Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by long-time contributor Agnes Amos-Coleman. We are so happy to have our friend back! I know the battle to be true because I have just recently experienced a satanic attack on my faith, with thoughts in my mind …
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 …
Editor’s Note: This is a story by veteran Diva Maria Drayton. Thank you so much Maria for continuing to share your writing with us!
“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”
3 John 2:1 NKJV
Working out is not one of my favorite past times. I don’t enjoy running, lifting weights, machine workouts and the worst of all is sweating. But I’ve learned that I must do it in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. As a youth, I ran track and “no”, I didn’t enjoy it then either. The worst part was always the beginning of the season when our coach mandated long runs as a way of conditioning and creating endurance within us. As an adult, I understand that although the process is not easy, it is worth it in the end. Just like when I was young, the longer runs were never going to be my race but they helped create endurance with strengthened me in my short distance races and inevitably made me faster.
1 Corinthians 9: 24-25 NIV,
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”
Faith is a lot like working out. We start small, it takes a while, but inevitably it grows and in the end we can run the race set out before us. Faith must be trained. But just as with working it out, it takes time. I remember recently when I began walking again, my body fought me. I would start walking and about five minutes in, I would have the thought,
“It’s not too late to turn back.”
Even my feet would begin to throb as if saying,
“No! I don’t want to do this!”
It’s like your body talks to you and you have to push past it in order to get through it. That’s how faith is. Your mind tells you just the opposite of what God says and attacks you in your mind.
“It’s not going to work out” or “Do you really believe that?” or the most common thought, “You have to deal with reality.”
Faith is just the opposite of all these thoughts. It challenges what we see, what we know, what we’ve experienced and calls us to focus on the truth of the Word of God alone.
Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV tells us,
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…”
Our faith must grow if we are to experience all that God has for us. In order for faith to grow it must be worked out. I remember in the beginning of my journey with the Lord, it started with small things. I had to have faith that I could get the job. And then it was faith to finish college. After that my faith seemed to increase and believe it was possible for me to get the really good job. Every chance to use my faith was met by a different obstacle and I had to believe God’s word instead of my own doubts and thoughts.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 KJV.
The evidence and use of faith is evidenced by not seeing it. The things hoped for requires us to have faith. If I were able to see it in the natural, what use would there be for faith? We believe God’s word by faith. We believe that Jesus is the son of God by faith. So we also must live by faith.
So, although it doesn’t feel good working out, by the end I am glad I did it. May your faith be strengthened today and may you enjoy the faith journey.
Heavenly Father, thank you for being faithful to me as I continue to trust You in with my journey. Allow me to continue to grow in faith and to keep my focus on Your everlasting word that does not change nor returns void. You are my way-maker and I thank you for all you’ve done and are continuing to do in me. Bring me to my expected end in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Maria Drayton, originally from Seattle, Washington is a graduate of Washington State University and has a degree in Communications with an emphasis in Journalism through the Edward R. Murrow School of Communications. Maria currently resides in Deptford, New Jersey with her husband and son and attends Bethel Deliverance International Church lead by Bishop Eric A. Lambert. She is the author of: The King and I: Steps for living in today’s world through Intimacy with the Lord and her newest publication, To Know Him: A 31-day Devotional Journey, published May 2020. With a passion for the Lord, she desires to bring a young, fresh, new look into intimacy with the Lord. Visit her at: www.mariadrayton.com to learn more!
Editor’s Note: Welcome to our Fall 2020 submissions cycle! Today we have a beautiful devotional from our friend Sheila Lloyd. Her bio is down below if you don’t remember her!
We live in a beautiful neighborhood hemmed in by the river on one side and wooded mountain foothills on the other. The route of my usual walk passes through quiet streets lined with volunteer tricklings of water from some elevated stream through ditches filled with leaves from last fall. Frogs jump as my foot falls get closer, and I suddenly stop to gaze at a dragonfly poised and still. Amazingly it remains in place long enough for me to bend down and take a closer look… It is mainly browns, and its four wings are composed of infantisimaly small membranes and abstract chestnut splotches. This design is completely different than the last dragonfly I saw on my walk.
And I began pondering God’s creation. It’s not as though he said, “Today I’m going to work on dragonfly design. I will create 85 different species.” ….OK, I confess, I pulled that number 85 out of the air thinking that that was quite a few different species of dragonflies! Then I googled the question. There are 5000 different species of dragonflies! Check it out for yourself! Just let your head wrap around that for a moment!
Here’s the thing that really got me yesterday: the Lord created them with a word. One breath. A fraction of a second. In the Bible Genesis 1 states that all of creation, everything that exists, was created in six days by the God of the universe. Many do not believe this. I believe it!
Genesis 1:20, Day 5 of the Creation Project God said
“Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.”
On day six, Genesis 1:24, God said,
“Let land produce living creatures according to their kinds…”.
So dragonflies would’ve been included in one of those days.
My mind went here… If someone gave you a task to come up with 5000 different species of dragonflies, how much time would you need for that? How much brain power would that take? How many sketchbooks would you fill with potential designs of wings? The Lord God Almighty spoke and 5000 species of dragonflies existed. It gives evidence for the capacity of his mind and power and creativity. And it was instantly perfect! We have ideas and try to carry them out but seldom are they flawless the first time! The Lord didn’t even have to think it in detail; it just was done.
Now, follow the train of thought a little farther… On day six He spent exorbitantly more time, it seems, creating mankind. He did not just speak Adam into existence. Genesis 1:26 says, then God said,
“Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
Besides the plural reference (evidence for the Trinity; see also 1:1-2), God got his hands dirty, so to speak, forming Adam. Genesis 2:7 says
“The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground,”
and then, get this!
“and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”
The first human was formed by the hand of God and received the very breath of God as its source for life.
Of course we read later in Genesis 1:19-23 why and how God made woman.
I was struck and humbled that a God Who could speak into existence 5000 species of dragonflies as only one minuscule aspect of 48 hours of birthing the universe would choose to spend time and touch and breath creating a being which bears his likeness.
Next, my mind went to Psalm 8:3-5 which says,
“When I consider the heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.”
Then, consider Romans 1…
“We know there is a Creator, why? Because there is a creation!”
If you have never heard of Ray Comfort, look him up on YouTube. That is one of his main lines.
My response…worship! As a friend commented who read the above, “And to think, we can be in an intimate, personal relationship with our Creator because of His desire and provision thru Christ…truly amazing and yes, worship!” Yes indeed!
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.
Editor’s Note: She’s back again, our veteran writer with my favorite name! Maggie Meadows Cooper! While home on quarantine, I have had the privilege (and let’s be real…sometimes headache) of homeschooling my sweet babies. One is in preschool, preparing for the start of Kindergarten in …
Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Ann Grace. A great devotional for you today.
Have you ever had to comfort someone after a hard fall or loss? Well, I have had my fair share of “mommy moments” where I kissed a bloody booboo or wiped the tears off a child’s face. Funny thing is though, that even in the midst of my children’s intense pain, they still managed to get back up! They didn’t let the pain or the fear of failure paralyze them to stay down or quit.
About 5 years ago, I experienced a calling of widowhood to which I failed miserably.
The overwhelming urge to find true love again led me to make a series of selfish, unwise choices in whom I choose to re-marry and become a father to my children. The wreckage left behind from my lack of wisdom have now left me broken and bloody. And the saddest part of it all is that my children have taken the blunt of the consequences from this unwanted messy divorce.
I can honestly say that the Lord has allowed me to be slayed in many ways and He has taken from me the very gifts he once gave me. And yet, there remains hope! The Lord has redeemed me and promises to hold me ever so close through this bloody battle in life that will one day work for my good and His glory.
…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you
pass through the waters, I will be with you; and throught the rivers, they shall not overwhelm
you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume
you.” Isaiah 43:1-2 ESV
He continues to call me for a higher purpose in this life. And no matter how many tears I shed, I will not fear man or failure, heartache or grief, but rejoice knowing that one day, the Lord
will destroy evil and wipe away all the tears from my eyes for good! How amazing is that?! I think the Apostle Paul said it best,
“…Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of
Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I
will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in
my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
Philippians 1:18-21 ESV
So don’t look at what you see in your momentary afflictions or failures, but take heart knowing that our misery and pain will produce an eternal reward if we endure. In the midst of your bleedings, let Christ redeem you. Let Him give you the wisdom and strength to endure joyfully and love unconditionally while fulfilling your ever changing calling with excellence no matter how difficult life gets. Whether that’s being a stay at home mom, daughter, sister, friend, working women, single or married, widowed or divorced, always strive to honor Christ in all you do. Because the truth be told, our actions, especially after intense trials and tribulations whether
self-induced or not, are what others see and ultimately define us as true followers of Christ.
Ann: 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.