For the Love of a Dog, A Life Lesson

by Morgan Ramsey

Snoring is now my new favorite sound in the whole world. I’m being completely serious. I used to hate it with a passion, especially before my dad got his C-PAP. I’m almost 103% sure that his snoring would shake the house. I would hear it in my dreams sometimes. Like I’m not meaning to go on and on, but seriously I would wake up occasionally from hearing it. Meanwhile, my brother across the hall could sleep through a F-5 tornado along with a hailstorm in the middle of a hurricane, and be sound asleep. For real. But anyways I used to hate that sound, until very recently. But let me explain.

wood-animal-dog-petSo do we have any passionate dog lovers out there? Same. We’ve had our dog, Buddy, for almost 10 years now and every day is an absolute gift. And when I say he is the best dog, I mean it’s no comparison. What other dog can successfully play hide-and-go-seek with you and pull off the couch cushions just to aggravate mom? Obviously, he reigns supreme over all dogs.

A few months ago we found a cancerous spot and some fatty tumors on Buddy and our veterinarian decided that he needed to operate. Buddy came through the surgery just fine and was enjoying life just as any other Labrador does. Then a couple of weeks ago my mom and I found another suspicious spot on the back of his left leg. So a couple of days later we took him to the vet and the doctor again decided to operate. We picked him up a couple of days ago, and we thought everything was fine. He acted tired, but normal. Before we went to bed Buddy seemed a little bit anxious so my parents decided to give him his prescribed sedatives. I didn’t think anything more to it, and went to bed.

Around midnight, my mom woke me up and I knew something was wrong just by the way she said my name. “Morgan, something is wrong with Buddy.” So I went into my parents’ room and found Buddy on the floor with my dad lying down beside him. Buddy was lying there and it was all he could do to wag his tail to greet me. Apparently the anesthesia was still in his system and had mixed with his sedative to produce a negative effect on him. He had zero strength and the way he was looking at me made my heart sink. He couldn’t walk and it was all he could do just to breathe. My mom was on the iPad trying to research and see if there was anything we could do. We called the emergency pet hotline number to see if we should bring him into the nearest emergency pet hospital, and they told us that there wasn’t a lot for us to do except give him water, watch him, and pray.

pexels-photo-128817So we prayed. And prayed some more. Dad slept on the floor with Buddy, and I crawled into my parent’s bed so I could watch over Buddy. I would check every so often to see if his chest was moving up and down. About 20 minutes after we settled down to go to sleep, I heard something that in that moment was the most beautiful sound: I heard Buddy start snoring. In that moment complete peace washed over me, because I knew that everything was going to be okay.

Has anyone out there ever been there? So completely panicked that you don’t know what in the world to do? Same. In more situations than this one, I can assure you. Trials are scary. Trials are unexpected. Trials are hard. And the thing about them is that they can make you very, very afraid if you’re not careful. But that night as I was going to sleep I realized something. I’ve been sleeping on the same pillowcase for probably the last five years. And it was just then the verse printed on the pillowcase became alive. My mom bought them for me when I started college, and she probably knew in advance that I needed a verse to actually sleep on to help me fight my anxiety. Thanks Mom.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus”- Philippians 4:6-7.

Ladies, whether it’s your dog, your grandmother, your spouse, your children, your future, your test results, your ACT score, or your siblings, the Lord tells us in His word that worrying won’t add an hour to our life. So why worry? My prayer for you as you are reading this, is that you completely surrender every worry to Him. Every thought, every word, and every action to Him. The God who made the universe and intimately made you cares so much about you. And he promises that everything that was intended to harm us will be used for His good. He’s got you exactly where He wants you in this season! And this trial that you are going through is going to be used for His good! So drop the worry and pick up the cross.

I believe that the biggest way to fight worry is to be thankful in our prayer life, just like it says in His word. So that night as we prayed together, I started thanking Jesus for Buddy’s life, the way he has brought inexplicable joy into our lives, the way that he has been through the good and the bad times, for all of the times that he’s greeted me at the stairs wagging his tail, acting like he hadn’t seen me in years, for the many times he has made me laugh, for all of the snuggles, and even for all of the aggravating times like when he used to pee on the floor when he got too excited or when he pulled all of the cushions out of the couch. Thankfulness trumps worry. It’s true. And as I was pouring out my heart to Jesus asking him to heal my dog, I realized that every time I asked God to heal buddy, he kept giving me even more reasons to be thankful.

Thankfulness Trumps worry

After I told the Lord what I needed, and thanked him for all that he has done, I felt the Holy Spirit’s peace wash over me. And after I surrendered it to Him, I noticed myself at peace and attentive to the details. I was grateful for snoring. I was grateful for a pillowcase that I had used for five years. I was grateful for the blessing of having a dog.

So ladies, what in your life needs to be surrendered? It’s usually the things that scare us to the core. What in your life do you need to truly be thankful for? It’s usually the things that we take for granted every day. But you know what? Once you surrender and say “thank you Jesus”, something incredible happens. You experience the peace of God, which vanquishes every fear, every doubt.

So I ask again ladies. Why worry?

 

God, Where Are You?!

by Guest writer Beth Rogers

An amazing Christian family is under attack and loses custody of their child, a 19-year-old with her whole life ahead of her is killed in a car crash, a young teacher with 2 young children loses her life, your teenage girl is unwed and pregnant, another woman struggles with infertility and miscarriages, your child leaves home and doesn’t have any contact with you. Our world seems to be crumbling. In these times, it is so easy for Satan to deceive us and make us think God has left us. The enemy twists things around in our head and makes us think that God has just forgotten us, and that something we did caused all of this to happen. He must be mad at us. He must think we are not worthy of good things. He’s given up on us. There are times when we shake our fists and ask God why He let this happen or we scream and ask, “God, where are you?” The enemy would also have us to believe that we are the only ones this has ever happened to and that somehow, we are failures.

The enemy would also have us to believe that we are the only ones this has ever happened to and that somehow, we are failures.

I want you to remember what scripture says about our enemy. John 10:10 says, “The Thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy.” First Peter 5:8 says, “Your enemy prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” John 8:44 says, “He [Satan] is a liar and the father of lies.”

Go back with me to a time when there was this couple who had it all. Life was perfect and glorious. Adam and Eve only had one rule to obey. God told them not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They had everything else at their disposal. Everything. Satan came along and twisted things around and asked, “Did God really say?” How many times has that crazy enemy whispered that same thing in your head? “Did God really say he loves you?” “Who do you think you are? Do you really think God would do that for you?” Adam and Eve allowed Satan to twist their thoughts and they were lured to sin. They felt ashamed and tried to hide from God, BUT GOD went searching for them.

Go with me to a time when God gave the enemy permission to oppress his faithful servant Job. He was stricken with the devastating loss of his family, his wealth, his livelihood and his health. His wife asked him to curse God and die, yet Job remained faithful to God.

monks-path-sunset-landscapeGo with me to a time when a father’s son asked for his inheritance and left home. He wasted everything he had. He ate with pigs. His father never heard from him. One day the son went back home. The father had every right to turn this child away but instead, he ran to his child and threw a welcome home party!

My dear friends, God is not going to leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5) He says to us to count it all joy when we encounter trials and tribulations (James 1:2) for when our faith is tested, we will come forth shining as gold.

Satan would have you give up, throw your hands up and surrender. God wants you to surrender everything you have to Him, to trust Him with the tiniest of details, to say, “no matter what, even if He slay me, yet will I serve him.” (Job 13:15)

Where is God you ask? He’s as close as the mention of His name, my friend. Say the name of Jesus today and allow him to calm your fears and dry your tears and wipe away your pain.

jesus

A Weary Mom’s Secret to Finding Rest

by Michele Mann

“Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29

beach-sand-girl-shore-53120Okay, my precious momma friend, I’m going to ask you an honest question. How are you? I don’t want the usual pat answer. I want an honest answer. How are you? If you’re anything like me, the answer (with a heavy sigh) is WEARY. As a wife and mom, we’re in demand. All. The. Time. Mommas wear so many hats it’s hard to remember exactly which hat we’re wearing at any given moment. During the course of one day, mommas find themselves serving as a Chef, Teacher, Nurse, Counselor, Event Planner, Peacemaker, Policewoman, Folder of laundry, Finder of lost things, Chauffeur, Encourager, Prayer Warrior, Crisis manager–the list could go on and on. In a word, it can be EXHAUSTING. No wonder so many mommas dream of being whisked away to a tropical island where no one will ask “What’s for lunch?” or “Have you seen my baseball cleats?” I’ve talked to so many women who are burned out, worn out, overwhelmed, and just plain tired. They are teetering on the ragged edge, and feel stretched so thin they’re at risk for ripping if any pressure is added. I know that feeling. I’ve been there.

 

Last Spring, as I was in the midst of ending a busy school year, and preparing for a busy summer ahead, I kept pondering and praying through my own demanding life, and I kept thinking about all those mommas I’d listened to and prayed with about their busy lives. I started feeling a heavy weight, and a stinging contradiction. Jesus said if I come to Him I can find rest. So, as a follower of Jesus, instead of haggard and harried, my countenance, my life, should reflect a deep rest of the soul. But too often my life reflected chaos and calamity, not peace and joy. I was stressed and spent and frustrated and angry. I felt like I was missing a perpetual deadline and I was never, ever going to get caught up. I began pleading with my Abba about my calling to serve my husband and children, and my community. I told Him I was willing to surrender whatever I needed to find the rest He promised. What surprised me as I journeyed with Jesus was He didn’t ask me to give up anything. But He did teach me the secret to finding rest. As He often does, God’s answer to my plea was unexpected and much needed. As I searched His heart, these were His instructions:

Press in to Jesus. In my search for rest, my Abba gently took me back to John 15. He reminded me, “Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” NOTHING. Those words resonated in my mind. Apart from the work of Christ, I can do nothing of eternal value; nothing that really matters. But in Him, my work will be fulfilling and fruitful. He gently whispered to me, “Press in, Michele. Press in to me.” Abiding in Christ is the only way to produce viable fruit and the only place I will find real rest. When I press in to Jesus, He becomes greater and I become less. When I press in to Jesus, my striving ends and my faith begins.

trees-countryside-green-chillRemember rest is not always external. Then He took me further in to Matthew 11: 28-29. Each word a balm for my soul. COME. WEARY. BURDENDED. I WILL. GIVE. REST. As I worked my way through the verse, the last phrase captured my attention, “You will find rest FOR YOUR SOULS.” The Lord gently whispered again, “You are called to serve. But you must quit serving in your own strength. Taking my yoke upon you means surrendering completely to my guidance. You must trust me to follow me. In trusting me, your SOUL will find rest.” God did not ask me to give up a commitment or activity. He did ask me to trust Him in the midst of busy days. Trusting Him even as I serve Him physically gives me soul rest. So even when the day is full, my heart is equally full of His truth and His love. That can only happen if I follow step one and ABIDE in Christ daily.

Be grateful. Paul exhorts the believers in Philippi to be anxious about nothing, but to bring all requests to God with thanksgiving. After bringing requests with a grateful heart, then we will find peace that surpasses understanding. If every day I lift up my concerns with an attitude of thanksgiving, then all I HAVE to do becomes all I GET to do. Paul says in Ephesians followers of Christ are created to do good works. As I walk in obedience to my calling, I am walking purposefully and intentionally in step with my King. Being thankful for each assignment, even in the hard places, even when I am stretched, refocuses my attention on the Giver of all good gifts (James 1:17). That, in turn, reminds me to abide in Jesus, which causes my soul to find rest.

So, the secret of finding complete rest is Jesus. Abide in Him. Take His yoke upon you. And be thankful. And there, my precious momma friend, you will indeed find rest for your soul.

Changed for the Better

by Tracy Hacker

“Of one thing I am perfectly certain, God’s story never ends in ashes.”

I read this quote by Elizabeth Elliott years ago and it has been forever etched into my mind and heart. Over the past 9 years I have witnessed God breathe life into an empty soul and redeem lives from the pit of despair. I have seen the God of this universe do exactly what HIS word proclaims and have been in absolute awe at the wonder of it. My story is one of change, hope, restoration and redemption and watching God change a heart… MINE!

pexels-photo-60252We became a foster family a little over nine years ago with the thought and hope that we might be a blessing to a child in need. God used a verse in Matthew “Keep open house, be generous with your lives” (The Message) to confirm that this was indeed the path He had chosen for our family, and so we followed. We learned very quickly that “we” were the recipients of the blessings when we met our first placement. And not much has changed in nine years. God called us out of our comfort zone, our security, into a world of much brokenness and sadness. He called us into work in a system that, on it’s best day, is very broken. This system is full of social workers, judges and team members who work countless hours to search for the best solutions for the child’s  benefit. We have learned firsthand that this is an incredible mission field. We have been given opportunities to speak life and encouragement into the days of workers who visit the kids in our home.

Now, here’s where the title comes from, “Changed for the Better.” I had a much different plan in mind as we started this journey! I envisioned helping a child and then possibly adopting and then we would be finished, but God had other plans! I did not factor in the birth moms and the family members that we meet and the needs they would have as a result of their little one being removed from his or her home. I did not factor in the stories of the moms and the dads and the heart ache that they had felt and were feeling as a result of the circumstances. I did not have a grasp of the pain nor the depth of the despair that the consequences of choices made would have on these people I would meet, but God did. I thought we would love a little one, adopt them and then we would move on to our next adventure, not so!!

The kids that have come through our home have been the easy part! The laughter and the giggles have made the hard times seem not quite so hard and the sad times not quite so sad. I have discovered how to love God’s way through this journey and that despite differences in lifestyles and choices, He loves us all and the cross declares that every life matters. God has impressed on my heart an urgency to love people and love them well and to move when He says move. I have been challenged to “love the sinner and hate the sin” and have come face to face with “the least of these” and have learned that love is deeper than skin color. My house stays a wreck most of the time, but happy healthy little people live here! My family has grown physically by three precious additions through adoption and it takes my breath away that He chose me to be their mom. Life around here is loud and chaotic, but oh how He has blessed us! Life changed… for the BETTER!!!

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God’s story never ends in ashes. ~ Elizabeth Elliott

 

What Are You Planting?

by Debbie Stovall

Don’t you just love the juicy, buttery, salty, sweetness of biting in to a fresh ear of roasted corn? Me too! The crunchy freshness of corn from my garden or the farmer’s market just seems to proclaim “Summer is here.” As summer winds down and with Labor Day just past, here are some deep observations about corn plants:

  1. Corn stalks always bear corn and not cucumbers or beans or watermelons!
  2. One little kernel of corn stuck in the dirt doesn’t just give me one kernal back, or even just one ear of corn. It gives not only multiple kernals but multiple ears! Enough to eat some this year and save some to plant next year.
  3. Planting a corn kernal is an investment that pays off over time.

Isn’t that amazing?! I know you think I’m an agricultural expert. (Not!) But what implications do these observations have for us non-farmers? For Christian women facing daily life struggles?

The Bible tells us in Galatians 6:7 that “a man [or woman] reaps what he sows.” These are Biblical principles referred to as “The Laws of the Harvest.” These principles are irrevocable and apply to everyone. No exceptions.

1. You reap what you sow.  In life, we will harvest the same kind of thing we plant. If you plant deception, lies, cheating, or trickery, you yourself will harvest the same thing. Conversely, if you sow the fruits of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control you will be able to gather in a harvest of the same good things.

2. You reap more than you sow and you reap in proportion to what you sow – multiples of what you sew. Just as one littte kernal gives you several ears of rows and rows of more kernals, so it is with what we sow in life. Young moms know this by experience. If they speak sweetly and kindly the kids follow suit to some extent. But heaven forbid the Mom of 4 wakes up grouchy! One harsh word in the morning can reap a day full of harshness. Within 30 minutes her seeds of grouchy attitude and speech will have been caught by the whole household and the whole family reaps the nasty harvest. Worse than any viral contagion known to man are the negative character issues within a family.

3. You reap in a different season from when you sow. This is the one I wish I could convince high schoolers of. If I go out on Good Friday and plant my kernal of corn, it will take 60-100 days before it is ready to harvest. In 2017 Good Friday will be on April 14th. It will then be mid-June to the end of July before I get to munch on any of that yummy corn. Nine to fifteen weeks before Farmer Brown gets any return on his investment. As a high school teacher, how many students did I encounter that thought they had gotten away with something becasue they didn’t get caught or punished that day or that week. What they did not take into account was that the heavenly Father has laws of sowing and reaping that cannot be avoided. Months or even years later I have seen the harvest of something a person thought they got away with.

We would do well to keep these spiritual principles in mind. We can’t change them just because we don’t like them. They fall under the “it is what it is” category just like the laws of an agricultural harvest do. So let’s dwell on these words from scripture as we consider what investments we are currently making in life:

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Galatians 6:7-10.

Taste and See…

by Dena Green

Free stock photo of spoon, glass, honey, jar

God’s Word  is “…sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.” Psalm 19:10

My husband and I became beekeepers a few years ago.  It sounded like a fun hobby with the great benefit of having the delicious honey to eat and share with family and friends.

We quickly found out that there was much work involved in getting the honey from the hive to the jar.  The honey does not just flow from the hive straight into the jar. We have to open the hives on a regular basis to check for anything that might harm the bees and to make sure they are healthy and producing honey. After removing the honey from the hives to extract it from the frames, we have to uncap, or remove the wax that holds the honey in the frames.  That’s when you see the beautiful, golden honey. The frames are then put into the the extractor or centrifuge and spun so that all of the honey is removed.  After that, we can open the spout on the holding tank and the pure, sweet honey can flow into the jars.

The Bible says that God’s word is sweeter than honey and the drippings from the honey comb! If you have ever “tasted” God’s word for yourself, you know this is true.

To taste the sweetness of His word, we must take the time to “uncap” the word and hear what the Lord is saying. Be patient.  Pray, read, study, be still, listen.  Partaking of the Word takes time and some preparation on our part.  What joy we can experience when the Lord reveals Himself to us in a new way, or answers a question that we have wrestled with. He may speak peace to your heart over a situation in your life or give you a word to share with someone else. There may be a revelation of unconfessed sin in our life that we need to address. Whatever our need or desire, God’s “holding tank,” His word, is full and just waiting for us to come and get some of the sweetness.

Psalm 34:8- “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good.”

bees-beehive-beekeeping-honey-48022

Super Saturday Survey #1 – Believing God

To create more of a dialog, Priceless blog is introducing Super Saturday Surveys! The surveys will consist of 1-3 numbered questions. Hit reply and answer as many as you wish!

As you hear from other women online, be encouraged that you are not alone in your struggles to walk faithfully. We have high hopes of hearing from You!

So here is our first survey:

Believing God

  1. Of these foundational truths about believing God (from Beth Moore’s Believing God study), which one is the most challenging for you to accept and live your life based on it?
    1. God is who He says He is.
    2. God can do what He says He will do.
    3. I am who God says I am.
    4. I can do all things Through Christ.
  2. What are you struggling to believe God for?
  3. Share an event from your life that helped strengthen your faith in God.

Just hit reply, type a number and write your answer. Ready, set, go!

Sparkly Things or God Things?

by April Kyle

Recently, I’ve had to come to grips with my constant impulse and obsession to be a part of –and to purchase– the latest and greatest “thing” — journal, online study, blog, video/DVD, new study Bible….etc. etc. etc — in order to “be more sincerely spiritual, and stay hip and cool” all the while growing in my relationship with God through personal study of the Holy Scripture.

I also battle a constant panicky feeling that I’m behind, that I’ve not studied enough, and I’m not up on the knowledge scale of where I should be. As a ministry leader and teacher, and as a homeschool mom, this has been a serious point of contention — insecurity — for me in regards to the calling I’ve been given by my Creator.

pexels-photoI battled this intense anxiety once again at the close of a Bible study/teaching training I recently attended in Mississippi…my mind began to race as I put myself into “game on” mode, deciding to be sure to read the whole Bible through by the end of the following week, alongside any suggested study helps, not to mention Grudem’s Systematic Theology would need to accompany my personal quiet time…along with, of course, my “other version” study Bible, my Jewish study Bible, my two Old Testament commentaries…and on and on and on… all the while coloring/drawing/stamping in the wide margins of my journaling Bible, AND remembering to post to social media so everyone would know that I had my quiet time…which by this point would’ve lasted 4-5 hours…and trying to compensate for never taking a Hebrew or Greek class….WHA?????

Even in moments like these when I’m looking for a paper bag to breath into or to hide in, I find myself returning to the one thing I cannot do without. That one method that brings me back to center. The one correct answer to almost every Sunday school question. Read the Bible and pray, then pray and read the Bible.

Read the Bible and pray, then pray and read the Bible!

Several years ago, God brought Chronological Bible Storying into my life. It was perfect timing. My Loving Abba knew I was frustrated in my walk with Him, and struggling with where to go next in my quiet time with Him once the DVD driven Bible study and workbook homework were done… What do I read? What does it mean? Reading the Bible chronologically has literally changed my life.

I used to sit under my favorite Bible teachers and preachers wondering how to get “that kind of connection” with God and His Word. Nobody would’ve guessed I was floundering. Christian home, christian school, Bible institute student, christian college grad, small group leader… All this, yet my quiet time with the Creator of the Universe was dull and minimal. I was a child of God and I knew I had the Holy Spirit…AND I knew I had the right Bible because I would make sure I was using the same ones those expert teachers were using!!! Studying God’s Story chronologically, recognizing that it is indeed one story — not many isolated tales of interesting people — changed my perception and really empowered me to dig in deep and grow in my walk with God.

On a very practical note, I began using certain questions to guide my thinking. When I sit down to read God’s Word, I ask:
  • What does this passage teach me about God? About man? About sin? About grace?
  • What is happening just before this passage? Just after?
  • Who is talking in the passage? Who is the human author of this passage?
  • What does this mean for me right now? Does this apply to me today? Because, “If this Book is true, then what?”

Sometimes not all the questions work or apply, but my guided thinking helps me grasp more of God’s Word than I would without them.

I typically use a journal or I just write notes in my Bible, sometimes I simply say the answers aloud. I’ll confess, not every day do I get to relish in God’s Word this methodically. However, I’ve been given the Ultimate Teacher to guide me so I can receive spiritual nourishment from His Word-Feast in the Scripture…

hands-hand-white-weddingI believe as American Christians, we can get pulled away from God by the sparkly things that say “God-things.” We seek stuff about God rather than actually seeking His Face. God speaks through His Word…yes He speaks into our different personalities and through our different circumstances, but His Word is His Very Words To Us. If we miss it, we’ll miss Him.

I’ll never forget sitting in a proctor meeting as a college student when our Dean of Men was asked to address this small group of student leaders. I remember anticipating what he would say, shifting my weight to lean in… He stood quietly and began to talk about his best friend. Love and memories. Good times and hard times. Tears brimmed in the eyes of this God-fearing man as we all began to realize that he was talking about his Bible. I couldn’t tell you one other thing that was said in that meeting. I only remember asking God to put that kind of passion into my heart for His Word.

Open Book Bible on Brown Wooden Table

Read the Bible and pray, then pray and read the Bible!

Believe

by Tammy Erbrick

IMG_4215.JPGWhat does ‘believe’ mean to you? Is it a word you use in passing or is it a word that truly captures your heart? I once read this phrase:

Only if one believes in something can one act purposefully!

Our pastor encourages us every year to get a “word” from the Lord that we can cling to throughout the year. As I sought after mine, I heard the Spirit say – Believe. My initial reaction was believe-Lord?? Why of course I believe! I have always believed in you!  Yet, I felt him quicken my Spirit as to say – Yes I know you believe in your head-but do you believe with your whole heart??

You see when you believe something – You are sure of it – Completely Convinced!

Isaiah 43:10 says, “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he.” I can only be ‘chosen’ if I choose him. Well ladies, after choosing – You have to believe! Sometimes being raised in the Bible Belt, better yet church, this word can get thrown around a lot, but when you take time to understand “I am he” and then you believe – that’s when purpose begins to take action! A declaration that “I am” is your peace, your comfort, your acquitter, your strong tower, your joy, your redeemer, your answer, your savior, your hope, your mercy, your provider, your protector, your everlasting father. Whatever it is that you need – you can believe that He is just that! For a moment. For a season. For a lifetime. He is all that you need!

A wonderful name He has already been to me and family this year is Provider! Due to many mistakes early in our marriage, we have lived in credit card debt for almost two decades. Over this past year, we have been very diligent about seeking His will to move past this stronghold in our life. After selling some things that were dear to us, we had thousands of dollars in the bank, and we were committed to paying this toward our credit cards. We would then work very hard over the next several months to be free from all credit cards.

money-card-business-credit-card-50987I told my husband that I knew God was going to show favor on us – I ‘believed’ it! I also requested prayer in our Life Group for wisdom and favor. Lastly, before making any phone calls that morning to the credit card companies, we had a family prayer. You see those companies didn’t know our hearts and lives but God did!  After paying off two of our cards, we were down to the last phone call and last card. My husband informed the lady that we wanted to make a large payment today in hopes of paying the card off very soon if not today. That’s where God stepped in! Without telling her an amount, she gave us a pay-off amount that was almost $10,000 less than we owed, and even $300 less that what we had planned to pay that day!

Due to belief, prayer, and God’s favor, we became credit card free that day!!!!! He is the same miracle worker today – He knows us – He sees our hearts – He has a purpose and wants us to believe that He can help us walk in that purpose even when we may not deserve it!

Who does He need to be for you in this moment? Do you believe that He is? Choose Him today! Pray. Seek His face. Listen to His voice. Believe. And Walk as you are chosen sweet friend.

Who’s Your Mary?

by Morgan Ramsey

Have you ever read a verse or passage in the Bible and you’ve stopped and said out loud, “I’ve read this passage 843 million times and just NOW I feel like I’m reading it for the first time?!??!?” Just me? Okay. Well let me share with you what happened a couple of weeks ago.

I was reading through Luke 1. I’ve read this passage maybe at least a dozen times, if not more. But something hit me this time that had never hit me before. And the cool thing was it was not just one new thing. It was several. So the angel Gabriel appeared to the priest Zechariah and told him God’s glorious plan for his life. But his flesh got in the way, and instead of being obedient and accepting the Lord’s plan for his life, he doubted and asked questions. “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is along in years.” And since he didn’t believe in the Lord’s plan, he became mute until his son, John the Baptist, made his big appearance.

Ouch. Just because he wanted a sign or reassurance, the Lord silenced his mouth. It seems like the Lord wanted to get his attention in a pretty big area… obedience.

Six months later down the road, we have another divine encounter. This time with a fourteen-year-old girl, with some pretty important news if you ask me. The same angel Gabriel told Mary that Elizabeth, her cousin, was also pregnant and, oh yeah, she (Mary) was going to have a son that would be the Savior of the world. And I thought my mom’s news of us having ribs for dinner was big news. But she responds a little differently than Zechariah. She said, “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.” And at that moment she left to be with her cousin Elizabeth.

So let’s pause.

A couple of months ago, I was convicted that I didn’t have someone actively pouring into my life. Besides my mom, of course. And as a recent college graduate I decided that it was time for someone to speak life into me. So I talked to my college pastor’s wife, and we decided to meet every once in awhile to chat. Well we decided on our first visit that we should go through a book of some sort, because I absolutely love to read. So she chose the book Giddy Up Eunice, by Sophie Hudson. She told me a general summary of what the book is like, but I never expected to be this floored by a book until I read the first paragraph. And you’re never going to believe this, but the author was just as floored as I was over Elizabeth and Mary! I hadn’t been able to shake Mary and Elizabeth out of my head since I read Luke 1 for my quiet time, so when I started reading the first paragraph I threw down the book and chuckled. “Okay God. I see what you’re doing here.”

And as it turns out, Sophie Hudson was just as amazed as I was by Mary’s simple obedience. She admitted that she was a servant and then left immediately to be with her cousin, Elizabeth. Pretty incredible, if you ask me. But Sophie took the passage from a different angle that intersected with my amazement of simple obedience. She said that it’s pretty awesome that Mary just got up and left, and as a woman she completely understood why. Mary needed a woman. She needed community. Even though Elizabeth was considerably older than her, she needed someone that would understand and walk with her along this journey of faith that the Lord had laid out for her.

It’s simple: women need women, even when there’s an age gap.

person-woman-apple-iphoneI serve at my church’s student ministry and my favorite thing in the whole wide world is to pour into these girls’ lives. They are so hungry and so desperate to hear from the Lord, and they remind me so much of Mary. And as much as I love following Jesus together with these girls, I’ve realized that these girls need more than a crazy 22 year old that laughs more than she talks and can quote way too many movies. These girls need college students, single women, mommas, and grandmommas to speak into their lives. They need godly examples to look up to now and every day of their lives.

And I think that’s why Mary went immediately to Elizabeth. She needed someone that was walking where she was. Even though Elizabeth was older, Mary needed Elizabeth to encourage her in her obedience to the Lord. And that got me thinking. Maybe obedience doesn’t always look like how we want it to look like. Maybe obedience looks like inviting that young college student out to lunch once a week. Maybe it looks like inviting a few high school students out to coffee once a month to invest in their lives. God has a unique plan for each of our lives, and I believe that plan often includes walking through life with ladies that sometimes are not always our same age, like our same music styles, or laugh at the same things we do. But that’s the beauty of the Lord. He knits our hearts together for His glory and His renown.

And that’s why I love this blog. It invites all ladies, however young or grey they are to find His truth in a thousand words or less. So here’s my challenge: Who can you invest in? How will you obey the Lord and His call to make disciples?

Who is your Mary? Who is your Elizabeth? It’s not easy finding either, but it sure is rewarding. And you’ll laugh plenty along the way.

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