[Guest post by Jo Ann Erwin. This post is a part of the 2015 Devotional Diva Christmas series entitled, “Extraordinary Christmas.” It was originally published on Devotional Diva in 2014. I thought it was such a good message and so relevant to Christmas, that I had to …
[Guest post by Onome. This post is a part of the 2015 Devotional Diva Christmas series entitled, “Extraordinary Christmas.” It was originally published on Devotional Diva in 2014.] I was reading my five-year-old’s Bible one day when I ran into the Jonah story. Reading it …
[Guest Post by Rayni Peavy. This post is a part of the 2015 Devotional Diva Christmas series entitled, “Extraordinary Christmas.” It was originally published on Devotional Diva in 2012.]
I’d never been afraid to fly. From the time I was a baby I’ve been flying on a regular basis. Even flying across the country a few months after 9/11 didn’t scare me because I trusted God with my life.
And then it happened.
Several years ago, out of nowhere, I began having anxiety attacks. Unfortunately two of them came back to back on a long plane ride overseas. It was a traumatic experience, to put it mildly. From that moment on stepping onto a plane was a trigger for extremely high and almost unbearable anxiety.
But, I have found that when I trust God and lean on Him, who is the only One truly in control, there is no room for anxiety.
On each intensely anxiety-filled flight I took after the “fateful” flight overseas, I asked God to come into my feeling of anxiety and dissipate it…to take it away.
Every single time He did it.
Sometimes I had to ask more than once because I was so worked up, but God has always been faithful to meet me in the midst of my anxiety and remove it. Because of this I know without a doubt that God will not fail me. Ever. But even with those victories I still had intense anxiety when approaching a flight.
I wanted the anxiety to be gone for good.
And then the Washington trip came.
The thought of having to get on a plane made me want to crawl into a hole and hide out. Forever.
My boyfriend Joel (now my husband) and I had plans to fly to visit his family. I wanted to cancel the trip…but I knew I had to go and that God would go with me. So I asked God to completely deliver me from this flying anxiety once and for all.
God requires our faith to have an action step.
I likened it to the Israelites in Joshua 3. God wants to lead them into a new place, but in order to get there they have to cross through the Jordan River, which happens to be in flood stage at the time. Minor detail, right? God tells Joshua to have the priests (who are literally carrying the presence of God in a box called the Ark of the Covenant) to take a few steps into the river and then He will make the flooding stop so all of the Israelites can cross to the other side.
“Now it was harvest season and the Jordan was overflowing its banks. But as soon as the feet of the priests who were carrying the Ark touched the water at the river’s edge, the water began piling up at a town upstream…Then all the people crossed over near the city of Jericho. Meanwhile, the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Lord’s covenant stood on dry ground in the middle of the riverbed as the people passed by them…until everyone had crossed the Jordan on dry ground.” (Joshua 3:15-17)
I love that it says that the people crossed over on dry ground. Not wet, muddy, soggy ground.
As I walked toward the plane bound for Washington, full of anxiety, I asked God, as soon as I took the first steps onto the plane, to “pull the waters” of my anxiety back so I could “cross over” through the flight on dry ground.
And He did!
Two flights. No anxiety on either one. None. Coming from where I came from, that, my friends, is truly a miracle.
What are you struggling with today?
God desires to meet us in the midst of every large and small burden we experience. Invite Jesus into it and ask Him to deliver you. Sometimes the journey is scary or painful but God’s deliverance and freedom are worth every step! What’s your story?
Over the past 15 years Rayni has discovered that nothing is better than knowing Jesus! She has enjoyed working at churches on the East and West Coasts as a Bible teacher, mentor to young adults and an event coordinator. In her free time Rayni likes staring at the ocean, exploring new cuisine with her “foodie” husband and learning to speak French. You can read more on her website www.RayniPeavy.com and follow her on Twitter.
[Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Kristen Vortices. I wanted to have some gratitude-focused devotionals in November, as we are celebrating Thanksgiving in the US. This week’s devotional is the why? to practicing gratitude and next week’s answers the how?]
A few years ago I found myself depressed. My job became really frustrating and the more I tried to fix my situation at work the more stressful my job became. I became short with my family and friends who I loved. Instead of focusing on others I began to focus on myself. As I focused on myself, I became less and less happy. Finally I fell into depression.
For months I lived with my depression until I discovered that God gave us a solution for depression in Jesus. Obviously because we have been forgiven we should be happy. But let’s go one step further. I began to read through the book of Luke and found Luke 9:23, Jesus said “whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” This scripture convicted me.
Had I denied myself and crucified my needs and desires? No. I was so focused on myself and my situation that I could not see all the good things God had given me.
I began to realize how I felt about my job was not important. My circumstance was nothing compared to Jesus dying on the cross for me. My emotions were indicators not dictators of who I am. So I replaced my feelings with Christ and all He has for me. Because He gives us victory over ourselves.
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Corinthians 15:57 ESV
An Attitude of Gratitude
The easiest way to combat depression is to live with an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude is the opposite of depression. Every good thing in life comes from God. And whatever my circumstance may be I can always find something to be thankful for. Today I am thankful I can step out onto the back deck and see the crystal blue ocean glistening in the sunlight. I am thankful God made it. I am thankful He gave me eyes to see it. I am thankful to have my family to share it with.
When I begin to find things that I am thankful for, my mindset transforms.
It shifts from what I don’t have to all the things I have to be thankful for. The Bible says every good gift is from God. Everything in my life is a gift from God and I am not entitled to my car, my house, my job. I don’t deserve them, because everything in my life is a gift from God.
When I give thanks in all circumstances, I fulfill one of God’s purposes for my life. I am happiest and feel fulfilled when I am living in God’s purpose for me. Thanksgiving is so important God made it a command in the New Testament.
“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV
1 Thessalonians 5:18 gives us a command, and the command is not conditional. It doesn’t say, “When you feel like it give thanks,” or “Give thanks on a good day.” God’s Word says give thanks in ALL circumstances. Because when we live with an attitude of gratitude we stay focused on God’s character and his abundant blessings. Blessings that are all around us every day.
Count your blessings
I have started making a list of 10 things that I am thankful for everyday. Now when I begin feeling discouraged by my situation, I go back and read my list. Looking back on all my blessings, I remember the many things I am grateful for. In conclusion I am so thankful God showed me through His Word how to be thankful. Our God is so faithful to provide everything we need in Christ Jesus.
“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV
Kristen also enjoys speaking to girls and women of all ages about their worth in Christ and his undying love for them. She posts a weekly blog “The Young and Beautiful” where she talks about living, staying and being young and beautiful in Christ. To find out more about Kristen follow her blog http://www.theyoungandthebeautiful.com
[Editor’s note: Do you recognize the pretty lady in that picture? That is Devotional Diva’s one and only founder, Renee Fisher. Today she is bravely sharing about her initiation into The Miscarriage Club. I’m so glad she could do this, because I think miscarriage is a …
[Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Delinda Layne. She is a Christian singer and speaker. Not only is she sharing a guest post, she is sharing one of her songs with us today! Enjoy.]
Miracles. Are all miracles big and bold or can they be small? What do you think about that? I believe God is at work all around us. Every day in so many ways He is pouring out His favor and blessings. Have you noticed the countless blessings that are right in front of you?
God’s Miracles is an original song I co-wrote with my friend and excellent drummer, Brian Kell. It was inspired by the many miracles that God does in our lives every day.
My favorite little miracle is a parking place. I know that sounds a little silly, maybe unimportant, but to me it’s special. One of the reasons that I think there is a parking spot for me is that I always ‘look’. It drives my husband crazy. He usually just pulls into the first place available, but because I believe that there IS a spot waiting for me, I go and look, and …98-99% of the time, THERE IS! It is so cool. I smile and say ‘Thank you Lord’. I don’t know why He does it, I’m just thankful.
How many times we may miss a beautiful miracle, big ones and small ones because we aren’t looking, or we aren’t paying attention. I think God gives blessings and miracles every day, and they are different for each of us. Maybe you needed groceries, or a way to pay your electric bill, and somehow the money appeared. That is God. Maybe a friend called you ‘out of the blue’ and it cheered you up. It isn’t an accident or coincidence.
Watch this week. Be open and available. Ask God to show where He is at work. He is there, I promise. He never leaves or forsakes us.
We don’t have to be perfect, hallelujah for that because I am so Not. He is God, and we are not. His love is unconditional, forever, and never wavers. Claim it and appreciate it. I believe the more thankful we are the more avenues of blessings open up for us. The flowers, the trees, the rain, the sunshine, the parking spaces, the checks in the mail, the newborn baby, there is no end to the list.
Watch for God this week and let Him surprise you.
Many blessings and I would love to hear from you.
Here is the song: God’s Miracles
[Note: If you are unable to play the song in your email, please visit this link to view the original post.]
Lyrics by Delinda Layne
God’s Miracles, happen everyday
God’s Miracles, ordinary some say,
God’s Miracles, come in big and small ways,
Take a look and you will see,
God’s Miracles for you and me
Delinda is a singer and speaker, and is touring the country with her Fun Fearless Female Event for Women. She loves life, loves the Lord and loves to share His message of Hope and Joy. Check out her blog and website www.delindalayne.com
[Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Michelle D. Hand. Michelle emailed me to share about her amazing life with her husband as musicians and missionaries, or musicianaries. Enjoy!] Hey, there. My name is Michelle and I’m a vagabond. (And everyone says, “You’re a what now?”) See, it’s …