down and supplies ultimate fullness. The truest form of rest, is only found in Him.

We often rush to convenient measures to cope with tiredness, instead of practicing rest in our Father. God has promised all who are tired will be given supernatural rest for their souls. 

Practicing Spiritual Rest

This is all fine to write/read about, but let’s get down to application. How in the world do I rest in God? There are obvious ways, like meditating scripture, praying, and worship music. But, sometimes the pit we are in takes a bit of ingenuity to climb out of.

Sleep. I already addressed this, but, if I’m honest, I do not get to bed at a decent time. This is so important for health, mind, and soul. Enough sleep creates clarity. Clarity allows us to actually SEE God.

Look for God everywhere. If my mind and eyes are fixed on Him, I see Him everywhere. It’s uplifting and encouraging to recognize God in my daily life.

Set boundaries. Limit ourselves. We are not super-humans. We can’t do it all. Setting achievable goals for the day, allows for spare time with the Lord.

Journal. (Scripture journaling for bonus points.) For someone like me, journalling is extremely beneficial. It gets the jumbled, unknowns out of my head. Again, creating clarity.

Get in nature. I am never regretful of time spent in nature. I’m able to quiet my mind and see the beauty of creation. Also, fresh air is so rejuvenating!

 

How do you seek rest in the Lord? What practices help you cope when you feel tired?


If you have found this inspiring, share the encouragement…

We often rush to convenient measures to cope with tiredness, instead of practicing rest in our Father. God has promised all who are tired will be given supernatural rest for their souls. 

 

Toa Heftiba


This is where the story changes.
You may feel tired, and worn, but God promises us comfort and rest.

mug, but God, coffee, tea

Refuge: Where Can We Find Solace in Times of Anguish?

Despair surrounds us. Trials abound. Where do we find refuge? Can we truly experience peace when we are feeling anguish?



I just got news that a friend’s cancer screening came back CLEAR. We are high-fiving and rejoicing all over Northern Virginia, and beyond! Several of us waiting and praying needed the win – to see God’s mercy displayed. I am crying tears of joy.

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.

2 Corinthians 4:8-10, ESV

So much loss and heartache is swirling around in my sphere. I talked to someone earlier who feels like they’re fighting off despair with a baseball bat. We spoke about how we come into this world with nothing and we leave the same way. Everything we receive in life is a gift, but it is freaking painful when we lose them. It is difficult to believe we won’t end up humiliated if we place all of our trust in God.

Despair surrounds us. Trials abound. Where do we find refuge? Can we truly experience peace when we are feeling anguish?

But once you’ve experienced God, His presence is not something you want to be without. There is always more to discover about God. Still, it has to be personal. I can tell you my homemade chocolate pound cake with chocolate buttercream frosting is scrumptious. (And it is) But if you haven’t tasted it, how can you possibly know?

Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him!

Psalm 34:8, NLT

When you lose another job, how can you not be perplexed? When your spouse cheats on you, or you have a miscarriage, how does it not absolutely crush you? Exactly how do you not give into despair when you’re sitting in a jail cell because someone lied about you?

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.

Psalm 46:1-3, NASB

Despair surrounds us. Trials abound. Where do we find refuge? Can we truly experience peace when we are feeling anguish?

Throughout my life God has been a refuge for me. He sustained me and brought me out of darkness. He restored my marriage from the brink of divorce. I’ve experienced His deep peace in times of anguish. The kind where you tune into yourself and realize, this isn’t natural. I should be way more upset right now.

God does not often clue me in ahead of time to His plan, but I know He is at work. I am familiar with His goodness. When I feel like I’m tottering on the edge of despair, I recall to mind how He has been my refuge in the past. Then I have unwavering hope.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.

Isaiah 26:3-4, ESV

What does it look like to make God your refuge?


If you have found this inspiring, share the encouragement…

Everything we receive in life is a gift, but it is freaking painful when we lose them. Click To Tweet

Despair surrounds us. Trials abound. Where do we find refuge? Can we truly experience peace when we are feeling anguish?

m wrona