Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘encouraging words for women’

Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that His hour had come to leave this world and return to His Father. He now showed the disciples the full extent of His love. (John 13:1)

Jesus set the stage for the events that would follow over the next few days as he made statements outlining the sequence of activities: 1) It is time; 2) Death will come but won’t be final; 3) If you focus only on today and this life, you will lose for all eternity; 4) to love Me is to follow Me, and to be honored by our/His Heavenly Father. (John 12). This was a reminder for Him as much as for us. Jesus was preparing Himself to be “obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Phil 2:8)

Obedience is not a moment, it is a process connected by countless moments. We can look to the sequence of events in our lives and recognize that the Holy Spirit is sometimes working on our level of obedience; obedience that will set us free at the foot of the Cross. We have a clear example in Jesus Christ, that this isn’t a one-time decision, but requires the choice that must then be supported with action steps to walk out the decision.

Jesus did not just sit at the Last Supper with His disciples and talk the talk. He was not an armchair coach. Jesus took off his tunic, and proceeded to wash the feet of His disciples. (John 13) Jesus served. Even knowing that He was going to wash the feet of those who would deny Him, or leave Him, Jesus served.

Alicia Chole, in 40 Days of Decreases, notes, “May I suggest that washing other’s feet keeps us clean too? If so, perhaps Jesus was washing and forgiving and attending to His own heart simultaneously. Disciple after disciple, Jesus took their dirt and left them clean. And then, one day most—though sadly not all—looked back and understood that with every rinse of the water and every pat of the towel, Jesus was saying, ‘I forgive you in advance for your upcoming epic fail. Though it will surprise you, remember that it doesn’t surprise Me. My love will still be there when you return.’”

Jesus was betrayed by those deeply committed to Him. Perhaps you have felt a betrayal of one you trusted deeply. If so, bring all the pain and sorrow to Jesus Christ. He understands. Jesus doesn’t offer platitudes. Jesus offers you Himself. He knows. He understands. Yet, He still reaches out to serve, love, and extend grace and mercy. Doing less minimizes the example He set before us with His obedience to the Cross.

 

Read Full Post »

“I have called you by name;

you are mine.”

Isaiah  43:1

~ The reality of this promise grows ever so much more vivid when we place our name in this verse.  “I have called ____ by name; ____ is mine.”

~ We all need to be reminded of this Truth!  Who in our circle of influence needs to hear this simple, yet powerful reminder from God’s Word?

~ Is there someone dear to you who you who doesn’t yet know how treasured they are by God?  Let us not give up praying they will have the ears to hear their Father calling them by name.

FullSizeRender (2)

 

Read Full Post »

“Do not call to mind the former things,

Or ponder things of the past.

Behold, I will do something new,

Now it will spring forth;

Will you not be aware of it?

will even make a roadway in the wilderness,

Rivers in the desert.”

Isaiah 43:18,19

The beauty of these words goes beyond its flow and poetry; these words hold out God’s incredible promise to His people that things will not stay the same, and that Redemption will look different and new.  Biblical scholars point out that to the ancient people of Israel, the coming Christ and the radical impact that the Gospel would make on their world as they knew it would be both new and different.

These verses above also point out that there comes a time when we are called to forget what is behind and to eagerly look forward.  We are encouraged to embrace change, even when it isn’t completely understood by our finite minds.  We are advised to “behold” the Lord’s mighty hand at work, as He paves our way in to new adventures with Him, and as He nourishes new opportunities with His power.

In this year of 2016, we at Given the Time have been called exactly to this place. Since 2010 we have strived to obediently listen to the Spirit of God and to encourage Real Women, existing in Real Life, with Real Truth. Each year God has faithfully led, and this year is no different.  God has clearly led each member of our editing team to set aside our previous pattern and to watch eagerly as He does something new and different. We do look back on the unity and joy we experienced as a blogging team with pleasure. And the many thousands of views this blog has enjoyed, we think of these with gratitude to God and awe because they represent real people who God has allowed us to interact with, but we won’t get stuck in former things. We plan to seek out the promises God has made us in His Word, and if He leads us to do so, we will post our insights, but no longer will be posting blogs on any type of schedule.

This is New!  Really different! A little scary!  Yet, so very exciting! May God bless your 2016 as you also seek out and claim His promises for you!

Read Full Post »

Editor’s Note: 2016! WOW! Are you ready for a new year?! Did you start the year with New Years’ resolutions? Perhaps, you are starting this year wondering how 2015 disappeared so quickly. 2016 begins a new adventure for Given the Time. This will be a year of focusing on who we are because of the Cross of Christ. There are more than 7000 promises God made to us through His Word, the Holy Bible. We hope you will take time to study and consider what God has promised you for 2016, and who you are because of those promises.

One of the ever increasing concerns in our world today is identity theft and having our personal identity compromised by one who wants to use it to perpetuate a crime. While we are bombarded with messages urging us to be vigilant to protect our identity from such manipulations, how many of us take the same precautions to protect our identification from the negative labels that run through our own minds or that bombard us about who we are as women? For example, perhaps you were called clumsy as a child so now believe you are hopelessly uncoordinated, or you were told your nose was crooked, so now you look in the mirror and believe you aren’t pretty, or you look in the mirror and don’t see a face that would grace a cover of a swim suit publication so you think of yourself as ugly, unworthy, or unattractive.

The Enemy seeks daily to steal our identity. Not through the misuse of a driver’s license or a credit card scam, but by planting negative comparisons of ourselves through words and images that bombard us through social media, television, radio and even from those we associate with daily. John 10: 10 reminds us that the purpose of the Enemy is to steal, kill and destroy. We alone can remind the Enemy who we are because of Jesus Christ. We alone can take the more than 7000 promises God gave us in His Word and remind the Enemy that He doesn’t get to steal our identity, our peace, our joy, our hope.

Our Heavenly Father, God Himself, gives us hope, peace, and assurance through the Holy Spirit as we trust in His Truth (Romans 15:13). Let’s choose 2016 to be confident and full of assurance, because God knows our name—He has our name written on His Hand! (Isaiah 49:15), God loves us, even with all of our flaws and quirks—He loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). Furthermore, we can know that God leaps for joy over us and sings a happy song over us (Zephaniah 3:17).

The words of He Knows My Name, by Francesca Battistelli, are resonating through my head as I bring this year to a close. I am grateful that while the world around me may not protect my identity, or even know my name, I can enter 2016 with the confidence that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me, wants His best for me, and knows my Name.

Oh, Holy God, thank you. There is just nothing else to say, but thank you–for knowing who I am and who I can be; who the best me is. Thank you Lord God, that I don’t have to question my identity in You. You know me, and love me just as I am. Help me be bold to stand confident before the world, assured that because You love me, all things are possible and that never will You give me more than You can handle in my life. I trust You, Lord God, with 2016 and will stand each day in awe of Your amazing grace. Amen

Read Full Post »

I Samuel 2 and 3 relates the background of Samuel’s dedication to a life of service for the Lord God. The foundation of his faith-walk was grounded in the faith of his mother, Hannah. Whether we are a mother, grandmother, friend or sister, we as women have the opportunity to provide that same foundation of faith for someone today. Because Hannah trusted in a God who keeps promises, she exhibited a praying life filled with gratitude and faithfulness and her son grew to be a Godly man of powerful influence for the people of Israel.

When we celebrate the approaching holiday season and Thanksgiving with family and friends, will others see in us the same trust in a promise-keeping God so we reflect heart of gratitude similar to what Hannah exhibited? Perhaps 2015 has been a year of change and challenges. Perhaps there have been heavy moments of pain and sorrow. Perhaps there have been uncomfortable times and times that were just hard to handle. Perhaps there have been times that were filled with pain and defeat. Whatever we might have faced, we can choose to put our eyes on those moments and remain bogged down in the valley, or we can choose to keep our eyes on the Lord God who reminds us that He is for us and therefore no one can be against us.

May each of us keep our focus on the God who wants to remind us, “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the Glory of God” (2 Cor.1:20).

According to one theologian, Scripture contains 7959 promises made by God. Just relying on one promise per day would take 22 years to use each promise once. Caleb and Joshua lived 40 years on one promise. Hannah lived her whole life trusting God’s promise in fulfilling her prayer. In the daily challenges of life, it is easy for us to focus on the circumstances around us rather than keeping our hearts and mind on those promises of the Lord God.  “Promises predict the answers to prayer. They are the molds into which we pour our prayers.”

This week as we celebrate Thanksgiving, may our prayers reflect a grateful heart for a God who keeps His promises and flows grace, mercy, and love into our lives moment by moment in ways we can’t even see or imagine.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Read Full Post »

Over the last couple of weeks we have looked at the life of Hannah (I Samuel 1-3).  We have prayerfully considered the lessons from her life, looking for principles that might help us grow to be more effective for the Lord Jesus Christ in our daily, busy world.

In re-reading Hannah’s story, two phrases jumped off the page. “Year after year it was the same—Peninnah would taunt Hannah…” (I Sam 1:7) And the second phrase that caught my attention was the question from her husband, Elkanah, who asked, “What is the matter, Hannah? Why aren’t you eating? Why be so sad just because you have no children? You have me—isn’t that better than having ten sons?” (I Sam 1:8)

In this passage, Hannah didn’t respond to the bullying of Peninnah, nor to what appears to be a self-focus and perhaps even emotional neediness of her husband. Instead, Scripture makes it abundantly clear that Hannah kept the main thing, the main thing. She was at Shiloh, the religious center of the nation at that time, so she went to meet with her Lord God in prayer at the Tabernacle. Rather than focusing on the mean-girl syndrome perpetuated by Peninnah, or asking God to change her husband in some way, she took delight in time with the Lord and cried out to the Lord for the desire of her heart. (Psalm 37:4)

Oh, this convicted me! How many times I respond to someone who frustrates me, or acts in a way that leads me to become angry, or exasperates me with their self-focus perspective. Yet, Hannah, does none of that. She focused on what her need was and kept that fervently before the Throne of Grace. Because she was so fervent and focused with her prayer, the priest actually accused her of drunkenness. Her honest and confident response communicated her intensity of her focus: “For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow.” I Samuel 1:16

And, the result was—God heard and God answered. Hannah kept her promise and God not only gave her a son, but multiplied her blessings back to her. Scripture doesn’t tell us, but I also suspect that God helped her to deal with the bullying and the self-focus of those who challenged her focus. He will for you and me too.

Oh, Lord Jesus Christ, may I today be all in, like Hannah, and keep my heart and mind focused only on You. Remind me Lord God, that “the main thing” is to bring my issues and concerns to You, and trust You to handle all that comes my way. Remind me today that my focus is to love You with all my heart, soul and mind. Remind me Lord that I am Yours and that  in You I am enough. Bring Romans 8 to mind often—that in You there is no condemnation; that in Christ I am more than a conqueror, and most importantly that when You are for me, no one can be against me! Go before me, Lord. Like Hannah, Lord, I am All In for keeping You the Main Thing. Amen

Read Full Post »

Hannah experienced the security and empowerment that comes from walking faithfully with her Lord God. Hannah could rejoice because she had experienced God’s faithfulness. God fought for Hannah and He wants to fight for you and for me. When we remain faithful to God, He reaches out and blesses us beyond all we could ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20).

Hannah kept her promise to release her son, Samuel, to the Lord’s full time service. Through her faithful obedience, God raised Samuel up to be a man of influence who blessed the people of Israel. Scripture reminds us that as Samuel grew, God was with him and Samuel’s prophetic record was flawless. God revealed His word through Samuel (I Samuel 3:19-21). Samuel became the voice of God for the people. Would that have happened if Hannah hadn’t been faithful?

The Butterfly Effect, by Andy Andrews, is a small, but powerful reminder of the legacy impact the seemingly small decisions we make have. A seemingly small decision to prevent the cruel death of a slave child years later led to that child growing into the great scientist George Washington Carver. Through his journey as a young man, he worked as a college student often watching over one of his professor’s young sons. That young child grew to later become a vice president of the United States and championed the creation of a laboratory that led to a discovery to bring water to desert regions, which later resulted in 2 billion lives being saved. Did the Carver’s save 2 billion people? Did George Washington Carver think he would as he entertained a young child in a botany lab? Did that young man who grew to be a politician and championed the building of the lab think that what he did could lead to saving so many lives?

Like Hannah, like Samuel, each of those modern heroes were just following the leading of the Lord to do has He guided. Yet, each exemplify a lesson for us, that when we are faithful God not only blesses those we lead, but multiplies our impact on the world with benefits we cannot conceive.

As a parent, we don’t know if our child may be the next Samuel, or the next George Washington Carver, or the next Dr. Salk, or some other great leader. What we can know is that when we remain faithful and raise them in the way they should go, and then release them to fulfill their God-given purpose, their lives will be blessed and our world will be impacted for God’s glory.

Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older they will remain upon it. (Proverbs 22:6)

To read more about Hannah and God’s faithful blessings on her and Samuel’s lives: I Samuel 1-3

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: