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Posts Tagged ‘Daily devotionals for women’

Expectations. Some live with great ones, others live with few.

In your younger years, you may have yearned and dreamed and pursued your expectations earnestly. Yet, moments came when these expectations fell short and your hopes were dashed…moments when life just isn’t what you expected or hoped it would be.

The child you were parenting turned away from the Lord. The job you were pursuing was handed to another. Your retirement savings depleted with the recession. The marriage you dreamed about as a little girl crumbled before your eyes. Life’s hurts and pain sapped your hope. Maybe you cried out to God or to another, “This is not what I expected!” Or, maybe you want to cry out to Him now.

God has heard your cry. God knows your expectations. God knows your hopes, your dreams, your deepest desires. And, He answers emphatically, “You can put your hope in Me!”

The book of Psalms is bursting with emotion, the very emotions you likely feel right now, and the writers, inspired by God, have given you clear direction:

“Be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord.” ~ Psalm 31:24

“I put my hope in You, Lord; You will answer, Lord my God.” ~ Psalm 38:15

“For You are my hope, Lord God, my confidence from my youth.” ~ Psalm 71:5

“Sustain me as You promised, and I will live; do not let me be ashamed of my hope.” ~ Psalm 119:116

Hope is anxious expectation. When your anxious expectations are wholly, fully focused on God and His promises, you can rest assured that He will answer. If you are a believer, you have Christ in you, the hope of glory(Colossians 1:27). The hope we have in Him and in our promised eternity with Him will far exceed our greatest expectations!

 

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They had to be considered the odd ducks of the group. Twelve spies had been sent by Moses to scout the land of Canaan which the Lord had promised to give the Israelites. Only two returned with a favorable… a hopeful report. Ten spies exaggerated the problem, the strength and stature of the fortified cities and their people, while the other two exclaimed the power and protection of God. He could certainly deliver this land into their hands.

“If the Lord is pleased with us, He will bring us into this land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and give it to us…Their protection has been removed from them, and the Lord is with us. Don’t be afraid of them!” Joshua pleaded with the people (Numbers 14:8-9).

I have often wondered what set Joshua and Caleb apart from the negative ten. They had certainly seen the same miraculous signs as their peers. Was it only a year or so prior to this that God had freed them from the hands of the Egyptians and paved a dry path for them through the Red Sea? When the negativity of their people threatened to overtake them, how did they remain hopeful?

It seems to me that Joshua and Caleb knew how to live hopeful. They put their hope in God, not in their own strength. They maintained a hopeful perspective that remained unaltered in spite of their circumstances.

But, putting your hope in God is not a “one-time” event, and I don’t believe it was for Joshua or Caleb either. It takes a daily focus that aligns our hearts and our vision with the God of deliverance.

Hopeful believers:

1) Remember God’s faithfulness. They reflect on His goodness. They recall those times when He delivered them, comforted them, and helped them. God’s work on their behalf is not easily forgotten.

2) Remember that “all things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27). While they may not understand His ways, they are confident in His power and His ability to rescue them if He so wills.

3) Rest in His promises. If God promises it, He will surely do it. “For every one of God’s promises is ‘Yes’ in Him…” (2 Corinthians 1:20).

4) Release their worries to God. When the unknown and the fear of it swarm them, hopeful believers relinquish their control and recognize His.

Today, choose to be a Joshua or Caleb… a hopeful believer who puts your hope in God!

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Maybe yesterday was one of those days. The kind of day where your calendar appointments kept you going full throttle and all you grabbed to eat was a granola bar and a cup of coffee. The kind where one look at the clothes piling over your laundry basket made you cringe with despair. Where your toilet overflowed and flooded the bathroom floor because your little one “needed” to use an entire roll of toilet paper.

Maybe yesterday you sat down to pay your bills and scratched your head, wondering if some of those debts would ever go away. Maybe you had a conversation with a loved one that turned confrontational and painful. Maybe it seemed like everything was up against you. Maybe yesterday was one of those days.

But, today is a new day, a fresh start. And, God promises hope and mercy to His children. If you thought your quota had run out, think again. “Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness! I say: The Lord is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in Him” (Lamentations 3:22-24).

When the circumstances of life sap your hope, lift your eyes to the Son. His Word promises hope to the weary believer seeking His face. Like the rising sun in the early dawn hours, His Spirit rises within us to bring us hope and encouragement for this new day. “For the Lord God is a sun and a shield. The Lord gives grace and glory. He does not withhold the good from those who live with integrity” (Psalm 84:11).

Maybe today will be one of those days. You know the kind I am talking about. The kind where you put your hope in God. Maybe today you will experience the blessing of hope, for “happy is the one whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God” (Psalm 146:5).

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The trail zigzagged upward…steeply might be an understatement. In hiking terms, this zigzagging is what one would call a switchback. You hike around the bend only to discover that another turn is merely a few feet ahead.

The trail I had chosen to hike with my family was no exception. To put it mildly, the miles and the switchbacks were taking a toll on the emotions of my boys. I began to wonder if they could make it to the trail end. Frustration glaring through their beads of sweat, the boys plopped down in the center of the trail. “When will this be done? How much farther?”

There are moments in my walk with God that feel similar. I just want to plop myself down in the middle of the trail and say, “No more!” Every turn seems more of the same. Will the struggle ever end? And, when I reach the next bend, I am disappointed by what I see ahead. Like my boys, I wonder if I can really keep going.

Perhaps you have been there too. Moments when disappointments seem bigger…when they block your view of what lies ahead…when you can’t see what God sees and Satan is trying to convince you to turn back. That’s when you need His Word more than anything. Grab hold of His words of encouragement. Let them pull you up and onward. His words are words of hope. A hope that doesn’t disappoint. A hope that promises:

Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:1-5).

We have what we need to keep going, sisters! We have a hope that will not disappoint! Today, take a deep breath and bask in this glorious, promised hope.

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Adornment, what a science!
Beauty, what a weapon!
Modesty, what ELEGANCE!
~ Coco Chanel

I have to be honest with you and tell you that my rebellious nature is really balking over what I am about to admit to you… I have begun to sound like my mother (I’m sure she’s snickering right now).

I wondered why I was freaking out about modesty all of a sudden. Then it hit me. This is no longer about pushing the boundaries; I have embraced the need for modesty in my life. (Wait… modesty isn’t just for young?!) Why? I think it has to do with being aware of how people perceive me and that I could be the only bit of Jesus that they ever see. If I have “all my business” hanging out – what are they seeing?

Here’s how I want them to see me: I want to be classy, elegant, honoring to God and respectful of myself. I want others to see that I am modest. Modesty isn’t just about the body – it’s about the condition of your heart… the WHY.

Why choose modesty? I find my answer in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NLT):

“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit,

who lives in you and was given to you by God?

You do not belong to yourself,

for God brought you with a high price.

So you must honor God with your body.”

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I grew up in a pretty traditional and conservative home. My mom accepted God’s sacrifice (John 3:16) when I was 4 years of age, and my dad re-dedicated his life around the same time. I have gone to church for what seems like forever. My first memories take me all the way back to that big church from my childhood.
Just because I have always gone to church does not mean that God and I have always been close. I was a rebel and pushed every limit that I could – TV shows, movies, music, even the limits of what was permissible in the clothing department. Yes, I tried to wear short things, tight things, things that were not age appropriate or showed too much of me to others.

My mom was very careful about what clothes were purchased for me. No plunging necklines. No short shorts. My swimsuits were always non-revealing. My bellybutton was firmly encased in fabric. While I tried to push the limits of my wardrobe, my parents were quick to send me back to my room to change if I were out of bounds.

Thomas S. Monson said “You can dress attractively without being immodest. Within the Lord’s guidelines there is room for you to be lively, vibrant, and beautiful – both in your dress and actions.”

1 Peter 2:11-12 (NLT) says,  “Dear friends, I warn you as ‘temporary residents and foreigners’ to keep away from wordly desires that wage war against your very souls. Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior and they will give honor to god when He judges the world.”

If you are reading this and you are a parent, grand parent, auntie, etc. – please know that one of the best things that you can do for the young ladies in your life is to teach them to value themselves. Encourage modesty. We aren’t talking about being ashamed of yourself. We are talking about being respectful of yourself and others. Yes, you are going to make them mad when you make them change or refuse to purchase something that is not acceptable. You will likely hear the words “I hate you” or “I wish I was never born.” It’s tough to go against the flow of mainstream. It’s even tougher when you are being forced to go against the mainstream.

Take heart, the hate isn’t real and it doesn’t last forever. Your job is to teach and protect. Do your job, and God will honor your effort.

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One of my favorite days every year is the day that the sun is shining and it is finally warm enough to bring my hibernating toes out of my winter boots, slip on my flip-flops and let them get a little sun! Here in Michigan, we have begun to experience some hot days and I am sporting my summer flip-flop tan already.

This week, you will read some quotes and thoughts about how much of us is viewable by others.

I’ve been wearing my flip-flops while working on this series and I have to be honest and tell you that my toes a little (ok, a lot) bruised. I guess it’s true that if your toes don’t get stepped on once in a while, you aren’t learning or growing. Modesty is something that has been in the forefront of my mind over the last few months.

What are you showing others? What are others seeing in your choices and actions – what are you telling them about your relationship with Jesus?

I Corinthians 10:31:  “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

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