Abraham’s Servant: An Old Testament Example

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Recently I have been diving into the Old Testament. As I was reading Genesis, I came across a very key character, yet he is often overlooked. In Genesis 24, we see Abraham asking his servant to go out and find a wife for Isaac. The servant makes an oath to Abraham and sets out for the journey. When he arrives in the town of Nahor beside a well of water at the time the women were coming out, he prays to the Lord for success. “‘Lord, God of my master Abraham…grant me success today and show kindness to my master Abraham.'” [Genesis 24:12, HCSB] This indicates a personal relationship with God and it serves as an example for us. We should pray to God.

After he finds Rebekah, she waters his camels, and she reveals who she is, the servant worships the Lord. “Then the man bowed down, worshiped the Lord, and said, ‘Praise the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not withheld His kindness and faithfulness from my master.” [Genesis 24:26-27a, HCSB] This is another example for us. We should worship God, no matter the circumstance. We should praise Him for He alone is worthy of our praise!

Finally, the servant meets Laban, Rebekah’s brother, and tells him all that has passed. Specifically, he acknowledges God in front of Laban. “‘I am Abraham’s servant,’ he said. ‘The Lord has greatly blessed my master…'” [Genesis 24:34-35a, HCSB] The servant acknowledges God in front of Laban, who may or may not know God personally. We need to follow this example. There are people in this world who may or may not know God personally. When we can, we need to acknowledge God in all His glory. They need to hear that “The Lord is faithful” and “Christ is the reason I am alive today”. Then that little seed will have been planted, or watered, or sprouted just a bit more until the Holy Spirit grabs their heart. Beloved, let us follow the example of Abraham’s servant. Let us pray, worship, and acknowledge God in all His glory. Blessings!

~Lauren Ray

Posted in At Home, Christian Living, Devotional, Leadership, Living Single with Christ, Prayer, Single Women, Women's Ministry, Working Women | Tagged , , , , | 1 Response

Just Scripture

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Sometimes Scripture just needs to speak for itself.

“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.”
??2 Corinthians? ?4:8-10? ?NLT??

Posted in At Home, Christian Living, Devotional, Leadership, Ministers' Wives, Moms, Prayer, Single Women, Women's Ministry, Working Women | 1 Response

Grief Turns to Worship

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As we celebrated the resurrection this Easter, I spent some time reading in each of the four gospels, focusing on the women who discovered that the tomb was empty.

I love so much about this. I love that it was the women that were there first.

I love that they were doing what they could to honor Christ. I don’t know if they had done this before, this preparation of the body. Did they understand all it would be? The wounds…sights and smells? Or maybe they knew all of that and chose to do this sacred act of love anyway.

Last year a young coworker of mine at the funeral home had a special aunt die. She was heartbroken but asked to be the one to care for her aunt’s body. I watched her struggle with the sadness. She grieved as she did this one last special act of love for her aunt.

As the women sat at the garden tomb, stunned that Jesus was gone, I am sure that they were grieving all over again. But after the angel told them Jesus was risen, (yes they were the first to know this too!) Matthew 28:8-9 tells us:

8 And they departed quickly from the sepulcher with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.
9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.

Can you imagine the joy?! The grief, that must have felt like too much, was instantly changed into praise and adoration.

One day our grief too will be instantly changed, and you and I, dear sisters, will fall at His feet and worship Him.

I can hardly wait!

Sara

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Cast Your Cares Upon Him

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Did y’all know? HE will never let us be shaken!!!

Psalm 55:22
Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

That’s just what the WORD says!

I’ve started a new job after 12 years of being planted in the comforts of what felt more like family rather than professional colleagues where it’s all business. Transitioning through the door that God clearly opened for me has been met with some intimidating challenges almost daily. The natural response to this type of stress is to flee from it, but that obviously isn’t an option which means I’ve had to find the staying power that keeps me sane with peace that assures all will be fine in due time. God ordains things and the steps we take to enter into the Promise Land may feel wobbly at times. Keep going because none of us want to stop shy of the fulfillment of greater purpose, right?

In the meantime, when those overwhelming feelings creep up on us, recognize them for what they are and take measures to implement healthy self-care during this season. Realize it is a season and seasons change. If you live in KY the seasonal changes can be radical! (smile)

The following are a few healthy self-care steps I’ve taken:

• Get 7-8 hours of good rest each night
• Stay hydrated and eat healthy
• Treat yourself to a little chocolate now and then – I like dark!
• Focus only on what is in front of you today because tomorrow just might not come at all…
• Ingest the Word of God
• Take your stresses to Him in prayer

If it helps to engage the support of your social media followers, process what’s happening in your own unique way. You might be surprised at just how many people are facing the same challenge, struggle, or difficulty. CAUTION: Just don’t depend on those people to see you through because you will be disappointed at some point.

My post from this morning I’d like to share here…

 

Blessings my sisterhood!!

Kelli

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How Do I Abide In Christ?

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“So if you want to know the Lord Jesus Christ, you must live with Him. First, He must, Himself, speak to you, and afterwards, you must abide in Him. He must be the Choice Companion of your morning hours, He must be with you throughout the day, and with Him you must also close the night, and as often as you may wake during the night, you must say, ‘When I wake, I am still with thee.'” ~Charles Spurgeon

How can I know the Lord, Jesus Christ? How can I live and abide in Him? Have you asked these same questions, dear sisters? If so, do not fret! There is a simple answer to the questions above: open your Bible.

Wait, what is she telling me to do? I am encouraging you, and myself too, to open your Bible. You will be amazed at what you find in there. Jesus Christ is in every page of the book. The Lord Almighty reveals Himself to us through His Word.

But why should I read the Bible daily? It can be hard to open your Bible daily (on that same struggle bus!), but when we open ourselves to Him daily, He will abide in us. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” [emphasis added] The Bible is necessary for daily living (why else would Jesus call it our Daily Bread?). His Holy Word is for you, to equip you for every good work!

Open your Bible, dear sisters. Only there will you find true hope and true peace. There you will find Jesus Christ, the Savior of our souls. I urge you, and myself, to seek His Word daily so that we can be equipped for God’s purpose. Live in Christ, beloved ones, and open your Bible.

~Lauren Ray

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Such a Time as This

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I live a mile from what locals call “Lincoln Farm”, a small rolling farm that was once owned by a man named Thomas Lincoln.  There, on a cold day in February, a baby named Abraham was born in a tiny cabin…a baby destined for history.  President Abraham Lincoln is one of the most recognizable presidents in our country’s history, yet his humble early years were lived just down the road from my home.

Each of us is living now for a reason. We weren’t born a hundred years ago or thousands of years ago.  We were destined to live now and each of us have a purpose for our lives.  Our names may never be famous or be chronicled in history books, but we have a purpose nonetheless!

….I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. Romans 9:17  is in reference to scripture in Exodus where God is speaking to Pharaoh.  God had a purpose in raising Pharaoh to his station of power.  It was all part of God’s plan.

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.  Ephesians 1:11

Our lives are part of God’s greater plan.  It is no surprise to him that you are living in 2017.  He knew you before you were born and he’s had a purpose for you since the beginning of time!

In the book of Esther, her uncle, Mordecai, persuades her to act on behalf of the Jewish people before they all perish. He tells Esther and who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this? Esther 4:14b

We each have a reason for our lives ordained by God.  God has plans for your life.  Have you asked him to reveal your divine purpose for life?

Who knows, maybe you have been placed in your current position for such a time as this!

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You Can Be Anybody You Want

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I have heard so many times spoken to me or those around me, as a slogan for a motivational speech or a pep talk from a teacher, a parent’s encouragement to their child and a mantra for this generation: You can be anybody you want to be.  Even just reading those words now may make you feel invincible. The problem with this mottos is that they are contrary to Scripture but very relevant to our culture today.

Our generation reiterates this over and over again to boost our self-esteem, increase our pride, and cause the world to revolve more around my own desires.  Go ahead and boost your self-esteem if needed, but Scripture gives a somewhat different directive when it comes to who we are meant to be.  “But God wants to give me the desires of my heart!”  And that thought is actually found in Scripture.

“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.”–Psalm 37:4

This verse actually does say God will give you the desires of your heart.  However, we too often forget the beginning.  “Take delight in the Lord.”  When what delights us originates from the One who created us, then our desires become His rather than ours.

When referring to our sinful nature, the Bible alludes to our desires as being stubborn, evil, lustful, shameful, and covetous, just to name a few.  So, then back to the question, can you be anything you want to be?  My answer to you if you are a Christian is no.

“It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.”–1 Corinthians 12:11

First, God created each and every one of us with a purpose and a plan. We are created in His image, not our own.  The first step as a Christian is to look like Jesus, and most of our desires make me want to be anything but look holy and righteous.  God also made us to represent Him in the talents and abilities He bestowed upon us.  The design he used when making me would not have been successful or even safe to have been a professional NFL football player.  My talent would not be that of a medical occupation or even a famous chef.  As much as I wanted to be one of these things or a multitude of many others, God did not create me to have those abilities.   When we stop to realize who it is that He wants us to be, then we stop trying to be someone that we are not.  I am reminded of this verse in Isaiah that says it so simply.  Can I be anything I want?  I can try, but His way are always higher than mine.

“‘My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the Lord.  And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.  For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.'”–Isaiah 55:8-9

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Following God, Even When We Don’t Want To

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My whole life I have been trying to follow God’s will. It has always been relatively easy since, from a young age, I have known that God has called me to teach French. In following God’s will, there have been ups and downs, as there usually are, but I finally graduated with a degree in French Education this past December. Immediately out of college, I received a job offer at a company I interned with and it was an offer I absolutely could not refuse. So I didn’t. After my first week at this new job, I felt the Holy Spirit speaking loudly, “This isn’t where you belong.” I tried really hard to ignore Him because I loved this job. The people are very nice, the pay was amazing, and the work was not hard. It was the ideal job to get me on my feet financially. But it was not what God had called me to do. The third week of my new job, I had an interview for substitute teaching. It was not a French teaching position but I would be able to see my kiddos from student teaching. I walked out of that interview knowing what God wanted me to do. I needed to quit my job immediately or I would be in direct disobedience to God. I cried, I prayed, I cried some more, I mustered up some courage (all from God, I assure you), and I gave my two week notice the day after my interview. It was hard, but since I quit I was given a long term sub position at the school I student taught at and God has given me peace that only He gives. All the glory goes to God! Beloved, following God’s will can be heartbreaking at times, but let’s hold onto His promises of prosperity, for Christ alone is faithful. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.’” Jeremiah 29:11 [emphasis added]book-pages-2021302_640

~Lauren Ray

Posted in Christian Living, Devotional, Prayer, Single Women, Working Women | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Responses

Settling for Less

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I remember the last family reunion I attended where several young families stopped for fast food for their children on the way to the gathering.  I understand the issues with picky eaters so I’m not judging, just observing!

I come from a long line of great cooks and there were tables loaded down with dish after dish of mouthwatering, mostly homemade goodies….fried chicken, ham, chicken and dumplings, casseroles……and oh my, the desserts!!! Such a feast to be enjoyed by generations of family!

However, those children were perfectly satisfied munching on their processed chicken and fries, which contain limited nutritional value, having no idea of the feast that was only steps away!

This reminds me of the parable of the king who prepared a huge banquet and those invited turned down the invitation. (Matthew 22: 1-14)  God invites us to share at His table.  He wants to bless us endlessly.  Have you accepted His invitation?

How many times do we settle with crumbs when we are so close to the bountiful banquet table of God’s blessings?  As His children, God wants us to share in His plans, His love, His blessings.  How can we partake of these?  Through prayer and following His Word, seeking Him with all our heart!

“For I know the plans I have for you,”declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13

May we be found feasting with the Master, not settling for meager morsels, but enjoying the abundant blessings He has in store for us!

Donna Coffey

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Suffering to Resurrection

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“Everybody wants resurrection, but nobody wants suffering!”

I read this quote recently in an article I was reading, and it caused me to stop in my tracks and ponder its truth.
What a revolutionary quote, especially for our world today! In the Easter season that we just celebrated, we are reminded overwhelmingly of the suffering that Jesus endured as he was mocked, made fun of, spat upon, whipped, beaten, forced to carry his own weighty cross, crucified, and left to die. So much more suffering than we can even comprehend warranted the Resurrection that nobody deserved. For there to have been the resurrection of Jesus, there must have first been His suffering.
Now, what does this mean for my life?
You can’t have healing without first having been sick. Improvement does not happen before decline. Neglect is the precursor for a restoration.
Everyone wants the story of a miraculous healing or a powerful awakening or a triumphant return without having to endure disease, trip and fall, or crumble under the weight of life.
Just like God will never leave us or forsake us, He will also not allow the trials of life to be unused to proclaim His glory. In James 1, we are reminded that when trials come our way we should consider it an opportunity for great joy. The great joy is in knowing that our faith will grow and His glory revealed. Resurrection from suffering.
In your suffering, look at it through this lense of Christ who sees the resurrection that is coming.

–Jill Pendergraft–

Posted in At Home, Christian Living, Devotional, Evangelism, Leadership, Ministers' Wives, Moms, Prayer, Single Women, Women's Ministry, Working Women | 1 Response