August 13, 2018

4 Scriptures for When You Need a Personal God

Hey friends, I’m SO excited to share my friend Jennifer Rothschild’s new study with you!! Jennifer is one of my favorite Bible teachers because she teaches God’s Word with an intimate, tender voice that I find rare among Bible teachers. Her deep love of God’s Word, and passion for everyone she encounters to know and love that Word, is contagious. So, without further delay, enjoy these wise words from Jennifer as she shares from her new LifeWay Bible Study, Psalm 23: The Shepherd With Me.

Plus, she’s giving away a copy of her Bible study book to one of you (read to the end)!

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Do you have any special memories that come up when you read, hear, or think of Psalm 23?

Maybe it was granny’s favorite Psalm. Or maybe it was read at the funeral of someone you love. You may have seen it on a plaque or memorized it as a child.

This passage stirs up all sorts of emotions, doesn’t it?

David, who wrote this Psalm, tells us in the first verse, “The Lord is my…” He then finishes it with “shepherd.”

Think about the word “my.” The verse doesn’t say that the Lord is “a” shepherd or “our” shepherd. It says He is “my” shepherd. To me, “my” means personal possession.

Just ask any toddler. “My” means that toy belongs to me. It is covered with my drool, practically crushed in my little fist, and treasured as if it is the only toy I have. It is my personal possession.

David talks about God as if God belonged to him and he belonged to God. In other words, the relationship is intimate, safe, and permanent.

Sister, do you, like David, talk about God as if He belongs to you and you belong to Him? Is God personal to you?

When I think of the Lord as my shepherd, I feel safe with Him. I see how He has guided me through green pastures and dark valleys. And, to be honest, when I really lean on Him as my shepherd, I feel the freedom to be as needy and dependent as a sheep.

Psalm 23 is not an arm’s length, past-tense, wouldn’t-it-be-nice kind of passage. It is personal. It is a right here, right now, up-close passage about you and your Shepherd.

But “shepherd” is just one way to illustrate God’s character. There are many other verses in the Bible that also describe how the Lord is a personal God to you.

Psalm 23: The Shepherd With Me by Jennifer Rothschild. A LifeWay Bible Study,.

Maybe today you need to be reminded of how the Lord is a personal God. Here are four Scripture passages to get you started.

1. The Lord Is My Portion

The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You support my lot.
 (Psalm 16:5, NASB)

When you consider the Lord is your portion, you’re reminded that He is all you need. In all the areas of your life where you may feel insufficient or weak, sister, He is enough.

2. The Lord Is My Rock

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
 (Psalm 18:2, NASB)

With the Lord as your rock, you learn that He will stabilize and ground you when life feels shaky. And when He steadies you, oh girl, you are steadfast and unshakeable.

3. The Lord Is My Salvation

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the defense of my life;
Whom shall I dread?
 (Psalm 27:1, NASB)

When you consider the Lord is your salvation, you take refuge in Him. You run to Him and He welcomes you, defends you, protects you, and preserves your life.

4. The Lord Is My Strength

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart exults,
And with my song I shall thank Him.
 (Psalm 28:7, NASB)

The Lord is your strength and helps you deal with the fears that rise up in you. He gives you what you need to make it through whatever the day brings.

When Scripture tells you that the Lord is your shepherd, your portion, your rock, your salvation, your strength … Scripture is shouting the truth with the intensity of a 3-year-old, “The Lord is mine! My shepherd, my portion, my rock, my strength. Mine!”

I love that!

He is a right-now, up-close, personal God to you, sister. And He cares for you.

Jennifer’s new Bible study, Psalm 23: The Shepherd With Me will help you explore the depths of God’s care for you tucked in the psalm you’ve always loved. Through August 31, get a free audio download bundle with purchase of Jennifer’s Bible study book.

 

Psalm 23: The Shepherd With Me by Jennifer Rothschild. A LifeWay Bible Study,.

The Giveaway

Giveaway now closed – congrats Sharon (sasweatt) – please check your email for more details.

How are these qualities of God’s character personal to you? Do you have any additional verses that remind you how personal He is? Share in the comments below, and one reader will win a copy of Jennifer’s new study. U.S. Addresses only please. Winner announced here Monday, August 20.

April 24, 2018

When Love Hurts (Guest Post)

Today, I’ve invited my friend Sharon Jaynes to share some encouragement from her new book, Enough: Silencing the Lies that Steal Your Confidence. Sharon has the gift of storytelling. I absolutely love her books because she has the most amazing way of bringing biblical truths alive in ways that make them easier to understand. Whether she’s making me laugh or bringing me to tears, I learn much from Sharon. This devotional is one of my favorites because through her story she provides a practical process to follow when the evil one comes in hard and fast to steal, kill and destroy. Be sure to read through to the end, Sharon has a beautiful giveaway below that you won’t want to miss!

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Enough: Silencing the Lies that Steal Your Confidence by Sharon Jaynes.

“Mommy, Mommy,” Steven cried. “Don’t let them hurt me!”

My son, Steven, was about 3 years old when he contracted a severe case of the flu. His slumped body snuggled listlessly like an old, worn rag doll.

When I carried him into the medical clinic, the doctor quickly diagnosed dehydration and immediately sent us to the hospital.

My heart ripped apart as the nurses strapped my little boy onto a table and began placing IVs in his tiny arms.

“Mommy, Mommy,” Steven cried. “Make them stop! They’re hurting me.”

“No, honey,” I tried to assure him. “They’re going to make you all better.”

“Mommy, help me!”

Steven cried. I cried. The nurses cried.

I could only imagine what was going through Steven’s little mind. Why are these people hurting me? Why doesn’t Mommy make them stop? She must not love me. She’s not protecting me. If she loved me she wouldn’t let them do this. She must not care about me.

Standing in the corner watching my little boy cry, I wondered if that’s how God feels when I’m going through a painful situation that’s for my ultimate good. I cried out, “God, why are You letting this happen? Don’t You love me? Don’t You care about what’s happening to me? Why don’t You make it stop?

It was a picture I wouldn’t soon forget.

I envisioned God speaking to me in my pain. You don’t understand the reason for the pain. You might think I’ve deserted you, but I will never leave you. You might think I don’t love you, but I love you to the height of heaven and the depth of the sea. You might think I don’t care about what’s happening to you, but I am orchestrating your days and care about every hair on your head. My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts. Yes, I do care about you and what’s happening to you. In the end, this will make you better.

C.S. Lewis, who watched his beloved wife die of cancer, put it this way: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Because God loves us, He desires our conformity more than our comfort. Allowing troubles, trials and pain is one way our loving God makes that so. No one likes getting stuck with a sharp needle, but if the needle brings healing or prevents greater suffering, it’s just what we need. Faith in Jesus Christ does not guarantee an easy life but a perfect eternity.

I don’t know what difficulties you’re facing today. It could be the toughest time of your life. But I do know that during tough times, the devil will tell you (falsely) God doesn’t love you, doesn’t care about you or isn’t doing anything to help you. Don’t listen to him. Satan is a liar—an opportunist who looks for vulnerable times to convince you to question God’s power, provision and promises.

Here’s my process when those lies wiggle their way into my thoughts:

Realize the enemy’s true identity: He’s the father of lies.

Recognize the lie: God doesn’t love me.

Reject the lie!

Replace the lie with truth: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

When we feel like a little kid, thinking our heavenly Father’s standing in the corner not doing anything, we can know He is. Jesus said, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working” (John 5:17b, NIV).

No matter what you’re facing today, remember this:

God loves you.
God is good.
God wants what’s best for you.
God is always at work on your behalf.
You can trust Him.

And that’s the truth.

Heavenly Father, sometimes life is just hard. I’ll be honest, sometimes I feel like You’re standing in the corner watching and not working. However, I know deep down that’s not true. Thank You for never leaving nor forsaking me. You always work for my good even when I can’t see it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Giveaway now closed. Congrats Joyce S., please check your email for details!

Share this post with 5 or more people, then leave a comment that says, “I did it!” We will randomly pick one comment to win an Enough bracelet made by the ladies of Fashion and Compassion. U.S. addresses only please. Winner will be announced on the blog on Monday, April 30.

If you are reading this in email, click HERE to join us on the blog.

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About the book

Do the voices in your head tell you that you are not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, or just not enough, period?  If so, it’s time to stop listening to the lies that sabotage your confidence and start embracing the truth of your true identity in Christ. Order Enough: Silencing the Lies that Steal Your Confidence and receive 24 printable Truth cards FREE. Click here for details.

Enough: Silencing the Lies that Steal Your Confidence by Sharon Jaynes.

Sharon Jaynes is an international speaker and best-selling author of 21 books. For those who know her best, she is a simple southern girl who loves sweet tea, warm beaches, and helping women live fully and free as a child of God and co-heir with Christ.

 

 

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This post previously appeared as a Proverbs 31 Ministries devotion.

February 26, 2018

Trust God and His Timing (Guest Post)

Hey friends. I’ve been so excited to introduce you to a dear friend. Her name is Jodie Berndt. She’s easy to love, and if you love UVA, you’ll love her even more!! HUGE Wahoo fan!

You know how we love prayer here. That’s why I invited Jodie to share from her new book, Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children. Be sure to enter to win your own copy at the end.

She not only has a HUGE heart bent toward praying for children, she also has a passion to equip parents how to pray for their children. I only wish I had her books when my kids were young. But, I’m so thankful for this one because her newest book teaches us how to pray for our adult children. It’s filled with stories, examples, scripture and humor. It’s a great book to get and to give!

Take it away Jodie …

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“Hillary doesn’t have a job,” I said, “and she seems…content.”

I was having lunch with a friend, confiding my latest parenting worry. I was afraid that I’d raised one of those boomerang kids—the kind who get out of college and then brings their lives (and their laundry) back home.

My friend smiled. “Your daughter,” she countered, “only graduated three months ago. Trust me; she’s probably not content. She’s an engineer—they think in linear terms. She’s pursuing a job; she’s just not doing it the way that you would.”

Well, she had that one right. Hillary was definitely not looking for a job the way I would have. I would have loaded my résumé into the barrel of a shotgun and pulled the trigger, splattering my education and experience all over any company that was hiring. But Hillary was a little more particular. She had some job offers but, having earned a degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering, she’d set her sights on the space industry. Ideally? Ideally, my girl wanted to be an astronaut.

Which was, honestly, kind of hard for me to appreciate. Who actually does that? Was “astronaut” even a job? And how long would it take? I don’t remember my exact words, but I think my advice went something like this:

“Aim lower.”

(Yeah. Not my best parenting speech.)

You can read about Hillary’s job hunt (and how I ugly-wrestled with God over how and when he’d provide) in Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children. But if you want the condensed version, it pretty much boils down to this:

Trusting God with our children’s future means being willing to trust his timing.

Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children. A guest post by Jodie Berndt for wendyblight.com.

Psalm 139:16 says, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Pick that one apart and you get the idea that 1) God has a plan; 2) He’s on a clearly defined timetable, and 3) His design has been in place since forever. Had I embraced these three truths at the start of Hillary’s job search (instead of eight months later, after I’d pretty much been exposed as the opposite of the Proverbs 31 mother), I could have saved myself a lot of mental anguish and spent the better part of a year enjoying time with my girl, instead of worrying about her future.

We know God has good purposes, and that (Philippians 2:13) his job is to work in us—and in our children—to get us to think and act in ways that line up with these plans. Part of that alignment, I’m (slowly) coming to realize, is being willing to depend on his timing.

Let us not become weary” Paul writes, “in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” That’s Galatians 6:9, and it’s always been one of my favorite “hang in there” verses.

Sometimes, “doing good” simply means waiting well. Because it doesn’t matter what our request is, or what it is that we think we need, God already has the answer all mapped out. He will provide. The harvest will come (spoiler alert: Hillary got her dream job) at the just the right time.

So let’s hang in there. Let’s wait well. And let’s pray:

Heavenly Father, 

Help me, as I put my trust in you, to trust your timing. Today, I give you ___________, surrendering this situation into your tender care.

Help me to wait well.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen. 

The Giveaway – now closed – Congrats Michelle Reed!

Where do you find yourself struggling to trust God’s timing? Leave a comment—perhaps a favorite Bible verse or promise that helps—for a chance to win a copy of Jodie’s latest book, Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children.

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Okay, don’t ya’ll just love her? Thank you, Jodie, for letting me share your book with my word loving, prayer warrior sisters here.

Jodie Berndt is the author of several books, including Praying the Scriptures for Your Children, Praying the Scriptures for Your Teens, and Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children. A speaker and Bible teacher, Jodie encourages readers to pursue joy, celebrate grace, and live on purpose. Find her writing (and download free prayer printables) at JodieBerndt.com and follow her on Instagram @Jodie_Berndt, Twitter @JodieBerndt, and Facebook @JodieBerndtWrites. Jodie and her husband, Robert, have four grown children and two sons-in-law.

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