Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Tiffany Wright. Find links to follow Tiffany below! Philippians 1:27 NIV says “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you …
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yet establish the work of our hands.
Ephesians 4:1-2I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one in love.
Prayer–God, Please help my husband to live in accordance to you will. Please allow him to be humble, gentle, allow him to have patience in stressful times, allow him to love people as you have asked us to.
I grumble a lot..ummm I do, about his work schedule.
We simply gathered the kiddos into the car on any empty Saturday morning and headed from the Philly Suburbs up to NYC… ‘Just Because.’
[Editor’s Note: This is a guest poem by veteran Diva writer Ana Nunez. A little over a year ago, Ana submitted a devotional called “Fully Known and Truly Loved” (read that here.) and this year, she said she was working on some poetry. I feel like Ana’s poem, “Where There Is Peace” is such a good companion piece to that first devotional about God’s love for us!]
Where There Is Peace
I want a garden to watch plants grow into what I should be
Healthy and whole, entirely free
I want to paint, to create worlds, in colors only found in the heavenly
I want to work hard at putting the earth back to how it should be
How it was before it fell
What I know it could be
I see potential in everything
I want to plaster photos on walls of trees to remember that despite the chaos
There are perfect little moments in between
Untouched by sin
Unsigned by heat
I want to read words that describe worlds where all is well
And hear stories of pain that is not my own
But comforts me in knowing I am not alone
I want to string together words that paint pictures of perfection in your mind
not any two visions alike
Every desire inside of me to create here points to the eternal embedded in me
I long for what once was, what should be, and what is in another world already
But I fear I’ll mistake my longing of that world for something here presently
I’ll try to find that feeling in a person, a place, or a thing
I’ll imagine experiences not yet had as true purpose and in the end be disappointed
I’ll confuse the physical for the spiritual
I’ll place too much pressure on what I can see
And in the end watch it break apart under the weight of my desire for it to fulfill me
Slip through the cracks because it was not meant to be held onto so tightly
There are no solutions from what I can see
So I’ll wait for the Maker to put it back together
Brick by brick
Piece by piece
I’ll wait for the builder to use gold to pave our streets
Wait for the shepherd to find His sheep
Behind all of this, there is a King
He holds the keys to freedom and He Himself shall be our peace
Ana is a freelance writer & English major. She loves Jesus, reading, meeting with people in coffee shops, taking photos on her iPhone & obsessively editing them, & writing her heart out. Ana is a wife, a sister, a daughter & a friend. Her desire in life is to write to women, helping them grow in their relationship with Jesus and become all He desires for them to be. She was born & raised in Miami, FL and currently lives in St. Petersburg, FL with her husband of one year, Malik.
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Anger is the result of unmet expectations – some expectations are unrealistic and some are right. Regardless of the type of anger we are dealing with, the Bible cautions us in (Ephesians 4:26-27) that in our anger we should neither sin, nor let the sun go down while we are still angry and not give the devil a foothold in our lives.
I was almost home when I turned the corner and continued to down the street. All of a sudden a black cat darted from one side of the street to the other. At once my mind said, “Oh no! That’s bad luck!” I quickly realized the thought and rejected it. “I don’t believe in superstitions anymore!” I said back to the thought. I continued, “I believe in God’s word not in superstitions,”
[Editors note: This is an excerpt from the book Exstresso: Taking a Coffee Break with God by Leah Whitton with Jessica Casarez. I received a copy of the book for review, and this excerpt is uesd with permission. I absolutely love this devotional! I’m not a big coffee person (in fact, I really only like espresso) but the coffee break theme of the book just makes it cute. It’s refreshing to read (and I go through a lot of devotionals!) with its STIR method which stands for Scripture, Thoughts for the Day (the devotional/story aspect) Invitation to Prayer, and Respond (questions for the reader). I chose a devotional from the second week of the book to share, aptly titled “Exstresso.” It really summed up what the whole book was about for me! Enjoy.]
Week 2, day 1
By Leah Whitton
Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
the Lord answered me and set me free.
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
Thoughts for the Day
Have you ever been stressed? I would imagine most of us have been or currently are under a lot of stress. Life is stressful and messy at times.
When you combine “ex” with “stress,” you get “ex-stress,” which means without stress. How can we live without stress?
When we call out to God, he answers us and can help us live a life with less stress. One of the Greek words in the Bible for stress is thlipsis, which means pressure, burdens, affliction, or trouble. When Stephen was preaching in Acts 7:9-14 about Joseph from the Old Testament, he used the word thlipsis to describe Joseph’s plight. If anyone had a right to be stressed, it was Joseph. He was sold into slavery by his brothers, wrongfully accused of rape by Pharoahs’ wife, and thrown into prison and forgotten-all while being completely innocent and serving God. Joseph could have asked God: Where are you? Why have you left me?
Have you ever caught yourself asking those same questions? I know I have had times in my life where I had to go through extremely challenging, stressful, and heartbreaking situations, yet God was with me through each of those seasons.
In the year of 2001, I was pregnant with my first child. My husband and I were thrilled and anxious for our son’s arrival. On December 27, around 10:00 p.m., something was about to change. We had not anticipated any problems—we expected joy, not stress—but suddenly our situation changed. Hudson was born with an aggressive infection called Strep B. This infection was so powerful it began to shut down every working system in his little body. The doctors estimated that he only had a 50% chance of survival. So, here we were, brand new parents, not knowing what to expect, and feeling the heartache of possibly losing our newborn son.
Hudson was placed in the NICU and was not improving. He was living on a respirator and IV antibiotics. The worst of it was that I was not able to hold him or touch him because it affected his blood pressure too much. I was at the end of my rope and I remember screaming out to God saying,
“If you are really God, you will send someone here face-to-face to tell me audibly that my son will be healed and that he will come home with us.”
That evening, a young pastor who we were friends with felt a strong sense that God was telling him to drive to our hospital. He wrestled a bit (especially because of the time and the distance) and he asked God if he could just called the hospital. “No,” God said, “You must go.” Around midnight that evening, this young pastor showed up in our hospital room. He told us God had woken him up and that he was supposed to come and tell me face-to-face that my child would live and he would come home with no complications. I called out to God in my stressful time and He answered my prayer in a powerful way. God showed himself faithful. The next day, Hudson began to improve and two weeks later came home 100% healthy.
During Joseph’s distress, he called out to God. Joseph didn’t allow stress to overwhelm him, and thus “God was with him and rescued him out of all his afflictions and gave him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him ruler over Egypt and over all his household.”
Joseph could have let stress swallow him up, but instead he brought his stress to God. Life will bring stress, but before letting that stress consume you, drink a good cup of God’s “exstresso” (God’s grace, mercy, and love) and allow him to bring healing to every area of your life. 1 Peter tells us to “cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” Hold onto that scripture when you walk through stressful times. God was with us through the horrible nightmare we faced when my son was born, and he will be with you also.
Release your stress to him today and have a coffee conversation with God who is ready to carry your burdens.
[Closing Editor’s Note: This is a good opportunity, in light of a blog post about “stress” to say that I’m experiencing a lot of it in my life and I’m going to honor taking more time for rest and family. I’m transitioning, starting now, to a one post per-week Devotional Diva Lite schedule for the time being. Thanks for understanding!]
Thanks for reading! Blog comments are closed. You can follow Devotional Diva on Facebook here, on Instagram here @devotional_diva, on Twitter here @devotionaldiva and email me, Maggie, at editor(at)devotionaldiva(dot)com anytime.