Mismanaged Blessings

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By Denise Loock | October 25, 2018


Has the joyous answer to a prayer ever led you to heartache you never imagined possible?

Isaac, the son of Abraham and Sarah, loved his wife Rebekah. But she was barren. After twenty years of disappointment and many prayers, God opened Rebekah’s womb (Genesis 25:21). Imagine their joy when they discovered that God had finally answered their prayers.

 

However, when the twins were born, the atmosphere in the home changed drastically. Isaac doted on Esau, the son who loved to roam the countryside and hunt. Rebekah loved Jacob, the son who hovered around the house, learning to cook and tend the flocks. No set of twins could have been more different than these brothers were.

 

As Isaac and Rebekah’s love for their favorite sons increased, the harmony in the home decreased. When we enter their home in Genesis 26, it is a cauldron of deception and animosity—just the sort of chaotic environment in which Satan does his best work.

 

Rebekah knew Jacob was God’s chosen heir. Before the boys were born, God told her that “the older would serve the younger” (Genesis 25:23). But her misapplication of the truth God had revealed to her wreaked havoc in the family. She may have been sincere in her desire to help Jacob, but she was sincerely wrong.

 

Rebekah first sought significance and happiness through her marriage. When that didn’t fill the hole in her soul, she scooped motherhood into the gaping pit. Then she tried manipulation and control. But the hole seemed bottomless. Whatever she shoveled into it was swallowed by the unhappiness she experienced.

 

I wonder if Rebekah ever realized her mistake. Nothing and no one can ever satisfy the longing in our soul except God. Anything and anyone we shove into what theologian Blaise Pascal called the “God-shaped vacuum” in our soul is bound to be mangled in the process. Significance comes not from who we are, what we do, or what we have; significance comes from knowing Whose we are and from aligning our desires with his will for our lives.

 

God answered Isaac and Rebekah’s prayers for children. Yet neither of them could have imagined all the turmoil and trouble that would come from their mishandling of God’s will for their lives and the lives of their sons.

 

I invest a lot of time in asking God to answer my prayers. Maybe you do too. And we may even remember to thank him for answering those prayers. But are we as faithful in asking him to help us manage the blessings he gives in ways that consistently glorify him? Do we daily bring our plans, our loved ones, our work life, and out ministry opportunities to him and seek his guidance?

 

Oh, Lord, help us to not only thank you for answered prayer but also commit ourselves to honoring you in the way we manage the blessings you provide. Amen.

 

Next Step: Read Genesis 25:19–34 and Genesis 27:1–46. Consider all the ways Isaac and Rebecca mismanaged the blessings of parenthood. Ask God to help you manage the blessings of family, work, and ministry in ways that honor him.

 

An Open Letter To My 7th Grade Son

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by Amy Bryant | October 23, 2018


because middle school is tough…

I recently completed homeschooling my oldest child. After much prayer, he is now gratefully attending a wonderful school. I often find when the Lord is doing something in my kiddos’ lives, He’s using their situation to teach me as well. Probably none of the people reading this blog are middle schoolers, but I felt compelled to share with you parts of a journal entry I wrote to my first born on the eve of his 7th-grade year. Sometimes we all feel like a middle schooler with insecurities, fears, and emotions that we can’t explain…I pray the Lord will use it to speak to your heart…

 

August 14, 2018

You’re ready…I think I’m ready.

You’re excited…I’m excited and then in a split second, I’m almost sick.

In case I left some things out over the past seven homeschool years…in case I forgot to tell you, my beloved boy, there are things I want you to know…

  1. Middle school is tough. Not because you can’t do hard things—but a lot of factors are piling on at once. Your body/brain hasn’t fully developed yet and because it still is; your brain, hormones, and emotions will be all over the place… all while your academic expectations ramp up like never before. One day, something said to you might make you laugh and the next make you furious with hot tears in your eyes without knowing why. As your mom, it’s part of my job to not freak out. I will be here for you no matter what. I will listen, comfort, cook your favorites, stay away or stay close. Humbleness is beautiful. Middle school years will humble you and if you let the Lord do it in the right way—it will grow you into a strong, confident, and godly young man.
  2. You are different. God made only one of you. God gave you specific traits, skills, weaknesses, talents, desires, dislikes, and interests. Guess what?! This is true of everyone on this planet. What’s crazy about this time in your life is how much you want to be seen by others, but simultaneously are desperate not to stand out or be different. (Actually, that may be a lifetime thing because your mom still struggles with that from time to time as an adult!) I pray for a keen awareness of self—that you know where your strengths and weaknesses lie so that you will see where God is at work and join Him. I pray He will use you as a blessing and iron (Proverbs 27:17) to others and that He will use others (and circumstances) to bless and refine you. Either way, God is chiseling away at your heart and making you more like Him and that will always be an answer to prayer!
  3. Girls…because I’m a girl and you’re not, this makes me the expert…so listen!
    • Be kind. Any girl you like is also your sister in Christ or has potential to be. Think before you joke, think before you act, think before you text…just think…”Is this treating her with kindness?” It’s the kindness of the Lord that leads us to repentance. (Romans 2:4) I guess the lesson here is, kindness is powerful.
    • Say I’m sorry—Because I know you won’t always get it right. Own your mistakes and say you’re sorry. When a man does that, it shows such strength. Also, when you do ask for forgiveness be sincere and serious. Don’t do it with a smile or joke. That will undo your apology and make the situation worse because now she can’t trust you. I’ve said that after homeschooling all this time I may have missed some academics, but I definitely taught you all how to apologize because I had to DAILY. You will always have “opportunities” to blow it and when you do—nothing moves your heart closer to the freedom and healing in Christ-like admitting your mistake and asking forgiveness. (This is a foundational truth in your relationship with the Lord, but it also applies to all your relationships.)
  4. Friendships…A true friend is indeed hard to find. I pray the Lord blesses you with a couple of life-long true friends to journey with…because being alone is the first thing God named “not good”. (Genesis 2:18) Stasi Eldridge says it beautifully, “A good friend loves you when you are hilarious and when you are hurting. A true friend loves you when you are being kind and when you are [angry]…A friend sees who you are meant to be and beckons you to rise to the higher version of yourself. Friendship is a high and holy thing and a two-way street. Friendships are also messy. They are not for the faint of heart.” I pray you not only have true friends but will be a true friend. When you experience the life-giving freedom of community that Jesus teaches; you’ll find it worth the work and worth the mess. True friends aren’t afraid to get dirty with you or because of you.
  5. Purpose…you have one purpose with your life son…to glorify God alone. (All the things that make you, you—activities you’re involved in, thoughts you think, words you say, etc.) If your life is about God’s glory, then get to know Him! Hide your heart in His word daily and I promise you won’t live to glorify God out of duty but love for Him. The cool part is, the more you get to know Jesus, the more you begin to truly know yourself and who God created you to be. This life…it’s all for Him and about Him. I pray you always live the bigger story of the gospel —not just the physical one right in front of you. I pray His name and His renown would be the desire of your heart always. (Isaiah 26:8)

 

I’ve made you read long enough. In the end beloved…love God, love people.

Always,

Mom

 

 

 

 

Unrushing Your Soul

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by Emily P Meyer | September 26, 2018


Recently, my husband and I had our very first overnight getaway together sans our two-year-old little boy. We didn’t go far, just downtown to a beautiful historic hotel that was recently renovated. It was just the right dose of R &R for us to feel recharged. During our time of relaxation, the Holy Spirit pressed into my heart with the prayer I had been searching for the right words to pray: “Lord, unrush me…”

 

I had heard that a while back from Lysa Terkeurst and must have tucked it away for a rainy day. On this drizzly day in Virginia, that prayer surfaced as I saw God answering the prayer that the Holy Spirit heard in the utterances of my soul. In less than 24 hours, I took 3 baths in a wonderful soaking tub, read over 100 pages to finish a book that fueled my soul, played board games with my husband, savored uninterrupted conversations with him over nice meals that I didn’t have to make, I dreamed, I counted more of my blessings, and I prayed with more clarity.

 

This might sound like a luxurious day and to be honest for a stay at home mom, it was. But more importantly, it was a reminder of how rushed I am in life and how much my soul craves good opportunities to hit the breaks.

 

Maybe you feel rushed, too. Maybe you long for your mind and calendar to just slow down so you can be fully present with what is before you right now. It’s no easy feat to do that. Not by a longshot. But, with God, all things truly are possible.

Prayer

The unrushing of life starts with prayer and God’s Word. Ask God to help you be unrushed. It may not be a permanent unrushing, because He most certainly has seasons of hustle we are called to. But this kind of unrushing is one that brings your feet back to the ground and ties your soul more strongly to Heaven. Getting quiet enough to hear God and to be heard before Him is at the root of unrushing your weary soul.

 

Intentionality

Next, the unrushing of life happens with intentionality. The saying goes, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.” So, look at your calendar and take a good look at your soul. What do you need to do to stop being in such a hurry that you miss living in the present, fully aware? Do you need to get away for a day? Or maybe even an hour? Do you need to leave the dishes in the sink? Or do you need to do the dishes in the sink? Do you need to go outside and feel the temperature of the day on your face? Do you need to snuggle under the sheets, catch up on rest, and not feel guilty about it? Listen to your soul and get intentional with your calendar.

 

Community

Finally, the unrushing of life comes from community. Sometimes we need to stop talking and start listening. Sometimes we need the reverse of that. Whether it’s a cup of coffee with a friend to share a heart to heart, a family member or friend agreeing to tend to your little treasures, a date, a potluck, a Bible study, or a chat with your neighbor… there are plenty of ways to look for the unrushing of your soul with the support of those who God has placed in your pocket of community. Seize those opportunities to slow down and share your heart or to listen while someone else pours their heart into your ear.

You don’t have to sprint through life like someone is creeping up on your lead, friend. You have permission to be unrushed. You just have to ask for it, accept it, and find support in it. When our souls are unrushed, we are more attuned to the holy hushes from the Spirit, giving us the rest and rejuvenation we need to walk with God better.

For more wonderful articles visit Emily’s website  http://www.emilypmeyer.com

Seriously, Who Is This Proverbs 31 Woman?

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By Nicole Newson| September 20, 2018


 

One day, as I was in the midst of a mini-meltdown for Lord knows what, I remember saying to my husband, “Ugh it’s just too hard to be a Proverbs 31 woman. I mean seriously who is this woman anyways and really who could ever truly be like her?” My husband’s reply was, “You are a Proverbs 31 woman,” and left it at that.

 

In my mind, the Proverbs 31 woman was this mysterious woman and the example of perfection. The greatest wife, mom, businesswoman, that one could ONLY aspire to be like one day but could never fully attain.

 

So who is this AMAZING woman? I’ll just pull out several key scriptures in this chapter…

“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.”                 Proverbs 31:10,11

Ladies out there, seriously ask your husbands if he would rather a handful of rubies OR all the things you do for your family on a daily basis. I’m 100% certain there is absolutely no exchange value for what we do in a typical day for our families. Checkmark✅

“She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls…. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.”  Proverbs 31:15,17

Shout out to the those 5 am rising mamas out there!! YIKES!! Sometimes I get up early just to steal some quiet moments of peace with a cup of tea to drink while it’s still actually hot. Sometimes I’m up to write, pray over my family, and prepare for the day ahead.

 

Next, I think we can all agree that we work VIGOROUSLY as moms and wives!! The amount of multi-tasking we do on any given day could be entered into an Olympic sport! So it’s safe to say we get another checkmark here ladies!✅

“When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.”   Proverbs 31: 20-22

This part usually has me questioning my abilities. I’m no seamstress and I could only wish to make my own bed coverings. Etsy mamas you’ve got this one 😉 I highly doubt my typical “mom attire” of yoga pants and a t-shirt qualifies. However, like many of you, I have sewn countless buttons on clothes, patched up holes, fixed shoes, toys, and stuffed animals too. So I’m definitely checking this box too!!✅

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”              Proverbs 31:25-27

If you are anything like me, you can definitely find the humor in your life right now. Personally raising three kids sometimes feels like I live in a zoo and seriously that might be an insult to those poor animals. 😉

Any of you mamas had the famous” if your friends jumped off a bridge would you do it too,” conversation? I just tackled that one last week! #winning

Bread of idleness? Not me- If I binge watch a show, I’m not being idle because I fold tons of laundry while doing so!! (The things I tell myself… ;). Let’s give ourselves another check here ladies!!✅

“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.”  Proverbs 31:28

One of my joys in life is all the snuggles and love my family shares with each other. My heart warms whenever my two-year-old daughter says, ” you’re my best mama ever.” (gotta love the grammar there!)

 

Ladies that love and diligently take care of the needs of their families are exactly who the Proverbs 31 woman describes! So I’ll say it as my two-year-old says it best- You are the “bestest!” Last checkmark✅ Mike drop…walking in that truth…end of story!

 

 

 

Stand In The Box

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By Kolleen Lucariello | September 19, 2018


My husband Pat and I recently attended a little league game for one of the boys I previously provided daycare for. This was his first year playing baseball and it didn’t take us long to recognize he was a bit intimidated standing in the batter’s box. This revelation came during his first “at bat” when we noticed he was jumping out of the batter’s box every time the ball was pitched.

Stay In The Game

As Pat and I, along with his family of fans, began encouraging him to stay in the box, I yelled to him, “Stay right in there! Don’t back out! You can do it!” A little headshake and a practice swing revealed a bit more confidence as he did what everyone asked of him. He stood planted in the box, and that’s when the next pitch hit him in the side of the helmet. (Thank goodness for those helmets!) It clocked him good and left him fighting tears and, you guessed it, more fear of the ball. After that, standing in the batter’s box was more intimidating to him than it had been. He struggled to make himself stand there, which resulted in his next attempts at bat being strike-outs.

You Can Do It

The game was a nail-biter. The last three innings were close with one run being all that separated the two teams as they went back and forth taking the lead. At the bottom of the eighth inning, with one more chance at bat, our team was down by one run. One run came in to tie the game, and with runners on third and first, as well as two outs, guess who stepped into the batter’s box? Our little friend, Isaac.  “Don’t jump out of the box,” the fans yelled. “You can do it!” Secretly we all wondered if he could; the mark the helmet left on his jaw was as visible as his apprehension walking up the batter’s box.

The first pitch, he backed away and we heard, “Strike!”

“Don’t back out!” The fans yelled.

“Strike!”

“Plant those feet!” The coach yelled.

 

With his team and fans encouraging him on, and two strikes against him, this jumpy boy planted his feet, and as the next pitch came across the plate, there was a swing and a hit right up the first base line!

 

“Safe!”

 

The fans went wild! The team went wild too, and Isaac left with the game ball and a new found confidence. He faced his fear and—even though he was intimidated—planted his feet and swung the bat, which allowed the other runner to score.

In The Game Of Life

In the Game of Life, I’ve been hit by a few pitches that caused me to become jumpy and nervous at my next at-bats. One bad hit resulted in a few strikeouts as fear and intimidation grew within me. But, I discovered victory could only come when one is willing to face the fear and try again. We will never know what we can do if we take our self out of the game. Regardless of who’s standing on the pitcher’s mound trying to strike us out, we’re going to need to stand in the batter’s box, plant our feet in faith, and be ready to swing. Whatever life throws at you-you must remember who you are and Who’s you are.

 

“If your faith remains strong, even while surrounded by life’s difficulties, you will continue to experience the untold blessings of God! True happiness comes as you pass the test with faith, and receive the victorious crown of life promised to every lover of God” (James 1:12, TPT)!

 

Isaac left with the game ball that night because he planted his feet and faced his fear. As we allow God to change our identity—one letter at a time—let’s plant our faith, swing our sword and leave this earth knowing our victorious crown is waiting.

 

#BeYou

C-Courageous

Visit Kolleen’s website for more inspiration and encouragement:  http://www.speakkolleen.com/

Kolleen is the author of the devotional book, The ABC’s of Who God Says I Am. available on Amazon.com

 

One Godly Act

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By Denise Loock | September 13, 2018


Did you dream of being a princess when you were young?

 

Walt Disney built a corporate empire on the premise that little girls love princess tales.

The Bible, however, gives us real-life accounts of courageous royals such as Pharaoh’s daughter and Queen Esther. You may know their stories quite well.

 

One Brave Princess

But have you ever heard of brave Princess Jehosheba? Her life is summarized in one Scripture—2 Kings 11:2. Her courage, however, is the stuff of fairy tales and legends.

 

Princess Jehosheba served God and her people in an era when serving the Canaanite god Baal was the norm. She was named after her godly grandfather, King Jehoshaphat—one of Judah’s best kings. Her name means “she who swears by Jehovah” or “one who worships Jehovah.”

 

Jehosheba was the daughter of King Jehoram (one of his wives was Athaliah, daughter of infamous Jezebel). Jehoram was so wicked that he wasn’t even buried in the tombs of the kings, and no one regretted his death (2 Chronicles 21:20). Jehosheba’s half-brother was King Ahaziah, another ungodly monarch. When he died, age 23, after reigning only one year, his mother, Athaliah, reigned six years. She intended to kill all her grandchildren so she could reign alone. Talk about a dysfunctional family…

 

Jehosheba had every reason to forsake God, to grow angry with Him because of the wickedness that surrounded her. At the very least, she could’ve sat back and done nothing. After all, she had no power, no authority. Yet she and her husband—the high priest Jehoiada—practiced godliness anyway. And when the time to act came, she risked her life and saved her nephew Joash.

 

One Brave Act

The biblical account says, “But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram and sister of Ahaziah, took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the royal princes, who were about to be murdered. She put him and his nurse in a bedroom to hide him from Athaliah; so he was not killed” (2 Kings 11:2 NIV). Jehosheba and Jehoiada then protected Joash and his nurse in the temple for six years (v. 3).

We know only about this one brave act, and yet it speaks of Jehosheba’s gutsy, godly life in the midst of wickedness, of her discernment in an era of folly. Did she realize Joash was the last surviving heir to David’s throne? That if he died the promise of David’s forever kingdom would die and the messianic line would be broken?

 

Maybe, maybe not.

 

But when God prompted her to protect the life of a child—one child—she did. Jehosheba showed up and stood up for righteousness.

 

One godly act can make a profound difference. What right action is God prompting you to take? Will you respond as bravely as Princess Jehosheba?

Next Step: Read 2 Kings 11–12 to learn more about Jehosheba, Jehoiada, and Joash. Meditate on all the ways God used their lives to advance His purposes. How will He use yours this week?

 

Unrushing Your Soul

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By Emily P. Meyer | August 31, 2018


 

Recently, my husband and I had our very first overnight getaway together sans our two-year-old little boy. We didn’t go far, just downtown to a beautiful historic hotel that was recently renovated. It was just the right dose of R &R for us to feel recharged. During our time of relaxation, the Holy Spirit pressed into my heart with the prayer I had been searching for the right words to pray: “Lord, unrush me…”

 

I had heard that a while back from Lysa Terkeurst and must have tucked it away for a rainy day. On this drizzly day in Virginia, that prayer surfaced as I saw God answering the prayer that the Holy Spirit heard in the utterances of my soul. In less than 24 hours, I took 3 baths in a wonderful soaking tub, read over 100 pages to finish a book that fueled my soul, played board games with my husband, savored uninterrupted conversations with him over nice meals that I didn’t have to make, I dreamed, I counted more of my blessings, and I prayed with more clarity.

 

This might sound like a luxurious day and to be honest for a stay at home mom, it was. But more importantly, it was a reminder of how rushed I am in life and how much my soul craves good opportunities to hit the breaks.

 

Maybe you feel rushed, too. Maybe you long for your mind and calendar to just slow down so you can be fully present with what is before you right now. It’s no easy feat to do that. Not by a longshot. But, with God, all things truly are possible.

PRAYER

The unrushing of life starts with prayer and God’s Word. Ask God to help you be unrushed. It may not be a permanent unrushing, because He most certainly has seasons of hustle we are called to. But this kind of unrushing is one that brings your feet back to the ground and ties your soul more strongly to Heaven. Getting quiet enough to hear God and to be heard before Him is at the root of unrushing your weary soul.

INTENTIONALITY

Next, the unrushing of life happens with intentionality. The saying goes, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.” So, look at your calendar and take a good look at your soul. What do you need to do to stop being in such a hurry that you miss living in the present, fully aware? Do you need to get away for a day? Or maybe even an hour? Do you need to leave the dishes in the sink? Or do you need to do the dishes in the sink? Do you need to go outside and feel the temperature of the day on your face? Do you need to snuggle under the sheets, catch up on rest, and not feel guilty about it? Listen to your soul and get intentional with your calendar.

COMMUNITY

Finally, the unrushing of life comes from community. Sometimes we need to stop talking and start listening. Sometimes we need the reverse of that. Whether it’s a cup of coffee with a friend to share a heart to heart, a family member or friend agreeing to tend to your little treasures, a date, a potluck, a Bible study, or a chat with your neighbor… there are plenty of ways to look for the unrushing of your soul with the support of those who God has placed in your pocket of community. Seize those opportunities to slow down and share your heart or to listen while someone else pours their heart into your ear.

You don’t have to sprint through life like someone is creeping up on your lead, friend. You have permission to be unrushed. You just have to ask for it, accept it, and find support in it. When our souls are unrushed, we are more attuned to the holy hushes from the Spirit, giving us the rest and rejuvenation we need to walk with God better.

For more wonderful articles visit Emily’s website  http://www.emilypmeyer.com

Prayer Warrior

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By Nicole Newson | August 28, 2018


 

If I had to do inventory on my prayer life lately, I would say it’s starting down a pretty lackluster path. What’s my excuse? Let’s see- between work, kids, husband, friends, and the laundry list of things to do (not to mention the laundry itself)… cue the violin -I’m just too busy to be the sort of prayer warrior I’d love to be.

 

Trust me, I know this reason is pretty LAME. My prayer life is becoming lackluster because I’m not carving out the time I need for WHO I claim to be head of my life/home. I’m definitely not “putting in the big rocks first” in my schedule, because sometimes I’m putting cleaning dishes ahead of the ONE who gave and continues to give me life. When I look at it this way, my excuses look pretty pathetic and weak.

 

Absolutely life is busy and from the looks of things (preschool-aged kids at home), it’s probably going to get busier before it ever really slows down for me. I can’t keep up a subpar prayer life and thrive in my relationship with Christ and from what I’m told, I may need to be on my knees more in prayer with tween/teen girls on the horizon 😉

 

So yes, I admit there is a problem (check), and I can see exactly where prayer for me has spiraled out of control (check)… Now for a solution.

 

My small group at church just started a book, “The Circle Maker,” by Mark Batterson and it was just what I needed to rethink my prayer life and make some major changes.

 

Don’t get me wrong—prayer IS apart of my life daily. Every day I pray in the car with the girls before school, before I eat, bedtime, etc. It’s just that over time I’ve noticed that my prayers have become these pre-recorded, “surface-like” prayers…”Give daddy and us traveling grace, let daddy have a good day at work, help the girls have good days at school where they are good friends, share, and listen to their teachers, keep everyone safe from hurt harm and danger, pray for… (Then the girls list off every family member, friend, teacher, toy and even ladybugs a time or two), in Jesus name we pray – Amen.

 

These are great prayers to have with my small children and I’ve personally seen my daily “share” prayer work wonders on my oldest. 😉 My girls need to see and hear me pray so they can learn to develop a consistent prayer life themselves, however, I want and NEED to go deeper with prayer overall.

 

Without going into major detail about the book because it’s worth picking up and drawing your own conclusions from, this book’s goal is to teach you how to “dream big, pray hard, and think long.” It will also show you “how to claim God-given promises, pursue God-sized dreams, and seize God-ordained opportunities.” It gives many life examples of not giving up on prayers and praying with a confidence that only God can give because you know 100% that he has the power to do all things.

 

I’ve written down some major prayers and I have started “circling” these prayers daily with a vengeance. No more excuses because I’ve started getting up earlier to have my quiet uninterrupted time w/ God. No more lackluster prayer life for me as I’ve gotten my excitement and increased hope back. Join me as I “circle” prayers like the Israelite army circled the walls of Jericho until the walls came tumbling down, knowing that God will always deliver on his promises. (Joshua 6:1-27)

Dis Is Takin’ TOO Wong

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By Kolleen Lucariello | August 25, 2018


 

In June we had the blessing of bringing our Virginia grandsons, ages two and four, home to New York for ten days of alone time with Papa and Mimi. Now, just to be clear, when I say New York, I don’t mean the city of New York. We live in a small town within Central New York, and it didn’t take long for four-year-old Avery to realize there was no such thing as a “quick trip” to anywhere from Papa and Mimi’s house.

 

On our first outing to visit their cousin’s house (which is only 12 minutes from our home) I heard him sigh and say, “Ugh! Mimi! Dis is takin’ too wong!” Trips to the grocery store brought the same, “Ugh! Mimi! Dis is takin’ too wong!” I heard it often and not just over our travel. When our Internet suffered a glitch and high-speed became slower-than-normal-speed, making Paw Patrol difficult to watch, I heard it again, “Ugh! Mimi! Dis is takin’ too wong!” When I left the pancakes on the hot griddle longer than necessary and they became charcoal colored instead of golden brown, “Ugh! Mimi! Dis is takin’ too wong!”

Waiting

Any opportunity to wait brought the same reaction from Avery: “Ugh! This is takin’ too wong!” Then it happened: in the midst of one of his sighs, I realized I could sympathize with him, and his frustration over the wait. Why? Because I, too, have released my own sighs and grumbles during periods of waiting. In fact, I’ve most likely spoken the exact phrase: “Ugh! Lord! This is taking too long!” Waiting takes patience and I have a hard time waiting for the microwave to warm up a bowl of soup.

 

I also became aware that while some destinations took Avery and I longer than others—we always arrived right on time. We weren’t late for play dates or the movies, and we never missed a moment of fun. He, like I can do, simply became impatient during the travel time. With most of our family living away from our home, Pat and I have spent numerous hours in transit to see them. There’s no way to avoid the long trips, but grumbling over the travel time has never made one trip shorter. What makes them bearable is finding something to keep us occupied to help pass the time; not to mention what is waiting for us when we arrive.

Impatient 

The same can be said for us as we walk out the destiny the Lord has chosen for each one of us. We can grow weary, become impatient along the way, and let out a few sighs and grumbles, or we can learn to appreciate where God has us placed – for now. Don’t forget to look up every-now-and-then and allow the Lord to show you something new. I’m always excited when I notice something I’ve never seen before on one of our trips – simply because I looked up at just the right time.

 

The difference between Avery and me was this: I knew the time it would take for us to get to our destination and he didn’t. That’s the difference between God and me. And you. He knows the time for each of us because He has an appointed time and that’s not ours to know (Acts 1:7). We can trust that God is never late because “at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6, NIV). Wow! That should free us up just a bit from the sighs and complaints about how long it’s taking for us to travel from where we are to where we hope to be. Your travel might seem like it’s takin’ a wong time, but God has just the right time for each one of us to reach our destination.

As we allow God to change our identity—one letter at a time—let’s allow perseverance to have its way within our hearts. And may this become our prayer, “Lord, I have chosen you alone as my inheritance. You are my prize, my pleasure, and my portion. I leave my destiny and its timing in your hands” (Psalm 16:5, TPT).

 

#BeYou

P-Persevere through impatience

Visit Kolleen’s website for more inspiration and encouragement:  http://www.speakkolleen.com/

Kolleen is the author of the devotional book, The ABC’s of Who God Says I Am. available on Amazon.com

Out Of The Shadows

By Guest BlogNo Comments

By Denise Loock | August 21, 2018


The woman needed a miracle, but she didn’t ask for one. She may have cowered in the back of the synagogue, hoping no one would notice she’d come that day. After all, who wanted to look at a disfigured woman, bent over and unable to straighten up? (Luke 13:11).

But Jesus saw her, and he called her to come forward. “Dear woman,” he said, “you are set free from your infirmity” (v. 12). And immediately she straightened her back and stood tall—something she hadn’t done for eighteen years.

She rejoiced. Most of the crowd was delighted. But the Pharisees were indignant. “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath,” they said (v. 14).

Don’t Miss The Point

Once again the Pharisees missed the point. Jesus, the Messiah, was not bound by the Pharisees’ oppressive interpretations of and additions to the Mosaic Law.

Compassion motivated Jesus to challenge the legalistic burden the Pharisees had lain on every Jew.[i] And compassion compelled Jesus to remove the woman’s physical burden that Sabbath day (v. 16).

Jesus came to set people free. Physical healings were visual signs of his power to free people from all that held them in bondage—especially the sin that separated them from God: “Through [Jesus] everyone who believes is set free from every sin” (Acts 13:39).

Are You In The Shadows

Are you, like the woman, cowering in the shadows—reluctant to even ask Jesus to remove your burden? Have years of experience with people like the Pharisees made you think you’re unworthy of Jesus’s attention, undeserving of his love?

Look To Jesus

Don’t focus on your burden or your critics. Look to Jesus. He is calling your name and beckoning you to come. Allow him to set you free. Then stand tall, rejoice, and share with others the life-transforming power and message of the Messiah.

Next Step:

Read this woman’s story in Luke 13 and Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28-30. What burdens have prompted you to cower in the shadows? Write them down and then offer them to Jesus one by one.

 

[i] The Pharisees had added “literally thousands of new commandments that were created to clarify the original 613 commandments” of the Mosaic Law. For example, to the Sabbath law, 39 separate categories of what ‘work’ meant were added that led to thousands of sub-rules, including how many steps a person could take and how many letters could be written. http://www.pursuegod.org/rules-pharisees/

For more inspiration and encouragement visit Denise at http://www.digdeeperdevotions.com

Check out the following books on Amazon.com by Denise: