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What I am Most Thankful For……

I love Thanksgiving.  It’s a season for giving thanks, fellowship, serving one another and sharing a meal with each other.  It’s a time we can enjoy each other and share what we are thankful for.

Or maybe it’s not.  Maybe Thanksgiving reveals everything we don’t have and haven’t accomplished.  Thanksgiving may be like a magnifying glass examining the little details of our lives that expose everything we are not.

To cover up our flaws, we assemble the perfect table and meal, making it seem like we have it all together, but really we’re falling apart on the inside.

Can you relate?

Of course, I am thankful for my family, our health and how abundantly blessed we are.  It’s so easy to thank God when things are going well in our lives.  It’s not so easy when they are not.

When things are falling apart and I feel like I’m hanging on by a thread, I am most thankful for Jesus.  I am thankful that even in my messes, I am complete in Jesus.  Even in my suffering, I am blessed.

It’s amazing when Jesus meets us in our messes, our storms, and flaws–He turns them into life’s greatest blessings.  

If I never experienced failure, I would never know the deeper meaning of perseverance–How God makes the impossible, possible.

If I never trained for a marathon, I would never have known the power of God’s strength.

If I never went through the loss of our son, I would never experience the deeper meaning of God’s love and His glorious plan that one day we will see him again.

If I never had trials in my marriage or as a parent, I would never have realized the value in growing my patience and building a stronger foundation in Jesus.  

To remove our messes, our struggles and flaws are to remove God’s glorious blessings.  


What am I Most Thankful For?  Jesus.  

I am not thankful for my trials but am thankful to have Jesus to walk with me in my trials.

When I struggle, I think of Job.  When his cattle was destroyed he still gave thanks.  When his family was killed he still gave thanks to God.  When his crops were destroyed he gave thanks.  When his health was at stake, he gave thanks.  When everything was taken away from him, he never stopped thanking God.  His thankfulness in his devastation produced a greater blessing he could have ever received than if he focused on everything he didn’t have.

No Jesus + Everything = Nothing.

Jesus + Nothing= Everything

Even when I have nothing, I have everything in Jesus.  There is always something to be thankful for.  I am nothing without Jesus.
  
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”  (1 Thes. 5:18)

Behind every trial, there is a greater blessing.

This Thanksgiving, give thanks not just for what we are grateful for.  Thank God for everything in between–the struggle, the trial and our flaws and you will be blessed beyond measure.

When we GIVE THANKS in our trials, it helps us focus on God’s GOODNESS and that His LOVE endures FOREVER.  

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever” (Psalm 118:1)

A Thanksgiving Prayer-  

THANK YOU, Lord Jesus, not only for our family, our health and the food we will eat this THANKSGIVING But also for our TRIALS we have endured this year.  We are not thankful for our suffering, but thankful that you are good and know what is BEST for US!

THANK YOU for giving us what we NEED not what we WANT.  You Always have the best plans ever!  THANK YOU for going AHEAD of us and PREPARING  a place for us, even in our STRUGGLES we know this is only our TEMPORARY HOME.

THANK YOU for our circumstances that are beyond our control, they TEACH US to depend and lean on you making us closer to YOU.  THANK YOU for unanswered PRAYERS, they help us to TRUST in you, in your PERFECT PLAN.

THANK YOU for WALKING with US in the fiery furnace.  If you we didn’t have your hand to hold onto we would never know you are ALWAYS with us and will NEVER leave US.  THANK YOU for your FORGIVENESS when we fail and make bad choices.  THANK YOU for your LOVE and ALWAYS being there even in our MESSES.

THANK YOU for our DESPERATE Moments when we feel like we have nothing left, we can always depend on YOUR STRENGTH.  THANK YOU for our roadblocks and detours, they show us that when we follow Jesus, He knows the WAY!

THANK YOU for our failures and losses, they show us there is no greater reward than Jesus.  THANK YOU for your perfect gift of ETERNAL LIFE!  No matter what we go through it does not compare to the glorious reward of HEAVEN when we accept Jesus as our Savior!  THANK YOU for your PERFECT LOVE AND PLAN!  AMEN

What are you Most Thankful For this Thanksgiving?

What will you give Thanks for?

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Crumbs From the Table

With the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I am sure we are thinking, what can we do with all of our leftovers?  There is a division in our household whether or not leftovers should even be allowed.  Leftovers are a great solution for a quick meal in a busy family household.  However, there are definite rules for the leftovers in our house.  They can’t be kept in the fridge or eaten past 3 days and they can only be heated up once (so only take what you will eat).  And whatever is leftover from the leftovers usually goes into our dog’s bowl.

How do you approach leftovers in your household?

Would you be happy to have leftovers?

Leftovers make me think of the Syrian Phoenician woman in the Bible.  This woman approaches Jesus and cries out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!  My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.”  Jesus did not answer a word.  So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”  He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”  The woman came and knelt before him.  “Lord, help me!” she said.   He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”  “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”  Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith!  Your request is granted.”  And her daughter was healed from that very hour.  Matthew 15:21-28

The Syrophoenician woman’s name is not mentioned in these verses, but her story is such a powerful one.  She recognized Jesus had the power to heal the sick and sought His help on behalf of her daughter who was possessed.  His disciples tried to encourage Jesus to send the woman on her way.  Jesus then replies He is only there to save the lost sheep of Israel, meaning bring the good news of the gospel to the Jews.  Jesus and His disciples had just entered the city of Tyre, a city of Gentiles.

Jesus’ presence in the city could not be kept secret.  He was trying to explain to the woman, a person wouldn’t give a dog their meal first without eating, then that person would be hungry.  He was explaining let the lost sheep eat first.  The woman understood what Jesus meant and replied she was willing to settle for crumbs from the table–mere crumbs would be sufficient for her.

Can you imagine this scene?  A desperate mother kneeling in the presence of Jesus, recognizing He is her Lord, asking for healing for her possessed daughter, who wasn’t going to stop until she received an answer.  Because of her faithfulness, Jesus granted her request.  He recognized she was a woman of great faith, who was willing to settle for whatever Jesus gave her.

I will be honest.  I don’t know if settling for crumbs would be good enough for me.  Sometimes in my set ways, I want the whole meal.  This woman’s faithfulnesses impresses upon me because she recognized that the crumbs were enough and all her daughter needed to be healed.

Would you be happy with mere crumbs?

Sometimes in life, I want it all.  If I could choose what I want, I’d choose to have good health for my family, a nice house, a good job, and happiness all the time.  But life doesn’t work that way does it?  We can’t have everything all the time, can we?  The power of God’s will is greater than anything we could ever desire.

 This woman’s faithfulness allowed her to see the crumbs of Jesus are greater than anything this world could ever offer her.

God's leftovers are better than any meal we could ever have.Click To Tweet

To pick and choose what parts of life we do and don’t want, we miss out on God’s greatest blessings along the way.  Keeping our eyes on Him and being content with His provision leads to the most victorious life ever in Him. His leftovers are greater than anything this world could provide.  So……..

Who wants leftovers?

 

Are you willing to accept crumbs from the table?

 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10Click To Tweet

Prayer:  “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread.  Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.   And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”  Matthew 6:9-13

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Getting Out of the Grave

 

Have you ever gone fishing in hopes to catch the big one?  Our family has done our fair share of fishing, coming from Alaska.  In Alaska, the king salmon is one prize fish that everyone tries to catch.  The king salmon only run at a certain time, once a year so there is a mad rush to catch the big one before they are gone.  People are so crazy about catching king salmon, there are even fish derbies to determine who caught the biggest fish–which can weigh up to 100 pounds!  People spend years trying to catch the big one and still never catch a king salmon.  However, when a person catches a king salmon there is no going back, they are hooked.

No doubt fishing in Alaska is one of the most amazing experiences a person will ever have–there is a joy and art to it.  However, fishing for the big king salmon makes me think how we go out to lure and hook the big fish, but eventually the desire to catch the big one, lures and hooks us if we’re not careful.

Have you been there before–caught in the trap of chasing more?

I am painfully aware and convicted of how many times in life I’ve been a victim of chasing my own desires to find fulfillment and satisfaction–only to be left weary, disappointed and depleted.

In life there becomes a healthy balance of chasing our own desires versus God’s desires to find some sort of satisfaction and fulfillment.   Sometimes we can get caught up in chasing our dreams for the big one, whatever that may be–a bigger house, better job, nicer car or more money.  Then somehow, someway we get stuck in a place where we don’t want to be, missing out on all of God’s greatest blessings along the way.

Trying to catch the big one makes me think of the Israelites.  

Graves of Craving Numbers 11:4-34

Moses, the leader of the Israelites, had been leading them through the desert for about 40 years to take them to The Promised Land.  In this time of wandering, God was teaching them how to rely and depend on Him for all their needs.  God had provided the Israelites with shelter, water and a bread-like substance called manna.  After while the Israelites became dissatisfied with God’s provisions.  They were tired of wandering around the hot desert and eating the same old thing every day.  They whined and complained and desired something more.  They asked Moses if they could have some meat.  The Lord honored their request and sent quail, not just for one day but for a whole month!

There was so much quail meat, that each Israelite had an equivalent to 10 homers which is 100 bushels or a little over 22 barrels of meat.  Their indulgence and engorgement infuriated God.

“While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the anger of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD struck the people with a very severe plague. So the name of that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had been greedy” Numbers 11:33-34.

In our lives, there is a fine line between being content with what we have and being greedy.  In the case of the Israelites, their greediness for more left them unsatisfied and became the death of them.  In fact, their greediness dug their own grave.

God used the Israelites greediness as an example for generations to come.  The place of their overindulgence was located in the desert and named Kibroth-Hattaavah, which means graves of craving, desire and/or greed.  Their greed and burning desire actually dug their own graves.  It’s not wrong to crave worldly things but our cravings become a sin when our worldly desires become greater than God.

 

“Because he is as greedy as the grave and like death never satisfied” (Habakkuk 2:5 NIV).Click To Tweet

Satan would like nothing more than for us to believe, overindulging in our desires will bring us fulfillment and satisfaction—when in reality our self-fulfillment will only lead to emptiness and temporary satisfaction.  There will always be another desire to fulfill.

When is enough ever enough?

When we reside in what God desires, we will never desire more of what the world wants and be eternally satisfied.Click To Tweet

How do we stay out of the Grave of Craving?

  1. Trusting in Him.  Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, lean not on your own understanding.”   Trusting in the Lord for His provision keeps us straight on our paths, so Satan can’t lure us away.  Keep taking those steps of faith, God will always lead you in the right direction and firmly secure your feet on the straight path.
  2. Being content.  Philippians 4:11-13 NIV, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”  Being content with God’s provision and trusting it is enough, will provide us with more than we ever need.
  3. Prayer and Thanksgiving.  Thessalonians 5:16-18 NASB, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;  for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
  4. Allowing God’s desires to be our desires.  Psalm 37:4 NASB, “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.”  When we allow God’s desires to be our desires we will always be eternally satisfied.
  5. Staying alert and aware.  1 Peter 5:8 NIV, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  Keeping our eyes and focus on God will keep us out of the grave.
Satan will always try to use our cravings and desires against us to fulfill his evil plan.Click To Tweet
When our cravings and burning desires are greater than God, they will always be the death of us.Click To Tweet

Our steps of faith will keep us out of the grave.  Jesus came so we could have life and have it to the full (John 10:10).  He didn’t die on the cross and stay in the grave, he resurrected from the grave so that we could live an eternal life with Him be filled with His abundant blessings.  We aren’t meant to live in the grave but be resurrected with Jesus to live a life with eternal fulfillment and satisfaction.

God can handle our circumstances and turn them into something so much better and greater.  Getting out of the grave of our circumstances will be hard, but I promise you, dear friend, God will hold your hand and never let go.

Have you been a victim to Satan’s sneaky tactics and not even know it?

Have you ever been stuck in the grave with your circumstances?

How has God led you out of the grave?

We were never meant to live in the grave with our circumstances but in the Victory of Jesus!  You were made to be victorious!  God’s love and grace are transformational.  We become victorious when His Word is alive and active in our lives!  Please let me know if you have any questions!  You are loved!  

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5 P’s To Pray Over Your Marriage

Marriage is one of the biggest blessings in life, yet 40%-50% of marriages end up in divorce.  If marriage is such a blessing, then why do so many marriages fail?  I think there are many factors at play–a person’s background and upbringing, parents who had a loving successful marriage, children, poor role models, trials, dysfunctional habits.  But I think one of the most important factors that help couples STAY together is PRAYER.

A study written by the National Association of Marriage Enhancement stated out of 1156 couples, those who prayed together on a daily basis less than 1% ended in divorce.  The study went even further to analyze what the couples did at home together.   Were they apart of the same denomination?  Did they attend church together?  Did they share the same beliefs and values?  Did they do any worship activities at home?

The study found there was a higher level of marital satisfaction when the couples shared the same religious practices at home which included reading the Bible together.  Unfortunately, despite knowing this information, only 4% of Christian couples pray together on a daily basis.  The important message from the study was if you want a strong marriage that is long-lasting and able to endure trials and hardships, develop a consistent pattern of prayer and reading your Bibles together.

Who is ready to start praying!?!?!?

It all starts with prayer.  Here are 5 P’s to pray over your Marriage.  Make a commitment to pray together for the next 30 days and see what happens.  If you are ready to start reading the Bible together there is a Bible reading plan as well.  Those who pray together stay together.  Those who read their Bibles together become deeply rooted in God’s word.  God’s word then becomes alive and living in their lives.

5 P’s to Pray Over Your Marriage

1.  Prosper

Pray for your marriage to grow, flourish and prosper.  Pray your marriage will bear God’s fruits and grow deeply rooted in his love.  Pray your communication with one another will be effective and prosper.  Pray for unity, peace, and harmony with each other and in your marriage.

Verses to pray, Galatians 5:22, Ephesians 4:3, Ephesians 3:17-21, Colossians 3:13-14.  

2.  Preparation

Pray God will equip and prepare you for what he has in store for you.  Pray for patience along the way, because it will be tested.  Patience prepares us for God’s plans.  Pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to be working within you to dwell richly in your hearts.  Pray for strength and courage to endure and persevere any trials that come your way.  Pray to be in a position of readiness, to be alert and aware of anything getting in the way of God or putting your marriage at risk or in danger.  Ask God to rid our hearts of any arrogance, pride deceit, malice, anger or bitterness (Mark 7:21).  

Pray for God to fill your heart with His desires.  Pray these verses over your marriage, Psalm 37:4, Romans 12:12, Galatians 6:9, Philippians 4:13, Joshua 1:9, Colossians 3:16.

3.  Praiseworthy

Pray your marriage will be a godly example, admirable and meritorious for God.  Pray that you will be gracious towards one another, express gratitude and thankfulness.    Pray you are gentle, kind, patient and forgiving towards one another.  Pray you will see your spouse through God’s eyes and praise your spouse daily.  Pray you will love your spouse the way God loves them.  Pray you will be encouraging towards one another and build each other up (1 Thes. 5:11).

Pray these verses over your marriage, Philippians 4:8, Ephesians 4:32, Galatians 5:22, 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Psalm 115:1-2.

4.  Purpose

Pray your marriage is a godly marriage that shines the light of Jesus (Matthew 5:15-16).  Pray God will be the center of your marriage giving your marriage power and purpose.  Pray you will not get in the way of God’s purpose and plan your lives and marriage.  Pray for God to be Lord over our lives and marriages.  Pray for your husband to allow God to be Lord in His life and be the spiritual leader he has called him to be.  Pray you will give love and respect to one another.  Pray for willing and obedient hearts that allow God’s purpose and plan to become alive in your lives.  Pray you will allow God’s will to be done in your lives and marriage.  Pray God will use your marriage for his greater purpose and plan.

Pray these verses over your marriage Romans 8:28, Psalm 138:8, Matthew 5:15-16, Jeremiah 1:5, Jeremiah 29:11.

5.  Protection

Pray for protection against Satan, lies, doubt, temptations, sin, and discouragement.  Pray the enemy will stay out of your marriage.

Pray the armor of God over your marriage in Ephesians 6:10-20.  Pray your marriage will stand strong in the Lord by putting on the armor of God.  Pray you will not fight against each other but in prayer against the enemy.  Pray you will stand firm in God’s truth by buckling the belt of truth tightly around your waists.  Pray the breastplate of righteousness will guard your hearts.  Pray your feet will be fitted with readiness by putting on the shoes of peace (the gospel).  Pray the shield of faith will be an extra layer of protection that will extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Pray the helmet of salvation will help protect and guard your minds against doubts, lies, and temptations.  Pray you take the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God and pray on all occasions with all kinds of prayers to stay alert and keep praying.

Most of all, pray you will stay committed and dedicated to prayer and reading the Bible.  Praying these verses over our marriages gives power and purpose to our marriages.  If you don’t have a Bible, download the YouVersion Bible app to your phone to be able to look up Bible verses.

There is so much more than we could add to our list.  If there is something lacking in our marriages or that we’re struggling with–cover it in prayer.  Maybe both sides struggle with patience or need to communicate better.  Or maybe there needs to be more encouragement towards one another.

It doesn’t matter what our circumstances are or if we are going through a trial.  When we are covered in prayer and in God’s word, nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38).  Prayer keeps us protected against the enemy attacking our marriages, keeps us alert to what we need to pay attention to and keeps us in communication with God.

Every marriage will endure trials and hardships.  Is our own strength and love enough to get us through?  No, but God’s strength and love are.  The love of Jesus is the glue that keeps our marriages together and builds us stronger than we ever were before.

When we fail or fall short, God’s grace makes up for our short comings (Romans 6:23).Click To Tweet

Is your marriage worth fighting for?

How do you get through your trials?  Where do you find your hope?

We need the love and strength of Jesus to help our marriages prosper, be prepared, be praiseworthy, be purposeful and protected.

Do you desire a strong, long-lasting marriage that is filled abundantly with God’s eternal blessings?

Those who pray together stay together.Click To Tweet

Marriages are worth fighting for.  I fight my battles with prayer.   

Will you pray and/or read the Bible with your spouse for the next 30 days?  

Pray these verses over your marriage and watch them come alive in your life.  God’s Words and prayer are transformational when they are active and living in our lives.  

Whatever we lack in our lives, we are made complete in God.  In Jesus, we have life and have it to the full (John 10:10)!  In God, we lack nothing.  We don’t need to look for another source to fulfill us when God is in the center of our marriages.  I promise, your faithfulness and patience will reap great rewards than you could ever imagine (Ephesians 3:20)!

Marriages are not meant to defeat us but to fill us abundantly with God’s eternal blessings Click To Tweet

Have a blessed week!

Print out this Free Printable Bookmark to help guide your prayers or print out this post.  Keep this handy in your Bibles so you can reference it when you pray and read.  You can also follow along with the 30 day Bible reading plan to help fill your hearts with God’s Words!

Marriage Prayer-Click to Download PDF

       

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This post was first published on www.alaskachristianwomensministry.com.


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What to Do When You Don’t Like Your Life Season

I’m excited to share Janet Thompson’s new book Mentoring For All Seasons that just came out September 12th!  I am honored that I had an opportunity to be a contributor to her new book.  Be encouraged by Janet’s post how we may not always like every season we are in but can help each other succeed by mentoring or being mentored.

Janet’s Post

We’ve all heard it said, “There’s a time for everything.” Or “You’re just in a season, it will pass.” In fact, it’s Scriptural—

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”—Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

The good and pleasant seasons sound wonderful and just what God wants for us, right? It’s so easy to think that God couldn’t possibly want what we perceive as a bad or unpleasant season for us. And yet this Scripture passage tells us that God made both, and while we’re alive, we’re going to experience every season—the good and the bad—under heaven.

Pastor Rick Warren often says that life is like a roller coaster: if you’re going up and experiencing a good season, brace yourself because in about three weeks you’ll probably find yourself going down into an unpleasant season, screaming all the way!

We try so hard to hold onto those feel-good seasons, and there’s nothing wrong with that—we should have times of joy, dancing, laughing, loving, and peace. But when the not so good times roll, we need to remember that God has not left us. He’s walking right beside us through the mourning, weeping, uprooting, and war seasons, and that’s when a mentor is so helpful to remind us that she made it through her tough seasons and we will too.

 

CLICK TO TWEET

 

The focus of my book Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture has Forgotten is for us to remember how good God has been in all the seasons of our life. God never abandons His children. This is a message we need to share with each other and with the culture, especially during these challenging times we live in today.

Reasons for Not Liking our Life Season

Usually, we don’t like our life season because:

It’s painful or uncomfortable.

We’re jealous and like what someone else’s life looks like more than our own life.

We’re living with the consequences of our, or someone else’s, behavior or decisions.

We’re discontent or discouraged.

We’re not sure if God still cares about us.

What would you add to the list?

We all have difficult seasons we want to end. Or maybe we’re in a wonderful season that we never want to end. Many life seasons we have no control over, even though advertisers and the culture would try to make you believe differently. They set us up to fail either way by thinking if we just drink the right cola, take the right pill, own the right car, use the right cosmetics and anti-aging products, eat the right food, reach success . . . every season of our life will be heavenly. The aging clock is going to stop and somehow God made our lives to be different from everyone else’s life.

But that’s a lie and those who buy into it will never be content because everything God lists in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 is a season that everyone will experience.

What to Do When We Don’t Like Our  Life Season

We probably feel like crying, screaming, maybe yelling, getting depressed, ignoring, or trying to get out of it. If we’re honest, we’ve all been there.

But soon we realize that the only thing that works when we don’t like our life season is to ask God how He wants us to deal with it, and then listen carefully to how the Holy Spirit speaks to us. It’s that still small voice we hear guiding us when we cry out to God. We might not know how to get through the season, but God does. So often He’s talking, but we’re not listening.

Someone on a friend’s Facebook post asked how my Christian friend knew what God wanted. Did he have a direct line to God? I thought, Yes he does! Every Christian has a direct line to God the world doesn’t understand, and one we don’t use nearly enough: praying to Jesus who hears every word and the Holy Spirit who intercedes for us even when all we can do is groan.

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 2:5

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. Romans 8:26-27

While writing this post, I met a woman whose husband has cancer. As she shared her story, I heard in my mind hug her and pray for her. Mind you, we had just met, and I had already told her I would be praying for her husband and their family since I understood having had breast cancer three times. But as she kept talking, I knew I was to pray for her now. So I said, “Let me pray for you,” and stepped forward to hug her; but she didn’t realize that I meant right then. I knew God meant right then! She needed it and she was so grateful.

I had tried to talk myself out of it, and how many times is God trying to tell us what to do “right then,” but we’re dismissing His words of wisdom to see us through this season and on into the next one. That’s when a mentor can step in and do just what I was able to do for this woman, even though we barely knew each other. Can you imagine how much comfort can come from two women who have a personal mentoring relationship?!

God doesn’t want us going through any season alone, but He also doesn’t want us listening to anyone who isn’t giving us biblical wisdom. That’s why in Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness, every season has Scripture to study together that applies to the various issues women might experience in that season.

Being a mentor, or a mentee reaching out to another woman for guidance, doesn’t mean the mentor has all the answers or the Bible memorized. It just means she’s willing to search God’s Word and pray together for Him to tell you both what to do in the life seasons you might not like right now; and then, you both reach out and help someone else going through something similar.

And that’s exactly what Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 tells us we need to do when we’re going through a life season we don’t like!

Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness released 9/12/17 is available now for purchase.

Author Bio

Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 19 books. Her latest release is Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. (September 12, 2017)

She is also the author of Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten; The Team That Jesus Built; Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?; Dear God They Say It’s Cancer; Dear God, He’s Home!; Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter; Face-to-Face Bible study Series; and Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, & Maintain a Mentoring Ministry Resources.

She is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries.

Visit Janet at:

womantowomanmentoring.com

www.facebook.com/Janetthompson.authorspeaker

http://www.linkedin.com/in/womantowomanmentoring/

www.pinterest.com/thompsonjanet

https://twitter.com/AHWministries


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The Truth About Flamingos, Church, and Jesus

 

Have you ever been to Florida?  When I think of Florida I think of warm sun, beautiful beaches, palm trees and flamingos.  Have you ever thought something was true your whole life to find out it’s not true at all?  Funny thing about Flamingos, if you asked a native Floridian if they have ever seen a Flamingo in the wild, 99% of them would probably say no.  Flamingos primarily reside in the Yucatan Peninsula in México, the Bahamas and the northern part of South America.  Only a very small percent of Flamingos reside in Florida (in the wild) at the very tip of the Everglades.  At one point at the end of the 1800’s Flamingos left Florida altogether, it wasn’t until recently a small number of them have migrated back.

Knowing what I know now about Flamingos makes me wonder have I applied this first impression truth to other areas of my life as well?  

First impressions aren’t always true.

Don’t jump to conclusions – there may be a perfectly good explanation for what you just saw.” – Proverbs 25:8, The Message

I have grown up in the church my whole life and for the most part, consider the church as an extension of my home.  Unfortunately, I’ve also seen some not so loving parts of the church.  Whenever I meet people, the more I get to know them, I find out they stopped going to church because they have either been hurt or felt condemned.  The church is supposed to be an extension of God’s home, a place where people can feel loved and accepted no matter who they are.  Jumping to conclusions and holding onto first impressions can get us into trouble.  We shouldn’t rely on these methods as our guide for making decisions or adopting our truth.  We need to take a closer look to reveal the truth.

True-  The church is full of imperfect people and is not perfect.

Truth-  There will be times the church and its people make mistakes, but it is also a place where we learn to forgive one another.

True-  People in the church may try to take part in God’s role and judge people.

Truth-  Church is a place we learn how to walk the line of grace, love and accept people for who they are, grow as the body of Christ and come alongside one another.

 

“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” – John 7:24, ESV

When we take a closer look, things aren't always as they seem. Click To Tweet

In the gospels, when Jesus was teaching His messages to the disciples and crowds, He was trying to help them understand He was the new message of truth, love, mercy, and grace.  They didn’t have to seek redemption or salvation from sacrificing lambs or following a bunch of laws, they just had to trust and believe in Him.  But somehow a long the way the world we live in has twisted the character of who Jesus really is.  We need to be careful because looks can be deceiving.

2 Cor. 11:13-14 NIV, “For such people, are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ.  And no wonder, for Satan himself, masquerades as an angel of light.”

In other versions of this verse, the word masquerading is also described as disguises and transformed.  There will be things in this world that try to masquerade, transform and claim to be Jesus. There is only one true Jesus.  Jesus isn’t someone who can fit in the box of a definition we create.  Our definition of Him will never be found in what the world says but in what God’s Word says (The Bible).

Do you have an impression of Jesus that you don’t like?  When we take a closer look, we can see the truth so much clearer, than standing from a far distance.  

True-  You may be hurting right now and are mad at God.

Truth-  God is good all the time.  His intention is to never hurt or harm us.  Psalm 21:11, “Although they plot against you, their evil schemes will never succeed.”

True-  There is evil hurting innocent people in this world.

Truth-  God is never evil.  Evil never comes from God.  1 Corinthians 13:6, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”

True-  You feel defeated by your circumstances.

Truth-  You are victorious no matter what your circumstances are.  1 Corinthians, “He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Jesus came so we could have life and have it to the full (John 10:10).  He didn’t come to take away from our lives but to give.  He came once and for all (1 Peter 3:18, Romans 6:10).  He took our place on the cross for something we deserved.

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  John 14:6

We need to be careful because looks can be deceiving.  Just as Flamingos aren’t really a good representation of Florida, first impressions aren’t a good representation of God or the church.  Don’t get your experience or receive your opinion from a distance, take a closer look and discover for yourself the truth about Jesus.

God’s Word isn’t meant to be hidden in the pages of the Bible, but to be alive and active in our hearts and lives.  God’s truth will always set us free.  You were made to be victorious.  The more we are in God’s Word the more we discover His heart of who He really is.

Have you ever had a first impression of something and applied it as truth?

What is your truth about church and Jesus?

Have you stopped going to church and/or given up on Jesus?

God will never give up on us.  He pursues us and desires to have a relationship with us.  You are loved beyond measure by a God who loved you first!  Would you like a deeper relationship with God and don’t know where to start?  Please message or comment below, I would love to help!  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Right now Florida needs our prayers!  Join me in praying for Florida.  Pray the people of Florida are protected from the harm of the hurricane.  Pray the hurricane loses its speed and power.  Pray people will listen to the evacuation warnings and get to safety.  #PrayforFlorida

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Hope for Our World

As I watch the news of the devastating flood in Houston and the missile strike threats from North Korea over the past couple of weeks, I am reminded of the depth of devastation that exists in this world.  I am saddened how thousands of people are displaced from their homes because of Hurricane Harvey and how North Korea’s dictator victimises the people who reside there.

Both situations are devastating.  As a nation, we can rise up to help Houston but are left helpless in how we can help free the victims in North Korea.  In North Korea, there is no freedom of speech, freedom of religion or freedom to live as a human being.  I was shocked as I watched the video of a young girl who escaped North Korea and told her horrific story at a One World Conference.  She painstakingly describes the life North Koreans live under an evil dictator’s rule.  People are executed for merely speaking an opinion or reading an unauthorized book.  They live in below poverty conditions, work in Nazi-like labor camps, and live in fear every day of what their evil dictator will do.  It is unimaginable that this treatment of people is allowed to take place in our current world.  We can only hope and pray for the freedom and safety of these people, that dictator Kim’s evil ways will be stopped and for the direction of our world to be headed back towards God.

The condition of our world reminds me of how the Israelite’s must have felt when they lived in exile under the Babylonian empire. Their nation had been through exile before for 400 years under the Egyptians and again under the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar. At the time, their situation seemed pretty hopeless. Their present circumstances seemed unlikely that God was going to fulfill His promise of restoration.

We serve a God who is bigger than our circumstances, who is bigger than what we can see.

In Ezekiel, God made a promise, “I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.” (Ezekiel 36:24)

At this time, the Israelites were living in captivity away from their country, under the rule of the very powerful king Nebuchadnezzar—who did not believe in their God. Then God intervened and showed the prophet, Ezekiel, a vision—a land full of dry bones.

God asks Ezekiel, “Son of man, can these bones live?” (Ezekiel 37: 3). Ezekiel then responds and says, “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know” (Ezekiel 37:3).

God then directs Ezekiel to prophesy to the dry bones telling them to hear the word of God “I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life” (Ezekiel 37:5). As Ezekiel was prophesying, the bones started to come together, skin and flesh covered them, breath entered them, they came to life, stood up and made an army (Ezekiel 37:7-10).

Even though Israel’s situation seemed hopeless, God was showing Ezekiel what He can do in a hopeless situation, even under the rule of a powerful king. God showed Ezekiel how He was able to resurrect and make alive a valley of dead dry bones by merely breathing life into them. God’s fulfillment of His promise of restoration wasn’t dependent on Israel’s current circumstances, but His divine power [1].

Oh, how thankful I am our future is not dependent on what our leaders do or don’t do but the faithfulness of our God.

God goes onto to remind us, “O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them” (Ezekiel 37:12-13).

In the eyes of Israel, there was no hope for restoration for their nation. We serve an Almighty God. God’s power goes way beyond a valley of dry bones. He is able to revive, renew, and restore even the most hopeless of circumstances. If God can deliver the Israelite’s from exile, He can deliver us as well [2]. If God can breathe life into dry bones, renew, restore and rise up the nation of Israel out of the grave—He can do the same for our world.

In our present-day situation, God is showing us we need to be dependent upon Him more than ever. We need to stay constant in prayer, praying for our leaders, our government, for the direction and well-being of our world, and these social injustices are stopped.

There is HOPE for our World

 

Even when the condition of our world seems hopeless, we can always find HOPE in God’s truth, promise, and power of HIS renewal and restoration.

Just like Israel, we will be a nation that rises again at The Word of God.

“Breathe, O Breath of God.” [3]

“They came to life and stood on their feet—a vast army.” (Ezekiel 37:10)

At The Word of God, dry bones came alive.

Great armies arose out of death and destruction.

God’s great power is mighty and infinite. Nothing is bigger or can defeat it.

“You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God.” (Ezekiel 36:28)Click To Tweet

By His powerful hand, He created us. God will restore us and bring us to the promised land [4].

How can we make a worldly difference?

Through our prayers. We can pray for Houston and North Korea.

Why should we pray for North Korea? 

'But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,' Matthew 5:44Click To Tweet

We can stop evil in its tracks when we pray.  God hears our prayers.  We need to pray for those who cannot speak for themselves.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.”  Proverbs 31:8 NLT

How can we pray for North Korea?

  • Pray for the safety, well-being, provision, and protection of North Korean under dictator Kim rule
  • Pray for their freedom, that they will no longer be victimised and set free from his reigning rule
  • Pray for dictator Kim that his evil ways will stop and no longer hurt people
  • Pray North Koreans will know God’s love, mercy, and grace and be able to live out their faith

Want to know more ways of how you can pray for North Korea? Click here.

How can we pray for Houston?

  • Pray for the safety and well-being for those affected by the flood
  • Pray flood victims will get the aid, food, and shelter they need
  • Pray for their healing and restoration for the rebuilding of their city and lives

Our prayers make a difference and will be heard. Keep praying for the well being of our world and stay present in God’s promises. We may not like present circumstances in our world, but we can pray for God’s divine power to intercede on the world’s behalf before it’s too late.

Labor Day is a day to celebrate our nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership.  Thank a military provider for his/her service to celebrate and honor our nation’s freedom–something some countries do not have.  Not all of us agree with our leaders all the time.  But we can be thankful that we live in a country where our leadership and military fight for our freedoms.  Thank you to everyone who has served to keep us safe and allow us to live a land where freedom exists.

Will you Pray for Houston and North Korea?

“We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.” Psalm 33:20-22 Amen!

In Him,

Heather
1. Dyer, C. H. (1985). Ezekiel. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 1298). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
2. Chisholm, R. B. (1998). The Major Prophets. In D. S. Dockery (Ed.), Holman Concise Bible Commentary (p. 327). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
3. http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/laurendaigle/comealivedrybones.html
4. Knowles, A. (2001). The Bible guide (1st Augsburg books ed., p. 335). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg.


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Why is it Important to Be Alert?

I will never forget the day I went hiking on a popular Alaskan trail this summer with a friend and all of our kids. It was a beautiful day. We came prepared wearing our hiking gear, brought our bear spray, filled our camelbacks with water and brought snacks for the kids. We were the first hikers of the day to set off on the trail.

As we approached the pseudo summit, we had stopped to take a water and snack break. As we were looking around at the beautiful mountain, I had spotted something across the field about 500 ft. from us. I could see something pacing back and forth. At first I thought it was a dog, but then soon realized it was a wolf! Right next to the pacing wolf was another wolf!
We immediately put our dogs back on their leashes and instructed the kids to get together in a huddle around us, stay together to go back down the mountain. As we were walking off the mountain we were praying for God to please keep us safe and protect us from the attack of the wolf pack! I am happy to report we made it safely off the mountain, but were so glad we were alert to our surroundings. If we were not paying attention, the situation could have been so much worse.

Our situation on the mountain that day reminds me of when Jesus took the disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray (Matthew 26:-45). Jesus knew the time was approaching when Judas was going to betray Him and be taken away by the Roman soldiers. In the garden, Jesus is overwhelmed with sorrow and asks Peter and two other men to keep watch while Jesus prayed. When Jesus returned from praying, He finds His disciples sleeping. Jesus says, “could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (Matt. 26:41).

According to Mark 14:41, Jesus goes away and comes back two more times, each time telling the disciples to keep watch and pray. But each time Jesus returns, He found the disciples sleeping. After the third time, of warning the disciples to keep watch and pray, it was too late. A crowd armed with swords and Roman soldiers appeared to take Jesus away.

Jesus knew before the crowd and soldiers came, they were about to be faced with threatening circumstances. Jesus wanted His disciples to not waver in the face of temptation. He was trying to warn them to keep watch and pray so they would not fall victim when confronted with threatening circumstances. Instead the disciples fell asleep.

How much more prepared would the disciples had been if they were alert and listened to God’s instructions?

Jesus was trying to warn the disciples that night in the garden, to remain physically and spiritually awake to keep them from falling into sin. Having an encounter with the wolves that day was a reminder how important it is to be alert not only to our physical surroundings, but our spiritual surroundings as well. Satan can be so quick and deceiving. Like the wolves, he is lurking around ready to attack at any moment.

What a great important reminder to stay awake and alert to Satan’s schemes, because he is sneaky! I for one have been a victim and didn’t even realize it.

Just as Jesus instructed the disciples to keep watch and pray in the Garden of Gethsemane, is what He asks us to do.

Stay alert in prayer; it will keep you close to God’s truth and ready in threatening circumstances. Click To Tweet
Even though we were prepared for the hike that day, we weren’t necessarily prepared for our encounter with the wolves (a threatening situation). God heard our prayers that day and kept us safe as we hiked off the mountain. In that situation, our prayers are what kept us safe.

We become more alert and watchful when we are devoted in prayer.

“Devote yourself to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.” Colossians 4:2 NLT

“Be alert and always keep praying.” Ephesians 6:18b NIV

How do you stay spiritually awake?

How has staying alert and watchful kept you safe?

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This post was first published on www.akchristianwomensministry.com.


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Where Do Unanswered Prayers Go?

I don’t know about you but I have thought about this question many times.  There have been many prayers I have prayed my whole life, God still hasn’t answered.  Does that mean he doesn’t care?  Does it mean God isn’t listening?  I pray this post encourages you to know that God indeed is listening and he cares and loves you very much.

I have heard many say ‘God didn’t answer my prayer, that must mean he doesn’t love me.’  Even though it may be true God doesn’t answer all of your prayers the way you want them, he isn’t a genie in the bottle waiting to grant your every wish.  God doesn’t work that way.  He is our Father who loves us, who knows what is best for us, who sees the bigger picture and has the best plan ever for our lives.  To not answer your prayer may mean that God has something better waiting ahead.

When our third child was born with a fatal kidney disease, my husband and I prayed for God to please heal our son and for him not to suffer anymore.   We had so many people praying for healing for him.  The day he went to heaven, many were angry (including us at first) and said I can’t believe God would not answer your prayer.  Even though God didn’t answer our prayer the way we wanted, he indeed answered our prayer in a bigger way than we could ever imagines.

Our son is living the best life ever in heaven where there is no more pain or suffering, he awaits until one day we will see him again.  

When I struggle with ‘Why isn’t God answering my prayer?’  ‘Why is this happening?’  ‘How will I ever get through this?’  I hold onto God’s promises that he is faithful, he loves me and cares about my every need.  He is good all the time and I can rely on him for ALL of my needs.

Where do unanswered prayers go? In God’s Hands, He holds them, never forgets them.  He molds and shapes them into the best life ever for you.  (Click to Tweet)

When I am feeling defeated by my circumstances I think of…………..

The Israelites running away from the attack of the Egyptians.  They cried out to God for help and protection and God provided a way through the Red Sea which provided them with a safe escape and toppled on top of their enemy.

Mary and Martha crying out to God, why didn’t you heal our brother Lazarus, to see him arise from the dead 3 days later.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abendengo in the fiery furnace how he kept them protected from the hot flames.  There wasn’t a hair singed on their body and they didn’t even smell like smoke.

I think of Daniel in the lion den.  God sent an angel to shut the mouths of those lions and kept Daniel safe.

It may not seem a likely place to find hope in unanswered prayers, but know that God uses them for good.  He will never waste your prayers or pain.  Your prayers are like precious gold to him.

In your trials is where you will find hidden treasures of what God is trying to show you WHEN you allow him to have your struggles and pain.

Do you have unanswered Prayers?  

Did God answer your prayers in a way you didn’t even think was possible?

Keep Praying.  Never Stop.  God is listening.  He is always with you!  God is Faithful!  In God all things are possible!  You never know what Prayers God will answer, know you can always trust in him and he his plans lead to the best life ever!

In God We can Find Comfort in our Trials.
In God We can Find our Hope despite devastation.
In God We can Find our Peace in the Storms.
In God We can Find Joy in our Struggles.

Keep Fighting the Good Fight with your Prayers!

There is HOPE in our unanswered Prayers!


What do you think God does with unanswered prayers?  Did you find this post to be encouraging and helpful?  Please share with others who are in need of prayer.  For more encouraging messages, Subscribe to my blog to receive a weekly message of hope right to your inbox.  I also post weekly on my Author Facebook Page.  Join us for #13DaysofKindness starting April 7-20 where you can participate in doing acts of kindness visit www.bowenshope.com for more info!  

I pray the God of hope will fill you with Peace as you Trust in Him!  Have a Blessed week!  I would love to hear from you!  Leave Comments Below.