Category : Devotion of the Week
Category : Devotion of the Week
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15)
We were on our way to Barcelona, Spain and the woman next to me was on the phone. She was petite with striking red hair and I had a feeling, by her conversation, she had an interesting story. I prayed if I was supposed to talk to her, God would provide an opening. I did not want to miss a divine appointment.
We had the opportunity to chat when the airline provided dinner. I found out she was a professional dancer and singer, and was getting ready to perform for six months on a major cruise line. When not traveling, she taught dance in New York City. Many successful Broadway dancers have probably gone through her classes. What an exciting career!
I continued to wonder if I was supposed to share anything about my faith with her. Then God opened the door. When she asked me what I did, I explained that I was an author and speaker, and showed her our new book, If I Only Had…Wrapping Yourself in God’s Truth During Storms of Insecurity. She thumbed through it and immediately landed on the chapter If I Only Had…a Child. It seemed to stop her in her tracks, and after a long pause, she began to share her story.
She was married, but had opted to not have children early on because of her dancing career. Now in her 40’s, she and her husband tried to conceive but her most recent attempt ended in miscarriage. She was disappointed and heartbroken, and being around her friends with babies made it even more difficult. The job on the cruise line was a way to heal and do some soul searching. I tried to console her, and told her motherhood was not always about bearing physical children but that God had given her a venue to mother countless girls who walked through the doors of the dance studio. So many girls who have mothers still need mothers. I understand that personally and am grateful for all the “other mothers” God brought me over the years.
I also knew at that moment I needed to give her the book. It was the only one I brought on the plane. I thought I brought it in my carry on bag to work on an article, but it wasn’t about the article. The book was truly meant for her. She seemed grateful for the gift and promised to read it. I knew she meant it because she thanked me again at the end of the fight. I hope it will be an integral part of her healing.
This experience was another confirmation for the chapter If I Only Had…a Child. Initially, I did not want to write on that particular subject because I did not feel qualified, but through some holy pushing, Catherine and I put the chapter together, and the Lord confirmed its validity again on the flight to Barcelona.
While this divine meeting was a repeat message about a chapter in the book, I am praying it is confirmation about a chapter in the dancer’s life. She is seeking healing, and the Lord began the process the moment she boarded the plane. God loves all his children, and provides what we need during the darkest of times. (LBW)
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
Today’s Pearls of Promise guest blogger is Pam Russell. Pam is passionate about inspiring others to listen for God’s promptings, learning to recognize His voice and believing in divine appointments in their life. Pam is a native Texan, author, single mom, dog lover and entrepreneur that lives in the Dallas area. She loves spending time with God, friends and family and appreciates a good sense of humor. She is the founder and President of Pam Russell LLC, a business coaching, training and inspirational speaking company. She is also the owner and President of Proforma Specialty Marketing, a printing and promotional products company. She also blogs about how God transformed her life via her journey though grief. Blog: www.secretsinakitchencabinet.com Business: www.pam-russell.com
It’s 1 a.m. and God won’t let me sleep until I get this out. I shared with a friend today that I haven’t written lately. I had so much to share back in October when I started writing. About grief. About working through my feelings.
Now that I have released it. Told the secret to everyone. It’s as if I don’t have it anymore. The grief. The burden has been lifted. Burden may be the wrong word. Grieving my parents was not a burden. It was a journey. The journey continues but it is being lit by a different lamp light. The light from God’s lamp.
The light of freedom.
The light of renewal.
The light of healed and whole.
My life verse right now is:
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.” Jeremiah 29:13-14
I have been released from captivity. Brought back.
Are you being held captive?
By the comparison prison?
I have discovered some amazing things by choosing to walk through my grief, my feelings, my pain. Things that can happen in your life should you choose to do the same.
I am lighter. Emotional weight has been processed and released. It doesn’t mean I don’t miss my parents anymore. I do. Every day. It means that their deaths no longer define me. Their lives do. I am defined by their lives, not their death. I still have moments, especially when I hear of a tragic death, of sadness and crying. But now it comes from a place of compassion and empathy, not unresolved grief.
I can see things more clearly. The fog has lifted. I am clear on my purpose, my passion, my priorities, my principles. In my personal and business life. As a result of this newly found clarity, my sales coaching business is gaining traction. Opportunities are presenting themselves. If I can’t see clearly who and how I serve then how can other people be clear that I am the one to serve (coach) them? They can’t.
I am also discovering what I like to do for ‘fun’. Hard to do that as an entrepreneur but it is an important part of finding your passion and living with purpose.
Walking through the dark places and embracing the light has given me more confidence. I believe people in my life would say that I have always been confident. I somewhat disagree. Yes, I can go into a room of people I don’t know and make instant friends. To me that isn’t all about confidence. I am now confident in me as I am today.
I am enough.
The me that still needs to lose weight.
The me that speaks my mind in a very straight as an arrow way. No nonsense.
The me that now speaks my truth. About feelings. About thoughts. About everything.
The me that is me. Unique. Perfectly imperfect.
Here’s the Deal
Captivity can keep you from doing great things. It can rob you of discovering and growing into your passion and your purpose.
Captivity is a place that holds purpose and passion captive. In a deep dark place. Shine a light in that place and watch them both begin to bloom.
What is holding you captive? What is the key that releases you from captivity?
Captive. Courageous. Complete.
Trials. We all face them and I doubt many of us enjoy them, but it’s through our trials, our life hurdles and our mistakes that Christians are molded into people who are more Christ-like in character.
When we go through our difficult seasons, we have to ask God, “What do you want me to learn from this?” When we make mistakes, we have to be willing to change and do things differently.
On Sunday afternoon, I promised to help a friend out with a project. I fully intended to do what I said I would do, but got sidetracked, and did not realize I missed helping my friend until over 24 hours later. I felt terrible! But there was nothing I could do about my faux pas, except to learn from it. I did not write the appointment down, nor did I set a reminder, and realized in the midst of a busy schedule, I have to do both for all weekend appointments.
I learned from my error, prayed my friend will forgive me, and hoped to be a better, more reliable person in the future. I desire to be Christ-like to the people around me.
In Mark 9:49, it says “Everyone will be salted with fire” but what does that mean? Doesn’t fire destroy, and salt preserve?
It is God’s way of saying our lives are purified and preserved when we are tested through the fiery trials of life. Our fiery trials often intercept us when we are headed down a wrong road. Many times, our fiery trials drive us to our knees. Our fiery trials are sometimes used by God to get our attention when our connection with him is faint.
Through our fiery trials, God is salting us and preserving us, because on our own, we don’t always choose the righteous path. He’s preserving us so our relationship with him does not spoil, and so it does not have to be thrown away.
When we look back over our mistakes and fiery trials, didn’t we learn something from each one? For many of us, didn’t they draw us closer to our Father in Heaven?
While sometimes the heat seems more intense than we can bear, God is purifying us to be more like his son. In 1 Corinthians 3:13, the Apostle Paul says we all go through one last refining fire: “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.”
My prayer is that at the end of my life I will have learned from all the fiery trials throughout my existence, and that because of being repeatedly salted by fire, there won’t be as much waste to burn up.
How about you? What does being salted by fire mean in your life? (LBW)
Recently, we began redoing our mud-filled back yard by creating a low-budget Japanese rock garden. The idea was a lot of rocks and a few key plants to make an oasis of peace under our large oak trees. I was excited one day when I got a Calloway’s email saying, “Thursday Only. Japanese Maples Regularly $29.99 Just $12.98 While they last!” So when Thursday came, I drove to Calloway’s at about ten ready to pick up my precious tree.
Walking up to the store I asked a clerk darting about where I could find my maple. “Sorry, they were gone within the first twenty minutes. There was a line when we opened the store at nine.” Proud of their popularity, he didn’t notice my disappointment.
Leaving the store, my agitation burned. Why had the store advertised the trees and only had enough for the first twenty minutes. Why hadn’t I come earlier? This upset stayed with me, oscillating back and forth with a sense from God that everything would be ok. If I was meant to have a Japanese maple I would get one.
Later that day, a neighbor posted a picture of her two beautiful Japanese maples from Calloway’s.
The picture of the delicate trees felt like salt rubbing in an old wound, but again God’s peace spoke to me. If I was meant to find an inexpensive Japanese maple he would provide, if not, something else would be better in the yard.
On Friday during a lumber run, I asked about their prices for Japanese Maples: The $89.00 sticker shock made me realize what a great deal the Calloway’s offer had been. Again, I let it go. Another store, another maple, bore the price of $149. A wave of upset followed quickly by the repeating peaceful sense from God.
In John 14:27 Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” The Bible in fact is full of references to the peace he wants to give us if we will give him all our problems. Admittedly, the tree was not a big problem, but sometimes our little problems are like slivers wedging their way under our skin, constantly pricking at our peace. In the past, not getting my Japanese maple would have become just such a sliver of upset.
Monday, as I was heading home from my chiropractic appointment I passed Calloway’s. I decided that even at their regular price of $29.99 they were a great deal so I decided to stop and buy. I asked the clerk if they had any and he said they were out. Wandering the store I decided to look for a hydrangea instead so I headed toward the back where the shade loving plants are kept. As I scanned the shadowy area, I spied a small delicate tree lying on the ground with the signature lacy leaves. It had been blown over by the wind so I picked it up and placed my precious Japanese maple in my cart. It was labeled $29.99 but was still a bargain and the only one around.
When I went to check out the manager did a double take as he scanned my tree, “Where did you find this?”
He was sure they were out, and so pointed it out to the other clerk. “Look what she found.”
“Yes, someone returned two of them,” she replied.
“Who would return a $12.98 tree?” I wondered out loud, and then I knew. God had someone return this tree just for me.
When he rang up the bill, another nice surprise. “You got it for $12.98.”
Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 3:16: “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” Peace is, or rather should be one of the hallmarks of the Christian faith.
In John 16:33 Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Jesus left us with His peace; he left His words so we would have peace; he doesn’t want our minds to be troubled by anything. As I sit outside in the midst of my peaceful Japanese garden and gaze at my perfect Japanese maple I am reminded daily of God actively working in my life to bring me His peace. He shows me daily how I can trust him, how I can lay down my upset in each and every circumstance and how I can run into His arms of peace.
Today’s guest blogger is Melba Booker. Here is Melba’s bio in her own words:
As a woman (wife, mom, grandmother, professional, entrepreneur), I look back and I am thankful that I was introduced to Jesus. He made me everything I am today. I believe becoming a Christian is the highlight of my life, for now my eyes are open to real life.I am the mother of three (3) children, grandmother of (7) and my passion is to see or hear that my family and others I come in contact with will honor the one and only true God.As a professional, I am proud of the 12 years I spent in the Education Administrative arena. As a business owner, I am proud to be a vehicle to encourage others to productivity. My husband, children, and I are enriched by the many places we lived and traveled to. We are thankful for the opportunity we had to serve America in the Armed Forces overseas and here in the USA. We now reside in Fort Worth, and are looking forward to making an impact in our community.
Have you ever read the book of Job?
Many shy away from it because it’s perceived as a downer, but as I read through its pages this time, it’s providing a totally new experience. In particular, the New Living Translation has opened my eyes to things I have not seen before. Job 17:1-16 says “…You must defend my innocence, O God, since no one else will stand up for me. You have closed their mind to understanding … the righteous keep moving forward, and those with clean hands become stronger and stronger…”
As an interpreter, I understand you can lose flavor, meaning in life, and can blend into the culture, but through the power of Christ it is now easier to move forward in righteousness so we can become stronger and stronger in the faith. It was more difficult on Job’s side of the cross, but today salvation through Christ makes us clean!
How do you need to be cleansed?
Jesus can wash you white as snow.
Are you moving forward, or do you find yourself back peddling a lot of the time in your faith?
Christ will lead you down a path of righteousness.
Job knew his only hope was with God. When we don’t think we can take another step, Jesus helps us put one foot in front of the other. When we are falsely accused like Job was, Christ will defend our innocence.
Have you ever been falsely accused? Hire Jesus as your defense attorney!
Job knew God was the only answer during his time of despair and today, we should turn to Christ in our need.
He is our strength.
He stands up for us when no one else will.
He moves us forward.