Inspirational Women: Mary and Martha of Bethany

Patience is a virtue

“Patience is a virtue” is a quote that I have heard over and over. It certainly had its challenges for me growing up in a household with 11 other siblings that’s for sure. However, even in smaller households patience could prove to be daunting as well.

Mary and Martha, sisters in the Village of Bethany, were as different as “night and day.” Mary, noted for being a “true worshiper”, and Martha, noted as a “devoted servant”, had their ups and downs especially when it came to running the small household. They also had a brother, Lazarus. Martha was the oldest, while Mary was the middle sibling, and Lazarus was the youngest of the three.

One thing that they all had in common was that Jesus was their cousin and according to some writings, Jesus often visited with his “cousin” family on a number of occasions. In Luke 10:38-41, it tells us that while Jesus was visiting at their home, Martha became concerned that Mary was not helping to prepare the food and all the preparations that had to be made upon Jesus’ arrival.

Martha approached Jesus and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” (verse 40 NIV).

Jesus answered her saying, “Martha, Martha. You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (verse 41 NIV)

While growing up in my family, I was one of the older siblings and helped with the chores around the house. My oldest sister loved to cook and helped my mother in the kitchen preparing meals. I was often “stuck” babysitting my younger siblings and can remember feeling that my chores were “many” compared to my sister’s. We would often get in a disagreement as to our responsibilities. My mother often told us that our responsibilities around the house were equally important and she appreciated our willingness to help.

Jesus appreciated Martha’s willingness to prepare food for his visit; however, he felt that Mary took time out from the busyness of the preparations by listening to what He had to say when he came to visit them.

Often times we get so busy that we do not take the time out of our schedules to just sit quietly and “listen” to the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. We have children to care for, jobs to rush to, chores, meetings to attend, and other responsibilities that crowd out “times to sit and reflect upon God’s grace, love, and mercy.”

Martha was trying to be the perfect host rather than taking the time to listen to what Jesus had to say when he visited this family. John 11:5 tells us that “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus”. Martha was just trying to be “the hostess with the mostest” and prove that she was the hallmark of the family and could run the household.

How does this all relate to “patience”? When Martha reacted to Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet by grumbling, Jesus told her not to be upset by Mary’s actions because she had “chosen what was better”. Mary was eager to learn all that Jesus had to say and she could not do this if she were running around the house trying to “make preparations” for Jesus’ visit. Patience on Martha’s part was needed after Jesus’ response to her being upset.

Sometimes a little patience goes a long way in how we react to the circumstances around us. Patience is not an easy virtue to attain. Sometimes when we ask for it, we get “troubles” and things that make us lose our patience instead. That is when we have to stop, thank God for helping us to “learn” patience in our lives, and then continue to believe that he will develop this characteristic as we grow in his knowledge and his word.

I know that there have been many times when I have had to re-learn lessons about patience in my own life. God continues to chisel out the things in my life which helps shape the person that he wants me to become. That, my friends, is a “work in progress” every single day. But thanks be to God who gives me all the help that I need to “become more like Him.”

May the Lord bless you and give you the desire of your heart as you continue to live for Him.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Inspirational Women of the Bible: The Samaritan Woman (Woman at the Well)

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Living Water

“Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created.”–Esther 4:14

Several months ago I was given an opportunity to share a sermon about the woman at the well (the Samaritan woman). Since I am writing and sharing about inspirational women of the Bible, I thought I would share her story with you.

Every story has a beginning, a middle, and an ending. The story of the woman at the well is a classic, three-fold story of salvation with Jesus being the witness. First, you have a beginning (confrontation), a middle (conversation), and an ending (conversation) between Jesus and the Samaritan woman. It is a dialogue between two people and a conversation with a sinful woman whose life will be changed forever (conversion) after one conversation.

In John, 4:1-4, it tells us that Jesus left Judea and went back to Galilee and had to go through Samaria. (Keep in mind that most Jews avoided Samaria because of their prejudice and hatred of the people who were a mixed race of Jews and Gentiles.) But not Jesus. He was unaffected by the prejudices of the Jews because there was a woman he needed to see and talk with.

He went to a town called Sychar and waited by Jacob’s well and about the sixth hour (noon) he sees her coming, and in verse 7 he asks her for a drink of water (his disciples had gone into town to buy food).

Background on the woman: Normally the women went to the well in the morning when it was cool. Because this woman was alone and came at the hottest time of the day indicates that she was a social outcast which is evident later in verses 16-18. She was hated by her own people.

In verse 8, it says that when Jesus asked her for a drink she was amazed that a Jew would ask for a drink “from a woman”, let alone a Samaritan woman. (It was considered inappropriate for a Rabbi to speak to a woman in public.)

In verse 10, Jesus then offers her a drink of “living water” but at this point she is not ready for this living water (salvation) and asks where she can get it.

In verse 11, they talked about the water. He tells her that she can drink from Jacob’s well every day and she would still get thirsty and would have to come back for more. He tells her that he can give her a drink of water that will forever satisfy her.

In verse 15, she asks him to give her this water. But first they talked about her sinfulness. Jesus asks her to go and bring her husband back, and she says she has no husband.

In verse 17, he tells her everything about herself. She had five husbands and the one with whom she lived was not her husband. This information clearly makes her “sit up and take notice” that perhaps Jesus is a “prophet.”

In verses 19-20, they talked about worship. She tries to start an argument about the proper place to worship, but Jesus tells her that “true worship” is never found in rituals and substitutes for God; it can only be found in spiritual worship–from his Spirit (verse 21–worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth).

Jesus simply reveals himself and it was what she needed to understand. Then in verse 25, she acknowledges that “when the Messiah comes (Christ) he will explain everything to us.”

In verse 26, Jesus declares that “I who speak to you am he.”

Then Jesus’ disciples return and are surprised to see Jesus speaking to a woman, but
“they did not ask Jesus why”. (verse 27)

In verse 28, Jesus reveals himself and she responds in faith; and her salvation was immediate (conversion). She leaves her water jar behind, runs to the town and testifies that she just met Christ and that he told her everything she had ever done. She met Jesus and was forever changed. The men saw her “transformation.”

In Proverbs 22:1, it tells us that “a good name is more desirable than great riches; to be respected more than silver or gold.”

Jesus gave this woman a “new name”. Her past would no longer define who she was or would become. First, she was transformed by the renewing of her mind and God filled her emptiness and cleansed her heart. Secondly, she was no longer immoral (sinful) but a child of God. Finally, she was no longer disgusting/rejected/ostracized by her people, but she was now forgiven and accepted.

In verse 39, it tells us that because of her testimony, many believed. In verse 40, they asked Jesus to stay for two days; and through his words, many more became believers. Verse 42 says that they met the “Master and Savior” of the world.

Three truths that can be learned from Jesus’ dialogue with the woman at the well:

  1. First, Salvation comes to those who recognize their need for the spiritual life that they don’t have. Living water is obtained by those who recognize they are spiritually thirsty. John 4:14…”whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
  2. Second, Salvation comes to those who confess and repent of their sin and desire forgiveness. Romans 10:9-10: “But if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”
  3. Third Salvation can only be found in Jesus. John 14:6: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Acts 4:12: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

I leave you with the beautiful words from the hymn (chorus), “Fill My Cup Lord”, by Richard Blanchard:

“Fill my cup, Lord–I lift it up, Lord!

Come and quench this thirsting of my soul.

Bread of heaven, feed me till I want no more;

Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole.”

May the Lord fill your cup with his love and strength beginning today–January 1, 2020, a new day, a new beginning, and a fresh start. Everything in the past is gone. Be a truly inspiring woman for the Lord.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Inspirational Women of the Bible: Mary, the Mother of Jesus

“For nothing is impossible with God.”–Luke 1:37

Two years ago during the Christmas season, I was privileged to share a sermon about Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Because we are now in the 2019 Christmas Season, I wanted to share that sermon with you as follows:

Mary is the best-known female character in the Bible, and everyone knows her as the “Mother of Jesus.” In Matthew 1:16 her name appears in the geneology of Matthew–“and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called the Christ.”

It has been told that she was a peasant woman, a young adolescent, and probably poor, from Aaron’s line (priests). Parents and siblings are not mentioned, but it is assumed she came from a Godly home of devout Jews–she lived in the Village of Nazareth.

During Mary’s time period, it was Jewish custom that girls were not trained in Holy Scriptures but were trained to run the household; but as seen in her praise in her “Magnificat” in Luke1:47-55, Mary was well-versed in scriptures.

Mary became betrothed to Joseph, son of Heli, at a very young age. Although we don’t know the exact age that she was pledged to be married, the minimum age for girls to be bethrothed during this time period was as early as 12 years old, and this generally took place one year before the marriage which was legally binding and could only be dissolved by a legal divorce.

Isaiah 7:14 tells us that “Mary was a chaste virgin.” Other places where Mary is mentioned are:

  • Luke 1: Mary was visited by the Angel Gabriel and her visit with Elizabeth where she stayed for three months.
  • Matthew 1:24 and Luke 2:1-7: Both gospels tell about the Birth of Jesus–Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem for the census where she gave birth to Jesus.
  • Luke 2:21: Jesus is presented in the temple and blessed by Simeon (8 days old/circumcised).
  • Luke 2:41: Feast of Passover each year. During one incident when Jesus was 12 years old, his parents (Mary and Joseph) were returning home when it was discovered that Jesus stayed behind so they went back to get him. In verse 48, Mary told Jesus that they had anxiously been searching for Him and his reply in verse 49 was, “Didn’t you know that I had to be in my Father’s house,” but they did not understand.
  • John 2:1-11: Wedding feast at Cana. The wine ran out on the third day so Jesus turned the water into wine per Mary’s request for his help.
  • John 19:26: Crucifixion. Jesus saw his mother and said, “Dear woman, here is your son”, and to John, his disciple, he said, “Here is your mother” so John cared for her the rest of her days.
  • Luke 24:9: Resurrection. Mother of James (Jesus’ mother), plus Mary Magdalene and Joanna told the eleven disciples that Christ had risen (Judas hung himself).

In both Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55-56, it mentions Mary’s other children: James, Joses (Joseph), Judas and Simon, plus two other sisters.

The birth of Jesus was foretold in Luke 1:26-38. In verses 26-28 the Angel Gabriel greets Mary and tells her she is highly favored by God (favor means gaining approval, acceptance, or special benefits or blessings). Mary’s reaction was that she was troubled and afraid; but as we read the rest of their conversation, we get a better picture into Mary’s character.

She exhibits a:

Humble Heart–that God had chosen her to carry His Son. She probably thought to herself: who am I that God would think so highly of me for this blessed event. After all she was not wealthy or noble, but just an ordinary young girl and was a chaste virgin. (vs. 29)

Willing Heart/Open Heart–she listened to what the Angel told her about what was going to take place; she then accepted and trusted God and was willing to be used by God. (vs. 34)

Obedient Heart–Mary was an obedient follower of God. God didn’t look at her outward appearance, but knew her heart and that she would be obedient in what He asked of her. (vs. 35)

The angel then tells Mary about her cousin Elizabeth and how that even in her old age, she was going to have a baby (now in her sixth month). (vs. 36)

In verse 37, the angel concludes his time with Mary by saying, “For nothing is impossible with God.”

Servant Heart–Mary was a woman of faith and in vs. 38, she said, “let it be to me as you have said” (if God said it, then I believe it mentality.) Mary proves that she is humble, willing and obedient to become God’s servant and believed God’s destiny for her life.

After Mary’s visit with the angel, she goes to the hill country of Judea to visit with her cousin Elizabeth.

Luke 1:40 says that when Mary greeted Elizabeth, her baby leaped in her womb/Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and in verses 42-45, Elizabeth confirms to Mary that which would take place in her own life: She (Mary) was the chosen one to carry the Son of God and would be blessed among all women.

Mary then begins to praise God (Mary’s Song):

Magnificat–Mary’s Song: In verses 46-55 Mary definitely shows that she knows the scriptures. This is a song of strength, trust, obedience, and power to believe that what God said he would do, he would now accomplish in Mary’s life.

In verse 48, Mary declares: “For He has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed.” (humble servant)

Mary then stays with Elizabeth for three months before returning home, indicating that she was probably there for the birth of John.

How can we apply the events in Mary’s journey to our own lives today?

I Samuel 16:7 says, “…the Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (Remember this was how King David was chosen.)

When God chose Mary, He looked at her heart, not her appearance or circumstances.

When God wants to use individuals like us, He is looking at our hearts–our love for Him–and not our outward appearance or circumstances.

Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, do it from the heart for the Lord, and not for people.”

Mary wasn’t thinking “what will people think,” (especially Joseph); only that she was highly favored and chosen to carry the Son of God. She went from an ordinary individual to an extraordinary one.

God asks that whatever He asks of us that we do it with our whole heart for Him and not for men.

Luke 1:37 says, “For nothing is impossible with God.” Just as Elizabeth conceived in her old age, and Mary miraculously bore the Son of God–Jesus Christ who would end up bearing the sins of the world and saving all of us–they both understood and saw firsthand in their lives that “nothing was and is impossible with God.”

SO SHOULD WE: When God speaks to each of us and we listen to Him, let us all be willing to step out in faith so that He can show us His continued plan for our lives, because “nothing is impossible that God can’t do in and through our lives today for His honor and glory.”

Just BELIEVE and TRUST Him, and He will GUIDE you on your life’s journey every step of the way.

Blessing to each and every one of you during this blessed Christmas season.

Yvonne

Inspirational Women of the Bible: Ruth

“…where you go, I will go…” Ruth 1:16

“I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much.” – Mother Teresa

When I became a Christian at the age of 15, one of the songs that we sang quite frequently at our church was, “I’ll Go Where You Want Me To Go.” At the time, and being a new Christian, I did not realize what that song truly meant–at least for my life.

As I walked my journey with Him, He began to reveal the path that He had for me. At times, that path took a turn here and there, but it was through His grace that He taught me how to “go where He wanted me to go.” My husband and I have relied on His words to guide and direct us for over 50 years.

As I began to look at Ruth’s life and the difficulties she had as a young widow and how bleak her life must have been after the death of her husband, Naomi’s son, she made a decision that would impact not only her life but the lives of generations to come. She was given a new life with Naomi in a foreign land where she met and married Boaz–a kinsman-redeemer.

God had a plan for Ruth. She and Boaz had a son, Obed, who was the father of Jesse, the father of David. Ruth 4:18 gives us the family line of David as:

“Perez was the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon,m Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, Boaz the father of Obed, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David.”

It was through this line that Jesus, our Savior, was born over 2000 years ago. That was a definite, awesome plan that God foretold and it began with a woman named Ruth who trusted her heart to follow her mother-in-law Naomi to Bethlehem. She was a determined young women. When Naomi tried to convince Ruth to stay in Moab, she replied: “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.”–Ruth 16:17.

One of the greatest lessons we can learn from the story of Ruth is that “her past and where she came from” did not define who Ruth was and later became after she met and married Boaz. God’s plans for Ruth were bigger than she could have ever imagined when she followed Naomi.

God has a plan for each and every one of us. I know personally I have struggled at times when there was a “turn here and there along the pathway” but when I trusted God and believed that He would “direct my path” He never failed me.

That is what He wants for each us when we say, “I’ll go where you want me to go Dear Lord.” May He richly bless you during this Christmas season and touch you in your mind, body, and spirit; and that His hands, His words, and His grace be upon you.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Inspirational Women of the Bible: Sarah

Description for women: inspirational, devoted, faithful, remarkable, fearless, strong, powerful, amazing, fierce, courageous, bold, and brave. This list is in no way complete as there are other descriptions for women as well.

There are many women in the Bible who have been an inspiration based on their lives, and they are a testament of what God has done for them. I would like to examine some of these women from His Word and share something about their lives with you so that many women who are losing faith may be encouraged.

The Lord did for Sarah what He had promised.

First, we will begin with Sarah. We are told in Genesis that Sarah wanted to have a child earlier in her life but that this never happened until she reached a much older age.

In Genesis 21:1-7 it tells us: “Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

Although Sarah was frustrated and had a weak faith at times and even gave her handmaid over to Abraham because she was barren, God also saw the tremendous faith that she had. Sarah was believed to have had great faith in God’s promises for a child; she was steadfast; hospitable; she had a deep affection for her husband; a sincere love for God; and had hope in what God promised.

Sarah was an example of an “unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight (I Peter 3:4).”

When my husband and I were married, we had plans to start a family and I longed for that to happen. However, it wasn’t until we were married almost 19 years before I became pregnant with my daughter.

Throughout our years of waiting, the Lord encouraged my heart that this would be fulfilled according to His plans for our lives. We were so involved in ministry with youth and children that although I yearned to have our own child, God blessed us immensely in working with so many. I still believed God would fulfill His promises but in His time.

Before I knew I was pregnant, the Lord spoke to me in a very special way and told me that “when I became pregnant that I was to name our daughter a certain name and her middle name was to be spelled a certain way.” Three months later I became pregnant and she was to be born that year on Thanksgiving Day. She came one week early.

Talk about a miracle. She was our miracle and always will be a reminder that no matter how long it takes God to answer prayers and desires, His promises are true no matter what the circumstances.

My prayer is that if someone is going through a period of doubting God to fulfill His promises, that you take a “leap of faith” and continue to walk in the path He has set out for you and He will fulfill what He has promised.

May the Lord bless and keep you in His care.

Blessings,

Yvonne

“What Is” Series: Peace

He is our peace

“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.”–St. Francis de Sales

What is peace? According to Merriam-Webster, peace (n) is:

  • a state of tranquility or quiet freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions
  • harmony in personal relations
  • a state or period of mutual concord between governments–a pact or agreement to end hostility
  • used inter jectionally to ask for silence or calm or as a greeting for farewell

Some phrases associated with peace include: hold one’s peace; speak now or forever hold your peace; at peace with; keep the peace; make peace; peace and quiet; peace out; peace of mind; rest in peace; peace offering; peace in the valley; and peace in the midst of the storm.

Of all the topics in my “What Is” series, I can honestly say that “peace” is one that I struggle with the most in my life. Quieting oneself in the midst of chaos/discord is not an easy task. One would have to ask the question, “Am I always in a state of tranquility, quiet or calm during difficult situations that arise in my life?” We probably all agree that life is not always quiet and tranquil, yet the Word of God clearly teaches us to “focus our thoughts on things of God because He is our source of peace.”

Let me share the following scriptures (NIV) as a reference to help us “in the midst of the storm” when we are on balmy waters:

II Corinthians 13:11 (Paul’s words to the Corinthians): “Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfections, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.”

Luke 8:48: “Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

Romans 8:6: “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.”

Psalm 4:8: “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

Ephesians 2:14: “For he himself is our peace.”

Psalm 29:11: “The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.”

I Corinthians 14:33: “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.”

Galatians 5:22: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, and peace.”

Whenever we have doubt, trouble, or chaos in our lives, John 16:33 (NIV) reminds us of Jesus’ words to his disciples: “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 also tells us in Philippians 4:6-7 that “we should not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ.” (NIV)

We began this series with Truth and ended the series with Peace. In John 14:6 (NIV): Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Finally, Jesus tells us in John 14:27 (NIV): “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.”

When we focus our thoughts on the things of God, he will be our source of “inner peace”.

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May he make his face to shine upon you and give your peace.

Blessings,

Yvonne

“What Is” Series: Joy

The joy of the Lord is my strength.

“Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home…it’s your responsibility to love it, or change it.”–Chuck Patahniuk

Merriam-Webster defines joy (n) as:

  • the emotion evoked by the well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires: Delight
  • the expression or exhibition of such emotion: Gaiety
  • a state of happiness or felicity (bliss)
  • a source or cause of delight

Joy is not just a smile or a laugh. Joy is a state of mind–state of contentment, confidence, and hope deep within our souls. Joy is the product of fellowship with the Father and Son (I John 1:3-4).

Joy denotes happiness–if you are joyful then you are happy.

Some phrases that describe joy are: afternoon delight, beside myself with joy, bundle of joy, weep for joy, wish someone joy, joyride, leap for joy, a joy to behold, and pride and joy to name a few.

But how does the Word of God describe joy (NIV):

Romans 15:13: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

James 1:2-3: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”

John 16-24: “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”

Proverbs 17:22: “A cheerful (joyful) heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

John 16:22: “So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”

I Peter 1:8: “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.”

Romans 14:17: “For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

Psalms 16:11: “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.”

John 15:11: “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”

Proverbs 10:28: “The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.”

Isaiah 55:12: “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”

God’s Word is filled with promises that God makes to His people that He will fill them with an “inexpressible and glorious joy”; fill us with “joy in His presence”; “His joy may be in you and your joy may be complete”; and we will “go out in joy and be led forth in peace.” These are wonderful promises to us all that no matter what we are going through–no matter what the circumstances are in our lives–we can be filled with God’s presence and He can fill our hearts with joy as we trust in Him to work everything out for our good.

We serve a mighty God. This should make us all smile and be joyful. Go forth and find joy in the journey God has set before you for “the joy of the Lord is our strength.”

Blessings,

Yvonne

“What Is” Series: Trust

Trust in the Lord always

You can trust me. Yes, or absolutely. Thank you. I care about this. I trust your judgment. I understand. Tell me more. Yes, I see what you are saying. These are just some of the phrases that we say to let others know that we trust them and/or that we can be trusted.

How do we show others that we can be trusted? By our actions/behavior. If we tell someone that “you can trust me” and then do the complete opposite in our actions/behavior towards them, then we not not trustworthy. Trust is earned and should not be taken lightly.

“Trust is the glue to life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication It’s the fundamental principle that holds all relationships.”–Stephen Covey

Merriam-Webster defines trust (n) as:

  • assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something
  • dependence on something future or contingent: Hope (i.e. bought furniture on trust)
  • a property interest held by one person for the benefit of another
  • care, custody (i.e. the child committed to her trust)
  • a charge or duty imposed in faith or confidence as the condition of some relationship

The Word of God gives prime examples of a loving God who asks that we “trust Him” in all of our circumstances in life:

Jeremiah 17:7-8: “But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.” (NIV)

Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (NIV)

Psalm 143:8: “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” (NIV)

Psalm 91:1-2: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (NIV)

Proverbs 29:25: “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” (NIV)

Proverbs 16:20: “Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.” (NIV)

Psalm 56:3-4: “When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word, I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?” (NIV)

Psalm 37:3: “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.” (NIV)

When I researched scriptures with the word “trust”, I was amazed at what a loving God we serve. He only asks that we trust him–to put our confidence in him–and believe that he will work “all things out for our good.” He asks that we “not doubt” his love for us.

In James 1:5-6 we are told that, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. BUT when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” (NIV) Doubting is not trusting.

If we find ourselves doubting God’s unfailing love, let us look at Isaiah 43:2-4 which states, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom; Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life.” (NIV)

God promised the Israelites that he would be with them and that he was their only Saviour–that they were to put their trust in him alone–because He loved them and they were precious in His sight.

God loves us and wants us to put our trust in Him and to look to Him for strength and courage as we “pass through the rivers” in our life’s journey. Will you trust Him today?

Blessings,

Yvonne

“What Is” Series: Love

God is Love!

“Love is like a beautiful flower which I may not touch, but whose fragrance makes the garden a place of delight just the same.”–Helen Keller

“You can give without loving But you cannot Love without Giving.”–Amy Carmichael

I love you. I adore you. You’re amazing. Love ya. You are so awesome. I love you a bushel and a peck. Love you to the moon and back. Love you to the mountains and back. I’m yours. You complete me. You’re my angel. You’re mine. These are all expressions of love–love phrases–that many of us have said to one another to express our deepest feelings of “love.”

But what is love? Merriam-Webster dictionary defines love as (noun):

  • strong affection for another arising out of kinship of personal ties (i.e. maternal mother)
  • affection and tenderness felt by lovers
  • affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests
  • an assurance of affection (i.e. give her my love)
  • the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration
  • unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another (i.e. the fatherly concern of God for humankind; brotherly concern for others)
  • a person’s adoration of God

This week my husband took me to see the new “Downton Abbey” movie. I asked him a couple of days before it was to begin showing in the theater if he wanted to see it, and he would always say “not really.” But by Friday morning (the opening day of the movie), he asked me if I wanted to go to the first afternoon showing. I gladly jumped at this invitation and afterwards he mentioned that the movie had a slow start, but by the end of the movie he felt “an emotional attachment” for it.

My husband decided out of his love for me that he would give up whatever he felt was deemed more important on his to-do list that day to take me to see the movie that I couldn’t wait to see. Throughout the 50 years that we have been married, he never ceases to surprise me by giving unselfishly–even if it means sitting through a movie that he didn’t want to see in the first place–just to make me happy. To me, this is love.

Throughout the scriptures, God’s Word tells and shows us what love is all about:

John 15:12: “My command is this: love each other as I have loved you.” (NIV)

I John 3:1: “How great is the love that the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.” (NIV)

I Corinthians 13:1-3: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging symbol. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” (NIV)

I Corinthians 13:13: “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (NIV)

I John 4:16: “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” (NIV)

John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (NIV)

I Corinthians 13:4-5: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (NIV)

Jesus admonishes us to love each other as much as He loved us. When Jesus was asked in Matthew 22:36: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied in Matthew 22:37-39 that we are to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments (vs 40).” (NIV)

John 15:13: “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (NIV)

Jesus laid down his life for us all. Now this is love.

May the Lord bless and keep you and make his face to shine upon you and give you peace and love in showing others the kind of love that God shows us. Be kind, be compassionate, be grateful, be forgiving. We only live once and the time to love is now!

Blessings,

Yvonne

“What Is” Series: Hope

Our hope is not in ourselves but in the Lord.

Hope to see you soon. Hope you feel better. Hope for a promotion. Hoping for the best. I hope so. Hope he/she remembers. Hope to be invited to the wedding. These are examples of what we say regarding our perception of hope.

But what is hope? Merriam-Webster defines hope as:

“To cherish a desire with anticipation: to want something to happen or to be true;

“To desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment;

“To expect with confidence; Trust.”

If hope is an expectation of what is to come, then someone who has no hope has lost their faith to believe in the One who gives us hope. If you lose hope, what happens to faith? Without faith there is no hope and without hope you die–there is no expectation of what is to come. We are lost without hope. Without hope we no longer believe in what God has promised in His Word.

Jesus gives us this hope. Let us look at some of the scriptures that pertain to hope–God’s evidence of faith and the hope within us.

Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)

Isaiah 40:31: “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (NIV)

Colossians 1:27: “…the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (NIV)

Romans 8:24-25: “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” (NIV)

Romans 5:2-5: “…and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (NIV)

Job 17:15-16: “…where then is my hope? Who can see any hope for me? Will it go down to the gates of death? Will we descend together into the dust?” (NIV)

Psalm 147:11: “The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” (NIV)

According to the scriptures we have read, faith appears to be the catalyst that creates the hope that there will be a better tomorrow–that all will be well no matter what our circumstances seem to be at the time. There is no doubt in Biblical hope because we know “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

Blessings,

Yvonne