And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3:17).

I love words. So God uses them to get my attention, especially when I play word games with my friends as I sip my morning coffee.

Today the letters were T-L-A-I-R …hmmm. I could spell trail or trial. The only difference in the two letters is the position of the vowels, A and I.

That got my mind whirring.

When things are in a mess, I want the quickest way out. I don’t care for trials. Do you?

But we can turn our trial into God’s trail out by simply reversing the A and the I. How? We must ask if we think of us first (I) or God Almighty (A)?

If we put I before A, we will most likely wallow in the trial. Our focus will be inward, in the wrong place.  We lose perspective. Woe and pity can cloud our vision. Perhaps anger or unfairness cloaks our understanding. Doubt may creep in like a bug through a crack in the not-quite-level door jamb.

But when we turn to God for direction, eventually a trail will appear. A path to His lesson for us, which then leads to His mercy, His peace, and His grace. Recall the Hebrews wandering in the wilderness? They stayed in the trial until they learned to lean on God and His ways. Then He led them out into the place He promised.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life…” (John 14:6).

The next time we are lost in a fog of grief, a tangle of uncertainty, or a web of doubt, let us remember to reverse the letters. It might give us a different perspective on things.

One Leaf too Many

One Leaf too Many

Julie Cosgrove

Julie Cosgrove

Julie Cosgrove, besides being the author or fourteen traditionally published faith-based novels and novellas, is a devotional writer and editor for CRU’s digital ministry as well as for three other publications. Her own blog, Where Did You Find God Today? Has readers in over 50 countries. Check out her latest mystery series, The Relatively Seeking Mysteries, and the rest of her books at www.juliebcosgrove.com.

 

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Reading these words in Psalm 116:7 (KJV), “the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee,” reminded me of conversations with two of my strongest Christian friends. On the same day, both spoke of being mad at God.

One said a relative felt angry because of what she considered the undeserved suffering that came into the life of her young child. “Why didn’t God do something?”

The other friend spoke of a huge disappointment she had experienced. “Why didn’t God stop this?”

Both friends felt God had not dealt bountifully with them. He hadn’t done what they asked and expected. He seemed absent and left them struggling with an unanswered why.

Asking why puts us in good company.

Moses “returned to the Lord and said, O Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people?  Why is it You have sent me?” (Exodus 5:22 NKJV).

Joshua said, “Alas, Lord God, why have You brought this people over the Jordan at all—to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? Oh, that we had been content, and dwelt on the other side of the Jordan!” (Joshua 7:7 NKJV).

The angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon saying “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor! Gideon said to Him, O my Lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites” (Judges 6:12-13 NKJV).

On the cross, about the ninth hour Jesus “cried out with a loud voice, saying…My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46 NKJV).

Asking why is a normal response to hurt and heartbreak. It’s not a problem as long as we’re content without an explanation and willing to leave the matter in God’s almighty hands.

Along life’s journey we experience disappointment, loneliness, physical decline, stressed relationships, grief. Is God still good? The Bible repeatedly says he is. In the NIV, Psalm 116:7 reads, “the Lord has been good to you.”

How do we respond in hard places? We choose to believe in the dark what we found easy to believe in the light.

“For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations” (Psalm 100:5 KJV).

Even when we don’t understand, we can rely on fact. God always deals bountifully with his children.

Dianne Barker is a speaker, radio host, and author of 11 books, including the best-selling Twice Pardoned and award-winning I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! Organizing for the Maximum Life. She’s secretary of Christian Authors Network and a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association and Christian Women in Media Association. Visit www.diannebarker.com.

 

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It was so hot even the bees were dropping like flies.

In our desert area of Southern California, we get used to the soaring summer heat and I thought the insects would too, but we kept finding dead bees by our front door. We thought, “Can’t do anything about it and it can’t be anything too serious,” so we just ignored the strange phenomenon. Until we also noticed a dark spot on the wall near the ceiling—a wall close to the front door.

We called out pest control and they checked the attic. The truth was revealed. Bees had taken up residence in our attic, having gained entrance through a small hole in the roof. The honey from the hive had started leaking into the wall.

And the dead bees on our walkway? That was how bees clean out the hive. They push their dead comrades out and they tumble to the ground. The mystery was solved and serious damage to our house was averted.

The same thing happens with temptation. Even though there are signs we are being tempted, we don’t consider them serious and ignore them. Then we give into the temptation and the sin takes up residence. Maybe too late, we realize the benign signs are actually warnings. We need to clean out the “hive” by removing the sources of temptation.

God loves us so much that He warns us. “But people are tempted when their own evil desire leads them away and traps them. This desire leads to sin, and then the sin grows and brings death” (James 1:14-15 NCR).

Your faithful God reaches out to you to warn you because He wants only the best for you. See His loving hand?

Kathy Collard Miller is a speaker and author of over fifty books including At the Heart of Friendship: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series. She has spoken in over thirty states and eight foreign countries. Kathy and husband Larry live in Southern California and have two children and two grandchildren. Visit her: www.KathyCollardMiller.com; www.Facebook.com/KathyCollardMillerAuthor; @KathyCMiller. Instagram: @KathyCollardMiller

 

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Stop-and-Go Devotional by Diane Stortz

Stop-and-Go Devotional by Diane Stortz

Stop-and-Go Devotional: 52 Devotions for Busy Families
by Diane Stortz 
Publisher: Tommy Nelson
Release Date: February 12, 2019
ISBN#: 978-1-4003-1758-5
 

About the book:
Stop-and-Go Devotional provides short, active devotions based on Bible stories, designed for busy families with preschoolers and primary-grade children. Each short devotion consists of an action-filled Bible story (Stop and Read), an age-appropriate devotional thought with questions and a brief prayer (Think and Talk), plus an easy and fun follow-up activity, a thought to remember, and a supporting Bible verse (Green Means Go!).

 

About the author: 

Diane Stortz writes best-selling books for children and adults. Her goal: making God’s wonders known to the next generation. She and her husband, Ed, have two married daughters and five young grandchildren—all boys! Visit her website at DianeStortz.com.

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The enemy I battle most is Discouragement. I know better than to give that rascal a toehold in my life. But it slips in subtly, whispering hopelessness, just like long ago. Remember how the Israelites responded to Moses when he came to lead them out of bondage in Egypt.

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country…‘Therefore, say to the Israelites:

I am the Lord and

I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.

I will free you from being slaves to them, and

I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.

I will take you as my own people, and

I will be your God….

I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

I will give it to you as a possession.

I am the Lord.’

“Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and cruel bondage” (Exodus 6:1, 6-9 NIV).

Despite those I wills, discouragement ruled.

But the Lord didn’t change his plan. After a series of plagues, his people left Egypt for the land he’d promised, a land flowing with milk and honey.

Moses sent scouts to explore the land, and it was everything they could have dreamed. But only Joshua and Caleb believed they could move forward and inhabit the land. The other ten gave a negative report about giants in the land, discouraging the hearts of the people and filling them with fear. Instead of taking possession of their inheritance, they wandered in the wilderness for forty years, until all of the men twenty years of age and older had died because they didn’t wholly follow the Lord (Numbers 32:11).

What a sad story illustrating the power of discouragement.

All the more reason to guard our mind and heart against this mighty weapon wielded by the enemy of our souls.

Remember the Lord’s promise to Joshua when he assumed leadership, “…Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9 NIV).

Dianne Barker is a speaker, radio host, and author of 11 books, including the best-selling Twice Pardoned and award-winning I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! Organizing for the Maximum Life. She’s secretary of Christian Authors Network and a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association and Christian Women in Media Association. Visit www.diannebarker.com.

 

 

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