What God Did About Seriously Deadly Sin

Sin is deadly serious

In the Old Testament, God set up several feasts and celebrations for the purpose of bringing the people back to the mind of God. In September, The Feast of Trumpets (now called Rosh Hashanah) is celebrated leading up to Yom Kippur ( The Day of Atonement).

Just as Isaiah did in Isaiah 6, when we come into the presence of God, we become acutely aware of our sin. “Oh, Woe is Me.” We often take lightly the holiness of God because we become so callous from rubbing elbows with the world. But when we come before Him face-to-face everything changes.

Our Seriously Deadly Sin

Since the Garden and the Fall of Man, sin has been causing death. God came to Adam and Eve after the fall and killed an animal to cover their bodies. (Genesis 3:21) Solomon stated twice in the Proverbs that sin is deadly.

There is a way which seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death. – Proverbs 14:12, 16:25

Source: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Sin-Producing-Death
The Day of Atonement foreshadowed the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! Click To Tweet

On the Day of Atonement, the high priest had to be certain that he was purified before enting the Holy of Holies to present the sacrifices to God for forgiveness. Only the High Priest could enter and only once a year. (Exodus 26:31-35) This sacrifice had to be presented every year for the forgiveness of sin.

BUT GOD…

I love those words! But God! The Day of Atonement was a foreshadowing of what God would do for us one day through Jesus. “…because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins.” – Leviticus 16:20

And here’s what was foreshadowed

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

2 Corinthians 5:12

Praise God he sent his Son, Jesus to live on earth as a man, but without sin. Then he took our sins upon himself and carried them all the way to the cross. He died a cruel death so that we could be free from the bondage of sin. Oh His great mercy for us is unfathomable.

Jesus took our sins and carried them all the way to the cross. Click To Tweet

Encountering Jesus

When we encounter Jesus nothing will ever be the same again. Jesus exposes our sin and we will say just as the Samaritan woman said, ” Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could He possibly be the Messiah?”

And think of the conversion of Saul (Acts 6), “Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized.” … and at once  he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.

This Power Is For All of Us

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 2:4-6

Have you realized how seriously deadly sin is? Have you accepted this gift of God, His love and mercy? If not, learn more at Harvest Church – Greg Laurie’s explanation of knowing God.

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Savannah, GA

This post was inspired by the Bible Study of Erin Davis – 7 Feasts -Finding Christ in the Sacred Celebrations of the Old Testament. I thank Moody Publishing for providing this book to facilitate this review.

This Bible study is exciting and moving, even for a seasoned Christian as 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!”


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Prevail – Faith Against the Opposition

Prevail ~ What does it mean?

Prevail Book Review

Prevail – v. To be the last one standing

Prevail – v. To be more powerful than your oponent

This new book walks us through the Bible, seeing how others prevailed and encourages us to prevail as well.

Are you scared or afraid?

We live in a world of hostility, criticism, and outright bullying. Even if you are in a place where the current culture is not threatening to you, you may have other fears that push you down and keep you from achieving your goals.

How can we navigate around our fears? How did we transfer fear of our circumstance over to a fear of God?

Remember God has equipped you for the battle.

Susie Larson, Previal, Day 25

When the Israelites neared the Promised Land. Moses sent a team of spies into the land to survey the land. The land was filled with huge grapes and “flowing with milk and honey”. Ten spies dragged their feet saying, but the people are giants. We can’t go against them.” But Joshua and Caleb said, “Yes, We can with God on our side!” (Numbers 13)

Joshua and Caleb had a great faith. They kept their eyes on the promises of the Lord. God has already promised them the land. And they knew that He would fight for them.

Are your eyes wondering, focusing on the circumstances or do you have them fixed on Jesus?

Prevail for a miracle

Do You Feel Small and Insignificant

I know for me, it’s easy to feel small and insignificant. Satan loves to whisper in our ears that we don’t have the right pedigree. We don’t have anything to offer. But then I think of people in the Bible like Gideon or David. We are in good company when it comes to feeling small.

Look at Gideon. He felt small because he was the youngest in the family. His family was the youngest and least of the tribe. And His tribe was the least significant in the nation. But that is the kind of people God likes to use.

This was only the first vault to jump. God took things to another level and asked Gideon to reduce the few soldiers that but what a glorious win resulted. God turned the enemy on themselves. They didn’t even have to fight!

Are you willing to take a chance and do something crazy, like reducing your odds even more?

Remember to live by faith, not by sight. God is kind and patient and knows how to encourage us when we need it.

Susie LArson, Prevail, Day 44

When Leaders Abdicate Responsibility

HAve you ever felt your hands were tied because a leader in your life is irresponsible. THere you are under his guidance and direction but he is leading without the direction of God? It could be a pastor or staff member, a boss, or a government leader.

I’m reminded of Esther (Esther 3). She was in a tight spot. The king’s rule was final. She was not even allowed to go before him unless he called for her. What was she to do about the evil Haman that was making laws for him own benefit? She knew she couldn’t remain silent.It would mean the death of her family and nation.

So what did she do? She called for everyone to fast and pray for three days. Then she took courage and broke the law by going before the king.

What injustices do you see in the world? What can you do about the Bullies in life?

If you’re aware of an unjust situation, fast and pray. Ask God to raise up someone to stand in the gap.

Susie LArson, Prevail, Day 113

I’ll add to be ready to be that person. If you are scared, pray what David prayed, “give me a willing spirit.” Psalm 51:12

Facing the Fire and the Lions

There are times when we know that we are going to have to defy the law because of God’s law. Just like Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego. (Daniel 3) They were ready to face the fire to stand up for God regardless of the consequences. Daniel did the same when he continued to pray three times a day to God rather than to kneel before the king’s statue. He did what God desired of him. (Daniel 6)

There is one key here that we must remember. We must live a life above reproach. If we are not living a righteous life at the start, then you won’t stand against their accusations. We must live a life pleasing to God and He will take care of the rest.

Jesus said, “Don’t be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies. There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life – body and soul – in His hands.

Susie LArson, Prevail, Day 191

These are just a few of the lessons I have taken to heart from her new book, Prevail – 365 Days of Enduring Strength from God’s Word. Hurry to purchase this book because the copies are going fast. {affiliate}


I wish to thank Susie, Bethany House, and Baker Publishing Group for allowing me the privilege of previewing this book.

Disclaimer: Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links. If you click through them and purchase the item, we will receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you for your support.

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Susie Has Done it Again!

I can’t wait to rise in the morning and read Susie’s Blessings. This new yearly devotional is the same kind of encouragement as the blessings found on her Facebook page. These devotionals are a bit deeper than the blessings but they encourage me to prevail throughout the year. A devotion for every day of the year as you walk through the Bible with Susie. A must-have book!

Let’s Prevail together!

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Savannah, GA

Purchase you book today!

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humankind

How to Create Space With Those Who are Different

I wanted to melt into the floor.

Once again my mouth had opened before my brain engaged and the words I said came out to be insulting. When will I learn? When will I think about what I am about to say before I say it?

Have you been there?

Too often, we think we know it all; but seldom do we know what and where another person is coming from. And then, our words can come across demeaning and cruel when maybe we didn’t mean it to be that way at all. [Of course, there is always the chance that we did mean it that way because we have held ourselves in higher esteem than we ought to.]

Ah, and there’s the key.

Humility is the toughest discipline to grasp and fully enact in our lives. I see it as the main principle for Christian living. Without humility, we are never going to “get it right”. Without humility, there won’t be kindness or understanding or compassion or any of the other traits we so desire from our Lord Jesus.

Especially in today’s culture of racial unrest, humility is needed from both sides of the fence. Ah, we don’t like to hear about humility mainly because it is a lot like the bad “S” word… SUBMISSION. It’s likely, we all think we are a little better than most people. But what does the Word of God say?

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Philippians 2:3&4

These are hard words to swallow. But this does not mean we belittle ourselves. It is more that we “think about ourselves less and think of others first”. Life isn’t about “me” and the world does not revolve around me.

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”

C.S. LEwis

And Andrew Murray suggests,

“The only humility that is really ours is … that which we carry with us in our daily conduct.”  

Andrew Murray

Humility is the beginning of kindness and compassion. With humble attitudes, we will find it natural to act in kindness towards others. So, let’s get back to how we cultivate that humility and grow kindness.

Steps before we open our mouths

STOP

Before we speak or give our “wise suggestions” to another, perhaps we ought to get to know them a little. Make sure that we understand a bit about their culture and the things they deal with on a daily basis. I’m finding you can “know” someone rather well but not REALLY know them. Try these scriptures on for size.

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

James 1:19-20

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

Proverbs 17:28

LISTEN

If we really take some time to listen to others and learn about them. We might just realize they don’t need our “suggestions”. And it could be that we don’t really have anything to offer them anyway. When we let our tongue fly, this is what brings on hurt and anger which is followed by arguing and bad-mouthing, all this is not acceptable for a follower of Christ,

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

James 1:19-20

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 12:18

CONSIDER

Now that you know more about a person’s situation, consider how you would want to be treated and do likewise.

Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

Proverbs 29:20

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 7:12

CREATE SPACE WITH LOVE AND KINDNESS

Possibly, we are a bit too close for comfort. Backing up and acting in love and kindness create the space people need to understand where you are coming from. Creating space allows both parties an opportunity to consider the aforementioned steps. If you are the one receiving ill words, give the benefit of the doubt. Think like Jesus, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34

Consequently, acting in kindness can make a difference for everyone. In her book, Humankindness, Ashlee Eiland states,

Kindness may be a mushy word, but it’s the dark horse of our humanity. It’s not loud or demanding, but given enough time, it wins.

Humankind - AshleeEiland on Kindness

About the book, Humankindness

create space Humankind Book

Ashlee Eiland was raised in an affluent African American home but struggled to find her place to belong. In this book, she writes about instances throughout her life that were “uncomfortable” in the least. How she handled it and how she gave space for others to learn about her culture and also about attitudes and actions that weren’t as easy to get over.

Ashlee encourages us to create space and act in kindness and “rediscover our own humanity through another lens. She shares that sometimes sacrifice is needed to create that space. She shared at one time as a small girl having a white babysitter that didn’t know how to comb her “black” hair. She was doing her best only to become frustrated, creating an even worse mess. Ashlee concluded in that chapter,

So, we have a choice. Either we can resent the fact that some people can’t give us everything and demand that they try harder, that they sacrifice even more of themselves.

Or we can sit under the comb, knowing in our hearts that the outcome might be less than desirable – but also knowing that trying is the best offering some can give.

CREATING SPACE ~ Understanding and bearing up under it.

This goes both ways

Do we subject others to our own standards? In middle school, my family moved from a medium-sized town in Ohio to a very small town in Wisconsin. My original school had a dress code and the girls still wore dresses in most cases. The school in Wisconsin had no dress code. I still chose to wear a dress because I was most comfortable in a dress. After the first few questions, it became more my signature because I gave them space and they gave me space.

I see this same type of thing in The Church. A stranger comes to visit but they aren’t wearing the right clothing, they are too loud or outspoken. God forbid, they sit in “your pew”. These things shouldn’t matter to us. We should reach out in love and friendship and if there are things that need changing, God will do that work.”.

create space Humankind Quote

Ashlee says,

Our work is to learn how to stand in awe of each created being without making modifications or trying to bring out something that’s not ours to call forth.

We need to be cautious when what’s true for us isn’t true of someone else’s life, avoiding the conclusion that it’s not just that we differ or respectfully disagree but that their choice makes them unrelatable.

Unrelatable can become unworthy, or inferior if we aren’t careful. It all comes back to humility and creating space for each other. With this attitude, we can go far.


Making space. this is what true friendship is about and also how we learn about cultural differences and help each other learn and understand

Will you create space with me?

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Savannah, GA

I would like to thank Net Galley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book. I have given my review freely and with honesty.

Your Turn

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becoming sage

Midlife Crisis: Becoming Sage

There’s a lot to deal with in midlife. That empty nest syndrome for one can really take you for a loop. But that is not the only crisis you are looking at as you are “becoming sage”.

What does that even mean? “to become sage“. You might have thought about the herb. But the first definition listed by Webster is actually “wise through reflection and experience“. My thought was similar to this …something like Michelle Van Loon said”to cultivate fresh growth and ongoing fruitfulness for those of us growing through the latter seasons of our lives.

becoming Sage

So, What is Becoming Sage?

As our children grow up and leave the nest, we find ourselves struggling to figure out just what or who we are. We have spent the past 18-20 (or more) years raising kids. Life has pretty much encircled our children. So now, if we haven’t been careful, we end up asking ourselves, “Now What?” We may not really even know that guy sitting on the couch across the room, typically referred to as our husband.

At church, we may feel lost because we have spent all our time in the children’s department. Honestly, though I was a children’s director most our my ministry years, I believe that we have got cdoing church all wrong. We separate out into age groups; never intermingling with others and having no intergenerational contact. How can we learn or grow if we are never around older people?

The churches where my husband pastored wanted this type of organization calling this a “family church”. NO! a family church worships together as a family. I altered this with once a month family day where everyone worshiped together and children’s visiting days where we went to visit shut-ins. Oh anyway, I am getting a little off track. 🙂

a FAMILY CHURCH worships together as a family. #worship #intergenerationalworship Click To Tweet

Maturity. Yes spiritual maturity is what I am talking about. It could be that if you were teaching in the children’s department all those years that your faith has become stagnant. ouch! But seriously, how often did you get any real challenging teaching? I might be time to take a look and make some changes.

If we are becoming sage, we are also coming to terms with the fact that filling a church org chart my be a sign of a person’s church commitment, but it is not a measure of their spiritual maturity.

Michelle VonLoon, Becoming Sage

From Teacher to Learner

becoming Sage

As our family relationships re-shape, we must also reshape our personal relationship with God. Yes, it is a little sad to give your daughter away and feel that lonesomeness. But we must find the silver linings. Find those things that make this time in your life even better. Now can be a time where you really focus in on God. I know for me, that I have had much more time to spend in the Word and get close to God. And I am loving it.

Think about how you can make this the best season of your life. First start with this: Ask God to reveal what He wants you to learn in this stage of your life. Remember that verse you taught your kids?

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.

Matthew 7:7, NLT

Here are a few considerations as your search your heart

  • Gratitude. practice it. Look for joy every day. Start a joy journal. Every day, list three things that make you happy or you are grateful for. Offer these things to God in praise. You could even place these things on cards in a big jar. Then when you have a not so joyful day. Just pull a couple of cards out. You’ll be joyful in no time.
  • Consider your Fears. What are your fears during this time? Talk with God about them. Look up some verses about how God deals with our fears. Here is one of my favorites.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

More Ideas

  • Talk with your friends about these changes. It could include marriage issues, divorce, aging, and dying parents, illness, prodigals, grandchildren. You will probably find you have a strong enough group to start a support group. 🙂 Then go out and find the resources you all need.
  • Deal with loneliness head-on. Reach out to friends and recultivate those friendships or make new ones. If we ever get past this pandemic, utilize those coffee shops that are popping up everywhere and make appointments to have “a cuppa” together on a regular basis. Just having something to look forward to can make a world of difference. In the meantime, you can still have meaningful conversations on the phone, texting, messaging. I’m talking private discussions, not with the whole world.
  • Mentoring. Turn around and see who is following you. You have things to offer others, so offer them. There are a lot of young moms who have no one nearby to help them out. Go help. Think back at what would have been a great help to you and then do it. There is one thing I have found that giving is way better than receiving.
Giving is way better than receiving. #mentoring #friendship Click To Tweet

Becoming sage relationally includes learning to be along with God, leaning into times of deep loneliness, remaining open to new connections, and nurturing or renegotiating old friendships in the context of the security we have in our friendship with God.

Michelle VanLoon, Becoming Sage

In Conclusion

Well, friends, these are a few things that inspired me in Michelle Van Loon’s new book, Becoming Sage ~ Cultivating Meaning, Purpose, and Spirituality in Midlife. You might want to go pick up a copy.

Mandy Farmer

Many thanks to Moody Publishers for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which, of course, is offered freely and with honesty.

My first impression of this book was not that great. It was almost depressing because I saw where the church is failing its people. But then I looked through again, looking for the answers she offered. She does have much to offer but you might have to read it slower or actually do the activities at the end of each chapter. 🙂 – Mandy



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up for education

The Girl Who Stood Up For Education

Imagine living in a country where girls are thought so little of that they are not even allowed to attend school… at any level. As we know, the dumbing down of a people group is the most surefire way to control them. Keep them from thinking and they will follow you anywhere.

Malala Stood Up for Education

I am Malala; book review; up for education

Malala is from Pakistan where girls are not allowed to attend school, especially the upper grades. However, Malala’s father advocated for girls’ education. So he started schools for girls. Malala was an excellent student and she saw the need to be an advocate for girls’ education.

She was very young when she began doing interviews on news media around the world standing up for education for girls. She wanted to create awareness about what was happening in her country.

Trouble for Malala

The Taliban caused a lot of trouble for her and her father. They tried every way to stop the schools. But Malala was brave enough to continue attending school. One day on the way home, the Taliban stopped her bus and shot her in the head. She was fortunate to survive though she had a long recovery ahead of her.

Actually, this incident just made her story all the more popular and the news spread all around the world. Malala had made a big, big difference for girls. You’ll have to read the book for yourself to get the details. The book comes in adult and children’s editions.

A few things our children can learn from Malala.

  1. You are not too young to make a difference. Stand up for what you feel is right.
  2. There are many similarities with children in other cultures, but there are also some extreme differences. It’s important to be aware by reading books from different cultures like this one.
  3. Learn about the oppression and persecution of women.
  4. Appreciate your education. Some people aren’t even afforded the opportunity to learn to read.

NOTE: To those of the Christian Faith

As I read this book, I was a little bothered that she used the name of “God” when speaking of the Muslim god – Allah! I thought it might be confusing to young Christians as they read, causing them to think that we have the same God.

So I talked with a missionary to Pakistan who would know if this was normal. I was told that “yes, they do use the term God when referring to Allah.” Some will tell you that Allah is the same God of Abraham through his son Ishmael. While this may be true, the Isalm faith has distorted the character of God so much that their god is not the same person as Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (See Resources below)

Mandy Farmer

I would like to thank Net Galley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book. I have given my review freely and with honesty.

Purchase your copy here. {affiliate}



RESOURCES

Do Christian and Muslims Worship the Same God


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Fully Alive Book Review

Book Review: Fully Alive

This summer (2020) Susie Larson is offering a free online study of her latest book, Fully Alive. This was such a helpful book for me, so I decided to repost this review. She is offering the book for only $10 [CODE: FAITHRADIO] and the study is free! Sign up at the end of this post.

NOTE: I received this book at no charge in exchange for writing this review. These words are my own opinion and I have not been compensated to say them. 

Dare to Hope again

Have you been losing your hope lately? What is it that is pulling you down into

despondency?

Dare to Hope Fully Alive
Susie’s Larson’s new book

Sickness?

Fear?

Guilt?

Worry?

Grief?

Discouragement?

Insecurity?

Selfishness?

Look up because there is AlWAYS Hope in Jesus.

Continue reading
girl of sudan

How a Lost Girl of Sudan Found Healing, Peace & Purpose

At times in my life, I have felt like a “lost girl” in a mixed-up world. Life can throw things at us that we don’t understand. We have been pushed through life seemingly without any control of what is happening. We may never understand until we get to heaven but other times we can look back and see that “What They Meant For Evil God Meant For Good.

Young Joseph [Genesis 50] certainly learned this lesson. At no fault of his own, he was sold into slavery, worked his way up only to be thrown in prison and left there to die. But God had a plan all along. The important thing was that Joseph never gave up on God.

And that has been my goal as well. To keep trusting and listening for God’s guidance and direction. My experiences in life can all work out for good (Romans 8:28) when I keep trusting him.

I have purposed to read more biographies this year; biographies of people different from myself. My desire is to understand more of other races, countries, beliefs, and situations. I want to as the Indian proverb says, “walk a mile in their shoes”. What I am learning, is that there is always, always someone who has struggled more than me.

The Lost Girl of Sudan

What they menat for EVil book

Imagine with me being only 5 years old and living a happy life in a small village in Africa. Until one day, you are running for your life with only the clothes on your back and leaving your grandmother (the one who was raising you) behind.

Several times you are able to return but then things get worse and one day you must keep running further and further. You no longer have the delicious food to eat but must scrounge in the forest for food. Every day, you walk further and further trying your best to keep up with your uncle. Once in a while, you get on the back of a truck and ride many miles.

Finally, you find yourself at a refugee camp in the middle of a desert and in a different country. Food is rationed and even though you are stationed in family groups, others will steal your measly food portions. It’s dangerous to be out away from the family and even people you thought you could trust end up raping you.

This is a taste of Rebecca Deng’s story. Her book will open your eyes to what is happening in many places. Thankfully, Rebecca had been taught about faith and got an opportunity to come to the USA for her education.

I encourage you to get a copy of this truly eye-opening book to find out how Rebecca finds healing, peace, and purpose for her own life. You will be inspired by this “lost girl of Sudan.”

Mandy Farmer

It’s Your Turn

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We may earn a small commission for our endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website. Your purchase helps support our work in bringing you spiritual encouragement and other favorite product reviews. Thank you.


Many thanks to Net Galley and Faith Words Publishing for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which, of course, is offered freely and honestly.

right husband; jewel in his crown

How to Find the Right Husband

A Jewel in His Crown by Priscilla Shirer

jewel in his crown : the right husband
created in canva.com

I picked up this book for some insight into writing a post about self-esteem. As I expected, Priscilla Shirer is right on target. As with her preaching, she gets right to the truth of the matter and makes us look deep into our own lives. She will open your eyes to the source of your low self-esteem and actions that come from it. If you haven’t read this book yet, pick it up soon.


We may earn a small commission for our endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website. Your purchase helps support our work in bringing you spiritual encouragement and other favorite product reviews. Thank you.


What I Wasn’t Expecting

I know that how we look at ourselves can obviously affect our relationships not just with friends and family but also with men who would be potential dates or husbands. I was surprised to find a chapter on finding a mate right smack in the middle of this book on self-esteem.

Having made the same kind of mistakes when it came to love interests, I found myself connecting with Priscilla. She shared how she sabotaged relationships and I realized that I had done the same thing in my college years.

We Were Made for Relationship

Today’s society will beg to differ from Priscilla’s words but she has taken her ideas straight from the Bible. Here are some truths she brought forward.

  • We’re made to be a helper.
  • God created us to be in a relationship with men.
  • Our primary purpose is to come alongside a man and assist him.

Ironically, the very thing we were created to do, the very thing we want to do the most, is the very thing that often contributes to our low self-esteem.

One reason for this is the way we prepare ourselves for relationships. Most of us don’t spend time waiting for God’s chosen man by reading His Word, meditating upon His ways, and praying for His wisdom. Instead, we read novels, go to movies, and get hooked on soap operas. We buy into a fantasy world, and we secretly hope that it will one day become the portrait of our lives.

A Jewel in His Crown, Prscilla Shirer
Most of us don't spend time waiting for God's chosen man by reading His Word, meditating upon His ways, and praying for His wisdom . – Priscilla Shirer #findingahusband #gettingthatfirstdate Click To Tweet

The Sin of Control and its Curse

God placed a curse on women. And it follows with her sin. She wanted to do what she wanted to do and she did it. Still today, we are most tempted with the matter of control. We aren’t willing to wait on God to fulfill His plan for us. So we take things into our own hands.

We chase after men rather than letting them pursue us. Men aren’t made to be “captured”. They were made to be the pursuer; to search us out and “win the prize”. When we are falling over ourselves to get their attention, it causes them to lose interest.

We are never, and I mean never, to throw ourselves at a man. – Priscilla Shirer #findingahusband #gettingthefirstdate Click To Tweet

Do We Trust God Enough?

We are often afraid that if we wait on God to bring the right man into our lives, we will miss our chance and end up alone. But God has a beautiful plan. If we draw close to God and His principles, our spiritual beauty will draw the right kind of man to us.

When it comes to taking you from where you are into the phase of life He has chosen for you, will you trust in the Lord to take you to the other side? Your destination may be a whole lot closer than you think. You need to trust Him through patient obedience as you wait on Him. Remember, you are a jewel – a jewel on layaway.

A Jewel in His Crown, Priscilla Shirer

He’s Got This Worked Out

It’s hard for us to believe, but God has this figured out. He knows exactly what kind of man you need for the right husband. You can rest easy knowing that at the right time and the right place God will bring you together. You truly can sit back and wait.

You are of matchless worth. Believe it. And rest in the fact that you are a valuable jewel saved for that one special someone. When we are always chasing after a man it is because we think we aren’t worthy enough, not beautiful enough, not desirable enough to draw that man to us on our own character.

When the Right Husband Comes Along

So as we wait on God for the right husband to come along, we need to spend our time reading His Word, meditating on the scriptures, praying for wisdom. As we grow in Christ we become more attractive on the inside and the outside to the spiritual man you actually want and need.

When someone comes along, you can look for a few specific things.

  1. He will cherish you. He will do whatever it takes to please you. You will feel like a princess. When he talks of you, it will be praise.
  2. He will be the leader in your relationship. You will have been chosen by him without you chasing after him. He will be a great decision-maker. This does not mean that you will be treated like a floormat. If he is doing #1 above, he will include you in the decision making process. He will want you to be happy with the decisions.
  3. And, of course, He will have a strong relationship with the Lord. Not because you love the Lord, but because he has made a firm choice to follow Christ. It must be real or it won’t last.

Are You Attracting the Right Husband?

  • What tendencies do you have in the way you relate to men/your husband?
  • Do you truly trust God to take you to the other side of singleness?
  • What relationships in your life need to be given to God?
  • What do you expect from men whom you choose to date?
  • Do you want to date at all? Why or Why not?
Mandy Farmer
Defiant Joy

Be Defiant in the Midst of Suffering

I recently wrote some thoughts on the Christmas hymn/poem by Henry Longfellow. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day but I didn’t finish the thoughts he shared on the Truth of the matter. Yes, life may seem drear and sad and lost. BUT GOD… and THE BELLS do ring out Truth.

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,

With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, https://www.lyricsforchristmas.com/christmas-carols/i-heard-the-bells-on-christmas-day/

Taking Hold of Hope, Beauty, and Life in a Hurting World.

I just finished a book that I have been slowly working on all year. It was sent to me by Susie Larson because I commented on her webpage. Typically when I read a book slowly, like this, it’s because I am having trouble grasping the truth and I am not wanting to accept it. (ouch!) Thankfully, I am getting it. Read on!


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The title, itself brings curiosity. Defiant Joy. It almost seems an oxymoron. But defiance can be defined as a determination. We can determine to have joy in spite of the trials and sorrows, thus be defiant for joy.

Jeremiah placed this instruction smack dab in the middle of his lamenting to God about the devastation that Israel was struggling through. Recall this scripture with me…

15 Joy has left our hearts;

    our dancing has turned to mourning.

16 The garlands have fallen from our heads.

    Weep for us because we have sinned.

17 Our hearts are sick and weary,

    and our eyes grow dim with tears.

18 For Jerusalem[c] is empty and desolate,

    a place haunted by jackals.

Lamentations 5:15-18, NLT, https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=lamentations+5&version=NLT

By the time we get to the end of Jeremiah. We find him giving us hope, and beauty, and joy in the Lord.

They will come home and sing songs of joy on the heights of Jerusalem.

    They will be radiant because of the Lord’s good gifts—

the abundant crops of grain, new wine, and olive oil,

    and the healthy flocks and herds.

Their life will be like a watered garden,

    and all their sorrows will be gone.

Jeremiah 31:!2 NLT; https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah+31:12&version=NLT

Realize Your Need for God

Our despair is really the Spirit wooing us, showing us our need for His Mercy. Suffering reminds us that we need the Lord. We can’t get along without keeping God in the forefront of our lives. When we get off of His path, the way gets dark and lonely.

God invites us to make a turn to the right. Set our compass back on the North Star (Jesus). Get our eyes on Him and allow Him to direct our lives. Then and only then will we begin to have Hope and Find Joy in this desperate world.

Expect His Joy to Flow in and through you

Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible joy.

1 Peter 1:8-9 NIV; https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+peter+1%3A8-9&version=NIV

It all depends on where our gaze is.

  • When we are looking down, we see our feet and not the rising sun.
  • When our hearts are heavy with doubt and fear, we “miss the wonder all around us“.
  • When we look to Jesus we are lifted up.
  • We receive His “courage to believe and the ability to wait on Him.

Waiting in Hope; Defiant for Joy

In the missing and the aching and the desparte pain, we will not give in to devastation. We are called to live. and eventually, miraculously, to live with joy.

Defiant Joy, Sasi Eldredge, page 196
In the missing, the aching and the desperate pain, we will not give in to devastation. #defiantjoy #pain #suffering #ancientpaths #grief @stasieldridge Click To Tweet

Don’t get bottled up in the struggle. The more we fight, the more we get entangled in the troubles of this life. We must remember how Paul said that we are pressed on every side be not crushed (2 Corinthians 4:8 NIV). When we relax and lean into the arms of Jesus, He will carry us. When we look upward and breathe in His promises, we will realize all the joy that is coming and the inheritance we will soon gain.

My visible world may scream loss, but the victory cannot and will not be held back. And because of that, because life wins and has won already, because of all Jesus won for us, I – like you- can be diafiantly joyful. I will choose it. Join me.

Stasi Eldredge, Defiant Joy, page 199

Be Defiant, Choose Joy with me.

Mandy Farmer

Next Year Be Defiant

I am going to be defiant next year. I want to determine to follow the ancient paths of God. Won’t you join me? Sign up for the newsletter (below) to receive your free calendar of Scriptures for each day in January. Share your thoughts with a hashtag #ancientpaths


The Joy Of Including Jesus In Christmas

Christmas is fast approaching and if we blink our eyes we will find ourselves enjoying Christmas Day. But all our plans to include Jesus in Christmas will have been thrown out with the wrappings.

The way to have success is to plan ahead. My family always razzed at me because I was planning the next holiday before the present one was barely over. But the fact of the matter is that, if we don’t plan ahead, it ain’t gonna happen. So let’s talk about the joy of including Jesus in Christmas. After all, it IS HIS BIRTHDAY.

If you don't plan ahead, it ain't gonna happen. #preparingforChristmas Click To Tweet

Keeping Jesus in Christmas

Family advent devotions every night in December confirms that Jesus will not be left out of the celebration. As a child on the farm, each night before bed, we all sat around the coffee table which held our cardboard nativity set. Mom or Dad would read the devotion and we would learn and discuss one little portion of the Christmas story. It might have been about one character or maybe about a prophet from long before. We took turns being the one to add a new piece of the nativity each night until Christmas morning when we added baby Jesus.

Advent Devotions appeared a simple thing to do when I was growing up but as a parent, it seemed to be a huge struggle to make it happen. Possibly, you find it a challenge as well. Thanksgiving preparations can keep us very busy; we never think about the fact that the first Sunday of Advent happens just three days later. All of a sudden, it’s Advent and we haven’t found the creche nor the devotions to go with it.

Start Now, even if you’re late

First, let me say, “so what if you are late”. Get started and you will find it really doesn’t matter. Your children won’t remember that you missed the first week or a day or two in between. (I’m pretty sure it happened in my family.) Remember the saying, “better late than never”?

Include Jesus in your own way

Also, remember that you don’t have to do it just like your parents did. It’s a different age and a different world. Life is much faster and crazier. Try a different time of day. Enjoy the lesson during a meal. Breakfast could be the only time the family congregates together. Time management sources so do the most important things first in your day. So many Advent lessons should be done at breakfast rather than bedtime.

Possibly, it is just too difficult to get the entire family together at the same time every. Just select a time that the majority of the family is together and start. Make it clear that you want everyone to participate as much as possible and go forward from there.

Find a Way to Include Jesus

My greatest desire for the Christmas season is to be sure I have included Jesus in the season. The first way to do this is through your family devotion time. We need to find ways to include the Lord in all our activities of the season; however, Advent devotions keep Christ forefront and center every day.

Find a Creche Now

Once you have purchased one, you are set forever. Though you may want to change it up as your children grow. Start with something non-breakable and work yourself up to the beautiful porcelain display. Here’s a thought, once you have one, maybe you should store it with the Thanksgiving decorations instead of the Christmas decorations.

If you are creative and plan way ahead, you can go to a ceramics class and make your own pieces. Then purchase just the stable. I did this for my mother and we added pieces each year. Of course, this is for once your children are old enough to understand not to touch them. 🙂


For your preschoolers, purchase a toy set that they can play with. If you want the pretty set, go for it. Just purchase the playset for your toddler to enjoy.

Here are a few you might like:


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The Advent Devotions

Some nativity sets will come with a booklet of devotions. However, you may need to find something appropriate for the ages of the children. Of course, you could certainly just read scriptures and have a discussion. Here’s a Bible Reading Plan from a friend of mine.

Many free advent devotions can be found online. Or search out the myriads of books you can use. If your children are small, select a few Christmas Bible storybooks.

Children love hearing the stories over and over and that would be fine. For years, I purchased a new Christmas book every year. My children had their favorites from the collection which they still seek out when they are home for the holidays.

Advent Devotions for Families

My good friend and blogger, Bettie Gilbert, offered this free Advent devotional for families on her blog this year. She said I could offer here as well.

US Advent Devotions

Otherwise, a bit of goo-gling will certainly turn up many other possibilities. Here are a few others I have enjoyed.




Other Advent Alternatives

1) Jesse Tree Devotionals – The Jesse tree is based on Isaiah 11 where the prophet foretells the coming of Christ through the “stump of Jesse”. The lessons are the genealogy of Christ beginning in Genesis through Jesse and King David and on up to Mary and Joseph. Ann Voskamp has a wonderful book your family will enjoy, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift. {see above link}

2) Mary and Joseph’s Journey to Bethlehem – an alternative to the Elf on the Shelf using Mary and Joseph. I just learned of this idea the other day. But it sounds wonderful to me. Check it out here.

Some Favorite Christmas Books

Must Have Christmas Books
Photo credit Sobima at Pixabay

I made a habit of purchasing a new Christmas book every year. Some of these became favorites which we were sure to read every year. Others make beautiful coffee table decor. Find my list of Christmas books here.

The Best Way to Include Jesus in Christmas

Keeping Jesus in Christmas makes all the difference in how the season turns out. Focusing on Jesus during the season also keeps our hearts and minds set straight.

Actually, it’s something we should be doing all year long. As God instructed the Israelites long ago…

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:5-9

I encourage you to start an Advent devotion tradition this year of including Jesus in Christmas and then continue into the New Year, focusing on Jesus every day. You will find joy in the journey.

Mandy Farmer

Your Turn … Legacy Link-Up

What are some of your favorite traditions and recipes at Christmas? Share the joy and link up below!

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