Ruth 1:20-22 (Amplified Bible)
And she said to them, Call me not Naomi [pleasant]; call me Mara [bitter], for the Almighty, has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, but the Lord has brought me home again empty. Why call me Naomi, since the Lord has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me? If you have never read this story, here we have a woman whose life was drastically changed. First, she and her husband, Elimelech, and their two sons left Bethlehem because of a severe famine. Looking for a better life, they journeyed to Moab. While in Moab, Naomi’s husband, Elimelech, dies, and ten years later, her two sons die, leaving her to care for her two daughters-in-law. Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem, but upon returning she has no husband or sons, instead, a bitter heart.
I can’t recall how many times I have read this passage of scripture and each time God would speak to my heart. I believe all the scriptures are written to teach us valuable lessons that will be taught through life’s experiences. I had no idea the one day I had to practice applying this principle to my life.
Just as Naomi did not understand why God had chosen to take her through one of the most challenging experiences in life, I pondered as well. Just like a child growing up in life you have expectations and plans that usually don’t include bruises and bumps in the road. But I found that even when the unexpected things in life do occur, God has a plan and purpose to make something good out of the worse situations.
While going through the hardest times in life, I found hope, encouragement and a renewed spirit while going through a divorce. Although my plight was not one in which I welcomed or embraced, I had to accept that God had already known about this part of my life before the foundation of the world.
He was taking me through one of the most unpleasant times in my life, but I had to trust that the one in which I had given my life to, knew exactly what was best for me. There was something about my life that He was going to reveal and what I had faced and conquered was really going to alter my life forever.
I had one choice to make either I was going to allow myself to be bitter with what He had allowed to happen, or I was going to let the situation develop and make me into a better person. I decided to use the situation to make me better.
God was using my circumstances to bring me to a place of maturity, confidence and total dependency on Him. I learned not to look at my current condition, although quite hard at times, but I had to realize that someday God would show me why He had chosen me to carry this particular cross.
So many times I wanted to give up, throw in the towel and quit but something inside me would not let me. Gods’ spirit was constantly bringing comfort to me, guiding me and assuring me that everything was going to work out for my good. God had a wonderful plan and purpose for my life even when I couldn’t see how things were going to turn out.
I encourage you, even if things don’t go according to your plans, that God has a plan that is so much bigger and better for you. Trust Him you will not be disappointed.
Paulette Harper, an award winning author, bestselling author, writing coach, and speaker. Paulette seeks to inspire women from all walks of life. She is a, mother, grandmother, Bible teacher, and owner of Write Now Literary Book Tours. She has been mentoring and teaching women for years though seminars, workshops and conferences. Website: www.pauletteharper.com
This article content is provided free of charge by the author. You are welcome to place this article on your site or in your publication as long as 1) it’s used in its entirety, 2) the full bio is also used, and 3) you previously request permission through Paulette Harper Johnson@email@example.com
For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”
I don’t want to go to Hell. So, the reality of being saved from Hell is a beautiful comfort. I don’t want to live in unrighteousness, either. And so, being saved from this is also a beautiful comfort. In the same way that I couldn’t save myself from Hell, I couldn’t save myself from unrighteousness behavior - I needed God for both salvations. We all do.
If we want to live in the way God has called us to live, we can’t “muscle” our way through. We need the Spirit of God. It is too easy for you to fall back into the ways of the World; lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. God never intended for you to go back.
Jesus died on the cross in order to free you from both Hell and unrighteousness. The Bible warns us not to return to our “vomit.” Did you know that vomit is the body’s way of getting rid of things that disagree with your stomach? Jesus has saved you for righteousness. You are a new creation, so don’t return to the things that have been expelled for having been in disagreement with the new Spirit inside of you.
There is more available to you than a “Get out of Hell Free” card. There is power to live righteously, the same way Jesus did. God has not destined you to return to the sin that he has freed you from. He has equipped you to stay free from the grip of sin. The Bible will supernaturally fill you with faith and wisdom to avoid the enemies traps but you must be aware.
When we learn of all that Jesus died for we can walk in victory. We have the Spirit living in us; the same one who raised Jesus from the dead. Let’s not take the Spirit back to where we came from (and the very reasons for which Jesus died), instead let’s allow the Spirit to take us to new places.
Ryan A. Sturgis is founder/writer @ At the Fountain Ministries, author of Working Out What God Has Worked In, and blogger at @MeetingJesusBlog (FB).
My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style”
Maya Angelou - R.I.P.
Sometimes, life can feel like you are only recovering from one crisis after another. You get through one event just long enough to take a breath before the next one comes at you. Other times, it can feel like a dodgeball game; just trying to keep the ball from hitting you in the face. This is especially true for those who have had to overcome a traumatic event; child abuse, rape, domestic violence, etc. The very essence of the trauma causes a person to lose hope and the desire to continue living. Navigating through the myriad of obstacle courses within one’s mind can cause sheer exhaustion. Combine that with juggling work, family and life in general and you have the perfect ingredients for a bad case of ‘Merely Existing’.
Merely Existing can be explained with one word…Blah. There is no real excitement in the depths of your soul. You breathe. You move. Your eyes blink. You even grunt sometimes just to let people around you know that you are still in the land of the living. But is that why Christ came? Did He come to give life and that more blasé? The bible that I ascribe to says that “Christ came that they might have life and that they might have it more ABUNDANTLY!” (Holy Bible, KJV) You can’t be a believer and be alright with your life being blasé.
When Jesus breathed His last breath and gave up The Ghost, He essentially released The Holy Spirit unto the earth and into His believers. The Holy Spirit resides in us!! Therefore, we are endued with power! Dunamis power at that!! We have authority! Luke 4:36 speaks of it very clearly. The bible also says that the same Spirit, Hallelujah, that raise Jesus from the dead resides in us (Romans 8:11). We are the carrier of THE Holy Spirit. The One responsible for raising Christ from the DEAD!!! Come on now!! You can’t be a believer and not understand the power and authority you yield just be the virtue of accepting Christ as our Savior.
You have been through some things. O.K., I understand. It was painful, hurtful, devastating, life-altering, death-defying and cataclysmic. Yes, I understand too. BUT GOD!! There is nothing that you went through that caught God off-guard. He already knew. He knows your beginning, middle, and end. He knows your going in and coming out. He also knew that one day you would be restored, renewed, rejuvenated, revived, reborn, recharged and re-directed straight into your purpose. Come on somebody! I feel like preaching!!
God is reaching for Y-O-U, now it is your turn to reach right back to H-I-M…reach for Life. When you do that, He will give you an opportunity for a divine exchange. God promises to exchange your ashes for beauty; mourning for the oil of joy; AND the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61:3). Give God your trash, and in exchange, He will give you His treasure; Life in full HD color.
In late fall, I am coming out with my second book called “Thrive-ology: The Art of Boom!” The inspiration for the book came from recognizing that thriving in the midst of or after adversity is an art form. Many survivors are unable to hit the thrive-zone, therefore, they are relegated to living a life of mediocrity when a future of pre-destined greatness awaits them. Even more, there are those who will die with unfulfilled destinies in their bosom never to be released. Don’t die in your survival (Olivia Benson, Law and Order: SVU). Instead, reach for Life and attain ALL that God has in store for you.
The etymology of the word ending ‘ology’ comes from the Greek word logia which means the subject of study. Therefore, the word “Thrive-ology” is the study of how to thrive. One cannot just fall into it, it is a learned behavior. There has to be a paradigm shift of a huge magnitude. Victims of abuse, rape, sex trafficking, etc. are taught by the abuser and the circumstances around them that they are not important. They are taught that their life does not matter. Without knowing it, the victim begins to give up all hope of truly living. That is why it is so important to be purposed and intentional about reaching for life and learning how to thrive and not just survive.
Like Maya Angelou so eloquently penned, “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.” Are you ready to Thrive? Life is waiting…reach for it!
About Min. Annie Bell
Min. Bell was reared in military schools throughout the U.S. and abroad. She furthered her education at Liberty University majoring in Psychology-Life Coaching, Religious Studies and minoring in Christian Counseling. She received her ordination from Bread of Life Ministerial Association and has completed her Ministerial Internship at Bread of Life Bible Training Center. Currently, she is the Founder/Chairperson and Executive Director of Wealth Management Ministries, Inc.
as she endeavors to cultivate financial faith and prosperity through the teaching of biblical principles, financial education, and deliverance from financial bondage.
In addition, as an Advance Life Coach and Christian Counselor, she has opened the counseling arm of the organization in 2015 to offer Life Coaching, Wealth Coaching and Christian Counseling to the underserved communities. I R.E.I.G.N.® is a Victorious Lifestyle Brand (an outreach of the counseling arm of Wealth Management Ministries, Inc.) that serves the national and international communities through: Talk Radio Show, workshops, conferences, books, and workbooks. We endeavor to bring Talk Therapy to survivors of child abuse, sex trafficking, and other traumas. As well as providing advocacy, awareness, prevention, and resources to the community.
She was also the President of Heavenly Music,
as well as a recording artist under the Heavenly Music Label. Heavenly Music made available affordable recording to those who are gifted in the ministry of music. In addition, she served as Pastoral Counselor and Financial Counselor for the residents of Menchville House Women’s Shelter in Newport News, VA.
Min. Annie Bell began her tenure in the business world in the hotel industry where she rose into management and then to an executive level position at Colonial Williamsburg. She made a career change into the Financial Services industry through American Express Financial Advisors where she obtained her Series 7, 66 and Life and Health licenses. Her corporate career transitioned into Wachovia (Wells Fargo) and for eight years she has helped a multitude of people to achieve their financial goals and reach for their entrepreneurial dreams. Min. Annie Bell launched out in January of 2008 toward her own entrepreneurial dreams and opened Wealth Management Financial Solutions, Inc., the parent company of Wealth Management Financial Services, LLC.
Go to www.anniebellministries.com to download a free workbook and join her to get updated information on all of her events, books, devotionals and much more.
For Financial Literacy coaching, workshops, conferences, and other information go to www.wealthmngt.org
“And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth”. Deuteronomy 8:18
Min. Annie Bell
Wealth Management Ministries, Inc.
1st Book: I R.E.I.G.N.: A Survivor’s Guide to Thrive (amazon.com)
"When You Are The First"
Well, this is the very first devotional blog made available by Hope In Christ Ministries, and I want to be the first to thank you for reading it. WELCOME!!! If you are the first in your circle to experience this blog, please also be the first to share it with others! The very first at something can make all the difference in the world for the middle and the last.
Are you the first born child in your family? I was and that blessing continues to resonate in my life, throughout my life. Psychologists have revealed that the birth order among siblings can effect their personalities throughout life. Jocelyn Voo from American Baby wrote an article for PARENTS Magazine and revealed this important statement: "The first born (child) enjoys ruling the roost, but must deal with parents' great expectations" as revealed in this entertaining video - http://www.parents.com/baby/development/social/birth-order-and-personality/
I am the first born of four daughters, and I can relate to that statement. When you are the first, you continue to be the "First" throughout your life. I am the first contributor to this blog and I pray that this article has lived up to the publisher's expectations.
Were you the first to go to college in your family? What kind of pressure was THAT?!
"Gotta pass these standardized tests" "Gotta pay these application fees""Gotta decide on a major""Gotta get accepted to a good school""Gotta get a scholarship" "Gotta ask for any more money" "Gotta Get a job"
Let me be the first to tell you that when you are the FIRST in your family to do something, and you put your trust in God to lead you, you will experience the ultimate, glorious "GOTTA"... let me spell it out for you...
G - GodO - OrchestratedT - thoseT - timesA - Always
When you are the first to do something you can set a standard that all others will follow, so let GOD lead you FIRST! My first scripture introduction in this blog comes from the book of Psalms 119:133
"Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me." King James Version - or as revealed in my favorite New Living Translation it says "Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me." http://biblehub.com/psalms/119-133.htm
When you are traveling to a new destination, do you have your GPS navigating the way for you? What about a map? Yes, some folks still use maps, compasses and even the placement of the stars in the sky to guide them. However, when you are facing a new living situation or a new job or even a new relationship, what guides you to that FIRST destination? Have you asked the Holy Spirit to guide you? Jesus told the disciples that he would leave them a comforter to be with them, after his departure... but what about Jesus? He was the FIRST to allow God to guide him and he set that example for us all, as well!
When you are the first, there are all sorts of opinions, comments, scrutiny and challenges that go along with that status. Jesus was the first person that I had ever heard of to be crucified. People had been put to death in that manner long before Jesus died in that manner, but because of his sacrifice, I learned all about that torturous method of execution.
The Obama's were the first African American leaders to work and live in the White House, yet I bet you that there were other first families that were blessed to have African ancestral genes in their bloodline. Sometimes you are the FIRST in a situation to grow, evolve or lead your family to a better destination. You are the first to get a job that leads your family out of living in the projects. You are the FIRST with an illness that teaches you a lesson of personal care; you pass that lesson along to your children (therefore breaking the generational curses of illness). You are the first to have a grandchild for BOTH sides of the family and you are the first to submit during a life lesson, in order to receive love.
When you are the first you can cause stability in a situation. As you are driving down the road, are you the first to be a defensive driver, or are you the aggressive one? Are you the first to start an argument or the first to apologize and forgive? Are you the first in your relationship to ask for sex or are you the first to encourage abstinence and wait for marriage? Are you the first to wake in the morning and set the atmosphere of your home, giving glory to the living God? Are you the first?
My husband and I wrote our very FIRST book together and it debuts on August 1, 2017! It is entitled "In The Beginning There Was God, Me & You" the true love story that only God could have written. God gave us life through the first of his creations; Adam. Jesus redeemed us from death through the first (and the only required) sacrifice of his life and now God has given me the first true vessel in my husband, that allows me to give and receive love. When we met four years ago, my husband was not trying to get married again; he was enjoying the life of a bachelor after his divorce. I was "never" going to *submit* to another man EVER AGAIN after surviving two failed marriages. We were not the FIRST spouses for each other, but we are the FIRST married lovers and leaders in our situations that God has ordained us to be!
I want to thank Denise Walker for this opportunity to be the FIRST to contribute to this blog. I thank my Lord and Savior through the power of the Holy Spirit for giving me guidance in this writing and I thank my husband for tolerating my hot flashes! (LOL!). When you are the first daughter in a family that is having hormonal changes.... well, that is a different story!
I thank each of you that were the FIRST to purchase our book online at www.LaderoPress.com and I hope you are downloading the e-book on Smashwords as well. There will be book sales throughout Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia, and we have a few anticipated readers from Africa that are waiting to receive the book. Will you be the FIRST in your family to own your copy of the book? Have you listened to your copy of the audio book yet? Visit www.DaQueenBee.com to order your digital download. Angie BEE Productions specializes in producing audio books for authors, and our audio book project was SO MUCH FUN to produce for each of you. We can't wait for you to hear it!
Be the first to invite Bartee and I to speak at your marriage conference or singles' retreat and we hope to see at the next book festival. As we continue to travel with The TOUR that Angie BEE Presents we are lead by God to bring concerts, workshops, book signings and the love of the Lord through His preached word to communities and families everywhere.
When you are the first to travel down a road, your footsteps can leave a path for another to follow. I pray that this reading opens your eyes to possibilities of achieving the life that God desires for you; and sets your ears to hear from God. Share this article, share this word, stay in touch and BEE Blessed!
Written by "Da Queen Bee" Evangelist Angie BEE Author, Producer, Promoter and Servant of the Lord APPS
Call us today at 407-914-6519
Audio Book Production Specialists "Bringing Your Words To Their Ears" http://daqueenbee.com/services.html
2012 Female Radio Show Host of the Year Recognized by the global One Accord DJ Alliance http://oneaccorddjs.com/
2014 Ordained as an Evangelist by Fellowship Church of Praise of Volusia County http://www.fellowshipchurchofpraise.org/
2015 recipient of the Outstanding Ministry Leader Award for our Moms-n-Ministry Workshop <https://www.facebook.com/MomsNministry/?fref=tsPresented by the Professional Women of Excellence, Inc.
2016 recipient of the prestigious "Palm Tree (Endurance) Award" Presented by *Mary & Martha Ministries, Orlando http://maryandmartha.weebly.com/
April 2017 recognized as an Amazon #1 Best selling author by Melanie Bonita Enterprises for contributing to the book Daily Dose of Direction for Women In Business http://daqueenbee.com/books.html
Author, Media Producer, Promoter & Motivational Speaker *View our past events, commercials, VIDEO NEWS segments * *and TV show episodes at http://www.youtube.com/AngieBEEpresents
Purchase your Kindle copies of my books: "Last Week... I Wanted To Die"
"Evolution of Da Queen Bee "In The Beginning There Was God, Me & You"
Visit us online today at www.Facebook.com/DaQueenBeeEvangelistAngieBEE
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Then I heard the Lord asking, "Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?" I said, "Here I am. Send me." - Isaiah 6:8
Scripture Focus: Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved" in His heart. The Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them."
(Gen. 6:5-7 NASB)
As I was reading Genesis 6:5-7, a question arose in my mind. Could the eternal creator somehow change His mind? The scripture was recorded as humanity began to become more and more wicked upon the earth. As our creator, the Lord couldn't have somehow made a mistake. Humanity couldn't have had some type of malfunction like a machine. God doesn't have to start over and throw out the parts that were made wrong. No, that couldn't be the case. As I looked closer, I came to one conclusion, the free will of man and God's Word.
I went on to read the cross reference scriptures found in the popplet below. They all show God's desire for a relationship with His creation and His warning of the consequences of turning away. They show that God extends grace and mercy to humanity. However, they also show that God continues speaking to His creation through his apostles, ministers, and prophets because of our own fleshly desires. His standard for humanity doesn't change. The result of disobedience doesn't change.
You see, we belong to God. We we created in His image. He is not created in our image. His will, not ours. His way, not ours. Our creator's word is set and settled. He has to keep His own word because it can't be voided. It must go forth. It's cause and effect.
Here's a real world example that popped in my mind as I studied. I pictured myself as an educator. I have a contract with my school district. That contract is written out, read over, and signed (Agreed upon). I thought to myself, "What if I tried to go work for another district while still under contract. Or even worse, what if I were abusing the children of my district, not teaching, or even stealing from other staff or students." All of these things would breach the contract.
Notice that the wording of the contract never changed. The agreement never changed. The district expected me to adhere to the guidelines, but some poor choices were made in the example. If that would cause me to lose my teaching license and contract, then I shudder to think of my choices of rejecting the one true God on a spiritual level. God is our creator, yet we worship other gods, family, or even our careers. We sin against the Holy One but expect Him to somehow look away. Yet, He is oh so merciful. God knew that we couldn't keep His way on our own, so our power comes through Christ. Yet, many reject Him.
So God's response in Genesis 6 was a result of the heart of mankind turning to wickedness and away from God. God didn't decide that he had made a mistake. Humanity had left His presence and was destroyed. However, Noah found grace because He remained with the life source.
What is true freedom? That is a loaded question. I have been in church for many years. I received Christ in my late twenties. However, what I didn't completing understand was true freedom in Christ.
In scripture, freedom means to exempt, to liberate, to deliver, to set at liberty: from the dominion of sin.
Lets break down liberty: Liberty means freedom from external or foreign rule, freedom from control, freedom from captivity, confinement, or physical restraint.
This definition caused me to think. I don't know about anyone else, but I was once bound by sin, abuse, rejection, low self-esteem, and other things. When I received Christ and began to walk in relationship with Him, I experienced liberty through His power and deliverance. I just didn't know it at the time. I still allowed the opinions of people to try to take me back to that dark place in my life.
After looking closely at the above definitions, I then read the above scripture in several different versions, but the Amplified stood out to me. In the context of the scripture, Jesus was speaking to Jews. He was trying to explain to them that if they received Him, abide in Him and His word then they would be free. However, they like many of us, reminded Jesus (as if He didn't already know) that they were descendants of Abraham and they had never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say, "You will be made free," they continued.
You see, before we can be made free, we have to first recognize that we are bound. We can't be free and bound and the same time. They couldn't see nor understand the truth due to their self-righteousness. They had kept the law and offered sacrifices, so they believed that they were good.
Jesus interrupted and said, "Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever."
Wait? What? (I pictured them saying this)
Jesus was speaking of spiritual things. I believe that he was trying to get them to see that all of what they had learned and sacrificed were but a shadow of His coming to truly set them free. They couldn't see that because they were focused on the flesh, but Jesus was referring to a spiritual matter.
I believe that he was showing them that they were no better than any other human being. We are all on a level playing field. We are all sinners, and we remain in sin because we have no power to deliver ourselves, no animal sacrifice could solve a spiritual matter, only Christ.
So I ask the question again are you truly free. Have you received Christ and are walking in relationship with Him, trusting in God's word and not man's philosophy or opinions. Remember, Jesus said, "If you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free," - John 8:31-32 NKJV.
Here is another scripture:
"For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.” II Corinthians 10:18 NKJV
True freedom has nothing to do with fleshly or earthly things, but everything to do with the spirit and soul of man. We can't be free in the natural unless we are made free in the spirit first. We can't be bound and free at the same time. Christ is that freedom! His power sets us free from foreign rule (sin, evil). His power frees us from the control and captivity of satan, sin, and even people. Finally, we are no longer restrained, our spiritual eyes are opened, but free to worship our creator and walk out His purpose for our lives.
Allow the Son to make you free and if He makes you free, you shall be free indeed!
As I was reading Genesis nineteen, I thought about how much sin could consume all of us without the power of Christ Jesus in our lives.
In this chapter, the people of Sodom and Gomorrah had become gravely wicked. Well, my first question was how did they get this way? God's word helps us understand. It states that when individuals did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient (Romans 1:28 KJV). Does this sound familiar?
When I read the words above from Romans, I realize that could be any of us. You see, in Genesis 4:7, God warns Cain that sin crotches at the door, but he was supposed to rule over it. It also states in James 1:14, "Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death (NASB)." And finally, Romans 6:23 reminds us, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Therefore, it all starts with our hearts. Where is our heart? Are we rejecting God? What things are we desiring? Are we seeking after God or have we made something our god? Only Jesus has the power to set us free from the bondage of sin. If we reject Him, then we can't be made whole in Him.
Before walking in relationship and the power of Jesus Christ, I was a mess. I was bound by sin. I did not have the power to come out on my own. I had to surrender my heart to my creator, and He did the work in me.
I could still be consumed by sin if I hadn't taken that step of surrender. We have to participate in our salvation by a simple surrender. We have to seek after God in Christ. We have to keep His way and spend time in His presence, obeying, and walking in relationship with Him daily. Then and only then will our spiritual chains broken!
Sin has no power over Christ! All we have to do is surrender. He will do the rest!
Genesis 8:1 - "Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him in the ark."
Have you ever read Genesis 8:1 and wondered , can God somehow forget? Well, I recently asked God this very question. I have read Genesis over and over, but this time the word remember really stood out.
After reading this word, I looked up the meaning, and what I found blew me away.
Remember means to recognize, consider, keep in mind, and be aware of.
This meaning helped me to understand that God didn't somehow change because He is God and He can't change. It means that Noah never left His thoughts. He was always aware of his situation and He would bring Him out.
It meant that God is a promise keeper. He's merciful and full of grace. He's the only one that can truly keep us in mind and be aware of us at all times.
Here are a few more examples:
Genesis 19:29 - And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot had dwelt.
1 Samuel 1:19 - Then they rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord, and returned and came to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her.
Exodus 2:24-25 - So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them.
Notice the pattern. In each instance, there was a need (crisis) that was beyond the ability of the individual. Some of individuals involved weren't perfect, but God still brought them out. Therefore, the word remember shows the great character of God. He knows our ways. He knows that often times we disobey, we fall, and are not perfect, but yet He considers us (His people and even our family members).
What a mighty God we serve! He is so faithful, even when we are not.
He remembers us (considers, keeps in mind, and is aware of). Now that is true love!
From the time of my birth, I have endured some great struggles. I am truly a living testimony!
I'm often reminded of the following scripture, "When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him. (Isaiah 59:19)
When I first looked up the word "standard," I found, "vanish away, flee, put to flight, hide." To me, that means that God will always protect me and back up the enemy by His great power. He will keep me from destruction.
The scripture never said that the enemy wouldn't come up against me. However, it does promise that God is greater. He is a provider and a protector.
Here are a few examples:
As an infant, I had to be airlifted to Miami Children's Hospital. I was rushed into emergency surgery, where I almost died. But God.........
As I got a little older, I experienced much abuse. But God....................
As an adult, my husband and I lost our first child, and we were told that we couldn't have any children due to my struggle with Endometriosis. But God..........
I was depressed, in my sin, and lost. But God.........
I could go on and on, but you get the point. No matter what the attack was, God was right there. He was and is far greater than our struggles. He redeemed me! He kept me in the midst of it all! He protected my life from death! He gave us a son in spite of the report from the doctor. He is twelve years old now. God can and will do the same for you!
I say to you today, nothing and no one is greater than Jesus!
I am a living witness! God's glory will be revealed in our lives. We live in a fallen world, but we are redeemed by a powerful, living God!
I know you're probably wondering what the beautiful tree has to do with this devotional.
Well, allow me to use an analogy!
The tree represents God's existence and glory. It shows the world that there is a living God that took the time to show His glory through this tree. They could try, but NO man can take credit for this.
I love the fall season because I'm always amazed by the changing of the colors. Only the designer of that tree can make such a bold statement to the world. God is the designer! He made it to glorify Him. The Bible states: “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”
Revelation 4:11 NKJV
The earth and all that is within it was created by God and to glorify Him. In the Greek, the word glorify means "honor, praise, or worship.”
Mankind is walking, living, breathing examples of the truth of God. While the tree moves and changes the way that God has designed it, we too must also glorify God. Our lives must bring honor and glory to our maker. Just like the beautiful tree in the fall, He placed purpose inside of us. That purpose is to draw others to Him.
When I first experienced fall in Georgia, I looked at the tree changing colors and begin to think about the designer, God. I thought about how beautiful He must be in order to design something so beautiful. I thought about my purpose and why He designed me. It caused me to begin to talk to Him more. I wanted to do His will and bring Him glory also.
In the same way, people are to wonder at our lives and begin to call upon Him for change in theirs. They should see us and want God more not less. Let us surrender to His purpose and glorify Him as the fall trees.
His word says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:16 NKJV
It's not about us, but it's all about Him. To draw others to the truth which is found only in Christ Jesus.