[Guest post by Jo Ann Erwin: Jo Ann just recently posted in November, but I couldn’t turn this wonderful post from her away for our Christmas guest post series! I love the story of the widow in Mark & Luke, and Jo Ann’s story of how her …
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[Guest post by Ifeoma Samuel: I thought this was a great post to kick off our Christmas guest post series, “The Gifts God Has Given You.” Let’s remember that anything is possible with God!]
I am a passionate Sunday school teacher. I love my Sunday school kids, so I call them my kids. I see them as cute little projects in God’s hands. Earlier in the year, God had laid it in my heart to bless all my kids with Bibles. There are quite a lot of them — over 45 in number.
I had look beyond the cost of purchasing these items. Trusting God for a miracle was all I had to do. As I obeyed, God led my feet to someone who undoubtedly gave her heart to fulfilling this assignment.
As I spoke with this person, Lauren, without hesitation God used her and she agreed to help. Other people also made donations. God had people ready and waiting for the go-ahead. There was great grace for the assignment. Alas! It happened.
I learned a big lesson. God had proved to me that if he sends you, He will without fail make all else available. Just trust him and obey.
All my kids received their Bibles. It was a surprise. Their eyes lit up like little torches. There are no words to express how I felt. This scripture popped up in my head.
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matthew 25:40
When God nudges you to meet a need, He gives you the provision. Obey and trust Him. He will raise helpers that will gracefully bring that desire to pass.
As we prepare to shop for gifts this wonderful season, I would like you to have this in mind.
- Reaching out should be from the heart. Don’t do it to impress people.
- God rewards you. God’s Commendation should be sought after rather than praise from people.
And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward. Matthew 10:42
- When you give with love, you address a need. You shouldn’t give amiss; it’s like you read the receiver’s heart.
- Be a compassionate giver. When you give out of compassion, you give out a part of your heart. People can see the sincerity of your love.
- There is joy in giving. When you cheerfully obey the Holy Spirit in your giving, the joy you experience is inexplicable. Nothing gives more joy than seeing your gift mean so much to the person that received.
- Your actions and words are of more value than the gifts you bear. A warm hug, tender kisses, kind words, hearty smiles, etc. reflect your thoughts.
There are a lot of ways to reach out to people in this festive season. Step out of your regular routine. This Christmas should not be all about your family and friends. Reach out to the unreached. Give hope to the hopeless. Allow God use you as a vessel unto honour.
Ifeoma Samuel is privileged to be a woman after God’s heart. She is happily married to her sweet heart, Obiora and serves the Lord fervently in children’s ministry as a Sunday school teacher. She is also a Christian blogger and writer. You can find her blogging regularly at Purposeful and Meaningful.
This guest post is part of the first-ever Devotional Diva Christmas guest post series entitled, “The Gifts God Has Given You.” Look for more posts with this theme now until December 23rd!
[Guest Post by La Micia Genova: I’m thrilled for you to “meet” La Micia today because, although our stories are different, La Micia and I both dealt with depression before God gave us our knights in shining armor. I’m all about princesses and fairy tales and this …
[Guest post by Jo Ann Erwin: Jo Ann sent me two samples from her “Daily Blessings” writings, but I was very partial to this one due to my pet-loving nature. I thought the message of gratitude was perfect to leave off with just before Thanksgiving here in the US. There will be no Saturday post, and now Devotional Diva is officially on Thanksgiving break! New posts will resume on December 2nd.]
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength. O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name!
1 Chronicles 29:11-13
Today, I was putting out treats for my cat, Moma Kitty, and my dog, Molly, as I do every morning on my way out the door. As I was reaching into the bag of cat treats, I looked down at Moma Kitty, who was waiting patiently and expectantly, with big eyes that are watching my every move.
I say to her “Here’s your treat, Moma, for doing absolutely nothing!”
I say that because I give Molly a treat when she goes outside on her leash and takes care of her business like the good dog that she is. I am thankful that she waits for her “outside” time and doesn’t use the rugs as her toilet.
So Molly gets a treat for being house trained and obeying her alpha, but now the cat is a whole ‘nother story. Cats aren’t house trained; cats can pee and poop at will, with the litter box always ready, and she still gets a treat every time Molly does, with no effort on her own part.
She just exists and still gets the blessing.
So… as I was putting the treats into the cat’s dish, telling her how blessed she is for this treat that she made no effort in earning, it hit me…this is just what God does with me.
I am going about my everyday life, working my routine, going to the office to earn money so I can buy these treats for my animals, and blessings are just falling into my lap when I did absolutely nothing to deserve them.
And I know where they are coming from — I give Him the glory.
Just as Moma Kitty was purring and content knowing that the treat was coming out of my hand and into her dish, I smiled and my eyes were opened to the revelation that my treats will come from the hand of God — just because — for no other reason but to show his love for me.
Now doesn’t that make for a great day!!??
Jo Ann Erwin lives in Paris, TN and has raised two college graduates, Melanie and Matthew. She is also mom to one precious poodle-mix named Molly and one high-maintenance cat named Moma Kitty. Jo Ann volunteers for the local homeless shelter and has for the past 15 years, fully believing that we are all equal in God’s eyes and we all deserve chances through-out our lives to make things right.
[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 …
[Guest post by Sherrie Harris: Sherrie sent in this post that is perfect for this thanksgiving time! Please enjoy her inspiring story of gratitude and grace.] As the girls entered the room, trickling in one or two at a time, their faces shone with gratefulness …
[Guest post by Rebecca Lamarche: This post is a two-fer! First, Rebecca shares a poem. Then, she has an “insight” that is more devotional style. I hope you enjoy Rebecca’s wordsmithery and viewpoint on hope as much as I did!]
Hope with Painted Wings
From the genesis of forming me inside my mother’s womb
Through the exodus from innocence so early in my youth,
In the desert of my wandering, I was thirsting for my purpose,
And You led me through the sandstorms to oases of Your truth.
From every bucket of belief I drew from wells of tainted water,
You dipped ladles full of murky thoughts and turned them into wine.
You did miracles of transformation, restoration, healing ~
Oh, I wonder at Your power and Your tender love divine.
You’ve remade me from the broken shards of clay You crushed to powder,
And on the Potter’s wheel Your artist’s hand remolded dreams.
In Your faithfulness You walked with me from pain to perseverance,
From perseverance onward into hope with painted wings!
Your Word, now, is the compass that I follow on my journey,
My future holds new promise with a purpose from Your mind,
And from the splintered crosses that I’ve built and nailed myself to,
You resurrect my true self from the life I’d crucified.
Rebecca Lamarche, 2013 I BORROWED DAVID’S HARP, Westbow Press /Thomas Nelson Publishers
These are the splattered black stains crippling our destinies.
It’s shrapnel from a childhood reprimand, words stinging like a scorpion’s tail, assuring us we are but a sorry disappointment. It’s the hot wave that rises from neck to face in red humiliation when mockery and ridicule is pronounced over us.
Shame is when the leviathan of guilt and regret wraps its constricting tentacles around our woundedness… We feel compelled to lock ourselves into a pointless, twisted sort of resignation to succumb to an existence without hope, instead of a life bound for dreams. We declare ourselves unworthy.
Such can be the colorless subsistence of the mind tortured by Shame; and Shame’s offspring are the self-lies and the fears that mutilate our relationships and sabotage our destinies.
Yet, there is a Way, through Truth, to Life…
In our formative years, so many events and influences affect whom our personality ultimately portrays. We each learn to hide our vulnerabilities and weak spots; and we develop coping behaviors that are often self-destructive, and are built on self-lies that need to be washed in Truth!
The psychological stepping stones of an individual’s belief system – the inner “rules” by which the brain tells each of us how we need to play our personal game of Life – are placed into order based on how they ‘drive’ us into action:
1) Core Beliefs drive…
2) Thought, which drive…
3) Emotions, resulting in…
4) Actions and reactions.
We view life’s events, and conduct our relationships, through the lens of experiences that have etched a belief system into our subconscious. We interpret circumstances and process events by forming thoughts that reinforce that core belief. If memories are painful, it is here that our survival instinct can develop a misguided set of “rules”, or core beliefs; hence, misunderstanding, suspicion and self-lies are born, because our beliefs may be founded on untruth. For example, a child bit by a dog forms the belief, “all dogs bite”, concluding (thought) “all dogs will bite me”.
Those thoughts drive emotions of fear, even perhaps hatred, thus determining the way that she will instinctively act, or react, around dogs to survive and avoid pain. The belief that all dogs bite is faulty, resulting in unnecessary and crippling fear. If later in life she marries a dog-breeder, to survive her subconscious phobia, she may take copious amounts of anti-anxiety medication, developing an addiction that self-destructs her health and relationships. Now, replace “all dogs” with core beliefs about “all men”…
God ladles all self-lies and fears out of the well of our tainted thoughts, transforming them into truths that set us free from self-deceptions and painful dysfunction. He dips into His Word and pours truth and healing over us, His endless wellspring purifying our core beliefs and thoughts, that we might see ourselves as God created us, revealing our infinite value to Him. With this new “mind of Christ”, our entire selves are transformed by constant renewal. This reinstates within us shame-free, fear-free, healthy emotions that reflect in positive behaviors, healing in relationships, and restored daring to dream!
Life doesn’t always fly on painted wings, but hope does! Float free on the winds of the Holy Spirit until you reach your destiny!
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
As an Author and Bible Teacher, Rebecca Lamarche hangs her cowgirl hat in beautiful Austin, TX. She has a passionate faith, undaunted by life’s many challenges that have made her road steep and rocky at times. She walks in intimacy and power with Jesus, shepherding women through healing, deliverance and wholeness through her ministry, Spirit Alive Women. Her new book, I BORROWED DAVID’S HARP is a collection of personal worship psalms and stories, much like David, who sang his experiences in poetry and praise to the God in whom he placed his trust.