How to Celebrate Deaf Awareness Week as a Hearing Person

How to Celebrate Deaf Awareness Week As a Hearing Person

Did you know… September is International Deaf Awareness Month? And the last week of September is International Week of the Deaf, also known as Deaf Awareness Week?

Most of us, myself included, are hearing. So, we may not give a lot of thought to this special time of year and the important cause it celebrates. But there are a few things we can do to celebrate Deaf Awareness Week as a hearing person and bring awareness to the amazing people it represents.

First, can we agree as Christians, it’s important for us to show the love of Jesus to everyone we meet? I thought you’d be on board for that one! 😊

And second, let’s agree that each and every person on the planet is created in God’s image and extremely important to Him. I know you’ll agree to that one too!

But here’s where it gets a little dicey, ya’ll.

Most hearing people ignore the deaf.

I’ve never understood why.

Maybe it’s a fear of looking foolish, or an overwhelming feeling of awkwardness, or worrying we won’t be able to overcome the language barrier and understand the other person, or a million other excuses we come up with on the fly.

Whatever the true reason is, it’s not okay to treat people like they’re invisible.

That’s not how Jesus treated us when we needed a Savior. And it’s not how He wants us to treat anyone else, whether they’re hearing or deaf.

When I was growing up, I had the chance to witness how the deaf are treated in society first-hand.

My best friend’s parents were both deaf. They were great people, loving, kind, and would do anything for their kids and their kid’s friends. I loved spending time with their family. Her mom had a gentleness about her I can’t put into words and a real knack for making me feel welcome and special. That was a big part of why I loved being with them, cuz who doesn’t want to feel special, right? Plus, I loved watching my friend sign for her mom. It was awesome! And it’s one of the reasons I fell in love with sign language in the first place. Those childhood memories still hold a special place in my heart. They always will.

But there was a dark side to those times too. I remember very well how the other moms treated my friend’s mom. They chose not to see the loving, sweet person she was. To them, she was an outsider, someone to shun, and toss aside at football games and PTA meetings. All because she was deaf.

Thankfully, my mom taught me better. Not by her words, but by her actions. She loved my friend’s mom with the love of Jesus. So, she made a point of sitting with her at those football games, buddying up with her at PTA meetings, writing notes back and forth with her for hours. Basically, just being the kind of friend we all want to have. Not because she had to, but because she wanted to.

That doesn’t seem like such a big deal, does it? But to someone who is ignored on a regular basis, being treated like a friend instead of an outcast can mean all the difference in the world.

Free Devotional 7 Simple Ways to See God's Hand in Your Life

This story plays out in my mind whenever I’m with someone who is deaf. Because no matter what I may feel on the inside (fear, anxiety, not measuring up when it comes to my sign language skills), I never want to treat someone the way my friend’s sweet mother was treated.

And I’m sure as a loving follower of Christ, you feel the same way too!

So, with that in mind, let’s look at how to celebrate Deaf Awareness Week as a hearing person.

 #1 Show the love of Jesus

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

                                                                 John 13:34-35

 

If we’ve learned anything from following Jesus, it’s to open our hearts to different kinds of people and to show His love to all of them. That includes the deaf. And this week’s celebration of deaf culture is the perfect time to give it a go.

Don’t worry, it’s not hard to follow this command from Jesus. And it’s even okay if you don’t know sign language. You can still talk to someone who is deaf in other ways. Most can read lips, but if they can’t, all you need to do is pull out your phone and use the text function. Super simple. 😊

Remember, it’s about showing the love of Jesus to someone who needs Him in their life. So, when all else fails, a big smile and a little kindness go a long way!

                           

#2 Donate to Deaf Charities

 

So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

                                                              2 Corinthians 9:7

Whether it’s our money, time, or talent, we all have something to give.

Maybe you’ll never cross paths with someone who is deaf. But you can still make a difference in the life of someone who needs Jesus. Wycliffe Bible estimates that only 2% of deaf people worldwide have “heard” of Jesus. That’s a sad number, and one we as Christians shouldn’t forget about.

God has blessed us with so much, Amen?! In return, He asks us to give of ourselves for His glory. So, please consider donating to a charity that is making an impact on the deaf community for Christ.

Here are a few worthy candidates to think about…

Your local church with a deaf ministry. Google them, because they are always in dire need of funds and volunteers.

Deaf Bible Society

This amazing organization is working to translate the Bible into every sign language. Yes, there’s more than one! And the people who know sign language as their first language need these translations ASAP.

DOOR International

Both church planting and Bible translation are at the heart of DOOR’s ministry. They believe in a “Deaf reaching Deaf for Christ” philosophy that is evident in their outreach to the deaf community worldwide.

 

#3 Pray

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

                                                                 1 John 5:14-15

Prayer is our most precious resource in a world that doesn’t understand the love of Jesus. And we can have complete confidence that when we pray God not only listens, He responds. It’s the single greatest thing we can do for those who are not saved, including the deaf.

So, set aside some time during this special week to pray for the 98% of deaf people who don’t know Jesus as their Savior. Ask God to give them an understanding of who He is and how much He loves them. And pray for God to meet their needs far above all we could ask or comprehend.

#4 Buy Master’s Hand Collection Printables

 

I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

                          Isaiah 41:10

Master’s Hand Collection brings the artistry of sign language and the truth of God’s hand reaching down from heaven to save us into sharp focus. Through the sales of this inspiring artwork, I promise to fulfill God’s purpose for my life by donating 10% of profits to one of the charities mentioned above. (Currently, I’m donating to a local deaf church, Bethel Deaf Fellowship) And when you purchase one or more of these Printables from Master’s Hand Collection you can be sure I’m in the fight right alongside of you to bring Jesus front and center in our lives and the deaf community. Every. Single. Day!

Together, let’s face the fear and awkwardness of sharing the gospel with the deaf community. Let’s jump straight into the fire knowing these wonderful people need Jesus too. Cuz, that’s how we celebrate Deaf Awareness Week as a hearing person the right way!

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By |2020-09-21T18:19:43-05:00September 21st, 2020|Christian Life, Deaf Awareness, Sign Language|0 Comments

Living the Life of Job -Job 19:25

Living the Life of Job Job 19:25

For I know that my Redeemer lives.
                                Job 19:25

A few years ago, God told me that I would live the life of Job. Now, that’s a pretty big pill to swallow! And if I’m completely honest, I wasn’t thrilled with the news. No one wants the life of Job, because everything he had was taken from him.

True to His word, God has followed through on His “life of Job” promise to me. I have faced many trials in my life. Loved ones have been taken from me either through death or through broken relationships, my livelihood has diminished, my health has suffered and my faith has been tested.

I can see the parallels between Job’s life and mine. And I find myself referring back to the book of Job for inspiration often. With everything that Job went through, it would’ve been easy for him to curse God as his wife told him to and no one would have blamed him for it. (Job 2:9) But Job trusted God and refused to curse Him no matter what circumstance God placed him in. When everything seemed lost, Job said, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (v. 1:21) This kind of resolute belief Job had, inspires me to get up, keep moving forward and remain faithful to God no matter what circumstance I’m in.

God has allowed my faith to be tested, just as He allowed Job’s to be tested. But He didn’t do it to hurt me. He did it to bless me and teach me the lessons I need to know as I move forward in my life. And with each trial and lesson God has shown me His plan and will for my life in a way I couldn’t see before.

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Proverbs 17:3 says “The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the hearts.” God allows us to go through trials and He tests our hearts. But He doesn’t do it as some kind of punishment. He knows what is ahead and He is preparing us for it. He is refining us like silver or gold, melting us down to our core, taking the impurities out of our lives and leaving us with all of the good that He has in store for us.

Yes, Job faced many hardships and he was tested. But the lesson that I take away from reading the book of Job is not one of defeat. It’s a story of great faith and triumph over adversity. Through it all, God was there right next to him. He never left Job. He was Job’s mediator and ultimately his redeemer.

The lesson that I take away from reading the book of Job is not one of defeat. It’s a story of great faith and triumph over adversity. #Devotional Click To Tweet

By sending Jesus to die for our sins, God has given us a redeemer and mediator. Right now, this very moment, He is seated at the right hand of God interceding on our behalf. (Romans 8:34) When we face trials and our faith is tested, we can have complete confidence that Jesus is still there, in the fight with us.

It’s been a few years now that I’ve been living the life of Job. It’s been a hard path, full of unexpected twists and turns. But, when it seems that the world is against me, I can take comfort in knowing that Jesus is always for me. No matter what comes my way, I can face the future with confidence because… I know my Redeemer lives!

If you are facing a trial in your life today, I pray that you will turn to Jesus and trust in Him. He loves you and wants to refine you like the silver and gold that you are. To find out more about Accepting Jesus as your Savior, click on this link or go to the Accepting Jesus tab above. Cast your cares on Him, because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7) God bless!

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By |2020-09-13T15:16:14-05:00September 7th, 2020|Christian Life|2 Comments

Living Water – John 4:10

Living Water John 4:10

Is the summer heat making you feel thirsty, tired or maybe even a little burnout? Are you yearning for a cool drink of Living Water?

It seems like summer has flown by fast, but August is just beginning. And that means soaring temperatures are still in the forecast, at least for a little while longer. So, as the mercury continues to rise, we look for ways to keep the heat at bay. We know the drill…stay inside with the AC on when possible, wear sunscreen when we go outside, and most importantly drink plenty of water. If we don’t, we just might find ourselves lacking the proper hydration and in need of some serious refreshment.

August is also the time when our thoughts turn to all of the obligations the coming fall season will bring. Our lives are about to heat up with the new school year, work, family and friends, church activities and so much more. Honestly, it’s a lot to handle. With each new thing we add to our list, we pour a little more water out of our figurative cup. Before we know it, we’re caught in the day to day feeling spiritually dehydrated with a cup that has run completely dry. We feel depleted and crave spiritual refreshment. Or as the psalmist so beautifully puts it…

 

My soul longs for You like a thirsty land.  Psalm 143:6

and

 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You,       O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  Psalm 42:1

These two verses speak so eloquently to the craving of a thirsty soul, searching for what will restore and renew. So, the question becomes, how can we fill ourselves with Living Water every day? The good news is, we don’t have to look far to find it. Here are three tips to stave off spiritual thirst when life gets too hot.

 

#1 Go directly to the Source.

“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” 

“Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again;  but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

                                                          John 4:10; 13-14

Close to where I live, there is a quaint little town called Eureka Springs. It’s a beautiful place located in the majestic Ozark Mountains. It began as place of refuge for the sick. People in Victorian times believed that the many natural springs in the area had healing properties and would go directly to the water source to be healed. Today, the springs are still flowing, they can’t be stopped. And people still flock to the town to bathe in their natural waters.

This is how I see Jesus, He is the source of living water in our lives. He has the power to heal whatever ails us. And He is like one of these natural springs. An unending flow of living water springing up and a force of nature that cannot be stopped. The deep spiritual thirst inside of us can only be quenched by knowing Him. So, He offers us the gift of living water which is eternal life. And it’s not just a little drip every now and then, through Him we have an unlimited amount of living water springing up directly from the source and flowing through us.

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#2 Draw from the wells of salvation.

Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

                                                            Isaiah 12:3

 

Digging a well is no small feat. You’ve got to get in there and dig down, deeper and deeper until you find the water shelf where the fresh water lies. But once you hit pay dirt, the well is there for you to draw from every day.

When our lives become like a barren wasteland, we thirst for the joy of our salvation. And sometimes we have to dig deep to find it. But the wells of salvation have already been dug for us, all we have to do is draw the water from them.

#3 Drink the Water.

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

                                                          John 7:37-38

Our physical bodies need drinking water every day to survive. Without it we become thirsty and parched. Then, we get cranky and cotton mouthed. Eventually, we will die. That kind of thirst is a terrible thing. And in the middle of a crisis like that nothing could possibly taste better than a tall, ice cold glass of water.

As much as our bodies need water to survive, our spiritual selves need living water every day to flourish. Without it we will wither away. But we don’t have to thirst because our belief in the Son of the living God creates rivers of living water that flow out of our hearts. Faith is the key to keeping our cups full. In the midst of our thirst, Jesus calls out to us, “come to Me and drink.” There is no need to thirst or want. He is there ready to pour living water into our empty cup and fill it full to the brim, renewing our spirits and refreshing our minds.

I truly hope and pray that you will be blessed by these scriptures as you drink the Living Water of Jesus. Have a happy and safe rest of the summer!

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Did you know that only 2 percent of deaf people have “heard” the good news of Jesus?

When you purchase any Master’s Hand Collection item, 10 percent of all proceeds are donated to deaf ministries around the world. THANK YOU for helping to spread the gospel to this under served community.

May God bless you greatly!

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By |2020-08-24T13:45:29-05:00August 24th, 2020|Christian Life, Jesus|6 Comments

How to Overcome Doubt – Matthew 14:31

How to Overcome Doubt Matthew 14:31

O you of little faith, why did you doubt?
                                     Matthew 14:31

Doubt is a dirty word in Christian circles. It’s something we don’t talk about just in case the pastor is listening. And we pretend that we don’t feel it because we think our friends will look down on us if we admit it. But the truth is, we all have doubt. Every single one of us. I have doubt, and I bet you do too. Having doubt doesn’t mean we are bad or that we don’t love Jesus. It just means that we’re human. Because it’s human nature to doubt what we can’t see. We think if we can’t touch it or hold it in our hand, then maybe it’s not real. Sometimes doubt is just a fleeting thought. It comes to us in an instant and leaves just as quickly. But other times doubt lingers. It plays tricks with our mind, tears us apart on the inside, and robs us of our joy.

Before we go into how to overcome doubt, let’s look at where it comes from. If we can understand the source of our doubt, we can easily quiet it when it comes calling.

#1 Satan

All Christians have an enemy in Satan. He seeks to destroy us and doubt is one of the many tactics he uses against us. He will search for a way into our lives to achieve his goal of utterly demolishing us. Once he has found a way in, He is relentless in his attack. He will slink in, like the snake he is, and put doubt in our minds leaving us feeling hopeless. Then slink off again to look for some other poor soul to terrorize. But we don’t need to fear Satan or listen to his lies. Jesus has already defeated him. However, we need to be mindful of his plan to place doubt in our hearts and minds and learn to recognize his devious actions.

#2 Outside Sources

We are called to live in the world but not of it. But sometimes living in the world leaves us vulnerable to doubt. These outside sources are the things of this world that distract us. They could be the people we surround ourselves with, the things we read or watch on TV, social media, etc. Anything we put into our minds can cause doubt to form if we allow it to influence our thoughts.

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#3 Ourselves

Sometimes our doubt is much closer to home than we would like it to be. At times, we can be our own worst enemy. Our view of ourselves can leave us feeling like we’re not good enough or that we’re a failure. These negative thoughts can cause doubt to creep into our minds if we allow them to take hold.

God, in His infinite wisdom, knows the innermost workings of our minds. He knows we have doubt and He knows that we wonder where He is when everything goes wrong in our lives. He understands our hearts and He has not left us alone to face doubt on our own. We can recognize what causes doubt and quickly overcome it with one simple God-given tool…our Faith!

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
                                                                                     Hebrews 11:1

In Matthew 14:31, Jesus said to the disciples, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”  The disciples had been with Jesus and they saw Him perform miracle after miracle. They had the unique opportunity of being an eye witness to the ministry of the Savior and they still had doubt!

At some point, each of us made the decision to give our lives to Christ because the Holy Spirit showed us the truth of who Jesus is. Unlike the disciples, we have not physically witnessed the miracles of Jesus. But we know for a fact that God is real and that Jesus is the Son of God because of our faith. We may not be able to reach out and touch God or witness the miracles of Jesus with our own eyes, but we can see what He has done in our lives, around us and for us. We have seen the hand of God at work. This is the evidence of our faith. When doubt enters our minds, we can remember those times when we were so close to God it did feel like we could touch Him. If we look around we will see His goodness surrounding us.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
                                                                                        Romans 10:17

When we become firmly grounded in God’s truth, doubt will no longer have a hold on us. #GodsWord #BibleStudyClick To Tweet

We have the most powerful weapon on earth at our disposal, God’s Word. Faith comes by hearing the word of God and understanding the truth within it. We can grow our faith by reading the Bible and storing it in our heart. When we become firmly grounded in God’s truth, doubt will no longer have a hold on us. Instead of allowing doubt to destroy us, we can simply turn to the Scriptures and lean on the promises of God to get us through. Because God’s word is real!

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!”
                                                                                        Mark 9:24

Lord I believe, help my unbelief! Mark 9:24 #BibleVerseClick To Tweet

This is a prayer of a man who had doubt in his heart but still wanted to believe. It’s an honest and heartbreaking cry to the only One who could help him in his suffering. We all know how he felt because we’ve been there, on our knees begging God to help us in our pain and unbelief. When doubt creeps in, we have a direct line to God. We can shoot up a prayer to Him in a second and ask Him for strength and guidance.

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
                                                                                         James 5:16

Our prayers are not effective because we have great faith or because we are faithful to God. They are effective only because we are righteous through our belief in Jesus. This is our promise from God… He is always faithful to us and He will hear our prayers when we call out to Him.

Yes, we all have doubt, but doubt doesn’t have to keep us from experiencing the loving touch of God’s hand in our lives. It’s okay to have questions. And it’s okay to ask God to help us when we doubt. But we cannot afford to let doubt penetrate our minds and our souls. We must recognize it for what it is and stop it in its tracks. Our faith is the tool that helps us to overcome our doubt and seek God’s face in times of need. So today, I pray that each one of us will turn away from doubt, seek the Father, and grow our faith in Jesus. God bless!

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By |2020-08-17T15:02:40-05:00August 17th, 2020|Christian Life, Hope|2 Comments

Because of Grace – 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Because of Grace 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

This past week my faith was put to the test.  And I’m sad to say that I stumbled and fell. In fact, I face-planted. It was an epic fail!

My family has been planning a big renovation on our front porch for a while now. I knew that this project was going to be bigger than some others we have done in the past. And I knew that it would require a lot of time and physical labor. Because we usually do all of the work ourselves, I wanted to have everything else done and be able to concentrate all of my efforts on the porch reno. As the time to start the project grew closer, I began making preparations for it. I managed to get the laundry caught up, the meals planned and groceries bought, my blog post written and anything else I could think of.

But there was one thing I couldn’t foresee coming my way. Right in the middle of the porch reno, I started to get bug bites all over my body. They were small and itchy and more and more of them showed up every day. We had a flea infestation on our hands! I couldn’t understand why this was happening. We don’t have any pets right now and we treated the yard for bugs like we do every summer. But here I was, covered in flea bites from head to toe. It was awful and we’ve never had anything like this happen before. I was at a loss as to what to do.

I really didn’t want to take the time to deal with it. But it reached critical mass about three days into the reno and I realized I had no choice but to stop and deal with this distraction. Since I was waking up with new bites every morning, we thought that the majority of the fleas were coming from my bed. So, after reading online about how to get rid of my unwanted house guests, we bought some flea powder and sprinkled it all over the bed. The instructions on the powder said to let it sit for a while so went back to work on the porch. We spent the next few hours out in the heat, tearing up the front porch and peering up the joist boards.

Honestly, by the time we came in to vacuum up the flea powder, I was hot, sweaty, itchy and tired. I was really spent. But I couldn’t lay down and rest with all of that flea powder on the bed, so I started sweeping it up. My mind began to wonder, and all I could think about was how miserable I felt. It started as a simple thought, “thanks a lot God, I really needed this right now!” Immediately I regretted that thought. And immediately I wanted to take it back. But there it was, for God to hear. That thought took hold of me and filled me with shame and regret.

This one moment of weakness had made me question my faith. Not because of God, but because of me. If I was so weak that I couldn’t get through this little bump in the road, then how could I ever be an effective witness for Christ?

But God reminded me, I’m not saved because of anything that I have ever done or will ever do. I don’t have that kind of power. I am saved because of grace. Period.

God is good, isn’t He? I turned to Him and asked for forgiveness. He took the shame and regret that consumed my mind and replaced it with this verse from 2 Corinthians. I’ve been thinking about this verse last few days.

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
                                                                     

                                                                                                                          2 Corinthians 12:7-10

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The apostle Paul was arguably the greatest Christian to ever live. Yet, he needed God’s grace in his life too. He stumbled and felt weak. But when times were tough, he didn’t give up the faith. He persevered and turned to God for strength. As I prayed, these words Paul wrote so many years ago, became the beacon of hope that helped me get back up and continue on in the faith.

“lest I be exalted above measure”
Maybe I needed to be knocked down so that God could lift me back up. I definitely needed some perspective on the situation. It’s not as bad as I had made it out to be. God has seen me through worse than a few fleas, much worse.

“a messenger of Satan to buffet me”
I knew that Satan was the one tripping me up. He was waiting for a time when he could sneak in and kick me while I was down. I had been on the lookout for him, but he chose his time perfectly. Because in my weakness, I let my guard down. In that moment I felt like he had won. But he did not win. And he will never win. Because I belong to Jesus and no one can ever change that!

“My strength is made perfect in weakness”
My weakness was on display in my heart that day. I let it get the best of me. But as Paul said, “When I am weak, then I am strong.” There is so much I can’t do on my own and I need Jesus to give me His strength. In those times, I’m so glad that His strength is made perfect in my weakness.

“My grace is sufficient for you”
My salvation comes from God’s power and the saving grace of Jesus, and nothing else. He has saved me because I can’t save myself. It’s God’s grace that gives me the ability to move past this moment of weakness and find strength to persevere. Because His grace is more than enough to see me through.

I never would have thought that something as small as a flea could test my faith in such a big way. While the renovation and the fight against the fleas is not over, my faith is still intact. And after taking time to reflect, I realize… I may have had an epic fail, but God’s grace is more powerful than any moment of weakness. He is always faithful to forgive and restore me to His love and grace just as He promises. And He will do the same for you.

If your faith is being testing or, like me, you’ve had an epic fail, I pray that you will be comforted by the words of 2 Corinthians. And that you will know God’s grace is sufficient for you. He will see you through it, because of grace.

artwork titled Grace B&W Graphic by Master's Hand Collection

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By |2020-08-17T12:33:17-05:00August 5th, 2020|Christian Life, God, Grace|0 Comments

The Path Of Life – Psalm 16:11

The Path of Life Psalm 16:11

Do you ever ask yourself “how did my life turn out this way”?

When we graduate from high school or college we’re just fresh-faced kids ready to conquer the world. We decide on the path we want our lives to take and start down it thinking only good things will come our way. Then, somewhere along that path, life takes an unexpected turn. The next thing we know, we’ve ended up in no man’s land and we’re left wondering what the heck happened. All of those plans we made for ourselves seem so far away and that fresh-faced kid is just a distant memory. We’ve veered off the path.

David had one of these “how did my life turn out this way?” moments too.

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
                                      Psalm 16:11

When this psalm was written, David found himself in a precarious situation. His life had taken an unexpected turn for the worst. The young kid who started out as a meek shepherd and then became a celebrated hero when he defeated Goliath was on the run. David was hiding out in the wilderness because King Saul and his army were looking to kill him. They had caught up with David and had encircled around him. Death seemed imminent.

Many of David’s psalms talk about the feeling of enemies surrounding him and he must have been scared knowing that they were out there. But instead of sitting around being scared and wondering what happened, David trusted God to show him the path of life. He had experienced both the highs and lows of living a life for God. And he believed that God would take care of him at this critical time. Even at his lowest David could still praise God and experience the joy of being in His presence because he understood that joy, real joy comes from knowing God.

Even at his lowest David could still praise God and experience the joy of being in His presence. #Joy #BibleStudy Click To Tweet

But David’s psalm is more than just a lament about his own circumstances, he was pointing the way for us to the coming Messiah, the true path of life.

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
                                                           Matthew 7:13-14

It doesn’t matter what our previous plans were, or the disappointment we felt when they didn’t work out. That path we chose for ourselves when we were young was about this life and what we would become in it. But God is more concerned with what will become of us in the next life. So He gave us a path of life. Jesus is that path, a path to eternal life. And this verse is our roadmap to Him.

You may have noticed that Jesus only gave us two choices on the path. We’ve reached that critical point in the journey where the road forks off and only goes in two directions. We must turn one way or the other to continue on and it’s an important decision worthy of serious consideration. We can either, turn left and enter through the wide and easy path. This is the worldly path that offers pleasure in this life but ultimately leads to hell and eternal destruction. Or, we can turn right and enter through the narrow and difficult path that leads to eternal life in heaven with Jesus.

Jesus said that most people will choose the wide and easy path. These people are just going through life and don’t give this decision much thought. Or they think that the choice can be put off for another time. But tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us and death may come when you least expect it. By then the choice has already been made and it’s too late.

Free Devotional 7 Simple Ways to See God's Hand in Your Life

That’s why Jesus urges us to choose the narrow gate. He loves every one of us and He died to save us. And He wants each one of us to be the few who find the narrow gate. Yes, the narrow gate is a harder, more difficult path to take and Jesus said that we will be persecuted for our faith. But our reward is in knowing our Savior and spending eternity with Him.

Most people don’t want to hear this hard truth. Because when they do, they are forced to choose which path they will take. And just to be clear, not choosing is a choice in itself, and not a pleasant one.

The decision to follow Jesus is life-changing. And sometimes change is hard. So, if this life-changing decision is hard to make, Jesus put it another way…

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
                                                           John 14:6

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6 #BibleVersesClick To Tweet

This is a bold and clear statement. Jesus is the only way, the only truth, and the only eternal life. If we want to see the Father and end up in heaven when we die, then Jesus is the one and only way to get there. And we don’t do ourselves or anyone else any favors by saying otherwise. This is our God-given promise, if we believe in Jesus, that He is the Son of God and the Savior of the world, then we will have eternal life with Him.

For most of us, we made the choice a long time ago to follow Jesus and enter through the narrow gate. But sometimes it’s good to look back on where we’ve been and how we got here. The path behind us reminds us of everything Jesus has done for us and how far we’ve come. And the path stretched out in front of us leading the way to the Savior gives us something to look forward to.

Like David, we can experience the joy of being in God’s presence. And we can see the joy waiting for us up ahead when we’ve reached the end. This is the joy we can only find in knowing Jesus. It is a joy that fills us completely and gives us confidence in our faith. The path of life may be long and winding but with Jesus, we will get there.

Is there an event in your life that has brought you to where you are right now? Are you asking yourself “How did my life turn out this way”? If you’ve veered off the path a little bit, it’s okay. The roadmap hasn’t changed and you can still get back on the path. Jesus is waiting for you with open arms. Today, I pray that you will remember all of the reasons you gave your life to Christ and be strengthened by that decision. And I pray that you will stay firmly on the path of life and see the joy waiting for you up ahead.

If you have not made the decision to take the narrow path, then I pray that you will understand the love Jesus has for you and choose to follow Him. To find out more about making this crucial decision please read “Accepting Jesus” by clicking here or on the tab at the top of the page.

God bless!

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By |2020-08-17T12:36:03-05:00July 29th, 2020|Christian Life, Joy|8 Comments

3 Promises for Tough Times – Jeremiah 31:3-4

3 Promises for Tough Times Jeremiah 31:3-4

Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.
Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt.
                                          Jeremiah 31:3-4

Tough times will come, they always do. If you’re not in a crisis right now, you can bet your bottom dollar you will be soon. That’s just life.

This is where we find Jeremiah, in the middle of a crisis. In fact, Jeremiah was in a pretty big pickle. God had given him the unenviable task of telling the people that they had failed God and He was about to unleash His wrath upon them. Ouch!

Judah was in a covenant relationship with God. They were His chosen people, yet they chose to worship the pagan god Baal. The king of Judah had been defeated in battle and now the people were the subject of Egypt. Soon, God would allow brutal Babylon to rule over them for seventy years. Yes, tough times were on the horizon for the people of Judah. But instead of turning to God for help, they chose to continue worshiping their false gods and idols.

So, God sent Jeremiah to call Judah out on their wicked ways and tell them to turn back to Him before it was too late. But they ignored Jeremiah’s warning of God’s coming judgment.

Faced with the people’s indifference to his message, Jeremiah had his own choice to make. He could go with the flow and follow the people’s lead, or he could remain faithful to God and His will. In the face of adversity and a growing defiance from the people, Jeremiah chose faith over popularity.

God remained faithful to Judah, in spite of their disobedience. He remembered His promise to restore His blessing. And because of His everlasting love, God showed His mercy on a faithless people and gave them a new covenant.

This story from Jeremiah isn’t just a piece of history from long ago. It is meant for us right here, right now! Just like Judah, sometimes we find ourselves facing tough times. And just like Jeremiah we might be in a pickle.

When tragedy strikes us close to home, it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The pain is too close and the struggle is too difficult. It’s almost impossible to see how anything in our lives can ever be right again. We’re at the crossroads and we have a choice to make. We can decide to turn our backs on God like the people of Judah. Or we can turn to God for help and rely on His promises during the tough times to come.

The Bible is filled with so many blessings and promises from God! Each one of them meant to give us hope for a better tomorrow. Within Jeremiah 31:3-4, there are three promises from God to help us in our time of need. Once we understand them, we can face any hardship with a new perspective and resolve.

#1 An everlasting love…

God loved us before time began and He still loves us now in the midst of the storm we are facing. God’s love for us is an everlasting love. It has no beginning and it has no end.

But God who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…
                                                                Ephesians 2:4-5

God showed His mercy and demonstrated His great love for us by sending His Son to save us and give us everlasting life. Through the sacrifice of Jesus, we have the ability to experience this everlasting and unending love of God.

#God loved us before time began and He still loves us now in the midst of the storm we are facing. Click To Tweet

#2 I have drawn you…

Because of God’s lovingkindness, He stretches out His hand to us and draws us to Himself. Even when trouble surrounds us and all seems lost, God has not forgotten us. He draws close to us in our need.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
                                                         James 4:8

#3 Again I will build you…

Whatever hardship we have endured, whatever sin we have committed, God has promised to rebuild our relationship with Him.

You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Christ Jesus. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture,
Behold, I lay in Zion
A chief cornerstone, elect, precious,
And he who believes on Him will by no
means be put to shame.
                                          1 Peter 2:5-6

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As Christians, we are the building project of God. He is the contractor, building a spiritual house for us to dwell in. Jesus is the chief cornerstone of the building, keeping our spiritual house from crumbling and falling to pieces. God has formed us into “living stones” to be set upon the cornerstone of Christ. Each stone is carefully and deliberately placed, making us the walls of the house firmly set on the foundation of our faith. But our sin tears down the house God is building for us. So, He forgives our sins and builds the house back up again. We are imperfect so, the building goes on and on. It is a continually building and rebuilding of our lives. And it will only be completed once we are in heaven with Him.

Jeremiah’s story is a testament of a faithful servant who endured many hardships yet followed God anyway. Today, his story stands as a reminder to us that tough times will come, but we have a loving Heavenly Father who is always faithful to the end. We may make bad choices or get knocked down, but when we make Jesus the cornerstone and main focus of our lives, we will never fail. God will honor His promises to us. He will show us everlasting love, draw us with lovingkindness and pick us up and build us again.

If you are facing tough times, I pray that you will turn to God and be encouraged by these promises. God loves you, He will draw you to Himself and He will build you again.

God bless!

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I created Master’s Hand Collection to inspire and encourage you in your daily walk with Jesus.  And I am excited to bring you printables featuring the art I have worked for so long to create. I pray that they will be a source of encouragement in your life.
God bless!

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2 Older Comments. (These comments cannot be replied to, but you are welcome to leave your thoughts in the Comments section below.)

Bonnie Lyn Smith

9/18/2017 03:41:51 pm

Amen! So awesome to find your blog via #FaithFilledFridays! I love this! Tweeting and pinning!

Connie from Master’s Hand Collection

9/19/2017 07:26:24 am

Hi Bonnie! Thank you so much for your kind comment. I’m glad we could connect through #FaithFilledFridays . And I’m looking forward to checking out your blog. God bless!

By |2020-08-17T12:44:15-05:00July 22nd, 2020|Christian Life, God, Love|2 Comments

How to Praise God in a Pandemic

How to Praise in a Pandemic

Everyone has those special Bible Verses God uses over and over again to speak directly to us.

In my life, Habakkuk 3 is one of them. God puts this scripture in front of me every time I need a little reality check.

Honestly, I’ve thought I was in dire straits before. But the current global crisis we’re living through puts them all to shame. I realize now, no matter how hard I thought I had it, I never knew real hardship until now. And this piece of scripture has never been more relevant than it is during this pandemic.

 

Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines:
Though the labor of the olive may fail’
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls-
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.
                                           Habakkuk 3:17-19

When Habakkuk wrote these words, he knew his people were moving into a time of struggle. Soon they would be without the basic necessities of life. The food and water that was once abundant would become scarce. A safe harbor would be hard to find. And survival would become an epic battle of willpower.

But Habakkuk also knew if they continued praising God even in the midst of hardship, He would see them through this troubling time.

Each part of this verse speaks to the effects of a pandemic on our daily lives.

Though the fig tree may not blossom…

In ancient times, the fig tree was plentiful, and the fruit used to make cakes, candy, or other sweets. For us, the fig represents the creature-comforts, the little luxuries we enjoy. We like them but we can live without them too.

Nor fruit be on the vines:

We turn an important corner in this part of the verse. Instead of missing the luxuries, we can do without, we begin to talk about the essentials. The fruit of the vine became wine, an important commodity back then. It was used not only to drink with dinner but also to purify water. Without grapes, there would be no wine. And without wine no life-sustaining drinking water. Nowadays, we have filtration systems that supply fresh water to our homes and easily accessible bottled water. But when systems break down or truckers can’t deliver, our most essential commodity is cut off.

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Though the labor of the olive may fail’

And the fields yield no food…

The people used olive oil the same way we use butter. Without this precious oil, there would be no bread to eat. And without the crops, no vegetables on the table.

 

Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls…

Ancient people were not vegetarians (sorry vegans). They relied on flocks of sheep and herds of goats for protein. And without access to these animals, they would starve.

In modern times, we rely on farmers and ranchers to supply both of these sources of food. But during this crisis, they’re struggling to keep up with the demand and deliver their goods to market. Without their hard work and commitment, we’ll struggle to find what we need to feed our families at the grocery store.

Our lives have been turned upside down by a pandemic we couldn’t see coming. Everything we once had is gone. At least for the time being. But there is still hope for us. And it comes in the form of praising God in a pandemic.

Sounds crazy, right?

How can we praise God when the world is falling apart?

Truthfully, if Habakkuk could see the defeat of his people coming on the horizon, still remember the times God saw His people through hardship, and praise Him in such dire circumstances, then surely we can find it in ourselves to do the same too.

Because God has not forgotten us. Our struggle is not invisible to Him. And He is still there in the fight with us.

I was reminded of this while I was taking a shower the other night, (I do all my best thinking in the shower ya’ll) 🛁

God chose that moment to speak words of wisdom into my heart. They’re an updated version of Habakkuk 3, a mirror image of this scripture for a modern time. I’d like to share them with you now. But please remember they are not meant to replace scripture, only to understand it better. Here’s what God had to say to me.

Even though toilet paper is in short supply and I can’t find it anywhere…

I will praise You!

Even though there’s a meat shortage on the horizon and I have no idea how I will feed my family…

I will praise You!

Even though I’ve lost my job and I don’t know how I’ll pay the bills…

I will praise You!

Even though my grandma is on lockdown in a nursing home, I can’t visit her, and now she’s being tested for COVID-19…

I will praise You!

Even though I’ve lost a loved one to this terrible virus and my heart is broken…

I will praise You!

Even though the future seems so uncertain and I’m scared…

I will praise You!

Praising God is more than wishful thinking. It’s a resolve to have faith in hardship. And it’s understanding that even if we lose everything, we still have the God of our salvation.

Our confidence in our loving Father is unshakable because we know He has us in the palm of His hand. And we understand He will give us the strength to face whatever lies ahead.

This is the same confidence Habakkuk wrote about in verse 19.

 

The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.

Deer never wonder if they’re gonna plummet to their death when they scale a rocky mountain cliff. They instinctively know their feet are made for it. They’re unwavering in their ascent, jumping higher and higher until they reach the top. Sure-footed and confident.

So, let’s keep ascending higher and higher in our faith, believing God is our strength in times of trouble. And allow Him to give us sure-footed deer’s feet as we praise Him through this pandemic.

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By |2020-08-15T13:40:14-05:00April 27th, 2020|Christian Life|0 Comments

Your Labor is Not in Vain – 1 Corinthians 15:58

Your Labor is Not in Vain 1 Corinthians 15:58

Does it seem like no matter how hard you work nothing ever changes? Are you worn out from the demands of daily life? Believe me, I feel your pain. We’ve all been there and sometimes we just need a little inspiration to get through it.

No matter how weary or exhausted you feel right now, God doesn’t want you to remain there. He wants you to be energized and ready to take on the world. So, He gave us some much needed inspiration for a time such as this. Here’s His promise for a worn out, down-right tired heart.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
                                                                                                                                         1 Corinthians 15:58

Let’s break this down into bite sized pieces and find out exactly what Paul meant when he wrote these words.

My beloved brethren…

Like many of the promises within the Bible this one is meant for us, the body of Christ and not the whole world. God has so much that He wants to give us, but we must be a believer first in order to be partakers of His promises.

as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
                                                                                    2 Peter 1:3-4

Steadfast…

We are to be focused on Jesus, and to continue focusing on Him even when life throws us a curveball. At times, it can seem to be a hard task, but if we remain steadfast we will see a real change happening. Instead of the daily chaos of life, that steadfast attitude will turn into a peace that stays with us.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
                                                                                  Philippians 4:7

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Immovable…

Many people have called me stubborn over the years and I’m sure they didn’t mean it as a compliment. 😉 While being stubborn about silly things that don’t matter is not the right way to be, stubbornness in Godly things is always good. The Apostle Paul is calling on us to not be wishy washy, but instead to stand our ground and keep the faith when it really does matter. We know that God does not change, His ways are always the same. Likewise, we are to be, stubborn, single-minded and immovable in the ways of Christ.

God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved.
                                                              Psalm 46:5

Always abounding…

As I read this verse, the catchphrase, “under promise and over deliver comes to mind”. It’s about an abundance of love for our fellow man that flows out of us and covers them with the love of Christ. And it’s about going that extra mile even when we’re tired and exhausted because we want them to understand exactly who Jesus is and what He means in their life.

But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
                                                                                   Hebrews 13:16

Work of the Lord…

The work of the Lord is wide and varied. It can mean different things to each one of us. So the question becomes, what has God asked of you specifically? At home? At work? At church? And in any other area of your life? If you are unsure of God’s plan for you, simply ask Him. He will tell you. Then when you have the answer, you can put it into practice in a way that is pleasing to Him.

equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever, Amen.
                                                                                   Hebrews 13:21

Not in vain…

Whatever we do for the kingdom of God, it will not be in vain. God has promised to reward us for our efforts. That reward may come in this life, and wouldn’t that be great? But if not in this life, our reward will definitely be waiting for us in the next.

And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
                                                                                  Revelation 22:12

When we labor for the Lord we lose nothing and gain everything. He has promised to equip us with what we need for the work He has given us. And He has promised to repay us a hundredfold for our sacrifice. So, my dear friend and fellow laborer, my prayer for you today is that you will not lose heart when fatigue sets in and that God will energize you for the work ahead. May God bless you and give you rest!

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What is the Purpose of Life? -Matthew 28:18-20

What is the Purpose of Life? Matthew 28:18-20

Last week we discussed, “What is the Meaning of Life?” People have searched for the answer to this question since the beginning of time. They are hoping to find a meaning to all of the chaos we face. They mistakenly believe that if they can answer this one question, then all of their problems will fade away. As Christians we know that God gives us the answer in His Word. It’s surprisingly simple, yet powerful. If you missed last week’s post, you can read it here.

This week, I’d like to take the discussion one step further and look at the Purpose of a Christian’s life. Because we are followers of Jesus our purpose is different from the rest of the world. While most people are working hard to buy expensive possessions or rack up their 401k, we are called to achieve a more important goal.

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
                                                                                       Matthew 28:18-20

This passage of Scripture we all know as “The Great Commission”. But what does it mean in our lives right now? This verse is our purpose and our calling as Christians. It is a commandment from our Savior about how we should be living every day. Within this one commandment there are three distinct points about the purpose we have been given, and how we are to grow God’s kingdom.
 
Go and make disciples…
 
Some of us will have the opportunity to serve God in foreign countries. But most of us will serve God here in our own country. We don’t have to go to a far off land to follow the Great Commission. Wherever we are, and whatever we are doing it is our responsibility to tell people about Jesus. We can’t leave it to chance that someone else will do it for us. God puts us where He wants us to be and we can win souls for Him right here in our own backyards. All we have to do is look around us and we will see that there are so many people who are already in our lives that need Jesus. Whether it is our calling to serve God at home or abroad, we have been given the power of the Holy Spirit to fulfill our purpose to make disciples.
 
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
                                                                                            Acts 1:8

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Baptize…
 
Baptism is an outward showing of our faith. It is a symbol of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. Being baptized doesn’t save us, instead it shows the world that we are changed and have a new life in Jesus. When someone is saved, the next step is baptism. We need to make sure that we follow Christ’s command to baptize people in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit once they have received Jesus as their Savior. As always, Jesus is our example. He was baptized by John the Baptist and in doing so, fulfilled God’s will.
 
It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. Then a voice came from heaven, You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
 
                                                                                        Mark 1:9-11
 
 Teach…
 
Once someone that we have witnessed to is “saved”, our job isn’t over. They need to be taught the Bible and about how to have a personal relationship with Jesus. I’m very grateful for all of the wonderful people who poured their knowledge of Jesus into my young mind while I was growing up. Of course, my parents, but also many Sunday School teachers, VBS workers, Deacons and friends. They invested in my life and discipled me along the way. Now it’s our turn to be the teacher. All of the things we learned, probably many years ago, God tells us to teach to the new Christians in our lives. Jesus spent time, one on one, with people. He taught them all that God wanted them to know. He is our example of how to be a teacher, and how to invest in the lives of the people around us. Just as He gave His knowledge to the twelve disciples, we must pass on our knowledge to the people that we have witnessed. Then one day they will be ready to teach all that they have learned to the next batch of new Christians.
 
And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
 
                                                                                       2 Timothy 2:2
 
While other people are worried about their place in life, we can rest easy. Our loving Heavenly Father has given us the answers the most pressing questions we face. What is the meaning of life? Why are we here? And what is our purpose? We now know that we were created for His glory and our purpose is to share Him with everyone we meet.
 
I’m so excited to bring this Bible study to you this week! And I hope that it will encourage you, as you go out into your personal mission field, wherever that may be! There are so many people in our lives who are lost and need Jesus. I pray that you will be able to show them Christ’s love. May the God of hope guide you as you fulfill the Great Commission!
 
Again, if you missed the first part in this series “What is the Meaning of Life?” you can find it here.

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By |2020-07-27T15:56:59-05:00February 17th, 2020|Bible Study, Christian Life|4 Comments

What is the Meaning of Life? -Isaiah 43:7

What is the Meaning of Life? Isaiah 43:7

It’s the age-old question that scholars have pondered since the beginning of time…

What is the meaning of life?

For a Christian, the answer is very obvious. God doesn’t leave us in suspense. He tells us, in His Word, exactly why we were created.

Everyone who is called by My name,
Whom I have created for My glory:
I have formed him, yes, I have made him.
                                    Isaiah 43:7

So the simple answer is this, we were made for God’s glory! We were put on this earth not for our own glory, but to bring glory to the One who created us.

We were put on this earth not for our own glory, but to bring glory to the One who created us. #MeaningofLife #BibleStudy Click To Tweet

This revelation leads us to another, more important question…

How do we bring glory to God? Let’s take a look at a few verses that tell us some of the ways we can glorify Him.

#1 Praise God.

Whoever offers praise glorifies Me…
                                     Psalm 50:23

If we want to bring glory to God then the first thing we need to do is to praise Him. It’s easy to praise God when life is good. But sometimes praising God is the last thing in world that we want to do. Maybe times are tough and things aren’t going so great in our lives. But God doesn’t ask us to praise Him only in the good times. When we praise God, in good times and in bad, we bring glory to Him. No matter what our current circumstances are, we can rest assured that when we praise the God who made us for His glory, He will lift us up.

#2 Live our lives in a way that pleases God.

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
                                 1 Corinthians 10:31

The way that we conduct ourselves can either bring glory to God or dishonor to His name. The world is watching us to see how Christians react. Most of us probably don’t think about if we are bringing glory to God when we are at work or school or wherever we are spending our time. It’s not really about what we are doing at these places, it’s if the people around us can see that there is something different about us. Do they see Jesus when they look at us? Or do we act just like the rest of the world? Sometimes I live up to that standard and sometimes I fail. But what’s important is to keep trying to set an example of why we are different. And that brings us to the last verse I’d like to look at today.

#3 Let your light shine.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
                                   Matthew 5:16

Free Devotional 7 Simple Ways to See God's Hand in Your Life

I’m sure there is an unsaved person in your life that you know is watching you. They ask questions that they think you can’t answer or they point out the things that you do wrong and say, see they aren’t so perfect after all. We all have a few of those people in our lives and it’s our job as believers to shine our light in a way that shows them Jesus. I have people in my life like this too and I want so badly to show them the Savior. I try to be a good example of Christ’s love, but somehow I always leave feeling like I said or did the wrong thing. I wonder if I’ll ever get it right. But it’s a humble reminder that I am living my life not for myself but for Jesus, and whatever I say or do should bring glory to our Father in heaven.

We no longer need to ask the question, what is the meaning of life? If we are saved, then we already have the answer. So, let’s start living our lives to glorify God. He will surely bless us for it!

Now that we know the Meaning of Life let’s take it one step further and discover the purpose of a Christian’s life. Check out Part 2: “What is the Purpose of Life?”

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3 Ways to Grow in Grace
Where is God When Bad Things Happen Part 2
By |2020-07-27T15:47:30-05:00February 16th, 2020|Bible Study, Christian Life|1 Comment

3 Ways to Grow in Grace

3 Ways to Grow in Grace

Grace is God’s love poured down on us. It’s a gift we don’t deserve, and no matter how hard we work, we can’t earn it.

Ephesians 2:8 tell us this simple truth…

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God

 

Grace through faith in Jesus saves us. But this only the beginning of a Christian’s salvation journey. So, what comes next?…

but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

                                                     2 Peter 3:18

 

This verse is about becoming a mature Christian. It’s continuing to learn the Bible, pray, and seek God’s guidance in our lives. Because we can always dig deeper, stretch farther, and grow a little more in God’s grace.

Just like a tree needs certain nutrients to turn from a tiny twig into a towering oak, we also need life sustaining truth to grow in the faith.

Today we’re looking at 3 Ways to Grow in Grace. Each one takes us closer to understanding our Lord, Jesus Christ. And combined they show us the depth of God’s grace toward us.

So, let’s jump in and discover how we can grow in grace and knowledge.

 

#1 Prepare the Soil

Let’s face it… We all start out with a little rocky terrain. For some of us, it’s because we’re new Christians, learning the ways of the Lord from the beginning. For the rest of us, it’s contentment, not wanting to push the boundaries of our daily lives. We feel like we’ve already made it and our relationship with God is good enough.

But to get to the next level of spiritual maturity we must plow the field and prepare the soil to receive the seed.

Sow for yourselves righteousness;
Reap in mercy;
Break up your fallow ground,
For it is time to seek the Lord,
Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.

                                                   Hosea 10:12

 

We’ve all heard the term, “fallow ground”. But what is it?

Fallow ground is abandoned land. It’s been unused for so long it has become hard and riddled with weeds. For it to become useful again it must be worked. The weeds pulled, the clumps of dirt broken up, and the rocks removed.

Over time our hearts can become fallow ground. We go through the motions, attending church each week, but never actually moving forward in our relationship with God. We’re on a hamster wheel of spirituality, never getting where we want to go.

But God is calling us to a new and exciting place. A deeper relationship with Him!

It’s time for us to get off the hamster wheel and onto the plow! The first step is to break up the fallow ground in our lives by clearing our hearts of unused space and readying our minds to receive God’s Word.

Free Devotional 7 Simple Ways to See God's Hand in Your Life

#2 Water the Seed

We know from experience water is essential for anything to grow. And without it, all living things dry up and blow away.

So, it only makes sense that once we’ve plowed the field and planted the seed of God’s Word in our hearts, it needs to be watered before it can grow.

For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

                                            Jeremiah 17:8

This is an image of a Christian’s life. We are the tree, planted by the Living Water of Jesus Christ. When we spread out our roots, He gives us all that we need to overcome the heat and bear fruit. It’s a stark contrast to the uselessness of fallow ground. The tree, us, is always useful to God. It is alive and vibrant, growing leaps and bounds above everything else. All because it is watered by the Living Water of the One who saves.

It’s true, we will always have difficulties, because life is hard sometimes. And this verse is not a promise that our lives will be easy. Instead it’s a promise that God will take care of us when our drought comes around.

If we want to be fruitful, it’s as simple as planting ourselves next to Jesus and allowing Him to water the seed of God’s grace in our lives.

#3 Let the “Sonshine” In

Nothing grows in darkness. Expect maybe a mushroom, and who wants to be a mushroom?

As our tree analogy continues, we see the need for a little sunshine to enter the picture. Without it our tree won’t have the proper nutrients to survive. It will become weak and turn a terrible, sickly shade of yellow.

This is true of our spiritual lives too.

In the beginning, when God created the world, He commanded the light to shine and separated day from night.

When we became Christians, again God commanded the light to shine by flipping the switch in our hearts. Out of the darkness we once where, the glorious light of the Son shone.

That’s the moment of salvation. The time when we acknowledged who Jesus is.

For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

                                                    2 Corinthians 4:6

 

By letting the “Sonshine” of Jesus in, real growth and knowledge happens! Without that moment of light, our hearts and minds wouldn’t be changed. We wouldn’t be a new creation in Christ. That’s Pure, Simple, Truth, ya’ll.

And since we’re speaking the truth today, I’d like to add this to the conversation… It’s not enough for us to have “Sonshine” in our hearts. We need to pass it on. It’s contagious and once you have it, you want to give it away.

There’s a quote from C.S. Lewis that I absolutely love… Don’t shine so others can see you, shine so that through you others can see Him.

Once we have the knowledge of who Jesus is, it’s our job, our honor and privilege, to share that truth with everyone we meet. So, let’s shine bright and let others see the Sonshine in us!

I pray you will take these 3 Ways to Grow in Grace and seek a closer relationship with the Lord. Don’t be afraid to plow the field, water the seed, and let the Sonnshine in. Combined they will take you farther than you ever imagined as you grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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By |2020-08-15T14:32:13-05:00January 14th, 2020|Bible Study, Christian Life|0 Comments

Monday Motivation – Habakkuk 3:19

Looking for some Monday Motivation? This Bible Verse about finding strength in God always speaks to my heart. Because usually when we’re in need, it’s His strength we’re after. The strength to keep going when all you want to do is give up. The strength to persevere in a difficult circumstance. And the strength to find joy when it seems worlds away.

That’s exactly what this verse is about! Finding strength in God…

The phrase “the Lord God” refers to the name of God, Adonai, which means “my strength”. When we put our trust in Adonai, we can be sure He will lift us out the place we’re in and make our feet sure-footed just like a deer on a steep mountain cliff.

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A Random Text Habakkuk 3:17-19
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By |2020-09-03T15:29:10-05:00May 2nd, 2019|Christian Life, Monday Motivation|0 Comments

Seeing God’s Hand

Seeing God's Hand

Imagine seeing God’s hand in your life.

What would it look like? How would it feel?

If you move in Christian circles, you’ve probably heard someone say, ”I saw God’s hand in my life!”. It’s a phrase that comes up often in conversations with other Christians or in testimonies given at church.

But what exactly does seeing God’s hand in your life mean? Is this something you’re supposed to look for? Or is it already there?

These questions have been on my mind a lot lately. Because it seems we’re all searching for God’s hand.

So, in our quest, I decided to write two devotionals to help us see God’s hand.

The first is… 7 Simple Ways to See God’s Hand in Your Life. In it we’ll answer the burning question, how can I see God’s hand in my life right now?

It’s completely free to download and written to encourage and uplift you on the journey to seeing God’s hand.

As you work your way through this short (and free 😊) Bible Study, you’ll uncover some simple ways to see God’s hand in your life…

A new beginning starts on Day 1, as you learn to Walk Hand in Hand with God.

On Day 2 you’ll discover the true nature of your relationship with God and the simple fact that you are Inscribed on His Hand.

 

Day 3 brings you face to face with the answer to the very real struggles you experience every day and how to be Protected Under a Mighty Hand.

The truth you’ll explore on Day 4 shows A Generous Hand who goes above and beyond to provide all you need.

 

Day 5 offers hope for your weakest moments. When you are at your lowest you can count on The Strength of God’s Hand.

On Day 6 you’ll learn where real security comes as you realize you’re Secure in His Hand.

 

Day 7 isn’t just a game changer, it’s a Life Changer!  I don’t want to spoil the surprise and reveal too much, but I promise it will turn everything you thought you knew about your relationship with Jesus upside down!

So, I hope you’ll resist the temptation to skip ahead, because each of the six lessons leads up to this life-changing truth!

If you’re ready, claim your FREE copy of 7 Simple Ways to See God’s Hand in Your Life today!

devotional 7 Simple Ways to See God's Hand in Your Life

The second is… Seeing God’s Hand Through the Art of Sign Language. In this art and devotional book, you’ll dive deeper into what Seeing God’s Hand means.

As the title suggests, the artwork I’ve created, Master’s Hand Collection, will give you a visual representation of God’s hand. Because I believe if you can see His hand in your life clearly, it will encourage you in your daily walk with Jesus.

Each of the pictures in the collection spell out an inspirational word in American Sign Language or ASL. Those words and the scriptures they represent are the jumping off point for your deep dive into God’s Word and my way of showing you God’s hand in the everyday struggles we face.

Because the truth is… We’re all struggling with something. And we know if we could just see His hand and grab ahold of it, our lives would be changed forever. I know that sounds so difficult…

But what if I told you seeing God’s hand is easy if you know where to look? Would you give it a try?

Through each of the fourteen devotionals and accompanying artwork in Seeing God’s Hand, a new aspect of God’s character and how His hand is working behind the scenes of your life every day will be revealed.

You’ll…

Recognize God’s hand reaching down with Grace.

Find Joy in the healing touch of Jesus.

Discover a foundation of Love God is building just for you.

Receive an offer of Hope to get through any circumstance.

Experience lasting Peace from knowing whose hand you’re in.

Plus, nine more devotions, all aimed at helping you see God’s hand.

By the end of our time together, Hiss hand will become “visible” as you dive deep with me into the truth of scripture and start Seeing God’s Hand Through the Art of Sign Language…

Buy your copy of Seeing God’s Hand Through the Art of Sign Language on Amazon today!

Seeing God’s hand is an image of the divine interaction between God and His people. And it’s God’s characteristics, His very nature, that are on display when we feel His healing touch. And just like the anonymous quote above tells us… The more you leave your problems in God’s hand, the more you’ll see Him working in your life!

Both of these devotionals were designed to help you along the path to Seeing God’s Hand. I hope you’ll get one or both of them and experience the blessing of God’s hand in your life today!

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“Love One Another”

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“God of Hope”

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By |2020-09-02T12:06:35-05:00February 25th, 2019|Christian Life, God's hand|3 Comments

How to Resist the Devil – 1 Peter 5:8

How to Resist the Devil 1 Peter 5:8

Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith.

                                                             1 Peter 5:8

Are you on fire for God? If the answer is yes, chances are you’re in the crosshairs of the devil’s devious tactics. Satan’s goal is to devour and destroy Christians just like a roaring lion seeks out its prey. He is constantly setting traps for us to fall into. He knows our weaknesses and how to exploit them. And he will use every weapon in his arsenal to bring us down.

We are under attack, not just from an unbelieving world, but from our greatest foe the devil himself. Satan knows that he cannot have us because we already belong to Jesus. There is nothing he can do that will ever take us away from our Savior. (John 10:29) But Satan can turn us into ineffective Christians so that we won’t share our faith with other people who may also believe.

So, how can we resist the devil and live the life of steadfast faith God has for us? Like any military operation, if we want to successfully combat our enemy we need to understand and recognize the tactics that will be used against us. Here are just a few of the devil’s tricks…

Deception

Lying is what Satan does best. He is the father of lies, so deception is the first tactic he tries. His lies are cruel, and he knows exactly which lie will stop us in our tracks. He will tell us that we’re not good enough, that we don’t deserve it, that we can’t do it, and so many other hurtful things.

Satan wants us to fail and he will tell us whatever it takes to stop us from being effective Christians. But we don’t have to listen to Satan’s lies and we certainly don’t have to believe them.

He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

                                                                1 John 4:4

While Satan delights in deception, Jesus delights in salvation!  We can resist Satan’s lies and fight back by knowing the truth. Jesus has already defeated the forces of evil! Our Savior is greater than any enemy we face! And we are already victorious because of Him!

Free Devotional 7 Simple Ways to See God's Hand in Your Life

Temptation

Temptation is everywhere. Some temptation is just from being human, like eating that extra piece of cake. But some temptation is more sinister and comes from our enemy, the devil.

Thankfully, we have this promise from our faithful and loving God…

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.

                                                               1 Corinthians 10:13

Temptation will always be around us. But God promises us a way out and the strength to bear up under it.

Discouragement

Satan wants us to be discouraged and he does that by reminding us of our past sins. He will make us feel defeated and like we are already a failure before we’ve even begun. Whether we are sharing our faith, getting ready to go on a mission trip or just going about our day, Satan will try to discourage us from doing what God has asked of us.

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.

                                                                  Hebrews 8:12

Satan may remind us of our sin, but God doesn’t. God not only forgives our sins, He forgets them. He doesn’t bring them up again and He doesn’t use them against us. So, when discouragement from Satan threatens to take hold of us, we can turn to God and find His love, mercy, and forgiveness.

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Distraction

“If Satan can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.” Adrian Rogers

Distraction is one of Satan’s most effective tactics because it doesn’t look like an attack on the surface. Instead of telling us to do bad things, he’ll create a long list of distractions for us to deal with. These distractions come in many forms. But they are all meant to steal away our time from furthering God’s kingdom, even if it is only for a little while.

Satan is very good at keeping us running around in circles simply for the sake of busyness. He knows that if we’re too busy cleaning up the mess he made, we won’t have time for what God has for us. Sometimes, he will even use good things to distract us from God’s plan. If we say yes to a project that a coworker or friend wants us to do, then we might find ourselves too busy to spend time connecting with God and making His plan a priority in our lives. These distractions are harder to deal with because we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. Satan knows that too and uses our kindness against us.

No matter what distraction the devil throws at us, we have a weapon to defeat it, the stillness of knowing God.

Be still and know that I am God.
Psalm 46:10

Busyness and stillness are opposites just like Satan and God. If Satan can cause us to be busy, then we can’t experience the peaceful stillness that comes from time with God.

But if we see that our time is being stolen by the enemy, we can stop him by saying no to his distractions. We can choose still instead of frantic.

Therefore submit yourself to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
                                                                James 4:7

These are some of the many tactics that Satan uses against us. We can successfully learn how to resist the devil by recognizing his devious tricks. And by knowing God’s truth and submitting ourselves to Him. Then Satan will have no choice but to flee from us.

Stay steadfast in the faith, my friend!

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Does the Devil Know Your Name? Acts 19:15
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By |2020-08-15T21:00:29-05:00October 29th, 2018|Christian Life, Halloween|4 Comments

Does the Devil Know Your Name? -Acts 19:15

Does the Devil Know Your Name? Acts 19:15

But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.”                    

And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”

  Acts 19:13;15

The devil may seem like a strange topic for us to study. In our society, you just don’t talk about Satan and his demons. If you do, people will point at you and call you crazy. That being said, the devil and his demons are very real and they are out to take down Christians any way they can. So there is an important lesson for us to take away from this verse.

The words spoken by the evil spirit are very interesting. And they lead us to three very important conclusions.

First, the demon says he recognizes Jesus.

Satan and his demons where once angels and had direct access to God. (Revelation 12:9) They don’t dispute the fact that Jesus is the Son of God because they know it is true. They know exactly who Jesus is and what He has done for humanity.

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Second, the demon knows about Paul.

Paul was on fire for Jesus! Everywhere he went he was preaching the gospel and winning people to the kingdom of God. The devil and his demons were very aware of this. If we back up a bit and look at Acts 19:11-12 we can see what Paul was doing that made the demons aware of him.

And God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and diseases left them and the evil spirits went out.

Paul was traveling through Ephesus and God was allowing him to perform miracles and cast out evil spirits because of his faith in the Lord Jesus. When we think of the city of Ephesus, we usually think of the inspiring book of Ephesians. But during Biblical times, Ephesus was known as a place full of false magicians and wizards who would use incantations. When the people of Ephesus saw the miracles that Paul was able to perform in the name of Jesus they started talking about it and word caught on about what he was doing. Some men (the exorcists in verse 13) decided that they would do the same thing for their own purposes, probably to make money. But they had a problem, they didn’t know Jesus. And because they didn’t know Jesus, they couldn’t perform the same miracles that Paul did. They just didn’t understand that God had the power, not Paul.

Third, the evil spirit asks, “Who are you?”

This is the part I would like for us to focus on because it pertains to us too. These men didn’t have a good answer ready for the evil spirit when they were asked, “Who are you?” But as Christians we do! We know Jesus! That’s who we are!

So, back to the question, “Does the devil know your name?” I’m confident that he knows mine! He loves to come around and torment me with my past mistakes. He likes to put doubt in my mind and tell me that I’m no good. And he likes to distract me from the things God would have me to do. Growing up I was afraid of Satan. Isn’t that what we’re taught? Satan is the bad guy and we’re supposed to fear him. But over the years I’ve developed a new outlook. I think Satan should fear me! Like Paul, I’m on fire for Jesus and I hope you are too! My goal in life is to lift the name of Jesus high so that everyone will know Him as their Savior. That might get me brownie points in heaven but it puts a target on my back with Satan and his demons. But that’s okay with me because no matter what Satan does to me I will always belong to Jesus. And I know that I am forgiven for those things in my past and I will be with Jesus in heaven someday.

Let’s be clear, Satan is actively seeking to destroy us. (1 Peter 5:8) If he can’t destroy us, then he’ll try to cause us to become ineffective Christians. As long as we don’t tell other people about Jesus or do the good works of the church, Satan will leave us alone. But as soon as we decide that we are going to live for Jesus one hundred percent you can bet that he will know our name. Satan has many tricks up his sleeve and he will use every one of them to try to hurt us. He knows exactly which buttons to push. For some of us, it’s doubt, or illness, or reminding us of our past failures and sins. For others, like myself, it’s distraction. No matter which devious trick he pulls, you can always count on Satan to knock you down and kick you in the teeth when you least expect it. That’s what he does best and he relishes in seeing Christians suffer.

But Jesus is greater than any enemy we face. (1 John 4:4) Satan and his demons are no match for Him. Jesus is already victorious over the powers of darkness! And because we are saved, we share in that victory. As believers, we don’t need to fear the devil because Jesus has already defeated him. There is nothing that Satan can do to us that will ever change the fact that we belong to Jesus, and he knows it. That’s why he should fear us!

Christians are called to be outspoken about our faith in Jesus Christ. If we speak up and show up for Jesus, the world will hate us just as they hated Him. And the devil will hate us too. But really, what does it matter if someone as small and insignificant as Satan hates us? Jesus is the Son of God, our Redeemer and the Savior of the world. Satan cowers in fear and hides at the name of Jesus, the name above all names.

So, does the devil know my name? What would I say if I was asked this question today? My answer would simply be this, “I’m the girl that knows Jesus by heart and I’m the girl He died for!” That answer alone is enough to send the devil and all of his demons running scared.

What would your answer be? Does the devil know your name? Let me know in the comments below.

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By |2020-08-18T11:34:24-05:00October 16th, 2018|Christian Life, Halloween|9 Comments

Monday Motivation – Psalm 27:13

We all have times when it seems like all is lost and nothing good will ever happen again. But the goodness of God is always with us. In the good times, He is our champion, pushing forward to bigger and better things. In the bad times, He is our confidant and comforter, reminding us of happier memories and giving us the strength to keep going. So, if you are experiencing a downtime, don’t despair. Look up and see the goodness of God all around you. Blessings!

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By |2020-08-19T14:18:40-05:00October 1st, 2018|Christian Life, Fall, Monday Motivation|0 Comments

Monday Motivation – Deep Calls to Deep Psalm 42:7

Would you like to fully grasp the meaning of deep calls to deep? It is a longing from deep inside of us to understand what is deep inside of God. To be close to Him and have a real fellowship with the One true God.

There will be times when it seems like the waves are taking us down and we’re sinking fast under the weight of life’s demands. But God’s promises are still true. He will never leave us or forsake us. He is still there, lifting us up and keeping our heads above water. So, if you feel like you are drowning, stand firm on the promises of God. As you ponder the meaning of this verse I encourage you to go deeper and let God’s love pour over you like a waterfall. He is calling you deeper.

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By |2020-08-19T15:08:56-05:00July 9th, 2018|Christian Life, Monday Motivation|2 Comments

A Random Text – Habakkuk 3:17-19

A Random Text Habakkuk 3:17-19

The day wasn’t turning out the way I had planned. My to-do list was getting longer not shorter. I felt stressed and overwhelmed. Then, a dear friend sent me a random text in the middle of the day. She asked me to read Habakkuk 3. I immediately sent her a text back and said “OK”, with a smiley face emoji. But I had no intention of reading it, at least not right then. Maybe later when everything else was done. I was right in the middle of a project and I wanted to get it finished.

But God pulled on my heart strings and whispered, “You need to read it”.
I answered, “Okay, I’ll read it later tonight when things calm down”.
God whispered to my heart again, “You need to read it now”.

I sighed as I resigned myself to God’s plan for the day, grabbed my Bible and started to read…

Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines:
Though the labor of the olive may fail’
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls-
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.
                                           Habakkuk 3:17-19

Wow! I felt like I had been struck by lightning! All of these years later, Habakkuk can still cut straight to the point. It’s easy to praise God and find joy in our salvation when things are going great in our lives. It’s so much harder when life isn’t going our way. But no matter what situation we are in, God knows what we need even when we don’t.

Free Devotional 7 Simple Ways to See God's Hand in Your Life

Habakkuk knew that his people would soon face hard times. They were going to be without the basic necessities they needed to survive. There would be no food and no water to sustain them. But Habakkuk had confidence that if they put their trust in God, He would see them through.

If Habakkuk could find joy in God under such dire circumstances, then surely I can too. There’s an old saying that we all know, “Into every life a little rain must fall”. Well, when it feels like it’s pouring outside, instead of feeling defeated I’m going to praise God. He is the one who gives me strength to get through the difficult times. So this is my promise to Him for all that He has done for me.

Even though the bills are piling up, and it seems that there will never be enough money to pay them all…

I will praise You!

Even though my house is filthy, company’s coming over and there’s not enough time to clean…

I will praise You!

Even though my health may be failing and I feel weak…

I will praise You!

Even though I’ve lost a loved one and my heart is broken…

I will praise You!

I’m so grateful that I have a friend who would point me to God during difficult times. Even though there’s no way she could’ve known what was going on in my life that day or that I needed these words spoken into my heart, she followed God’s lead and sent me the text. But God did knew everything that was happening. And He used a seemingly random text to take away all of the stress and overwhelm I felt that day. He replaced it with a song in my heart and praise on my lips. God is good! And He is worthy of our praise! So, that’s how a random text taught me to praise God! I pray that it will do the same for you!

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Seeing God's Hand by Master's Hand Collection
By |2020-08-19T15:42:35-05:00June 13th, 2018|Christian Life, Faith|2 Comments

How to Weather Life’s Storms – Isaiah 4:6

How to Weather Life's Storms - Isaiah 4:6

And there will be shelter to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and rain.

                                                                 Isaiah 4:6

Every spring I wait with great anticipation for my irises to bloom. I look forward to seeing them sprout up, as they emerge from their winter slumber. They belonged to my Granny, who I loved and admired so much. And they remind me of how her laughter could fill the room or how her homemade chicken and dumplings were the best around. My heart is full of these memories and so many more. And I always feel like celebrating when that first iris opens! But this year was a little different, the irises decided to appear on a cloudy, stormy day. The sky was gray and the wind was whipping around. Later, I found out that a nearby town was hit by a devastating tornado. The trees were uprooted and homes destroyed, it was a mess! It’s not surprising to have tornadoes here in Arkansas and Oklahoma because we have a lot of them, but this one was unexpected.

Life is like that too, you just never know when a storm will be brewing. In fact, if you’re not currently right smack in the middle of one of life’s storms, you can bet that one is just over the horizon and headed your way. So today I’d like to talk about how to weather life’s storms.

There is a purpose to life’s storms

There are three kinds of iris in my flower bed. Most of them are yellow with large blooms. Then there’s the tiny blossoms of the small purple irises. But my favorites are the huge white ones. I only have a few of them, but with their giant flowers, they’re showstoppers! What makes them so unique is that they have a special kind of beauty, one you have to really look hard to see. From afar they are completely white, but if you look closer you can see a faint hint of lavender peeking out from the center.

Finding the beauty in life’s storms can be just as difficult. You have to really look close to see it. But the beauty is not in the struggle, it’s in the fact that there is a purpose to life’s storms. God has something He wants to teach us and He has put us in the eye of the storm for a reason.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

                                                                Romans 8:28

Sometimes it’s hard to understand how God could cause all things, good and bad to work out in our favor. But because we have been called according to God’s purpose, He promises that He will. Even if we can’t see it now, we can have confidence in God’s ability to use this storm to bring about good in our lives. So I encourage you to look closely at the storm you are facing and discover what God’s purpose for it is.

Free Devotional 7 Simple Ways to See God's Hand in Your Life

God is our shelter from the storm

Every year there is at least one tornado that destroys a neighboring city. In the aftermath of the storm, the only thing left standing in a house is the bathtub. That’s why we have storm shelters in this part of the country. If you don’t live in the Midwest, you may not be familiar with storm shelters. They’re big metal boxes with a door that slides shut and they’re buried underground to protect us from the tornadoes. In addition to the shelters, we also have tornado sirens. They’re loud, really loud! When the wind picks up and they go off, that’s our cue to run to the storm shelter and hunker down until the storm passes by.

In the midst of life’s storms God is our shelter. He’s the One we run to for protection when life becomes too much. David knew this very well when he was hiding from Saul and wrote these words.

Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, For my soul takes refuge in Thee: And in the shadow of Thy wings I will take refuge, Until the destruction passes by.

                                                            Psalm 57:1

What a comfort it is to know that God, the Creator of the universe is our shelter in the storm! He is always there, ready to cover us with His grace. As the storm rages on around you, run to Him and take refuge under His wings until the destruction has passed you by.

Keep looking to Jesus in life’s storms

When one of life’s storms hits us, it may feel like we are being tossed around by the wind and rain with no end in sight. Peter must have felt this way too during the storm on the Sea of Galilee.

And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately, Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

                                                           Matthew 14: 29-30

I’m sure we all know this story pretty well, but sometimes it’s nice to be reminded to keep looking to Jesus.

Peter started out with his eyes firmly fixed on Jesus and his heart was in the right place. But then he stepped out onto the water and became scared and distracted by the storm raging around him. When he took his eyes off of Jesus, he began to sink. So he cried out to Jesus to save him. The Bible says that immediately Jesus reached out His hand to help Peter. There was no waiting and no begging, just immediate assistance from the Savior.

It’s so easy to be distracted in the storm. Just like Peter we start out with our heart in the right place and our eyes on Jesus. Then something happens and we look away. We began to sink. And we cry out for Jesus to save us. So He does and we turn our gaze to Him again until the next time a storm hits and we start the process all over again. Jesus is always there with us in the middle of our storm. And He is always willing to reach out His hand and pull us out of the water. Thank you, Jesus!

Luckily for us, storms don’t last forever. They blow in suddenly and leave just as quickly. My irises may have been a little beaten down when the storm was over, but their beauty was still intact. And life’s storms may spin us around like a tornado, but when they’re over, we’ll be just like those irises, standing tall with our beauty intact.

Jesus promised us that in this world we would have tribulation. So, there is no doubt that storms are sure to come our way. But with God’s help we can learn how to weather life’s storms. Be well and keep looking to Jesus!

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By |2020-08-19T15:56:27-05:00May 16th, 2018|Christian Life|6 Comments

Power of Prayer – James 5:16

Power of Prayer James 5:16

As I was researching this Bible Study, I came across some articles that claimed the power of prayer is a mysterious force. Honestly, I just don’t believe that. Prayer is not a mystery that we can’t comprehend. Like most things pertaining to God, it is simple and easy to understand. So if prayer is not a mysterious force, what is it?

Prayer is our direct line to God. When we call on Him, He hears us and He answers. It’s simple, maybe too simple for some people. Maybe they want it to be mysterious and complicated for some reason that is beyond me. But I believe in a God who loves me and wants to hear from me as much as I want to hear from Him.

Prayer is powerful! And the power of prayer is real and tangible. As real as anything we can see or touch. It is a source of strength that we, as Christians, can tap into at any time, day or night. This verse from James sums up this power perfectly.

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

                                                               James 5:16

Prayer has the power to make things happen. Not because of our own strength, but because we have been declared righteous through faith in Jesus. He is the reason that our prayers have power!

Elijah was a righteous man. He prayed for the rain to be withheld and the Lord answered him. Then he prayed for the rain to come and the Lord answered again. Elijah didn’t just say a little prayer every now and then, he prayed continually and earnestly that God would keep the rain from falling and then that He would bring the rain. (You can read more about Elijah in 1 Kings)

Because we are righteous in God’s eyes our prayers are effective and powerful tools. We just need to practice the same kind of faithful and consistent prayer that Elijah did. Then the results will be undeniable.

Prayer has the power to make things happen. Not because of our own strength, but because we have been declared righteous through faith in Jesus. #Prayer #FaithClick To Tweet

In order for us to see the power of prayer in our lives, we must first believe in it and have faith in God.

Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, Be removed and be cast into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

                                                             Mark 11:22-24

With His words here in Mark, Jesus emphasized the power of believing and having faith.

Sometimes we pray but we don’t really believe that anything will actually happen. Or we pray and think that our problems are too big, too small, too whatever for God. We have “a wing and a prayer” mentality. Kind of like luck or happenstance. Maybe our prayers are heard and maybe they’re not.

But what Jesus is talking about here is the condition of our heart. Do we really believe that God will hear our prayers? Do we have faith that God will answer us? Because if we want to see the power of prayer, we must truly believe in it.

Free Devotional 7 Simple Ways to See God's Hand in Your Life

We can have confidence in the power of prayer.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

                                                            Hebrews 4:16

Prayer is not a last resort. Even though we may see it that way sometimes. When something bad happens we try to fix it on our own and only turn to prayer once we have failed. (Believe me, I’m guilty of this sometimes too!)

But prayer is not our last hope, instead, it is our greatest offense and our best option in all circumstances. No matter what is going on in our lives, good or bad, God wants to hear about it. There is no need to worry about if it’s okay to talk to God or how our prayers will be received. We can boldly take all of our problems right to His throne of grace in our time of need.

In my life, I have seen the power of prayer many times. But never more than when my mom had cancer. The doctors gave her about three months to live, however, God gave us three more years together. And I have no doubt that it was the power of prayer at work. So many people were praying for my mom. Our family and friends, two whole churches, even people we didn’t know. They were all praying for her. And guess what… God heard their prayers. He listened and He cared. He knew that our family was in need and He didn’t let us down. It was during this time that God allowed me to experience the power of prayer firsthand. I could see how prayer is the solution to all of life’s problems and how we can have complete confidence in taking everything to God in prayer.

So you see, there is nothing mysterious about the power of prayer. We are simply having a conversation with a loving and faithful God.

Isn’t it amazing to know that the Creator of the universe, the One who spoke the world into motion wants to speak to you? God loves you and He wants to hear from you. So, today, I pray that you will claim the power of prayer and see the undeniable results in your life.

Until next time, God bless!

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By |2020-08-24T14:13:57-05:00April 11th, 2018|Christian Life, Prayer|5 Comments

What I Learned Moving My Website from Weebly to WordPress

What I Learned Moving My Website from Weebly to WordPress

Have you ever felt like you made a huge mistake? Yeah, me too. Many times. My latest huge mistake moment came when I realized I’d picked the wrong website server.

Some time ago God had told me to build a website and blog. I immediately thought, I can’t do that, I don’t know any of that technical mumbo jumbo. But I began researching and found Weebly. It’s drag and drop interface seemed like the perfect fit for my non-technical skills.

I spent months and countless hours building my website, only to find out that I really couldn’t get anyone to see my site or read my blog posts with Weebly. It seemed that I had missed the boat and was paddling my little website into the big black sea all alone. This is when I discovered WordPress and found out that everything I needed to do in order to see my little website get going was on WordPress.

Now, I had two problems. I didn’t know how to use WordPress and I needed to figure out how to move my website over to it.

Again I did some research and found out that moving a website from Weebly to WordPress is not an easy task. That was a real gut punch. I decided I had two options, give up or figure it out. Well, I’m no quitter, especially when God has told me to do something. So, even though it seemed like an impossible task, I resolved myself to the fact that it was time to make the move.

With a lot of trepidation I began by setting up a WordPress site where I could transfer all of my Weebly stuff over. Setting up the new site was the easy part. I had 115 posts and I don’t even know how many pictures to move. I thought it would take about a week to do it. Well, it ended up taking six weeks, a lot of headaches and some shear determination. In the process I learned a lot about WordPress, and more importantly God taught me some great lessons on following Him even when it seems impossible. Here are my three big takeaways from this experience.

#1 Be Patient and Persevere

Rejoice in hope, be patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

                                                 Romans 12:12

When we think of affliction it’s usually in the physical form. Someone who has a terrible disease or debilitating disability. Although I wasn’t afflicted in a typical way, I felt I was afflicted in a mental and emotional sense. The frustration I felt grew bigger every day until I wanted to throw my computer out the window. Mentally, I thought, I just can’t do this. Emotionally, I felt drained. About half the way through I wanted to give up completely. My normal “can do” attitude was gone. But God whispered from deep inside of me, “Keep going. Don’t give up.” I knew I had to finish what I started so, I put blinders on and pressed forward. I found a rhythm, get one post transferred and then the next and the next. Still it seemed like there was no end in sight. Patience and perseverance became my only goal. Patience because it was taking so much longer than I expected. And perseverance to keep at it no matter how long or hard it got. After weeks of endless hours staring at the computer screen, I suddenly realized everything was moved and it was time to make the permanent change over to WordPress.

Free Devotional 7 Simple Ways to See God's Hand in Your Life

#2 Trust God when change is scary.

Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in you.

                                             Psalm 56:3

I don’t know when or how but during this six week period my Weebly site became a security blanket to me. It was a backup just in case a transfer didn’t take. Now it was time to delete the Weebly site and make the move permanent. All of the hard work I had put into building that site was about to disappear with one click of the mouse and my security blanket was going to be pulled out from underneath me. It was scary! I hemmed and hawed about it and walked away from the computer multiple times. Finally, after much deliberation, I decided it was now or never. I sat at the computer staring at that delete button and prayed, “Please God.” Those were the only words I had in that moment. And with that I clicked delete.

Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in you. Psalm 56:3 #BibleVerseClick To Tweet

It took some time for the new WordPress site to become active. That next day of waiting was full of stress and dread. Doubt filled my heart. What if it doesn’t work? What if I can’t fix it? But I put my trust in God and believed that He had it under control.

#3 God makes the impossible possible.

With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

                                                 Matthew 19:26

I may have had serious doubts about my technical abilities going into this move, but I had zero doubts about God’s ability to bring about His will in my life. When I saw my new website up and running I can’t tell you how much relief I felt. God is good, always good. But it took me being obedient to Him and stepping out in faith to see the goodness of God in my life. I give God all of the credit. He did it. Without Him it would have been an impossible task for me to accomplish on my own. But with God the impossible became possible.

I know it may seem that this post is all about me, but in my heart it is all about you. I want to encourage you to seek God, persevere through the difficult times, trust Him when change is scary and see the impossible happen in your life too.

When you follow God you will never go wrong.Click To Tweet

Has God asked you to do something that seems impossible? Are you thinking of taking that leap of faith? You may feel that the deck is stacked against you or that you’re facing an impossible task. But when you follow God you will never go wrong. May God bless you as you see HIs hand working in your life!

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By |2020-09-03T17:04:46-05:00February 21st, 2018|Bible Study, Christian Life|0 Comments

Race to the Finish – 1 Corinthians 9:24-26

Race to the Finish 1 Corinthians 9:24-26

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into submission, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
                                                                                          

                                                            1 Corinthians 9:24-27

During Biblical times, there was an athletic competition similar to our Olympics. The Isthmian Games where held in the city of Corinth every two years. Athletes would train hard and devote themselves completely to the Games. Then, and only then, they would be allowed to compete in an event. Along with the bragging rights of a true companion, the winner would receive a pine wreath crown. The Apostle Paul likened the life of a Christian to that of a competitor in the Isthmian Games. But instead of bragging rights and a crown of pine, after we have run the race, we receive eternal life with Jesus.

There are certain qualities that an athlete must have in order to perform at the Olympic level. And I thought it would be fun to look at some of these qualities and compare them to what we as Christians can do to perform at a top level in our walk with Christ.

First, we need a Goal.

Every athlete has a goal in mind when they practice and when they compete. Without a goal there wouldn’t be a desire to win or a reason to show up at the competition. That goal is their main focus in life and their eye is always on it. They are always in pursuit of their goal and nothing will stop them from achieving it.

Every Christian has a call from God on their life, and each of us should set our goal on that call. We should be pressing forward or deliberately pursuing that goal. Just as an athlete sets their eyes on the gold medal or a Super Bowl ring, we must set our eyes on Jesus and make sure that He is the main focus of our lives. He is what we are pressing toward. His call on our life is the goal, and nothing will keep us from getting to that goal.

Free Devotional 7 Simple Ways to See God's Hand in Your Life

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
                                                                                              Philippians 3:13-14

Second, we must work hard and show Discipline.

It takes hard work to get from the goal to the prize. We tend to think that people are born with a natural ability to be a top tier athlete. Either you have it, or you don’t. But an athlete needs discipline to reach the top of the podium. It is everyday practice and discipline that makes them able to train their bodies to perform at such a high level. Discipline makes them get out of bed every day and practice, even when their body is tired or injured. Discipline propels them forward when nothing else will. Discipline is what creates winners.

Just as an athlete needs discipline to go from a goal to the prize, we also need discipline in our daily lives. We should be training ourselves by praying, reading and mediating on God’s Word. These are some of the ways that we can work to put our faith into practice every day. When we do, God promises that we will be rewarded for our efforts and our goal will become closer and closer.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
                                                                                          1 Corinthians 15:58
                           
Third, we should have endurance and Perseverance.

A track runner is trained to only see the hurdle in front of them, not to look past it for the next one. They jump over the first hurdle, then move on to the next. Eventually they get to the last hurdle and then the finish line is in sight. They show perseverance through each hurdle until the race is over.

That’s how we need to be, focused on what God has put right in front of us. There will always hurdles to overcome in life and many things will distract us from our goal. At times the finish line will seem to be just out of sight. But when we have perseverance and look to Jesus, “the finisher of the faith” we will be able to run with endurance and see the finish line clearly up ahead.  

Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
                                                                                             Hebrews 12:1-2

It’s easy to feel weighted down and discouraged. When you don’t see any forward movement the finish line seems so far away. But Jesus has already won the victory for us! And when we set our goal on Him and run the race before us, we will receive everything we need to make it to that goal. We can race to the finish with confidence in our Savior Jesus Christ.

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Picture, Olympic rings made of plasma copyright Filip Susanek used under license of Dreamstime.

By |2020-09-03T16:59:14-05:00February 7th, 2018|4th of July, Christian Life|0 Comments

Jesus Name Above All Names – Philippians 2:7-9

Jesus Name Above All Names Philippians 2:7-9

but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name.

                                                                   Philippians 2:7-9

 

As I sat in church, I felt like I was just going through the motions. I’d had a lot on my mind lately and it was hard to focus on the reason I was in church, to begin with. Then, God spoke to my heart and gently reminded me why I was there.

Jesus. He is the reason. He is the One who gave His life for me. And He deserves my awe!

There is no one else like Jesus. He alone is the Son of God, the Savior of the world, and the Name Above All Names. He is the only One worthy of His title. The Father has exalted Him above all else, and I must do the same!

There is no one else like Jesus. He alone is the Son of God, the Savior of the world, and the Name Above All Names.Click To Tweet

Sometimes it’s easy to forget and get caught up in the mundane things in life and lose focus. So, today I ask myself, has Jesus become commonplace in my life? Am I giving credit where credit is due? Do I live my life in a way that brings glory to Him? Am I in awe of the One who died to save me?

Jesus understood what He was facing when He came to earth. He knew He would be separated from the Father as He never had been before. And He realized that a brutal death reserved only for the worst of criminals awaited Him.

It’s true, Jesus could have saved Himself from such a painful death. If He had simply said, I’m not the Son of God, I’m just the son of a carpenter they would have let Him go. Likewise, He was capable of calling upon all of the angels in heaven to come down and defend Him. With their power and might the earth would have easily been destroyed.

Free Devotional 7 Simple Ways to See God's Hand in Your Life

But Jesus didn’t do either of those things. Instead, He did as the Father asked, left behind the glory of heaven, humbled Himself, and became a servant. He did it for you and for me, so we could live with Him forever. Because of His great love for us, He gave Himself! And for that sacrifice, God has exalted Him and given Him the name which is above all names. He alone is worthy of our praise!

Today, my prayer is that you will know the love of Jesus. May His peace and glory fill your heart and mind as you focus completely on Him.

Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior? If not, I ask you to please read the Accepting Jesus page. Many of the answers to your questions can be found there.

Together let’s celebrate Jesus, Name Above All Names!

Please leave a comment below and share the great things Jesus has done in your life.

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2 Older Comments.

Rebecca L Jones

11/22/2017 10:17:40 am

Such truth in your post, cares of the world, lust for other things, how easily it sneaks in on us. I love the artwork. Happy Thanksgiving.

Connie from Master’s Hand Collection

11/22/2017 11:12:02 am

Thanks so much! I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

By |2020-08-27T10:33:57-05:00November 22nd, 2017|Christian Life, Jesus|2 Comments