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Perseverance

Perseverance.

Men and women trek across desolate terrain; their bodies indiscernible beneath layers of boots and coats while muscles scream in rebellion at the lack of oxygen. Fingers grow numb with cold and fatigue pulls on every limb, but the peak’s lofty silhouette propels each climber forward-one aching step at a time.

Perseverance.

A cousin, friend, or sister wakens before the sun. Even her pores pulse with the pain of the illness; as though her body weeps silently in understanding. She whispers her one-word prayer again and again. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.

Perseverance.

No longer a young mother, she’s weathered more than her share. Loss, grief, and shattered dreams pile up like old, forgotten toys in a second-hand store. She, too, feels like a throw-away-bit-of-rubbish, but her family needs her. Certain of the one who is always with her, she invites God to lead her through the rest of the day.

Perseverance.

It’s a challenging word; a word which means “continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition” (Merriam-Webster).

I'd hoped God would reveal something lovely like peace, faith, or love. Those words were beautiful. Inviting. Soothing.Instead, the Lord gave me perseverance.If I'm honest, I don't like the idea of… Click To Tweet

When I began praying about my new word for 2020, I’d hoped God would reveal something lovely like peace, faith, or love. Those words are beautiful. Inviting. Soothing.

Instead, the Lord gave me perseverance. Slow to accept the word, He presented it through faith-related articles and books. Finally, while beginning a personal study on the book of James, I read this passage:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4 NIV)

If I'm honest, I don't like the idea of perseverance.I''d like things to be easier than they have been.I don't enjoy trials, but I must grow up.#onbeingchildish#growingup#choosingjoy. Click To Tweet

If I’m honest, I don’t like the idea of perseverance. I’d like things to be easier than they have been. I want to run up mountain trails-not trudge. I long for my body to dance and spin with sprightly ease-not ache muscle deep. I want to recapture youthful dreams and watch them blossom into reality-not drift away with time.

Perhaps you do, too.

On Being Childish, Growing Up, and Choosing Joy

I don’t enjoy trials and the Father knows that in some ways I prefer to remain childish, but I long for more of Him every day. His personhood. His gifts. His blessings. I want to become more like Jesus; shedding the old, tattered bits of me and putting on the newness of Christ. I must grow up.

Perseverance.

I am choosing joy because perseverance isn't something I must acquire in my own strength. Instead, I can rely upon God.#equipped#endurance#patience. Click To Tweet

The last decade was one rife with trials and I almost dread being called to a year of perseverance. But, because the Father exhorts me to consider it pure joy I am choosing joy because perseverance isn’t something I must acquire in my own strength.

  • Instead, I can rely upon God. He is the one who equips each of us to persevere. Scripture reminds us:

We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience…         (Colossians 1:9-11 NIV)

Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us,  set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22 NIV)

  • We can trust that God notices our trials.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12 NIV)

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)

  • We can look to our Lord and Savior, “the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” (Romans 8:29) as our example.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer, and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Christ persevered even to the point of death on the cross. Surely, I can persevere one year to give Him glory.Three hundred sixty-five days to share His love with others.#oneword#NewYearsresolutions#@tammykennington. Click To Tweet

Christ persevered even to the point of death on the cross. Surely, I can persevere one year to give Him glory. Three hundred sixty-five days to share His love with others. Twelve unused calendar pages to offer the Father a sacrifice of perseverance “through my continued effort to do or achieve something for His glory despite difficulties, failure, or opposition by the power of the Holy Spirit in accordance with His will” (adapted definition).

I’m praying you will choose joy as you persevere in the faith this year, friend.

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

My stress for His best.My worries for freedom.My concerns for surrender.My delusions of control for comfort in His holy goodness. (1).png

The pitch and volume of voices seem more pronounced. I shush my son, and my husband’s brows knit together.

“He wasn’t being loud,” Dave says.

I mumble an apology, the fluttering in my chest like a butterfly trapped in a net waiting for release. This intrepid anxiety seems to have coincided neatly with the arrival of the Christmas season and I begin thinking of the ways Christ would have me release my burdens and exchange them.

My stress for His best.

My worries for freedom.

My concerns for surrender.

Do you long for more of Christ in the midst of the rush?. Click To Tweet

My delusions of control for comfort in His holy goodness.

Are you, too, someone who struggles with anxious thoughts during what has become the busiest of seasons? Do you long for more of Christ in the midst of the rush?

Keep reading to discover two simple ways to discover peace in His presence.

 Avoid Excuses

While dining with a group of Pharisees, one man said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” A storyteller, Jesus responded by sharing the Parable of the Great Feast in which several people were invited to a great banquet. (Luke 14:15-25)

During that time, feasts were announced far in advance. It was dishonorable not to attend. But, when the time came for the grand party one guest after the other offered a frail excuse. There was no time in his schedule to include the master.

In response, the wealthy man charged his servant with the task of inviting the crippled, blind, and the lame to his table. Still, there was more room in the fine hall. Once again, the servant went to the far edges of the country to gather even more people—those who were outcasts. Perhaps even those who had never heard of the master’s name.

A handful of social outcasts stood in the fields guarding their sheep.. Click To Tweet

Thirty-three years before Jesus dined at the table of the Pharisee, a handful of social outcasts stood in the fields guarding their sheep. It was a night that seemed like any other until they were encased in light; shuddering in fear as one of God’s angels delivered the long-awaited message that the Messiah had been born.

They didn't offer an excuse; instead, they sought the Savior.. Click To Tweet

How fitting that the heavenly announcement was given to shepherds—men who could understand the heart of the Great Shepherd. They didn’t offer an excuse; instead, they sought the Savior—the first to believe.

Accept the Invitation

After receiving heaven’s holy birth announcement, a vast choir filled the sky, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 14:14)

The angels seemed to disappear as quickly as they’d arrived, the shepherds stared at one another briefly. Then, craggy faces breaking into grins, one spoke, “We must hurry.” Dousing the meager fire that had been keeping them warm, the men almost ran to Bethlehem. In a small town, it wasn’t difficult to find a child.

Like the shepherds, we’re invited into Christ’s presence. We are the people of whom the master spoke when he said: “invite those from the far edges of the country”.

Why do I wait when I know that if I accept the invitation into His presence I'll receive the peace in promised?. Click To Tweet

Often, I RSVP too late. Waiting until the last moment to respond to a party invitation because I feel pressured to “do just one more thing”. But, how I long for more of Christ. Why do I wait when I know that if I accept the invitation into His presence I’ll receive the peace He promised in John 14:27? “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

He's waiting for us to join the banquet. Click To Tweet

Let’s accept the invitation today, friend. He’s waiting for us to join the banquet.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the Bookshelf

Come and Behold Him.jpeg

Come and Behold Him, a lovely Christmas devotional by Julie Lavender and Michelle Cox, was the perfect read to direct my thoughts heavenward as we enter the season.

It’s sweet, worshipful approach toward Christmas helps eliminate stress and reminds the reader of the One in whom the meaning of the celebration resides. While each devotion was meaningful as part of a personal study, young mother’s or grandmother’s with littles might enjoy reading each devotion and adapting each follow-up activity with their cherubs.

Come and Behold Him is certainly one book I’ll plan to read with my teens next year as part of family devotions as we prepare our hearts for Christmas.

I highly recommend it as for family, friends, and personal use. Thank you, Julie and Michelle, for penning this beautiful little book!

 

UnexplainableJesus.jpg

While I’ve read the gospel of Luke many times, Bible teacher Erica Wiggenhorn led me deep into the culture during her 8-Week study, Unexplainable Jesus-Rediscovering the God You Thought You Knew. Several times, I was surprised, taken aback, or amazed by a new realization or fresh understanding of an illustration or experience Luke wrote about.

This was my favorite Bible study of the year and I can’t wait to start the next one. The difficulty lies in making a choice.

 

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_Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you, he will never let the righteous be shaken._

We gathered beneath the morning sun, its shimmering light deceptive in the early autumn chill. Huddling beneath a makeshift shelter, November nipped at fingers as each woman considered the small rock nestled in her hands.

Determined, I scrawled the words across the face of my rock. A particular burden I knew He was calling me to surrender. Give to Him. How many times must I release this to you, Lord, before I leave it at your feet?

Moving to the place where sand and sea meet, I dipped my head in prayer. I believe, Father. Help my unbelief.

Moving to the place where sand and sea meet, I dipped my head in prayer. I believe, Father. Help my unbelief. Then, drawing my arm back, I released the burden–etched in stone–into the depths of the ocean.

I allowed thee solemnity of the moment to penetrate deep. It was impossible to gather that deeply held burden to myself. I couldn’t recapture it. It was lost to me in the depths of an ocean vast and mysterious. Beyond comprehension. Powerful and peaceful.

the one who bore the cross longs for us heave our peace-stealing, joy-depleting cares at His feet.

Joy fluttered in my chest like a bird rising in the air. Hope released fresh in my spirit as I considered what He has done and what is yet to come.

Returning to the gathering place, I noticed other women dotting the shoreline. Some knelt along the ocean’s edge, seafoam lapping at their knees. Others raised arms toward heaven as if celebrating newfound freedom or delighting in a promise shared between Father and daughter.

Eventually, we all met beneath the flapping wings of the beach tent–our church building this beautiful Sunday. Some faces wore expressions of relief. Others joy, anticipation, or triumph.

Stepping forward, one woman spoke.

“I threw my rock into the water, but I didn’t think it went deep enough. I ran out and picked my burden up again. Isn’t that exactly what we do? We give Jesus our burdens and then take them back.”

I imagined my rock. The words I’d written.  How many times must I surrender this to you, Lord, before I leave it at your feet?

Oh, yes. How often have I released this care to Christ only to gather it close to my heart again? Do you, too, scoop up your burdens once you’ve entrusted them to Jesus? Are we releasing our fears, worries, and concerns…but only a certain distance. Then, if He lets us down, doesn’t come through, or fails to arrange circumstances to our liking we can charge ahead and pluck the precious care from His grasp.

Psalm 55:22 reads, “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you, he will never let the righteous be shaken.”

The one who bore the cross longs for us heave our peace-stealing, joy-depleting cares at His feet.

Cast means to “throw forcefully”. Scripture exhorts us to forcefully throw off those burdens that weigh us down. They are too great for us to bear and because of His great love, the one who bore the cross longs for us heave our peace-stealing, joy-depleting cares at His feet.

There is such comfort in the words…” he will sustain you.” We can only fret, worry, or pray over our cares. Sometimes, we can take steps to help manage them, but ultimately we are not in control.

But, God.

God is our support. He alone is capable of meeting our needs and answering the cries of the heart. He alone left heaven to deliver hope and suffered satan’s sting to provide redemption. This is the same God who promises to sustain us regardless of life’s concerns.

Pick up your rock, friend. Write your burden down. Now, throw.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda, Mandy and Michele, Kingdom 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

FriendshipFriday, 

 

 

 

From the Book Shelf

Autumn is already nearing its end in Colorado. Bright splashes of color have faded to shades of brown and grey against the blue sky and a layer of snow washes away nature’s carpet of merlot and mustard. The chill penetrates our home and I’m drawn to my favorite chair where a book awaits.

Perhaps you’ll enjoy these, too.

take back your time.jpg

A great read by Morgan Tyree, Take Back Your Time-Identify Your Priorities, Decrease Stress, and Increase Productivity grabbed me in the introduction. “Time is always with you, walking alongside you on your journey and very much a part of your every experience. Whether in the mundane moments, the cherished memories, the obligatory daily duties, or the unwelcome trials–your time is a responsibility, a privilege, and a gift.”

Tyree takes a practical look at how we use our time and helps the reader break it into manageable “time zones” that work for her life. She identifies these as the green, yellow, and red time zones.

Like most of us, I’m still learning that “for everything there is a season”–including rest. While I appreciate the grids, time-logs, and tips Tyree shares throughout the book, I particularly appreciate her perception of time.

It truly is a responsibility, a privilege, and a gift.

transforming your thought life

Sarah Geringer’s book, Transforming Your Thought Life-Christian Meditation in Focus, is at the top of my Christmas gift list. Now on my second read, I’ve soaked in the words of this book as I’m learning to focus more on the power of scriptural thinking.

Geringer writes from a Biblical viewpoint, encouraging the reader to turn to scripture when struggling with faulty thinking in a variety of areas including unforgiveness, jealousy, fear, guilt, defeat, or negativity.

She provides step-by-step guidance for those new to Christian meditation, personalized prayers at the end of each chapter, as well as a wealth of scriptures to use for study and reflection.

Having released at the beginning of October, this book is one you won’t want to miss.

breakinganxietysgrip

Dr. Michelle Bengston has penned another encouraging book for those of us who struggle with such issues as anxiety, fear, and worry. While she has a wealth of knowledge as a professional neuropsychologist, it’s her relatability as a woman who has had her own struggles with anxiety that makes Dr. Bengton’s book, Breaking Anxiety’s Grip-How to Reclaim the Peace God Promises, so powerful.

Rich with personal stories of hope, Dr. Bengston shares practical, scriptural steps the reader can step into as she moves into freedom from worry and into Christ’s peace.

Each chapter concludes with a section called “Your Rx” which entails Bible study and application, a prayer, and a recommended playlist of five to seven praise and worship songs.

Every pastor, counselor, or person who knows the struggle of anxiety would benefit from this book. Even more than that, if you are someone walking through a difficult season this is a book you’ll want to read. It will bless your heart in unexpected ways.

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Lyneta Smith’s book, Curtain Call, is the painful retelling of being unseen and abused as a young child. A gripping story, Lyneta Smith threads the hope of redemption throughout her story. Grappling with the difficulty of PTSD, marriage, parenting, and forgiveness in the midst of her pain, the author shares how God created triumph from tragedy.

This book goes beyond ministering to those who’ve suffered abuse, however. It will strike a chord with those who strive for approval, fear rejection, or work to avoid poverty. This book is meant for those who know suffering and need a reminder that Jesus will always rescue them.

I haven’t chosen books for November. What do you recommend?

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link-up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda, Mandy and Michele, Kingdom 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

 

Set Free

The shackles, which had clung to me for years, clattered to the ground; their clanging the beautiful sound of freedom in what represented Death’s valley. I’d wandered there like the ancient people of Israel, aimless and afraid, certain I’d discover a new route to hope only to realize these were my own worn, familiar tracks.

The beautifully fashioned dreams of family life, motherhood, and who I’d be in the midst of it all were destroyed in one horrific moment. Nothing about my life would remain untouched. The harm done to me as a child now stretched its long, gruesome arm from the depths of the past and pulled me inexorably into its grip.

(To continue reading, please visit Kelly R. Baker’s website where I have the pleasure of being a guest in her month-long series  What Freedom in Christ Looks Like Online Event .)

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

#affiliatelinks

Difference

Oh, the grief that engulfed my heart while my son trudged through the painful valley. Many of my mama-crafted dreams were shattered when I realized the depth of my son’s emotional pain and struggle. But in their place, I’ve begun to understand surrender…

Continue reading my guest post where I honored to share at https://mistyphillip.com/i-never-expected-my-son-to-experience-mental-illness/ and please share if a parent you know needs encouragement.

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

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.

EverydayBrave7c-1

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

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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