A Virtuous Women Who Can Find

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I have to admit, I struggled with this devotion today.  I found myself doubting if I live up to the standards of the Proverbs 31 women.  Then as I studied and prayed about this passage, the Lord showed me something new. Proverbs 31 is believed to be the embodiment of many virtuous women, not just one.She is described not by physical attributes but by her virtues, her Godly qualities. Already I’m feeling a whole lot better, aren’t you?

I realized It all comes down to our heart attitude toward God.  You see, the Proverbs 31 Woman is the epidemy of a godly woman, not because she’s perfect, but because all that she does is a result of her relationship with her Saviour. The Proverbs 31 women is an example to every woman who wishes to please the Lord because she fears Him first and foremost, and every other area of her life is abundantly blessed because of it. This doesn’t just apply to married women, but to every woman.  She understands what it means to be a woman after God’s own heart. If anything, the Proverbs 31 Woman should be an encouragement to all women to pursue a closer, more intimate relationship with Jesus.

 

So, I have learned that all I need to do in order to be a Proverbs 31 Woman, is put God first and focus on my relationship with Him. He desires to have our complete devotion, He wants to be our first love – and that, dear virtuous woman, is what He deserves.

She is praised not because of her own beauty, but because she is clothed with HIS beauty and HIS strength and HIS honor. When God is given His rightful place in our lives, then He can transform our personalities and everything He made in us to reflect His beauty and grace, thus making us virtuous!

 

 

 

 

Seeking Approval

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Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. –2 Timothy 4:2

I cannot believe in the spirituality of any Christian man who keeps an eye open for the approval of others, whoever they may be. The man after God’s own heart must be dead to the opinion of his friends as well as his enemies. He must be as willing to cross important persons as obscure ones. He must be ready to rebuke his superior as quickly as those who may be beneath him on the ecclesiastical ladder. To reprove one man in order to gain the favor of another is no evidence of moral courage. It is done in the world all the time.

We’ll never be where we should be in our spiritual lives until we are so devoted to Christ that we ask no other approbation than His smile. When we are wholly lost in Him the frantic effort to please men will come to an end. The circle of persons we struggle to please will be narrowed to One. Then we will know true freedom, but not a moment before.

“Lord, does anyone ever really get over the desire to seek the approval of others? That is a battle for which we are totally dependent on You for victory. Help me today to be content with only the smile of Your approval. Amen.”

– A.W. Tozer

Living In The Presence Of God

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How aware are you of the presence of God? Is your life lived in the very presence of God? Do you live in constant communion with Him? The Scriptures teach us that He is always with us:

He longs for you to dwell with Him, commune with Him, and delight in Him. He desires to be with us every moment of our day. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. —Psalm 16:11.  The greatest thing in all of life is to know God. In Him, you will find true meaning and purpose.

No matter where we go, God, is there. While it is true that we cannot flee from God’s presence, we must recognize that we can lose the sense of God’s presence:

How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your face from me? Psalm 13:1

If you’re in a season of feeling far from God, lean on Him. Trust the loving hand of your precious Savior and know that He will lead you to the other side.

1 Samuel 16:23 (NNAS) So it came about whenever the evil spirit from God came to Saul, David would take the harp and play it with his hand; and Saul would be refreshed and be well, and the evil spirit would depart from him.

That is a powerful testimony to the effect of music. I believe that music can greatly enhance our worship and our fellowship with the Lord. I know in my own life whenever I get down, whenever I am struggling spiritually, I put on a good praise song and my heart is encouraged and refreshed. It focuses our mind and heart upon the Lord and His goodness and helps me to dwell in his presence.

Let’s take God at His word, let’s choose to believe that “in His presence is fullness of joy”, and then let’s make every effort to live in His presence 24/7. Study His word and grow in the Grace and knowledge of Him.

“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Joshua 1:8

Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him, Nor speak anymore in His name.” But His word was in my heart like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not. Jeremiah 20:9

We have been joined to Christ, the God who created the universe dwells in us! I believe that there is so much more to the spiritual life than most believers ever experience. Let’s learn to practice the presence of God. As His children, let’s live in communion with Him, thinking of Him constantly, and seeking to do only those things that please Him. Let’s make practicing His presence the priority of our lives.

Renew Our Strength

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When our hope is in the Lord our strength is renewed. Whatever you are facing today you have a choice. Where will you put your hope?

God has a purpose and plan for your life, and His timing is perfect. Sometimes He answers our prayers with “yes” or “no.” But at other times, He says, “Wait.” When this is the case, we can avail ourselves of the rich rewards that come while we wait.

28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the LORDwill renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40 28-31

God promises to strengthen us as we lean on Him during delays. Isaiah 40:31 describes an eagle soaring—a beautiful metaphor for how the believer who abides in the Lord will be lifted and sustained by His Spirit.

When David faced his greatest battles, he waited upon the Lord. God delivered him from destruction and set his feet on solid ground (Psalms 40: 1-3). He will do the same for you. When you abide in Him, He gives us the energy to accomplish the things He requires of you—His Spirit does for you what you cannot do for yourself.

I waited patiently for the Lord;  And He inclined to me, And heard my cry.
He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth—Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the Lord. Psalm 40 1-3

Please help me to learn to quietly wait upon You and to rest in Your love – knowing that you have scheduled every day of my life. Give me the courage and wisdom to be still and to wait quietly, patiently and expectantly knowing that Your timing is perfect and that You know the plans that You have purposed for my life, even though I do not!

Father’s Love Letter

An intimate Message from God to You…This is a beautiful video showing God’s immeasurable love for us through scripture.  I hope you are blessed as you watch!

Unconditional Love Of God

 

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Do you believe God loves you unconditionally?

This is what I (wrongly) believed: If I am good, I am acceptable. If I help people … if I am a blessing instead of a burden … well, then I am accepted. But, if I fail, mess up, then I feel like a reject — not acceptable to God.

My skewed belief was that I was acceptable only when I was doing well or in the center of God’s will. Clearly, I had not truly embraced my identity in Christ because acceptance is what I already have. We all struggle to some degree with believing God loves us unconditionally. Many of us believe that we have to earn God’s favor. We think, “I read my Bible, so He loves me.” Or, “Things aren’t going so well, so it must be because I’m not doing it right.”

The Lord your God is with you; He is mighty to save and deliver. He will quiet you with His love and rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)

In this passage, God tells a rebellious people that He actually stands over them singing and rejoicing, like a mother sings over her children to calm them down.

No matter what you have done or how bad you may have blown it, the truth of God’s love is that the God of the Universe, the Creator of this world loves you!

As a believer in Jesus Christ, His spirit dwells inside of us. And He wants to deliver us and quiet the stress of our heart with a love that’s unconditional and not based on our performance.

Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” In spite of our sinfulness, God demonstrated His love by sending His Son Jesus to die for us.

Truly, every person was created with a desire and need in his or her heart to love God and feel His love. But it is what we choose to do with this desire—act upon it or ignore it—that draws us closer to the Father or away from Him.

When we enter into a loving relationship with God, He is able and willing to offer His wisdom to guide us  James 1:5.  When we embrace God’s love, we will begin to see people and circumstances as He sees them—from the vantage point of His love.

In light of this, why would anyone choose to refuse God’s love? If you are ready to reap the benefits of God’s perfect love, reach out to Him in prayer today. Ask Him to help you overcome the hindrances so that you may rejoice in His everlasting and tender care.

God’s love is unconditional, it’s free, and all we have to do to experience it is accept it, and rejoice in it. Let’s stop trying to earn God’s love and let ourselves experience it!

Prayer For Salvation

God’s love is not based on our goodness or how we perform but rather on who’s we are and we are all God’s children when we accept His son, Jesus Christ, who gave His life for all of us. Receiving the love of Jesus and living in his love every day, is the first and most essential step in having a love worth giving. Jesus gave His life for you! If you desire to know God’s unconditional love and want to follow Jesus, you can pray this prayer of salvation.

“Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.”

If you decided to repent of your sins and receive Christ today, welcome to God’s family. Now, as a way to grow closer to Him, the Bible tells us to follow up on our commitment.

  • Get baptized as commanded by Christ.
  • Tell someone else about your new faith in Christ.
  • Spend time with God each day. It does not have to be a long period of time. Just develop the daily habit of praying to Him and reading His Word. Ask God to increase your faith and your understanding of the Bible.
  • Seek fellowship with other followers of Jesus. Develop a group of believing friends to answer your questions and support you.
  • Find a local church where you can worship God.

Yearn For Jesus

This is the cry of my heart!  My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Psalms 84:2  May the Holy Spirit fill you with passion for our Lord Jesus Christ Today!

Stepping Out In Faith

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“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27

Have you ever been exhausted waiting for God to answer your prayers? Or have you ever prayed for something so much bigger than you—that only a God-intervention makes it happen?

Last week, I started praying for something that on the surface seems insurmountable. I am stepping out in faith like never before.  This is a prayer request a couple years in the making.  My faith bubbled up in me as I put my request through the filter of God’s word.  I was not asking with wrong motives, in fact, I felt the Lord would be glorified. I have been reading through the book of Deuteronomy and have been overwhelmed at the mighty hand of God that moves dramatically throughout the pages of His Word. The Bible say’s that as Moses neared the end of his life, he reminded the people of Israel about the mighty hand of God.

Because the Lord loves you … the Lord has brought you out [of Egypt] with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage” (Deuteronomy 7:8, NKJV).

After Moses died, the Israelites stood on the banks of the overflowing Jordan, ready to cross into the Promised Land. It looked insurmountable. The water was swift and deep. But God told Joshua to instruct the priests to go and “stand in the Jordan” (Joshua 3:8). As they approached the rushing torrent, nothing happened.

But when they touched the water’s edge with their feet, God worked a miracle and stopped the river. The priests stood in the middle of the Jordan until a million or more Hebrews had crossed into the Promised Land. When they stepped out on the other bank, the water resumed flowing.

After studying the scriptures I started realizing, that I have a tendency to put human limitations on my prayer requests.  Now I am not naive enough to believe that God is going to give me everything I ask for simply because I ask for it. He is too wise and too loving for that. He knows much more about my situation than I do, and many times will override my prayers because He knows He has a better plan. I decided if I was going to go out on a faith limb, I was going to go all the way out. I called several of my prayer partners and asked them to pray for the impossible with me.

Jesus said, “The things that are impossible for people to do are possible for God to do.” Luke 18:27

Is it impossible for God?  Our Heavenly Father made everything we see, and everything we can’t, with a word. He breathed life into this world, He designed and created it all. There are no limitations to His power. He can (and does!)

Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. Genesis 2:7

Oh, how this must grieve the heart of my Heavenly Father when I limit His power. He knows how much more He wants to do in my life if only I’ll invite Him.

Let’s start to be bold with our prayers.  I want my prayers and faith to go beyond human power. I want to bring everything to my Heavenly Father, every care, every need. Not with a demanding heart, but with one with positive expectation.

I don’t need to worry about how God decides to answer. How wonderful it is that we can trust our Heavenly Father with ALL our requests.  Knowing with all certainty that He and only He knows how to answer my prayers.

I don’t know how the Lord will answer my leap of faith, I have peace knowing He knows the hearts involved.  I pray the Holy Spirit will go before me, preparing the way.  I’m tired of playing it safe. It’s time to cast off my fears, remove the limitations I’ve placed on God, and invite Him into every situation I face — especially those that seem hopeless. It’s then I’ll see God’s power, not mine.

God will get the glory when we press forward in prayer and faith. We refuse to give up or give in and God will honor it with answered prayer in His perfect timing.

Learning To Accept God’s Love

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Do you ever struggle with unanswered prayers?

Although, every believer has unanswered prayer, it can sometimes, lead a person to conclude that he or she is not worthy enough or deserving of God’s favor.

I have had such a deep longing within my heart that I’ve desperately wanted to see come to pass. For the last several years I have waited for the Lord to answer my prayer. I wait patiently on my good days and tell myself “It’s just not God’s timing yet”  But, on my bad days I feel afraid and hurt and unworthy.

I began to wonder why I struggled with unanswered prayer so much and why I always felt defeated.  You see, I never realized the correlation between how I view God and my prayer life before; Let me explain.

I was raised in an angry, abusive home where I was sexually abused. The only role models I had were quick tempered mean alcoholics.  Needless to say,  I grew up scared of men. My life was filled with so much fear, pain, hurt, betrayal, and lies. Manipulation and deceit were at the core of our home.  I found myself thinking I was not lovable. In my mind if my own parents could not love me, there had to be something wrong with me.

So years later, after I became a believer, the concept of a kind, loving heavenly Father was a completely foreign concept to me. The words my pastor spoke sounded wonderful, like a fairy tale, but deep down I couldn’t escape the sense of God’s judgement and anger.  Even when I read my Bible, I seemed to focus on the legalism aspect of scripture. And every time I failed, messed up or fell short, I felt myself the target of God’s anger. I came to almost expect unanswered prayer, because I believed I did not deserve to be blessed.

This began a cycle of falling short all the time and making unwise choices.  Never realizing the connection between my childhood and my skewed perception of God.  The years of an unloving atmosphere filled with anger and fear had warped my brain, therefore, unconsciously blocking the truth of who God really was.

It wasn’t until after my second abusive marriage, I began to recognize that I had become comfortable with accepting less than what the Lord desired for me.  This was bolstered by the declaration from my ex-husband that the Lord had told him to divorce me and had in fact, taken me out of our marriage for his ministry.  That are marriage was never ordained by God.?  I guess in some way, this belief somehow absolved him of all the hurt he had caused me. Since I had been long ago programmed to believe that everything was my fault, I bought into his lie.  This had devastating effects on my heart and feelings of worth. I felt so much shame for my divorce and thought, “here I go again disappointing God, once again falling short, I had failed as a wife.”  I did not even sign my divorce papers when I was served, because I feared God’s wrath.

I remember sharing with my counselor that I desperately wanted to please God.  I shared how I knew God was mad at me, because I had failed again.  That I knew I did not deserve a happily ever after, like most Christians.  My counselor took my hand and said “Cheryl, God is not angry with you, He loves you, He cares for you and He understands your past and wants desperately to heal you. Slowly thru my brokenness and pain, and on my knees seeking God, that the truth started soaking in.  I think this was the first time I realized that maybe, it was true, God was not angry with me and in fact loved me.

The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. Psalm 145:8

This verse which says God is slow to anger, that He offers forgiveness when I confess my failures and that He does not hold my shortcomings against me, began transforming not only my brain, but my heart. And if that were not awesome enough, the fact that God is abounding in mercy and loving-kindness toward us..” As I meditated on this verse I began to believe God’s truth, the massive wall that had protected my heart as a child and continued into adulthood, slowly began to come down.

The unanswered prayer that was weighing on my heart for so long, was lifted.  I began to see that the Lord is my Daddy, the Dad I never had.  I realized as I love my children unconditionally and want what is best for them, so does my Heavenly Father.  My prayers began to change, I started trusting that I could trust Him with my deepest hurts and needs.  He knows my heart and the heart of the person I was praying for.  He and only He knows how this prayer should be answered. I began to truly have a peace that passes all understanding.  Knowing if this door closes, He has something better for me.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. in all your ways acknowledge Him,  and He will make your paths straight Psalm 3:5-6

He is our gracious heavenly Father who loves and accepts us as we are, patiently bearing with us, teaching and guiding us as we grow and mature in Christ. He is not mad at me, and He is not mad at you. God is for us, not against us (Romans 8:31). He has good plans for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11), and He loves us with an everlasting love.

Jeremiah 31:3 The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

Sometimes our past experiences shape us in ways we don’t fully understand. But through the power of the Holy Spirit, God reshapes us, transforming our hearts and minds as only He can. Though it often takes time, God’s truth can work its way deeply into our hearts and completely break down walls built of lies. And oh, how He loves to bring those walls down!  I learned I am worthy, worthy of love and am a beloved child of God.  Amen

So, the sentence at the beginning; Although, every believer has unanswered prayer, it can sometimes, lead a person to conclude that he or she is not worthy enough or deserving of God’s favor. Is far from the truth, The Lord either answers are prayers with a yes, or a no and No is because we have a good Father in God, who, just like a good earthly father, desires to give His children what’s best for them even if He has to say no to something they want right now. Or He is teaching you to trust in His timing, to wait on Him, If you’ve asked God for answers but find yourself waiting longer than you planned, take a moment now to thank Him in advance for His answer. Trust that He is working behind the scenes on your behalf. Don’t give up. Look forward in hope and expectancy for Him to respond and remember that the Lord is good to those who seek Him.   The question is: Do we really believe that He is good? If we did, wouldn’t that be cause to celebrate, whether He says yes or no?

Father God, today I choose joy because I believe You are always saying yes. Sure, there are places of disappointment in my life and there are things I would like to be different, but I choose to give thanks. Starting today, I choose to respond to You as if You are always good — a Father who has my best in mind. Because You are good. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. It is the belief that God will do what is right.” Max Lucado

Consuming Fire

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We should worship God with reverence because He is a consuming fire!  Hmmm.

Ever wonder what that means? Is it His Holiness? Does this warn of judgment? Is this an expression of his purity? Yes, YES, YES! You see, God is Holy and pure and righteous. Our imperfections, flaws, failures, and sins stand out glaringly in comparison to His perfection. Yet rather than destroying us with His Holy fire. He can make us new and clean and so much more than what we once were. So not only can we draw near to Him because of Jesus, we can stay near Him as we live Jesus’ life in our world (see Hebrews 13). That, my friend, is reverential worship at its finest!

If you have never placed your faith in Jesus Christ I plead with you to do so today before it is too late.

He is the only way to eternal life. Jesus shed His blood for the forgiveness of your sins, He did this out of His love for you so that you can spend eternity in heaven with Him by simply accepting the free gift of salvation that He is offering, (Ephesians 2:8-9, John 5:24, John 3:16, Romans 10:9-13, Romans 3:25).

Prayer for salvation:

“God, I recognize that I have not lived my life for You up until now. I have been living for myself and that is wrong. I need You in my life; I want You in my life. I acknowledge the completed work of Your Son Jesus Christ in giving His life for me on the cross at Calvary, and I long to receive the forgiveness you have made freely available to me through this sacrifice. Come into my life now, Lord.  Come into my heart and be my king, my Lord, and my Savior. From this day forward, I will no longer be controlled by sin, or the desire to please myself, but I will follow You all the days of my life. Those days are in Your hands. I ask this in Jesus’ precious and holy name. Amen.”