Does God speak to you through everyday events as well as Bible verses?

I have a tray on my living-room ottoman. Since I curl up on the couch with my coffee each morning for my prayer and quiet time, the tray contains my devotional material and Bible within easy reach.

Last Saturday, I had absolutely nothing on my plate. A rare occurrence. I chose not to do any chores. I stayed in my pjs and vegged out on old TV sitcoms, game shows, and home-makeover episodes. That evening, I watched two clean mysteries, my favorite genre to read and write.

Afterwards, I clicked off the TV and set the remote on the tray. As I rose off the cushion, my heart rose into my throat. The remote sat on top of my Bible.

Message received. I could’ve spent more time in the Word. Communed more with my Lord and prayed for others…but I didn’t.

Down time is a good thing. In fact, setting aside a regular rest period is one of the Ten Commandments, stated in Exodus 20:8. God calls it the Sabbath and we are to remember it. But the rest of the verse states to keep it holy. To be holy means to set something apart from the ordinary.

Had my down time been holy? My day off was not an ordinary occurrence. I didn’t watch anything with bad language or sex in it, which is a challenge nowadays. But how much more rested would I have been if I had placed my Bible in my hands more than my remote control?

The next time I have a down day, no matter how remote, may I choose to spend more of that special time with the One who ultimately provided the chance in the first place.

Julie Cosgrove

Julie Cosgrove

Fallen Leaf by Julie B. Cosgrove

Fallen Leaf by Julie B. Cosgrove

Julie B. Cosgrove is a professional speaker, freelance writer, and award-winning author of twenty-one faith-based books. She is a digital missionary as on staff at Power to Change (Campus Crusades Canada) assisting twenty-seven-plus volunteer writers from all over the world to produce free, daily devotionals as well as meaningful testimonies and articles. The two websites, The Life.com and Issues I Face, have yearly readership in the hundreds of thousands in five languages. Her blog Where Did You Find God Today? reaches readership in over fifty countries.  Visit her website at www.juliebcosgrove.com. A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, The Christian Authors Network, and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, she’s an INSPY Award semi-finalist and a Grace Award Finalist. She was awarded Best Religious Fiction 2016 and Best Cozy Mystery 2017 by the Texas Association of Authors.

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutube

 

I think it’s a bit humorous that Labor Day is a vacation day. We celebrate labor by ceasing work.

Today is the 125th anniversary of this national holiday paying tribute to the America worker’s contribution to our country.

The value of a strong work ethic was highlighted centuries ago in the Book of Proverbs, which contrasts the diligent, hardworking man with the lazy, slothful man.

“Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth” (10:4).

“Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor” (12:24).

“The lazy man does not roast his game, but the diligent man prizes his possessions” (12:27).

“The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied” (13:4).

“The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty” (21:5).

“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men” (22:29 KJV).

The slothful man, also called a sluggard (disgusting word), receives no esteem.

“The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway” (15:19).

“The sluggard’s craving will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work” (21:25).

“The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth” (26:15).

The verse preceding this changed my life. “As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed” (26:14).

I considered myself a night person and habitually hit the snooze button when that annoying alarm sounded. That changed after I had children. Getting up was not optional. I had to tend to their needs and send hubby off to work. Staying up was optional. After the kids started school, I found my comfy bed especially inviting on dark winter mornings and felt no guilt taking a nap first thing. After all, I’d stayed up past midnight doing housework after everyone else went to bed. I read this:

“As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed.”

The words hassled me when I’d crawl under the comforter for my early-morning nap. Sleep wouldn’t come. I felt something—Someone—urging me to get up and spend time with the Lord. Making a daily choice to give Bible study and prayer priority ignited the power of Christ and changed me into a “morning person.”

Morning is my favorite time. I refresh myself by spending time in Jesus’ presence and continue my day feeling energized, pursuing diligence in my labor.

Enjoy your day. Diligence deserves a reward!

(Scriptures from NIV unless noted.)

I Don't Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore!

I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore!

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. Visit www.diannebarker.com.

 

 

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutube

My friend’s husband slipped during a vacation and injured his back. Instead of getting better, the pain grew worse. After numerous doctors’ visits and tests, he heard the news no one wants to hear. Cancer. Of the bones. And he needed back surgery.

House keys

The surgery left this formerly active husband and father with a back brace and a cane. His wife struggled with responsibilities he’d previously carried with ease. Sometimes the loss of the life they’d taken for granted and the frustration over lack of youthful strength boiled over.

One such day, she fumed to herself and her husband as she hurled boxes that contained a lifetime of accumulated junk and memories into the dumpster at the local junk yard. “Why didn’t we prepare for old age before it was so hard?”

In her rant, her keys sailed with her belongings into the huge dumpster. Her frustration turned to desperation—and then to God. “Lord, forgive me for complaining. Please have mercy and rescue my keys!”

Halfway down, the keys dangled from protruding trash. She asked two burly men, “Please, would you crawl in and rescue my keys?”

One man fished out a long pole with an attached magnet and snagged the keys. “No problem.”

Has weakness, frustration, or lack of planning dropped you in the middle of a mess? We can’t adequately predict or prepare for some things. But the One who knows our future has promised:

Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you. (Isaiah 46:4 NIV)

Lord Jesus, please sustain me in weakness, rescue me in my stumbles, and carry me when I’m too weak to walk.

Little Women Big God

Little Women Big God

Debbie W. Wilson—author, Bible teacher, and life coach—helps people, especially overachievers, give themselves a break and live in God’s grace so they can enjoy fruitful and satisfying lives. Her newest book, Little Faith, Big God (Leafwood Publishers) releases February 2020. Share her journey to refreshing faith at debbieWwilson.com.

 

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutube

 

Life is marked by change. Eighteen months ago, my husband and I purged our earthly belongings and moved aboard a sailboat. This was no midlife crisis. We did it because God said “go.”

Transitioning from house to boat was my husband’s dream come true. He grew up in a waterfront home and drove a speedboat when he was six years old. He later built a small sailboat and then owned a 27-foot Catalina. As for me—well, I grew up on the Alberta prairies. The first time I rowed a boat, I did it backwards. I don’t even like cold showers.

Moving onto a sailboat was far beyond my comfort zone. Fear might have overwhelmed me except for one thing: understanding God’s character.

A lifetime of walking with the Lord through sunshine and shadow has taught me a few things about what He’s like: He’s faithful. He always has our best interest in mind. He never leaves our side. He surrounds us like a shield with His lovingkindness. He provides. He brings joy.

Change is inevitable. Sometimes it comes in a nanosecond with no warning whatsoever. Other times we see it approach and have time to prepare. Regardless, it often brings uncertainty, and uncertainty breeds fear.

Next time change knocks on your door, refuse to let fear stop you from opening it. Instead, focus on the truth about who God is. Thank Him that change brings opportunities to know Him more intimately.

Eighteen months after making our significant change, I have no regrets. I’ve experienced more joy and peace—and opportunities to give thanks when things don’t go as expected—than in the past two decades. Walking in the truth of who God is made the difference for me, and it can do the same for you.

Grace Fox is the author of nine books including Moving From Fear to Freedom: A Woman’s Guide to Peace in Every Situation (Harvest House Publishers). She regularly speaks at women’s events across North America. As a career global worker, she also trains church leaders and national missionaries in Nepal and the Middle East. www.gracefox.com.

 

 

 

 

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutube

She’s the woman we all love to hate, and she used to really bug me. The woman Proverbs 31 praises so highly—she’s just too perfect. She meets everyone’s needs with a smile and looks great doing it. And she gets up early, well before sunrise, and gets right to work. Ugh.

Through the years I’ve tried to follow her example. I had my couponing-and-three-store-menu-planning phase, my make-crafts-and-sell-them phase, and I’ve even had more than one let’s-get-up-before-the-sun-and-get-this-day-going phase. But eventually I learned I was trying to copy this much-maligned woman’s activities rather than her character.

What the Proverbs 31 woman actually models for us is a godly life. She’s a wife and mother, a homemaker and an entrepreneur, but she could just as easily be a college student, a single mom, a grandmother. She’s faithful, diligent, industrious, generous, compassionate, kind, and wise—all virtues the book of Proverbs advises women and men to develop. Why? Because they honor God and make life work.

When we fear (respect and honor) the Lord, we begin to understand the world and ourselves as His, which is true knowledge. Taking what we know to be true and applying it correctly is living with godly wisdom. That’s what the book of Proverbs is all about, and that’s what the Proverbs 31 woman is good at.

Turns out there’s no reason to dislike her after all!

 

Diane Stortz

Diane Stortz

Diane Stortz writes best-selling books for children and adults. Her goal is making God’s wonders known to the next generation. Her newest book, from which this post is taken, is Encountering God’s Heart for You: 365 Devotions from Genesis to Revelation, available for pre-order now. Diane and her husband have two married daughters and five young grandchildren—all boys! www.DianeStortz.com

Encountering God's Heart for You by Diane Stortz

Encountering God’s Heart for You by Diane Stortz

 

 

 

 

 

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutube