A Tap Says Notice me! While sitting at my kitchen table, I often feel a tap on my arm. Looking down, I find my white kitty touching me with his paw. Sometimes he lets out a pitiful mew as his blue eyes gaze with longing.

Sir Edmond usually wants me to feed him, but sometimes he’s pleading for his morning brush-down. Or he might initiate a game. He hovers around me as I do household chores, and he curls up nearby when I sit down to write.

I think he’s discovered I’m his best source for food, comfort, and play. I hear people say cats aren’t affectionate, but I know better.

In much the same way, people get confused about God. Perhaps they see him as an angry judge who lies in wait for them to sin, or someone so distant he doesn’t care. However, I crave his love, grace, and mercy.

“But as for me, the nearness of God is my good, I have made the Lord God my refuge” (Psalm 73: 28 NAS).

My days flow more smoothly when I stay close to the Father. Just like my kitty, I often “tap” my Father when I need love, wisdom, or an eternal perspective.

 

 

Cynthia L Simmons and her husband reside in Atlanta. A Bible teacher and former home-school mother, she writes a column for Leading Hearts Magazine. She served as past president of Christian Authors Guild, directs Atlanta Christian Writing Conference, and hosts Heart of the Matter Radio. Her author website is www.clsimmons.com.

Pursuing Gold

Pursuing Gold

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Winters in Michigan, where I grew up, were long, cold, and dreary. Gray skies, leafless trees, and a colorless landscape made the winter months feel endless. Occasionally, the sun would peek out in March with a patch of blue sky that gave hope to a frigid existence.

Then came April. As daylight lingered a little longer and snow melted away, the sky became brighter and creation began to wake up.

I love that we celebrate Easter in the spring because it’s a celebration of new life. Just as brown grass turns to green, flowers sprout from the earth, and tree branches blossom with new foliage, the resurrection of Jesus gives new life to those who are spiritually dead. And the new life that Jesus gives to those who believe in him lasts through all eternity.

Even more than the blue skies and colorful flowers, what I loved most about spring was the melody of birds singing praises to their Creator from early morning until evening. This Easter, as we celebrate our new life in Jesus, may we join our feathered friends by praising the One who is worthy of our song.

Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land (Song of Solomon 2:12 NIV).

Crystal Bowman is a bestselling, award-winning author of more than 100 books for children and adults. She is a lyricist for children’s piano music, contributor to Clubhouse Jr. Magazine, and presenter at writers’ conferences. Her latest book is Mothers in Waiting—Healing and Hope for Those with Empty Arms (Harvest House).

 

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Practicing Patience

By Susan G Mathis

My husband has Parkinsons disease, so I am learning to employ a good deal of patience—the very thing I taught in my children’s picture book, Lexie’s Adventure in Kenya: Love is Patience —while we adjust to the challenges of such a terrible disease. God is never finished teaching us patience, so to that end, for all of us who need a bit of encouragement as we learn patience now or in the future, here are a few inspiring quotes that may help:

“God’s way of answering the Christian’s prayer for more patience, experience, hope, and love often is to put him into the furnace of affliction,” Richard Cecil. Yup, I think surgery might be my furnace at the moment.

“We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world,” Helen Keller. What a woman she must have been!

“Patience is not simply the ability to wait—it’s how we behave while we’re waiting,” Joyce Meyer. Very true. I’ll remember that when I have physical therapy. Smiles.

“Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses, and disappointments; but let us have patience, and we soon shall see them in their proper figures,” Joseph Addison. Hmmm. Got to ponder this one.

“I have seen many storms in my life. Most storms have caught me by surprise, so I had to learn very quickly to look further and understand that I am not capable of controlling the weather, to exercise the art of patience, and to respect the fury of nature,” Paulo Coelho. Interesting.

“Good character is not formed in a week or a month. It is created little by little, day by day. Protracted and patient effort is needed to develop good character,” Heraclitus.

When all is said and done, may you and I be found with a new measure of patience and stronger, more godly character that will bless others, especially God.

 

Dear Lord, Help us learn patience more and more each day. In Jesus name, Amen

 

About the author: Susan Mathis is the author of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is the vice president of Christian Authors Network and the Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine and former Editor of 12 Focus on the Family publications. She has written hundreds of articles and now serves as a writer, writing coach, and consultant. For more, visit www.SusanGMathis.com.

 

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Spiritual Needs 

By Susan G Mathis

It’s always good to revisit your spiritual needs—individually and as a couple—and discuss how each of you can help meet those needs. As we grow and mature, our needs often change, so it’s good to adjust to them accordingly.

First, if you haven’t already, find a church and commit to attend regularly. Next, be sure to pray together. For some, this isn’t easy, but start by saying a prayer before meals. Then you can learn to pray at other times and for other things—for safety on a trip, for God’s will, and for His plan for your marriage. If you’ve let either of these fall by the wayside, reignite your commitment to prayer and fellowship.

Third, plan to grow spiritually together. If you aren’t in one, find a Bible study or small group with other couples with whom you can “do life” together. If your church doesn’t have a group, start one!

Fourth, find another couple and ask them to mentor you. Meet with that couple every few weeks or monthly. Be honest, transparent, and inquisitive. Ask them how to deal with issues you’re encountering. Seek their advice on struggles you may have. And be accountable to them for your walk together as well as individually.

Fifth, but possibly the most important, maintain your covenant commitment to God and to each other. Choose, daily, to maintain and develop your walk with God through faithfully growing in His ways. It’s not always easy, but who expects that everything should be easy?

Finally, realize that, as you grow and mature spiritually, these needs will continue to change. Life is ever changing, and so is your spiritual life.

 

Dear Lord, It’s easy to get so busy we forget grow together spiritually. Help us draw closer together by making You the very center of our lives. In Jesus name, Amen

 

Adapted from The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Lifetime of Love & Happiness  and Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage. Copyright © 2012, all rights reserved.

About the author: Susan Mathis is the author of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is the vice president of Christian Authors Network and the Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine and former Editor of 12 Focus on the Family publications. She has written hundreds of articles and now serves as a writer, writing coach, and consultant. For more, visit www.SusanGMathis.com.

 

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In our society, it is easy to conclude that humility is a missing virtue. People elbow others to scramble up the ladder of sucess. Others proclaim themselves to be the god or godess of their own lives– while others would never say it out loud– but their actions show a disreguard for their Creator.

But humility isn’t just missing in our times, we can look back to the Old Testement and see there were seasons that even the nation of Israel failed to honor God as their Lord and Leader. Whenever they sought to humbly follow God’s lead, things went well for them. Their economy flourished, their enemies backed off, their personal well-being improved and they lived in peace. However, whenever they arrogantly decided they had the right to devise their own way of living, God cared enough for their being that a progressive set of steps were set in motion to get them to return to humility.

God sent setbacks to motivate them, then prophets to warn them, and finally calamity to discipline them. Isaiah is one of those prophets who was attempting to get the attention of the nation. In chapter 5, verses 18-23, he presented a number of characteristics that help us recognize humility by describing what we ought to avoid:

  • The humble accept what is true. “Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit,
    and wickedness as with cart ropes.” (v. 18) What a graphic picture of a person who has a cart or trailer loaded with deceitful schemes who is defiantly looking for a way to put them into practice. Rather than dumping the load and replacing it with worthwhile goods, he is defiantly looking for a market for the products that will help no one.
  • The humble are patient. “[Woe] to those who say, “Let God hurry; let him hasten his work
    so we may see it.” (v; 19) Many people confuse God’s historic patience with inability. They think, since He isn’t doing it right now, He can’t do it. The humble realize it is never a question of power. It is simply a matter of timing.
  • The humble call good things good. “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.” This is the age old argument between God’s ways and man’s ways. Ever since the fall of mankind, people have loved the darkness and have searched for ways to justify whatever they want to do. Humility says, “I didn’t create life so I must accept it the way it is. I don’t have the right to redefine life but I do have the privilege of enjoying the good things God has made.”
  • The humble are willing to learn. “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.” (v. 21)
  • The humble love sobriety and self-control. “Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks.” (v. 22)

It seems almost too simple to be a problem. If you were ask people, “Do you want to do what is true, be a patient person, love what is good, be willing to learn and possess self-control?” You would expect most people to say, “Yes.” In action, however, most of us have done the opposite.

In humility, we must accept that we are no different today. We too need to choose to be humble. Today we need to be determined to wait on God. Today we need to be willing to learn. Today we need to bow to God’s will and God’s ways. Today, we need to choose the positive actions of

A Couples’ Journey with God
Harvest House

those who are humble.

 

Pam and Bill Farrel
Love-Wise

Pam Farrel is a woman redeemed by God, a woman who knows that apart from the power of the Creator, she would be a “hot mess”. She is grateful that God gives her the privelege to write and speak to encourage and equip people to live “Love-Wise” . She is also grateful for Bill, her husband of 38 years, with whom she wrote the devotional today’s blog comes from: A Couples’ Journey With God. (Harvest House)

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