Tagged with "God"
Angels Drive Freightliners Tags: Angels Christian blog Christian devotional Christian Writer God Jesus miracles truckers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the cool things about traveling around the country is the people we’re privileged to meet and the testimonies they share with us. Following is an amazing true story from a friend we met in the West. She was rather shy in relating this story as she didn’t want to be labeled a kook. But I appreciated the encouragement I received from hearing it. I am a total believer in all the ways God can show up in our lives. There are no limitations with Him, and He will find us wherever we are, by whatever means He deems necessary. I’m renaming our friend to honor the fact that she is a private person. Other than that, the facts remain intact.

Before the life-changing invention of cell phones and call boxes, traveling America’s roads was not just full of simple adventure, but a bit more like walking on the wild side. Pulling onto the highway meant facing potential dangers with few lifelines …

It was a far piece from the tiny, one-horse town of Rodeo, New Mexico to the big city of Denver, Colorado. Erin eyed her truck which was anything but reliable. But, it was all she had and her only choice to shuttle her to a new job and a new life.

Loading up a small suitcase, a plant, and her cat, she pulled out of the driveway for the last time and started the journey toward Denver. Gusts of snow flurried and stuck to the roadway as she gripped the wheel and leaned forward.  The truck struggled and groaned, and she prayed. Somehow it chugged all the way to Glorieta Pass, northeast of Albuquerque. She caught her breath as the old pickup finally stalled and gave out.

The snow stopped falling, and Erin stared out the window at the clear, starry, empty night. No houses were visible in the inky blackness. She was totally alone. And it was cold. Really cold. So cold, in fact, that her plant froze, and she couldn’t feel her feet. She envied the cat with its thick, fluffy fur.

She grabbed her CB. “I need help!” she cried over the airwaves. But she discovered, along with the heater, the CB had died too. What am I going to do? She sobbed. I’ll freeze to death out here!

Suddenly vehicle lights reflected in her rearview mirror and two huge semi-trucks rumbled up. One of the big rigs parked behind her, the other swung around and parked in front. Both drivers jumped out and strolled to her window. Tentatively she cracked it open and peered up at the two truckers.  

“Are you OK?” asked the first man, the lines in his dark features deepening in concern.
“We heard your cries for help over the CB,” said the other man, his blue eyes piercing into hers.
Hmmm, the CB? she thought, but just replied, “My truck won’t start.”
The first man, who introduced himself as Charlie, strode to the front of the pickup and busied himself under the hood. Strangely enough, she trusted these men. She opened the door.
The second man, who called himself “Midnight Cowboy,” crouched and reached for her feet, rubbing the circulation back into them.

“All set,” came a voice under the hood. “Fire it up!” Erin turned the key and the truck roared to life. Unfortunately, the head and taillights didn’t work.

“We’re on our way to Denver same as you,” said Midnight Cowboy. “I’ll lead out, and Charlie will tail you since you have no lights.”

Funny, I don’t recall saying anything about Denver, Erin thought. Oh well. Relief flooded over her. She relaxed, knowing that if her truck died again, she’d have help. The two men hopped in their trucks, and the little convoy rolled down the road toward Denver.  

Bright lights from a truck stop gleamed on the horizon, and they pulled in. As she sipped her steaming coffee, she noticed her newfound friends never ordered anything, not even coffee.

They continued their journey; the trio stopping periodically at weigh stations. They figured out a routine: Erin drove around the stations, waited for her friends to pass through the scales, and met them on the other side. Before they hit the highway again, one of the men kindly rubbed the circulation back into her feet. She appreciated that neither of the men ever made a pass toward her—they simply helped her.

Sunlight peeked over the distant mountains as they pulled into the last weigh station. When they met on the other side, they hugged and said their goodbyes. “It’s morning so you should be able to make it safely to where you’re going,” said Midnight Cowboy. Erin thanked her new friends again, and they all pulled out onto the highway.

She traveled through the morning light, pondering the events of the previous night. She wondered at the fact that her friends’ rigs had no company names or writing on them anywhere.  

Midnight Cowboy’s rig rolled ahead of her. But something wasn’t right. Her vision seemed to blur. She quickly glanced to the side of the road to double check her eyesight. Shifting her gaze back to her friend’s semi, she stared wide-eyed as it faded like a mirage and disappeared. The open road and the bright Denver lights shown directly in front of her. I’m going crazy, she thought. She jerked her head up, peering into the rearview mirror. Charlie’s truck was still behind her. And then, just like Midnight Cowboy’s, Charlie’s semi faded and disappeared.

Stunned, she drove the last few miles to her destination where the pickup promptly died in the driveway. She called a local mechanic who towed it to his shop.

“Where did you say you drove from?” asked the mechanic, eyeing her from beneath the hood.
“Rodeo, New Mexico,” she replied.
“That’s impossible,” he said, staring at her.
“But I did,” she insisted.
“Look, this truck couldn’t have gone five feet, let alone 786 miles.” He shook his head. “There’s an engine part missing.”

That evening, she related her entire adventure to her Pastor-friend, elaborating on the truck drivers who came to her rescue. “So, what do you make of all this?”
He grinned at her. “Did you ever think that you might have met up with some angels?”
“I never thought of that.” Her eyes narrowed. “But wait a minute, if they were angels, why didn’t they fix the heat too? Or the lights?”
“I don’t know,” he shrugged. “Maybe you needed to stick with them to get you safely to Denver.” He chuckled. “At any rate, I know there’s more to this than just a couple of truckers helping a gal on a lonely highway.”

“For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways”—Psalm 91:11.

www.ponyexpressministry.com

The Art of the Ear: When God Speaks Tags: Christian blog Christian devotional Christian Writers Creation encouragement God God's voice help horses Inspiration listening love

But whoever listens to Me will dwell safely and will be secure, without fear of evil”—Proverbs 1:33.

                                                                                                     

Giving God our ear. Hmmmmm. What does that look like? How does God speak to us? Many ask this.

For me, His voice has different “sounds”: He gives a strong impression in my spirit about a particular situation ... a gut feeling, if you will; The truths in His Word will come alive as I read and revelation hits me right between the eyes; He will move on someone to be His voice, giving me an encouraging word; He’ll give me a dream while I’m sleeping; Or, He may use pictures in His amazing Creation to illustrate His character.

When He speaks to me through His Creation, that’s incredibly cool. One time, I was out feeding the horses trying to work through some stuff in my head. I glanced up and saw the most magnificent full rainbow I’d ever seen— and a double one to boot. The colors were so vibrant and alive. I ran to the trailer and grabbed my camera. As I stared at that rainbow, profound thoughts eased my mind: Our Creator created incredible beauty out of mere mist; Every rainbow from the very first one is the same—the same colors, the same lines, the same form. They don’t change. He doesn’t change. His promises never change. In this world, we can’t count on anything. But we can count on Him—encouragement I needed right then and a word in due season. (Isaiah 52:7)

He used a gentle breeze to encourage an acquaintance of mine. She was reading her Bible outside, troubled by a circumstance she faced. The breeze kept blowing the pages to a certain scripture. Every time she tried to turn back to the previous spot where she was reading, the breeze would flip the pages right back to that other place. She finally looked down where the breeze stopped—there she found the answer to her problem.

He likes to speak through people to give His encouraging words. Years ago I was asked to sing at a trail ride in Texas. When I pulled up on the ranch, my heart was heavy. I had a new truck, two beautiful horses and looked as though I hadn’t a care in the world. But on the inside, I was hurting and scared. I had two jobs: one in an office, one on a ranch. A “friend” betrayed me and stole the ranch job—the one I had based my truck payment on. Single, with no other means of extra support, I was afraid of losing everything.

A few days before I drove to the trail ride, I prayed, “Lord, please make yourself real to me.” Until then, I did not believe the Lord really knew I existed—unless I hung out with people I thought were spiritual. Let me tell ya, the devil had deceived me good!

I parked my rig and made my way over to a big oak tree. I leaned against it, quietly watching the other singers on the stage. A man and his wife, whom I had never met, walked up. “I have a word for you from the Lord,” he said. That man “read my mail.” He told me, “The Lord said, ‘all your needs are already taken care of.’” I was floored. I had not told a soul what I was going through, not even my closest friends. How in the world did this guy know my situation?

One week later, I received some cleaning jobs that perfectly dovetailed with my day job at the office. The wages from the cleaning jobs covered my old ranch wages to the dollar.

Two months later, the same man gave me another word from the Lord: I would be given one job that would take care of all my needs. Within three months, I quit my cleaning jobs because the office I worked for offered me a higher position in another department with a lot more pay.

I have learned that He is always directing us with that still small voice of His ... or trying to. I’ve blown right over the top of it— more than once, I’m afraid. One time, He impressed on Bruce, my husband and me to clean up the pine needles under the high-line our horses were tethered to. We didn’t, getting distracted with some other project. Our “Hoover”-horse, Rocky, decided he very much liked the taste of pine needles, proceeding to suck up every strand in the area. He promptly colicked. We were way out in the National Forest with no phone service. Prayer and the painkiller Banamine played veterinarian. He was pooping pine needles for the next day and a half, but he pulled through.

In all my years with horses in the mountains, I have never seen them eat pine needles. I never, ever imagined that Rocky would do that. But it didn’t matter what I thought or what my experience was. The Lord told us to rake up the pine needles ... period. He knew what would happen. Lesson learned ... again!

Fine-tuning the art of the ear takes practice. Sometimes total resurrection. But it’s an art worth bringing back to life. It means laying down our own desires and agendas. It takes not just being hearers of the Word of God, but doers of what He’s asked us to do. (James 1:22-25)

And the reward? We can live a life of victory and peace, encouraging others in the same. (John 15:12-13)

Listen ... Listen ... Listen ...

From Ashes of Pity into Beauty of Purpose by Debra Gray-Elliott Tags: abortion forgiveness God's grace

Every second of every day a woman has an abortion. Every second of every day a woman has to live with the emotional turmoil of her decision. Forty years ago at the age of sixteen Debra had an abortion changing her forever.

 

From Ashes of Pity into Beauty of Purpose brings emotionally charred women out of the pits of fire, through the ashes into the beauty of purpose. With the direction of God, hurting women weather through the painful journeys, become women of spiritual beauty, find God’s purpose, and learn to live again.

 

 

 

Debra Gray-ElliottDebra is a Christian author and inspirational speaker. Her published works include two personal poetry collections and inclusions in several Christian anthologies. Debra has been writing since the age of fifteen.

‘From Ashes of Pity into Beauty of Purpose‘ is Debra’s first non-fiction work that helps women overcome the negative emotions of abortion through direction, encouragement, and strength.

​Debra is currently working on her second book ‘Dancing through the Storms 365 Day Devotional: Surviving the Loss of a Child‘, which was born out of the devastating loss of her daughter Ashley.

Debra resides in Alabama with her husband and family.

From Ashes of Pity into Beauty of Purpose by Debra Gray-Elliott is now available from RUBY’S Reading Corner

H.A.L.T. Tags: angry blog Christian devotional encouragement God hungry Inspiration lonely self-control tired

I love acronyms. Whoever thought of this memory-jogger was a genius.

My husband, Bruce and I were introduced to one of these creative gems at a youth Bible study. But like other pieces of useful information that get crowded out by life, I needed a reminder of this helpful acronym during a situation we faced.

I figured it might come in handy for others too, so I’ll share it with y’all. So, here goes. H.A.L.T.: Halt if you are:

H: HUNGRY
Oh my. When I’m hungry, I fall into the “whatever” mood category: “I don’t care, just get it done.”; “Let’s just get there.”; or “I don’t care what we do, I just need a snack.”

And everyone knows to never go near a grocery store with a growling stomach. The junk food retailer’s stock skyrockets every time on this one!

*A: ANGRY: Stay tuned. I’ll come back to this one.

L: LONELY
I’ve made some pretty bonehead moves when I was lonely (I won’t elaborate).

T: TIRED
I figure I’d better not do anything while I’m tired. I may be convinced I’m coherent, but realize later…hmmmm, not so much. I’ve glanced at sent texts and emails and realized: Yeah, should have waited.

*A: ANGRY
I’ve left the “A” part for last. Being lonely, or tired, or hungry can drive us to make less than stellar decisions. But angry? This one might be the worst decision-driving emotion ever. For it’s with anger that words are said, actions are taken, and destinies determined that may never, except by the grace of God, ever be fixed.

A healthy dose of self-control curbs emotions and can be a handy little tool to douse the spark that could cause a potential wildfire—a wildfire that destroys a lot of ground and a lot of people.

Which brings me to the following “situation we faced,” and thankfully in this case, I listened and obeyed that Giver of self-control …

The wall our back was shoved against left indents in my shoulder blades. And the friend who could have helped us, betrayed us.

My hands shook as I pounded out a text message on my cell phone in response to one of her stunts. My thumb hovered over the send button when a still small voice cut through the flame, “Don’t do anything in anger.” I knew this to be true, but I so wanted to fire off that text!

However, I paused. I glanced over at Bruce who, not 15 minutes before, snapped, “That woman’s gonna push me too far!”

I read him my text, a little part of me hoping for validation and the confirmation to hit that little green button.  He looked around at me and to my surprise said calmly, “Don’t do anything in anger.”

Like cold water on a hot flame, I realized God was confirming His word to me. My phone fairly flew across the counter as I shoved it away. I knew one twitch out of me would have sent that text flyin’.

I cooled down, grateful I didn’t send this text. The day before, as I was ranting and flinging manure across my horse’s stall into the bin, the Lord gave me a serious command: “Hold your peace, vengeance is mine.” And then started chatting with me about forgiveness. It would not have been wise to ignite any fires with my message.
(“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil (Ephesians 4:26-27).

God knows what He’s doing when He tells us to H.A.L.T. before making a decision. Take a breath, scarf an energy bar, take a nap. Whatever it takes that’s moral and decent with no side effects, we need to do it. Nothing is worse than having to undo an unwise move. I’d rather not spend the energy to apologize, lament over an excessive grocery bill, or explain why I sounded like a dork. I’d like to act right the first time and avoid cleaning up a mess.

So, the next time we face a challenge or a decision while we’re hungry, angry, lonely, or tired … and we will … join me in implementing H.A.L.T.. Our lives will be much more peaceful and productive for it.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).

“Love’s Sacrificial Mindset” by Carol Hind Tags: Love sacrifice God's Love

A Disturbing Narrative

There’s a story in the Bible, which grabs at my heartstrings whenever I read it. I’m troubled by the tragedy that unfolds, by the unnecessary waste of a young life, by the foolishness of a man’s vow, by the fact that our sovereign God did not intervene to save this young woman. It is hard to understand love’s sacrificial mindset.

I’m referring to the story of Jephthah’s daughter.  Have you read it? If not, or should you need to refresh your memory, it can be found at Judges 11:29-40.  In order for you to fully appreciate the message of this article, you will need to be familiar with this disturbing tale.

A Devoted Daughter

Now I’ve often heard about the special bond between a father and his daughter. It is not something to which I can relate, since I didn’t have that kind of relationship with my biological father. However, having walked with God for some years now, I believe I’m beginning to enjoy a similar bond with my Heavenly Father.

There is no doubt in my mind that Jephthah’s daughter loved her father very much. She was obviously watching and waiting for this mighty man of valour to return home from war.  As soon as she sees him, she runs out to meet him. She’s overjoyed at his safe return. She celebrates his triumph in customary fashion, with tambourines and dancing.  Alas, her love and devotion for Jephthah becomes her undoing. Her love for her father costs her life.

Now let’s apply this scenario to ourselves on a spiritual level. Do we love our Father God to the extent that it costs us our lives? I’m not referring to a literal death here. I’m referring to the demise of our old way of thinking and living, which runs counter to God’s commands, his word and his will. I’m referring to our constant challenge as believers.

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

Do we love God with ALL of our heart, soul and strength as He requires? Have we crucified our flesh with its affections, appetites and desires, as His word demands? (Deuteronomy 6:5; Galatians 5:24).

Whilst I reflected on the various elements of this story, I wondered: where was Jephthah’s wife? I imagined her busy at home, tidying up, or preparing a special home-coming meal. And then I remembered Martha.

Martha, who hadn’t chosen the ‘better part’. Martha, who became preoccupied with serving food instead of sitting at Jesus’ feet. Are we like this? Too busy with our personal business, or too busy ‘serving the Lord’ to sit at his feet, to make him a priority in our lives?

If this is the case, may I remind you of Jesus’s words in Matthew 10:38-39? (See Amplified Bible). May I remind you that to be his disciples, we are required to lose our lower life (the life focused only on earthly quests and concerns) and pursue the higher (God-quality and spiritually focused) life?

https://womenofwarfare.wordpress.com/

God’s Measure of True Love

Now, with regards to our relationship with the Lord, we learn from Revelation 3:16, that He prefers we are cold, rather than lukewarm. Fellow Christian writers and readers, let us not be deceived into thinking we are ok because we go to church, participate in Christian activities and believe in God. Don’t forget, the devils also believe! So let me ask you—are you guilty of loving God with your lips, whilst your lifestyle declares otherwise?

Jesus revealed in no uncertain terms that there will be those who are convinced they are in the right place with God, working his works etc., but the Lord will turn to them and say: I never knew you; depart from me. And let’s not forget the five foolish virgins who found themselves shut out from the marriage feast, to whom the same damning words were spoken: I do not know you!

Are we paying heed to these stark warnings? Do we take them seriously? Do we yet understand love’s sacrificial mindset?

The ‘S’ Factor!

God requires an intimate knowledge of him. Relationship. Not words. Not unfulfilled intentions.

It can be easy in this age of grace to become careless. To be like the prodigal son, to avail ourselves of the rich resources of God’s Kingdom (his love, forgiveness, grace) and squander them selfishly, without care or consideration for the high price paid for us to enjoy our inheritance.

Wake up daughters of Zion! Wake up to the fact that the only life worth living is in our Father’s house, under his protection, submitted to his rules and regulations.

Wake up to the fact that we have an enemy, who hates us, and seeks to deceive and destroy us 24/7. Those suggestions that we can take God’s resources and use them for our own ends, where do you think they emanate from? Satan of course! Embraced and endorsed by our selfish inclinations, by our own carnal appetites and agendas.

We don’t even have to commit terrible sins.  Just not be fruitful.  Just not be concerned about the issues on God’s heart. Just be too busy with our personal dreams and desires to care about the needs of our neighbour, to participate meaningfully in the work of God’s kingdom, to fall on our knees and pray.

Daughters of Zion, I speak to myself and I speak to you all – wake up! Let us understand love’s sacrificial mindset.

Love’s Mature Outlook

Moving on, I’d like to focus on another admirable quality of Jephthah’s loving daughter. She is not bitter with her father, or about her fate. How about you?  Have your experiences of life caused you to become angry with God, resentful about your experiences and negative about your future?

Dear reader, I suffered many years of spiritual malaise because of wrong attitudes. I carried around in my heart an ever increasing record of offenses and was both inwardly and outwardly hostile towards those who hurt me. Yes, life can be unfair. However, spiritual maturity, faith and trust in our Father God, enables us to overcome and carry on with the right attitude.

https://womenofwarfare.wordpress.com/

Cultivate A Friendship Circle

Jephthah’s daughter called upon her friends and shared her sorrow. They mourned with her.  Do you have good, genuine, spiritual friends whom you can call and depend upon when needed? Who will pray for, and support you if, or when things fall apart?

Now don’t be discouraged if you don’t have such supportive friendships. There’s always the help and counsel of the three Godhead members to fall back on. In fact, you should be pursuing close fellowship with them anyway.

I believe your relationship with each (Father God, Jesus, Holy Spirit), is vital to your spiritual health and strength. Your relationship with them should not be superficial.  But deep. Strong. Like Paul’s—so that you are convinced in your heart that NOTHING can separate you from God’s love.

The Heroine’s Finale

As mentioned at the beginning, the story of Jephthah’s daughter always tugs at my heart.  I usually take issue with God about it. Why did he allow her to die?  It seems so harsh and unfair. I’ve never really gotten an answer.

However, I do acknowledge that God’s ways are higher than my thoughts and ways.  We are not qualified to judge.  Yet isn’t this how we can feel about the things we face in our own lives sometimes—about that false accusation, that persecution, that sudden catastrophe?

Unfair!

Jephthah’s daughter may have lost her life but she made history. God saw to it that she was inscribed within the pages of the Book of books.

There are those seeking to make history, to make a name for themselves, to make it according to worldly standards but in doing so, lose their own lives—whether literally, mentally, or spiritually.

Dear readers, let’s make sure we aren’t so foolish as to gain the whole world, yet lose our own soul.

Let’s remember we are not our own, we’ve been bought with a price. Let’s ensure that when all is done and dusted, our names appear in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Join us in the RUBY community for more inspirational posts and discover opportunities to connect with other Christian women.

 

https://womenofwarfare.wordpress.com/

I’d describe myself as a God-seeker and recovering perfectionist. From an early age my love of words and insatiable appetite for stories kindled a passion for writing. I’ve enjoyed modest publishing success both in print and online and spent several rewarding years as one of a team of editors for a Christian women’s publication. I like to write devotionals, inspirational articles and poems and occasionally a short story. My blogs are Women of Warfare and Purpose Driven Achiever where you can read inspirational and thought-provoking articles.

Carol Hind Links

Even the Flowers Face the Sun Tags: Christian blog wisdom Creation God devotional encouragement inspirational
Funny how a simple walk up the pasture can reveal the wisdom of God.

I do well with pictures. When someone is trying to explain technical or difficult things to me, it’s better for all of us if they can paint a picture with their words, or show me a drawing. God knows this. He created me and is well aware of my idiosyncrasies and brainwaves.

As I wandered through the grass, I noticed the wild flowers. The sun was bright and lit up the pasture like a coat of many colors—yellow, lavender, blue, pink, fuchsia.

The yellow flowers grabbed my attention the most. Every one of their countless little faces, faced the sun—petals outstretched and unhindered, soaking up the life-giving rays. They took full advantage of the sun’s offering before it dipped behind the horizon.

And God spoke to my heart: “Even my Creation looks to Me, turning their backs on the shadows to receive the nutrients they need.”

My husband, Bruce and I are facing a pretty huge challenge. We’ve faced some big ones in the past, but this one’s a doozy. And there is nothing we can do about it, except stand firm in our beliefs and pray.

The flowers in their silence spoke volumes this morning. No matter how strong the breeze, they flexed and bent, but never turned away from the sun. They didn’t shake their fist at the sky and complain about the wind. They didn’t huff at the cow pies that littered their green carpet. And they didn’t scoff at their fellow flowers who seemed to be enjoying a calmer existence. They just kept their focus on that consistent sun that rises every morning to give them what they need.

I was encouraged: the winds of life are opportunities to learn endurance; the cow pies add much needed fertilizer that promotes growth; and the calm others enjoy, well, praise God they’re getting a break for awhile.

So, I’m taking my cue from the flowers, from God’s voice teaching me through His Creation: Keep my eyes on the Son. No matter what the outcome in this challenge, I know it’s all good. Whatever plan He has for us, it will be a good future, full of hope, and a great testimony of His goodness. (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

And if, in a weak moment, I start to wilt with worry, I think I’ll take a stroll back out in the pasture and sit next to those little yellow flowers … just to remind me.

Psalm 25:15: My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for He shall pluck my feet out of the net. (NKJV)

www.ponyexpressministry.com
www.trail-tails.blogspot.com
The Power of Praise Tags: freedom God grandmother hymn praise sing

"Be exalted, O Lord, in Your own strength! We will sing and praise Your power”—Psalm 21:13.

Nursing homes are never an easy place to be. Many times they are the last destination for ones that have lived a fairly long life. Most residents are not in the minds they once knew, and all ail from one sickness or another.
 

Bruce's 93-year-old grandmother had been in a nursing home for quite some time. No longer able to stay with her family because of medical issues, she became a permanent resident.

Bruce, my mother-in-law Betty, and I made our way to the secured area of the facility where she resided. She sat in her wheelchair, absently staring at the floor. As we approached her, she looked up, sheer delight spreading across her face. We hugged and kissed her, wheeling her into the little living room reserved for private family visits.
 

Although happy to be sitting there together, our conversation started to get a bit strained. Grandma was hard of hearing, couldn't talk very well, and suffered from memory loss. Long silences filled the gaps in our conversation.
 

There had to be some way of communicating together.

Suddenly, I felt the Lord impressing on me to sing. However, I choked up with emotion as I fumbled around for a starting point. I sensed the impression again, urging me to continue. Pulling myself together, I asked, "Can we sing?" With great relief, all three of us plunged in, enthusiastically singing out the old familiar hymns: Amazing Grace; What A Friend We Have In Jesus; How Great Thou Art.

Grandma's face lit up and away she went! The strain was chased from her face as she sang with us at the top of her voice. The wheelchair seemed to melt away. We were all lifted up and out of that nursing home to a familiar and happy place where communication gaps and sickness don't exist. For those moments, we enjoyed the same space and the same time.

Intrigued, I watched her joyfully expounding on every word. She remembered the words!—words she had sung long ago that had been tucked away in silent rooms somewhere in the recesses of her mind. The melodies of those old hymns led her heart straight to those rooms, unlocking them like special keys to forgotten doors.

Apparently, the singing from our little room wafted through the entire wing of the nursing home, and more than one heart was unlocked that day. The nurses still talk about it. God's Presence had a profound affect on patients and staff alike.
 

Praise in the form of music is powerful and transparent, walking through any wall that has been erected and unlocking every door that has been tightly shut. It knows no boundaries.

(Acts 16:25-26)

 

Like A Child
Category: Member Blogs
Tags: child devotional God horses innocence self-reliance Christian life Christian women bloggers Christian women writers

We drove onto the farm and made our way around the silo and haystacks. Distracted by an issue I couldn’t seem to find answers for, I stared out the window in silence.
As our horse-hay was loaded, I stepped out of the truck and chatted with the farmer’s wife. Her three-year-old granddaughter wandered over and plopped in the dirt at her feet. Suddenly the little girl zoomed in for my attention. Her bright blue eyes danced as she told me about all the ways she played in the mud, the kind of birthday balloons she wanted on October “25fift,” and … would I like to come to her party? Her little legs kept in time with her chatter as they fanned wide half-circles in the soft dirt. Faded pink toenail polish peeked through the grains of sand.
That beam of innocence dissipated the cloud I’d come in with. We came for a load of hay, but I left with so much more.
As we hit the highway, I heard God’s voice in my spirit, “Like a child. Come to Me like a child.” Funny how God’s “still small voice” and interventions can almost be lost in the distractions of life.
Suddenly, my problems didn’t seem all that big any more. I felt a peculiar peace that all would be well even though I couldn’t see any details. Simple direction exchanged for simple trust. My heavenly Father wanted me to approach Him with all the innocence of a little kid. No preconceived ideas. No self-righteous, religious rules. No fear. Just a belief in the love of a Father who has my very best interests at heart.
The secret is developing that relationship. The mystery of God’s true heart is solved as we experience Him: reading His Word, the Bible; watching His Creation; recognizing His voice. And simply believing that He is Who He says He is and will care for us as His beloved children.
Demands and distractions of life quite often send us down the path of self-reliance. “I’ve got this,” our actions tell God. And we don’t consult Him. We become stressed out, weighed down, and pulled apart. Life becomes more difficult and complicated than it was ever meant to be.
When I think of Almighty God coming to us in the form of a child, lying in a feed trough with animals for roommates, humble and simple come to mind. He didn’t have to appear in this fashion, He just did. An example of how far He would go to show His love for us.
Like a child. Come to Him like a child.
 

“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven”-Matthew 18:4 (NKJV).

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“Waiting for Grace” by Nina Newton Tags: Christian Life Christian women Daily Devotional Faith God's Grace healing broken relationships mommy bloggers

broken-is-beautiful

Some days I amaze myself. And then other days, not so much. I’m guessing we all have days like that. But there is just something about “grace” that seems to make me nervous. It’s almost as if I just can’t believe it’s true. Oh, I know in my head what God’s Word tells me about being “saved by grace,” and that it’s not about my “works.” But just getting through a day is frequently challenging when I feel so overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done. It’s like all that “work” is waiting for me to pay attention and get it done. Do you ever feel that way?

Maybe it’s because I was brought up by a mama who never let me forget that “first we WORK and then we play!” Not only do we work before we play, but we do it right! “If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing RIGHT!” I can still hear her voice reminding me to “do it when you are told, and the way you are told!” The truth is those are really good rules to live by, especially when you consider how much time and energy can be wasted if you don’t just do a job right the first time.

So when I read the Bible and I realize that there is NOTHING I can do (or not do) that will make God love me any more or any less . . . . that is truly a gift to me, especially on those days when I’m wondering how in the world I am going to get it ALL done. That’s when I start playing this little game in my brain – “If I don’t do that, what will happen?” Really, what’s the worst thing that could happen if I just don’t do it?

Even though I know (in my head) that God will still love me even if I don’t get everything accomplished in a day that I feel needs to be done, I still wonder about everyone else around me. Will they still love me if I don’t do blah, blah, blah, blah? And that’s when I find myself waiting for grace. Oh, not grace from God, I’ve already claimed that gift. But I think I’m afraid that I’ll mess up and there will be no grace from the people I love.

That is a scary thought, and it is even scarier when you discover that you were right – it is not uncommon for other people, including other Christian people, to withhold grace from one another. Perhaps you have never experienced that, but I can assure you that it happens and it is very hurtful.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:8-9

Since I am not in charge of the universe, I can’t change people’s hearts and I can’t “fix” everything that has gone wrong in the world, so I find myself waiting for grace. And it is time to stop waiting. Because I already have grace from the only One who really matters in the “big picture” of life.

gods-grace-is-always-enough

Unfortunately, this happens to all of us at one time or another in life. In churches, in families, in friendships, in every imaginable circumstance, we either wait for grace or perhaps we refuse to extend grace. Could be that’s why there are so many broken relationships all around us.

Today I choose to remember that I don’t have to wait for grace, it is mine through the gift of salvation through trust in my Lord Jesus Christ. His grace is sufficient, even in the absence of grace from others. How about you? Are you waiting for grace? Stop it! You have all you need to walk with Him in freedom and victory over doubts, fear, failure, and rejection.

And if you are withholding grace from someone who has not been “perfect,” you might want to consider giving grace a chance – it just might mend that broken relationship!

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Nina Newton is the Sr. Editor for the RUBY magazine, as well as a blogger at Vintage Mama’s Cottage.

“Why Write?” by Jewell Utt Tags: Christian authors Christian Life God's Grace Ruby For Women

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“God does not call us to a spirit of fear, but of power” -2Timothy 1:7

A peaceful Sunday morning at church turned into a moment of high-alert for many people. A man dressed in a long coat, carrying backpacks and duffle bags, came to rest at our main entrance. Instead of coming directly in, he pulled a large piece of chalk out of his luggage and began writing on the sidewalk of both entryways: “Sinners are damned to Hell.”

This occurred shortly after nine people were killed in a shooting at an A.M.E. Church in South Carolina. The man’s unusual behavior didn’t escape notice. As he entered the church, people were concerned that his long grayish-green coat and odd shaped bags could conceal weapons. He was asked to leave them in the coat room.

As he settled in a back pew, he was surrounded by plain clothes police officers and military men who attend our church. If the poor guy reached for a pen, he might have been thrown to the ground and restrained. I felt sorry for him, but admired the prudence of our brethren.

After church, he introduced himself as a street evangelist who travels from town to town spreading the “Good News.” Unfortunately, his demeanor and the words he wrote on the sidewalk told a different story. He was spreading fear in a world where there is enough chaos. In a world where the church should be the answer, not another thing to dread.

It takes a thousand good words and experiences to combat the damage of a careless few. We live in an age of terror and an age where people are readily hurt. Unfortunately, the church is one of the culprits because it’s comprised of imperfect people.

“Ninety percent of young adults have turned away from their childhood faith.” I’ve heard this statistic cited for years, but most recently at a writer’s conference.

I question the interpretation that Millennials have turned away from the faith.

My experience—as a Bible-study teacher of college-aged women, and someone who frequently interacts with young people—is that they’ve actually turned away from the legalism, the old ways…the order set by man.

This is a problem we need to recognize and change within the church culture, because this generation, unlike any other, faces a world where terror is a daily occurrence. News of mass-shootings, suicide-bombings, hate-groups, police-killings, human-trafficking, drugs, pornography, and gang-violence flood their social media. The danger is not only the crumbling society they face, but the fact that they are being indoctrinated by a worldview.

In an age where people render their opinion instantly and frequently—without edit or restraint—our main goal should be to get the right words out there…words of healing…words that rescue…words that are Holy. The problem of allowing this to continue, uncontested, is that it leads to confusion, and confusion can lead to recruitment.

Writers today have a unique opportunity to open spiritual eyes on a global scale…to ride social-highways and balance news-cycle with truth. We can combat wrong-thinking with an army of words. It takes courage.

Today, the words of Revelation, Daniel, and Thessalonians are suddenly clear and possible. Although we will not know the time or day of Christ’s return, we can know the signs and engage in the fight. Let’s engage as soldiers would.

And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? – Romans 10:14

 

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Jewell Utt is a regular contributor to the RUBY magazine.

“There’s a Rock in My Sock!” by Lynn Mosher Tags: Daily Devotional Faith Forgiveness God's Grace mommy bloggers Prayer Christian Life Christian women

Pearl in Oyster Shell

Ever get a pebble in your shoe or your sock and think, Now, where did that come from?

I’m a sock person. I wear socks a lot and, every once in a while, I find the tiniest bit of something irritating my foot. I turn my sock inside out, only to find a barely visible piece of grit. I shake out my sock and get rid of it.

 Irritations, like pebbles, come in all sizes. We all have them at one time or another, whether in our socks or in our spirits.

Usually, we struggle not with the big boulders in our life’s path but with the puny pebbles. The boulders we can generally manage…But the pebbles? They end up causing us to stumble, fall, or just be irritated.

They are like little stumbling blocks, little annoyances that get under our skin and in our spirit. They elicit ungracious thoughts that pop out of our heart and mouth that shouldn’t. Or just stay hidden in our thoughts.

Guess who just loves to initiate those pebble attacks? The enemy. His vexations can come out of nowhere, like…

* someone has an opposing opinion of your beliefs and unloads a barrage of venomous words about it

* someone pulls out in front of you while driving and lets you know it’s your fault

* your kids aren’t playing nicely together

* you drop half your lunch on the floor

* the water company overcharges you

* odd habits of your spouse

Or maybe it’s one of these…

* fear of failure

*fear of not being good enough

* fear of rejection

* doubt or worry

Even the smallest grit can get in our spirit and irritate us.

Irritations will boot joy and praise right out the front door. And the enemy’s laughter will be almost audible. He hates our joy and praise. He gets a kick out of upsetting us, tripping us over little things.

He relishes knocking “us down with a straw…Most of us manage better in our great struggles than we do in our minor ones.” (A.B. Simpson)

We have a choice. If we harbor those pebbles of irritation, we do not have a clear conscience before God. Paul said, “I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.” (Acts 24:16 NKJV) By definition, an offense is a stumbling block.

However, to counteract those stumbling blocks, we can choose joy and praise, which will ring the enemy’s death-knell.

What do we do with those irritants? We can turn them into pearls! Yes, pearls of praise.

A natural pearl forms when a foreign substance slips in between the oyster’s mantle and the shell. It begins to irritate the mantle. The oyster’s natural reaction is to protect itself from a foreign substance.

The man­tle covers the irritant with layers of the same substance used to create the shell. And eventually, it forms a pearl.

So, next time your socks get full of irritating grit and you wonder where did that come from, turn those irritations inside out and get rid of them. Protect yourself from the enemy’s irritants by using praise.

Oysterize that grit into pearls of praise!

The worst sound in the ears of the enemy is praise from the lips of one of God’s children. The enemy hates it. Praise gets the attention of both God and the enemy!

May you protect yourself from the enemy’s gritty irritants by transforming them into pearls of praise!

 

Lynn Mosher

Since the year 2000, Lynn Mosher has lived with fibromyalgia and other physical conditions. During this time, the Lord placed the desire in her heart to write for Him. Now, armed with God’s purpose for her life and a new passion, she reaches out to others to encourage and comfort them through her writing, giving God all the glory. She lives with her husband in their empty nest in Kentucky. On occasion, their three offspring, who have flown the coop, come to visit, accompanied by a son-in-law and three granddaughters. Visit Lynn at her blog, at http://lynnmosher.com

lmosher

“Step Back to be Drawn In” by Mary Dolan Flaherty Tags: Daily Devotional God's Grace Christian authors Christian Life

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Have you ever noticed the benches in art galleries? I always assumed they were there so I could sit down when I didn’t feel like standing—a convenient place to rest. But I think it’s more that the bench is strategically placed a certain distance away from a painting so that the observer can get a better view of the blend of colors and textures. Up close, we see dots of red, dabs of white and blotches of black. But if we step back, a beautiful blend of colors forms a breathtaking scene. In order to be drawn into the scene, you have to step back.

I went to one (or three) of those paint classes where there is a picture by a famous (or not-so-famous) artist clipped on the top of your easel, and—using only four primary colors—you are supposed to paint this picture on your blank white canvas. Of course, a skilled artist gives you step-by-step instructions. It’s a fun night, but I left with a less than perfect imitation of the photo. Up close, it’s almost laughable. But from far away, it doesn’t look half-bad. Sometimes, in order to draw close you have to step back.

We are a work of art. Ephesians 2:10 says that “You are God’s masterpiece” (NLT).  Other translations use the words workmanship or handiwork. The original Greek word is “poema,” from which the word “poem” comes. All imply that God created us out of nothing using His imagination. We are a piece of art, a poem. A love song created for God’s enjoyment. A masterpiece sculpted by the Master-Artisan.

 

Yet, we tend to stand too close to the mirror and see only our flaws. We see the blotches and blemishes glaring back at us. We look at the lopsided facial features, the too small lips and too large nose…The too short legs and too long ears. We see all the flaws because we’re too close.

We need to step back and see ourselves as God sees us. He knows those flaws because He is the Creator, but He sees the whole picture. He sees a work of beauty—a masterpiece.

“How beautiful you are and how pleasing, O love with your delights “(Song of Solomon 7:6).

“Delights?” you ask. “I have none of those.”

That’s because you’re too close. Step back—away from yourself—in order to draw close to the One who sees it all, in order to be drawn in to the loving arms of God. He sees your delights because He is the one who put them there! When He look

s at you, He doesn’t say, “It’s not my best work, but from far away, she’s not half-bad.”

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The Bible doesn’t exactly say this, but from what I can gather about how God sees us, I think His heart flutters in excitement when He looks at you and me. His pulse quickens and joy rises and overflows. Just as He said in the beginning, He looks at what He has made—you—and says, “It is good—no, it is very good.” And then he does a little dance of joy.

He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:1).

So the next time someone notices something beautiful in you, please don’t pull them up close to point out your imperfections. Step back and allow yourself to be drawn in to the loving embrace of the God who fashioned you in His image—step back to see the whole picture. You might just notice your own beauty. Stop berating yourself, and start celebrating who you were designed to be—uniquely YOU!

Mary-Dolan-Flaherty-headshot-1-377x400

Mary Dolan Flaherty is a quirky gal who loves to encourage people and make them laugh. She writes and speaks with self-deprecating humor and transparency, saying what most people think but won’t admit.  She lives in New Jersey with her husband, whom she affectionately calls Hubbles, and has two grown children and two grand-dogs. Mary enjoys hiking, theatre, music, gardening, and traveling and can be found blogging at SonRiseInsights.blogspot.com.

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