Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Not Afraid to Trust Him

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5, NKJV)

About a month ago, a family member went in to the hospital with breathing complications as well as chest pain. We were told he had pneumonia but the doctors wanted to do a biopsy to be on the safe side. A week later, my phone rings. "It isn't good; he has cancer." My world felt like it had just collapsed. In that moment, I had to make a choice. Was I going to fall apart, or was I going to trust God? I chose to trust God. As the title of this post says, I'm Not Afraid to trust Him. A favorite song of mine says, "this isn't the first storm He's brought me through, and I'll come through this one too." I had to really put my faith in to action. Was I going to believe God is who He says He is, or was I going to let this news destroy my faith? I'm not saying it's been easy to always trust. Since that phone call, we've found that it's spread to his kidney, his liver and his prostate. I've had plenty of days where I've wondered why? I've had those days where I just didn't understand why he has to go through this. But, in all those questions I can also say that I'm not afraid to trust Him. I'm not afraid to trust the one who knows all and who has each of our days numbered. Ladies, are you going through something you feel you just can't put your full trust in Him? Let me encourage you, put your hope and trust in the God of all comfort. Let Him hold and carry you through your storm.

Father, we thank You that we can put our complete trust in You. You won't disappoint and though we may not fully understand it, You know what's best. Give us the strength to keep trusting even when things seem hard and we can't take another step. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Chosen and Loved

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9, NKJV)

Chosen
Royalty

You may hear those words and think of a queen or a president. Because of an election, a president was is cosen. Because of a family history of royalty, a queen was chosen and is therefore part of a royal family. But, I have news that's even greater for you. You were chosen by a God who loves you. In His eyes, you're a royal daughter of the King. No matter what is ever said to you, nothing can take that away from you. It doesn't matter if you grew up always being told you were nothing or would never amount to anything. According to a Father that loves you, you're royalty. You're chosen. And . . . you're worthy of that title. You (or I) didn't deserve it, but through God's redeeming grace and love, we're worthy of it. Ladies, take heart in that fact!

Father, thank You for making us royalty. Thank You for choosing us to be your daughters. Always let us remember our place in You. In Jesus name, Amen. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Surrounded by a Wall of Prayer

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10, NKJV

As the invitation was given, I made my way to the altar. After kneeling down, I realized I was surrounded. I had a friend on my right and left as well as behind me praying with me. In that moment, I was surrounded by a wall. It wasn't a wall in a home. It was a wall of prayer. It was a wall of women saying, "We're here...we're praying you through." Just as I was surrounded by a wall of prayer that day, God surrounds us with His wall as well. It's could be a wall of protection. It could be a wall of strength. It also could be a wall of intercession. Whatever you need, He'll surround you with that wall. Today, what wall do you need to be surrounded by? Ask Him and then let Him come in and completely surround you with His love.

Father, thank you for the many walls you surround us with. Thank you for the wall of prayer, the wall of protection and any walls we need. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Watch What You Say


Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs
16:24

As a writer, I love words. In fiction, I love finding just the right words for my character to use
when they speak to each other.

But one thing I discovered. I wasn't as careful when I chose the words I said to myself. I realized that I said things to myself that I wouldn’t allow even the most evil character use. And that negative self-talk was having a huge negative affect on me. Unfortunately, I was beginning to believe the things I said to myself,and it was pulling me under.

Maybe you do the same thing.

     “I’m so stupid.” 
     “I should just quit, I’ll never amount to anything.”
     “I’m ugly.”
     “I don’t know why anyone would want to hang out with me.”
     “I can’t do anything right.”

Statistics tell us that when we speak negative things to someone close to us, it takes anywhere
from eight to sixteen positive things to outweigh one negative remark. This holds true when we
talk to ourselves.

The truth is, each of us is unique and precious to God.

He paid the ultimate price to bring us back to Him. How can we denigrate what God esteems?
Think about how different your outlook might be if you spoke respectfully to yourself?

Join me today as I make the decision to watch my language.


Edie Melson is a woman with a passion to share what the love of God looks like in practical application. Her books reflect her heart to help others hear from God and find His path for their lives.

She’s penned numerous titles, including While My Soldier Serves, Prayers for Those with Loved Ones in the Military and coming this summer, While My Child is Away, Prayers for
When Were Apart. She’s also the military family blogger at Guideposts.org. Her popular blog or writers, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month. She’s the Director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine. Connect on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Love at The Cross

 Romans 5:8 NKJV But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.                                 

I want you to go back with me two thousand years. You're Mary, Jesus' mother. You're standing there as they nail Him to that cross and you're watching the lashings they're giving Him time and time again. Jesus goes from seeing you as His mother to seeing you as someone needing a Savior. I can't even begin to imagine the grief and pain Mary was experiencing. Seeing her only son being tortured and beaten right in front of her was horrible. But ladies, as horrible as that was, the greatest thing happened three days later. Mary went back to the tomb and found that it was empty! It wasn't the nails that held Him there, it was love. It was His love for us all. With Easter approaching, let us not forget the sacrifice of love He shows.Thank You Lord for your gift of love. Help us to always keep that at the forfront of our minds. 
In Jesus Name, Amen.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Not Guilty

Romans 8:1 NKJV ere is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

The time had come to close out the conference. I had asked La-Tan to repeat the song Not Guiltyfrom a previous time of worship during the weekend. The first time hearing the song, the words
struck a cord with me. As the song was being sung, I stood to my feet and walked to the front of the room. Once there, I knelt down in prayer. The words began to really wash over me. For the
last few years, I've experienced shame in different areas of my life. Most recently, it's been in the area of weight and also the feeling of never doing something good enough. All that shame and guilt, I was carrying on my shoulders and it was choking the life out of me. As the words sank into my Spirit, the Lord began to speak to my heart. "I love you. I gave my life so you wouldn't have to carry all the guilt and shame. Give it to me." As I began to let the Lord heal as only He can, the strangle it had on me began to lift. I realized that in the Lord's eyes-the only one that
matters-I don't have to carry that shame. I can be free. There are still day when I have feelings try to creep in, but I release them to the Lord. Ladies, today you too can also release all the guilt and shame you feel. You wern't meant to carry it.

Father, thank You for taking all of our shame and guilt upon Yourself. Thank You for releasing
us for that bondage. I pray for my sister. Help her release those feelings over to You. In Jesus
Name, Amen

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

My Hand In His

Isaiah 40:28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.

While attending a writers conference, God gave me a special picture. As the worship leader began to sing, God's presence took over the room. Sitting in the middle of the front row, La-Tan
Murphy took my hand and pulled me to my feet. As I stood, a picture began to take shape. I sawJesus take my hand and start to lead me through Heaven for the first time. As I turned to hug
La-Tan, I could picture the Lord hugging me and saying, "child, welcome home." Ladies, whether you're at a writers conference, in a church service or in your home, God has you in the palm of His hand and He's saying to you, "welcome home, my child."
Father, thank You for always welcoming us home. Thank You for the mental pictures you bring to our mind. Let us never lose the feeling of being welcomed by You. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Pain


Pain

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. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Pain is a relative term. As an RN on a busy orthopaedic unit, I learned that the slightest twinge can make a grown man cry. But I live with more than twinges, my nursing career sidelined by a pain that gnaws at me day and night. My pain begins with a capital “P”.

I walk a hard road. Not one system in my body is untouched, and no one knows why, but God meets me in my pain. Jesus understands because He suffered too. In the midst of my pain, God gives me Himself. When I can’t take another step, He carries me. In the middle of the night God speaks to me. When I feel like giving up, God reminds me that He has a purpose for me.

Maybe you suffer too. I can’t tell you how to do it. We each have our own path to trod. God’s purpose for me is not His purpose for you, but I know He has one. I know because He enables me every day. I can speak love to a hurting soul. I can write a poem that touches a wounded spirit. I can understand when someone loses heart and offer a listening ear. If my aching body can minister to someone’s hurting spirit, I am blessed.

Father, speak to those who hurt today. The source of their pain doesn’t matter. Your comfort is for everyone. Thank you that for caring enough to teach me to trust You every day. My pain shows that You’re not finished with me yet. Help me honor You by facing this trial in Your strength. Enable me to finish well because Your grace is sufficient for my every need.

© Copyright Norma Gail Thurston Holtman, February 16, 2016





Norma Gail is the author of the Christy Award nominated contemporary Christian romance, Land of My Dreams. A women’s Bible study leader for over 21 years, her devotionals and poetry have appeared at ChristianDevotions.us, the Stitches Thru Time blog, and in “The Secret Place.” She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, and the New Mexico Christian Novelists. Norma is a former RN who lives in the mountains of New Mexico with her husband of 40 years. They have two adult children.

Connect with Norma:





Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Comparisonitis


1 Peter 5:8 NKJV
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

I want to take you back to the very last facebook post or text message you received. What was it? Was it a friend telling you about how good her outing was that YOU didn't get invited to? Was it a picture where you believe she looks better than you? This past weekend, I got an official name for this deadly disease for most women. My dear friend, Brenda Blankenship refers to it as
"comparisonitis". If you're anything like me, you suffer with this every day. For me, it doesn't have to be a facebook post or text message. It can be a lady in the choir who is a better first soprano. 
It can be a friend who I think is a much better writer than me. It's a friend who has a book (or several books out long before I ever have my first one written. Ladies, God doesn't want us comparing ourselves to others. He made us each individually. He made us with our own talents and abilities. Today, let us take God at His Word that we're all unique in His sight.
Father, I pray for the sisters reading this post. Let each one of us know how special we are to You. Remind each of us that we're created with a very unique purpose and only You can fulfill it in
our lives.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

No Place Like Home

 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (John 14:2, NKJV)

Go back with me to a scene in a well-known movie, The Wizard of Oz. In this movie, Dorothy is looking for that sacred place, home. She tries to take the shortcut to get there but quickly realizes it's a bad idea. She finally understands that if she stays the course, she'll eventually make it home. That's how it is in life. We try to take the shortcuts, but each time we come running back to God wondering why we're in such a mess. This verse lets us know that He has a place prepared for us...if we'll only follow Him and stop trying to take the shortcuts. I know the shortcut may seem easier because we seem to be living on easy street, but I guarantee, it will catch up with us. Stay in His will and you'll make it home. As a dear friend of mine, Brenda Blankenship reminded me, "when you're in God's will, you're going to be in Satan's way."

Father, I lift up my readers. Give us all the strength to stay the course-the course you have planned for us. It's so much better than anything we could ever plan or any shortcuts we could take. In Jesus Name, amen.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

BELIEVE

La-Tan and I met last year at the 2015 Writers Advance Bootcamp and have loved one another ever since.  La-Tan and I pray that you will be encouraged in this new year to just believe! Welcome
La-Tan.



BELIEVE 

by

La-Tan Roland Murphy




 My dear friend, Paula, gave me a tiny charm years ago. One powerful word is etched on its silver facing:  BELIEVE.


 So simple.


 So powerful.


 But, let's get real:  Believing is painfully difficult at times.


 I thought maybe some of you might need to be reminded today of this one simple, powerful word:  BELIEVE.


 I do!

Perhaps, some of you are struggling to believe that your life counts. Matters. Makes any kind of difference - to anyone on the planet.


 Friend, I've "been there, done that, and bought the T-Shirt" - a few times. I'm pretty sure we all have.


 "I don't know what you are holding onto today that's hindering your ability to believe with abandon. I'm guessing life has beaten you up pretty hard. Maybe the one person you put your hope and trust in failed you, betrayed you. You're left questioning:  "How could God allow such pain?"


Most of us struggle to believe God has a good plan for our lives, especially when our way is rocky. Struggle to believe we are enough. God is enough. For all of our days - enough.


 Each night, we lay our weary heads on our pillows, drifting off to sleep, believing in something. Mostly the wrong things:  Our coworkers will be on time. Our boss will pay us what we deserve, and on-time. Our car will start when the key is placed in the ignition. The the sun will rise again tomorrow, without question.


 The crazy thing is, the largest portion of our pint-sized faith is invested in something, or someone, without the least bit of hesitation:  We choose to BELIEVE:  The airline pilot (we know nothing about) is fully capable. With seat-belts firmly clamped, we snuggle-in for travel comfort with magazines in hand, tiny packages of peanuts, and juice to wash them down. BELIEVING in the capabilities of perfect stranger - the pilot - as he maneuvers the aircraft some 30-40,000 feet above the ocean, through bitter storms.


 Let's be honest:  Sometimes it's difficult to snuggle into BELIEVING in a loving, powerful, omnipotent God. But, I choose to believe. I BELIEVE he is truly enough. I choose to confess with my mouth and BELIEVE in  my heart that Jesus Christ is Lord and he will see me through every storm of life.


 I know... I'm standing on invisible tip-toes on my hand-made little "soap-box." But with good reason. You see, my heart is weary of watching the amazing people I love - living in despair and hopelessness. Because the truth is:  As we refuse to BELIEVE in the power of God's word and his sovereignty, our once confident heart breaks leaving us wide-open and vulnerable. Our belief system is gradually reshaped by opinions of others and worldly points of view. Suddenly:  Wrong seems right and right seems wrong as our belief system is broken.


 At my house, when something breaks (my computer for example), I google-search seeking answers written by the original creator.  Who better to know exactly how to mend the inner workings of my broken computer than the one who actually created it?


 When your life breaks, when my life breaks, instead of searching for answers to temporarily soothe our emptiness, let's agree to:  Simply choose to BELIEVE in the One who created us. The One who knows the number of the hairs on our heads. What if we sought for HIS original, sovereign truth - running to him for all of life's unanswerable questions?


 More than anything, this is what I want you to do today.  It's what I'm choosing to do:  Simply BELIEVE in the One who created you. Choose to believe His Holy Word holds all the answers, and all the mending-power needed for every broken experience life offers.  Choose to believe God has a marvelous plan mapped-out for a very special life - YOURS!


 My friend Paula BELIEVED these things and fought the good fight of faith while cancer ravaged her physical body. Now, she is experiencing the beauty of heaven healthy, strong, and free!


 CHOOSING to BELIEVE - regardless of our present pain, fixes our eyes on future joys.  Paula knew without a shadow of doubt her best days were ahead of her.


 No matter what you are going through, keep the faith. Greater things are yet to come. 


 Be:


 _Fierce.


 _Relentless.

and...


La-Tan Roland Murphy is a speaker, vocalist, and freelance writer with a passion for encouraging people to live life to the fullest.  As an established teacher of the word, La-Tan finds great joy in helping others discover their God given purpose.

She brings a unique style of humor to the platform, making her listeners feel as though they have known her for years.  With humility and vulnerability, La-Tan often shares her most embarrassing moments of life as a way of freeing others to be real.

 You can learn more about La-Tan by visiting : http://latanmurphy.com/


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Being Dedicated

Ruth 1:16 NKJV

But Ruth said: "Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.

Imagine with me for a moment. Your husband has died. You're left with no way to support yourself. What do you do? Well, Ruth goes with her mother-in-law and sister-in-law. Once in the city, from Naomi's urging, one woman returns home. The other refuses to leave her mother-in-law's side. Ruth tells Naomi that wherever she lives, she will live also. Her people will be Ruth's and her God will be Ruth's God. What dedication Ruth showed to Naomi.

When it comes to God, are will as dedicated to Him? Do we dedicate ourselves to God as Ruth did to a human being? Ladies, if she could dedicate herself to another person in that way, why can't we do the same with the Lord? In this new year, let's strive to be more dedicated to God.

Father, help each of us be fully dedicated and sold out to You in this new year. As Ruth dedicated herself to Naomi, help us to sell ourselves out for You this year. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Lord, I Need Your Hope


Lamentations 3:24
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,“Therefore I hope in Him!”

"You will need an assistant at Bootcamp next year." My dear friend reminded me of this fact after I had asked for her to step in and help get me to where I needed to be at this upcoming conference.  She explained that the people helping me would be missing out on valuable class time they'd spent a great deal of money to attend.  While my head knew she was right, my heart said otherwise.  I was comfortable with the ones I knew best assisting me.  As my emotions and depression began taking a firm grip, those feeling were running away from me faster than I could catch up.  Finally in absolute despair, I cried out to God.  "Lord, I need your hope and strength.  I can't make it through this alone." As I continued to call out the name of Jesus begging for a life preserver, once again my emotions settled back to bearable heights. My situation didn't change.  My need for an assistant was still there.  What changed was that I was finally letting God step in and take control of the situation.  I was finally realizing that no matter how much the depression and despair had me in its grip, God was still greater. His peace was greater.   

In your life, what has had you off balance emotionally? What has had you crying out to God for a life preserver? Let me encourage you, don't do it alone.  You'll wear yourself out.  Let Him take you by the hand and lead you through the troubled waters.


Father, thank You for providing a lifeline when we can't go on anymore.  I pray for each reader as she navigates the troubled waters of life.  Show her that she doesn't have to do it alone and

that You're there just waiting for her to cry out to You. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Walking Through The Valley

Psalm 23:4 NKJV 
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.


"I'm sorry to tell you this, but Miss Thelma has just passed away." This was the news we received during our Judgement House a few months ago. To say we were in shock was an understatement. Miss Thelma was the type of lady who was a prayer warrior. She would pray over every pew and the choir loft each Sunday morning. With this news, our church began walking through a valley. As we walked through, we couldn't stay there. We had to keep going with what God was having us do. We couldn't stay in that place of sadness and grief; we had to move beyond it because God wouldn't want us to stay in a place of grief. Just as we couldn't stay in the valley from Miss Thelma's death, God doesn't want us to stay in the valley of financial despair, job loss or sickness. What valley are you facing today? Let me encourage you, ask the Lord to help you move forward in what He has for you.


Father, thank You for the valleys of life. But God, help each us to move past the valleys of our life. Give us the strength we need to move forward in what You have for us. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Process of Forgiveness

Ephesians 4:31-32 (NKJV)

 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.


"My husband has had an affair and we've separated." These were the words I read in an email last year from a dear friend. What do you do? My reaction was to defend her and put the people involved in their place and let them know exactly what I thought of them. After awhile though, I had to put the situation in God's hands. You see, even though it wasn't my marriage, for my friend's sake, I wanted to step in and fix it. I had to come to the realization that no matter how much I wanted to, I couldn't. I had to go through the process of forgiveness. I had to forgive her husband and also forgive the lady he had the affair with. I still have days where I want to ring their necks and tell them what I think, but I'm much closer to the forgiveness and grace point that I was before. What or who in your life do you still need to forgive. Though it won't happen overnight, if you let God take over and have complete control, you'll get there.


Father, help us each to forgive. We know it's a process Lord. In your time, show us the grace to release the people and the pain into Your hands. In Jesus Name, Amen.