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Not Sick of Slavery

Are you fond of going to the doctor? Or do you wait until the last possible moment? When my mom was living, I always laughed at her because anytime I had the slightest sniffle, she urged me to visit the doctor. My first reaction, though, is usually to wait. Surely, it will go away on its own. Surely, my immune system just needs time to work. Sometimes that rationale worked. But sometimes it didn’t. I remember several times I waited too long and paid a hefty price in pain and discomfort. I think we naturally bear quite a bit before …

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Slavery From Blessings

Tears spilled down my cheeks as I choked out, “I’m just so tired.” My writer friends encircling the table didn’t exactly know how to respond at my sudden outburst. I’m sure from all appearances I seemed as though I not only held all the proverbial plates at once but spun them with the skill of a circus performer. But the truth became evident as my eyes grew red. I was crumpling underneath the weight of it all. What is “it,” you ask? Well, that’s an interesting story. Before I even bought my first training bra, I had a desire to …

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Salvation is from Hell

Myth or Real: Salvation is from Hell When someone is “saved”, exactly what are they saved from? Every person’s salvation experience is unique, and I’m sure there are many deciding factors, but as a ten-year-old child, I wanted to be saved from Hell. “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” (Revelation 21: 8 INV) After a description like that, how could anyone not call to Jesus for salvation? If Hell …

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For Freedom We Are Set Free

      For Freedom We Are Set Free   How often do we take our freedom for granted?  Not only do we tend to get calloused toward the everyday freedoms we have (speech, religion, etc.) but, as Christians, it’s sobering to realize how often we become numb to the personal freedom offered through the Holy Spirit as well.  We go through our day to day lives with narrow thinking, guilty conscious, worry, fear, anxiety, selfishness, and sin.  Yet Christ said in John 10: 10 “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (NASB) This is echoed …

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Hidden Grief

Hey friends! I really wanted to write something light hearted today. But after praying and giving it a lot of thought, I felt strongly that God wanted me to share with you about grief, particularly “hidden” grief. Hidden grief is a deep sadness we carry with us daily. It’s buried underneath smiles, productivity, serving and even laughter, but it’s always there under the surface. It can feel as if someone has strapped a backpack full of heavy bricks onto our back. The heaviness is overwhelming at first, but eventually we become so accustomed to the weight of it that we …

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The Invisibility of Motherhood

  Alone But Never Alone Parenting can bring on the cloak of invisibility real quick. Now don’t get me wrong, being a mother is the most amazing gift God has given me. It truly is a privilege. In fact, I tell my kids often that it’s a privilege to be their mom. I don’t even want to imagine my life without them. That said, let’s be honest…being a mom is hard. It can be very lonely. But how is that possible when us moms are rarely ever alone?? (Are you feeling me on this?? RARELY. EVER. ALONE) Feeling isolated while …

Grace Defined and Unmerited Favor

  Grace Defined and Illustrated   Though God is the essence of Grace, we find the word grace used only once in the Old Testament.  In Psalm 45, which is said to be a wedding psalm for the director of music.  We read: “My heart is stirred by a noble theme…You are most excellent of men, and your lips have been anointed with grace.” So what is the writer really saying?  What did He mean by your lips have been anointed with grace?  This is just my thought, but the ability to speak and verbalize our thoughts is a gift from God. …

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Running with God’s Plan for My Life

  Galatians 5: 7 – You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? (NIV)   I am sitting on the porch this morning trying to soak up all that God is trying to show me through His word. Last year I participated in Phyllis Shirer’s study of Jonah. The memories of this study came back to me this morning when I began thinking about the times in my life when I became frustrated because God interrupted my life. I personally thought everything was going just fine and I had a …

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The Empty Tomb

Matthew 28: 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.   Imagine with me if you will. In the tomb so quiet and still, The body of my Savior lay Dead and cold and sullen gray Man had crucified God’s precious Son. Beaten-scourged this very one, Who came to save the soul of man. Now sacrificed by God’s own plan. The wrath of God that day was stilled. Jesus sinless blood was spilled. The penalty for my sin was paid. Now in the tomb His body laid. But …

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Class Is In Session!

  When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.)  So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?” Exodus 15: 23-24   The desert became a classroom for the Israelites in their journey to the Promised Land. God chose Moses as His professor and mouthpiece to teach them His truth. He sent tests to examine their faith and give them opportunity to behave they like they believed. This passage includes one of many tests the Israelites will be given in their desert …

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Jesus Taught Forgiveness

Are you struggling to forgive one who has harmed you? Has your inability to forgive turned to bitterness and is eating away at the center of your life? Or maybe you have learned how to forgive? No doubt many are somewhere between revenge and true forgiveness; if so, trust these comments will be helpful. After Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them to pray, He gave the Model Prayer. In this prayer were these words, “And forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors.” I suspect this part of Jesus’ model prayer caused the disciples to feel somewhat uncomfortable because they were not perfect and especially Peter; once he asked Jesus: “How many …

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Speaking Words of Encouragement

Recently I went for a much-needed walk around my neighborhood. It was one of those nights when my mind was swirling with the details of life and my heart was heavy. As I walked, I saw an elderly couple that lives down the street. I visit with this couple from time to time, but we are not close friends. We talk about their health (which isn’t good), my kids, and we let our dogs sniff noses.   When I saw this sweet couple in their yard that night, I decided to stop and visit. It was a short visit but …

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Receiving Encouragement Requires Courage

  “If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp.” So he and Purah his servant went down to the outposts of the camp.” Judges 6: 10-11 Do you see the irony here? If you’re afraid with only 300, take just one and sneak up into harm’s way. God is offering to reassure Gideon, but even the means to receive the reassurance requires an extraordinary step of faith. If caught, surely they would be put to death and …

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The Ultimate Encourager

  Encourage~ to inspire with courage, spirit or hope; to spur on, give support; to help When I look at the definition of encourage, all I see is Jesus.  He is the ultimate Encourager; He never stops spurring us on or dampens His encouragement for His children.  As believers and followers of Him, He has sent us a “helper” too, His Holy Spirit. “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever.” John 14: 16 (ESV) With this “Helper” inside of us, we, too, are able to be a source of encouragement for …

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The Power to Encourage

  Encouragement is powerful.  It’s incredible.  It inspires, it motivates and it lifts people up.  On the other hand, discouragement is just the opposite.  It put people down, it hurt and injure them.  And for some, it stop them in their tracks and keep them from moving forward. In the book of Acts we are told of a man by the name of Barnabas.  While there are many aspects of his life, it is specifically noted in Acts 4: 36 that he is called the “Son of Consolation.”  However, Barnabas was certainly good at “lifting another’s spirit”. Consequently we see …

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Humble Beginnings

    “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”  2 Chronicles 7: 14 Bible Verse for Meditation: 2 Chronicles 7:1 3-15   Humility. What comes to mind when you hear that word? Well, if we were having a conversation about this, I would probably tell you that when I think about this word, I often think of the character of Jesus and it is a word that we …

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Worship in the Wilderness

Reading: Acts 16: 25-32 Acts 16: 25-26  “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened.”   This time that we are all experiencing together as a world is filled with so many emotions such as fear, anxiety, uncertainty, loneliness, depression and worry. It can be mind-consuming and heavy and with the weight of our circumstances pulling us down like a gravitational …

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Peace in the Pause

      John 14: 27 (ESV) “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” Bible Verse for Meditation: John 14: 25-31   The word peace is defined as freedom from disturbance and it is one of the most priceless things to grasp and secure, especially in this season. During this time of great pause, where everything around us that we knew as normal is on hold, it can be very difficult to absorb peace but …

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Pray with Purpose

      James 5: 16 “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” Bible Verse for Meditation: James 5: 13-16   About one year ago, God began to nudge me to form an online prayer group. I was not sure why and did not feel qualified enough to organize it, but I did so after much hesitation. It started with five and then decreased to four around the fifth month, but then began to pick up great …

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Feed Your Faith

      Reading: Matthew 17: 20 “He said to them “Because of your little faith. For truly I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”   Bible Verse for Meditation: Matthew 17: 14-20 In these stressful times that we all are experiencing, the testing of our faith is becoming more and more palpable, to the point that if we are easily moved then its foundation may be shaken to its core. In …

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Invitation in Isolation

      James 4: 8 “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” Bible Verse for Meditation: James 4: 7-10   In this new era of limiting ourselves socially, you may feel as if you are missing out on canceled invites or activities that may have filled your calendar to address your social agenda and depending on whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you may not be phased by this new normal of solitude or you may have extreme cabin fever, but what I do know that we all have in common is that …

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Are Your Plans, God’s Plans

        Psalm 127: 1 – “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.”   Have you ever made plans for something and nothing happened? Or, have you desperately wanted your life to go in one direction, and it went down a totally different path? I have, many times. It’s tough when you try to do your best and be good to people, but when things keep getting worse, you’re left to wonder why even try. Looking back on life always brings wisdom. We learn from our mistakes. …

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The Narrow or Broad Road

Have you ever driven a car on a country road, with all the twists and turns around every bend? There are speed limits posted for your safety, because if you were to try and drive that same road at a high speed, the results could be catastrophic. The Bible tells us there are two roads we can travel. The wide or sometimes called broad road, is heavily traveled and crowded. The narrow road, where few travel, leads to eternal life. The wide road represents the people who are going their own way, making their own plans; living destructive lives. The …

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To Forgive or Not To Forgive

When I was asked to write a Victim Impact Statement before my final court appearance, I immediately understood the weight that went with it. I knew that it would be shared with other victims who had gone through similar circumstances and that it would be used as an example. I wanted to be a voice for women, while still asking myself what Jesus would do. I mean, He was betrayed by one of his top twelve, His body was broken, He bled. But in the end, He forgave. I’m a flawed human with bitterness and anger. Could I do the same? To …

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To Divorce or Not To Divorce (Part 1)

(This blog post is based on my personal story with the understanding that every story is unique. We may not share the same opinion and that’s ok. It’s a long one, so hold tight!) I’ll never forget the day I met {him}. It was the fall of 2009, a beautiful sunny day, and my phone dinged as I walked across campus to class. I had winked at him on an online dating website and lo and behold, he winked back! If you’ve never experienced online dating, you don’t know what a thrill it is to get attention from someone with …

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Go Ahead and Love Yourself

Love is in the air…It’s February, the month of Love, and I am thrilled to be taking over My Journey of Faith for Faith Post Friday this month! Hi!! My name is Sarah, and I am going to be your looooove coach! Not relationship love, though we’ll cover some of that too. I’m talking about God’s Love! Specifically, how to use love to drown out hate as a woman of Faith. And we’re going to start with YOU!!! I don’t know about you, but I struggle with making time for self-love. I feel like we, as women, are pressured by …

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New Adventure

I am always up for a new adventure.  I thrive on learning new things and visiting new places but I soon found that not only was the Lord leading me into this new ministry opportunity but part of the journey included writing a Bible study and book.  This particular task stretched me more than I ever imagined and it would take many years to complete. Thus began my new adventure of writing FAITH Joseph’s Story.  This would prove to be the most time consuming thing I have ever done. Writing a book was never on my “to do” list.  I …

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A New Direction

Retirement was an adjustment.  My husband was retired from public life but had a growing business he could operate from home.  He was not used to “a now at home all day wife” and I was not used to a husband that hung around all the time.  But that is a story for another day.  Somehow, however, we managed to carve out the togetherness factor and do what was needed to be together and still stay out of each others way. The one thing that seemed to be a constant theme for weeks was a statement for my heart and …

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New Insight

  Funny how finding an old journal written years ago brings back memories almost forgotten. Times of struggles and trials that brought me to where I am now were written down.  Journaling has been my habit over the years and has given encouragement to me through each step along the journey.  Why?  This was something I did for myself and God used journal writing to draw my soul and spirit closer to Himself. Someone once said “you can’t see the forest for the trees” meaning you only focus on one tree seeing only what is in front of you instead …

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The Light that Shines in the Darkness

Hey everyone- Carissa here! One of my favorite Christmas passages comes from the words of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist and the one who held the honor of hearing a word from the Lord for the first time in 400 years. “Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.” (Luke 1:78-79) The mercy of light in the darkness… anyone who is sitting in suffering today understands …

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That’s the Power of Love

This third week of Advent is all about love: how love came down to redeem mankind, how love covers all sins through sacrifice… how Jesus is love. I appreciate how the love of God plays out in my life, particularly when it is revealed through friendship with other believers. I am excited to share one such friend with you all today. Deb’s authenticity is just one of the many reasons why I love her so much and I know she will bless you as she has blessed me. -Carissa When Carissa reached out to me and gave me the opportunity …

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Rejoice!

“How my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For He took notice of His lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One is holy, and He has done great things for me.” These are Mary’s words shared in Luke 1:46-49. She was a young girl, probably 15 or 16 years old, and she was ready to marry a man who was righteous and good. These are Mary’s words after the Angel of the Lord came to her one night, a night that otherwise would have …

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A Thrill of Hope

Doesn’t that phrase just sustain you even now as you are reading it. A thrill of hope. The heart-racing, butterfly producing, anticipation of something exciting, something of incredible and possibly life changing impact. A thrill. This Christmas song is one of my favorites. I think of it at least once each day of December as I do my best to keep my focus on the point of Christmas. I love Christmas, so. much. My heart for Christmas is the reason I volunteered to man the blog this month. I have loved reading the words of each MJOF ministry team member …

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Conquering Condemnation-Taking Thoughts Captive

           Conquering Condemnation —Taking Thoughts Captive  There are many times that I have thoughts that come to defeat me.  I want to end this series on condemnation by sharing how I have dealt with condemnation and overcome it.  Every time that I am taunted with a thought that is contrary to the truth, I respond to that thought as Jesus did when He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness after a forty day fast.  I let that thought know what God’s Word declares because every thought has to obey Christ. “We use God’s mighty weapons, …

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