I Will Survive

The song that we all know so well is already running through your head, isn’t it, but just to make sure that you are getting the right words let’s review them…

…At first I was afraid I was petrified Kept thinking I could never live Without you by my side But then I spent so many nights Thinking how you did me wrong And I grew strong…

Oh ladies, I have had one crazy month. What we had planned so well turned out to be a total trust in God the entire way with every single step. Not that we don’t usually trust God. Things weren’t exactly easy when we were in Alaska, but it was comfortable and we knew what we were doing each day. We had a good plan of how we were going to move to Idaho and get settled in and do as God had been asking.

Well, our plans were completely thrown out the window and we had to improvise the whole way. Without going into every detail with you, (I’m sure many of you would love to hear the story, but I will leave that to another day) I will just tell you a few little things. Our timeline changed ad we headed to MN to be with family that was much needed, three of the kids and I then flew to ID to look for a house and car, it took much longer to get into a house – by a month, we were staying with gracious friends the whole time, my husband and oldest went back to AK to finish up details there and drive to us, they hit a wolf, Canada charged our cards the max on everything and I was on the phone with the bank every day. Can you see how we have had a lot of drama lately. More drama than I would care to handle.

Did you know that even through all of this God was still with us? Honestly, there were times that I just wanted to throw my hands in the air and run away. It was all I could do to get through one more day. Have you been there too? Maybe you are right now. Take heart, friend, because God has something amazing coming for you and for me. He said that He will never leave us or forsake us (Joshua 1:5).  And He hasn’t.

Just as things looked like we would not be getting a house to live in, money would not be there for necessities, and jobs would be hard to come by, God stepped in and said “Watch me! Trust me!”

I was hired on the spot for an assisted living facility for the exact hours we needed so that I could be with the kids as much as needed, our family was invited to spend Easter with our new Pastor’s family and be blessed by them, and we were able to get into our house the day after Easter.  God has this plan all set up and it was perfect. His plans are always better than what we set up.

This was a huge lesson for our family. We had to learn patience, trust, forgiveness and kindness. We also had to learn respect and love in all circumstance. This was major for our family, but we did it and though there were many times of frustration, tears, and confusion, we walked out of that chaos with heads held high knowing that God was using us here to do something great for him. I am sitting in excitement to see what God is going to do with me here in Idaho. The skies are bright and dancing with possibilities and the sunsets are quite amazing as well.

Lord, thank You for always being with me. I ask that the lessons You teach me always be with me as I walk another step with You. Lord, bless my family in our new homeland and the women who are walking a similar path of crazy. We will survive with You. Amen.

Tara DeMaris

Tara is the founder and president of Titus II Woman Ministries and the wife to David, her high school sweetheart, as well as the mother to their four children. They all make their home in Southeast Idaho. She graduated from Crown College. Tara is passionate about reaching the hearts of women and young ladies. She loves to write and teach God's Word. "Make history with God and He will make history through you."

Tara is the founder and president of Titus II Woman Ministries and the wife to David, her high school sweetheart, as well as the mother to their four children. They all make their home in Southeast Idaho. She graduated from Crown College. Tara is passionate about reaching the hearts of women and young ladies. She loves to write and teach God’s Word. “Make history with God and He will make history through you.”

RECEIVING THE PROMISES OF GOD

Last week, one of my Facebook friends sent me a message with some very good questions. Some very deep, soul-searching, God-searching questions. Loaded questions that each of us has probably asked at one time or another and for which I just didn’t have an immediate answer. One of them really resonated with me: “How do you hold onto faith in a promise that was given to you when every time you turn around it seems like everything is against the promise?”

All week long I’ve been praying about how to respond to her, and all week I’ve been feeling empty and void of wisdom to share, even though I wanted to write her back right away with solid words of encouragement and hope, guidance and TRUTH. But to be completely honest, at this stage of my chaotic life as a mom to two young children who need me nearly every second, I’m often existing on only a few hours of sleep and trying just to make it through another day. I’m hardly at a place where I’m in constant and deep fellowship with God and hearing His voice consistently as I dig into the Word and pray and worship. Although that is my heart’s desire, most days it’s not like that at all. More often than not I’m interrupted ten million times throughout my day, either by a crying baby or by a super persistent four year old who just wants Mommy to play with him or get him a snack–and at the conclusion of my brief devotional time, I end up feeling frustrated and unfulfilled and still longing for a refreshing of my soul.

So while it’s true that I’ve received some of my own personal promises that I often doubted would come to pass, including a wonderful husband and two beautiful children, I still struggle with what my friend asked. Perhaps that’s because the biggest promise of all—my healing of childhood diabetes—has yet to be fulfilled. Time and time again, I’ve seen the lost find the joy of salvation, other sick people healed, and the demon-oppressed find deliverance. God has done truly amazing things! But for whatever reason, the promise of healing for me has been elusive for almost twenty-seven years. Because of that, I feel extremely unqualified to offer any advice on this topic. And yet, I know the Spirit of God, the ultimate truth-giver, dwells in me and has all the answers I, or anyone else, could possibly seek.

My first thoughts on receiving promises always go to Abraham, called Abram before God changed his name. We know Abraham was human and made mistakes, lying to Pharaoh about Sarah being his sister and even trying to attain the promised child on his own at Sarah’s request. And still, this is what scripture records about him:

“Abraham…in the presence of Him whom He believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old) and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore ‘it was accounted to him for righteousness.’” (Romans 4:20-22)

Wow! What rich, life-giving words! I’ve always marveled at this passage. How did Abraham, being one hundred years old and knowing his wife Sarah was barren and old as well, “not waver at the promise of God through unbelief?” I mean, those are some pretty depressing and unbelief-causing circumstances. Or at least they would be for me. He certainly had every reason to doubt, and I’m sure at times he felt like everything that could be was against the promise. And yet, it came to pass. So what was his secret? How did he stay in faith? How did he hold onto his promise when everything in the natural was telling him it would never happen?

First, it is obvious that he had a close and very real relationship with God. The Bible even calls him the friend of God. There is no way he could have trusted God so unwaveringly had he not known God and his character. Having a relationship with someone ensures you believe what they say. For example, when I was pregnant with my oldest son, someone I was acquainted with through my workplace asked for my address because they wanted to send me a baby gift. Although it was a nice gesture, this person and I had never met, only talked on the phone, and we did not know each other. I was skeptical and full of doubt that it would actually come to pass, and sure enough, I never received anything. But when my mom told me she was going to purchase a plane ticket to come and see me for my son’s birth, I had complete confidence that she would. And she did. How did I know she would? Because I have a personal relationship with my mom. I know her, and because of that I can trust her to do what she says she will do. Knowing someone truly does make all the difference. My mom is human and yet I trust her; how much more the One who created me and who cannot lie? If we just made it a priority to sit at the feet of Jesus and get to know Him, I am convinced we would never EVER doubt Him. (Preaching to myself here!)

Secondly, he did not consider his own body or the deadness of Sarah’s womb, but rather was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God.  I think this is so important, because it means he had learned to see with eyes of faith instead of his physical eyes. He learned to look at the unseen rather than the seen, and chose to believe that what he did not see was more real than what he did see. Wow. How do we not look at the impossibility of our promise? We change our gaze and look instead at Jesus. We worship Him. We look not at the impossibilities of men, but at the possibilities of God. And the more we behold Him, the less the things of this earth have our attention.

Third, he patiently endured. Hebrews 6:12 says, “…Do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through FAITH and PATIENCE inherit the promises. For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying ‘Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.’ And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.” I know this is what NONE of us wants to hear, me included. Waiting in faith (which is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen according to Hebrews 11:1) and patiently enduring are not pleasant, but they seem to be a constant theme throughout the Bible.  Could God fulfill His promises to us sooner? Of course. But there is just something about that waiting process that matures and refines us, draws us closer to God, like nothing else ever could. We learn to trust Him, to know Him more and more, which in turn produces more and more faith, which to God is more precious than gold that perishes (1 Peter 1:7).

In the meantime, as we wait, He will encourage us. He will speak to us, just as He did to Abraham. He will remind us of those promises He has made so that we never forget that HE never forgets. He is faithful, always faithful. And as we seek Him in the waiting, He will whisper, “I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward” (Genesis 15:1), proving to us that the greatest thing we could ever possess we already have: not the promise itself, but the very One who makes and fulfills every promise.

Father God,

Your promises to me are Yes and Amen through Jesus! Help me to hold onto Your words, to see with eyes of faith, even when everything around me shouts unbelief. I want to know You more, and to learn what it means to not waver at your promises. Strengthen me in faith and help me to set my eyes on You! You are more than able to do what You have promised, and You are not a man that you should lie! I choose to trust You, to wait in faith, and to patiently endure until I see with my eyes what you’ve spoken to my heart. Thank You for being such a good, good Father! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Sharilyn Edgerle

Sharilyn is the mother to two adorable little boys and met her husband, Enoch, through eHarmony in.  She grew up and graduated high school in Montana.  Together they make their home in Michigan. Sharilyn’s passion rests in sharing the love of Jesus with others through evangelism, music and writing.  She has recently been asked to lead worship for a local church and started writing for the Titus II Woman blog team.  Sharilyn is a graduate of Trinity Bible College with an Associates of Arts degree in Music Performance.  Jeremiah 29:11-14, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, says the Lord.”

Sharilyn is the mother to two adorable little boys and met her husband, Enoch, through eHarmony in. She grew up and graduated high school in Montana. Together they make their home in Michigan. Sharilyn’s passion rests in sharing the love of Jesus with others through evangelism, music and writing. She has recently been asked to lead worship for a local church and started writing for the Titus II Woman blog team. Sharilyn is a graduate of Trinity Bible College with an Associates of Arts degree in Music Performance. Jeremiah 29:11-14, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord.”

“When You Get to the Crossroads”

Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you. Psalm 116:7

Our household has been a mess lately. It’s been quite the medical circus. Honestly, it’s my fault. See, not only am I a stay-at-home mom and educator, but I play Dr. Mom on the side. I avoid going to the clinic if at all possible.

This year began with concern over some of our pets. I will not identify their kind in deference to my more genteel friends. Our beloved pets became distressed due to bugs they’d picked up from a bad bag of bedding. We were able to diagnose this, and we found a budget-friendly medicine locally to treat them. One treatment a week for three weeks along with a good washing and cage cleaning did the trick. Success!

Shortly after I began treating our pets, I noticed I had a blistering rash on one of my hands. I studied different images and I believed it was eczema and treated it as such. This wasn’t a successful diagnosis and treatment plan, however. It was growing worse, and people began noticing it, showing concern over it, and offering free consultations. I tried the different creams and ointments they suggested, but there was no change – it continued to grow worse. It was painful and itchy, it was hot, and eventually I began experiencing arthritis-like pain in my joints. By this point, I also had it on my wrists, and two of my children had similar rashes on their hands. Then my kids and I all had what appeared to be hives spreading across places on our faces and down our upper bodies, but these hives didn’t respond to antihistamines or creams either, and soon they too were blistering. I was beginning to feel desperate, but not enough to go to the clinic, we didn’t need any more medical bills to pay on.

This all came to head when a couple of people saw our sores and thought it looked like ringworm. I cannot tell you how sick I felt about this. Ringworm has such a nasty connotation to it, doesn’t it? The size of the areas we were covered in sent me over the edge worrying about how many people we had come into contact with and how many of them probably had signs of our affliction on them. I was horrified by the possibility that this was true, but that same day, my husband came home and showed me that he too had these spots beginning to show on him. I ran to the store and bought tubes of antifungal. Day and night we were treating ourselves with it. We were washing our bedding everyday; our towels and clothing twice a day. I quarantined the family members who had rashes outside of their clothing. I contacted people and apologized for exposing them. I cried and became quite depressed. All the while the rashes became blisters, the blisters became bullae, and I learned the difference between each term is merely the size of the problem. Nothing was clearing up, it was all becoming worse. The palm of my daughter’s hand became a bulla that literally was growing before our eyes. In a matter of hours, it grew from the size of a dime to the size of her palm. I had to take her in, I had to tell the clinic we had ringworm, and I couldn’t treat it on my own.

The LORD said through Jeremiah in chapter 6, verse16: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” He also said in this same verse that his people’s answer was, “We will not walk in it.” That was my answer during this time. I was so set on not needing professional medical aid, that I stood at the crossroads self-diagnosing and self-condemning with everything I could find on the shelves of this world. I made excuses when wise friends told me to go to the clinic for advice and medical attention until the reality became unavoidable. My own understanding was foolishness, I had to fall on the mercy and wisdom of the Scriptures as in Proverbs 3:7-8, “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” Let go of that pride, Lorinda. Shun it. Philippians 2:5 says, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:29, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

I took my daughter in for medical attention and listened humbly as the nurse practitioner explained that I had caused an allergic reaction to become a very big problem. These rashes were not ringworm or eczema, they were sites where our skin had come into contact with the medication we had used to treat our pets. Sites where our pets had left little kisses tainted with the medicine which caused a reaction to breakout and blister on our skin. She prescribed a steroid ointment and an antihistamine which alleviated things. It has taken weeks to recover from this, and not all of our skin has recovered just yet, but I am thankful that our LORD sees all of His children as recoverable. In my spirit, I am certainly humbled from this lesson, and this has brought me rest and renewed health.

LORD, I pray thanks. Thank you for the lessons You have allowed for us to grow in. I pray we will not return for remedial lessons, but that we will remain on the path You have made straight for us. You said in Isaiah 30 that in repentance and rest is our salvation and in quietness and trust is our strength – we have this only through You. You have shown yourself as You said in Isaiah 30:18. You, LORD, long to be gracious to us; You rise to show your compassion. For You, LORD, are a God of justice. Thank You. We love you, LORD, and we wait upon you. Amen.

Lorinda Freeman

Lorinda has a passion and desire to teach children about the love of God.  She is a homeschooling mom of four and together as a family they work within their church with the children’s programs making sure the hearts of all the children are being taught God’s love for them.  Lorinda and her husband, Chris, make their home in Hibbing, Minnesota after Lorinda had endured extensive travel growing up as a Navy “brat”. 1 Thessalonians 2:6-13, “We are not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else.  As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children.  We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.  Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.  You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed.  For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

Lorinda has a passion and desire to teach children about the love of God. She is a homeschooling mom of four and together as a family they work within their church with the children’s programs making sure the hearts of all the children are being taught God’s love for them. Lorinda and her husband, Chris, make their home in Hibbing, Minnesota after Lorinda had endured extensive travel growing up as a Navy “brat”. 1 Thessalonians 2:6-13, “We are not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else. As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

A Redemptive Awareness

“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth . . . And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:2, 17

redemptive awareness

 

 

 

 

 

As humans, created in the image of God, everything we do has a spiritual dimension, but without Jesus, our lives lack the redemptive quality necessary to transform the world around us. However, life with Jesus means everything we do has a Kingdom dimension that brings liberation, redemption, salvation, and transformation. No act is too small, insignificant, or menial that God can’t use it for His Glory.

While life experiences are nuanced with different expressions of meaning, all things are pregnant with meaning. Therefore, eating tater tot casserole around the dinner table with family and friends is no less spiritual than receiving communion, if done as unto the Lord. Dancing barefoot in the living room can be just as worshipful as kneeling before the cross because we delight in the diverse physicality of human expression. Planting seeds in the garden is as beneficial as sowing seeds of instruction in a Sunday School classroom for both activities result in a harvest of blessings. Reading the Bible as a spiritual exercise is equal to developing a healthy lifestyle of rest. Reducing, reusing and recycling can be as redemptive as reworking an old hymn for contemporary worship, because they both point to the nature of God in making all things new again. As Kingdom dwellers, EVERYTHING we do should be done as unto the Lord—eating, sleeping, playing, working, singing, Facebooking, driving, shopping, accessorizing . . . EVERYTHING (I can’t stress it enough!). Insignificant acts take on great significance when God is in the midst.

Jesus didn’t come just to redeem people, He came to redeem lives, every part. This is the Gospel, the Good News, meant to be lived out every day, and God’s glory is maximized when we live out of this redemptive awareness. Are you living from a place of redemptive awareness? What are some things you can do today to live more this way?

God, through Jesus Christ you came to redeem the world and you invite me to be a part of that process. With everything I am and everything I do, I welcome you into the activities of my life, and I pray for the kind of awareness that acknowledges your presence in it all. Help me to see that everything I do, great or small, can bring You glory and change the world around me. Make me mindful of your redemptive hand at work in all creation, and thank you for allowing me to be a part of it. I pray this to you, Father God, in the name of Jesus Christ and through the power of your Holy Spirit, Amen.

Amanda Oster

So long as Amanda can remember she felt called to formal ministry (except for a short time in childhood when she wanted to be a country singer like Dolly Parton).  While the details of what “ministry” might be weren’t always clear, she continued to pursue the path of ministry, and over the years, God providentially defined and refined her calling to be a communicator of God’s Word, primarily through preaching and teaching. One of her greatest passions is to help motivate and encourage others to seek God more deeply and to reflect on what relationship with Him really looks like. Amanda shares her life and her home with her husband, Joe, their two children Sophia and Isaiah, and their old dog Moses in North Dakota.  While she loves talking books, fashion, movies, and home décor, she is just as comfortable talking about creation care, church organizational models, third-party politics, and rapture theories.  Amanda is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Missional Leadership, and you can follow her at http://AmandaOsterMinistries.com.

So long as Amanda can remember she felt called to formal ministry (except for a short time in childhood when she wanted to be a country singer like Dolly Parton). While the details of what “ministry” might be weren’t always clear, she continued to pursue the path of ministry, and over the years, God providentially defined and refined her calling to be a communicator of God’s Word, primarily through preaching and teaching. One of her greatest passions is to help motivate and encourage others to seek God more deeply and to reflect on what relationship with Him really looks like.
Amanda shares her life and her home with her husband, Joe, their two children Sophia and Isaiah, and their old dog Moses in North Dakota. While she loves talking books, fashion, movies, and home décor, she is just as comfortable talking about creation care, church organizational models, third-party politics, and rapture theories. Amanda is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Missional Leadership, and you can follow her at http://AmandaOsterMinistries.com.