Not Nice or Knot Nice

Not Nice or Knot Nice

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by contributor June Windle Bare. June is so great with metaphors — if you read her last post, Spiritual Garbage Disposal, you’ll know what I mean! This devotional might make you re-evaluate some “knots” in your life!]

My favorite necklace! How in the world can I get this knot untied? If I attempt to wear it without taking the knot loose, my neck will get sore. It will drive me nuts. And it won’t hang at the right place on my neck. The chain on this necklace is a very delicate, fine-gauge gold chain with a lovely heart pendant. My sweetie gave it to me, and I want to wear it to please him.

I work the knot out. It takes time, patience, eye strain, and a challenge to my arthritic fingers. I work at it for seemingly a life-time until” Eureka!” it comes loose.

As I look at it against my neck, I reflect on the knots and the “nots” in my relationships with other people. Why should I bother? Why encourage a relationship with others who are “not” my faith, my family, my friends? They are not my style, not the kind of necklace I want to hang around my neck. Why should I care? But those “nots” are like the many knots on a fragile chain that links people together.

I think of a woman down the street, who calls me every so often to tell me about the problems in her life and remind me I am a praying woman. She ties up my phone and my plans for so long I worry my ear will fall off. As I think of her, I try to call. No answer. I leave a nice message, but do I hope she won’t call back, and let someone else unravel her knots? But I do care.

I think of my friend who, because of aging concerns, has been sidelined. She has dropped so many of her interests in the church and her social life. Should I offer to do something with her, or just let that knot alone? I call and offer to take her to lunch and to visit another friend in worse condition than she is. She is delighted. Me too. A knot untied.

I think of a relative—well, the widow of a relative. I am the one who always initiates the call or sends the card. Why bother? She never gives me the time of day unless she wants something. Why not drop that knotty chain to the bottom of the box? No, I will try to pick that knot apart, too. I write a note, telling her of family things. I hope she writes back.

A visit, a phone call or a letter may be one way to untie the knots, but what about an e-mail, a text, an emoji as a response to someone’s Facebook posts? These efforts seem so impersonal. Why not spend a few minutes commenting on their post with a word of encouragement? This may be the only way to engage the nots and the knots. Cannot God use any reasonable means to connect us in His greater family? And then sometimes the only way—and the first way—to loosen a knot is to pray for the “nots.”

I am reminded of St. Paul’s admonition in 1 Corinthians 12: 24-26 (NLT):

God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.

I want to be “knot” nice.

June Windle BareJune is a retired nurse, poet, and widow, living 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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Categories of Friends

categories of friends

categories of friends

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Ayodele Oluwafunsho — the third installment in her friendship series. You can check out her last post, Why Do You Need Friends? and the first post, We Are Meant to Relate by following the links!]

Categories of Friends

In making friends, you will come across this set of people;

1) Those that came to use you: These people are not sincere, they don’t tell you the truth about who you are and they don’t say the truth about who they are. They will praise you in the morning, afternoon and at night, so that the praise can cover up their agenda. They will so much praise you that you will become blinded by their praise.

Their emphasis is always on physical things; As a lady watch people who will always say “baby, you are so sweet, I mean you are killing me” …….every day, you are killing me; because his target is to use you, so he keeps blowing you up and you end up being a victim. He will use your influence, use your name, your material possessions and he will use your body.

You can actually trap some people by taking note of what they say as they come in contact with you; because what a man

emphasis will determine the direction he is going. Mhenn you are the most beautiful” watch it, you are not the most beautiful, to tell you the truth; I can’t be the most beautiful, we are all just unique in our own ways.

Now listen to what you do to those that came to use you:

TERMINATE the friendship as quickly as possible, don’t let it go one more day, if not you may regret what will happen in the next few minutes.

I deliberately chose who my friends are, and I know how to kill relationships that are not worth it, I starve it to death.

Whatever you don’t feed dies naturally; no more calls, no more visitations, no text messages, no more bold smiles and just casual greetings. The friendship will die.

Some people don’t know how to break unholy friendships and relationships that are not worth it; they just go to the person and say “excuse me, I don’t want it again…I mean it and I mean it” and the person starts crying “sweetie, I mean honey, I can’t believe you could do this to me” and suddenly you discover you are losing your posture, then you say “no I don’t mean to hurt you” and the guy will say “ even if it means kneeling down” then you say “no, don’t kneel down, it hasn’t come to that” You are caught! He’s caught you again because, with that crocodile tears, he hasn’t changed his plan, he wants to use you and the risk is not worth it.

A brother got born again, and went with his dagger (the small bible that contains only the new testament is what I call dagger, you know it’s not FULL sword) to his girlfriend of three (3) years whom he’s been fornicating with and so he told the girl “I mean, I’ve given my life to Christ, you must be born again”

The lady cried and cried again to the extent that before bro could open eye and close, they were in bed again.

2) Those who came to get acquainted with you; I call them the Acquaintances..: they just want to know you, know the kind of person you are or just go around you. More or less casual.

Be careful with these set of people and send them away as soon as they get whatever it is they want to know. If they stay longer, they may pose a threat to your life.

3) Those who came to serve you: These are the people who came to release what they carry into you and also tap into what you have. These are the people who grow to the level of those who can die for you; The Bible says “A friend loves at all time and a brother is born for Adversary” They can give their lives for

yours, and they will never believe anything they hear about you until they see you. They will say “ I don’t care what you are saying or what you saw, I need to ask my friend about it.

ALWAYS REMEMBER THIS:

Friendship Goals shouldn’t be taken for granted.

I will see you in my next post:

KINDS OF FRIENDSHIP!!!

Oluwafunsho is a certified Relationship therapist. An author and a Christian writer. Married with kids.

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Why Do You Need Friends

why do you need friends

why do you need friends

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Ayodele Oluwafunsho. “Why Do You Need Friends” is a follow-up post to her last guest blog on Devotional Diva on the topic of friendship: “We Are Meant to Relate.” Look out for even more friendship posts from Oluwafunsho!]

WHY DO YOU NEED FRIENDS?

My last post was about what Friendship is and what it entails.

Today, I would like to discuss two other important aspects of Friendship.

  • Why do you need friends? 

You are a product of people’s inputs; whoever you have in your life is either adding to you or subtracting from you. This either brings a positive or a negative input into your life, let me say this “Don’t always be the motional fellow, the one always looking for help. Have something to offer too.” God made us for association and life is about reciprocation, give and take is what it entails.

  • You Need Friends to:
  • Gain clearer and better insight and understanding of the real issues of life.
  • Share ideas, emotions, aspirations and help lift your body.
  • Strengthen, encourage, sustain and help you emotionally, financially, socially and spiritually.
  • Help in the days of adversity.
  • They are there when nobody knows your name till people hear your name.
  • They help you learn to love and serve.
  • They teach you how to live fulfilled and die empty.

Real friends will stretch you and this is a matter of attitude.

WHO IS A REAL FRIEND AND WHAT WILL MAKE YOU KEEP YOUR FRIENDS?

  • Someone who helps you deal with your pasts, inspires your present in order to have your future secured.
  • Someone that brings out the genius in you and takes out the monster.
  • Someone that invests in your strengths and helps you overcome your weaknesses.
  • Someone who celebrate your victory and mourns your defeat, whatever hurts you, hurts him too.
  • Someone willing to take risk and sacrifices for you.
  • Someone who is sincerely committed to your success in life at all cost and seasons.
  • Someone committed to God, a real one with an unwavering and uncompromising commitment.
  • Someone travelling in the same direction with you.
  • What Will Make You Keep Your Friends

True friends are like diamonds. The future is uncertain and brisk for a man who doesn’t have friends.

  • RECOGNITION; You need to partner with the people God has placed in your life, but they are waiting for your recognition. It is the first factor to valuing, respecting and celebrating your friendship. (John 1:10) Take time to recognize the genius in your friend, it is the key to investment; it is the key to protection. Recognise their accomplishment as well.

Friends are carriers of destiny and they are protectors of destiny. 

Your friends are all loaded with solutions and ideas.

FINALLY, don’t  forget this;

Isolation is the beginning of Desolation and its susceptible to Destruction. It makes you Vulnerable. 

Watch out for my next post: CATEGORIES OF FRIENDS 

 

Oluwafunsho is a certified Relationship therapist. An author and a Christian writer. Married with kids.

 

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We Are Meant to Relate

we are meant to relate

we are meant to relate

[editor’s note: This is a guest post by Ayodele Oluwafunsho. I love her post today on friendship and how we relate to one another! This weekend, I’m reading Bible verses in one of my best friend from childhood’s wedding (remember the one from last year that got married? that’s the third pea in our pod!). Friendship is such a blessing!]

Friendship is one of the greatest assets you can possess in life. It’s so funny we know how to treat lesser assets than the greater ones.

Friendship is one of the most strategic things in life; it’s something you don’t have to take for granted. If the Bible said “Two are better than one” (Eccl 4:9-10) then don’t joke with it, two are actually better than one. It is not only in marriage that this is applicable. But in all areas.

One of the poisons of motivational speaking is that it has turned us into lone rangers, they tell us ‘you can make it alone’ It’s a lie, you can’t survive alone.

The days are coming when you will need friends. In this journey of life, you need someone, because it’s getting cold out there. You had always needed someone and you will continue to need someone.     

Now, how do you locate the person you need at a particular point of your life should be your main focus. Because I tell you, once there’s problem with relationship, there’s problem everywhere, this is because it is the key to leadership and there’s nowhere you can’t access with relationship. Everything thrives when relationship thrives; let me tell you, you are just a relationship away from that money you are looking for, from that job, from that husband/wife. Get diligent about how you treat people and you will soon connect to the power house.

Many people tell me they don’t have friends or they don’t need friends, I tell you, you are doing yourself a harm because where you are took someone to get you there, where you are going will take someone to get you there as well.

You are where you are because your primary school teacher taught you and you got to the high school, your high school teacher also taught you before you got to the college, you needed them.

Even when Jesus came to the earth, he chooses 12 friends. You see one of the gifts that God has given us is the ability to choose our friends. I use the CHOOSE because we choose our friends, friends are not forced or transferred; you choose who you want your friends to be. God has never given anyone a friend and he won’t give you one. The only thing he will give you is TIME.

He expects you to convert that your time to money, to invest your time into people to turn them into your friends.

“Mike Murdock” said something; he said “Time is the only currency of the earth, with which we buy everything we need” The Lord Jesus Christ called us friends because he knows how important friendship is. Even in science, the molecules of a compound had to come together to keep each of the compounds like that.

Friendship helps you run with several legs, hear with several ears and see with several eyes, because if you have a friend in New york and you are in Texas, he/she may hear of a job or a business in new york that you are very good at, he can link you up straight.

Let’s stop this entire ‘Pastor pray for me of a thing’

Learn to build more on your relational ability; God has placed everyone around you for a reason

Now, let me say this “YOU DON’T NEED TOO MANY FRIENDS” the Bible says in Proverbs 14:29 “A man of many companions will soon come to ruin” But there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 19:8.

You just need few loyal friends, this doesn’t mean you don’t get along with people but we all have tastes, what we like and what we dislike.

So, if everyone is your friend, it’s a sign you have no shame because the truth is, not everyone is travelling in the same direction with, so everyone cannot be your friend.

NOTE THIS: God is a relational being and this is why we have the Bible, so in order to be effective in life, you need to learn how to deal with people effectively.

Oluwafunsho is a certified Relationship therapist. An author and a Christian writer. Married with kids.

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Companion on the Journey

companion on the journey by Samantha Hanni on Devotional Diva

[Guest post by Samantha Hanni: Trying to conceive, infertility, miscarriages and pregnancy are difficult times and Samantha is right — it’s so important to have a female companion on the journey! God certainly placed someone like this in my life, and what an encouragement she was!]

Luke 1:5-36; 39-45; 56

Elizabeth and Mary. Two pregnancies against all odds.

A virgin birth? A pregnancy after menopause? Medically impossible. Highly unlikely.

Imagine the looks the teenager and grandma-aged lady must have gotten from neighbors, even friends. The suspected immorality. The arched eyebrows and whispered comments behind palms.

How trying and humiliating…to be pregnant is to be already vulnerable, but to be labeled as odd on top of that? I can’t imagine.

However, God in His tenderness didn’t leave these special women to fend for themselves. I believe He orchestrated these two dynamic pregnancies to coincide with one another to provide the support and encouragement the new moms would need.

Elizabeth’s husband, John, couldn’t talk throughout her pregnancy. How hard would that be to not hear the voice of your love, your closest friend for nine months?

Mary was not even with Joseph for a third of her pregnancy, a whole trimester. I fight anxiety when my husband is out of town for the weekend, so I can’t imagine being separated from him for that length of time.

God’s love and care is demonstrated by bringing these two women together under extraordinary circumstances.

They were women who had a unique road ahead of them. The friendship and pregnancy moments shared during those months they stayed together undoubtedly fortified them for the days to come.

Whether it’s in pregnancy, miscarriage or barrenness, God is faithful to provide companions to join you on the journey. You have to be willing to let God accomplish this work, though. Sometimes it means opening up a difficult part of your life. Sometimes it means finding friendship in unlikely places.

Bringing new life into the world and conversely, waiting oh-so expectantly for life to begin in you is a difficult road to walk. And while husbands provide the tenderness and support that few others, even family members, could provide, other women in the same situation understand subtleties of the journey that few others can.

Look around you. If you are struggling with feeling alone and isolated, I am willing to bet God has placed companions in your life who will pray for you, share your burden and join you on the journey of bearing life, or the journey of struggling to understand why your body has not borne life yet.

Maybe God is calling you to reach out to some women in your life.

I had shared with a friend at church that I was due to start my monthly cycle the day before my 25th birthday, and I was dreading the disappointment from another month passing with no change, right before my special day. And Aunt Flo came right on schedule- and that meant my birthday was a very PMS-y day. Yuck. She texted me that morning and later in the afternoon saying she was praying for me that I would feel peace and contentment in spite of the circumstances.

Those words meant the world to me because I knew she understood. She knew how it felt to have another month go by with…nothing. Nothing but cramps and emotions that were all over the place.

It’s the enemy who wants us to feel isolated and alone. He can wreak great havoc on those who are separated from the flock. God never wants us to feel isolated and alone. His word promises He is always with us, and He desires that we find companionship and support in the body of Christ.

Sisters, let us follow Elizabeth and Mary’s example and support one another, during such seasons as these and always.

samanthaSamantha Hanni graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma in 2012 with a degree in journalism. Her passion is encouraging other people and seeing God’s truth make a difference in their lives. She is featured in the devotional book “Big Dreams from Small Spaces” by Group Publishing and blogs at mrshanni.com. Samantha and her husband reside in Oklahoma City.

 

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Be Transparent & Get Naked

be transparent and get naked[Guest post by Alicia Gill: I’m usually one to be pretty direct and honest; I have trouble holding in sour emotions. In this post, Alicia’s Sunday school student gives a great example of being transparent, letting it out, and “getting naked.”]

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?” Ecclesiastes 4:9-11 (NIV)

A few years ago, I taught a very sweet high school Sunday school class. The girls in there had such a love for the Lord, it was beautiful. Halfway through the year, we had a new girl join the class. To say that this new girl did not want to be there would be an understatement.

It’s not that she didn’t have a heart for the Lord, she did; it was about the fact that her family had just moved churches and she was not happy with that. She did not want to leave her previous church. She did not want to be in our class. She wanted to be back with the friends she loved and was comfortable with at her old church.

One Sunday morning, we had an opportunity to share with one another our feelings, worries, happiness; anything that was going on in our lives. The sweet new girl who never really talked much in class, really gave us an earful that morning. She let us know how unhappy she was, how she was sad about leaving her church, how she felt the girls in our church were just one big click that she was never going to fit in with, and if she could, she would go right back to where she came from.

She let it all out, or, as her sweet momma would call it, she “got naked.”

I felt terrible for how the new girl was feeling, it hurt my heart to know that she didn’t think she would fit in and that she didn’t want to give the other girls a chance at friendship. I was also worried about how hurt the other girls would be to be called a clique. Before class let out, I let the new girl know just how glad we were she was with us; That we loved her being a part of the class and that I hoped she would give us a chance to show her just how much we could love on her.

Being so transparent was risky. The new girl showed us her insecurities and vulnerabilities by opening up in such a raw way. But, you know what? Beautiful relationships were formed from it. The other girls had thought the new girl didn’t want to be friends; that she just didn’t want to have anything to do with them. Opening up like that let them know that they were all feeling the same way. It gave them an opportunity to love on her and show her that they did want to have meaningful relationships with her. It gave her an opportunity to take a chance on new friendships. To this day, they are all very close.

“Getting naked” about who we are is a risk.

But, it is that risk that can help us to establish real, intimate friendships. Friendship is a beautiful thing. The Lord gave us the gift of being able to develop friendships because He knew we would need each other to get through this life. But the only way to really develop those lasting, intimate friendships is to get naked and open ourselves up to taking a risk at forming lifelong bonds. It gives us the freedom to be who we are without having to explain ourselves or hide away any part we are afraid to let others see.

Take the risk: Get naked. Being transparent can be an open door to creating intimate friendships that last a lifetime.

John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (NIV)

 

alicia gill on devotional divaAlicia Gill. Type A wife, mom and home manager. I’m learning to see life through God’s eyes as I strive to know Him better and share what I learn with the others. When I’m not blogging, I enjoy running, cake decorating (the reason I run), photography, endurance challenges with my husband & 3 boys, all the while depending on His unending grace, love & forgiveness.

photo credit: flavio.leone via photopin cc

 

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The Power of a Godly Friend

the power of a godly friend on devotional diva

[Guest post by Ozella Morris: Ozella’s story of the power of a godly friend is inspiring. I hope all of you surround yourself with encouraging friends like this!]

Malachi 3:16 -Then those who feared the Lord spoke with each other, and the Lord listened to what they said. In His presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared Him and always thought about the honor of His name.

We will come in contact with so many different individuals throughout our lives.

It’s very easy to make fast friends or to overlook opportunities of true relationships. The Bible lets us know there is true power in who you choose to be a part of your life. It can either strengthen your relationship with God or have the opposite effect. It’s natural to feel timid around those who seem to have a more mature relationship with God than you. However, those believers are usually the ones who can strengthen you the most.

I can recall a conversation I had in the midst of one of my best friends before we even knew we would be friends.

We were at the very first Bible study held at our freshmen residence hall. The topic was concerning being genuine in the eyes of God. I was sharing a testimony of how I felt about being one way in church and one way out of church as a new follower of Christ. At this point, I hadn’t read much of my Bible, so I didn’t know which verses went along with what I was feeling at that time. I just felt compelled to speak out. After the Bible study, she came up to me and told me how brave I was for sharing those comments.

She had been on her Faith walk a lot longer than I had, had grown up in the church, and could recite Scriptures like no other, but none of that mattered.

We’ve been able to honestly share in Christ since that evening. We’ve been there for each other through the happiest of times and the lowest, always ready to share what the Lord has already given us through His Word. These times we share together are not only remembered by us through photos and Facebook statuses, but God also takes note of them.

As followers of Christ, we aren’t trying to keep up with ever changing trends and gossip to stay connected. Our common bond of having a hunger for God’s Word is what allows the Lord to intervene whenever we need to be encouraged. Have you ever felt like you had a sudden burst of energy once you finished talking to a friend? I believe those feelings are ways the Holy Spirit provides confirmation that you have been acknowledged by God.

It’s a true asset to have people around you who have God’s Word in them.

There is no better advice than the advice of a Proverb or a few words from the apostle Peter. God holds us accountable for the type of advice we share with others. It should never be in the spirit of what we would do but in the spirit of what is most pleasing to the Lord.

Count yourselves twice as blessed if you have friends, family, and coworkers around you to continuously keep your mind on serving God and each other the way He would want you to. Even though we live in a fast-paced world, we should all try to make an effort to leave a positive impression of Christ on those we meet. This not only pleases God but makes us happier and more fulfilled individuals.

Be blessed and be a blessing to others!

ozella morris on devotional divaI’m Ozella Morris, a 26 year old Certified Medical Assistant from Birmingham, Alabama. I’ve been encouraged by other women in Christ to be all that God has predestined me to be. With Christ in my life, I can laugh, love, and enjoy my portion, knowing that things are provided for those who trust in Him! Be blessed and be a blessing to others!

 

 

photo credit: VinothChandar via photopin cc

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Gossip is Not a Harmless Sin

gossip: a harmless sin?[Guest Post by Jenee Day: I honestly used to think gossiping was okay, even though I was a Christian. As I got older, I realized, like Jenee, gossip is not a harmless sin. Here’s why.]

Today I contributed to the destruction of a relationship.

Contributed is probably the wrong word.  Comparing the relationship to a skyscraper being demolished, I would be the person who provided the explosives.  Not directly, not intentionally, but with a little bit of ‘harmless’ sin.

I was having a difficult day, and I called my friend to talk about it.

Disclosure:  Gossip is a sin I struggle with.  It’s easy for me to rationalize and honestly, it feels good.  It feels good to have a laugh at someone else’s expense, when that person has hurt or angered me. Gross, right?

Gossiping is also a way for me to feel justified about my feelings while showcasing my mind-blowing sense of humor.  Nothing wrong with a joke or two, right?  Besides, if it makes me feel better, and the person being talked about never hears it, then I’m not really hurting anyone, am I?

Here are some verses from God’s word:

Be careful with your words.  James 3:5  “Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.”

Speak nicely.  Ephesians 4: 29 ”Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Let your words be pleasing to God.  Psalm 19:14 “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, oh LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

Your words will be judged.  Matthew 12:36 “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.”

(Wow! Clearly God frowns upon this kind of behavior.)

When I hung up the phone, I felt lighter.  My frustration gone, I felt unburdened and free.  Sadly, by not giving my frustration to Jesus in the first place, all I did was transplant it.  I caused my friend to sin on that phone call, and then she continued to struggle with the thoughts and frustration I had suffered from.   How irresponsible of me!

So, let me ask again: If I feel better when the conversation is over, and the person being talked about never hears it, then I’m not really hurting anyone, am I?

Wrong!  First, I hurt God.  I hurt him by disobeying, and by saying ugly things about one of his children, who he adores.  Second, I hurt my friend by leading her to sin.  I hurt myself by sinning and tarnishing my witness.  Finally, I hurt the friend I was convinced would never find out.

How?

Well, as I mentioned before, when the phone call was over, I felt great.  Sadly, my friend was now burdened. She allowed our conversation to replay her mind, until finally she picked up the telephone, called our other friend, and LET HER HAVE IT.

Later that night, my phone rang.  It was my gossip buddy, calling to rejoice in her victory.  After hours of deliberation, she had decided to call our other friend and unload on her. Convinced she had acted righteously, she recounted every word, and how she had let our friend know “what we were all thinking”.  Immediately, I thought, “what have you done?” followed in quick succession by “What have I done?”

I hung up the phone and got on my knees.  I begged God’s forgiveness for the role I played in destroying this relationship.  I repented of my disobedience in the moment I chose it.  I cried.  The friend I gossiped about does not have a relationship with Christ.  Oh, Father, what have I done? My ‘feel good’ sin left the bond between two friends in shambles.

Proverbs 18:21 says “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”  So we are instructed to “speak life” to others, that we might be a blessing to them.

As followers of Christ, we must love the lost more fervently and sincerely.  A slip of the tongue – a harmless joke – could push someone away from salvation permanently. There’s nothing funny about that.

 

Jenee Day on Devotional DivaJenee Day is a freelance writer and researcher and published poet. A member of the Spiritual Writer’s Association, she has written for textbroker.com and various regional publications.  She lives in Alabama with her husband and two kids, and her heart belongs to Jesus.

photo credit: Kevin Shorter via photopin cc

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The 3 People You Need to Meet

people you need to meet

[Maggie is on vacation so I thought I’d jump on and encourage you all with the three people you need to meet to achieve your dreams. My newest book, Dream Devotional, just released this month. Pick up a copy on Amazon for only $2.99!]

Dreaming together is important because we are designed, commanded, and encouraged into a loving relationship with God and each other.

I’ll never forget the day I was sitting at the front desk as the office receptionist when a woman walked in for an interview. She thought I was pregnant–say what??–and asked me when I was due.

I was completely shocked and mortified. She felt really bad too when she found out that I was in fact, not pregnant. My boss and I joked that she probably wouldn’t get the job because of her comments, but I’m so glad she did because it wasn’t until after she got the job that I found out she was a Christian and had heard a word from the Lord for me on why she thought I was preggers.

She told me, “God wants to birth a ministry through you — if you’ll let him, not to say that your future husband isn’t important.”

Ouch.

Anyone who knew me when I was single, knew how important my future husband was to me. I desperately wanted to be married, and for whatever reason God prolonged that dream until I was almost 30.

God knew the plans and purposes He created specifically for me. He knew if He brought my future husband into my life too soon — I wouldn’t have risked so many dreams with Him.

Friends, God created you for an individual and unique purpose as well. You have a divine destiny that only you can fulfill.

Don’t believe me? Just read the Scriptures full of men and women of faith who entrusted their lives to God in the most courageous circumstances. Sometimes, we don’t see until afterwards why God gives us the dreams and visions He does because He doesn’t want to scare us or hinder us from fulfilling our mission.

for such a time as thisIt wasn’t until afterwards that Joseph realized why he so arrogantly shared his dreams to all 12 of his brothers…after he was thrown in prison (not once but twice)…and after he was summoned into the courts of Pharaoh — did he see why God placed him in his prison cell for such a time as this.

Friends, you may be the catalyst for someone else’s dreams. If it wasn’t for the many brave women in my life — I wouldn’t be where I am today!

If you are currently experiencing the death of a vision or a dream — I encourage you to partner up with people who believe in you. Seek out trusted partners and ministry relationships to foster the dreams God has placed on your heart because they are strong enough to save not only your souls, but the lives of many others (James 1:21).

If you are wondering what kind of relationships I am talking about, I want to encourage you to connect with three different kinds of relationships to accomplish your BIG dreams:

1. A Mentor in the business — someone who has been there, done that, and can help guide you through the obstacles to become a expert person of business and integrity.

2. A Life or Dream Coach — someone who believes in you even if others including your family does not believe in you. Someone who will stand by you and lift your arms up like Moses when the battle becomes too weary.

3. Prayer partners — someone who can pray for you when you can’t pray for yourself. I never endeavor to write any books or speak at any function without asking for prayer covering. Prayer is the most powerful form we have against spiritual attack, so use it (James 5:16!

I feel like I am at a point in my life right now where I can look back and see God’s hand and His many answered prayers.

Question: Who cheerleads your dreams? Who’s dreams are you currently cheerleading?

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Why is it that Christians Hurt Me the Most?

Christians Hurt Me

[Guest Post by Mary DeMuth – If you or anyone you know has been hurt by Christians, the church, or anyone who claims to love God–please forward this to them! Be encouraged.]

I wish it weren’t true. But I can honestly say being hurt by other Christians, particularly Christian leaders, has devastated me.

I don’t have a category for the grief because of all the shoulds. (Those leaders should know better than to act that way. They should not have said those hateful words.)

In the aftermath of the pain, I’ve not always processed it well.

I’ve been angry.

I’ve wanted vengeance.

The writer in me wanted to craft a piece that exposed all that awful stuff. (Truth be told, I was so hurt by one Christian woman, I made her a character in one of my novels…I won’t tell who…and actually found healing in writing her. I began to have empathy for her).

It took me a few years to get beyond the anger of one particular hairball of a ministry hurt. Eventually, Jesus helped me overcome my frustration and learn to live with grace and kick bitterness to the curb.

So I wrote a book (natch…isn’t that what authors do?).

I kept meeting people who had my experience—trying to process pain from others, particularly those closest to them. I’ve seen people leave the church because a Christian leader deeply wounded them. There had to be a way through.

The Wall Around Your HeartThe Wall Around Your Heart shows my way through.

I help readers walk the path of The Lord’s Prayer in an entirely new way—with an eye toward relationship. I’m honest about my own struggles. It’s not always pretty, but it’s real.

The truth is relational pain is probably our largest pain on this earth.

And Jesus gets it.

He experienced it.

Who better than Him to help us navigate the waters of betrayal?

My prayer is that book will set an entire generation of bitter Christians FREE from living constantly in reaction to the past. That they will find the joy of NOW, healed from injury, daring to forgive and move on.

That’s why I wrote the book—that we’ll all experience the abundant life Jesus promises, but feels so far from our everyday experience.

Mary DeMuthMary DeMuth is the author of over a dozen books including her latest, The Wall Around Your Heart: How Jesus Heals You When Others Hurt You (http://amzn.to/15Q19xh) Find out more at MaryDeMuth.com.

[Photo: EssG, Creative Commons]

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