Beat It!

We are at day two of Release It!  Again, I encourage you to listen to Matthew West and pray while you breathe in what God is going to explore with you today.

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9J6xOT3Ldw

Abigail, a very wise woman, knew all too well the power of unforgiveness.  See, she was married to a not-so-nice man.  It wasn’t that he wasn’t so nice so much so that he was actually a horrible, ungrateful, hateful man; a fool.  Her husband’s name, Nabal, literally means fool (I am so sorry if this is your husband’s name).  You do not want to name your children after this man.

There was this army of men, approximately two hundred, marching her way.  They were David’s men (yep, that David, the one who had slain a giant.)  Nabal was the cause of these two hundred very angry men coming their way with the threat of revenge against his and Abigail’s entire household.  Their household was large! Like, the kind of large that put even the Duggars to shame in numbers.  It was not just her children, husband and self in that home.  There were servants, workers, slaves.  Abigail needed to think fast and this was not the first time she had to do so being married to Nabal, the fool.

Abigail, thinking swiftly to save her family and husband, ran to David and literally threw herself at his feet (face in dirt, ladies).  She begged for him to reconsider and save the lives of her household.  Face down in the dirt she laid begging for forgiveness on her husband’s behalf.  Can you just picture her?  She asked that the blame be on her, “Please forgive your servant’s offense, for the Lord will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my master, because he fights the Lords battles.  Let no wrongdoing be found in you as long as you live” (1 Samuel 25:28).  In her quick thinking, (this woman is truly remarkable) she had food prepared not only for David, but for his entire army of men.  She knew that David loved the Lord and fought for Him.  She had profound wisdom.  David soon realized that it was the Lord using Abigail, a very beautiful woman (I am sure that God used that to get David’s attention – guys!), to stop him from committing a grave action that he would have regretted making.  Abigail had no choice but to be able to think quickly and act decisively.  She was capable and intelligent and earned David’s admiration that very day.

Are we like Abigail?  Do we think quickly to “beat the heat” of a situation that could take us out of the good graces of the Lord or do we sit back and dwell in our misfortune?  We need to be Abigail!  We need to be intelligent with our life.  Being intelligent as a child of God who embraces forgiveness.  Because of Abigail the scales fell from David’s eyes and he forgave her husband’s foolishness.  There are times when someone may have been foolish towards us and it results in hurt feelings or pride, but it is the Abigail in us that will rise up to forgive.  The heat can be gone as soon as it comes if we are willing to see it first and act upon it wisely as Abigail did.

Who is ready to be an Abigail? (I am so ready to hear God’s voice and release it!

Further Reading in the Scriptures: 2 Chronicles 7:14, Psalm 25:11, Psalm 130:4-5, Luke 17:4, 2 Corinthians 2:7 

Tara DeMaris

Join us tomorrow for our next segment of the Release It week; Drop It!

Boil It!

This is the first article of the week in the Release It segment.  Before you begin take a deep breath; this won’t be easy for all.  Say a prayer for God’s hand to guide you and start with this link with the talented Matthew West and then read.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9J6xOT3Ldw

It’s there.  It’s deep.  It hurts.

There is not one person on this planet that can say they have not been wronged by another person.  No one can say they have not been hurt by someone.  Hurt that is emotional, physical, spiritual.  It all hurts.  What we do with that emotional and psychological hurt is what matters.

I am one who keeps feelings inside.  I do not like hard confrontation in any circumstance.  It is hard for me to let things go. (No, really. Ask my husband.)   I hold on to my hurt feelings and pain until one day I’ve reached the boiling point and spewed over and scorched not only me, but those around me.  I have been married nearly fifteen years  now (YAY ME!!).  I can honestly say that there have been more hard moments than anything and just in the last couple years I have realized that even though confrontation is the least desired path of healing for me, I know it is what is best.  I have not perfected this by any means (again, ask my husband), but I am a work in progress; um we all are.  I can’t let an argument that ended with my feelings and pride being hurt linger inside and boil.  That boiling resolves into trouble because I explode after a while; boiling fragments of words and well, saliva.  I literally loose it and yell and scream and have been known to throw a few things (not at people).  Told you I’m not perfect!  When that happens it isn’t me needing to forgive, but I am the one needing forgiveness.

Luke 6:37-38 states, “Do not judge and you will not be judged.  Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.  Forgive, and you will be forgiven.  Give, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (NIV)  Forgive.  It takes us using all that humility within us to just forgive because in that moment not only are you forgiving the wrong done to you, but you are also being forgiven.  Most often the hurt happens because there are two or more hurting each other, yep the guilt lands on both.  “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” Matthew 6:14.  This is not what we want.  We want to know that we can repent and be forgiven, but if we are harboring ill feelings because of something that has wronged us, we are no better than those who have hurt us.  It takes an extraordinary person to become meek, lowly and tame to forgive an offense. I’m still learning that with each circumstance in humility, my story is different and I have to come to the point where I accept that Christ gave everything for me.  Why would I not do the same for those I love. Most hurt happens between those we love and trust the most in this world.  It makes sense that we would need to come to our most humble self and forgive in all places.

This forgiveness does not mean that we have approved of sinful behavior.  Jesus did not approve of the adulterous behavior of the woman at the well, but He accepted her as being valuable and worthy of His love.  We need to recognize the worth of others.   Our behavior needs to reflect a caring friendliness to them in spite of what they have done.

I pray, Lord, this hurt is not what You have desired for me.  I know that in my human existence I cannot forgive on my own and need You with me.  Take all the hurt and pain; all the broken pieces and mend them.  Give me compassion for those who have offended me, Lord. Amen.

Further Reading in Scriptures: Numbers 14:18-20, Jeremiah 31:34

Tara DeMaris

Continue with us each day this week to learn more on forgiveness and what it means. This isn’t easy for us all to read, I am one of those.  God brought me to a point where I was in literal pain because I wouldn’t forgive others or myself.  It’s time to RELEASE IT!!!

Through His Eyes

One night before clubs, I prayed “God, let me see each child, as you see them, through Your eyes.”  I have prayed this prayer many times during my teaching career.  However, this night I heard His voice say back to me. “Why can’t you see yourself through My eyes?”  It hit me like a ton of bricks.  I pondered this thought for a couple of days and asked myself two questions.

  1. How do I see myself?
  2. How does God see me?

The first question was the hard one.  I had to be honest with myself, which isn’t always easy.  I know I view myself as a wife, mother, friend and educator.  I also know I am a sinner and I feel as though I am a failure.  Those were the easy answers.  The hard answers came when I stood in front of the mirror and took a hard look.  I saw an overweight woman, in her forties, with lots of wrinkles, and grey hair looking back at me.

The second question was easy I just had to go to my life guide, The Bible, for the answers.  Yes, answers. There are many different verses on how God sees us. As I started to read the different verses I thought “with this many verses, why do I not see myself through God’s eyes?”  I picked three verses that I have written down and strategically placed for me to see each and every day.

The first verse comes from Psalm 139.   David writes how God is always there for us and knows all about us.  He created us.  “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14; I chose this verse because I am one of His works. I am wonderful!!

I then went to Galatians 3:26, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”  When I accepted Jesus as my Savior and made Him Lord over my life I became His child. I belong to Him.  I am His child.

The last verse I wrote is Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good words, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  The study notes stated that workmanship is His masterpiece.  I know when an artist makes a masterpiece he takes his time and has a purpose.  God took his time creating me, knowing every sin I would make and he still created me, carefully for a purpose.  He made me to become His masterpiece.

With these verses I can start to see myself through His eyes.  I am His wonderful creation; His masterpiece.  I am created for His purpose and good works.

Lord, I pray that we all can start seeing ourselves as You see us.  Please allow us to look through Your eyes and see the same beautiful masterpiece You see.  I thank You for grace and mercy, and that You continue to mold us. Amen.

Shannon Smith

Shannon is the mother to three wonderful children and wife to Scott for almost sixteen years.  Together their family makes their home in northern Minnesota on a 40 acre farm.  They love all things outdoors including hunting and fishing and taking care of their chickens and cow.  Shannon’s passion lies in teaching her students, writing and reading.  One day, it is her dream to write a children’s book.  Shannon’s heart is to love the Lord and be used of Him.  Shannon has her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Bemidji State University.

Shannon is the mother to three wonderful children and wife to Scott for almost sixteen years. Together their family makes their home in northern Minnesota on a 40 acre farm. They love all things outdoors including hunting and fishing and taking care of their chickens and cow. Shannon’s passion lies in teaching her students, writing and reading. One day, it is her dream to write a children’s book. Shannon’s heart is to love the Lord and be used of Him. Shannon has her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Bemidji State University.

Speed Bumps aka Topes (tope-As) 

“Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the wilderness. By day the pillar of cloud did not fail to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take.” Nehemiah 9:19

Driving  where I live is one of my biggest challenges.  Why you ask?  Well, because I live in Mexico.  Not only do they drive very aggressively, but street signs are rarely followed (speed limits, stop signs etc.)  So to help enforce speed limits, speed bumps are put down to slow the flow of traffic.  On any given  day we will drive over 15-20 speed bumps.  My kids think they are fun and scream out “Tope Tope” when we go over one.  I think they are frustrating.  I’ll just get up to the speed that is posted and then I’ll hit this GIANT speed bump and have to slow down to five miles or less.  Often times there are more than three in a row.  Even if I drive slowly the bottom of my car sometimes scrapes causing me to growl about people just obeying the signs in the first place so they wouldn’t need so many speed bumps!  Yes, I am a missionary who rants. I’m still human!

In our Christian walk and our daily life we hit rough patches.  The kids get up late  for school, the cake you are baking for the church dinner overcooks, or more serious things like a family member becomes sick or even dies.  Some speed bumps in the road are easier to get over than others. Sometimes your heart is scraped raw because of life circumstances. We try to rush around and hide what is really going on or how we feel, but really God wants us to trust in Him when  we face these difficult moments.  The children of Israel hit quite a few speed bumps as they wandered around in the desert.  Our Scripture talks about how God didn’t abandon them on their path.  They could have arrived to the Promised Land much sooner, but God had things He wanted to teach them along the way.

We have two choices when we come to these bumps; one, sit in the road and throw a pity party and quite possibly cause more problems or, two, take it slow. Go over the bump and continue to Trust that God has everything under control.  As we learn to listen to His instruction and obey, these bumps that seemed huge become more passable and seem to lessen in size.

Lord, we pray that You will instill in us the  trust we need to follow hard after You and say yes to You.  Help us to make the right choices that line with Your will and Your plan for our lives. Amen.

Julia Martin

Julia Martin Julia is a missionary to Mexico with her husband, Duane and two lovely daughters.  Her passion is in sharing the Word of God with others and being able to see them “get it”. Julia was called as a young girl into missions, but it wasn’t until 2004 while on a trip to Queretaro that they knew as a couple this would one day be their mission field.  She will be remembered as a woman after God’s own heart and always following His guidance, wherever that may take her.  Psalm 37:44, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Julia Martin
Julia is a missionary to Mexico with her husband, Duane and two lovely daughters. Her passion is in sharing the Word of God with others and being able to see them “get it”. Julia was called as a young girl into missions, but it wasn’t until 2004 while on a trip to Queretaro that they knew as a couple this would one day be their mission field. She will be remembered as a woman after God’s own heart and always following His guidance, wherever that may take her. Psalm 37:44, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

GIVE ME SLEEP OR GIVE ME GROWTH

Key Verse: Ephesians 5:20, “give thanks in all things”.

So I should be sleeping, but obviously I am awake, or at least I hope I am because this could end up being a really strange blog otherwise. My two year old daughter has been waking me up in the middle of the night consistently for the past three or four months. Sometimes with sleep terrors, sometimes for a drink of milk or to go potty. Sometimes she wakes up three, four, five times a night screaming angrily in her sleep. I have been trying to figure out how to fix this to no avail.

It is so temping to feel sorry for myself or get bitter that I am the only one capable of getting up and caring for her calmly. My husband does not function sanely in the middle of the night, or at least that is what he has me believing ; ) Sometimes I just want to throw my head back and cry like a baby… “Can’t I get one decent night of sleep, God!? Is this too much to ask for? I have to teach equations and common denominators tomorrow with a smile, proving that learning is fun! I have to try and create a peaceful and creative learning environment all while cleaning up pee accidents, cooking meals, unclogging toilets, and answering deep questions like, ‘why is starvation in the world?’, ‘why can’t my stuffed animals go with me to heaven?’, and ‘why shouldn’t I eat my boogers?’…surely, sleep isn’t too much to ask for?!”

Then there is the part of me that knows better. After having five children, I know what sleepless nights consist of. I’ve had my share of desperate exhaustion. I have concluded, there is beauty even in this. As I wake up with my daughter, I am hit with the reality that at that very moment someone else is waking up to one of their children having a seizure. At that very moment, someone is waking up in a hospital chair to check on a loved one that might not make it through the night. At that very moment, a mother somewhere far away, in a entirely different world than I will ever know, is selling her body so she can feed her hungry child the next day. At that very moment, someone is waking up and remembering that the person that use to sleep beside them is no longer there. This is someone’s reality.

You see, in every moment, I believe you can find beauty. The beauty found here, is the awareness of how grateful I am not to be waking up to these other circumstances. This beauty is a reminder of how fortunate I am. If allowed, this beauty can also create in me deeper compassion. As I sit here tonight and I pray for those that are waking up with me, whoever or wherever they might be, I am convinced that I can connect with them on a very small scale. I can conjure up a small degree of compassion for those who are less fortunate than I. I can dig deeper the wells of my heart with greater awareness of the world around me. With every tiny moment of growth in my heart, it makes me stronger and more capable of ministering to others. It creates in me wider degrees of relation with those who are less fortunate, who are struggling in large or small matters.

Everything we go through is for a purpose, but sometimes that purpose can only be accomplished if we allow it to do its work. We know that Ephesians 5:20 says to “give thanks in all things”. This is such a short verse, hardly seems like a deep revelation, but it is!! Through exercising this scripture, we begin to develop peace and a fantastic embrace of contentment. Suddenly, I begin to see that it’s not that God isn’t hearing my prayers for more sleep, He is hearing a deeper crying of my heart to be made more. To be made able to reach into wells of compassion for others, and be ready for His using. All that you are going through dear mother, is for a reason. This season of your life is developing your wells. It is making you more capable. I know there are moments when you feel like you have nothing left to give, that you have lost yourself in the mess of baby spit and fighting kids, but alas…this is not your end. This is your training ground, this is your boot camp. If you can survive this, or rather thrive through this, you will be so ready for whatever situation God brings your way. You will be made ready to draw from the deep compassion wells of your soul and rub an anointed salve of understanding on those around you. God didn’t call you to be a mother because you weren’t capable of more, on the contrary, you were made for greatness that only through mothering can it be drawn out of you.

Sarah Jane Roberts

Sarah Jane has a passion for children, not just her own five children and one on the way, but also for orphans all over the world.  Together, Sarah Jane and her husband, Willy, have dedicated their musical lives to support orphans through their non-profit organization, Orphan’s Cry Ministries.  Sarah Jane is a woman who wants God to reveal His love through her life and hopes all who cross her path be encouraged. You can check out Sarah Jane and Willy's music and other merchandise at orphanscrymusic.com where you can also donate to help support their mission.

Sarah Jane has a passion for children, not just her own five children and one on the way, but also for orphans all over the world. Together, Sarah Jane and her husband, Willy, have dedicated their musical lives to support orphans through their non-profit organization, Orphan’s Cry Ministries. Sarah Jane is a woman who wants God to reveal His love through her life and hopes all who cross her path be encouraged. You can check out Sarah Jane and Willy’s music and other merchandise at orphanscrymusic.com where you can also donate to help support their mission.

Showers of Righteousness

Deuteronomy 28:12, “The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands.  You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.”

I have had those really hard, unable to understand seasons.  Those times when you did nothing wrong, nothing to provoke the most unkind words, hurtful actions and unguided feelings.  I have had those, so many times.

I was asked, with the help of another, to guide the youth ministry in the church we were attending.  We had several volunteers help the two of us with all the teens; you know how much help is needed when working with them – A LOT.  There was this one woman who volunteered to help, but she really didn’t want to help in love.  Her love was in misguided criticism and hurtful comments about and toward me.  I tried to talk to her about her feelings toward me, but it made it worse.  I had no idea what to do with this sort of threatening behavior.  After all,  most of the time I am well liked and try to take everyone’s ideas and opinions into consideration, which is what I thought I had done for this woman.

This treatment continued for months.  I didn’t know what to do so I sought counsel from our pastor and trusted friends who knew us both well.  I was told, “this is just how she is” and “she will come around”.  I just could not accept it.  This was not how a woman who calls herself a Christian and someone who wants to work with teens should act toward another person; ever.  I didn’t understand how it was just accepted as normal behavior and okay.   God asked me to pray for her heart to be healed.  I was not to do an outward extension of love, because she would not accept that from me.  That is what I did.  I prayed and prayed and prayed.  I prayed for the words to say to this woman.  I prayed for understanding in why she was treating me this way.  I prayed for her heart. I prayed that God would show me whatever I had done to hurt or offend her, but it was clear that I had done nothing.  This reaction she had toward me was from her own will.

Eventually she faded from wanting to help with the youth and from other areas of ministry as well.  I still pray for a friendship with this woman, but as far as I know there is still something in her heart that stops her from wanting the same.  I can rest in knowing that God is working on her heart and it is not my job to fix her hurt.

I was reminded of this while studying with Lysa TerKeurst recently, “ Sow for yourself righteousness [right choices that honor God even when you don’t feel like it], reap the fruit of unfailing love [love for the lovely and unlovely alike], and break up your unplowed ground [whether that be the blockades in your driveway or blockades in your heart]; for it is time to seek the Lord [embrace Him with all your heart], until He comes [and He most certainly will] and showers [more than you could ever hope for or imagine] righteousness on you.” (Hosea 10:12)

Lord, hurt comes in many forms, but today I ask that You will reveal to us any enemy that we need to extend grace and mercy to.  I may not want to be kind to them for hurting me, threatening me, or placing misguided blame on me, but I will be kind with Your help to walk me forward.  Thank You, for loving me when I was nothing more than a sinner and careless.  In Your Name, Amen.

Tara DeMaris

Tara, graduate of Crown College, is the mother to four beautiful children.  Together, Tara and her husband, David, and their family make their home in Northwest Missouri.  Tara is passionate about reaching the hearts of women and young ladies.  She loves to write and teach God's Word.  God put a desire in Tara's heart over six years ago to start a ministry that reached women.  Today Tara has founded Titus II Woman Ministries and God is showing her miracles and his hand at work every day.

Tara, graduate of Crown College, is the mother to four beautiful children. Together, Tara and her husband, David, and their family make their home in Northwest Missouri. Tara is passionate about reaching the hearts of women and young ladies. She loves to write and teach God’s Word. God put a desire in Tara’s heart over six years ago to start a ministry that reached women. Today Tara has founded Titus II Woman Ministries and God is showing her miracles and his hand at work every day.

Finding the Joy God Desires for You

Key Verse: Psalm 51:12, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and renew a right spirit within me.”

Annette-Island-Reserve-Tsimshian-people

Lately I have been thinking about happiness, or even deeper down – joy.  Where does this come from? Why are people so often not experiencing joy in their lives? So I pondered on this, this very rainy cool day in my very own Garden of Eden. Where has the joy gone from peoples lives?

I live in southeast Alaska and I live on the only Indian Reservation in the state of Alaska. It is a culture steeped with beauty and faith but, the joy is not always here in the native’s lives as in many of our lives.  We live here on the most beautiful island, “Annette Island”. The whole reason that the Tsimshian (shem-sheun) people left Canada and came to Alaska was for Faith in God. Rev. William Duncan learned their language and taught them love and joy in God.

Then I read a verse that is a prayer that I believe we need pray for ourselves; “God, please restore unto me the joy of MY salvation!” Do we realize what Jesus really did for us on Calvary? By His grace we were saved, but by that same grace we are empowered to live successful, joyful, victorious Christian lives! Yes, joyful! Our God is a happy God, and He loves to laugh, and He smiles often when He looks down on His creation.

The next step after asking for joy is this: “Renew a right spirit within me”.  Many times we can’t see the victory for the circumstance. We need to pray, “Father, help me to have a right spirit.”  Not a grumbling spirit, not a selfish spirit, not a pity me spirit – but the same spirit that Jesus had, “let me have that spirit to overflowing.”

When we ask, truly ask, with a heartfelt plea – God hears and, believe me, He does answer! There is one thing I detest more than anything else in the ministry, my children can attest to this; it is having to move. I had a really bad attitude when God started making Himself known to my husband and gently nudging me that it was time to leave a place I was calling home. I would argue with God, I would plead with God, and I would get angry with God.  Then on one of these occasions God said, “Glennette, do you trust me? Do you not believe that where I place you, you will thrive and love?” I responded, “Yes, Lord I trust You.  I know You will create within me love for people anywhere. But, God, why do I have to leave those that I love now?” He just says trust! So, I prayed this with every bit of my being, Father, help me to be content, happy, joyful and love whereever it is you send me.” He has been faithful and there has not been one place I have lived that I have not fallen in love with or not found JOY in.  So the next time you are faced with something that is stealing your joy. Resist!  Then pray, “please restore unto me the joy of my salvation”, for salvation means everything.

Glennette Christian

Glennette Christian, the mother to three grown children, knows that God has had a constant leading in her life.  He has taken her to many places throughout the United States in ministry and currently has been led to Metlakatla, Alaska with her husband, Michael where they love the land and people.  While also raising her family, Glennette and Mike took in several other children along the way that needed a loving reminder of what it meant to have a caring parent present in their lives.  She is the grandmother to ten beautiful children and loves every minute she gets with them.  Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (NIV)

Glennette Christian, the mother to three grown children, knows that God has had a constant leading in her life. He has taken her to many places throughout the United States in ministry and currently has been led to Metlakatla, Alaska with her husband, Michael where they love the land and people. While also raising her family, Glennette and Mike took in several other children along the way that needed a loving reminder of what it meant to have a caring parent present in their lives. She is the grandmother to ten beautiful children and loves every minute she gets with them. Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (NIV)

God’s Back Side

21 Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”

If you haven’t read the whole story that is happening here in Exodus, it’s amazing! Starting in Exodus 33:12-23, Moses is starting to wear thin. He’s just come off the mountain to see the Israelites have been worshipping the golden calf. The leadership in Aaron that he trusted caved under pressure and he’s beginning to wonder. He says to God, “you told me to lead these people; you say we’re special, but God you won’t even tell me your plans!” Then in verse thirteen he reminds God, “these are your people, you choose them.” Finally, Moses pleads with Him, “if you aren’t going with us, please call this off, I don’t want to go without knowing your presence is with me. Please, Lord, show me your glory!”

Have you ever felt this way? Oh boy I do! Days when the kids are on my last nerve, when my job isn’t going right, when my marriage isn’t the “movie plot” it should be. When life just isn’t making any sense and I cry, “God, you put me here! You said you’d be with me. I’ve tried to follow you and here we are with whiners and complainers and I don’t see your plan AT ALL! If you aren’t in this, I don’t want to go.  Show me your plan in all this mess!”

Here’s where it gets interesting. God agrees to show Moses his back side. I can’t help but think maybe God is agreeing to show me the same thing. I can’t see him face to face, but I can see evidence of where He’s been.

In the moments of frustration, is that the moment God has me covered with his hand? Maybe I just need to trust Him until He’s passed by and I see his back side, still leading me. He’s still in control. When we can’t see Him maybe He just has us under His protective hand and when it’s time we will see the evidence of Him.

Many times we don’t “see” God until we look back and can see His hand in the events that have taken place, giving us faith to continue to trust in the unseen before us. Sometimes, just seeing his back side; knowing He’s still leading has to be enough until the day when we will all see clearly as promised in 1 Corinthians 13:12.

If you struggle, like I do, with not knowing the plan for your life, or even your next day, maybe sitting down and remembering the ways you have seen God move in the past will give you the faith to trust Him when you can’t see or feel Him now.

Lord, I pray that You would help us to rest in the comfort of knowing You are leading us even when we can’t see Your hand. And God when we can’t see Your hand, help us to trust Your heart; knowing that when it’s right, we’ll see You by the evidence of what You’ve brought us through. Amen

Amanda Keller

Amanda is a homeschooling mother of two great children and wife to Nathan.  While Amanda grew up in Jordan, Montana, their family makes their home in Bismarck, North Dakota.  Amanda's passion for leading others in worship shines through along with her love for Jesus, her family and laughter.  Their family loves to support Compassion International in whatever way possible. Amanda holds associates degrees in both music performance and office administration from Trinity Bible College.  "your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do but something you raise." ~Andy Stanley

 

Amanda is a homeschooling mother of two great children and wife to Nathan.  While Amanda grew up in Jordan, Montana, their family makes their home in Bismarck, North Dakota.  Amanda’s passion for leading others in worship shines through along with her love for Jesus, her family and laughter.  Their family loves to support Compassion International in whatever way possible. Amanda holds associates degrees in both music performance and office administration from Trinity Bible College.  “your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do but something you raise.” ~Andy Stanley

 

Money or Trust?

Key Verse: Philippians 4:6-7 ,“Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

From the time I was old enough to start earning my own money, I was careful. I saved against a day when I might have need, and I worried that the little I could save wouldn’t be enough. Then I married a spender, and for years, my careful saving and his carefree spending created tension in our household. I didn’t want to feel that tension, but I couldn’t understand how he could spend without thought of tomorrow, nor could he understand why I needed to find security in our financial situation. Even after we both gave our lives over to God, the tension that I felt over finances continued to affect our daily lives. I couldn’t see that I doubted God’s ability or willingness to provide when I put such a focus on what I personally could do to save or earn. I heard the verses about the birds of the air and lilies of the field, and while it sounded good, I never seemed to internalize it.

Nearly two years ago, my husband came to me and told me that he wanted to quit his job and be a blogger. We had six children, a mortgage, and a car payment. I thought it impossible. I knew I couldn’t handle the uncertainty. He explained his vision to me, and why he thought it could work, and we agreed to both pray on it, but in the back of my mind, I knew that I couldn’t possibly live day to day without a guaranteed paycheck to look forward to. We prayed and talked for several months. Then one Sunday, I whispered a quiet prayer as we entered church. “Lord, please give us guidance. Make an answer clear- let us know your desires for our path.” Unknown to me, my husband was praying the same prayer that morning. At our church, there is no prepared sermon. The minister opens the Bible, reads wherever it falls open, and preaches on it, trusting that the Lord will provide inspiration and words. The Bible fell open to Luke 9; “Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money, neither have two coats apiece.” I found myself looking across the aisle at my husband in the men’s section and wondering if he was hearing what I was hearing. At the noon hour, we sat down at the table, and he said to me, “Did you hear what I heard this morning?” Not wanting to admit that God may have plans that didn’t take into account my need for financial security, I simply answered, “What did you hear?” Second service began, and the Bible fell open to Numbers 13. The minister talked about the Lord promising to give the land to the Israelites and yet with the exception of Caleb, the spies were too overcome with their own fears to grasp hold of the marvelous wonders that the Lord wanted to give them. I could no longer deny that God had a path for us and that He would provide. For the first time in my life, I felt a deep peace about tomorrow. I didn’t know what it would bring, but I knew it didn’t matter. God would provide. I had never been in control and I could now face that, and turn it over to God.

I won’t say it hasn’t been a struggle. It has, and it is still. But every time we think we’ve reached the end of our reserves, God is there to strengthen us. When we have a need, He provides. It might be an unexpected check in the mail, it might be a good pair of hand-me-down shoes just the right size and at just the right time for the kid who really needs them, or it might just be a word of encouragement when we are feeling low. I have finally given God all of my burdens, making known my requests through prayer and supplication, but most importantly, doing so with thanksgiving for His providence.

Lord, thank You for your providence in our lives. Thank You for directing our paths, and for providing peace which passeth all understanding as we walk the paths You would have us take. As we have been blessed, so help us to be a blessing to others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sara Lester

Sara, with her heart and home full of love, has seven wonderful children from the ages of thirteen to three months.  She enjoys homeschooling them all and having as much time with each of them as she can before they are grown.  Sara and her husband, along with their bubbling brood, make their home in Northwest Missouri, not far from the Iowa area where she grew up.  The best family time for Sara and her family is spent in the outdoors, enjoying the beauty of God’s creation.  Sara and her family help to support several charities through their church and you can learn about them at http://www.acworldrelief.org/.  Matthew 6:25-34 is Sara’s Scripture of choice and reminds her that her live is not her own, but fully God’s.

Sara, with her heart and home full of love, has seven wonderful children from the ages of thirteen to three months. She enjoys homeschooling them all and having as much time with each of them as she can before they are grown. Sara and her husband, along with their bubbling brood, make their home in Northwest Missouri, not far from the Iowa area where she grew up. The best family time for Sara and her family is spent in the outdoors, enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. Sara and her family help to support several charities through their church and you can learn about them at http://www.acworldrelief.org/. Matthew 6:25-34 is Sara’s Scripture of choice and reminds her that her live is not her own, but fully God’s.

What’s In a Name?

I have had this question on my mind for a while.  As a girl I really didn’t care for my name.  I thought, “Who would name their daughter Tara?  This is not a great name.  No one would know the true me behind this name.”  The teenage mind, right?  Well, I got to thinking during my quiet time one day.  What is in a name?  What does a name say about a person and what does God think of my name.  I began to do a little research on names. There. Are. So. Many.

Jesus, the name declared to Mary when the angel appeared to her and told her that she was going to carry the Savior of the world in her womb, literally means “Savior”.  This was what the angel told Joseph when he was considering divorcing Mary in secret so not to disgrace her name,  “She will give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins”(Matthew 1:21 ).  Read the whole account starting in Matthew 1:18.  In verse twenty-three we read the prophecy told, ‘“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” which means, “God with us.”’  The name of Jesus was given by GodHe deeply cared about the exact name given to the son of the God.  The name of Jesus had purpose and great meaning to him.  As with the name of Jesus so too do our names have great meaning to God. I mean, every single one of our names is written in The Book of Life (Isaiah 49:16).

If God cared so much for the perfect name of Jesus then He surely cared deeply about the names of others.  Abram’s name was changed by God to Abraham and his wife’s name changed to Sarah.  He gave them a new name in Him and Abraham became the father to many nations and God’s friend. God’s friend! I just pray that I am considered this. What a huge honor!  God cared so much for Abraham that He gave him a new name and what was promised by God to Abraham in exchange for simple obedience was kept, “descendants as numerous as there were stars in the sky.”  I can’t be the only one excited at this.

So, I started to look at my name; this name that my mother and father gave to me; the name I thought had no important or great meaning to it.  Tara.  My name, Tara, means “a tower”.  At first I was like, “Um. Seriously? I am short.”  I know you are laughing with me. Kind of a kindergarten response, but I started to think about what the Word of God says about towers and then I did research again. (You are going to have to do research too.)  What I found was not all good.  There was the tower of Babel in Genesis eleven.  Ya know, the one that was built so that the people could reach the heavens to make a name for them and not be scattered over the earth.  Well, God confused their language for building that tower and scattered them all across the earth anyway.  Yeah, not such a good tower story.  But then I came to Proverbs 18:10 and there I found my name to God.  It says, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”  This is my verse because what I want most is for all whom I come in contact with, in any form, is for them to feel that they are safe with me.  I want to speak the name of Jesus in truth and be a safe person in whom others learn the truth of God’s love.  This goes hand in hand with my passion of leading Titus II Woman Ministry.  However, cautionary footnote coming, I am still human and make mistakes.  I am still a work in progress, a process that will never cease.

So, I want to ask you, what is in your name?  What does your name mean?  What does God think of your name?  Find your verse in His Word and write it on your heart, on your mind, on your soul.  Also write it on an index card and put it wherever you need to see it all the time as a reminder that your name has great meaning in the sight of God.

Lord, my name once meant little to me, but today it has great meaning.  You have brought me from the womb with a purpose and my name has everything to do with that.  Take my name and make it Yours. I trust in You. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Tara DeMaris

Tara, graduate of Crown College, is the mother to four beautiful children.  Together, Tara and her husband, David, and their family make their home in Northwest Missouri.  Tara is passionate about reaching the hearts of women and young ladies.  She loves to write and teach God's Word.  God put a desire in Tara's heart over six years ago to start a ministry that reached women.  Today Tara has founded Titus II Woman Ministries and God is showing her miracles and his hand at work every day.