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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living to please God

How to Live in Order to Please God

Additionally then, brothers and sisters, we ask and encourage you in the Lord Jesus, that as you have received instruction from us on how you should live and please God—as you are doing—do this even more. 

For you know what commands we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

For this is God’s will, your sanctification.

1 Thessalonians 4:1-3a

What does God’s Will; Your Sanctification Mean?

God’s desire, His will for us, is more than just forgiveness. It’s more than fire insurance saving you from Hell. He wants to restore us to His image. God created us in His image. And while that was ruined by the fall of man, God still instructed us to “be holy as He is holy“; God still wants to restore His image in each of us and He offers that to all who are saved. (Colossians 3:9-10

Colossians 3:9-10 Living to Please God
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Sanctification is a big, confusing word. It can also be translated as “holiness” or “set apart.” Thus, God’s will for us is to live holy lives to be set apart. When we live holy lives, we are becoming more and more like Him.  

His Holy Spirit Helps us

Upon salvation, His Holy Spirit enables us to “participate in the divine nature” of God. (2 Peter 1:3-4) Peter urges us in the following verses to do our part… “make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.” 2 Peter 1:5-9 NIV and again to “make every effort to confirm your calling and election…” (2 Peter 1:10-11)  If we are “to make every effort”, then certainly there is a part for us to play in becoming like Him.

Through salvation and out of thankfulness and humility toward God, we should want to live holy lives; doing our best to exemplify the character of Christ. His Holy Spirit directs us and gives us all we need to do this. When we participate in His work, we are then READY to enter His Kingdom. 

 “For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you.” 

2 Peter 1:11

Defining the Big Words About Salvation

Defining big Christian Words; living to please God
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We receive many graces when we are saved. The first of these is justification – the forgiveness of sins. I like to explain it this way… It is “Just as if I’d never sinned“. Romans 5:9-18 

But grace does not stop there. The next thing God does is give us new life! We call this regeneration. Easton’s Bible Dictionary explains regeneration as a change of heart. (Titus 3:4-8); becoming a new creature in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17); a renewal of the mind (Romans 12:1-2). This is nothing man does but rather it is the work of the Holy Spirit within us. 

Thirdly, God adopts us as His child!  (John 1:12-13We are His heirs

Finally, we are given the Holy Spirit, who teaches us to live more and more like Jesus. As we grow in Him, this holiness (sanctification) becomes the doing and living of our salvation. Dr. David Jeremiah, Turning Point, says “it is the proof of our faith… the example of our faith… and the action of our faith.” (Crosswalk) 

Surrendering everything to Him is the best way to live a pleasing life for God. Years ago, I learned that we must give the “Unkown Bundle” to God. That is, we give him our yesterdays and our today, but also our tomorrows. Like signing a contract without getting to read it. We sign an empty page and hand it to God to fill it with His will for us. We say to God, “Whatever You want, is what I want”. Like Jesus said in the garden, “Not my will, but yours”. Luke 22:42

Will you Give Him the Unknown Bundle of Your Life?

~Mandy

*This devotion is excerpted from a study of 1 Thessalonians, written by Mandy for Gracefully Truthful – a Women’s Online Bible study journey. You can read it in it’s entirety on the website.

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Stop, Look, & Listen SLOW

It’s Time to Slow – Stop, Look & Listen

Published February 25, 2017 on my closed blog ggmandy dot com

Inspired by FMF prompt: SLOW

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” 

Matthew 11:28-30 NLT 

Have you ever felt like you have been run down by a speeding train? 

photo by Malventosa @ Pixabay 

Did you know? “There’s an app for that! 🙂 When I was a kid, we were taught that when you come to a railroad track, STOP, LOOK, & LISTEN. Trains can only go where there are tracks, so pay attention. Don’t proceed until you come to a complete stop, then look and see if anything is coming, then listen for anything that might be coming down the tracks.

I wonder … 

Do you

STOP, LOOK  AND LISTEN before you proceed into your life?

The scriptures are full of examples and admonitions for us to slow and spend time with the Lord. Right from the beginning, God came in the cool of the day to speak with Adam (Genesis 3:8). Even before that God Himself rested after 6 days of work (Hebrews 4:4). Even Jesus would often withdraw from the crowds to pray. (Matthew 14:13-21)

And yet, we act as if we don’t really need to slow down. 

We jump out of bed in the morning, throw on some clothes, down a cup of coffee, and run out the door. Never once thinking of even a quick hello to the Lord or an invitation to Him to walk beside us throughout the day. It’s no wonder, we feel worn and weary.  

Matthew 11:28  Slow
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How Do We Slow Ourselves to Rest?

And what about our Sundays?  

When I was growing up, we did only what had to be done on Sundays. Even when the hay was ready to bale, it stayed on the ground for a day. Sundays were for attending church and resting. The most we ever did was maybe a “Sunday afternoon drive” or visiting family. 

I recall asking Dad once, 

cow  slow

“Why couldn’t the Lord allow the cows to give twice the milk on Saturday so that we wouldn’t have to milk them on Sunday as God did with providing manna to the Israelites?”  

His answer pricked my heart. 

“God might be willing to do that if we were willing to REALLY give Him the Sabbath.”  

You see, what I wanted was to be able to go and play and have fun, not to actually take the day to slow down and worship God. It seems that when we “slow down” we are still filling our lives with stimulants that do not allow us the opportunity to rest and to fellowship with God.  

There is little to no room for God.  

We come home from work or play and immediately, we turn on our radios, TV, and internet. 

No quiet for him to even get a word in edgewise. 

Take a look from a practical point of view. Phyllis Korkki, at the New York Times, says 

 “A growing body of evidence shows that taking regular breaks from mental tasks improves productivity and creativity — and that skipping breaks can lead to stress and exhaustion … and may even lead to bad health.”

I know for myself when I was working, I would get where I seemed to not be making progress in my work. The best thing I could do was to go take a walk around the block.  Breaks are helpful, so long as we aren’t using them to procrastinate. 

What about meditation? 

Studies show that regular meditation is a very beneficial activity. Anastasia Stephens lists seven benefits of meditation :

  • Increased Immunity 
  • Emotional Balance 
  • Increased Fertility 
  • Relieves Irritable bowel syndrome 
  • Lowers blood pressure 
  •  Anti-inflammatory 
  • Calmness 

Now, who couldn’t use a few of those benefits!  

God told Joshua, 

“Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” 

So, if we want to prosper, we MUST spend time meditating on the Word of God. 

Musical Rests

rest slow

WHAT if THERE WERE NO RESTS IN MUSIC?

What kind of song would we get if only notes were played without regard to rests? 

I was a percussionist in the high school band. While the bells were my favorite, I also played the timpani. But many times there were long measures of rests between notes. This was no fun. Just counting beats.  

But these rests left time for tuning the instrument to the right note

And THEN, at the right moment, what an awesome timpani sound rolled out. 

We need these times of rest in our lives as well to tune ourselves to the drumbeat of God. 

John Ruskins said, 

“If we sorrowfully say to ourselves, ‘There is no music in a rest,’ let us not forget that the rest is part of the making of the music. The process is often slow and painful in this life, yet how patiently God works to teach us! And how long He waits for us to learn the lesson!”3 

God can only speak to us in the quiet.  

stop, look, & Listen  slow
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If we never slow down and listen, there is no chance for God to minister to us.  

Oh, how He loves us and wants us to come and fellowship with Him. He wants to tell us so much.

If we would but stop, look and listen

Mandy

How Are Christians the Salt of the Earth?

Jesus said [with confidence] {my words}

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

Matthew 5:13-16
Salt of the Earth
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Salt

The shaker on our table is what we bring to mind, but in Jesus’ day, salt was a valuable commodity. It was sometimes even used to pay one’s salary. Jesus called the disciples salt because they were as important to the Gospel as salt was to the society. Have you ever eaten a French fry without salt? Just a little salt makes a world of difference!

Impact

Consider the impact the disciples made on the world once they were anointed with God’s power through His Holy Spirit. Just twelve men initiated worldwide change as a result of God’s power! (Acts 2)

Savor

As powerful as salt is, it can lose its savor if it is mixed with other additives. RealSalt.com says salt will never go bad, but common table salt has agents added which degrade over time causing the salt to lose its savor. Society in Jesus’ day was mixed with many sinful impurities. If Christ-followers were not careful, their lives would be overrun with the effects of sinful choices.

Preservation

This leads to a need for preservation! In ancient times, salt was added to prevent food from spoiling. When the disciples began spreading the Gospel, they were keeping the world from decaying without the Hope offered through Jesus’ offer of forgiveness. Salt can go both ways. If we allow society to rub off on us, we will lose our savor; but if we rub off on society, we hold out the life-giving freedom of Christ! 

How can you and I effectively be Salt of the Earth?

By choosing to engage those around us with the hope of Christ! If we have accepted Jesus as our Savior and allowed the Holy Spirit to guide and direct our lives, we HAVE Christ’s power in us to be salt to the world and we will WANT to season the world. 

Examine Your Heart

If you don’t have the deep desire to be a Salt of the Earth disciple, it would be wise to follow the apostle Paul’s teaching and examine your hearts “to see whether we are in the faith.” (2 Corinthians 13:5-6) 

Have you ever known a person who rubbed you the wrong way? Comparatively, have you known someone who always blesses a room when they enter? This is how we season the world. A preacher once asked, “If you record yourself, what would you see/hear?” This challenged me and still does, to take special care in what I do and I say, making sure I’m surrendering myself to the Spirit’s power alive in me. 

Showing love, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness is how believers share their Salt with the Earth. (Ephesians 4:29-32)

Let’s begin our days with King David’s prayer,

Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, oh Lord. My Rock and my Redeemer.” 

*excerpted from my writings at Gracefully Truthful

click the image below to read about “Being a Light to the World”

gracefully truthful
www.gracefullytruthful.com/blog

Sources

Enduring Word Commentary by David Guzik

Celebrate His Promises


My heart remains true and is awed by Your words. 
I celebrate because of Your promise, 
like someone who discovers great treasure. 
I despise and abhor lies, 
but I love Your law. 
Seven times every day I praise You 
because of Your right rulings. 

Psalm 119:161-164 The Voice

Homesick & Heartbroken

It was my freshman year in college. I was 500 miles from home and looking forward to a long weekend home for Easter. I was packed to go and even had riders to share the cost. I woke up Thursday morning for my last day of classes and there was snow on the ground. I received a call from my father in Wisconsin. He strongly suggested that I not come home because the weather between Kentucky and Wisconsin was pretty severe.

I was so heartbroken. I had had a long year fighting homesickness and I really wanted to go home. Dejected, I went to my first class. Being at a Christian college, the professor always opened class with prayer. That is, he always asked a student to pray. That morning, he asked me to pray.

I wondered, “How on earth could I pray?” I was so disappointed that I was not going to be able to go home. We all bowed our heads…


“Lord, thank you

for the beautiful snow…”


I’m not sure what else I said. I was shocked to hear myself say it. Certainly, I was not thankful for the snow. It was the cause of my demise.

Psalm 119 Celebrate his promises
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Thankful in the Midst of Trial

It’s hard to be thankful when you are in the midst of trials. Your mind is so centered on your trouble, you can’t really think of anything else. But maybe praise and thankfulness are what helps ease our mind. Maybe it is what helps us make it through. Could it be the way to keep from spiraling down into despair is to continually have His praises on our heart and our mind?

This celebration of His Blessings may very well have been the beginning of a wonderful Easter weekend. I was invited to go to Georgia instead. I visited with a friend AND my aunt and Uncle.

Celebrate His Promises

 Soon after the start of my chronic pain. I was introduced to the writings of Ann Voskamp. You have probably seen to droves of Thankful posts on Facebook during November. When I realized that this came from Ann, I decided to read her book, A Thousand Gifts.   I was challenged to list three blessings every day for an entire year. That was the beginning of the return of smiles in the midst of the pain.

It truly does make a difference to begin listing the things for which I am grateful.

As the women’s director, I challenged all the ladies at church to take the Joy Dare with me. Several did it along with me. One couple shared with me several times how not only did the Joy Dare make them stop and think of things they were grateful for, but also, gave them laughter. The prompts weren’t always easy to find answers to, but they would laugh trying to think of ideas. What a blessing!

Psalm 119 Celebrate His Promises

You have probably seen these Joy Dare prompts on Facebook. Go download them and begin your own journey to joy today! It will change your life as it did me and my friends. And as it did for Ann.
Notice again the last line of the scripture above. The Psalmist says he gave praise to God SEVEN TIMES A DAY.

Wow! Seven times. I know I’m behind.

Join me and Celebrate his Promises!

Tybee Island, GA

My Journey with Chronic Pain

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Finding Christ in the Feast of Firstfruits

Last fall I wrote about the feasts that God ordained in the fall of the year. This month when I was assigned a study on fellowship and guilt offers, I was reminded of the 7 Feasts book by Erin Davis. So I picked it up again and realized that I missed out on writing about Passover, the Feast of Firstfruits, and the Feast of Weeks. So today, I’d like to share how we find Christ in the Feast of Firstfruits.

What is the Purpose of all these Feasts, Anyway?

We seldom find ourselves reading in the Book of Leviticus. The little we know sometimes strikes fear in us. Why did God set all these rules and feasts up in the first place? It really seems a bit overbearing, don’t you think? A few years ago, the First 5 app did a study of it alongside the Book of Hebrews. It became a wonderfully beautiful illustration of what God through Christ did for us.

Spiritual Amnesia

Erin Davis begins her book by teaching us that we, humans, have a terrible habit of forgetting. She called it Spiritual Amnesia. We tend to become so self-sufficient when, in truth, we need God more and more every day. The feasts were a way to remind the people of their sinfulness held against the holiness of God. The feasts reminded them of a God that not only protects but forgives and gives us all a second, third, fourth chance. The law acted as guard rails to protect us as we wander.

firstfruits - spiritual amnesia - Romans 15:4
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Take time to Read Leviticus 23:9-14 – The Feast of First Fruits

Creation Teaches Us the Gospel

First of all, we have all learned about the seasons. They make a circle from death to life and back again. We can see the character of God in every season. We see His redemptive plan every spring as the flowers bloom and animals are born. Spring reminds us that Christ died but rose again for us. His circle of life shows us His faithfulness new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23); His great power and strength (Isaiah 40:26), His righteousness and justice (Job 37:21-23)

“The firstfruits of Spring join together to declare this amazing truth…”

He is not here, for He is risen, as He sad. Come and see the place where He lay.

Matthew 28:6

The Feast of FirstFruits Follows Immediately after Passover and the Sabbath

Interestingly, these feasts are sequential.

On Thursday, they celebrated Passover.

Friday – Jesus was crucified,

Saturday, the Sabbath – Jesus rested in the grave.

On the first day of the week, Sunday – Feast of Firstfruits

– Jesus rose from the dead defeating death and sin!

Jesus was the firstfruits of our salvation! The first to rise from the dead to eternal life.

For as in Adam all die, so in Christ, all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.

1 Corinthians 15:22-23

 Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,

Ephesians 2:5-6

We are the Second Firstfruits!

When we accept Christ as Savior, we become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). His Holy Spirit works within us to remove our carnal spirit and to become new in Him. The things in our past are now gone!

But we can take this all one step further. One day, we will rise! We will be raptured to be in Heaven ever with the Lord. This is a future hope!

We have this hope, hallelujah!

Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.

John 5:28-29

For the Lord, himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

“You have likely been celebrating the Feast of Firstfruits

all your life without realizing it!”

We call it Easter!

Erin Davis, 7 Feasts Finding Christ in the Feasts

On Easter we remember that because Jesus lives forever, we will too!

Jesus is Worthy of our Best!

At the feast of firstfruits, they were required to bring two offerings. First, a peace (or fellowship) offering of grain. This grain must be the very first sheaf of wheat they harvested. They were not to eat any of the new grains until after this offering was made. Like a peace offering we might bring to a spouse after messing up big time, it was an offering for acceptance; an offering to request fellowship again.

The second offering was a burnt offering or sin offering. This would be a male lamb, one-year-old with no blemishes. It was to be completely burned up and a fragrance to the Lord. It would be for the forgiveness of sins.

Did God need this grain? No. It was required to remind them of their sins and of God’s holiness. It was the “cure for their spiritual amnesia.” We still bring firstfruits offerings to God in the form of service, tithes, devotion. We give these things not because God needs them or even requires them but more as the posturing of our hearts. We give offerings because of our love and gratitude to Him.

Jesus gave the best for us. He gave all.

What offerings are you bringing to the Lord?

Are you giving the best of your best or just seconds?

Mandy Signature
Savannah, GA

This Bible study is exciting and moving, even for a seasoned Christian like myself. I get so blessed connecting the traditions set forth by God in the Old Testament to the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Like the A-Team said at the end of each episode, “I love it when a plan comes together!”

SHARING: Even in Pain there is Confident Hope

I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.

Ephesians 1:16-18

Confident Hope?

When chronic pain hits, we might wonder, “How can I have confident hope?” But I soon learned that this hope comes from drawing ever closer to the One Who gives all hope. That is, Jesus!

For me, it was six months of pain before finding any answers. But when I walked through the doors at Mayo Clinic, I felt an amazing hope. Every inch of this place offered hope to me. Then I began to look around at all the others seeking to find answers. Some did not know the confident hope in Christ; however, it was quite obvious that others knew Him well.

Thanks for sharing your confident hope!

I have met several of you who have splashed your confident hope all over me. I’m thanking God at every chance that through my chronic pain, you have become an essential part of my life. I pray for you often that God will continue to bless you with his wisdom and insight through the trials you face; believing it is through these trials that we come to truly KNOW the God of Hope. I pray that your heart is filled with His Light so that you continue in His confident hope and keep spilling it over on the rest of us.

We are His holy people and we are so blessed to be His rich and glorious inheritance. He has invested everything in us to make this possible.

confident hope

Prayer

Oh Lord God, thank you for bringing so many chronically wonderful friends into my life. I ask for wisdom and insight for each of us as we daily try to fight off pain with Your help. As David said, “It was good that I have suffered that I might know you,” the God of all Hope, better. Fill us with Your Light today. I pray that Your investment in us will yield great and wonderful results.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions

  1. In what circumstance have you found Confident Hope?

2. Who has graciously splashed their confident hope over you? Have you told them so? Have you prayed for them?

3. Who could you splash your confident hope over?

In His Confident Hope;

Mandy Signature
Savannah, GA

Even though my life changed drastically 10 years ago, God has still brought purpose into my life. I have found a little niche in writing. Something I never had time, nor the confidence, for in the past. Chronic Joy is a wonderful ministry to help those with Chronic Illness thrive. I was given an opportunity to write a prayer prompt for them recently.

*** All along my Journey with Chronic Pain, I have met many who have encouraged me. I am so thankful to them. Seeing that others can make it through tells me I can too! In this journey, I have found a wonderful ministry for those with Chronic Pain called Chronic Joy. Today’s post was written for this ministry. Find more at this link.

humble king missing piece

How to Find the Missing Piece in Your Life

excerpted from Humble King – Gracefully Truthful Journey Study

There is a God-shaped hole in our hearts. 

Our family loves Kincaid paintings. Of course, we were never able to purchase a painting, so we did the next best thing; we bought, assembled, and framed puzzles. What an accomplishment to finish the gorgeous pictures by placing the last piece! 

However, my husband enjoyed hiding away a puzzle piece so he could place it into the last open spot. It became a fun routine at our house and the kids went straight to Daddy to find the last piece. 

One Christmas

One Christmas, however, he didn’t take a piece, and yet, one was missing. Initially, the kids didn’t believe him, but eventually, the truth sank in; oh, what a disappointment to have a hole in the middle of the picture, leaving it incomplete! We framed the picture anyway, taking a piece from the unseen edges to try to fill the empty space, but our eyes were immediately drawn to the patched-up place every time we looked at the picture.

The God-Shaped Hole

Just like the unfinished puzzle, there is a hole in our hearts in the shape of God. The piece was removed way back in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve sinned against God, separating us all from His Presence. 

Oh, the ache we feel over lost fellowship with God! We know something is missing, but often, we are not sure what (or really, Who). So we might try to fill the emptiness with other pieces like family, love, success, drugs, alcohol. But nothing really fits. 

missing piece
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There is nothing like having the right puzzle piece.

The following Christmas, as we brought out the decorations, we found the missing puzzle piece! It had somehow fallen off the table into one of the boxes and was stored away. How appropriate to have found the missing piece at Christmas! Just like our family, if we keep searching for God (our hearts’ missing piece), we will find Him. (Jeremiah 29:13)

Jeremiah 29:13 missing piece
image provided by FaithLife

All who accept Christ as their personal Savior have the Holy Spirit living within them, guiding and directing their lives. Indeed, God is with us now, but one day Christ will return to earth, righteous and victorious. He will set up His Kingdom, removing all evil. 

-Mandy

Read the complete devotion at

gracefully truthful
https://www.gracefullytruthful.com/enough-day-11-humble-king/

Mentoring Resource…Adorned- Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together

I have been waiting years for a women’s mentoring resource like this.

This post was previously written in Mandy’s older blog GGMandy dot com. This is an excellent resource of which I still highly recommend.

ADORNED

Living out the Beauty of the Gospel Together

by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

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{I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review}

As a pastor’s wife, I have tried different times to encourage our ladies to live out the Titus 2 woman model. I used Bible Studies on the topic but I never seemed able to really get the point across. It wasn’t easy to explain nor or to share why we should live this kind of life. Partly, I had older women whom I respected questioning the principle. I didn’t know how to answer them. But mainly, I didn’t have the right mentoring resource to help me.

Today, we have millennial women begging for direction. But the situation is worse. The older women think the younger women do not want their help. They feel the young women do not want to hear their message. But this is not true.

And I believe “Adorned” is the mentoring resource we need.

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7 Steps Toward Regaining Your Strength

But God is my strength. Oh, what a promise! I’m writing devotionals this month on scriptures that use the phrase, “BUT GOD”. It’s been an awesome journey. You can follow along by subscribing in the pop-up.

god is my strength

I’m ten years and going into my journey with chronic pain. (Read my story here) Not far into this journey, God brought this scripture to life for me. This verse sounds good when you are healthy and living well, but have a turn of events, and this verse comes alive.

Some would be tempted to turn away from God when struck with struggles that seem too hard to bear. But I found greater hope in God because of my pain.

David said, “My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees.”

Psalm 119:71

I laid flat on my back for over a month. And after that, I was only moving about because of the large doses of steroids I was taking until receiving my diagnosis. I spent much of that time reading the scriptures and falling more deeply in love with my Lord.

Indeed I found that God was the only thing I needed. He was and is my strength and my song.

Taste and see that the Lord is good!

Psalm 34:8

Steps Toward Gaining Your Strength

regaining yoru strength
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Accept Your Weakness

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10


Just like Paul, I had several conversations with God about removing my pain. And, just like Paul, God said, “I am enough”. We talked many times about my busy-ness “for Him” and how I had forgotten to let Him lead in my ministry. He asked me, “If I take away your pain, do you think you would keep your eyes on Me?” Truthfully, I had to admit, probably not.

Seek God

Beautiful girls and strong young men will grow faint in that day, thirsting for the Lord’s word.

Amos 8:13


But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say,
‘People do not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Matthew 4:4


I found I now had plenty of time to read and I spent much of this time reading the Word of God. That summer I signed up for a study of Psalm 119. Psalm 119 is all about the importance of God’s Word. This verse spoke out clearly to me,

It was good for me to be afflicted so that I could learn your statutes.

Psalm 119:71

Take Refuge in Him – Rest

28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Matt 11:28-30

My pain and suffering gave me a chance to rest. I needed it desperately. And through it, I was given His rest.


Hope in the Lord

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.

    They will soar high on wings like eagles.

run and not grow weary.

    They will walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31 –

This was always one of my favorite verses. Perhaps because I struggled with fatigue long before we ever realized there was a health problem. But this verse became, even more, real to me as I struggled with my illness. My hope in Him alone has given me the strength to live each day

Look for Joy

And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”

Nehemiah 8:10

We often think that the blessings of life are the good things like family, success, lots of stuff. But I have learned that if we take advantage of the troubled times, they become blessings in disguise because they draw us closer to God.

Not too far into this journey with pain, I was introduced to Ann Voskamp and her story with depression. Someone challenged her to start making a list of 1000 blessings. In accepting this challenge she journaled each day at least three blessings she found from God. Soon her depression had taken a back seat to joy.

It’s true, you know, laughter is good medicine. When we start focusing on all the good God has done for us, we find joy in the journey, even when it’s a hard journey.

Laughter is Good MEdicine

Prayer

King David said, “On the day I called, You answered me; You emboldened me and strengthened my soul.”

Psalm 138:3.

They say that talking about it is very therapeutic. Now if only we would realize that if we talked to the Lord about it and listened to His answers we could probably save ourselves a lot of money spent on counselors.


Philippians 4:6-7 says Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Praise God

The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory. This is my God, and I will praise him— my father’s God, and I will exalt him!

Exodus 15:2; Psalm 59:17;

O my Strength, to you I sing praises, for you, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love.

Psalm 59:17;

I know sometimes, it is very difficult to praise God. Our words seem to just get stuck in your throat. But trust me, praising God and singing to Him will lift your spirits. If you can’t do it, at least play some praise music and turn it up. Soon you will find yourself singing along.

Connect with Others

Then Judas and Silas, both being prophets, spoke at length to the believers, encouraging and strengthening their faith.

Acts 15:32

There is nothing better than connecting with other believers. That is why we are instructed to come together to worship.

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

Hebrews 10:25


Meeting together is difficult in the midst of this pandemic; however, most of us have cell phones and internet access. Be sure you are regularly attending church and visiting with fellow believers. There are thousands of opportunities to participate in worship if your own church doesn’t offer its services online. My husband and I have really enjoyed the preaching of Greg Laurie at Harvest at Home.

On top of that, connect individually with fellow believers to encourage one another. If you are lonely, for heaven’s sake, pick up your phone and call someone. They might need some encouragement from you and in the process, you will find yourself encouraged and strengthened.

My blog has connected me with so many believers and also believers that suffer from chronic illness. I have met some wonderful friends and we encourage one another regularly. You may not have a blog, but we have so many social media opportunities. Get on one of them and start commenting on every else’s posts. I’ll list some groups on Facebook that uplift me.

Strengthened in Christ,

Mandy

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