S – “Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17-18
“For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11
O – Paul writes to assure us that all who believe in Jesus will be with Him forever. We will either be with Him when we die or if we are alive when He comes back, we will join Him in the air. Either way, we are with Him forever. Our job is to encourage each other with this truth and build each other up.
A – Am I doing my job? Am I encouraging others daily? Reminding them that whether we are awake or asleep, we will always be with the Lord?
P – Jesus, thank you that you will return one day. Thank you that I am yours forever and nothing can take that away. Help me live to encourage others and remind them of this truth. Help me to encourage someone today. I love you Lord.
SOAP Bible Study
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” Psalm 23:5
Who are my enemies?
I don’t have the kind of enemies King David faced every day. I don’t go into physical battle to fight other nations. I doubt my son will ever wage war against me (as David’s son did). But I do have enemies. My biggest enemy is the enemy we all have, Satan. Our accuser, the father of lies, the evil one. He’s the one who wants to steal from us, kill us and destroy us. I also face the enemies in my own heart. My pride, selfishness, apathy, jealousy, self-protective bent, and desire for comfort to name a few.
Sometimes when I am struggling with these “enemies”, I have a hard time writing or sharing spiritual truth. I find it difficult to write out scriptural insights because my enemies accuse me and tell me I’m not worthy. As I was reading Psalm 23:5 one morning, it struck me that God wants to prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies. When I come to Him in the morning to read the Bible, pray and write my thoughts, He has promised to spread a table before me, to give me truth and insight into His word even in the presence of my enemies of pride, selfishness and sin. Even in the presence of the accuser, the devil. When I come to Him with an open heart and mind confessing my sin and seeking Him, He will give me truth. He will feed my soul with a banquet spread out on the table. I can ignore the enemies who mock me and jeer at me. They are defeated. Jesus has made a spectacle of them.
He has won the victory!
When I tremble and lay down my sword in the presence of my enemies, I believe a lie.
I am letting my enemies deceive me by convincing me I’m defeated. They rejoice when I let their accusations keep me from seeking my Lord and from acting on His truth. His truth stands no matter how I “feel”. Yes, I’m an imperfect vessel but God still chooses to use me as He has used sinners through the ages. He sees me through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. My faith is in Him and not in my own abilities. I can do nothing apart from Him.
So, I’ll seek Him and I’ll search the Scriptures and I’ll write about His truth even when my enemies mock me. He is my strength and shield. My ever present help in time of trouble.
Originally published at Internet Cafe Devotions
Robin Lee Hatcher is one of my favorite authors and I highly recommend, “You’ll Think of Me”, her newest release.
Brooklyn is a young woman who has experienced abuse, rejection, abandonment and heartache in her life. Her biggest blessing is her 10-year-old daughter whom she has raised alone and with little income. Her faith has been her biggest support and has carried her through. Then she receives news that Chad, the father of her daughter Alycia, has died and left her his childhood home. Will a move from Reno to Idaho be the change she needs? Chad’s childhood friend, Derek, has counted on buying much of the land Chad’s family home resides on and now he discovers that dream might be dead. He has always resented Brooklyn without really knowing her.
Brooklyn has learned to put up walls for self-protection and she doesn’t trust easily. She has never felt accepted. Her dad who has always rejected her still lives in the Idaho town she ran away from. Can she face him again? Will Brooklyn and Derek be able to trust each other? And what about the special request Chad made to Derek before he died?
I enjoyed every minute of reading “You’ll Think of Me” by Robin Lee Hatcher. I had trouble putting it down and read it in three days. Robin Lee Hatcher writes with emotion, heart and faith. This story is a romance but the emotional impact of the story is much more than that. She writes about faith in a way that is real and not contrived or unrealistic. She writes in a way that shows how a person can lean on God as they go through the trials of life.
Robin Lee Hatcher always does a great job of creating characters the reader cares about. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a romance that includes faith. She also addresses the feelings and issues of women abandoned and rejected by their father, single women raising a child alone, and touches on living with an abusive husband. I loved the ending, which included some drama and suspense. I always look forward to Robin’s novels and she never lets me down! Robin Lee Hatcher is a gifted and insightful author. Her stories flow so well, I stop reading only when duty calls! (By the way, my husband agrees with my review.)
I received a book for review but felt no obligation to give a positive review.
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S – Exodus 3:18-22
O – God was calling Moses to go and rescue his people who were in slavery in Egypt. In these verses, God tells Moses everything that will happen from Pharaoh not listening to him to the people giving them their gold and silver. God already knows everything that’s going to happen. He knows EVERYTHING.
A – God already knows everything that will happen in my life. In the United States. In the world. In our son’s life. He knows the end from the beginning. Does this mean we are robots and have no choice, that God just does what He wants?
No, it means God knows what will happen because He’s Sovereign and He’s all-knowing. He knows what choices we will make.
That’s how well He knows us. I’m free to choose but God knows me so well, He knows what I’ll choose. That’s amazing! He knew in advance every sin I would commit. Every act of selfishness, every moment of pride, every bit of apathy, every weakness and jealousy yet He still chose me! He still loved me! Jesus still died for me. My brain cannot grasp that. He also knows everything that’s going to happen in this country. He’s not surprised by all the chaos and hate. He knew this would happen and He’s already there to pick us up. We can give Him our complete and total trust and accept His perfect peace. As He said to Moses, “But I know…”, He also says to us, “But I know…”
Our part is to keep on trusting and fix our eyes on Jesus.
P – Father, I know you have us in your hands. I believe you already know all that will happen and you’re already there to carry us through. You already have a plan. You already have the answers to prayer in motion before we pray! You’re so great, our minds just cannot grasp the truth! Please increase my faith. Help me to walk in peace and truth. I trust you LORD. My heart rests in You.
He’s Already There
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S – “Enoch walked with God, and was not, for God took him.” Genesis 5:24
“By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.” Hebrews 11:5
“…Noah walked with God.” Genesis 6:9b “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.” v. 8
O – Both Noah and Enoch “walked with God” and both found favor in His eyes. God was pleased with them. Why? Because they walked with Him. They fellowshipped with Him. They had a relationship with God. Their faith pleased God.
A – Am I walking with God? Yes, I believe in Him, I believe His word, I know He is real, and my heart belongs to Him. But do I walk with Him or do I go my merry way? Do I do what is convenient, easy or fits my mood or do I follow the leading of His Spirit even if it is inconvenient, painful or requires sacrifice?
Walk with. Follow. He leads. I walk with Him but I turn when He turns. I stop when He stops. He sets the pace.
P – Jesus, I want to follow you this way. I want to turn from setting my own pace and stopping when I want. Dear Spirit, help me yield. Help me listen and follow.
My word for 2017: FOLLOW
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Jennifer Slattery writes fiction that’s entertaining and keeps me turning the pages but at the same time manages to teach me about God’s grace and challenges me to reach out to those around me who are hurting.
Restoring Love is a follow-up to Jennifer’s first novel, Beyond I Do. Restoring Love shows us what happens to Ainsley’s mom, Angela several years after the events in the first book. Angela is a woman who has made lots of mistakes in her life and had stopped believing her own life could be redeemed until she sees the grace and forgiveness her daughter shows her. As Angela moves on to find a new start, God opens doors for her to show that same grace to Bianca, a struggling mom who lives across the street. With her husband in jail, a rebellious teenage daughter and two challenging young sons, her life is in crisis.
Will Angela be able to give Bianca the same kind of help she herself once desperately needed? And what about Mitch? Why has God allowed this man into her life? Why would any decent man be interested in her ever again? With her history of promiscuity, abortion and manipulation of others, she feels unworthy of love. This story makes me wonder how many people around me are hurting in ways I can’t imagine and who around me needs a word of encouragement or for someone to be willing to give sacrificially. Restoring Love is a love story, a redemption story, a story of hope, a challenge to forgive and a picture of what Jesus meant when He said others would know His followers by their love.
If you want a book that goes beyond being escapist fiction and has the potential to change lives, I highly recommend Restoring Love.
And don’t forget to read Ainsley’s story in Beyond I Do!
Find more about Jennifer Slattery and her other books here:
Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud
Jennifer on Amazon