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Posts Tagged ‘faith’

The tantalizing scents of yeast and baking bread beckoned to me. Still bleary-eyed from sleep, I padded from the guest room to the dimly lit kitchen and surveyed the room. A large silver mixer stood on the counter, its dough attachment spinning vigorously as Gracie rhythmically kneaded a mass of dough. Thrust, turn, thrust. Five tins spanned the counter top, each covered by a white cloth.

Turning her attention toward me, the farmer’s wife dusted flour from her hands. “Good morning, Tammy. Would you like to see the special treat I have for you?”

Nodding, I followed behind Gracie as she stepped toward the oven. “This is for you,” she said, tilting a cookie sheet my direction. Curious, I moved closer to investigate the shiny tray and its promising contents—a loaf of bread carefully shaped to resemble a teddy bear. My stomach gurgled in anticipation as I imagined eating those golden hills of cinnamon-and-sugar laced goodness.

Reaching for a plate, Gracie tugged a round of sweetbread from the loaf and handed it to me. I’d never enjoyed a more delicious breakfast.

The disciples must have shared my sentiment the day they feasted on the bounty Jesus miraculously produced to feed five-thousand men as well as women and children. Food was scarce—until the Master filled baskets to overflowing with heaven-sent bread and assuaged the hunger of a ravenous crowd.

Amazed, the people hunted after the Giver when he quietly slipped away. Finally discovering His location, they demanded more. More bread. More miracles. More of Christ.

But John 6: 25-28 reveals that Jesus knew their hearts.

“When they arrived and found him, they said, “Sir, how did you get here?” Jesus replied, “The truth of the matter is that you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you believe in me.  But you shouldn’t be so concerned about perishable things like food.”

I imagine Christ peering out at those in the group, His gaze penetrating the hearts of the unbelieving before continuing.

Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that I, the Messiah, can give you. For God the Father has sent me for this very purpose.” John 6:27 MSG)

Jesus spoke plainly; He was the one for whom 
Israel had waited.#answeredprayer Click To Tweet

Jesus spoke plainly; He was the one for whom Israel had waited. But unbelief persisted as the people challenged deity in flesh and demanded proof.

 “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.

Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.  For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (John 6: 30-33 NIV)

Christ’s next words stunned the crowd.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. (John 6:35 NIV)

The carpenter’s son made a radical claim when He spoke the words “I am”. This combination of pronoun and verb equated Christ with God. How? He chose to use the Hebrew words, “Ego eimi” to convey His message—an emphatic word choice referencing Exodus 3:14 when God revealed His character to Moses as YAHWEH, the I AM who always was, is, and will be.

Once we feed on the bread of heaven, He occupies our 
spiritual emptiness.#breadoflife Click To Tweet

Undeterred, Jesus made a distinction between the perishable bread God showered on the Israelites in the wilderness and Himself, “the bread of life”. One was temporary and the other eternal.

As much as I enjoyed the bread Gracie prepared for me when I was a child, it couldn’t satisfy my hunger. A few hours later, I needed to fill the void in my stomach again. Christ is far different. Once we feed on the “bread of heaven”, He occupies our spiritual emptiness and delivers us from always requiring more to storehouses of abundant blessing.

If you haven’t tasted of the joys of heaven, I pray you will. And if you’ve already joined Him at the table, won’t you sit by me? Let’s celebrate and feed on the things of Christ together.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link-up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   Mandy and MicheleKingdom Bloggers,

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

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday WelcomWednesday /LetsHave Coffee

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

Friday Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup

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_...whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” - Copy

The throbbing is real but intangible. Painful but unseen. It’s the shattering of a heart already broken experiencing one more journey in the wasteland. Have you been in this place before? In the same sort of circumstance where your dreams are dashed by reality and hope drifts away like dust in the wind? Are you searching for solace, but coming up dry? Does it seem as if even God is unreachable in this desert place?

The Wasteland

The wasteland is almost uninhabitable; barren of comfort, it lacks nourishment and sanctuary is difficult to find. Even your spirit seeks aimlessly, searching for rest but finding none; lying in the pale sand only to rise up again up with the residue of silt  clinging to it-a a reminder of your unchartered journey.

Some of you may be in a spiritual wasteland or on its horizon; others remember trials you’ve recently experienced-difficult circumstances that led you deep into the arid places of the heart bereft of comfortable routines or reassuring normalcy.

If you’re passing through the refining heat of the desert, there is comfort in knowing those of great faith have also journeyed along the same gritty path.

A King in the Wasteland

Imagine being a man of great wealth and power only to discover your oldest son has betrayed you. Charming and deceitful, he’s convinced some of your closest advisors to turn against you and, as a result, you lose everything-your position, possessions, and prestige.

Discovering a plot against your life, you gather a few trusted men and escape to the wilderness. Nourishment is scarce and the enemy, your son, haunts every weary step. Battle weary, you’ve managed many losses and setbacks. Undeserved hatred. Depression. The death of a beloved child. This is a new heartache…the betrayal of a precious son and separation from your place of holy Hope. The one sanctuary of your life.

While encountering his own wasteland, the shepherd-turned-king cried out to God and scribed his words into song as a testimony for us.

O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.

When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.                                                                                                                                   But those who seek my life, to destroy it,

Shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
They shall fall by the sword;
They shall be a portion for jackals.

But the king shall rejoice in God;
Everyone who swears by Him shall glory;
But the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped. (Psalm 63-NKJV)

 

Are you struck by David’s description of His parched soul? By the yearning he has to be in God’s presence? In these few, beautiful verses the believer reveals a path to joy in the most difficult of situations.

Focus on God’s Character

When I’m surrounded by the brokenness of the wasteland, I often fail to notice the stark beauty of the desert stars shining in an inky sky or the shifting shadows along the face of the rocky terrain. I’m consumed by the situation and begin to compare my unfair circumstances to other believers. Why this issue? Hadn’t I prayed enough? Why does God allow this suffering? The questions keep coming, but there aren’t any satisfactory answers.

Perhaps David felt the same way, but he didn’t resort to comparing or even complaining. Instead, he turned his thoughts heavenward and called out to the one who is unbound by circumstances. David cried, “O Elohim (the one true God), You are my El (the mighty One).”

Neither the barren surroundings nor the lack of protection garnered the king’s attention. God’s character was his focal point. When we find ourselves confused or fearful in unwelcome circumstances, our strength comes from the presence of the all-knowing, ever-loving El Elohim. Removing our eyes from the temporary and redirecting them to our Eternal horizon is the first step in rediscovering hope in difficulty.

Quench Your Thirst

As king, David knew the pleasures of fine feasts, silken fabrics, and celebrations. He was accustomed to being addressed with respect and surrounded by family members and doting servants. Now, David and a few loyal men were rushing from one cave to another without the simplest of comforts, and when crying out for his most basic needs what did he request?

More of God.

Despite his clear physical needs, David’s spiritual needs were far more acute. Body and soul, he longed to commune with God. Lamenting at being separated from the holiness of the sanctuary where he’d witnessed God’s glory, earth’s mighty king bowed before heaven’s King in humble submission asking that the Lord alone would quench his thirst.

What does your soul thirst after, friend? Is it His word? Worship? Communing with Him?  Go to Him for we need never thirst. Jesus said, “whoever drinks of the water I will give him will never be thirsty again”. (John 4:14 ESV)

Remember and Rejoice

Even though David is fleeing for his life, he recalls all of the good God has done for him. He recounts the joys, victories, and protection. Maybe David thinks of his best friend Jonathan, the rags-to-riches story of shepherd boy to king, the unexpected win of teenaged-boy over a ruthless warrior, or the birth of his son, Solomon.

Praise flows like a river from David’s mouth. As he thanks the Lord, gratitude wells up from inside his spirit and joy spills out.

Remembering God’s goodness leads to rejoicing. And don’t we all need more rejoicing-especially when we’re walking through the wasteland?

 

Leaving the Wasteland

Eventually, David was rescued from the wasteland. You will be, too, friend. Our Father promises to be your shield and protector, your rescuer and redeemer. He will quench your thirst and lead you by still waters.

Like David, we can cling to our Lord with steady perseverance and take refuge from any challenge in El Elohim-the one true God, the strong and mighty One.

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

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee

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,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The year is 1995. Being a self-employed counselor is a real challenge. From time to time I say to my God, “Is this really what you want me to do?” Deep inside from around the region of my heart, I hear the answer, “Hang on.”

Sometimes God is a person of few words.#faith #perseverance Click To Tweet

Sometimes God is a person of a few words. I keep questioning, “Should I be doing something else?” Sometimes I feel like a failure and now I am overwhelmed with shame at having to ask for help. I stare at the phone in my hand. You can do this Evelyn, do not give up, do not back down, do not lose faith. Do not worry about what people think?

It’s been a hard winter. My business has dwindled to almost nothing, partly because of the weather and partly because I don’t feel equal to the trauma and pain I see in front of me. Money is tight. My fear is that homelessness is imminent.

My friend in Oklahoma City tells me about an organization that is coming to the clinic where she works to do some free trauma training that can help untold numbers of hurting people. But it’s just for Oklahoma counselors. I live in South Dakota.

“Can I come?” I ask. She says “no” on three different phone calls,

“Just ask them,” I say. “Please just ask?”

Finally, she says with a deep sigh, “I will give you the number and you can ask.”

I’ve wanted this training for a couple of years. I have heard of the extraordinary healing it produces—but the cost is beyond my reach. I’ve been praying for guidance for months, hanging on, believing God when He says, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear”. (Luke 12:22.) Waking up stressed and fearful in the middle of the night, I repeat this verse over and over, desperately trying to drown out the negative messages rattling around my brain. The messages telling me: “Give up, send your clients to someone who can really help them. Stop humiliating yourself by being persistent. Go find a job. Why would anyone want to help you anyway?”

Now it’s 8:00 am on a cloudy Monday morning. Sitting with the phone in my hand, I have prayed all night for a “yes” answer or the faith to endure a “no.” Taking a deep breath, I dial the number; it rings five times before the man on the other end says “Good morning. Bright Counseling, Joe speaking.”

My heart is in my throat. “This is Evelyn Leite. I am a friend of Barbara’s—I understand that the EMDR corporation is doing a free counselor training in Oklahoma City, because of the bombing of the Federal building. I hear my breathless voice coming out fast and force myself to slow down.

“Joe, I am a counselor in South Dakota. Do you think it might be possible for me to attend the training coming up at your clinic next week?” A long moment of silence follows (I’m holding my breath) then he says “I don’t see any reason why you can’t.” Geared up for a “no”, my “thank you” comes out in an emotional squeak. Joe takes my name and phone number and promises to see me there. I’m in!

Overwhelmed with gratitude, I say prayers of praise and swing into action. Using frequent flyer miles and with ten dollars in my pocket, my amazed friend will meet me at the airport and I will stay with her. I will be only the second counselor in SD to have this training-my business booms and people are helped. God is Good!

 

 

Evelyn M. Leite MHR, LPC  

Evelyn Leite has been in the addiction and mental health profession for 35 years and has a private practice called Living With Solutions.  She also founded a non-profit corporation called A Center For Training And Restoration.  She is the author of 14 books and she holds workshops nationwide that are devoted to teaching individuals and families about mental health and addiction. Evelyn does a lot of trauma-related work with men and women who have been abused.  Because her work as a humanitarian has been widely recognized, she was installed in the SD Hall of Fame in 2008.  Her work has included founding a youth center in Ft Pierre, SD, helping establish a women’s shelter in Pierre, SD, and helping to establish the Hope Center, a day shelter for the homeless in Rapid City, SD.  Most of her work for the last 15 years has taken place on Indian Reservations.  She released a new book in December 2019, A Fix For The Family Rift Caused By Addiction. Evelyn Leite has been in the addiction and mental health profession for 35 years and has a private practice called Living With Solutions.

https://evelynleite.com/

 

P.S. Hello, friends. I’m so glad you stopped by today. Evelyn and other counselors who do the hard and important work of helping people heal from their trauma wounds are such a blessing. Evelyn and I have never met personally and she is unaware of my background, but EMDR was one of the tools God used to bring hope and healing into my own life as a survivor of child abuse. If you have any questions about EMDR or other aspects of healing from trauma (i.e. C-PTSD, domestic violence, sexual assault, etc.), please know you aren’t alone. Reach out to one of us or another safe person in your life. God is in the business of “restoring the years the locusts have eaten”.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I sometimes link-up with these 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

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I like my life drama-free. My first marriage had enough turmoil to last me a lifetime. I’m very comfortable with our quiet, boring routine.

Our home and schedule change drastically when my daughter and granddaughters visit. Those are the changes we love. The rooms seem to get smaller as we bring out the toys and baby furniture. The walls get dirty, stickers appear in random places, dust bunnies collect, and the dog gets bigger from snacks sneaked and food dropped.

Yes, our seemingly mundane life turns chaotic when the family comes to visit, but we really don’t mind at all.

Seven years ago our daughter and granddaughters spent five weeks with us while they got their paperwork in order to live in my son-in-law’s home town in England. At that time Fiona was four years old and Eleanor was eight months old. They had previously lived in Hungary and their annual visits were precious. Those weeks were sublime!

As usual, I hated the quiet after they left and immediately started the post-visit routine. I put away the toys and furniture so I wouldn’t get depressed. I washed walls, scrubbed floors, and regained control of my environment. I cried around the house on and off for days, longing for them to video chat with me. However, I knew they were busy settling into their new home in the UK.

Again, my heart was broken. “This doesn’t get easier,” I told a friend. Then something happened that helped put it in perspective.

A friend from church lost a baby grandson. We know he is in the arms of Jesus, but that doesn’t take the pain away.

My heart may be broken when my family goes back home, but I know I’ll see them again on our next visit. We’ll video chat with them regularly. I’ll hold them again here on earth. My friend cannot.

How do others see God working in your everyday life and mine? Click To Tweet

It put my woes in proper perspective as I watched my friend’s family exude God’s peace while He heals their hearts. God used the faith shown by the grieving family to minister to those around them. We see God working in their everyday lives.

Philippians 4:4-9 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Now, several years later, I learn that my family can’t visit this spring. I’ve come to expect them in April and, once again, my heart is broken. Once again, I have to concentrate on “whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable” – those things that are praiseworthy and excellent. Sadly, as always, it’s easier said than done. I feel it’s time to get busy helping others and put my woes in the proper perspective.

Pour out onto those around us like water through a broken vase.#loveothers #pourout Click To Tweet

When we remain teachable and keep our eyes on Christ, He will help us see those hurting around us. If we reach out to others in their need, we won’t be caught up in our own hurts, concerns, and problems. It helps. It really does. Keeping our minds on what is pure and lovely will help us realize that God’s peace is with us. I pray we keep our hearts open to learn from God and to put what we’ve learned into practice, allowing His love to pour out onto those around us like water through a broken vase.

To those who have lost a child, I pray God's love overwhelms you...He is near. Click To Tweet

To those who have lost a child, I pray God’s love overwhelms you and fills you with His perfect peace each day as you learn to carry on. He will show you. He will guide you. He is near.

 

Kelly J. Stigliano enjoys life in Orange Park, FL with her husband, Jerry. A blended family, they have five grown children, a son-in-law, and two granddaughters – spread across the globe! She has contributed to thirteen anthologies, written hundreds of articles, and recently released her memoir, Praying for Murder, Receiving Mercy. Documenting eight years of her life, it is written in two parts with photographs in the middle. Kelly travels as a speaker, making people laugh and cry as she shares her heart. To learn more about Kelly’s ministry, her speaking topics, and books, please visit http://www.kellystigliano.com.

 

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I sometimes link-up with these 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

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Pleading for Us

The hard edges of time haven’t yet lined his face, but the young man knows suffering. He’s grown accustomed to fear biting at his heels; chasing him from one day to the next. Calling on God, he prays and fasts-beseeching the Lord for breakthrough. Relief from the brokenness. Healing for a hurting heart that refuses to release the tears bottled there for too long.

And his mother approaches the throne of grace; a modern-day Hannah with earnest words whispered and desperate on behalf of the man who is her son. Capturing a glimpse of the child behind his sad smile, she lifts her face to heaven.

Oh, God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
If you’ll take a good, hard look at (his) pain,
If you’ll quit neglecting (him) and go into action for (him)…
I’ll give him completely, unreservedly to you.
I’ll set him apart for a life of holy discipline. (1 Samuel 1:11 MSG)

Like the grieving woman whose arms longed to feel the weight of a newborn, I make a holy vow of my own.  No holding back. No standing in the way. No talking him out of what the mighty God has planned. But, Lord, free him up to live and live abundantly-not this numb-to-the-pain and numb-to-the-joy existence. Allow beauty to move him to such depths that joy erupts from his spirit and spills wet as liquid down dampened cheeks. Let sadness wring his soul with enough strength that the melancholy pours from within; unleashing the ache and inviting the flow of God’s healing touch. Move into the empty spaces and clear out those the imposter has planted a “no vacancy” sign.

You, too, may be a modern-day Hannah with a loved one whose heart needs healing. Some days, it feels as though the prayers will never be answered and I grow impatient. I want Him to answer now. Doesn’t He see the need? The pain? The ache?

I would be the rescuer. The savior. But, my titles are all lowercase.#perseverance#faith Click To Tweet

Honestly, if I could exchange the burden with my precious one I would. I would be the rescuer. The savior. But, my titles are all lowercase and I’m ill-equipped to do anything but persevere in my faith. If I give up, the enemy will celebrate a victory. I refuse to yield my child’s life so easily.

What about you? Are you battling right now? Are you, too, pounding on heaven’s gates on behalf of a loved one? Maybe your on bended knee as a result of a dear one’s anxiety, depression, or addiction. It could be your precious one is consumed by self-contempt, brokenness, or fear.

Perhaps, you are the one in need of prayer.

Dear modern-day Hannah, remain steadfast. Jesus intercedes on your behalf.#holyprayers#remembered Click To Tweet

Dear modern-day Hannah, remain steadfast. Raise your eyes heavenward. Your heavenly priest, Jesus, intercedes on your behalf. Persevere as this woman of scripture once did and there will be a day of rejoicing. Just as the Lord remembered Hannah, He will remember you.

 

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I sometimes link-up with these 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 Networ

 

 

 

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2-corinthians-3-18

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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Copy of courgeJust a few years ago, fear and depression nearly took him from me. Threatened to steal the world of his mischievous smile, the one that tilts the right corner of his mouth like the crescent moon on its axis. But, as I rejoice over his presence and delight in the strides he’s made toward healing, I’m reminded of the loss and tragedy dear childhood friends have had to brave.

Instead of delighting in healing? They have lived with the aftermath of a momentary decision too permanent to undo the pain of a mother’s heart. They have felt the emptiness of a home once filled with the laughter of a young one on the edge of adulthood.

People toss out platitudes and church-appropriate responses. This is all part of God’s plan. God never gives us more than we can handle. But, the words are misleading. Perhaps untruthful.

God is never the author of evil and while His will ultimately triumphs, man’s enemy is at work. Wreaking havoc. Whispering lies. Sowing destruction.

And boys on the cusp of manhood lose hope.

Brokenness is not God's plan. Depression. Chronic illness. Abuse. Suicide. We weren't meant to know of or experience any of these.#courage#hope#more of Jesus. Click To Tweet

Brokenness is not God’s plan. Depression. Chronic illness. Abuse. Suicide. Cancer. Stillborn death. We weren’t meant to know of or experience any of these. The Father who ushered breath into lungs of clay and called his creation good designed us for more.

He knows our condition, dear friend. Scripture refers to courage over one hundred times because in this world we will bear more than we can handle.

We need fortitude. Courage. Above all, we need to rely on Christ.

Why does God stay his hand in some situations and intervene in others? When two mothers kneels with all humility and beg the Father to spare their children the pain of abuse, why does he answer yes to one and no the other?

When cancer is the diagnosis and prayer warriors converge on a friend’s behalf they cannot know whether the Father will heal on this side of heaven or the next. But, the Healer is at work regardless and we are called to love and pray faithfully.

Life can feel unfair. As though we’ve been treated less than someone else. That because God won’t bend to our will He isn’t good. But, our relationship with God isn’t about what we squeeze out of him. We cannot manipulate Him through pray, or fasting, or looking good as we show up faithfully at church.

One glorious, beautiful day all things will be restored and set right. Instead of death? Delight. In place of mourning? Celebration. Rather than injustice? More of Jesus.#praise#thankful#hope. Click To Tweet

We trust Him knowing that one glorious, beautiful day all things will be restored and set right. Instead of death? Delight. In place of mourning? Celebration. Rather than injustice? More of Jesus.

Hang on, friend. The waiting won’t be long.

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, InstaEncouragments

Wednesdays   Recharge 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, Fresh Market Fridays

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My world spun off its axis when a precious one revealed the trauma buried in his past. Pushing hard against the faith I’d clung to throughout my own embattled childhood and youth, I wrestled with God. I laid my heart bare, unflinchingly honest in my anger and despair.

What kind of God allows children to be devoured by this world? Could I even trust Him? Even more than that–did I want to?

Typically Polly Anna-esque , I almost felt my heart grow cold and hard. Hope drained from my life like color from an old photograph and everywhere I looked I saw the potential for loss, pain, and suffering.

It could be that doubt has swallowed hope; even your faith seems as though it may be distinguished.#hoperestored#Christredeemsthepain#novictoryfortheenemey Click To Tweet

Maybe you’re in a situation that has raised similar questions in your own mind. It could be that doubt has swallowed hope and you’re just existing moment to moment; bitterness twisting your thoughts until even your faith seems as though it might be distinguished.

Will you choose truth or be deceived into despondency?#havecourage#battleready Click To Tweet

This is the point at which you must make a decision. Will you choose truth or be deceived into despondency by this corrupt world? Will you invite Christ to redeem your pain or allow the “thief who comes to steal, kill, and destroy” to derail your faith?

For months I wavered between one choice and the other. I struggled, wept, and screamed in anger; alternately searching scripture for words of comfort and then refusing to attend church.

I decided I wouldn't allow the deceiver an easy victory.#Jesuswins#hopeinChrist Click To Tweet

Finally, I decided. I decided I wouldn’t allow the deceiver an easy victory.

Turning to the truth bound up in the pages of my Bible, I poured over its promises and was reminded again and again of God’s faithfulness. While this world hasn’t been set right yet, it will be. Jesus’ return is sure and His justice and mercy will prevail. And, even more, we have the eternal hope of heaven; a place free of tear and trials and overflowing with the laughter and celebration of the restored and redeemed.

He is with us each step of the way; penning hope throughout until we reach our eternal happily ever after.#weknowtheendofthestory#thesetroublesaremomentary#heknowstheplansforus Click To Tweet

If you are in the midst of a battle and flanked by disillusionment and doubt, can I encourage you to turn to Christ? He won’t condemn you for your doubt, but will gather you in His arms as your tears spill like prayers in His presence. He’s waiting already, pleading and praying on your behalf.

“Who then is left to condemn us? Certainly not Jesus, the Anointed One! For he gave his life for us, and even more than that, he has conquered death and is now risen, exalted, and enthroned by God at his right hand. So how could he possibly condemn us since he is continually praying for our triumph?” (Romans 8:34 TPB)

Oh, friend, trust that He has more for you than what you’re experiencing right now. Jesus never claimed our lives would be easy, but as we move page by page through the story of our lives He is with us each step of the way; penning hope throughout until we reach our eternal happily ever after.

 

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link up with the following: LMMLinkupPorch StoriesTea and Word Tuesday, Blogger Voices NetworkTea and Word Tuesdays, Worth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Let’s Have Coffee, Soaring With Him, Purposeful Faith, Encouraging Word WednesdaySitting Among FriendsImparting GraceDestination InspirationTune in ThursdayHeart EncouragementFaith and Friends, Faith on Fire, anitaojeda, Dance with Jesushttps://www.rachelmarielee.com/  www.instaencouragements.com, Fresh Market Friday, Grace and Truth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It is the terror that if our dark soul is discovered, we will never be enjoyed, nor desired, nor pursued by anyone. (Dan Allender)

Shame is that inner tormentor that whispers lies and accusations. It is the silent, insidious voice of self-contempt for one’s own need for love, relationship, and acceptance and is the seat of fear and rejection for the woman who bears its burden.

Introduced into my life at the intersection between my parent’s divorce, a stepfather, and a little girl’s desperate longing for love, I’ve been acquainted with shame since before my fifth birthday. I couldn’t have known that my new daddy’s affection and attention were the seeds he’d scattered in my life to engender trust in a lonely child’s heart. But once the abuse began, shame grew from those seeds–unloosing  self-loathing and self-disdain; always asking, What if I hadn’t? or What if I had?

Shame, though, doesn’t limit itself to only those who are abuse survivors. It invades the lives of women who were the first in their family to experience divorce.

Women who were bullied for their appearance or personality.

Women who experienced the pain of an absentee parent.

Women whose husbands indulge in pornography or flit from one affair to the next.

Women living with the trauma of a child’s death.

Do you, too, know the voice of illegitimate shame? Has its poison poured into the soil of your heart, assaulting you with cruel falsehoods?

You’re never enough.

You should have done something.

You shouldn’t have done anything.

You aren’t worth being loved. 

Some of us tuck shame behind our smiles; the great pretenders#nomoreshame#soulhealing#youareworthloving. Click To Tweet

Some of us tuck shame behind ours smiles; the great pretenders. Others of us hide behind success and performance, unhealthy relationships, food or alcohol consumption, or even closed hearts–certain we’re safer not being known at all.

Two thousand years ago, another woman lived with the shame of bloody discharge.

In the crowd that day there was a woman who for twelve years had been afflicted with hemorrhages. She had spent every penny she had on doctors but not one had been able to help her. She slipped in from behind and touched the edge of Jesus’ robe. At that very moment her hemorrhaging stopped. Jesus said, “Who touched me?”

When no one stepped forward, Peter said, “But Master, we’ve got crowds of people on our hands. Dozens have touched you.”

Jesus insisted, “Someone touched me. I felt power discharging from me.”

When the woman realized that she couldn’t remain hidden, she knelt trembling before him. In front of all the people, she blurted out her story—why she touched him and how at that same moment she was healed.

Jesus said, “Daughter, you took a risk trusting me, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed!” (Luke 8:43-48)

Imagine this women’s desperation. For twelve years she’d lived on the fringe of society as an outcast. The communities societal pollutant. Demoralized and destitute, the woman hid in the midst of the crowd–gathering courage.

Despite the possibility of ridicule or rejection, the woman pressed through her fear as trembling fingers feathered lightly against rough fabric. And in the moment she trusted the Healer, her shame was destroyed.

If shame is part of your struggle, God’s heart is for you to discover freedom from its lies that you, too, might “live well, live blessed.” But, how?

Let’s consider the example of the healed woman who tried to hide from Christ. She pushed beyond her pain, pressed into Jesus, and proclaimed the truth of her situation. These were the stepping-stones of faith that led to healing and wholeness. Relief and restoration.

These were the stepping stones of faith that led to healing and wholeness.Relief and restoration.#nomoreshame#speaktruth#soulhealing Click To Tweet

Oh, friend, this woman’s experience can be mine. Her experience can be yours!

Will you consider taking on a challenge? Starting today, I encourage you to stand up against shame by engaging in the following three activities until you begin to notice a heart change:

  • Push beyond your pain. Write an honest, raw letter or prayer to Jesus about the pain of your shame. What has shame told you? What words or actions have other people taken that have caused you to feel ashamed?
    Step out from hiding and reveal your heart to Him.He will never forsake you. Click To Tweet

    Step out from hiding and reveal your heart to Him. He will never forsake you.

  • Press into Jesus. Reach for the hem of his garment by seeking Him in scripture. Saturate your mind with the Word and replace words of shame with the Living Word that assures you of your identity and worth.
  • Proclaim the truth. Record God’s words of love and place them where you’ll frequently see them. Read them aloud, turn them into prayers, and claim them for yourself because God’s promises are for those who put their faith in Him. Consider inviting a friend, counselor or mentor into the places you need healing from shame. Or, message me and I’ll pray for you.

May you, too, “live well, live blessed.”

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link up with the following: Porch StoriesTea and Word Tuesday, Literary Musing MondaysTea and Word TuesdaysWorth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Let’s Have Coffee, Soaring With HimPurposeful Faith, Encouraging Word WednesdaySitting Among FriendsImparting GraceDestination InspirationTune in ThursdayHeart EncouragementFaith and FriendsFaith on Fire, anitaojeda, Dance with Jesus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kata-Kata Gaul (1).pngFour hundred fifty-eight; the number of Bible verses containing a version of the word “faith”. Scrolling down the list, I notice three action verbs reappear consistently. Walk. Serve. Obey.

Walk faithfully. Serve faithfully. Obey faithfully.

Simple words, but not as simply lived. Sometimes the pressures of work and family life seem to squeeze out time for faithful living. We race from one event to the next, our children strapped in car seats during the shuffle between dance lessons, team events and church obligations. Bending our heads for an obligatory dinnertime prayer will need to suffice for  today’s time of quiet rest in His presence. Or, maybe for the week.

Walk faithfully. Serve faithfully. Obey faithfully.

Our holy resumes gathers titles and accomplishments...but we lose we sight of the One we're serving.#seekfirst#loveGod#loveothers Click To Tweet

We feel compelled to join committees, causes, and councils. Our holy resume gathers titles and accomplishments, but how often do we lose sight of the One we’re serving in the midst of all the doing?

Instead of filling up on Christ, we moan about overcrowded schedules as our spiritual wells run as dry as the desert during a drought. All along, the life-giving Fountain waits to flow in us and through us; our bodies weary of frenzy and our souls aching for the refreshing nourishment He provides.

Instead of filling up on God...our spiritual wells run dry.#fountainoflife#noneedtothirst Click To Tweet

The Psalmist understood. He penned these words about his own experience.

You, God, are my God,
    earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
    my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
    where there is no water.

-Psalm 63:1 (NIV)

 

This world, this culture, this high-demand-you-can-do-it-all system will lead us into the wilderness places if we allow frenzied living. I’ve been there. Have you?

I don’t believe this is God’s best for us.

...when we settle into His heavenly company, He will bless our surrendered hearts.#faithfulliving#intentionalliving#lovingGod Click To Tweet

While we attempt to check off  today’s to-do list, the Father invites us to into His presence. And when we settle into His heavenly company,  He will equip us for our assignments and bless our surrendered hearts. In Him and through Him, our thirst will be quenched and our spirits renewed.

Today, may you and I walk faithfully. Serve faithfully. Obey faithfully.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link up with the following: Porch StoriesTea and Word Tuesday, Literary Musing MondaysTea and Word TuesdaysWorth Beyond Rubies WednesdayLet’s Have CoffeePurposeful Faith, Encouraging Word WednesdaySitting Among FriendsImparting GraceDestination InspirationTune in ThursdayHeart EncouragementFaith and FriendsFaith on Fire, anitaojedaDance with Jesus

 

 

 

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