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Archive for September, 2019

You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, (1)

Shallow lines marked half-moons at the edges of my mouth, and the first shades of gray had begun threading themselves through my hair when I encountered soul-rocking, spirit-deep pain. Not one area of my life remained untouched.

Emotionally? I was immersed in depression, anxiety, and hopelessness. Relationally? My marriage and children seemed irreparable. Spiritually? My faith teetered haphazardly on the corners of anger and bitterness.

To keep reading join me at https://arisedailydevos.wordpress.com/2019/09/25/the-value-of-brokenness/ where I’m guest posting today.

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The annoying song announcing a new text was playing early in the morning. I opened the text and to my surprise, there was a message from the insurance company saying they were sending a check for the completion of our reconstruction work after our basement flooded last Thanksgiving. Yes, I said last Thanksgiving!! What a journey it’s been for nine long months but now it was finally over! Closure.

But then I noticed that the amount was twice as much as we should receive. Unless we pointed out the error, our claim would be closed. Forever. Filed away.

But we knew the error. God knew the error. And we knew just what we needed to do.

So hubby contacted the construction company’s office and told them they needed to send the insurance company the correct final amount.

I contacted the most recent insurance claims resolution specialist I’d been working with and told her the check was not the correct amount.

Then I added,

“I’m sure you don’t receive many emails saying you paid us too much!” And signed it, “Appreciate your help! Have a blessed rest of the day.”

She emailed back,

“I really appreciate your honesty! Like you mentioned, we never get emails advising we have overpaid.” And she signed, “Have a blessed day as well.”

The choices we make every day have a lasting influence. We never know whose life our integrity and honesty is going to impact. I’m sure she receives many emails and

phone calls from angry disgruntled clients. And who hasn’t complained about insurance companies and the cost of insurance.

As women of integrity, we stay true to who we are in Christ and Christ in us, regardless of the circumstances. I’m not saying we lead out with the Gospel, but that we live out the Gospel.

For example, you’re with a group of people you’ve just met and you sense by their conversation and actions that they’re not believers. What do you do now? You have a choice: try to fit in or act the same as you would if you were with a group of fellow believers. We’ve all been there sending up a silent prayer asking God, “Help!”

In today’s culture, it takes courage to make the choice to stand up for our faith and live with integrity. You stand out in a crowd when you do what’s right instead of compromising or taking the easy way out. This is nothing new. The apostle Paul certainly would have had an easier life if he backed down every time someone challenged him for being a believer. But the message Paul gave to the church at Corinth is still a source of encouragement for Christians to bravely and boldly live with integrity today: “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong” (1 Cor. 16:13).

It saddens me how hard it is for Christians today to live with integrity without being confronted and bullied in schools, college campuses, sports, jobs, social media, and even with some friends and family. It isn’t easy, but it is courageous. It’s not popular, but it is possible. It’s not the world’s way, but it is God’s way! And that’s all that matters to us, right?

As we watch civil law move counter to God’s laws and rampant tolerance for everything except Christianity, every day we’re under intense pressure to comply. God says make the right choice: “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

Note: To be entered in the drawing, you must live in the United States. 

Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 20 books. Her passion is to mentor other women in sharing their life experiences and God’s faithfulness. Janet’s new release is Everyday Brave: Living Courageously As a Woman of Faith available at Amazon, Christianbook.com, Barnes and Noble, and signed at the author’s website.

She is also the author of Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness; Forsaken God? Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten; The Team That Jesus Built; Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?; Dear God They Say It’s Cancer; Dear God, He’s Home!; Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter; Face-to-Face Bible study Series; and Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, & Maintain a Mentoring Ministry Resources.

Janet is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries.

Visit Janet and sign up for her weekly blog and free online newsletter at womantowomanmentoring.com.

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About Everyday Brave: In Everyday Brave, Janet explores the extraordinary bravery of fifty ordinary women in the Bible. Twenty-eight women of today also give testimonies of realizing their strength and courage through God’s love. As Janet shares the stories of these women, she reminds us that the real heart and substance of bravery comes from unconditionally placing our hope in the only One who can give us the courage to stay the course.

Everyday Brave Social Media BATCH2-10

I often link-up with the following wonderful bloggers.

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda, Mandy and MicheleKingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee/Porch Stories

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup,best-of-the-weekend Fresh Market Fridays

Peace and grace,

Tammy

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Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name.

Ignoring conventional superstition, we prayed together beforehand; our hands clasped, heads bowed, and hearts beating in anticipation of what the future might hold. Folds of white silk and lace embraced the somber black of his suit as we offered our tender hopes and love for another to God, inviting Him to lead us deeper into devotion to one another.

Afternoon shadows stretched on the snowbanks outside until, finally, the strains of Pachabel’s Canon beckoned me toward the young man waiting beyond the rows of upholstered pews now draped with carefully crafted pink bows.

Fixing my gaze on the one I adored, I rejoiced. I’d waited for this moment. Prayed for it. Planned for it. Dreamed of it.

With reverence, I recited the vows…

I, Tammy, take thee, David, to be my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge myself to you.”

A hopeless romantic and head-in-the-clouds-idealist, I envisioned the stereotypical white picket fence sort of marriage. The kind of hardship-free-life that exists on old reruns of I Love Lucy or Family Ties. Life without messes–or at least messes tidily wrapped with a pretty bow and a carefree smile in less than thirty minutes of struggle and discomfort.

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Years later, I realized those vows were more than his and her towels or picnics on the beach. They represented more than shared holidays and long nights rocking babies to sleep.

The wedding vows weren’t merely a promise. They were words of sacrifice. The giving up of self. A precious gift requiring a daily choice.  Will I remain committed? Because despite love and laughter? Hard times came, too.

Choose Today Whom You Will Serve

As a little girl, I held my hand high when the Sunday School teacher asked if any of us wanted to know Jesus. I understood enough to realize His life had been given for me–a sacrifice offered on my behalf so that I might be with Him always.

Longing for the permanence of a daddy who always stayed, I knew my heavenly Father would care for me.

I couldn’t have known the cost of following Christ; the spiritual battles we’ve faced. The hours spent in tears crying out for newness of faith for a hurting prodigal or the countless prayers raised on behalf of a little one confused and fearful–dealing with Goliath-sized anxiety.

As I’ve grown in my faith, I’ve begun to grasp Hebrews 13:15, “Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name.”

When sunshine splits the sky and all is well, praise flows from my lips. I thank God for His abundant gifts. But there are times my soul has been crushed beneath the weight of brokenness. Shattered relationships, health scares and hospital visits, depression, and lives on the brink of being lost.

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Sometimes my faith wanes as troubles mount and I lose sight of the truth because Truth doesn’t feel real.

Doubt casts its long, dark shadow and gratitude slips away somewhere. At times, its words manage to lodge in my throat–the Spirit urging mine to speak life. Once in a while, I respond and I’m grateful. And even if my mouth is unable to speak, my heart is encouraged because the Comforter is teaching and guiding despite and through the wilderness.

Much like marriage, holding to faith in Jesus requires sacrifice on the part of the Christ-follower. There is a giving up of something precious and beautiful. A recognition that there will be moments of joy and celebration along faith’s journey. But there will also be hard times.

The question is the same as it is in marriage. Will I remain committed? This day, whatever your situation, who will you choose? Self or Christ?

Because every day…He choose you.

For Personal Study

  • Read Joshua 24:1-28

For Consideration

  • List some of the ways this scripture recounts God’s faithfulness to the Israelites. Now, consider the last 5-10 years of your life. In just three minutes, record how you’ve seen God’s faithfulness to you during that time.

As You Reflect

  • What is one action step you can take to offer your life as a spiritual sacrifice today?

Please don’t hesitate to let me know how I can pray for you. Intercessory prayer is powerful!

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I often link-up with the following wonderful bloggers.

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda, Mandy and MicheleKingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee/Porch Stories

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup,best-of-the-weekend Fresh Market Fridays

 

 

 

 

 

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Moonbeams give way to the bolder light of morning; shades of fuschia, mauve, and coral brightening the shadowy landscape with the promise of a new day. Change is inevitable.

Sometimes, we can see it peeking over the horizon and remain unsurprised. At other times, there is an unexpected unraveling of the known and in its stead, the doctor shares an unfavorable test result.

Last week, my family physician confirmed that I have an autoimmune disease. A chronic illness. In typical fashion, I dove into research papers, studies, and statistics. My nuclei are spattered like a modern work of art when they shouldn’t be.Some of you face similar challenges.

Perhaps your marriage relationship is teetering on the brink of divorce. A prodigal seems beyond your reach. A family member or friend has betrayed your trust…again. Maybe you’ve received a diagnosis of your own. Cancer. Multiple sclerosis. Lupus.

Growth leads to a final, determined struggle...a new creation.#hope#beauty#newness Click To Tweet

While a caterpillar is encased within its chrysalis, its growth leads to an incredible transformation until one glorious day it emerges with a final, determined struggle…a new creation.

Our bodies may malfunction, our relationships struggle, our hearts ache. But in the midst of the worst, we can choose to look to the One whose own suffering led to ultimate healing. The Redeemer of all shattered dreams, dashed hopes, and lost years is not unaware of the struggle nor is he immune to your pain. Press into Him, dear one. Allow Him to wrap you in arms of comfort and grace as His word does an eternal work in heart and mind. Pray. Trust. Believe.

One day, you and I will be gloriously and completely transformed–shaped by our response to both the good and bad circumstances in our lives.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

Today’s Verse for Reflection-And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

I often link up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda ,Mandy and MicheleKingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee/Porch Stories

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire , Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth LinkupFresh Market Fridays

 

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