Mary was just a young girl, joyfully looking forward to her future with Joseph, her betrothed. Can you imagine her shock when an angel appeared in front of her? An angel who greeted her personally?
Immediately Mary tried to process this in her mind. She called on the discernment that God has given each one of His children. Discernment is the ability to see the TRUTH. In this case, Mary’s discernment probably kept her from having a complete freak out!
Discernment is present in us but we need to develop it through our relationship with God. As we saturate ourselves in the Word and in our relationship with Him, this discernment is sharpened. We can face the unexpected and the challenging things in our lives with confidence knowing that we have a grasp of the TRUTH.
How will you pursue discernment this week?
What a promise! Every woman has those moments when she thinks “THIS IS IT – I CAN’T DO THIS!” But, sweet woman of God, whatever God has called you TO, He has empowered you FOR. (I know, that’s not great grammar, but it has a whole lot more impact that way!)
Balancing our roles as wife, mom, homemaker, employee, etc. is not easy! That is why it is so important to KNOW that God has provided the power to face whatever life brings. When we are walking in His shadow, His power (which is so much greater than our own!) is able to work through us.
Let this promise permeate your soul today!
Yes, I know it’s been a while since I have updated the blog. And I, Jacque Garner, take full responsibility for that! I truly want to write on a weekly basis, but I have done a HORRIBLE job of managing my time! Yes, I have a lot to do. (Don’t we all?!?!?) Yes, unexpected things happen. Yes, I say “YES” to too many things.
I think for now the best thing for me is to not try to write a series. Instead, I will share (keeping it short and sweet!) as I feel led.
So for today, please forgive me! And then check back from time to time to see what’s new with the Embrace Blog! Connect with us on Facebook for updates!
Put on . . . humility. (Colossians 3:12)
We live in an “it’s all about me” world. Humility is considered a weakness by many. According to the Greek definition, humility means to “have a humble opinion of one’s self”.
When we choose to put on humility, we are laying aside pride. And this is tough! Pride (which is closely related to fear) can destroy relationships with our family, friends, co-workers, and God.
Do nothing in rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)
The King James version uses the phrase “humbleness of mind” for the word humility. Humility begins in the mind. The enemy loves nothing better than to plant ideas that highlight how your “rights” are being violated. (Remember Eve?) It does not take long for pride to take root and take over.
Humility puts God first. Seeking the Word for God’s will in our lives will keep us humble. When we choose to honor and obey God rather than our flesh, pride is overcome and humility prevails.
Humility put others first. This is especially important in our families. In no way, does the Bible suggest we become doormats. There is a tremendous strength in being humble. Humility allows us to love our husbands and our children in a way that helps them to become who God created them to be. While pride will tear down our home, humility builds it up.
True humility is possible when we are Spirit-led rather than flesh-led. As you practice putting on humility, God will empower you with His grace and you will be able to conquer the enemy of pride.
What is an area of your life that has been overtaken by pride? Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading in your life and ask Him to reveal areas of pride that threaten your relationships with others.
Put on . . . kindness. (Colossians 3:12)
Last week I was sitting at a stoplight in rush hour traffic and my van died. I frantically put it in park so I could restart it, praying that I could at least get to the side of the road. It started and immediately began to spew steam. The temperature indicator was as high as it could go. Quickly I pulled onto the shoulder and called my husband.
I sat there for a few minutes and a white SUV pulled in front of me and got out. A young man got out and walked back to me. I got out of my van and he immediately asked if I was ok. I told him my husband was on the way and he said “OK. I’ll just stay with you until he gets here.” My Good Samaritan was 16 years old. That night he was definitely wearing kindness. It quickly became clear that he was a Christian and we talked about church, his plans for the future, and other things. He stayed with me the entire hour it took PD to get there.
Kindness made a not-so-great situation into one that was bearable. My heart was lifted by the kindess of a 16 year old boy. Kindness is simple, yet priceless.
According to the Webster’s 1828 dictionary kindness “delights in contributing to the happiness of others.” I love that definition!
God is kind. The Word mentions over and over the kindness of the Lord. As Jesus walked the earth, His kindness to the broken, the abused, and the lost made all the difference in their lives. Romans 2:4 tells us that is God’s kindness that leads people to repentance. Not judgment. Not nagging. Kindness. God’s desire is to transform us to be like Jesus. As we allow the fruit of kindness to grow in our lives, we will make a difference in the lives of others. We will be “Jesus with skin on” to a broken world.
God has commanded us to be kind. Kindness does not always come naturally to us. Oh, when everything is going well for us it might be easy to be kind to others, but what about on our bad days? Do our children see us as kind? Do our closest friends? Being kind to others when we do not feel like it is will impact us more than it impacts others. When we choose kind words we are cultivating the fruit of the Spirit in our lives and we will reap a great harvest. For ourselves and for others.
Decide now to engage in random acts of kindness this week. How can you impact the lives of your husband, children, friends, co-workers, and complete strangers with the kindness of Christ?
Have you seen the magazine articles that give you the 10 must-haves for your wardrobe? A fashion expert can take those 10 items and make something like 127 outfits from just those basic pieces. It always amazes me. I have never managed to duplicate their genius in my own closet, but I am okay with that. “Fashionista” will definitely not be on my tombstone, but I would not mind seeing the items from Colossians 3:12-14 on there!
Today we will look at our first must-have for a godly wardrobe.
Put on . . . compassion. (Colossians 3:12)
Throughout the gospels Jesus is described as a man of compassion. He is able to see and feel the hurts and needs of others. He is able to suffer WITH them.
Paul recognizes that compassion must be intentional. Especially when it does not come naturally.
In Matthew 9:36 Jesus is moved with compassion because the people around Him are tired, confused, and have no direction. As Christian women, we must do the same! In today’s world so many are exhausted with the struggles of life and have no idea where to turn for help. We are surrounded by a crowd of lost people who desperately need someone to reach out to them. They need to hear “I understand. I am here for you.” When you put on compassion for others, you are showing them the love of a compassionate Savior who has the answers to all of their needs. Compassion may be the very thing that leads them into a relationship with Christ!
One of the greatest stories of compassion is found in the story of the prodigal son. In Luke 15:17-32, we read of a son who makes the choice to rebel against his father, leaving his home and family to live a wild lifestyle that ultimately leads him to ruin. All the while, his father is watching and waiting for his beloved son to return home. When the son finally comes to his senses, he makes his way home expecting to find condemnation and rejection, but instead, “his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.”
Now THAT is true compassion! The father’s love and compassion enabled him to see beyond his son’s actions. It allowed him to give unconditional love to this son who had hurt him so deeply. The compassion given to the son allowed him to be who God created him to be. Without the compassion, the breach in this family would never have been repaired.
God has asked us to put on compassion. Not to those we feel deserve it, but to everyone. Compassion is usually needed most by the ones we least want to extend it to. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit gives us the power to follow through on all that God asks of us. Through Him, you can take hold of the first must-have for your wardrobe!
Who in your life needs your compassion this week? Ask God for HIS compassion to flow through you to those who need it the most.
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Next in the series: Kindness
Wednesday, February 20 – Ladies Bible Study – Power of a Woman’s Words
Wednesday, February 27 – Night Prayer meets in the Vision Kids room (instead of Ladies Bible Study)
Wednesday, March 6 – Ladies Bible Study – New study begins! Stuck by Jennie Allen
Spring Retreat – April 12-14 – Sign up at the Connection Center DEADLINE TO REGISTER IS FEBRUARY 20TH!
In the midst of the busyness of our lives, it is easy to lose focus and forget who we are. Our past looms over us and begs for attention. Attitudes, failures, and emotions from long ago fight to keep us in their grip. This is not what God intended!
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved . . . (Colossians 3:12a)
Paul wants us to remember who we are! It makes all the difference in the world when we kill the beasts of the past and choose to believe the Word and the truth of who we are.
1. You are CHOSEN. God chose YOU. Yes, you! He looked beyond who you were and saw who He created you to be.
Several weeks ago Duane and I decided it was time to add a new member of the family. I began searching the databases of nearby animal shelters looking for a dog for us. We knew what we wanted. A Golden Retriever. I had one growing up and, in my opinion, they are the best dog ever. They are loving, gentle, smart, and beautiful. Many, many people feel the same way so Goldens do not end up in shelters frequently and when they do, they don’t last long. As we visited different places, I was overwhelmed by the vast numbers of animals. There were so many dogs needing homes. Such sweet faces. I wanted to bring every one of them home!
Finally, at a shelter in Kentucky, we found him. Out of all the dogs there, this one stood out above the rest. He was exactly what we were looking for. When I bent down to speak to him, he stuck his paw through the gap in the kennel and nudged my hand with his head. Love at first sight. I am not sure if he chose us or we chose him.
Bennett has made his way fully into our hearts and home. He was chosen. And so are you. God chose you to be adopted into His family. You are just what He was looking for! (Of course you were! He created you according to His image and He waited patiently until you chose Him too!)
2. You are HOLY. Is that hard to believe? You? Holy? When you consider the definition of holy it makes sense. “Holy” means to be set apart. God chose you and set you apart. His intention is that you be different from the world. You are set apart to live an abundant life that is victorious over sin, overflowing with love, and glorifying to the God who chose you. You are set apart to be a light to a lost world. You are holy.
3. You are BELOVED. In the heart of every woman lies the desire to be cherished, protected, and loved. This is a God-given desire that is only truly fulfilled when we accept the love of our heavenly Father. He loves you beyond anything you can imagine. He is crazy about you! You are His beloved. He thinks about you constantly (Psalm 40:17). He sings over you (Zephaniah 3:17). He gave everything for you (John 3:16). His love for you will never fail.
The enemy will do his best to keep you living in the past, but you must remember who you are. You are chosen, holy, and beloved. Live your life based on who you are, not who you were.
Which of these three descriptions is hardest for you to accept? Ask God to help you realize the truth of who you are and what it means for your life today.
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Next in the series: Gut Feelings
Tonight – Ladies Bible Study – Power of a Woman’s Words
Spring Retreat – April 12-14 – Sign up at the Connection Center