Is Your Confidence Imprisoned by Your Captivity?

Read His Words Jeremiah 29:1-14

The Israelites Were in Captivity

When I see this scripture reference, my mind goes immediately to,

“For I know the plans I have for you,… plans to prosper you and not to harm you…” 

Jeremiah 29:11

Maybe that is your thought, as well. It IS a wonderful scripture!

New Thoughts Captured my Attention


This morning, as I was enjoying quiet time in Jeremiah 29:1-14, some phrases captured my attention in a startling way. I was blown away at the revelation that came to me as I read Jeremiah 29:5-7 (NLT).

“Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens and eat the fruit you produce. Marry, and have children. Then find spouses for them, and have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! And work for the peace and prosperity of Babylon. Pray to the Lord for that city where you are held captive, for if Babylon has peace, so will you.”

Jeremiah 29:5-7

Suddenly, this thought hit me:

“What is your Babylon?”

And then, these questions:

  • What holds us in captivity?
  • How do we get out of it?
  • What can we do?

Held Captive

Sometimes, we come to a difficult place in life and we feel as if we are held captive in it. A serious illness, the death of a spouse, the end of a job, a career change, relocation, . . . the list is vast. Life happens. Many times what happens is out of our control, but it is NEVER out of God’s hands!

Handling Captivity

When life throws a curveball, it is too easy to become paralyzed, bitter, depressed, even frantic. God, however, says “Live life!” Re-read those verses. The Lord told His people to carry on with life, not to just sit or dwindle away. Keep reading, because the Lord also said,

“Pray to the Lord for that city where you are held captive.”

Hmmmm……. PRAY?

Pray for the company, the school, the country, the family…. whatever your “Babylon” is. When we offer up whatever has us down to the Lord, He can take that situation into His hands and deliver us from it.  
Remember this, though: God moves in His time and way. The solution to your dilemma may take time, but He does have the solution.

That familiar promise will come to fruition:

“For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not harm you…”

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV


This is the clincher: 

“Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,…and will bring you back from captivity.”

Jeremiah 29:12-14 NIV

Take every thought captive. Seek the Lord and His direction. Pray for the place where you are, that place that has you stuck. Know that the Lord has a plan, and he will bring you out better than before!

THAT  is your confidence!

Glenae Atchison

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thanksgiving feature

Give Thanks to the Lord

“Give thanks to the Lord,

call on His name;

make known among the nations

what He has done.

Sing to Him, sing praise to Him;

tell of His wonderful acts.


Glory in His holy name;

let the hearts of those

who seek the Lord rejoice.


Look to the Lord and His strength;

seek His face always.”

– I Chronicles 16:8-11

Let’s face it:

2020 has been a ridiculously unpredictable year. It’s been frightening, depressing, and sometimes exciting. Some of the things that have happened so far in 2020 probably would have never entered our minds last year.

We would have said, “Whaaat?!”

Even so,

if you stop and think about it, there have also been many blessings.

Stop and be silent.

Think on the blessings that the Lord bestows on each of us daily.

In the words of the old hymn,

“Count your many blessings,

name them one by one.”

Count Your Many Blessings

Good health.
The joy of helping others.
A surprise visit or phone call from a friend.
A beautiful day.
A hug.
Comfort in sorrow.
Help with struggles.
A good report from your doctor.
Completing a task. Graduating.
The birth of a grandchild.
The purchase of a forever home.
A much-needed vacation.
An impromptu picnic or date with your sweetheart.
The comfort of home.
The love and support of friends and family.

Those are just a few that have come to mind.

Make your own list.

The Lord blesses us in SO many ways. Even if the world seems to have lost its ever-living mind, our Lord remains constant.

Give thanks to Him.
Call on His name.
Make His name known everywhere.
Look to Him. Seek Him always.

God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Give Thanks Along With Me!

Glenae Atchison


Mandy is sharing her thankfulness on Instagram this month. We would love for you to join us there!


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living love

Living Love in a Surprising Twist

by Glenae Atchison


“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.

And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Colossians 3:12-17

Things are Different Now

Things are certainly different these days. Covid-19 has drastically changed life as we know it. School is different. Work is different. Doctor appointments are different. Holy Week and Easter were different. Life is just radically different from what we are all accustomed to. Suddenly, an illness, flu unlike any other, has brought the majority of all humanity to a screeching halt. Just like a traffic jam, we wait. We creep. We proceed with caution. Oh, what an enormous change this is from our fast-paced lives!

Surprising Twist

Devotions for the Seasons of Life
Living Love

It is weird. It is scary. But in a surprising twist, in an odd way, it seems to have brought about a calm leisurely pace that industrialized countries have not experienced for a long, long time.

It seems that families are having meals together, playing games together, working in the yeard together. I’ve seen and read stories of the very fortunate doing what they can to help those who are very financially strapped because of the situation. I have heard and seen stories of neighbors checking on and doing for neighbors that they have never met.

I know of teachers who go the extra mile to make sure that their students and their parents are able to tackle online learning and classes. Worship services are being broadcast over social media, enabling thousands upon thousands of people to worship even though we are socially distanced. The word of God is reaching some people who have not been listening for quite a while.

Is God Trying to Get our Attention?

I’m inclined to believe that the Lord has been trying to get our attention for a very long time. It appears that, as in the old testament times, a plague of sorts has caused mere humanity to stop and take notice. Suddenly, the bubble above our heads reads,

“Hello! You are not in charge! Almighty God is!”

And so, we are suddenly seeing more love, more compassion, more humility, more gentleness, and more patience displayed in our lives. In many ways, life is more peaceful and quiet. People seem to be more thankful for the little things in life.

Since we have no choice but to slow down, to assess everything we do carefully, to be mindful of others, now is our opportunity to live love. Now is our opportunity to let those around us see Christ more vividly than ever before. Why? Because now, everyone has slowed down enough to notice! Live love. Live Jesus. Show Him to others, and let God do the rest!

Blessings!

Glenae Atchison

holy attitudes

Holy Attitudes for Living the Blessed Christian Life

BLESSED

Matthew 5:3-12


When Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, he launched into the longest sermon ever recorded. At the beginning of that sermon are what we know as The Beatitudes. My husband recently preached a sermon from Matthew 5:3-12, and he stated,

The Beatitudes are “holy attitudes for living the Christian life.” 

Rev. Skip Atchison
The Beatitudes are "holy attitudes for living the Christian life."  #thebeatitudes #attitudes #holiness Click To Tweet


v. 3:  Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Poor in spirit: humble. A servant knows that they are reliant on God. The desire to serve God by serving others comes from the love that God pours into our hearts. The more we allow, the more he bestows!

v. 4: Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

We tend to link this verse with earthly sorrow and mourning for a loved one who has died. But consider the sorrow that comes because of separation from God because of our sin? Sorrow for our sin brings us into the comforting arms of Jesus.

v.5: Blessed are the meed, for they shall inherit the earth.

Jesus was meek, but not weak. Meekness is not spinelessness. It’s humility. Meekness is knowing that you need God.

v. 6: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

How intense is our hunger and thirst for God? How much do we desire to be more like Jesus, to have more and more of His love filling us? Until we know that what we are seeking is God himself, we will not be satisfied.

v. 7: Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.   

 Where would we be without God’s love, mercy and grace? Where would we be? When Jesus taught what we know as “The Golden Rule, (love your neighbor as yourself), He was teaching simple mercy. 

v. 8: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.     

A pure heart is an unselfish heart, a heart with pure motives, a heart like Christ. The more we can truly be like Christ, the more likely we are to bring others to Him.

v. 9: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.   

The only way to truly have peace is through Christ. Even when we get that peace, Satan will try to steal it or disturb it. We should seek peace in Jesus, and we should let Him be our peace.

v. 10: Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

v. 11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.     

We read, hear and see stories of Christians persecuted for their faith. These persecutions range from “no public prayer” to execution for your faith (depending on where you are in the world.) We must stay strong in our faith. Jesus told His disciples that this would happen, and sure enough, it does!

But Jesus also said, “I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2) 

v. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way, they persecuted the prophets who were before you.     

Being persecuted for our faith is nothing new. It has happened since the old testament prophets were proclaiming their faith in God. 


Finally, Our hope is in Christ.

My point in all of this is a simple one:


BLESSED.

If we live according to God’s Holy Word,

… follow the teachings of Christ,

… accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior,

then WE ARE BLESSED.

 No matter what each day of life brings,

  • joy or sorrow,
  • good or bad,
  • in abundance or in want,

we are so blessed because of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Count your blessings, and have a great day!

Glenae Atchison

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coming of the lord

Prepare for The Coming of the Lord

Is your heart prepared?

“Live by the Spirit . . . The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:16,22-23

It seems that once we have finished with Thanksgiving, we are suddenly barreling headlong toward Christmas. At times it can feel like we’re on a runaway train and can’t find the emergency brake.

photo image credit pixabay

Stop.

Breathe.

Close your eyes.

Sit for a moment in quietness.

Give thanks to God once again for His many blessings. Now, think on the blessings yet to come.

Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of the Lord.

As we get all the physical preparations tackled for Christmas… the decorations, the shopping, the parties, the gifts and wrapping, the food, the programs… let us not forget to prepare our hearts!

Approach this Christmas with a heart already full of the fruit of the Spirit. Jesus came to earth so long ago, the tiny Prince of Peace, so that we could live lives full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Be thankful for the Coming of our Lord and Savior this Christmas, and let your life glow like a Christmas tree with the fruit of the Spirit!

Are you ready for the coming of the Lord?

Glenae Atchison

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Granny Hen

Granny Hen: The Giver

 “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – Luke 6:38

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away…. ‘I am making everything new!’” – Revelation 21:4-5

We Never Know

Just over a year ago, my husband Skip and I left to go on a much-needed vacation. We packed the camping gear and the suitcases and away we went. Before leaving, though, we went to visit his mother, who was in a nursing home for physical rehabilitation after a long illness. It seemed like with each health improvement, there always came a new health problem. After our visit, she told us to have fun and to let her know when we got there. That was on a Friday. We left the following Monday morning. We never got to speak to her again.

Granny Hen - The Giver
Skip & Glenae with Granny Hen

She was taken to the ER that Monday afternoon and the family kept in touch with us. We continued our journey, reached our first destination, set up camp, and had supper. Just before bedtime, we got the call that she was gone. That moment is still very vivid in my mind. Feeling an urgency, we immediately packed everything back up and headed back to Mississippi for the difficult task of planning a funeral, while grieving, while comforting our family. Grief is hard and it is necessary at such a time, but God is our Rock. With that said, let me tell you about Granny Hen.

Grief is hard and it is necessary at such a time, but God is our Rock. #griefishard Click To Tweet

Tiny Magnificence

My mother in law was a tiny lady. In her prime, she stood all of five feet tall. In that tiny lady was a magnificent mixture of love (both tender and tough love), of fierce determination, a phenomenal work ethic, and endless generosity. All these virtues – and many more – flowed freely from her heart. She was always, no matter what the circumstances, a joy to be around, and I miss her dearly. We all do.

Her name was Bonnie, but when I met her, everyone always called her Granny Hen. I met her at Christmas time in 1984, a couple of months after Skip and I became engaged. She welcomed me with a big hug, and from that day on treated me as if I had always been part of the family. The meal she had prepared that evening was unbelievably delicious, followed with pecan pie that was scrumptious. As we sat around the table eating and talking over dessert, I asked her if I could have her pecan pie recipe. Without missing a beat, she smiled, saying “Mmhmm!” while nodding a definite yes. That was the first of many recipes she gave me.

Granny Hen – Wife, Mother, Grandmother

Granny Hen loved being a wife, a mother (of five children, all born in less than five years), and a grandmother. She loved to work in her flower beds and in the vegetable garden and with the fruit and pecan trees in the yard. She had the greenest thumb I’ve ever seen. Each year the yields from that yard would produce unbelievable amounts of veggies, blueberries, pecans and, a few walnuts, all to be frozen for the winter. There would be jars and jars of jellies, jams, fig preserves, tomatoes, tomato juice, pepper sauce, pickles, chow-chow … I’m sure I’m leaving something out.

A Gardener & Preserver

Granny Hen not only loved making it, but she also loved sharing it. She would box up dozens of jars of various canned goods, sending them home with friends and family. She would ship them to friends and family too far away to see very often. On many occasions, we would bring a cooler when going to visit and return home with it completely full of frozen fruits and vegetables. She was a lifesaver on grocery bills when we were raising two boys. I haven’t had to buy jelly or jam in over thirty-four years!

 Granny Hen with two of her daughters
Granny Hen with two of her daughters

Many years ago, in a conversation centering around her gardening and cooking skills and her generosity, I said something about the amount of sugar and jars and lids and such that goes into such a venture, and the cost of such. With twinkling eyes and her sweet smile, she said with joy, “It seems like the more I give, the more I get! God is good!” Indeed, God is good.

The epitome of love, joy, and kindness.

Over the years, Bonnie Atchison had battled much and overcome. She grew up poor in possessions, but rich in love. She married at the end of 1951; they raised a family. Their marriage and family was always full of love. Her husband went to heaven thirty years ahead of her. She had endured quadruple heart bypass surgery and recovered.

Many years later, she took a fall, had shoulder replacement surgery, suffered a major stroke, recovered, then fell again, resulting in a misplaced shoulder socket. The few years she lived after that displayed declining health and limited mobility. Despite those limitations, whether she was in the hospital, at home, or in a nursing home, her sweet spirit prevailed.

Granny Hen was always kind to her caregivers and generous with compliments and smiles. “The Hen,” (as some called her) was the epitome of love and joy and kindness. She was a remarkable woman. Was. Past tense. In the past. . .

Remembering Granny Hen

The drive back to Mississippi that night last October was long and sad. Planning the funeral was hard. Being with family was both hard and a comfort. Friends and loved ones who gave love and support were a comfort. My husband, a pastor who has done many funerals, spoke at his own mother’s funeral which was hard. Granny Hen’s pastor’s message at her funeral was a joy and comfort. He told of the way Christ shined from her being. In all this grief, we knew then and know now, that she is in the presence of our Lord and Savior. Granny Hen is free of pain and physical limitations. She is reunited with her loving husband and others who have gone on before them.

Granny Hen was generous. She gave of her love and her wisdom, her gifts and talents, her bountiful harvest, and herself. The memories we have of my dear mother in law are cherished and many. They are filled with wisdom, with love, with laughter, and with tears. Sometimes they bring tears because grief is hard. Sometimes they bring smiles and laughter because grief is not only hard, it is a strange comfort.

Often, he givGrief teaches us to remember, to ponder, to learn, to cherish, and most importantly, to go on. Of all the many things she gave us, the memories are the best, because within those memories lies all she was and all she taught us to be. Yes, grief is hard; it is necessary, and it is a teacher.

Treasure the good things

If you are in a time of grief in your life, I urge you to ponder the many things you love and miss most about your loved one. Treasure it all, but do not stop there. Go on. Live. Give of what was given to you. Share the love, share the wisdom, share the laughter, the tears, and the lessons. In it all, as hard as grief may be, let it come.

  • Cry.
  • Laugh.
  • Be silent.
  • Share.
  • Give.  
  • For that is the best way to honor them and their memory.

Treasuring my Mother-in-law;

Glenae Atchison

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Prayer, Faith and Patience

Faith and Patience; Patience and Faith

Question: Are our prayers given in faith and patience with confidence or in demand with entitlement? #prayersofachild #faith #patience Click To Tweet

“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus,… let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith…”  

“The Lord is good to those who hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him;    it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”  


 – Hebrews 10:19,22
– Lamentations 3:25-26

Faith & Patience

A few months ago we had planned a family camping trip to celebrate our oldest son’s birthday. It turned unseasonably cold (for Mississippi in November)  so we decided to rent cabins instead. All six adults and three grandchildren were gathered in the living were of one cabin, ready to share a meal together.

We joined hands and asked, “Who wants to pray?”

and Grantlee, our two-year-old grandson said, “Me!”


We bowed our heads. Grantlee closed his eyes, and with the most serious of expressions on his face, prayed the following words.

“I Grantlee Atchison, and I want it now. Amen.”

All of us burst out into laughter because it was cute and funny.

Kids! You just never know what they will say or do! 

But Don’t We Act the Same?

Later, I was telling my prayer group of our cute little grandson’s prayer. As we laughed, we suddenly realized a sobering thought:  Isn’t that the way we do God? We come to Him in prayer, and whether our words are eloquent or simple, we often convey this message.

Dear God, this is what I want and when I want it. Please hurry. Amen." #childsprayer #patience Click To Tweet

A Child Shall Lead Them

Oh, it is so humbling to be preached to by a toddler. Since that fun-filled evening, I have reflected many times on Grantlee’s innocent, heartfelt, powerful prayer. “I want it now. Amen.” I laugh, but then I think, really think.
Hebrews 10:19-22 assures us that we can approach God’s throne of grace with confidence. Lamentations 3:25-26 reminds us that we must wait, and the Lord will deliver an answer. 

Faith and Patience Prayer

Now, when I remember that little prayer, I bow my head and say, “Lord, You know what I want and when I want it. But You also know that what I need most is what You want in Your time and Your way. Keep me asking, but waiting on You with faithful patience. Amen.”

-Glenae Atchison

Other thoughts on Prayer

make disciples

The Great Commission ~ Who Me? Make Disciples?

“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:16-20


As I read The Great Commission passage again, two things that had never caught my attention popped out at me.

First, “they went to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.”

Second, “When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.” 

First, they obeyed. But second, some doubted.

When we consider The Great Commission, we are sometimes intimidated by the “meat” of the passage. By the “meat,” I mean the command to “go and make disciples of ALL nations…”   When reading that and truly considering what Jesus asks of us, our initial thought may be,

“What?! Go EVERYWHERE and make disciples?! I am NOT a preacher!”

Who Me? Make Disciples? That's what the Great Commission says.

Well, that is true. And, that is also false. Most of us are not preachers by profession, but our lives either preach the word, or they don’t. 
You see, Satan will plant doubt (as he did for a few of those disciples) in us to keep us from living for Christ, and to keep us from making disciples for Christ. Even in our obedience, the devil will try his best to create doubt and reluctance. We must not let that happen!


At the end of this passage, we find all the strength we need to fulfill that Great Commission. “And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.” Jesus is right there with us, wherever we go, whoever we meet, whatever He gives us to say or do. We must claim that, and cling to Him if we are to fulfill this Great Commission that He gave to those disciples long ago, and to us today.

Do not delay.

Go. Make disciples.

Remember, Jesus is with us every step of the way!

Glenae

P.S. Discipling Teenage Girls

Mandy’s sister, Kandy Chimento created a discipleship program for her youth when her husband was a youth pastor. She wrote about it here.

Titus 2 Women

The Bible admonishes us to come alongside the women younger than us. Most of them are looking for someone to lead them. Why not you? Also, check out Mandy’s review of Nancy DeMoss Wolgmuth’s book, Adorned, Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together


or Sue McDonald’s book Table Mentoring, a Simple Guide for Coming Alongside. Mandy’s review is here.


majesty

What is Man That You Should Think of Us?

Why Does He?

“When I look at the night sky and see the work of Your fingers–the moon and the stars You have set in place–what are mortals that You should think of us, mere humans that You care for us?
You made us only a little lower than the angels, … You put us in charge of everything You made, … the sheep and the cattle and all the wild animals… O Lord, our Lord, the majesty of Your name fills the earth!” – Psalm 8:3-9

As I read this passage, I think of the shepherds in that field near Bethlehem so long ago. They probably had an amazing view of God’s creation day and night. They may have even taken it for granted, perhaps complaining when nature didn’t cooperate with what they planned.

Yet God, in all His wisdom and majesty, chose these mere humans to share the good news of great joy. The lowly shepherds were the first to tell everyone about the Savior, baby Jesus, born to save us.

What are mere humans, that God should think of us?

He loved us enough to send Jesus!

Glenae

If you would like to know more about following Jesus, click here

Christmas PRayer

What to Pray for this Christmas

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,

but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
-Proverbs 1:7

What is the Biggest Issue in our Society Today?

I believe that the biggest problem plaguing our society today is that few people heed this very true proverb.

Entitlement,

selfishness,

rebellion, and

staying on an “even keel” with others’ opinions or beliefs has rendered too many people ignoring God. People seem to forget that God Almighty, Creator of all, is the very reason we exist.

All the riches in the world, the highest education attainable, fame, and all that the world deems notable is nothing,…

NOTHING…

compared to Almighty God and the wisdom He gives.

Accept or Reject

For centuries, some have accepted and some have rejected all that God offers us. Pray, especially during this Christmas season of love and giving, that the wisdom of our Lord will fill us. Pray that more and more people will come to know Him.

As we celebrate the greatest Gift of Love that God brings, ask for the wisdom to share Jesus with everyone you meet!

With Christmas Love,

Glenae