Friday, May 27, 2011

My friend


This week, I am taking a different approach to this blog. No, it is not permanent for those of you who don't like change. However, I would like to try some new ideas: starting with today's blog. First off, let me thank a fellow blogger, Jeannie Alyce, for inspiring me to post about women today. She has been following the Olive Branch and has used Charity's devotion on her own site! You go girlfriend!

Second, I would like to dedicate today's blog to my friend Judy, who passed away suddenly less than two weeks ago. I believe that Judy didn't follow the crowd like others, but she made a path for others to follow. With God as her example, she lead many women to places we never thought we could reach.

As I mourn my friend, I cry. I smile. I remember. But most of all, I learn. I will tell my friends I love them and not worry about what they think when those three little words come out of my mouth. I will listen to God speaking to me - "make the path, Bethany". I will be proud of myself, for even the littlest accomplishments that I have tried so hard for.

Thank you to those who have followed our blog. We are God's children. We are called to do Godly yet womanly things, yet we are the same as every other woman out there. Some days we are scared, sometimes we are lonely, other times we couldn't be happier. But, one thing remains the same in each and every one of us - - - we are God's hands and feet.

Judy was God's hands and feet. Thank you, Judy, for you life, your sacrifices, your friendship. We love you and miss you.

John 15:13

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends".

Saturday, May 21, 2011

God Can Make A Way

By Charity Pence

This Week’s Verse: Exodus 14:13, “And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.’” (NKJV)

I love how God knows what I need. A couple Sundays ago, I considered not going to church. I was overwhelmed by everything my husband and I have going on in our lives right now, and quite frankly, I was in a bad mood. The idea of not going bothered me, though. I enjoy going to church and I believe it is important to go. My conscience would not let me stay home so I went.

In Exodus, Moses has led the Israelites out of Egypt. Backed up against the Red Sea with Pharaoh’s army preparing to destroy them, the Israelites get angry with Moses for leading them away from the only home they knew. Now they have nowhere to go and there is no possible way for them to escape the certain annihilation that is to come, or so they believed. They were wrong. God made a way for them. He parted the sea so they could pass, and Pharaoh’s army was destroyed instead.

This is the passage our pastor used that Sunday, and I needed to hear it. I had allowed myself to worry. When I worry, I am not trusting God as I should to meet my needs. My circumstances had me believing there was no possible way for my husband and me to ever overcome the problems we have been facing. However, I was reminded that nothing is impossible with God. Our Heavenly Father will make a way. Hallelujah!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for prompting me to go to church that morning. Thank you for reminding me that You are more than enough; You alone can provide. I’m sorry for allowing myself to be overcome with doubt and fear. Please take these burdens so I can rest in Your peace. I love You, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Applications: Don’t allow yourself to worry. By worrying, we are taking the reins from God as if we are able to take care of everything on our own. This is not God’s will for us. He has promised to love us, care for us, and provide for us. We should let Him!

Power Verses:
Joshua 1:9, “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest.” (KJV)
Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” (NIV)
Isaiah 40:31, “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (NKJV)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Not One...

By Mollie Thompson

Today’s Verse:
John 19: 36, "These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” (NIV)

Have you ever wondered what the big deal was about none of Jesus’ bones being broken when He died on the cross? Well, yes, there’s the prophecy in Exodus 12:46 that says none of the bones of the Passover lamb were to be broken. But have you ever wondered why? This sent me on a quest to find out why. I searched through reference books. I asked any pastor or person I thought might know. I even went to the Open Door and asked them. They told me to feel free to look through all the books they had, and let them know what I found. I couldn’t find anything. I kept seeking the Lord, only by now He would probably call it hounding.

One day my mind was wandering and I was following it. I remembered as a child riding down the road with my father in his pickup. We went by this house we passed often. It was always vacant and I never could figure out why. It looked perfectly good to me. So I finally asked my father about it. He told me the frame of the house was broken, and when that happens the house is condemned.

All of a sudden I got it! If any of the bones of Jesus’ body were broken he would have been condemned. But there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus – not for those who love him and are called according to his purpose. If any of his bones would have been broken there would have been a break in his blood flow. The blood is made in the marrow of the bones. We are made pure by the blood of the lamb. He is perfect in every way and never did that change.

Now get this. Think about a time when you felt embarrassed, ashamed, guilty, or just really low because of something you did that was wrong. Remember how heavy that weight pulls you down? Now multiply that by every time you felt that way or should have felt that way during your whole life. Now multiply that by all the people that have lived, are living, and have yet to live. Try imagining how heavy that would be. I can’t even begin to fathom it. Jesus took all that weight on himself AND HE DID NOT BREAK!!! Is that not amazing?!! (Yes, it is.)

Jesus took all the shame and pain and guilt and blame that I so justly deserved on himself just so I could be set free. It is for freedom we have been set free. And what must I do to get this grace? All I have to do is believe and receive him as a child would. All I have to do is believe he is the son of God and receive him as my Lord and Savior. Then it is my purpose to work out that salvation with fear and trembling, and to become all God created me to be. What a deal!

Father God, in the name of Jesus, please help us not make a mockery of the price you paid on the cross for us to be set free. Help us take advantage of all you bought and paid for us there.

Application: Are you feeling shame, guilt, despair? Jesus paid the price for us to be released from the weight of our sins. We have only to turn to him and ask forgiveness, believe that we have received it, and then to walk in that forgiveness. It is also ours to extend that forgiveness to others, but it’s kind of hard to do until we fully accept and receive it for ourselves first. That takes an incredible amount of humility to admit our guilt and shame to ourselves or to another.

I once took God through the Bible for a day and a half telling him just why I didn’t need to share any of my stuff with another person. When I paused, he seemed to be asking me if I was done. Being in a snotty state of mind, I answered him, “Yeah, for now.” Then James 5: 16 popped in my mind so I looked it up. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” Erg!!!

I continued on in counseling spilling my guts with stuff I had even hidden from myself. I must say I am much freer today than I’ve ever been. I also have much more understanding and grace towards others than I have ever had. Have I arrived yet? Is there such a thing this side of Heaven? All I can say is the joy I feel is more unspeakable and full of glory in Christ Jesus. I have more peace than I’ve ever had.

Power Verses (NIV):
John 3:17, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

John 6: 29, “Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

2 Corinthians 5:21, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

John 8:11, “’Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mom's Day

By Bethany Lashbrook

Today's verse: Deuteronomy 5:16, “Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God commanded you. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you." (NLT)

This past week I attended a mother-daughter banquet. Growing up in a small country church, this banquet has been on the calendar for years, decades, generations. It's so nice to know that once a year we can celebrate our mom or be spoiled ourselves - even if only for a day!

I think about the way I feel for my girls. The way I felt the moment I found out they were in my belly (the excitement, nervousness of what was to come, and even fearful of how I would be as a mommy). The way I felt about them the minute they were born (uncontrollable love, desire to become a better person in a single moment, and the willingness to die for a person I hadn't met the day before). The way I feel about them now (crying when they cry from heartache, desire to teach them about the Lord, second-guessing myself when I make a decision I never knew would come my way). They way I feel about them in the future (trusting the Lord will keep them safe, biting fingernails about car expenses, college expenses, and designer shoes!).

And then I think that this is the way my mom must feel about me. And it warms my heart.

Whether you are a mom and are celebrating your children's life, whether you are celebrating your mom - here on earth on in heaven, whether you are celebrating another mom who made your life special - Happy Mother's Day!

Dear Lord, thank you for mother's and their unconditional love. We love you. Amen.

Application: You know what's coming: spoil your mom! She deserves it!

Power Verses:
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, "Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (NLT)

Genesis 3:20, "Then the man—Adam—named his wife Eve, because she would be the mother of all who live". (NLT)

Matthew 12:50, "For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother." (KJV)