Studies, Lessons and Devotionals
Those of us who are physically challenged go through trials and emotional turbulence. God is with us every minute, working to bring us closer to him—while Satan is scheming to wrench us away. Being chronically ill is one of the greatest challenges a disciple can face. Sometimes we wish our illnesses were of an acute nature so we could go through them, die and go be with God. Living in constant pain or sickness without knowing when it will end, yet trusting that God truly loves us, summons every bit of faith we have...one day at a time.
"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." -- Matthew 19:4-6 (NIV)
Jesus teaches that God made husband and wife to be an inseparable unit. Their union supercedes their relationship to their parents. This commitment and loyalty are to be for life. They are to be "no longer two, but one." Jesus is referring to an intimate sharing of the whole of two people's lives, including the past, present, and future. Consider the implications of such oneness in marriage.
It's a question we, as leaders, are accustomed to asking of others. Sometimes the responses come to us in the form of a quick "fine," while other answers are much more detailed. At times we hear more than we wish to hear. While often we don't know what the responses to this question may bring... we strive to stay equipped to help with scriptures, prayer, and a listening ear. That's our job, right? But it's more than a job. We really do care.
Yet, I find that all too often, we don't take time to ask this question of ourselves or to each other.
So, how are you doing?
God wants to use you! I know you have weaknesses, insecurities, and fears, but they are not there to discourage you. Instead, God allows you to have them so you may depend on God, and see his holy power work to make up the difference as you step out on faith (2 Corinthians 12:9).
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." -- James 5:6-7
Embracing humility and off-loading anxiety are not disconnected ideas, and they are certainly not random commands. In God's great love for us and his desire to be our refuge, he offers us this gift of peace. Accepting his gift requires our participation and self-awareness.
Today, International Women's Day is a day women are celebrated all over the world. God celebrates us each day, but on this day "set aside" particularly for women, we want to remind each of you how deeply you are loved by God.
The following is an excerpt from chapter one of Prime Rib: Exploring a Woman’s Value and Purpose by Jeanie Shaw. The chapter is entitled, “Designed with Love and Purpose.” The list of “Who I am in Christ” is from appendix C of her book, Understanding Goose.
Based on John 5, the healing at the pool:
The man had been stuck in a rut for a very long time. He had become used to his very sad condition. Jesus walked up to him and asked him the question no one had asked. “Do you want to get well?” It seems obvious, but actually we don’t tend to think that way.
The transition from “unwell” to “well” is an interesting one. There are two aspects to this: the physical one and the spiritual one. Physically of course, there are situations that cannot be changed, even with a lot of faith and effort. There are others, however, that can be changed. Sometimes we let ourselves go physically, and we neglect our physical needs.
This article was originally published in Life and Godliness for Everywoman, Volume I.
Infertility can be one of the most emotionally challenging dilemmas we face as women. I had always been taught as a young girl that hard work, determination, perseverance and discipline would help me get anywhere I wanted to go in life. It had worked for me academically in high school and college, athletically in my collegiate golf career and professionally in the Public Relations field. Even spiritually after becoming part of God’s kingdom as a freshman at the University of Georgia in 1979, through diligent Bible study, a consistent prayer life and intense discipline, deep character changes occurred. Even though I knew I was at the mercy of God, there was an element of “If I work hard enough, it can happen.” God still had a powerful lesson for me to learn about trusting only in him.
God is “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Everything God is and does demonstrates his constancy and consistency—the flow of the seasons year after year, the coming of every new day, the utter reliability of his promises. God is always there, always working for our good, always working to sustain and maintain this world in which we live.
A loss is a loss! Whether it is an early-stage miscarriage, a premature baby who doesn’t survive, a stillbirth, an ectopic pregnancy, an in vitro fertilization that doesn’t work, or not being able to get pregnant at all—a loss is still a loss.
In any of these situations there is a deep sense of emptiness that is very painful and difficult to understand and accept. It seems the more advanced the pregnancy is or the longer you have a child with you, the harder the loss. However, when you personally have to face a loss, comparisons do not matter, it just hurts!