Prayer Group

Daily Meditation

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  • #43917

    Oluwakemi
    Participant

    5th January, 2018

    Hello all :hi:   :hi:   :hi:   Today’s devotional is here.

    The Buddy Bench

    So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:16 (NLT)

    Pinterest Image

    “What’d you do at recess today?” I asked my 7-year-old, Magdalene, as we lingered with ice cream cones on the back deck at the end of a hot school day.

    My daughter licked a chocolate drizzle from her lips and closed her eyes as if the answer to my question might be painted across the back of her eyelids. She paused for a moment; her cone dangling drippy in mid-air as she gathered her thoughts. Then a toothless grin spread across her face. Her eyes popped open in sync with her smile. “I played a game on the monkey bars,” she said. “And kept an eye on the buddy bench, of course.”

    It may not be a timeless staple like the chain-link swings or the classic monkey bars, but the buddy bench is my favorite feature on my daughter’s elementary school playground.

    A simple wooden seat planted on the edge of the kid-filled chaos, the buddy bench is a silent summons to be seen instead of overlooked, fortified instead of forgotten, loved instead of lonely.

    When a child needs a friend, she sits on the buddy bench. When a child feels left out or left behind, he sits on the buddy bench. When a child longs for a helping hand, a listening ear, an empathetic soul, she sits on the buddy bench.

    This precious playground seat carries no stigma nor shame; it merely issues an unspoken invitation:

    Will you join me in my time of need?

    It’s a question we’ve all asked, isn’t it?

    When the discouragement looms large or sadness swells sore, we wonder —

    Who will offer hope in our hopelessness?

    Who will extend mercy in our mess?

    Who will proffer prayer in our pain?

    That little buddy bench paints such a poignant picture of childlike friendship that the first time my daughter told me about it, I swallowed down a lump of tears and swiped at a few drizzles of sadness that zig-zagged down my cheeks.

    Maybe it was because I was stumbling through a wearisome wilderness of my own, and I longed for a friend to share my steps. Or maybe it was because sometimes, it feels like no one notices my silent struggles. But for whatever reason, on that particular day, I returned my daughter’s smile through a haze of hot tears and whispered, “I wish I had a buddy bench, too.”

    Later that evening, as I opened my Bible to the book of Hebrews, God reminded me He’s already granted my wish. I may not have the perfect pal planted on a wooden bench outside of my window, but I have a Faithful Friend seated on Heaven’s throne (Hebrews 12:2). And thanks to Christ’s accomplished work on the cross, I’m invited to sidle up to Him in prayer and find help in my time of need. And so are you!

    Hebrews 4:16 puts it like this —

    “So … come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”

    In elementary playground lingo, that sounds like an invitation to Heaven’s Buddy Bench! 

    So, next time there’s no one to sit with us in our struggles, let’s seek our Savior who stands in the gap. And with childlike faith, let’s ask Him the question that’s burning on our hearts: Will You join me in my time of need?

    And I’m guessing that when we lean in and listen, we’ll hear Jesus say, “I’ve been here all along.”

    Dear God, thanks for never leaving me in my time of need. Open the eyes of my heart to see You even when it seems like no one sees me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:

    Hebrews 13:5b, “I will never leave you; I will always be by your side.” (VOICE)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:

    Where do you usually turn when you have a need? This week, take a seat on Heaven’s buddy bench. Talk to Jesus in prayer, and carve out some time to read your Bible and listen for what He wants to say to you, too.

    Ask the Lord to show you someone in your life who needs a friend “to sit with her on the buddy bench.” Find a way to let that person know that you see her need and you’re praying for her.

     

    cc: @nicole @lala @bosa @bibi @peace @uloma @ketty  @smiley @princem @endaleedith @zanar @kokie @gloryu @ritamari@garuba

     

    Culled from https://proverbs31.org/read/devotions/full-post/2018/01/05/the-buddy-bench

    #43978

    Oluwakemi
    Participant

    8th January, 2018

    Good morning ladies and gentlemen. It’s a brand new week and today’s devotion can help you to set the tone for the day and week.  :heart:   :heart:

    Image result for God has big dreams for you

    God Has Big Dreams For You

    Today’s Truth

    “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived, what God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9 NIV, 1985 edition).

    Friend to Friend

    I love the story of Esther in the Bible. She is definitely one of my girlfriends in God! I can’t wait to give her a big hug. Let’s think about her a moment today.

    Can you imagine what young Esther, a girl without mother or father, would have thought if someone had come up to her at the market while gathering produce for her cousin and told her that she was going to be the next queen of Persia? That she would save her people from annihilation? I imagine she would have laughed or run for cover from the lunatic making such a prediction. But God had a plan. He took a lonely orphan girl and used her to rescue the Jewish nation.

    If someone had come to me in my teen years and told me that I would be spreading the gospel through an international radio program, speaking at women’s conferences, and authoring several books, I would have quickly informed them that they had a serious case of mistaken identity.

    My voice is too Southern, my confidence was too shattered, and my brain is wired for math and science. As a matter of fact, when God did begin opening doors for ministry, I reminded Him of all my shortcomings and why He had the wrong girl for the job. But as I began to take those first baby steps of obedience, He began to show me glimpses of His great plan.

    Our dreams are always too small when compared to the magnificent dreams God has planned for His girls. While God has probably not called you to save an entire nation from destruction, He has called you to be a woman He can use. Missionary Amy Carmichael wrote, “Often His call is to follow in paths we would not have chosen.”

    “For my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

    Whether God is calling you to be a catalyst for saving someone from physical death or being a catalyst for saving someone from spiritual separation from God, when you move forward in obedience, empowered by His strength, bolstered by His power, and confident in His provision, you will see Him accomplish great and mighty works through you.

    How marvelous that He allows us to participate and be the hands and feet through which He works.

    “For we are God’s workmanship,” Paul reminds us, “created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). God created Esther for a purpose, just as He has created you and me for a purpose…“for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14 NIV).

    Let’s Pray

    Lord, I am wide open to receive Your instruction. I know that You have created me with a purpose and a plan in mind. My greatest purpose is to glorify You in all that I do. Help me to pay attention when You send me on assignment, and help me not miss it. I know I was born for such a time as this.

    In Jesus’ Name,

    Amen.

    Now It’s Your Turn

    Take some time and read the first four chapters of the book of Esther this week. God’s name isn’t mentioned, but sleuth for His fingerprints throughout the story.

     

    cc: @nicole @lala @bosa @bibi @peace @uloma @ketty  @smiley @princem @endaleedith @zanar @kokie @gloryu @ritamari@garuba

     

    Culled from https://www.ibelieve.com/devotionals/girlfriends-in-god/girlfriends-in-god-january-8-2018.html

    #44049

    Oluwakemi
    Participant

    10th January 2018

    Hello ladies and gentlemen. Hope your day is going great. Today’s devotional is below.

    Image result for a holy balance

    Finding a Holy Balance

    Today’s Truth

    Now as they went on their way, He (Jesus) entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what He was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to Him and asked, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her’ (Luke 10:38-42, NRSV).

    Friend to Friend

    As I watched the movie “Twister,” I was reminded of the small Texas town where I grew up. Tornadoes were a common occurrence in Brownwood. When ominous dark clouds gathered and the possibility of tornadoes increased, warning sirens screamed a warning, and everyone headed for the nearest shelter. Our shelter was an old, musty storm cellar in the back yard where my family huddled until the “all clear” siren sounded. I hated storms and always hoped that each storm would be the last storm. It never was.

    Life is filled with storms – overcrowded schedules, emotional bankruptcy, and physical exhaustion. Emotions spin out of control and chaos reigns. My first reaction is to run and hide until the storm passes. But I have come to two realizations. First, there will always be another storm. Second, I must learn to prepare for storms before they hit.

    Most women I know struggle with this issue of balance. It’s hard to set and keep boundaries in place. We end up just doing “the next thing.” Balance becomes a casualty of this ongoing battle.

    Frustration and darkness prosper in an imbalanced life, thriving on the vacuum of clear purpose and sure direction. The solution is to establish a holy balance, a balance that only God can bring. The lives of Mary and Martha offer a profoundly simple but practical three-step plan for living a balanced life of power and purpose.

    Martha is a girl after my own heart. A perfectionist and recognized by all who knew her as disciplined, strong-willed, and energetic, Martha seemed to know who she was and where she was going. Because of her leadership in the community, people listened when she spoke. Martha was single, financially secure, and owned her own home, which she shared with her sister Mary, and their brother Lazarus. They were a close family living in a small town named Bethany just outside Jerusalem.

    Martha could have been considered the “Betty Crocker” of Bethany. She had the gift of hospitality and entertained often, freely welcoming friends as well as strangers into her home. Religious leaders, business executives, and virtually anyone in need, including her close friend Jesus, knew they had an open invitation to this home.

    Martha seemed to be an intense woman with deep feelings and sure convictions. She loved truth and was quick to share her strong beliefs, the mark of an unwavering faith. Martha certainly had faults just as we do. I am convinced that, at times, she may have missed some of the higher moments of life because she was “too busy.” Sound familiar?

    Mary, the sister of Martha, is an entirely different story. She lived for the higher moments in life. A free spirit, Mary probably saw little value in a clean house, cooked meals, and strict schedules. Nothing could compare to the cherished treasures of peace and freedom. I don’t think Mary missed many of the “Kodak moments” of life. I suspect she was an avid learner who thrived on anything that compelled her to think and reflect. Mary was almost childlike in her hunger for truth – especially spiritual truth.

    Like her sister, Mary felt things deeply. Sometimes those feelings drove her to do things that others could not understand. For example, it was unusual for a woman to sit among men. But Mary did. She sat at the feet of Jesus while He taught His disciples. Lost in the wonder of hearing new truth, Mary seemed oblivious to her critics and did not appear to notice or even care what people around her thought. She found it easy to abandon herself to those she loved, and thrived on the relationships in her life. Relationships with people like the man named Jesus.

    Mary was brave. To go against the “norm” by daring to be so different and perhaps even live in the shadow of her very successful and highly regarded sister took courage. Mary was human and imperfect. To some, she may have seemed lazy and flighty.

    Mary is often considered the spiritual one while Martha is thought to be the not-so-spiritual one. We tend to look at their lives and say we should be like Mary.

    I believe the lives of both women offer invaluable life lessons about balance. God is not the author of confusion nor does He create chaos, setting His children up to drown in the raging seas of burnout and exhaustion. We do a great job of that all on our own. But we can learn important lessons from Mary and Martha, apply them to our lives today, and experience a balance that will help us find a holy life balance.

    Let’s Pray

    Father, help me learn to cherish and make time to simply sit at Your feet and be in Your presence. Teach me how to discipline my steps and invest my time in a way that pleases You and honors the plan You have for my life.

    In Jesus’ Name,

    Amen.

    Now It’s Your Turn 

    Set aside time this week to spend in solitude. Examine your life in the light of balance. What priorities are obvious? What areas are out of balance? How has this imbalance affected your life? What changes do you need to make in order to live a balanced life of purpose?

     

    cc: @nicole @lala @bosa @bibi @peace @uloma @ketty  @smiley @princem @endaleedith @zanar @kokie @gloryu @ritamari@garuba

     

    Culled from https://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/girlfriends/

    #44088

    Oluwakemi
    Participant

    11th January, 2018

    Good morning all. It’s a beautiful Thursday and today’s devotional is here. It’s asks the fundamental question of “Who is your teacher?”  or “Whose advice do you heed?” Read and be blessed.

    Are You Following the Holy Spirit or Your Emotions?

    So then those who are living the life of the flesh [catering to the appetites and impulses of their carnal nature] cannot please or satisfy God, or be acceptable to Him. — Romans 8:8 (AMPC)

    I talk a lot about how we need to follow the Spirit, not our emotions. However, I find that a lot of people don’t even understand how our emotions operate in the first place.

    Emotions are in the realm of the soul. Our soul is made up of our mind, will and emotions—it tells us what we think, what we want and how we feel. Of these three areas of the soul, it’s our feelings that get stirred up the fastest.

    In other words, the wisdom and discernment of the Holy Spirit in our spirit become easily drowned out by the cries of our emotions.

    The Bible says that this “life of the flesh” doesn’t please God. This doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love us. What it does mean is that He is not satisfied with nor will He accept fleshly behavior.

    However, once you understand how negative emotions work, you can overcome them. Our souls may be strong, but our spirits can be stronger if we strengthen them by spending time in God’s presence. Get in the Word today, and give your spirit the strength to overcome your emotions.

     

     

    cc: @nicole @lala @bosa @bibi @peace @uloma @ketty  @smiley @princem @endaleedith @zanar @kokie @gloryu @ritamari@garuba

     

    Culled from https://joycemeyer.org/dailydevo

    #44098

    Edithill
    Participant

    :yahoo:

     

    #44129

    Oluwakemi
    Participant

    12th January, 2018

    Hello!!! Today’s devotional is here.

    Image result for rediscover joy in your work

    How to Rediscover Joy in Your Work

    “Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.” Proverbs 22:29 (NIV)

    As I faced the heaviest workload of my life, I fretted. To-do lists multiplied, and details started to feel overwhelming. Each day, I worked from sunup to sundown, and lay awake at night thinking about what the next 24 hours held.

    I was exhausted, discouraged and wondering if all my work meant anything.

    Then two things happened that changed my perspective.

    I remembered a prayer I’d prayed months before at the beginning of my gargantuan project. I prayed, “Lord, help me to do all that You call me to do in this season and not one thing more.”

    The Lord also brought to mind a conversation that I had with my friend, Suzie, where she shared a new concept. Suzie had prayed God would convert her work to worship. What a beautiful idea! Each morning she spent time with God, reading her Bible and praying, and then she moved into her work, letting God’s presence flow seamlessly into each task.

    As I reflected on the bad attitude I was starting to develop, I realized I had failed on both counts. I was overworking, and I was compartmentalizing my work as if it weren’t related to any other part of my life. Those two missteps were making me miserable by skewing my perspective about the labor of my hands.

    Here’s what happens when we work with wrong beliefs:

    1) We overwork

    Instead of following my prayer “Lord, help me to do all that You call me to do in this season and not one thing more” by listening for direction, I just dove right into my tasks — where I ended up frustrated, feeling like I was on a never-ending treadmill.

    Exhaustion is a sure indicator we need to consult God about our schedule. We need to ask Him questions such as: What do You want me to do? What do You want me to stop? What boundaries should I set on my work?

    God is amazingly faithful, and I’ve experienced His provision over and over with my time. When I listen for His directions for work and rest, it all gets done within a timeframe that astounds me. Working within His plan reminds me that His good gifts include both joy in our work and fulfillment of the other needs of our souls — love, friendship, community and rest.

    2) We compartmentalize our work

    One of my most harmful misconceptions over the years is seeing my spiritual life as something separate from my “real life.”

    As Proverbs 22:29 says, “Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.”

    Although we might never work for a person with a prestigious title, and regardless of whether our tasks are inside or outside the home, we still work for the King of Kings. An element of skill in our work is knowing who our true Boss is — and working for His pleasure. It’s seeking His direction so we’re working smarter, not harder. It’s following Him to find joy in what we’re accomplishing.

    Our triune God has created us as fully integrated beings with a body, soul and spirit. God designed work as good — even in the Garden of Eden. Worship flows into the way we treat our bodies, which includes how we feed our minds and the plans we have for our work. Seeing our spiritual life connected to our workload helps us do everything as if we’re doing it for God, because whether we recognize it or not, we really are!

    Making our work into worship gives it worth.

    In truth, because God created us as spiritual beings, we’ll automatically worship while we work. The question is, Who are we worshipping? Are we worshipping ourselves by setting our own agendas and goals, or are we worshipping God by following His? The results are completely different.

    Let’s worship God with our work so we can find joy and fulfillment again!

    Dear Lord, I need to regain joy in my tasks. Help me to worship You as I work, doing it all for the King of Kings. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Proverbs 31:17, “She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.” (NIV)

    Genesis 2:15, “The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” (ESV)

     

    cc: @nicole @lala @bosa @bibi @peace @uloma @ketty  @smiley @princem @endaleedith @zanar @kokie @gloryu @ritamari@garuba  @endaleedith

     

    Culled from https://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/encouragement/

    #44188

    Oluwakemi
    Participant

    15th January, 2018

    Good morning people of God. The title of today’s devotional has a message all on its own. Enjoy. :heart:   :heart:

    Breaking Free of the Comparison Trap

    “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV)

    Pinterest Image

    Can I tell you a secret? For way too much of my life, I fell into the trap of comparing myself with others. When I did, I always came up short. I felt I wasn’t smart enough, strong enough or spiritual enough … just not enough, period. And because of that, I stayed stuck in a mediocre faith.

    Through the years I’ve learned one valuable truth: The measuring stick will get you stuck. Comparison is the devil’s tool that’s kept many of us from stepping into our God-given destinies.

    For about a year, I hung out with Moses by the burning bush. I listened to Moses argue with God about his insecurities and pondered God’s responses to all his questions and quandaries.

    When I met up with Moses in Exodus 3, he was an insecure, stuttering recluse. Yep, we were kindred spirits. He complained he was not good enough and begged God to pick someone else to address the Pharaoh and lead the Hebrews out of Egypt. Specifically, he whined he was not a good speaker, even though centuries later in the New Testament, Stephen recorded Moses was “powerful in speech and action” (Acts 7:22b, NIV).

    So how do you think Moses came up with the idea he was not a good speaker? Here’s what I think. I think it happened because Moses compared himself to other people he thought were good speakers.

    Comparison opens the door for sabotaging lies to steal our confidence and stymie our courage. Comparison puts up roadblocks along the path to fulfilling our God-given calling by setting an undefined standard of approval and acceptance.

    We fear the REJECT stamp will come crashing down with wet ink that mars all of life. We fear that perhaps we’re fatally flawed … as confidence seeps through the holes of insecurity, punctured and punctuated by comparison.

    We compare our abilities to someone else’s and come to this conclusion: I could never do it like she does it. And you know what? We were never meant to! God doesn’t need two people just alike. He has uniquely and precisely created you and me with specific gifts and talents to do exactly what He’s called us to do.

    David wrote: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well”(Psalm 139:13-14).

    David wasn’t praising God for the way He flung the stars in the night sky, set the spinning earth on its axis or stocked the oceans with sea creatures of every kind. David was marveling at the magnificent masterpiece called David. Me. You. He knew that full well.

    You are God’s workmanship. His masterpiece — His grand finale of all creation. Do you know that full well?

    God knows our inadequacies and insecurities. He knows what caused them and who caused them. He saw you and me before we even had them. Yet God chose us before we were born for a purpose — to fulfill a plan in a predetermined point in time (Acts 17:26).

    It’s time we stop comparing ourselves with others. I know it’s hard … Boy, is it hard! But the measuring stick will get you stuck.

    God made you to be you! He thinks you’re amazing. And so do I.

    Heavenly Father, please forgive me for comparing myself with others rather than praising You for the way You’ve knit me together and gifted me. I know I’m Your workmanship — Your handiwork. Today, I let go of the measuring stick of comparison, and take hold of the way You’ve uniquely fashioned me for Your purposes. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:

    Ephesians 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (ESV)

     

     

    cc: @nicole @lala @bosa @bibi @peace @uloma @ketty  @smiley @princem @endaleedith @zanar @kokie @gloryu @ritamari@garuba  @endaleedith @wunmiabi

     

    Culled from  https://proverbs31.org/read/devotions/full-post/2018/01/15/breaking-free-of-the-comparison-trap

    #44390

    Oluwakemi
    Participant

    Good morning. Do you want to be happy? Imitate God. Today’s devotional is wonderful :heart:   :heart:

    Image result for Happiness

    “The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)

    My mother isn’t exactly a singer, but she is totally a rejoicer. She is the happiest person I know, and I have many friends who would readily agree. Growing up, she filled my life with smiles and joy. You heard my mom’s laughter long before you saw her.

    I know I’m extremely blessed to have a mom like this. Yet, regardless of your earthly parent’s personality, you have a heavenly Father who is joyful. Did you know God is a happy God?

    In 1 Timothy 1:11, Paul writes to Timothy about “the glory of the blessed God.” This word blessed is translated as the common word for happy. Today’s key verse gives us more evidence of a joyful God. Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

    He saves. 
    He takes delight in you. 
    He rejoices. 
    He sings.

    Contrary to what some in pop culture today might have us think, this is hardly a description of a stern, hardhearted, severe, grumpy Savior. No, we serve a God who saves us from death … and then prepares a place in heaven for us to celebrate!

    We can be glad right now, not because circumstances are perfect, but because our Father in heaven is perfect.

    We can smile today, not because we feel like it, but because we are responding with our faces to the truth that God no longer rebukes us. He is for us, and He is singing over us.

    Many nights, I lean over my youngest daughter’s bed, and I sing to her. I sing a short song from Scripture, and then I say, “I love you” and “Goodnight.” This is a time of joy and security for my little girl and for me, too. It’s a picture of how God lovingly, tenderly watches over us and sings, rejoicing over us.

    We often pray things like, “Lord, make me more like You,” and that’s good. But I wonder if we can sometimes miss that being more like Jesus is becoming a happier person. Living with joy is a holy pursuit, not a frivolous, shallow quest.

    The Gospels tell us parents brought their children to Jesus so He could bless them. The disciples didn’t want to pester Jesus with such unimportant business, but Jesus responded, “Let the little children come to me” (Luke 18:16b, NIV).

    I imagine children loved being around Jesus because He had a twinkle in His eye and He made them feel welcome. How do children feel welcome? Usually with smiles, laughs and perhaps a little cluster of raisins. Children followed Jesus, which makes me think Jesus smiled and was friendly. Remember, it was a boy who gave up his lunch of five loaves and two fish to feed the 5,000. (John 6:9) That’s no small task for a growing boy!

    Men and women, young and old, were drawn to Jesus. Joy is attractive. The more you put it on display, the more people want to be around you.

    Can others see joy in your life? Don’t worry; you don’t have to be as demonstrative as my mom. We all have different personalities, yet we are all commanded to rejoice. Rejoice in your own way; just be sure to rejoice. In so doing, you become more like your Heavenly Father who loves to sing and rejoice over you.

    Lord, I choose to rejoice in Your love for me today. Thank You for saving me and singing over me. I praise You because You can turn my mourning into joy and bring happiness out of grief. Fill me with joy today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Zephaniah 3:14-15, “Sing, Daughter Zion; shout aloud, Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem! The LORD has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The LORD, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm.” (NIV)

    Philippians 4:4-5, ”Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” (NIV)

     

     

    cc: @nicole @lala @bosa @bibi @peace @uloma @ketty  @smiley @princem @endaleedith @zanar @kokie @gloryu @ritamari@garuba  @endaleedith @wunmiabi

     

    Culled from  https://www.ibelieve.com/devotionals/encouragement-for-today/to-be-happy-like-god-encouragement-for-today-january-19-2018.html

    #44504

    Oluwakemi
    Participant

    24th January, 2018

    Good morning ladies. How’s your day coming along? Today’s devotional is here.

    Image result for three answers you need to know

    Three Answers You Need to Know

    Today’s Truth

    “In the beginning God [Elohim] created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1NIV).

    Friend to Friend

    Who are you?

    Where did you come from?

    Why are you here?

    These are three very important questions to which you need to know the answer.

    When I was writing my chapter for our new GiG book, Knowing God by Name, I discovered that the very first name for God in the Bible is Elohim, and it is found in the very first sentence of God’s Word. “In the beginning God [Elohim] created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1 NIV).

    Before the creation of the world, there was nothing. Our human minds can’t even conceive or imagine nothing. But into the nothing God spoke, and what was not became what is.

    When God hung the sun in the morning sky and the moon in the inky expanse; when He sprinkled the stars to dance in the night; when He separated the waters of heaven from the waters of the earth; when He shaped the dry land, scattered seed for vegetation, stocked the seas with marine life and filled skies with winged foul; He did so with words. “And God said, ‘Let there be’… And it was so.”  “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of His mouth” (Psalm 33:6 NIV).

    But on the sixth day, God did a little something different. “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…’” (Genesis 1:26 NASB).

    So the holy hand of God bent low, gathered dust of the ground, and with sacred fingertips formed man. God then leaned over the lifeless form, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being (Genesis 2:7).

    After each of the first five days of creation, as the sun set over the horizon, God said, “It is good.” Six times, at the end of each phase of His handiwork, He reiterated his approval. We ride the rhythm of repetition only to be brought to a sudden halt by the Creator’s words when He looked at the lone man with no suitable companion. “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18 NIV).

    “So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The Lord Godfashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man” (Genesis 2:21-22 NIV).

    Eve was the crowning touch of God’s creative masterpiece and the inspiration of man’s first poetry. She was not an afterthought, but God’s grand finale – His magnificent masterpiece. God concluded the first week of the world’s existence and the curtain fell with the words: “God saw all that he had made, and it wasvery good” (Genesis 1:31a NIV).

    Knowing God as Elohim answers three big questions for all of us. Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here?

    Who are you? You are an image bearer of God. Elohim said, “Let Us make man in Our own image.”

    Where did you come from? God fashioned you, formed you,and created your innermost being.

    Why are you here? You were created for God and to glorify God (Isaiah 43:7), because it pleased Him to do so (Ephesians 1:5). The concept of glory can be a difficult concept to wrap our human minds around. Simply put, God’s glory is how He makes His presence known. You, my friend, are a platform from which God displays His magnificence and makes His presence easy to see.

    Knowing you were created by God and for God, answers a thousand questions. You have great value and great purpose, regardless of how you feel about yourself, regardless of how you came into this world, regardless of what others have said about you in the past. Every human life is sacred, no matter how it began.

    Now let me go a little deeper.  As you ponder God speaking the universe into existence with but a word, is there anything in your life that is too difficult for Him to take care of?

    Any problem too complex to solve?

    Any illnesses too severe to heal?

    Any child too rebellious to tame?

    Any marriage too far gone to restore?

    Oh sister, nothing is impossible for Elohim, The Mighty Creator. He can breathe life into any seemingly hopeless situation that comes your way. “For nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37 NIV). You can depend on Elohim to weave a design out of the tangled circumstances of your life, even when they may seem as shapeless and void as the earth was prior to His first utterance of “Let there be.”

    Let’s Pray

    Elohim, Mighty Creator, I praise You for all that You have made. Thank You for the way You have fashioned my body. Tiny eyelashes that keep dust from my eyes. Flexible fingers that grasp and hold. Legs that stand and bend. Feet that walk and run. A heart that beats. A mind that thinks. Skin that protects. A soul that loves. I pray that I will represent You well today – that I will glorify You in all that I do.

    In Jesus’ Name,

    Amen.

    Now It’s Your Turn

    What do you think it means to be created in the image of God?

    Read Genesis 1:31 How did God feel about what He had made?

    Based upon God’s response to His creation, what conclusion can you draw about your value as a woman created in the image of God?

    Does knowing that you are created to reflect God (to glorify God) affect how you live?

    Is there any change you need to make to better reflect Him?

     

    cc: @nicole @lala @bosa @bibi @peace @uloma @ketty  @smiley @princem @endaleedith @zanar @kokie @gloryu @ritamari@garuba  @chibuzo @mercy

     

    Culled from https://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/girlfriends/

    #44566

    Oluwakemi
    Participant

    25th January, 2018

    Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Where do you stand in your walk with God? What path are you taking? Today’s devotiona provides some pointers.

    Narrow Is the Road

    But God has selected [for His purpose] the foolish things of the world to shame the wise [revealing their ignorance], and God has selected [for His purpose] the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong [revealing their frailty]. God has selected [for His purpose] the insignificant (base) things of the world, and the things that are despised and treated with contempt, [even] the things that are nothing, so that He might reduce to nothing the things that are, — 1 Corinthians 1:27-28

    Following God means walking the “narrow road.” It means facing adversity. Here are several things I’ve learned that help me to keep going:

    1. God’s Word is a border for my life. As long as I stay within the guidelines laid out in Scripture, I’ll have wisdom and understanding to know what I need to do and have what I need, in Christ, to do it. God is faithful and true to His Word.
    2. I have to be willing to finish what I start. God uses committed people who aren’t led by emotion. It’s easy to be excited in the beginning when something is new, but the ones who cross the finish line are the ones who hang in there when no one else is excited anymore.
    3. When no one is there to help me, I get to know Jesus really well. The narrow road of living for God and not conforming to the ways of the world is often lonely. But the trade-off of gaining real intimacy with Christ is worth more than anything you could ever get from the world.

    I believe these truths can help you like they’ve helped me. Always remember that even though there will be opposition, the rewards of walking the narrow path are absolutely worth it.

     

    cc: @nicole @lala @bosa @bibi @peace @uloma @ketty  @smiley @princem @endaleedith @zanar @kokie @gloryu @ritamari@garuba  @chibuzo @mercy

     

    Culled from https://joycemeyer.org/dailydevo

    #44630

    Oluwakemi
    Participant

    26th January, 2018

    Hello ladies and gentlemen. How are you all doing? Can you smell the weekend already? Today’s devotional is here.

    Image result for when you are still suffering

    When You’re STILL Suffering

    “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:5b (ESV)

    Over the last two years, our family has been through incredibly hard things: a marriagerescued from the brink of failure, the physical death of several family members, and the miscarriage of our darling daughter Eilise. I have suffered like never before. In some ways, I am still suffering.

    Last April, my husband Robert and I had the privilege of spending time away together. We were able to come alongside people from across the United States who were also facing huge challenges and glean wisdom from many who’ve walked this path ahead of us.

    It was there, in the middle of nowhere among the trees and the nature trails, that the Lord so sweetly helped me better understand the words of His servant, David. He was no stranger to sorrow, and those words finally settled into my heart, soothing the very raw places.

    “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5b).

    In the midst of my pain, I found myself questioning the legitimacy of this well-known Scripture. I cried out many times, “Sorrow is supposed to only last for a night, joy is supposed to come in the morning! That’s what Your Word says. So why is the pain dragging on? Why do Your children sometimes struggle for days, months or even years?”

    I’d forgotten what it’s like to watch the sunrise. I expected morning to come in an instant. I believed my sorrow should disappear altogether — and all at once.

    But that’s not how morning works. The sun doesn’t suddenly appear in the sky. The world doesn’t transition from dark to light abruptly.

    During the night of weeping, the darkness is overwhelming, suffocating and disorienting. And, more often than not, it gets darker before day breaks.

    Then, softly and subtly, things begin to change. The world is more grey than black. We begin to be able to make out the shapes of our surroundings. Our eyes begin to adjust and everything looks just a little bit different.

    As we lift our heads, we can distinguish the horizon. It turns a soft shade of pink and color creeps in to the world around us — still dull, but adding color nonetheless.

    Then pink turns to orange and the sky gets brighter and brighter. Faster and faster, things are changing.

    Before you realize it’s even happened, the sun becomes visible, the birds wake up and sing. The dull colors become sharp and crisp as radiant morning bursts forth and the day begins.

    The darkness of night becomes a thing of the past, just a memory. Weeping has been replaced with jubilant song, mourning turns to dancing, and sorrow at last gives way to joy.

    Yes, there will be reminders of what happened in the dark. But, once exposed to the light, these reminders have no power, and they cause no fear.

    In my own journey, the sun is almost out. So, let this be an encouragement for anyone who might still be hurting. Whether you’re in the darkest hour, or inching closer to sunrise, look for the grey. Then watch for the pink.

    I know you’d probably rather see the sun out right now, but there’s hope — even while it’s still dark. Adjust your eyes to see the small amounts of light that surround you. Knowing that morning always comes eventually, there’s hope that your joy will be fully restored, and you can delight in the small ways your world is brightening.

    Before we know it, like David, we’ll be able to say: “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing …” (Psalm 30:11a, ESV).

    And we’ll be dancing in the sunshine.

    Heavenly Father, I long to honor You even in my suffering. Help me see Your faithfulness, even when my emotions seem tossed to and fro by grief. Allow me to feel the comfort of the Holy Spirit as I wait for my morning to dawn. And, let Your light shine through me so others would see Your goodness and the Name of Jesus would be made great. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Hosea 6:1, “Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.” (ESV)

    Hebrews 4:16, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (ESV)

     

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    How is God revealing Himself in your struggle? What are the small, subtle ways His love shows up, like manna in the desert of your mourning?

     

    cc: @nicole @lala @bosa @bibi @peace @uloma @ketty  @smiley @princem @endaleedith @zanar @kokie @gloryu @ritamari@garu

     

    Culled from https://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/encouragement/

    #44751

    Oluwakemi
    Participant

    31st January, 2018

    Hello ladies and gentlemen.Today’s devotional is here.

    Image result for God is all I need

    He is All I Need

    Today’s Truth

    The Lord is my shepherd.I am never in need. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside peaceful waters. He renews my soul. He guides me along the paths of righteousness for the sake of his name. Even though I walk through the dark valley of death, because you are with me, I fear no harm. Your rod and your staff give me courage. You prepare a banquet for me while my enemies watch. You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows. Certainly, goodness and mercy will stay close to me all the days of my life, and I will remain in the Lord’s house for days without end (Psalm 23:1-6, GWT).

    Friend to Friend

    Christmas is my favorite time of the year! When our children were younger, a whole set of rules surrounded buying our Christmas tree. It must be purchased on the day after Thanksgiving, and it must be purchased from the nice man who ran a tree lot just down the street from our house because he had the best Frasier Firs in town

    We all piled into “Old Blue,” my husband’s well-worn truck, and headed for the tree lot two minutes away from our house. When we arrived, my husband and our children fanned out in search of “the tree.” As tradition demanded, my husband, Dan, immediately began muttering, “Bah, humbug” under his breath, but just loud enough for us all to hear. That was the cue for our daughter, Danna, to begin rolling her eyes and correcting her Scrooge father. Our son, Jered, ignored them both and carried out his steady search in quiet contemplation. He usually spotted “the tree” first. “Found it!” he shouted, which was another verbal tree-finding tradition. We all gathered to inspect Jered’s find, immediately dismissing it as unworthy, and spreading out once again in search of our tree.

    The owners of the tree lot recognized us and understood that there was a non-negotiable Southerland step-by-step process for selecting a tree. They stood back, waiting for the curtain to fall on the tree drama, content in the knowledge that we would eventually buy a tree from them. I considered and dismissed almost every tree on the lot before going back to the first tree Jered picked. Afraid of losing it to another customer, Jered diligently stood guard over his tree until we came to our senses and realized that he, once again, had found the perfect tree. After what we considered a respectable search time, we once again gathered at Jered’s tree, looking for “holes” in the branches, evaluating each side to make sure it would display well and finally, examining the top of the tree to make sure our angel tree-topper would be comfortable there.

    The moment of truth arrived when Dan, Danna, and Jered all looked at me and asked, “Well, what do you think, Mom? Is this the one?” Savoring the moment, I took my time before saying, “Let’s get it!” I am almost certain I heard applause at this moment, from my family, from other customers, and certainly from the tree man. My husband wrote the check as Jered loaded the tree in Old Blue and we headed home where the Christmas tree stand was ready and waiting. Jered, the hulk football player, unloaded the tree, cut off an inch of the trunk, placed it in the stand, and transported the tree to its new home for the holidays.

    The smell was delicious. The needles were green and fresh … for about a month, and then, every year, the same sad process begins. Although I faithfully watered the tree, the needles grew more brittle with each passing day. The smell was less powerful and eventually, the limbs began to wither, dry out, and turn brown. Why? The tree had been separated from its source. The same is true in our lives.

    God is our source and there is no life if we are separated from Him. He will meet our every need. Our mate is not our source. Our job is not our source. Our children are not our source. God alone is our source.

    As you celebrate the holidays, don’t allow anyone or anything divert your heart and mind from the eternal truth that no matter what you did or did not receive this year, no matter what you gave or were unable to give this year – God is your source. And that truth is not seasonal – it is eternal.

    Let’s Pray

    Father, I come to You today with a heart full of thanksgiving and praise. I am in awe of Your perfect plan that sent Your Son to earth for me. He took my sin. He paid the price I was supposed to pay for my imperfection. I don’t understand that kind of Love, God, but today I celebrate Your love and the fact that You are all I need.

    In Jesus’ Name,

    Amen.

    Now It’s Your Turn

    It is easy to be wrapped up in serving God instead of being wrapped up in Him. Consider the following questions and record your answers in your journal.

    • According to Psalm 23, who or what am I depending on to be my source?
    • What “wants” rule my life?
    • Am I ready to believe the truth that, as a child of God, I lack nothing?
    • Revisit the day and time when you surrendered your life to God.
    • What needs did He meet in your life?
    • What needs is He meeting in your life today?

    More from the Girlfriends

    Since each lesson stands alone, it is never too late to join Mary’s weekly online BibleStudy, Light for the Journey, for practical ways to tap into the power of God’s Word. Beginning January 8, we will begin a new study, How to Hug Your Porcupine. I know you deal with pain in your life. It may be a broken relationship, chronic physical pain, the death of a dream, or the loss of someone you love. How do you deal with pain? Join Mary for a study that will change your life.

     

     

    cc: @nicole @lala @bosa @bibi @peace @uloma @ketty  @smiley @princem @endaleedith @zanar @kokie @gloryu @ritamari@garu @amarapearl @iammrso

     

    Culled from https://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/girlfriends/

    #44802

    Oluwakemi
    Participant

    1st February, 2018

    Welcome to the month of February, 2018.  Today’s devotional is here.

    If Only Life Were Like a Hallmark Movie

    “I have loved you just as My Father has loved Me. Stay in My love … I have told you these things so My joy may be in you and your joy may be full.” John 15:9,11 (NLV)

    Pinterest ImageI have a confession to make: I am a Hallmark movie junkie.

    Whether it’s Valentine’s, Christmas, spring, summer or fall, you’ll often find me planted in front of the television, watching endless Hallmark movies whenever I have the spare time — including those I’ve watched over and over, year after year, and have the plots, characters and lines memorized.

    Why, you ask? So many reasons! They’re peaceful, friendly and calming. People are pleasant and kind. Their lives are focused on family, friends and doing good things. They’re wholesome and non-violent. The storylines revolve around love and happiness.

    But mostly … because they always have happy endings. Who doesn’t like happy endings, especially when it comes to love?

    We all do. Unfortunately, the reality is we don’t always get happy endings.

    Because … real life. Real people. Real relationships. Real problems. Real heartaches. Relationships fail, friendships struggle or end, divorces happen, loved ones pass away, and true love often seems hard to find. When real life happens, we often feel disappointed and alone, especially this time of year, during a month hyper-focused on love and romance.

    Although earthly relationships can add to our happiness, they should never be what determines it. If our happiness and satisfaction in life hinge on earthly love or perfect relationships, we’ll alwaysfeel disappointed and quite possibly unhappy and lacking joy.

    In today’s key verse, Jesus shares about His unconditional and endless love for His children. In John 15:9, He states, “I have loved you just as My Father has loved Me. Stay in My love.” Jesus calls us to realize how much we are loved, just as the Father loves His Son, and let ourselves embrace the immensity of it.

    Then in John 15:11, Jesus explains why it’s so important to recognize, embrace and abide in His love for us, by saying, “I have told you these things so My joy may be in you and your joy may be full.” You see, it’s His love alone that can bring true joy to our hearts and happiness into our lives. God’s joy is the real love we all long for, but sometimes we look for and expect to find it in all the wrong places.

    It would be nice if life were like a Hallmark movie and every relationship ended happily. But I’ve learned it’s possible to feel happy no matter what’s happening in our lives and regardless of our relationships status, because true joy from God is the hallmark of Christianity.

    Dear Lord, help me remember and embrace the overwhelming love You have for me, especially on those days when I feel like romantic love is lacking in my life. I know You hear the desires of my heart when it comes to earthly relationships, but help me believe You have good plans for me and that in Your love, I can feel joy and happiness every day of the year. Help me always remember that no matter what, Your love is enough. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:

    Psalm 144:15b, “… happy are the people whose God is the LORD.” (ISV)

    John 16:24, “Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (ESV)

     

    cc: @nicole @lala @bosa @bibi @peace @uloma @ketty  @smiley @princem @endaleedith @zanar @kokie @gloryu @ritamari@garu @amarapearl @iammrso

     

    Culled from https://proverbs31.org/read/devotions/full-post/2018/02/01/if-only-life-were-like-a-hallmark-movie

    #44881

    Oluwakemi
    Participant

    5th February, 2018

    Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Jesus once said that those who are healthy, have no need of a physician, today’s devotional is based on that idea. Be blessed and have a beautiful week.

    “The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Psalm 34:17-18 (NLT)

    Pinterest Image

    Have you ever envisioned something a certain way only to have it turn out differently than you planned?

    How did you feel about that?

    Happy? Probably not. Disappointed? That’s more likely. Maybe you even felt disillusioned?

    That’s the way I felt in 1999 when my wife suggested we adopt all our kids. I adamantly resisted and even flat-out said “No!” Not that I was against adoption or caring for children who weren’t biologically ours. I just didn’t fully understand how adoption works. I had grown up in a family that did things the old-fashioned way. Everyone came in to our family biologically.

    But adoption was a big part of my wife’s family story. Thus, her heart was passionate about it. And soon enough, my heart changed too. I have God to thank for that. He woke me up and brought me out of shallow thinking and a rather self-centered existence.

    To be honest, the foster and adoptive journey has tested us over the past 13 years like nothing else. Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying — we love the precious children we’ve been blessed with and have been called to parent. But some of our children suffer from special needs, a result of past trauma, that has made this very hard; at times it feels completely defeating.

    While we wouldn’t trade a moment, or a child, we’ve found ourselves on the brink of complete exhaustion. Beyond that, our hearts have been broken — broken for our children and the past trauma they’ve endured, broken for birth parents and their deep sense of loss and pain, but most of all brokenhearted for a world in which innocent children long for a forever home.

    That’s when the words in Psalm 34:17-18 envelop us like a warm blanket, in spite of the cold world in which we live: “The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”

    God allows us to experience seasons that are heartbreaking, but character-molding and spirit-enriching, and then He faithfully draws us near and heals our brokenness.

    I may have resisted the adoption and foster care journey in the beginning, but the tragedy and heartbreak of it was exactly what I needed to understand the depth of my heart and the healing power of my Heavenly Father.

    The life I’m living is the furthest thing from the story I originally scripted for myself. But it’s a more beautiful and powerful story than I could have imagined. It’s penned by the Creator of the world. And it’s making me the best possible version of myself!

    Heavenly Father, I ask You to reveal the depths of my heart. Lead me into situations, circumstances and experiences that break me, but mold me into a better version of myself. By the power of Your Holy Spirit, may I say “yes.” May I not resist. And may I faithfully trust that You are leading me every step of the way. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:

    Isaiah 40:28-31, “Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” (NLT)

     

    cc: @nicole @lala @bosa @bibi @peace @uloma @ketty  @smiley @princem @endaleedith @zanar @kokie @gloryu @ritamari@garuba

    Culled from https://proverbs31.org/read/devotions/full-post/2018/02/05/close-to-the-brokenhearted

    #45052

    Oluwakemi
    Participant

    8th February, 2018

    Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Today’s devotional is here.

    Image result for God can cleans any mess

    God Can Clean Up Any Mess

    But without faith it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him, for whoever comes [near] to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He rewards those who [earnestly and diligently] seek Him. — Hebrews 11:6

    I was seriously abused throughout my childhood. My life was horrible! I don’t remember ever being really happy until I was in my twenties. My mind was a mess, my emotions were a mess…everything was a mess!

    But thank God, I didn’t stay that way! God has dealt with me, changed me and brought me through it all. Now I have a great relationship with God, real peace and joy, good relationships with family and friends, and I’m doing what God has called me to do.

    Hebrews 11:6 tells us that God rewards those who diligently seek Him. I’ve discovered that anything I sacrificed to get closer to God and obey Him, I received back from Him many times over. And what He gave me was always much better.

    You may be thinking, But Joyce, you don’t know what I’m dealing with. It’s so hard!

    I understand—I’ve been through some really hard stuff, too. But God will reward those who seek Him. Be determined to seek Him in the midst of your hardship. He is more than able to clean up your messes!

    Prayer Starter: God, I believe You can clean up my messes. Instead of staying stuck in my troubles, I earnestly seek You today and expect You to do something good in me.

     

    cc: @nicole @lala @bosa @bibi @peace @uloma @ketty  @smiley @princem @endaleedith @zanar @kokie @gloryu @ritamari@garuba

    Culled from https://joycemeyer.org/dailydevo

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