Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Does Your Life Feel Cracked?

 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well. (Psalm 139:14, NKJV)

A few months ago, I leaned down to pick something up in the church parking lot not knowing what it was. On further examination, I realized it was a piece of jewelry. But, there was a problem. The bracelet had a crack directly in the center. I'd never known jewelry to do that before-just crack right down the middle. But there it was. That got me thinking about our lives. We go through things in life that make us fragil-it may make us crack under the weight and pressure. But, my friend Carolyn Knefley said it best. She says: "Teacups are like lives, some are beautiful while others cracked, but they're all worthy just because they were made." Though the bracelet wasn't a teapot, it's the same principle. Do you feel like your life is cracked? Let me encourage you ladies, God made you, so you're worthy. It doesn't matter what you're going through, it doesn't matter how bad the pain. You're worthy just because you were made.

Father, I ask You to give each reader the strength to get through what she's going through. No matter what the pain, no matter the discouragement, calm her heart. Calm her fears. Most of all Lord, remind her just how worthy she is. In Jesus Name, Amen. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

An Identity Crisis

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,

"The royal air is here!" Those were news reports several years as Prince Charles and Kate welcomed their first child into the world. The media-both national and international were on the edge of their seats wondering when the big moment would finally arrive. And when it did, every news network and magazine reporter were there to capture it.

Have you ever felt like you weren't as important as the world's definition of royalty? Let me encourage you with some fantastic news. God says you are more important than anything going on in this world! Ladies, you were so important to the Lord that He sent His son to die
for you! In this verse, we're reminded of a few names that God has for us. He calls us a royal priesthood, a chosen people! Did you get that? He chose you! My sister, what is it you're struggling with today? Your identity is only found in one person, one place. Jesus!

Father, I pray for each reader. Help her realize her identity is only found in You. Show her that as special some people may think worldly royalty is, You see her as so much more. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Shining Light

By Jamie Britt
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Mathew 5:16, NKJV)

"You have stage 4 ovarian cancer."

Those are words no woman ever wants to hear. But, those are the words my dear friend Shirley Lee

heard 5 years ago. She immediately had surgery and began aggressive chemo treatments. Ultimately though, the surgeries and treatments still didn't save her life.

I first met Shirley at a retreat last March. Until I was told by someone else, I never had a clue Shirley had cancer. That's not something she immediately shared. It's not that she was in denial about it, she just didn't want everyone focusing on that one thing. She didn't let the cancer define her, she let Christ define her. Shirley was a perfect example of this verse. She did let her light shine. When you were around Shirley, you knew the presence of God was in the room. She exuded it. What is it you're going through today? Is it cancer? Job loss? Marital problems? Let me encourage you, be like Shirley. Let your light shine. Be like the shirt someone had made in her honor that says "Shirley shines." Today, shine that light and shine it brightly. By the way, Shirley didn't lose her battle to cancer, she won her victory crown!

Father, thank You for Shirley and her life. I ask that You minister to each reader right where they are. Lord if they're facing what Shirley faced, give them the strength to shine Your light to the world. In Jesus name, Amen.

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.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Faithful Is He

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness. (Lamantations 3:22-23, NKJV)

The conference had come to an end. The plans for next year was in the works. I only had one problem. I needed an assistant to attend with me, and so far I had had no success in securing one. I put a call out on social media but I received no response. As one last ditch attempt, I decided to ask a friend I've known for years. With no hesitation whatsoever, she agreed. Once again, God had proven himself faithful. He knew I needed an assistant and after many prayers, He saw fit to send just the right person my way. What have you been waiting on God to do in your life? Maybe it's that right job. Maybe it's having a child. Maybe it's a good medical report. Friend, let me encourage you...don't stop waiting and believing. Just when you think you've ran out of time and options, that's when He comes through and once again proves himself faithful.

Father, thank You for your faithfulness. Thank You that You come through for us-not when we want it, but when you know it's the perfect time. I ask that you give my sweet sisters the desires of their heart. Lord, Let them see your faithfulness in new and fresh ways today. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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)


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

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.