Tuesday, July 25, 2017

With Friends Like These

With Friends Like These…
“After Job had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant will pray for you. And I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken of me which is right as my servant Job has.” Job 42:7-9

After my husband lost his job in Chicago several years ago, we spent months trying to sell our house. The recession has just hit and home buyers were jittery about buying property. After several months went by, I talked to the pastor of congregational care at our church and asked if he could pay a visit to our house to cheer us up.
After a short visit over coffee we shared with him a vision we had and how because of the vision we’d sunk some money into the venture. But far from being enthusiastic, he decided to give us a reality check.

He turned to my husband. “You’ll never get that money back,” he blurted out with amazing confidence. “I’ve seen investments like that and they never work.”

We were sliding our way towards broke and needed prayer. What we got was an uneducated opinion. I kicked myself for ever inviting one of Job’s friends over. Why was I so foolish?
In the above scripture, God reminds us to be very careful with those bearing weighty burdens. Tread lightly with those suffering and be cautious before suggesting that the victim has brought the situation on himself. And even if he has, where does, “I told you so,” help anyone? Yes, Job’s friends sat down with him in the ash heap as they watched him scrape his boils with pieces of broken pottery but their “wisdom” only sunk Job to lower levels of despair.
And as I study Job, I have to ask myself if I’ve ever been one of Job’s friends. I, who can have an overabundance of advice and an active tongue have been known to add my two cents before I know what I’m talking about. It’s a short trip across the line from helpful to an obnoxious know-it-all.

And in case you missed it, Job’s friends were personally chastised by God. Their pride and arrogance led God to tell them they needed offer a sacrifice for how they treated Job. Now that’s a scary thought. It should make us all cautious about giving advice.

We all need encouragement whether we have done some stupid or stupid has been done to us. Life is hard enough without unnecessary guilt.

Prayer: Lord, help us to consider what to say when we counsel those struggling. Keep pride out of our exhortations and let our words never let stumble. Let us not harbor resentments to those who have intentionally or unintentionally hurt us. Amen.

 Carol Grace Stratton has written two books. Her first book, Changing Zip Codes is a devotional to help people move and adjust to a new location. Her second book and debut novel, Lake Surrender tells the story of a single mom who moves from California to Northern Michigan to start her life over as a cook in a Christian camp.
Currently Carol lives in North Carolina with her husband, John She’s working on a sequel to Lake Surrender and blogging at carolgstratton.com. You may contact her at contact@changingzipcodes.com.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Call

"For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and
deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14, NKJV

"God has called you." We hear this statement constantly, don't we? But, if you're anything like me, you wonder what in the world God has called you to do. For Esther, it was to be queen of an entire nation. God called her to save an entire nation of Jewish people. Though the name of God isn't mention in the whole book, we see his fingerprint all throughout. Just as He called Esther, God is calling you for such a time as this. Maybe the call is to be a speaker. Maybe it's to write a book. Let me encourage you ladies, seek the Lord diligently for His instruction.

Father, I pray for each reader. Lord, show her what her call is in
serving You. Make it clear. In Jesus Name, Amen

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Don't Change Your Name

But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine. (Isaiah 43:1, NKJV)

Walking through the bookstore, I spotted a row of cards. On closer inspection, I realized they were "name cards." They were cards with a person's name, a Scripture and what the person's name meant. As I searched through, the Lord began speaking to my heart. Though the card had a meaning written on it, it was what the world thought the name meant. But ladies, there's an even deeper meaning. There's the meaning that the Lord gives us. It's the meaning that's stamped on our heart. He says that we are His. He created us, so therefore we have His name stamped on our heart. No matter how were raised or what we go through, nothing can take that name away or change it. Ladies, your name isn't
defeat. It isn't hopeless. It isn't unworthy. It's beautiful, worthy, joy, and adored. There are so many more. What are you naming yourself today? What name has someone else given you? Whatever that name is, if it's negative, it isn't from God. It isn't from the one that created you. Ladies, let's change our name. Let's change our name back to the
one that the Lord gave us.

Lord, I pray for my sisters. Give her the realization that her name is precious in Your eyes. Let her know that the name You gave her, it's the only one that truly matters. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Rejoice in the Prison

Philippians 4:4 (NKJV)

 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

Rejoicing. What does that word mean? Does it mean that we like our circumstances? Does it mean we understand what we're going through? No. To rejoice means that no matter what, we have joy. We can not like what we're going through, but we can still worship. We can still praise God in the midst of our trial. In this verse, Paul was in a prison. He wrote the entire chapter of Philippians in a prison cell. The words joy or rejoice are found 14 times in the book. I think the Lord is trying to get a message across to His people. Ladies, rejoice. Rejoice through the cancer. Rejoice through the job loss. Rejoice through the unwanted divorce. Will it be easy? Absolutely not. Will it be worth it? Absolutely! 

During the last year, I've had several things happen in my life that could've caused me to go down in defeat. I chose to
rejoice in the midst of my circumstances. In my dear friend Carol McLeod's Defiant Joy Bible study, she has a quote that I absolutely love. "Our inner attitude doesn't have to reflect our outward circumstances." So ladies, let me ask you, what prison do you find yourself in? Is it cancer? Is it marital problems? Is it wayward children? Let me encourage you, look up to the Lord and rejoice.

Father, I pray for each reader today. Lord, may she find comfort in Your truths today. May she rejoice in her trials. Help her see the gold in the midst of the fire. 
In Jesus Name, Amen.