Merry Messy Holiday | The Reason for the Season

Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Ann Grace (please see her last Diva post for more on her journey). This is the finale of Diva Christmas 2019 – the reason for the season! Merry Christmas.

I woke up this morning excited to start this new day only to find myself struggling to
complete each tasks with a merry heart. You see, as I prepared to change my flannel sheets, I
looked at the various patterns to chose from only to be struck with tears as I saw the sheets with
vintage truck carrying a Christmas tree. Why was this such a trigger of emotions, you may ask?
Because those same sheets reminded me of Christmas with my little one. And this year, I have no
idea as to whether or not I will be reunited with him this holiday season due to this horrible
custody battle.
Have you ever been asked to wait patiently? Suffer joyfully? Or better yet, to trust the
Lord in the midst of so much uncertainty? In life’s messy moments that seem to only flourish
with the holidays, sometimes I am tempted to complain about all the trials and heartache I am
facing. I mean, lets face it. We say we “trust” God with our impossible Aunt Kay or something as
serious as a terminal illness, but, then find another reason to worry that just keeps us from being
merry! I can’t help but think about Jesus being ask to wait patiently for his big “reveal” only to
know that he would have to die for a bunch of sinners who will laugh at him and eventually kill
him unjustly. Jesus was a man acquainted with grief.
“He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:3-5 ESV
Can you imagine grief as your constant companion? The truth remains that we live in a
fallen world and one thing we can count on as believers in Christ are trials and persecution.
James 1:2-4 ESV
Are you merrily trusting this day in God’s perfect timing for a situation in your life?
Maybe it’s waiting for a tear filled prayer to be answered? Or a supernatural healing that only
God can do? And then there’s the constant pleading with God to bring repentance and salvation
to your spouse or loved one… 2 Peter 3:9 ESV
I still can’t guarantee that the Lord will ever bring me back my baby taken away from me
unjustly or give me a front row seat when swift justice and redemption occurs, but, I can say
beyond a shadow of a doubt that we serve a mighty God who loves us and our little ones more
than we could ever! And He will be our comfort, strength and hope this holiday season. He is
faithful and knows what is best for us even when it doesn’t make any sense! He can see what we
can’t. And if that means we are destined for a future of trials and tribulations in order to refine us
into someone more like Him, then, it is worth it!
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being
renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal
weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the
things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are
unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV

As we prepare to celebrate our Savior’s birth this year, be solemnly reminded that unjust
suffering was apart of God’s plan for JESUS. And if we are called of Jesus Christ, we will also
face suffering like never before in these last days. But, take heart as Christ will keep us in His
hands! If we remain faithful and endure til the end, one day very soon, we will rule with Him!
Wishing you and your family a MERRY holiday season!

I am not a blogger, professional writer, photographer or foodie. I’m simply a mother of five (soon to be six) who has walked a road of grief after losing a husband and baby. I continue to encounter a Lord who is faithful. My desire is for others to know Him like I do and let Him be glorified in all I do say and do.

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Silent Night | reason for the season

Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Sheila Ingle. This is the 5th post of Diva Christmas 2019 – reason for the season!

Legend has it that we enjoy singing Silent Night, Holy Night because of a broken church organ.

In the village of Oberndorf, near Salzburg, Austria, was the small Church of St. Nicholas. Some stories say that mice or rust was the cause of the ruined organ, but there would be no music at the Christmas Eve service. It was 1818.

Knowing that music was an important part of worship, Parish Priest Josef Mohr took a longer way home on the icy night. The slower path took him up over a hill overlooking the village, and he remembered a poem he had written a couple of years earlier. Looking down over the quiet, snow-covered countryside, he visualized the scene when the angels announced Jesus’ birth to the shepherds.

The next morning, he took the poem to the organist Franz Xaver Gruber. This talented musician created the melodious melody that could be sung to a guitar.

On Christmas Eve at the Midnight Mass, the little Oberndorf congregation heard Gruber and Mohr sing their new composition in German to the accompaniment of Gruber’s guitar. They quickly picked up on this new song celebrating the birth of Jesus.

The organ builder arrived the next month, heard the song, and shared it in other villages, as he went about his work. In 1834, King Frederick William IV of Prussia heard it. He then ordered his cathedral choir to sing it every Christmas eve. By 1863, the carol had arrived in America.

What an amazing history.

The simple words of this song even helped halt a battle.

The year was 1914, and soldiers on both sides of the battlefield somewhere in France were enduring a dark and frozen Christmas Eve night. World War I, the Great War, as it was called, eventually took the lives of more than 10 million people. But it is doubtless that the mostly-young men of that Christmas Eve were contemplating much more beyond their longings for home and warmth and family.

When soldiers on the German line placed candles on small Christmas trees and raised them above their trenches it touched the hearts of their enemies. These men — thousands of them on both sides — spontaneously began to sing the carols of Christmas.

Londoner Graham Williams described it. “First the Germans would sing one of their carols and then we would sing one of ours, until when we started up ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful’ the Germans immediately joined in singing the same hymn to the Latin words Adeste Fideles. And I thought, well, this is really a most extraordinary thing ­– two nations both singing the same carol in the middle of a war.”

What began in those moments became the legendary Christmas truce. Weapons were put down; men gathered in No-Man’s Land, and they agreed on a truce to celebrate Christmas. A miracle, if you will, where British, Belgian, and French soldiers put down their weapons to fellowship with their enemies.

No shots were fired. Men on both sides buried their dead, took off their helmets, and held memorial services. Turning, they headed for their respective trenches. A voice broke the stillness with the opening words of “Silent Night, Holy Night” in French. From not far away, another voice, this time in German, joined in. Soon both sides sang about the “heavenly peace” that was far away.

It has the style of a lullaby. In fact, this is the carol I sang to our son Scott on his first few Christmases, as I rocked him to sleep. The words are tender and quiet, and the peaceful tune would send him to dream land quickly. As I held Scott, I couldn’t help but think about Mary and how she felt when she held Jesus for the first time.

Round yon Virgin, mother and Child,
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

There is no question about Who is in the manger. He is “Holy Infant,” Jesus! His birth is God’s gift to us, because “Christ, the Savior is born.” The world is changed in an instant, because He is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” This is Christmas. The “sweet, little Jesus boy” has brought peace to you and me. As the words declare, “Jesus, Lord at thy birth!”

Shall we sing this beautiful carol with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir?

Merry Christmas!


South Carolinian Sheila Ingle is the author of five books about unknown heroines who lived in SC. She blends history and fiction to create memorable women. You can read more about her at sheilaingle.com, @sheilaingle, Facebook Sheila Ingle Author.

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Nouns and Verbs | an eternal reason for the season

NOUNS AND VERBS, AN ETERNAL REASON FOR THE SEASON

Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by June E. Titus. Here’s a great devotional to end this week’s Diva Christmas 2019 – reason for the season!

Here are some of the phrases we hear as we approach the Christmas season: “So, what do you hope to get under your tree this Christmas?” “I hope the family can get together for Christmas.” “I hope this Christmas is better than last year!” Reminds me of “The Griswold Family Christmas” . . . not the kind of Christmas most of us really want as part of our celebration. We sold live Christmas trees from our farm in the North Carolina mountains. They were shipped all over the eastern part of the United States. To many people, it isn’t Christmas without a tree. To some people Christmas is an industry

Those superficial comments about the Season above and the holiday industry never get to the heart of the reason for the season. The reason is Jesus. Pure and Simple. Indeed it goes deeper than our hopes for favorable gifts, family, or fun.

Our Christmas hope is a noun rather than a verb.

  • Hope as a verb: expectation that something will be the way we think it should happen.
  • Hope as a noun: expectation based on a promise and a reality—Hope based on what has been “poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”[1]

But more. There is a “reason for the hope that is in you.”[2] The reason goes back, yes, not only to the manger when our Savior was born, but also to the cross when He “suffered once for our sins, the righteous for the unrighteous.”[3]

And even more. Jesus not only died, but He “rose again,” and will return for us and we “will always be with the Lord.”[4] Eternal Hope—that is a reason for the season.

But shall we go even deeper? Hope is one part of it. Hope is our “noun.” It is what we grasp hold and cling to. What was Jesus’ reason to give us that hope? His reason is a verb. He loved us and gave Himself for us, a “fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”[5]

So then, what is our verb? Is it to wish for some gift or experience to make us feel good at the Christmas season? Is it decorating our place, putting up a tree, cooking a big family meal? There is nothing wrong with these things in proper perspective. When we get a whiff of the pine or balsam, or smell the aroma of that turkey and pecan pie, we might think about the true fragrance of His sacrifice to God. Why? It was His love for us.

We, too, are to be a fragrant reflection of His love—a verb, demonstrating His love in our hearts to others. Eternal love—His for us—ours for Him and others.

Now that is a reason we can celebrate at the Christmas season and every day.


June Windle Bare

June Titus is a retired nurse and poet and mother and grandmother, living with her husband in southern Georgia. Now in her eighties, she remains active in her local church. Among other church responsibilities, she teaches a Sunday school class of her peers. She writes a weekly blog on Facebook, entitled “Monday Musings.” Prior to moving to Georgia, she was a regular contributor to “The Watauga Democrat” newspaper, and “all About Women,’ a monthly magazine, both in Boone, North Carolina.

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Unlocking Christmas | The Reason for the Season

This is a guest story by Devotional Diva founder Renee Fisher! Here’s the third installment of Diva Christmas 2019 – the reason for the season!

One Christmas, I spoke on the 3 Keys to Unlocking Christmas at a woman’s tea. I started with my favorite phrase from my book, Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me.

“Thereis freedom from your past hurts, present circumstances, and future fears.”

There.
Is.
Freedom.
From.
Your past hurts.
Present circumstances.
And future fears.

Saying that out loud still haunts me today.

Past

The key that unlocks the past is forgiveness.

You and I may not have a perfect past. It may not be filled with magic like a Disney movie, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from it.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV).

Every time you replace an ugly lie or half-truth with the Truth of the Gospel — you help turn that key even faster to unlocking any bitterness, hurt, grudges, or unforgiveness from the past. Take that first step today and learn how to forgive others including yourself!

Present

The key that unlocks the present is faith.

I waited 12 years, 10 months, and 24 days from the day I knew God promised me the best Christmas gift ever to the day Marc proposed down on one knee in Coronado.

We recently celebrated our 8 year anniversary in the North East seeing the fall leaves change, and I was so blessed to check off another botanical garden off my bucket list of seeing a garden in every state.

But what did I do while I was waiting on my big dreams? I learned how to practice my faith muscles by getting involved in my church, the community, and starting a business. I wrote like mad through each and every health problem. Through each low valley and high mountaintop experience.

The present may be filled with many roadblocks, bumps in the road, and all sorts of pot holes — but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have faith in the journey. My Type A personality took many years to learn that progress (the journey) is more important than perfection (the destination).

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV).

Future

The key that unlocks the future is grace.

The Good News (Jesus) is the key to the future, which is grace. By grace we’re saved.

An encouraging verse to unlock the future says,

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:4-10, NIV).

If you have not yet accepted God’s gift of grace, I encourage you to pray this prayer with me today:

Dear Jesus,

I confess that I have been blaming myself for too long. I cannot be good enough to get into heaven or earn your grace. I need your free gift. Please forgive me of my sins so that I can accept your Holy Spirit into my heart. Wash me clean. Set me free. Give me a bright future full of hope and grace. Thank you for loving me! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Good news! If you prayed that prayer — God now calls you His friend (John 15:15).

I just found out today that at least one of the women prayed to receive Christ at the women’s Christmas tea — Praise the Lord!

It is my prayer that you and your loved ones will have a Merry Christmas.
May you use the 3 keys to unlock your best Christmas yet!

Renee Fisher is an author, coach, and consultant who owns and operates a full-service creative agency for self-publishing. She is passionate about defending dreams and spurring others forward to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24). #DreamDefender Renee is a BIG fan of glitter and gardens. She is a graduate of Biola University and lives in Austin, Texas with her handsome husband and their fur child named “Starfish.” Connect at ReneeFisher.com.

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The Good Shepherd | reason for the season

Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Agnes Amos-Coleman. And this is the second post of Diva Christmas 2019 – the reason for the season!

My friends, this Christmas season reminds me of shepherds who tend, feed and guard their sheep. Jesus Christ symbolizes for us the Good Shepherd. The scriptures in Luke 2:8-11 talk about the announcement of his birth

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord”.

Remembering the birth of the Good Shepherd – Jesus should cause great celebration in our hearts this season and reassure us of His:

  • Protection – In a world where trouble and chaos is everywhere, we need the protection of God from the rising of the sun until it sets and the only place where we can find that protection is in the word of God where He promises to save us from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.  I urge you to meditate on Psalm 91 and you will be encouraged on the assurance of God’s protection for you and your family.
  • Provision – Just like a shepherd would provide for his sheep, God is able to provide for and bless us abundantly, meet our physical, emotional and spiritual needs because the resources of the universe belong to Him.

Christ follower, as you celebrate another Christmas, tap into the provision and protection of the Good Shepherd this season. If you are currently not a Christ follower, come, let Him give you eternal life.

Agnes Amos-Coleman

Agnes is a leader with proven business acumen in a variety of industries. She holds an executive MBA from the University of Hull, United Kingdom, and is also a Certified Meeting Planner (CMP). She is the author of Transforming Business with Godly Governance: Nine Characteristics for Workplace Success; God Cares for Me in Every Season: Godly Insights for Singleness, Marriage and Divorce; The Provisions of God: Insights from a Cat Named Mascot, and Weekly Insights for the Workplace: A Devotional for Christian Professionals

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The Nativity Crèche | Diva Christmas 2019

Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Sheila Lloyd. Welcome to Diva Christmas 2019 – the reason for the season!

I stand before the nativity crèche , looking at it as I have so many, many times before… Enjoying the colors, smiling at the way the expressions are carved in each face, thinking about the artist’s choice of costume. 

My eyes move to the center figure, the baby in the manger; and I am struck a new with wonder. That baby lying in the manger truly was King of kings and Lord of lords! In his eyes was all eternity past and all eternity future combined into a shining present moment. The Word that spoke the earth into existence, that made light out of darkness, had now become flesh. Once again, darkness would give way to light and creation would never be the same!

Every figure in that manger scene had a fixed gaze on baby Jesus–an attitude of wonder as well as worship. Lord, how I want that focus as well! The world creeps in with tinsel and to do lists, money and mall mayhem; and my heart begins to feel as if it’s cold hard plastic like the nativity figurines. 

Forgive me. Fix my gaze upon Jesus–Not just the baby in a manger, but the Messiah on the cross, the risen Lord, and the reigning King! May my gaze be one of fixed wonder and joyful worship. 

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—  children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

John 1:9-13

Sheila Lloyd is learning to live in freedom through Jesus Christ! Her vocational life has included teaching private piano lessons, writing, acting in and producing musical dramas, spearheading women’s retreats and other ministry outreach events, composing music, leading worship across the country, teaching Bible studies and mentoring. Shelia has two grown sons, one of whom has special needs. She has been married to her high school sweetheart, Brian, since 1990.  The couple experienced growth on the cutting edge of faith as Brian suffered a massive rehabilitating stroke in 2014. They published a book sharing God‘s powerful hand in the situation titled, It’s OK! I Had a Stroke. It was released on Amazon and Barnes and Noble May 2019. Website here. The couple currently shepherds a storefront church in Woodstock, VA.

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Can You Be Happy and Single? – a devotional

Editor’s Note: This is a guest submission from Jennifer, the Sunflower Mom! Thanks for sending this in, Jen!

“Are you happy?” she asked me.

A friend I hadn’t seen in a few months asked me this question early one Saturday morning over coffee. She knew some of the depression I’ve been wading through the last few years.

“Yes,” I replied, closing the conversation so the discussion could move on to more comfortable topics.

Later that evening I thought about that question.

Happy is a fleeting emotion. When I look back at my life, I’d only describe one season as truly happy: those first few months of awestruck wonder when my daughter was born.

Otherwise, happiness comes and goes. It seems like an impossible goal, especially for someone who is crawling out of depression.

An accurate response would have been, “I’m content.”

Webster’s definition of content is “feeling or showing satisfaction with one’s possessions, status, or situation.”

If that sounds the same to you as “happy,” then you’re right, happy is a synonym of the word content.

This dictionary definition leads me to believe a promotion, a change in my singleness, or a new car will bring me contentment. Which I’ve all tried, by the way, and none of these brought me out of my depression.

To truly understand the meaning of contentment, I dug further.

After all, if in Ephesians, Paul can call himself content writing from a jail cell, surely it has nothing to do with singleness or possessions.

Philippians 4:11-13 NIV: I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

According to the Holman Bible Dictionary, the biblical definition of contentment is an “internal satisfaction which does not demand changes in external circumstances.”

This definition demands I find satisfaction where God has me today. Not how I wished my life looked.

No mention of possessions or status or situation. Quite the opposite.

Giving up on the dreams I have for myself isn’t fun work. I never imagined I’d be 40 and a single mother. Those aren’t the goals young girls dream for themselves.

But it’s where God has me.

After years of striving for happiness outside of my life, I came to the end of myself.

Prideful, I was determined to do things my way and only give God what I wanted to give Him. I held onto relationships, hurts, and pride for years.

I begged God all the time to change my circumstances. Certain I knew the way to my happiness.

It wasn’t until one completely broken night that I gave Him all of me, and He fully met the broken me and restored me.

I now put my focus on what God has blessed with me with each day.

For me, that looks like pouring myself into my children in ways I never did before.

I no longer dread being their chauffeur. I look for ways to serve them, teach and prepare them to become human beings that make a difference in this world.

After years of putting my life on hold, I finally went all in: I went back to church. I took a vacation solo, I put myself in new situations. I’ve found blessings that have been waiting for me all this time.

Most of all, I asked for help.

I shelved my pride and starting with my doctor I asked for help. Then I asked a friend at church, then another one, and another.

Shockingly, I was met with grace and love.

God didn’t change my circumstances. I’m still a single mother. But now I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m content.

Jennifer lives in Kansas with her two teenagers and German Shepard. She writes at Sunflower Mom to encourage single moms to live fully in the season they’re in through God’s grace and love. At any given day you can find her eating chips & salsa and binge watching Modern Family with her kids.

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Because You Are More Than Just a Number – devotional

Editor’s Note: This is a guest submission from Maggie Meadows Cooper – one of my favorite Christian mom bloggers, and she just happens to have a great name!!

Y’all, lately I have been feeling the pressure of numbers. So. Many. Numbers.

The number of likes or followers on social media.

The number of minutes ticking away from time with my family.

The number in my bank account.

The number of mistakes I make in a day.

The number on the scale.

The number for attendance at school events.

The number of books sold.

Number after number after number.

This world will tell you that numbers define you. That they form your identity. That they make you…or break you. But none of that is truth when it comes to Jesus.

When I admitted that I could not make it in this world alone…that I needed a Savior because I was hopelessly flawed and sinful on my own…Jesus came into my heart. And Jesus is enough for me. Just Jesus, y’all. 

The truth is that I will never measure up to some people’s expectations. I will never be “liked” enough or rich enough or good enough or successful enough for the world’s standards. Because they are always changing. And the scales are never the same. Some numbers can never be small enough. Some numbers can never be large enough. And if you’re somewhere in the middle, well, you’re just mediocre. 

As I watch my children grow up in their little world of numbers with test scores and AR points and tumbling scores and batting averages, my heart longs for them to know that they are more than the sum of their numbers. And whether they are a “10” or a “0” in the world’s eyes, they are so much more to their heavenly Father. They are His and He is theirs. Because Jesus +0 still equals Jesus. 

He is the common denominator in anything that’s worth doing or having in this world. And the longing of my heart is to help us find him there. If we can fit him into the equation, any equation, it puts us on common ground with those around us. Because we are all loved by Him. We are all created by Him. We are all here for Him. And any other numbers lose their significance in light of His.

My hope is that we will all focus on the number the Lord wants for us all: ONE.

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, 

for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28

In a world where numbers cause division and comparison and competition, let’s stand up and be a light to others by showing our oneness in Christ.

Let’s put aside jealousy, worry, and fear over not keeping up or being enough, and instead celebrate other’s accomplishments.

Let’s stop judging others by the color of their skin or the clothes on their backs, and instead look at their hearts.

And y’all, let’s pray for hearts that will be content with our own circumstances and share a heart of thankfulness with everyone around us.

Let’s love each other as ONE in Christ Jesus, the way He meant for it to be.

My sweet friends, you are more than just a number. You are so precious to God that He can  use these worldly numbers in our lives for Him, though. Focus on Jesus, love others as ONE, and lay all of those other digits at His feet.

Maggie Meadows Cooper is a real-life wife and mom who messes up every day and needs Jesus to save her. She loves Auburn football (War Eagle!), real Coca-cola, and all things chocolate! She is the author of the children’s book Bumper, writes for Blogs by Christian Women, serves as a Parent Coordinator in the Opelika City Schools, and leads the FBCO Teen Moms group. She lives in Opelika, AL with her husband and three children. You can follow her at beautifulinyourheart.blogspot.com

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The Faith that Endures – a devotional

Editor’s Note: This is a guest submission from Agnes Amos-Coleman, who just writes the best devos for us! Thank you Agnes!

My friends, I don’t know about you but there are times in my journey of faith when the journey just gets hard and I think, it is extremely difficult to make it through the day as a Christ follower.  It is during these times that the word of God in James 1:2-3 provides strength “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance”.

As we grow in Christ, our faith will be tested. However, these tests will make us better and stronger people but most importantly, we will be a living testimony for others to see.  Most people will never set foot in church but our enduring faith is what will draw them to the God we serve.

Living out a faith that endures daily means walking in an intentional mindset that:

  • Trust in God to help us persevere – It is impossible to walk this journey of faith without the help of the Holy Spirit.  With His help, we can make the right choices in our words, action and deeds when the journey gets tough.
  • Chooses to identify with Christ – No matter the pressure from our personal and business relationships, we must never give up. 
  • Values the eternal perspective – We must fix our eyes on Jesus, the perfecter of our faith.  We are sojourners here on earth where everything is temporary.  However, as we look toward eternity, our affliction here pales in comparison to the reward that awaits us.

Christ follower, pray that God will give you a faith that endures till the end. If you are currently not a Christ follower, the blood that Jesus shed on the Cross of Calvary is for you – come and experience Him today.

All glory to God!

Agnes Amos-Coleman
Agnes is a leader with proven business acumen in a variety of industries. She holds an executive MBA from the University of Hull, United Kingdom, and is also a Certified Meeting Planner (CMP). She is the author of Transforming Business with Godly Governance: Nine Characteristics for Workplace Success; God Cares for Me in Every Season: Godly Insights for Singleness, Marriage and Divorce; The Provisions of God: Insights from a Cat Named Mascot, and  Weekly Insights for the Workplace: A Devotional for Christian Professionals
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The Calendar – a devotional

Editor’s Note: This is a guest submission from our dear friend June Titus! Thanks so much for sharing your stories with us, June!

And he appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, and to record, and to thank and praise the Lord God of Israel: I Chronicles 16: 4

What sort of gift does a family give to aging folks who seemingly have no needs of the usual birthday or holiday gifts? When my parents were living, this question always came up with me. Now that my husband and I are “aging folks,” our family most likely asks the same questions, especially since we are newly weds with a blended family.

This past Christmas we were pleasantly surprised with one of the most unique gifts either of us had ever received: a calendar. This was not just any calendar; it was a beautifully done calendar chronicling our family life since we had begun dating some years ago. There were pictures of when we had been together at events with my husband’s family, and at events with my family. As well, there were dates recorded for everyone’s birthdays (including the pets), anniversaries, and holidays. There is plenty of room to chronicle our events throughout the year. It can serve as a mini-diary for us. We can record social events, vacations, luncheon dates, and when we entertain family or friends.

In this fast-moving society sometimes we forget the need to record the events of our lives. Suddenly the day is upon us and we are not prepared. Did we send a birthday card? When were our friends here for dinner? What time are we supposed to meet someone? This calendar allows us to pencil in a planned event, and then to change it to ink after the fact. The older I get, to more important that becomes.

One of the many reasons I love reading the Bible is that it chronicles the lives of the Family of God. In the pages of scripture I learn about the beginning, all thepeople in between, like Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Elisha, Jonah, John theBaptist . . . Then I read about our Savior—His birth, His life, His death on theCross for me, His resurrection and ascension. And—put this on your calendar—His coming again!

But no, we do not know the date of his coming.[1] Yes, we believe His promise. He will return. I was looking at some puffy clouds in the sky today, clouds that reminded me that He will return the way He ascended to Heaven.[2] It is a good thing that we do not know the Day of His return. If we did—if we could put it on our calendar, we would not do as He bid us—to go into the world about us and share the Good News of our redemption. We would not have our priorities straight.

For the special days on our calendar we prepare. Is it a celebration, a trip, a matter of sending a gift? One the other hand, to prepare for Christ’s return is a daily preparation. We prepare our mind by studying about Him in the Word of God and getting to know Him; we prepare our hearts by becoming more and more like the one we have met in His Word; we prepare our lives by our faithfulness and diligence in leaving no opportunity to slip by to honor Him and share Him with our world. We prepare for that Day by praying, “Thy Kingdom come . . .”[3] and “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”[4]

As we enjoy looking at the pictures in our calendar—a record of our lives together, it is a beautiful reminder of the things recorded in God’s Word, and the anticipation of Christ’s return.

[1] Matthew 25: 12-13[2] Acts 1: 6-11 [3] Matthew 6; 10[4] Revelations 22: 20

June Windle Bare
June W. Titus is a retired nurse and poet and mother and grandmother, living with her husband in southern Georgia. Now in her eighties, she remains active in her local church. Among other church responsibilities, she teaches a Sunday school class of her peers. She writes a weekly blog on Facebook, entitled “Monday Musings.” Prior to moving to Georgia, she was a regular contributor to “The Watauga Democrat” newspaper, and “all About Women,’ a monthly magazine, both in Boone, North Carolina.
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