Sunday, March 30, 2014

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The obama regime  Seeking To Kill Navy’s Tomahawk, Hellfire Missile Programs… China and Russia Continue to Build Up

by: Thomas Jefferson

UNITAS Gold
President Barack Obama is seeking to abolish two highly successful missile programs that experts say has helped the U.S. Navy maintain military superiority for the past several decades.
The Tomahawk missile program—known as “the world’s most advanced cruise missile”—is set to be cut by $128 million under Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget proposal and completely eliminated by fiscal year 2016, according to budget documents released by the Navy.
In addition to the monetary cuts to the program, the number of actual Tomahawk missiles acquired by the United States would drop significantly—from 196 last year to just 100 in 2015. The number will then drop to zero in 2016.
The Navy will also be forced to cancel its acquisition of the well-regarded and highly effective Hellfire missiles in 2015, according to Obama’s proposal.
The proposed elimination of these missile programs came as a shock to lawmakers and military experts, who warned ending cutting these missiles would significantly erode America’s ability to deter enemy forces.
“The administration’s proposed budget dramatically under-resources our investments in munitions and leaves the Defense Department with dangerous gaps in key areas, like Tomahawk and Hellfire missiles,” said Rep. Randy Forbes (R., Va.), a member of House Armed Services Committee.


Gen. John Kelly's mission to defend Marines: 'I'll never stop'

May. 25, 2014 - 06:00AM     
Gen. John Kelly has challenged the notion that troops and their families are 'war weary' after 13 years of continuous conflict. 'Men and women like us,' he says, 'never-ever grow weary of serving our nation.'
Gen. John Kelly has challenged the notion that troops and their families are 'war weary' after 13 years of continuous conflict. 'Men and women like us,' he says, 'never-ever grow weary of serving our nation.' (U.S. Army Garrison-Miami Public Affairs)





One of the military’s most respected leaders has taken aim at an amorphous “chattering class” within the Pentagon and beyond who’ve questioned the mettle of today’s Marines.
Using impassioned oration and drawing on raw personal experience, Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly is leveraging his clout as a Gold Star dad and the head of U.S. Southern Command to strike back at those who would suggest Iraq and Afghanistan veterans somehow don’t meet the measure of previous generations. To the contrary, Kelly argues, today’s troops “will do anything we ask if well led and they are confident we have their backs.”
It’s become a mission, the general told Marine Corps Times, one fueled by the loss of his Marine son more than three years ago in Afghanistan; the obligation he feels to comfort and reassure others who’ve also lost friends or loved ones; and a firm desire to mute the criticism he’s heard directed at so-called millenials, a loose title assigned to those born during the 1980s and ’90s. Such disparagement is not only unwarranted, Kelly said, it’s utterly baseless.
“I can’t count the number of times that I saw them in firefights, in Fallujah and Ramadi and other places, and I would just stand there in wonderment, thinking to myself: ‘There’s absolutely no reason on this earth why any human being would do what they’re doing,’ ” Kelly said. “Every human being naturally would want to protect themselves, crawl in a hole, get down. And they don’t.
“That’s how Iwo Jima was taken. Guadalcanal. The Chosin Reservoir. If the Marines today are doing exactly the same thing their dads did in Vietnam, and their granddads did in Korea and World War II, then how in the hell can we say that they’re not as good?”
Kelly is a career infantry Marine who left the Corps as an enlisted sergeant in 1972 before attending college and earning his commission. He’s as salty as they come — a holdover, no doubt, from his bare-knuckled upbringing in Boston — and unafraid of speaking out, especially when it means sticking up for the rank and file.
A case in point: Last year, the four-star showed up at a legal hearing for a Marine captain the Corps sought to discipline over an immature video made by several enlisted men in his unit. While testifying as a character witness, Kelly said the young captain’s treatment was heavy-handed — and that he was owed an apology.
As a one- and two-star general, Kelly spent about three years leading combat troops in Iraq’s Anbar province, where some of the war’s most explosive fighting raged. In 2011, as the senior military adviser to then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Kelly spent time in Afghanistan, including one noteworthy stop at Forward Operating Base Jackson in volatile Sangin district, where only four months earlier his son, 1st Lt. Robert Kelly, was killed by an enemy IED.
At Jackson, Gates ate lunch with a small group of noncommissioned officers, some of them from Robert Kelly’s platoon with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines. The secretary asked the men whether he could do anything for them, Kelly recalled.
No response.
“He again asked, emphasizing the fact that as the Secretary of Defense he could do just about anything for them,” Kelly said. “Again a long silence, and then a scruffy Marine, with a recent buzz cut, who smelled like a goat as he was living in a FOB ... on the edge of the empire, stood up. He nervously shifted his weight and then, looking directly at the boss, said ‘don’t let them forget what we did here, sir.’ Another stood up and said ‘and don’t let them ever forget the ones we are leaving behind.’ ”
It’s these profound experiences, coupled with his childhood memories of neighborhood men reliving past wars, that shaped Kelly’s thinking about the character of today’s Marines. His most recent speeches, delivered in May in New York City and Boston, refute the notion that Marines are “war weary” after 13 years of continuous conflict. “Men and women like us,” Kelly boomed, “never, ever grow weary of serving our nation.”
As he has in previous speeches, Kelly evoked the story of two Navy Cross recipients, Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter and Cpl. Jonathan Yale. Their tale of selflessness is well known throughout the Corps. On April 22, 2008, when a truck loaded with explosives barreled toward their post in Ramadi, they opened fire, causing the truck to blow up before it could enter a compound housing U.S. and Iraqi troops. Haerter and Yale were killed. Everyone inside was saved.
“You can’t convince a person to do that unless they’re very, very special,” Kelly said. “Those two heroes knew they were going to die — there’s no doubt in my mind — and they stood there blasting away until they went to God. So anyone who tells me that Marines today aren’t as good is full of sh--.”
His speech in New York addresses such extraordinary sacrifice. The willingness to risk all for a cause greater than oneself is almost lost upon American society, Kelly said.
He speaks with a father’s affection of America’s “1 percent” who espouse the same traits and beliefs as those who came before them. And in the same breath, Kelly lays waste to the notion that the troops and their families should be viewed as victims, and hammers the uninitiated “who think themselves so superior as to speak for us.”
“To all those who for their own reasons dare to so patronizingly speak for us,” he said in New York, “calling us victims and weary, but have never walked in our shoes, or stood by a flag-draped casket holding someone so precious, you can all go straight to — we’ll speak for ourselves.”
Generals are expected to speak truth to power. It’s rare, however, for one to air his frustrations. Pressed to more clearly define those in the “chattering class” whom his speeches assail, Kelly edits his response diplomatically.
The Defense Department faces endless challenges, he said. Leaders are under “extreme pressure” to mitigate any negative publicity that can emanate from acts of misbehavior in the ranks, and they deserve great credit for weathering the storm. “In particular,” he added, “the service chiefs, who I think as a group are heroic in their efforts to lead their services during this very, very difficult time.”
Kelly was to deliver another speech May 26, Memorial Day, in Miami.
“They need to hear this,” he said. “I’ll never stop.”
 _______________________________


Top 10 beautiful and hottest Russian models In 2017




Everything which provides pleasure to our eyes is considered as beautiful. When we talk about most beautiful women in world then there are some countries that are famous for their feminine beauty. These countries are Norway, Philippines, Britain, Venezuela, Ukraine and Russia. In this article we are going to provide information regarding top ten beautiful and hottest Russian models. Russian women are known for their beauty having facial features mixture of European and Eastern touch. Their blonde hairs, tall bodies and high cheekbones are the reason they are considered as one of the most beautiful women in the world. Russian models are comprised of two categories, “Imperial Russian female models” and “Russian female adult models”. List of top ten beautiful and hottest Russian models are as follows:

10. “Natalia Vodianova”

beautiful and hottest Russian models
Renowned philanthropist, occasional film actress and one of the most beautiful and hottest Russian models is no other than Natalia Vodianova. In list of top earning “Forbes models”, she is the leading Russian model. She is also famous as the founder of “Naked Heart foundation”. She was just 15 years old when she started modeling and in modeling industry she get enrolled. She has experienced many successes and is one of the leading models of Russia.


9. “Sasha Pivovarova”

beautiful and hottest Russian models
“Highest appearing model for Prada” and Russian’s most seductive and beautiful model is no other than Sasha Pibovarova. She was born in year 1985 on 21st January. She started her career in modeling as her husband and her friend showed her photo shoot to a modeling agency. She has hot body shape so this is the reason she is appealing to everyone and is in list of hottest and beautiful Russian models.

8. “Anna Selezneva”

beautiful and hottest Russian models
Having hot body and beautiful innocent looks this Russian model is known all over the world. For many brands she did ramp walk and made her modeling career successful. In numerous fashion campaigns she worked and is known for her seductive eyes.

7. “Irina Shayk”

beautiful hottest Russian models
If we talk about super-seductive model of Russia then Irina Shayk is the leading name in this category. In Sports “swim-suit issue” she gained fame. In 2007 she gained ultimate success in modeling and all this happened because of her hot and seductive looks. Intimissimi lingerie was the brand for which she became leading name in year 2007. In 2011 she styled cover to astonishing extent. This Russian model is known for her relationship with Football champion Ronaldo.

6. “Lera Kudryavtseva”

beautiful and hottest Russian models
Not only a beautiful and hot Russian model she is the most talented women of Russia. She works as TV presenter, actress, singer and dancer. She is 45 years old but still she is loved for her perfect body figure and talented acting and modeling. As an actress and model she is Diva.

5. “Anna Kournikova”

beautiful and hottest Russian models
Former tennis player and now one of the most beautiful and hottest Russian models is no other than Anna Kournikova. She has promising career in tennis and modeling as well. Because of her perfect body figure she has hot looks and modeling talent as well. On Google search in list of hunt strings she has the most prominent name. Due to her stylized fashion she was entitled with name of “quintessential girl”.

4. “Glukoza”

beautiful and hottest Russian models
She is known as the super-sexiest singer and model of Russia. In her teen age she started her career as a model. Later she started singing and became leading singer of Russia. Chess and ballet is loved by her and this is the reason she look attractive in music videos. She worked in many movies such as “War of the Princesses” and “triumph”. She always appeared in seductive and hot looks and she is one of the most appealing models of Russia.

3. “Daria Werbowy”

beautiful and hottest Russian models
She was born in year 1983, and is one of the most beautiful and hot Russian models. Lancôme is the brand because of which gained ultimate success. She is known for her simple and innocent looks but her body language makes her one of the super-sexiest models of Russia. Valentino and Misson are the brands in which she made her stunning appearance. On magazines cover pages she has appeared for several times and she is loved for her sexy body shape. She worked for many leading brands.

2. “Valentina Zelyaeva”

beautiful and hottest Russian models
She was born in year 1982, and is one of the most beautiful models of Russia. She is beauty like a princess and is known for her cute looks. She has been part of print commercials such as “Tommy Hilfiger”, “Coach”, “Ralph Lauren” and Calvin Klein. In Russia she is one the most paid models. On ramp she walks so elegantly that she is loved all over the world. Brands for which work are, Landin, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Christian Dior, Balenciaga, Valentino and Fendi.

1. “Daria Strokous”

beautiful and hottest Russian models
She was born in year 1990 and in our list the youngest she is also one of the most beautiful and hottest Russian Models. In list of models.com she is the industry icons. She is also known for her blue eyes with blonde eyes. She was born in Russia but then moved to Africa and studied there till age of 5 years. Then she returned to her country and started her career in modeling. On American Vogue and V magazine she appeared on cover page. With shy looks and beautiful facial features she is on number one position in list of most beautiful and hot Russian models.
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Saturday, March 29, 2014

( Warbird Pinup Girls - Behind the scenes 2012-2016 calendars ) Patcnews March 29, 2014 The Patriot Conservative News Tea Party Network Reports Warbird Pinup Girls - Behind the scenes 2012-2016 Calendars © All Copyrights reserved By Patcnews






 

 LLC 501C- 4 UCC 1-308.ALL RIGHTS RESERVED WITHOUT PREJUDICE



Content and Programming Copyright 2014 By Patcnews The Patriot Conservative News Tea Party Network © LLC UCC 1-308.ALL RIGHTS RESERVED WITHOUT PREJUDICE All copyrights reserved By Patcnews The Patriot Conservative News Tea Party Network Copyright 2014 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.  © All Copyrights reserved By Patcnews The Patriot Conservative News Tea Party Network

( Paris Lynn Vaughan Harmon RIP ) Patcnews March 29, 2014 The Patriot Conservative News Tea Party Network Reports Paris Lynn Vaughan Harmon © All copyrights reserved by Patcnews


             RIP Paris Lynn Vaughan Harmon 

Women in the Word Paris (Paris Lynn Harmon): "Weekly Pictorials" Sunday thru Saturday (11-25 to 12-1) Inspirational

Paris Lynn Vaughan Harmon of Miami, Okla., went to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015 at her home after a long illness. She was 52.
Paris was born March 31, 1963 in Kansas City, Mo. to Jim and Sharon (Ousley) Vaughan. She had lived in Miami most of her life and attended Miami High School.
She as a Realtor in the Miami area for several years. She also was a Cosmetologist, Certified Nursing Assistant and had owned a residential cleaning business.
Survivors include her husband Roger Harmon of the home, her children, Eric Johnston and wife Keesha of Miami, Okla., Jennifer Vargas of Southhaven, Miss. and Amy Williams and husband Cory of Miami, Okla., her parents Jim and Sharon Vaughan of Miami, Okla., her step-children Chanel Harmon of Miami, Okla. and Leslee Harmon of Waycross, Ga., her brother, Jeff Vaughan of Webb City, Mo. and her sisters, Debbie Roblyer of Miami, Okla. and Angela Wade of Miami, Okla.. Also surviving are her grandchildren, Jacey, Carter, Layton, Trey, Vallerie and Alana.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, 2015 at the Paul Thomas Funeral Home Chapel in Miami, Okla. Rev. Rick Longcrier will officiate. Interment will be in G.A.R. Cemetery of Miami with Kyle Roblyer, Josh Roblyer, Cory Williams, Kevin Wade, Brian Johnson and Scott Ousley serving as pallbearers. The family will receive friends from 6-7 p.m. Thursday evening at the Paul Thomas Funeral Home. Services have been placed in the care of Paul Thomas Funeral Home and Cremation Service of Miami, Oklahoma.






Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.





Hidden Potential
Tracie Miles
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!"
2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)

Devotion:
Christ sees your value and hidden potential. Do you?

I was challenged by this thought recently after putting my son to bed.
Every night, I receive the same request when I tuck him in. He looks at me with big, blue eyes, pokes his bottom lip out for sentimental effect, and asks for a bedtime story. Last night was no exception. As usual, I skimmed the contents of his room. Searching for an item that might plant a story idea in my head, I noticed his gray sock monkey.
Instantly, my thoughts started weaving a tale about an old gray piece of cloth that lived on a shelf in a fabric store for many years. The story easily unfolded in my imagination as my little man sat wide-eyed, intently listening to the details.
When the story ended, I kissed my son goodnight and immediately felt a gentle whisper in my spirit reminding me of the truth held in today's key verse. "You were once just like that little, old piece of fabric, but God transformed you into a new creation, too."
You see, I started the bedtime story by explaining how this dull, gray piece of fabric would sit quietly on the shelf each day, desperately longing for someone to notice him. From his place on the dusty shelf, he had a bird's eye view of all the beautiful fabrics that held so much more potential.
He admired the fabrics of vibrant orange and pink polka dots that would one day be transformed into frilly toddler dresses; the fabrics with elegant stripes that would make fine draperies for beautiful homes; the fabrics with tassels and shimmering coins dangling from their edges; and the myriad of fun fabrics, adorned with colorful cartoon characters.
But he was just a boring old piece of gray fabric.
Nothing special. Nothing elegant. Nothing valuable. Old. Outdated. Worthless.
Certainly nothing worthy of being transformed into anything new and wonderful.
One spring day, a frail elderly woman wandered into the store. The gray piece of fabric could tell she was a seamstress by the wrinkled tape measure around her neck and the rusty thimble on her finger.
As she meandered around the store, continually brushing wisps of white hair from her face, she seemed to be searching for something special. Suddenly, her eyes fell upon the little piece of gray fabric tucked shyly away in the corner.
He dared to think that maybe, just maybe, she would see potential in him.
As the woman drew closer, his heart began to race. She gently picked him up and headed towards the cash register, adding buttons, fabric scraps, and thread to her hands along the way.
When the seamstress returned home, she diligently set about her task. Gradually she transformed the piece of old gray fabric into an adorable new sock monkey, to be loved and cherished by her grandchildren. He made a difference in the hearts of children for many generations.
The little piece of gray fabric, who thought he had no purpose, was transformed into something new in the hands of the seamstress. Although he felt worthless at one time, she looked beyond what he was; beyond his old life as a scrap of fabric. She saw him as something new, and helped him discover his value and hidden potential.
After telling my son this story, God gently reminded me how I once felt much like that old piece of gray fabric sitting on the shelf. Ashamed, overlooked, unimportant, and paling in comparison to others. I didn't see how anything about me or my past — any of the old stuff — could be valuable. I felt like a scrap of leftover material.
I believe God helped my imagination soar that night while sitting on the edge of my child's bed. He helped me remember that I have been transformed by Him, and although I spent most of life not seeing my hidden potential, He always had a plan and a purpose for me.
Just like that little piece of gray fabric, which was transformed from something old into something new, we are new creations in Christ.
Remember, Christ sees your value and hidden potential. And He wants to help you see it, too.
Dear Lord, help me remember that I became a new creation when I accepted You as my Savior, and that my value is in You and You alone. Thank You for Your promise of having a plan and a purpose just for me. Help me to embrace the plans You have for me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Application Steps:
Ask God to help you understand your value in Him.

Reflections:
Would my life be different if I believed how valuable I am to God? If I believed that "the old has gone, the new is here"?

What hidden potential might God see in me?

Power Verses:

Romans 5:8, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (NIV)

Jeremiah 29:11, "'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.'" (KJV



Shocked by My Own Advice
Lysa TerKeurst

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."
Matthew 7:13-14 (KJV)

Devotion:
The choice is mine. If I want to be a sold out somebody for God, I have to break away from the everybody crowd.

Today's key verses are not easy for a girl who wanted nothing more growing up than to fit in. Don't cause waves. Don't stand out. Don't stand up. Don't rock the boat of norm in anyway. Just go with the flow in the same direction as everyone else.
But somewhere along my Christian journey, going with the flow started to bother me.
Verses like the one above in Matthew 7 and Romans 12:2, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind," started to mess with my status quo existence.
Conformed or transformed? The choice is mine. If I want to be a sold out somebody for God, I have to break away from the everybody crowd.
This is a message I shared with my son one day when he came to me scared. He admitted things had gone a little too far with his girlfriend and wanted help processing what to do. They hadn't crossed every line but enough that he knew they were headed in a dangerous direction.
We sat on the back deck and processed the situation together. We read a list of empowering Scripture verses seeking to filter every part of this situation through God's truth. In the end, he and his girlfriend came to the realization they needed to break up. It's really hard to put things in reverse after certain lines have been crossed.
I walked back into the house after that conversation with two things running through my brain. I was thrilled my son came to me to talk about such a sensitive issue. What an honor to breathe Truth into his physical struggle.
But, I was also feeling a little panicked at the realities of parenting older teenagers. And that feeling led me straight to the pantry, convinced I needed some chocolate. I deserved some chips! As I loaded my arms full of treats, I was suddenly struck by a gut wrenching question. How can I expect my son to apply Truth to his area of physical struggle but refuse to apply it to my area of physical struggle?
Ouch. I was shocked by my own advice.
If I wanted to model what it looks like to live out truth in my physical struggles, I would have to break up with unhealthy choices. God made me to consume food, but food was never supposed to consume me.
Making healthy choices with my food would have to be part of my breaking away. I would have to distance myself from my distraction if I wanted to become truly transformed.
What's your distraction? What's the one way you can start to break away from the everybody crowd?
The everybody crowd says, "if it feels good it is good." The everybody crowd says, "don't deny yourself... that's so old school." The everybody crowd says, "everybody's living it up – so should you."
Conformed or transformed? The choice is ours. If we want to be a sold out somebody for God, we have to break away from the everybody crowd.
Dear Lord, I want and need to live apart from the everybody crowd. Free me of my distractions. Remove my insecurities. Help me to follow You with my whole heart. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Application Steps:
The choice is ours. If we want to be a sold out somebody for God, we have to break away from the everybody crowd. Look at your life and honestly determine if there is any area where you need to break away from the crowd.

Reflections:
Am I living as conformed or transformed?

Do I have any distractions right now that are keeping me from being a sold out somebody for God?

What is one way I can start to break away from the everybody crowd?

Power Verses:
Matthew 6:33, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (KJV)

1 Peter 5:8, "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (KJV)




Drowning In or Drowning Out Distractions?
Karen Ehman

"I will listen to what God the LORD will say; he promises peace to his people, his saints —
but let them not return to folly." Psalm 85:8 (KJV)

Devotion:
I am the lightest of sleepers. And being awakened at night by noises is often a disastrous recipe for exhaustion. That's why I love my white noise machine; a round, little electronic contraption that sits beside my bed. It's my nightly sanity-saver.

Before I obtained this clever contraption, I lost sleep due to a snoring spouse or midnight-snacking teenager. As a result, I was cranky and cantankerous; frazzled and fruitless. As a sleep-deprived soul, I became unproductive, easily distracted and down-right ineffective at life.
Thankfully, now my nocturnal helper ushers me quickly to la-la land (and allows me to stay there) with one of its many options: waves crashing, birds chirping, or a thunderstorm gently rolling in. The steady, constant stream of soothing sound magically drowns out any background distractions.
I have found the same to be true with our spiritual lives. If we want to focus on the importance of listening to God though prayer, Bible study and time simply sitting still before Him, we must drown out all distractions.
When our screaming schedules, messy houses, unpaid bills, or idle pastimes such as television or the Internet aren't intentionally blocked for a time, we will never reach the important stage of resting and receiving direction from God each day.
Jesus Himself was a master at drowning out distractions. A quick read through the New Testament will find Him often withdrawing to a lonely corner, getting up early to pray or locating a place of calm focus amidst a clanging throng of people.
Jesus purposed to find peace among the pandemonium.
Likewise in the Old Testament, the Psalmists often list peace, calm, and quiet as gifts given to those who earnestly seek the Lord and desire to walk in His ways.
Embedded in today's key verse is such a promise to us as well: peace to God's people. But the precursor to experiencing that peace is listening to what the Lord has to say. And for listening to occur, we have to be able to actually hear from God, focused and free from all that clamors for our attention.
So, just as I plug in my slumber device each night, we must also unplug for a time each day. Shut off the phone; the TV; the laptops and iPads. Ignore the dishes, the paperwork and the screaming schedules so we can drift off to a peaceful place where sweet Jesus is waiting — desiring for us to be still and listen long enough to actually hear Him speak to our hearts.
Drowning in so many daily distractions can keep us from hearing God's voice. Let's purpose together to drown out our distractions instead, and tune in to the life-giving Word. He is the only steady source from which we can ever find true and lasting peace.
Dear Lord, give me courage to unplug, determination to focus and patience to listen. I want to bask in Your peace and walk in Your ways. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Application Steps:
Why do we as modern-day believers not value and practice alone, silent times?

On a scale of 1 to 10, when it comes to getting unplugged, alone and free from distractions, (1 being calm and focused; 10 being completely discombobulated and distracted) where do you fall?

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

Reflections:
What are the distractions, duties and dilemmas that most clamor for my attention in my life right now?

Which of these can I simply not eliminate from my life?

Are there any that I could eliminate (responsibilities I've taken on or trivial distractions and pastimes)? As I ask God to show me what can be eliminated, I'll make bold plans to resign from those activities that are keeping me from spending time with and hearing from Him.

Power Verses:
Psalm 46:10a "Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God." (Amplified)




Meeting Jesus
Holly Good, Assistant to Lysa TerKeurst

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves." Philippians 2:3 (KJV)
Devotion:
He sat across the aisle from me, talking to himself. I had boarded a plane very early one morning in TX, after a weekend women's conference where I was serving with Lysa. I casually glanced over at him and thought, "Oh boy, this will be interesting." And I closed my eyes to settle in.

After several minutes, he realized he was in the wrong seat. He jumped up, grabbed his belongings and crossed the aisle to join me. And once again, I thought, "Oh boy, here we go."
I was a bit nervous to be honest. We exchanged pleasantries and I closed my eyes again, waiting for the plane to take off. He continued to mumble to himself as he looked out his window.
Several more minutes passed. I tried to fall asleep. And then finally, deep in my heart I felt compelled to talk to my seat mate, even though there was still a part of me that begged for my eyes to remain closed; shut off in my comfort zone.
"Tell me about yourself," I reluctantly smiled.
He told me his name was Henry. Then he started asking me just as many questions as I was asking him. With every answer I gave, he would kindly respond, "Well that sounds good."
I looked around somewhat apologetically as Henry continued to dialogue with me in a very loud tone.
It was then that I profoundly felt three words rush into my mind, "This is Me."
I stopped. I pondered. I swallowed. And I blinked.
"You, Lord?" I hesitantly questioned.
"This is Me," I gently but clearly sensed again. And then, "Look at Me."
I reflected for a moment and remembered, "'...I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'" Matthew 25:40.
My perspective abruptly softened. I looked at Henry with inquisitive eyes as he chatted away. I examined every detail on his face. I noticed his scruffy beard and bushy eyebrows and I looked deep into his eyes, which he told me did not work very well.
Henry was traveling to attend his grandmother's funeral several states away. He was about to see his father, whom he hadn't had contact with in 25 years. As our conversation unfolded, I learned that Henry had been born with a birth defect called Poland Syndrome. He had a small left hand with fingers that didn't move and permanent paralysis in the upper left side of his body. He dropped out of high school several years earlier because students were not nice to him.
I listened with interest as we talked about his love of computers. I was captivated by his knowledge, and continued with a long list of questions. We happily shared my granola snack over an animated conversation as he talked and I listened.
All of my previous inhibitions had completely vanished.
The last words Henry spoke to me were, "People never talk to me like you have."
I blinked back tears as I helped him read his connecting boarding pass. I gently smiled goodbye. But my heart was sad as we got off the plane. You see, I knew how close I was to being like everyone else. So very close. And how many times in the past I was like everyone else.
I had ministered to women the entire weekend, but I was resistant to talk to the fragile soul right beside me, begging for attention.
Meeting Henry changed me that day.
Meeting Henry taught me to pray daily for eyes to see deeper, ears to listen more intently and a heart to humbly embrace new perspectives.
Open the eyes of my heart Lord. I want to see others the way You do. Because when I do, I learn.
And the more I learn, the more I am drawn closer to the One who created it all.
Who might be your Henry today?
Dear Lord, I want to know You more. Help me to see beyond my normal routine and humbly embrace those around me with a desire to learn. Please teach me Lord. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Application Steps:
Read the short but encouraging book of Philippians in the New Testament to discover the true joy that comes from knowing Jesus Christ.

Reflections:
How did this devotion challenge you personally?

How will it challenge you to consider your reactions to those around you?

Power Verses:
Philippians 2:5, "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus." (KJV)

James 4:14b, "What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." (KJV)

Psalm 86:11, "Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name." (KJV)



What the Ravens Know
Marybeth Whalen

"He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call." Psalm 147:9 (KJV)
Devotion:
I watch as the bird perches aloft a swinging power line, oblivious to the current pulsing through his perch. He raises his beak and sings in the direction of the clouds above, his song more insistent than melodic.

Until I read today's verse I might've assumed that the raven was calling for his mate or trying to out sing the other birds. But with today's verse on my mind I wonder if he is not doing what all of God's creation inherently knows to do: call on their Creator for their needs.
Ravens are pretty plain as birds go. Missing the distinct markings of a bluebird or cardinal and the unique talents of the woodpecker or hummingbird, ravens strike me as being least likely to get God's attention. And yet, the Psalmist mentions this unremarkable bird in Psalm 147:9. He points out that when they call, God hears them and He provides for them.
Maybe today you are feeling unremarkable, forgotten, lacking anything special. You might be feeling plain, all black feathers in a forest full of bright plumage. Why would God answer your call? You have nothing to offer in return.
This verse assures us that God doesn't respond based on who we are or what we have to offer. He responds because we are His, plain and simple. He responds because it is in His nature to provide. Our call initiates His response. We must believe that with all our hearts and stand on that truth as we wait for that response.
I know that's easier said than done.
Perhaps you have been waiting a long time. Maybe you are feeling hopeless that your prayers will ever be answered. Or perhaps you are losing faith that He even hears.
I've been there, too. There have been times when I looked into tomorrow and saw blackness as dark as the feathers of a raven. Days when I read a verse like Psalm 147:9, and thought to myself, "Yeah, right. He might answer that bird, but He isn't answering me."
And in those times I've wondered what I needed to do to get God's attention. In John 6:28-29 the people ask Jesus what they must do to do the works God requires. They want to please God and they know Jesus holds the key as to how they can do just that. As they wait anxiously for His answer, I imagine they are expecting a laundry list of possibilities, bullet points they can jot down and refer to later.
Instead Jesus tells them that the work of God is simply to believe in the One He has sent. Jesus knew that believing is work. It is heart work. To believe in Jesus even when He seems far away or unresponsive is some of the hardest work we will have to do as we follow Him. But that is all what He asks us to do.
The ravens know that He always provides and they sing with confidence in that, no matter what their circumstances are. Oh how I want to do the same in my life. Will you join me today, singing, believing and standing on His promises as we persevere in song.
Dear Lord, today I am going to keep singing and trust that You will answer my call because I believe You love me and want the best for me. I am going to do the work that You require and trust Your provision. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Application Steps:
Today when you start to worry about the situation you're in, remember the raven confidently singing to his Creator. Then do the same. You might want to turn on some praise music and actually sing or you might want to read some Psalms or journal your own unique "song" to God. Whatever you do, keep in mind the work that is behind believing God.

Reflections:
Why did Jesus describe believing as work? Have I found it hard to believe at times?

Power Verses:
Psalm 145:16, "You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing." (KJV)

Psalm 90:14, "Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days." (KJV)




Craving Connection Renee Swope
"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:25 (NIV)
Devotion:
Do you ever catch yourself checking email repeatedly? One morning I checked my email as soon as I woke up. Then I made breakfast and checked it again. Had my devotional time and checked it again. Ran some errands and when I got home, checked it once more.

Now, I admit I have a thing about keeping white space in my inbox, but this was about more than managing emails.
I was going back for a reason. I sensed the Holy Spirit nudging me to pause and ask myself, "Why do you keep checking your email?"
I sat there and let my heart respond honestly. I wasn't sure if it was God or me answering, but my thoughts intertwined with His Spirit whispered: You keep coming back because your heart longs for connection with a friend.
Yet no matter how many times I checked email, it was never enough to satisfy my craving.
Somewhere in the busyness of life I had let many of my friendships reduce to quick connections via email. Over the past year my schedule had gotten so full with kids, school projects, family needs, investing time in my marriage, and new responsibilities at work that something had to give.
I didn't want it to be my family, so I asked God to help me find balance.
I had sensed Him leading me to cut back on the amount of time I spent talking on the phone, socializing with neighbors and hanging out with friends. Although I hadn't completely cut out my friendships, my face-to-face connection time with friends had been reduced to a minimum.
That morning as I sat at my computer, I realized I had not found balance. The pendulum had swung too far. Here I was checking email repeatedly, trying to fill a God-created need for relationships with a white screen and black alphabet keys.
My heart was craving more. God had revealed the source of my incessant email checking and shown me that I needed to fill the lonely place in my spirit with friends I could talk to and share life with — in person.
That day I called one of my closest friends. She happened to be available so I turned off my computer and took a break from work to spontaneously meet her at a coffee shop.
It was just what I needed: face-to-face, heart-to-heart, eye-to-eye connection and conversation.
I know friendships are not easy to build. They take time. And time is limited with lives that keep us so busy. But in this age of technology, it's important to evaluate things in our lives that create a false sense of connection like email, television, text messaging and overboard activities.
Although these things are okay in moderation, they can't substitute real-life relationships.
So what about long-distance and internet friendships? Aren't they important, too? Yes, they are. But God created us for relationships where we can see each other, hug each other and talk to each other face-to-face.
We need to pull away from our computers and televisions to intentionally carve out time for friends that are in close proximity. Times where we can meet face-to-face to share what's going on in our lives. Today's key verse instructs us not to give up meeting together to worship and encourage one another. As we see here and throughout the Bible "meeting together" is important to God.
Jesus needed face-to-face connections, too. So He surrounded Himself with intimate friends — first His Father, then His close friends John, Peter and James and then the other nine disciples.
He also had friends like Mary, Martha and Lazarus. People He spent time with sharing meals and having conversations about spiritual truths that applied to their everyday lives. Through His example we see how important it is to satisfy our craving for connections by spending face-to-face time with friends.
So, who will you connect with face-to-face this week?
Dear Lord, You created me with a need for friends. Yet, I find myself rushing through my days with little time for heart-to-heart connections. Help me to seek You first as my ultimate Friend, and then reach out to others so I can have and be a close friend. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Application Steps:
Make a list of one or two friends you enjoy being with. Call them on the phone to encourage them and set up a time to get together.

If you're not sure who to call, ask God to show you someone you can begin a friendship with. Invite them to join you for lunch or to go for a walk together this week.

Reflections:
How often do I check email or my Facebook page? Do I crave connection?

What are some steps I can take this week to develop a new friendship or strengthen an old one?

Power Verses:
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!" (KJV)

"I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you." John 15:15b (KJV)



The Unsaved Christian Lysa TerKeurst
"These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men." Matthew 15:8-9 (NIV)
Devotion:
God wants us to have a relationship with Him. But what does this really mean?

Recently, I met a woman about my age at a conference where I was speaking. I don't know many details about her life but I do know she's been going to church for a long time.
And she's been serving, giving, and doing all the right church stuff.
But, something was missing.
"I never could quite put my finger on it until I heard your message," she whispered. "I never knew what it really meant to have a relationship with Jesus. But hearing you explain it, something clicked. I walked forward today. I gave my heart to Jesus."
I wondered: what part of what I shared made this profound click happen in her soul?
Of course, it was the Holy Spirit moving... but somehow in the midst of me sharing the broken places of my life, things came together in hers.
It got me thinking about us doing life together here through this daily devotion. Each day we spend a few minutes together over the internet learning how to navigate life as Jesus girls. But all that we talk about is for nothing if our hearts stay far from Jesus.
It's not about momentary motivation to make it through today.
It's not about spiffy quotes to ponder and put into practice.
It's not about relationship tactics and turnkey solutions.
It's not about bite-size pieces of peace to make life a little more manageable.
It's not about making our lives look and feel a little better.
It has to be about Jesus. And drawing our hearts into His reality. His grace. His love. His hope. His forgiveness. And most of all the free gift of salvation because of Him.
Have you ever felt like this woman who couldn't put her finger on what was missing? Have you ever felt like you bounce from one religious activity to the next, but your heart feels far from God? Sweet sister, can we chat?
God doesn't want us to have a religion. A religion is where we follow rules hoping to do life right, and serve God out of duty because we think we have to.
God wants us to have a relationship. A relationship where we follow Him. And we serve God not out of duty but out of delight because of the realization of who we are in Him.
For years, I went to church to get a little "God goodness" in my life. But it was like putting fresh paint on rotting wood. I was living just like those talked about in Isaiah 29:13, "The Lord says: 'These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.'"
I realized I didn't need to be just following the rules; I needed to be following God Himself.
I didn't need a little "God goodness" to rub off on me... I needed God to invade the deepest parts in me.
So, I knelt down in the midst of my messy, chaotic, confused life... and started a relationship with Him by simply saying yes.
Yes, I am a sinner in need of a Savior.
Yes, I acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Son of God, sent to die on a cross and be resurrected on the third day to save me from my sins.
Yes, I want Jesus to be the Lord and Master of my life.
Yes, I am now and forever will be a forgiven and saved child of the Almighty God.
Yes, I will follow Jesus today, tomorrow, and every other day I'm blessed with on this earth.
Oh sister, let me quiet the voice of Satan screaming to resist this process. He wants to trip you up by whispering how you won't be able to live this out perfectly. Jesus has never ever asked for us to be perfect. He simply wants us perfectly surrendered. I often pray, "Oh Jesus... I am such a mess, but I am Yours. Show me... help me... forgive me... reassure me... and pour Your tender mercy upon me."
And He does.
And He always will.
My imperfections are safely tucked within the reality of His perfection.
And I simply press on by continuing to say YES moment by imperfect moment... day by imperfect day.
Dear Lord, I am such a mess, but I am Yours. Show me... help me... forgive me... reassure me... and pour Your tender mercy upon me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Application Steps:
In this devotion I stated "So, I knelt down in the midst of my messy, chaotic, confused life... and started a relationship with Him by simply saying yes." Think of simple ways you can say yes to God today. How would that look? Would that change the way you are living your life?

Reflections:
God wants us to have a relationship. A relationship where we follow Him. And we serve God not out of duty but out of delight because of the realization of who we are in Him. What does this look like? How can I serve Him today with a pure heart?

Power Verses:
Psalm 53:2, "God looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God." (KJV)

Mark 7:8, "You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men." (KJV)




  






Waging Kana

T. Suzanne Eller

"And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, 'Why could we not cast it out'
So He said to them, 'This kind can come out by
nothing but prayer and fasting.'"
Mark 9:28-29 (NKJV)

Devotion:
I didn't know how to fix it or make it better. I felt helpless, really. Someone close to me was battling a serious illness. One morning I sat in the stillness, just me and my Bible and the sweet presence of God as I prayed for this person. As I did, I felt strongly compelled to fast.

The Hebrew word for fasting is Kana, and it means to subdue or to bring low. It is the scriptural word for either bringing down an enemy in combat or subduing your own soul in an action of humility. Fasting twice a week was a regular practice in the first century. There were minor fasts (from sunrise to sundown) and examples in both the Old and New Testaments of fasting for many meals and even days. Jesus Himself fasted in the wilderness for 40 days.
But how long should I fast? Her treatment was expected to take several months, and that created a dilemma. No one can go without food for that long, nor should they. My Heavenly Father wasn't calling me to be foolish, but to bring low the enemy by waging Kana.
As I dug deeper I discovered that in addition to abstaining from food, Kana was practiced in other ways. Some sat in the "low seats" in the tabernacle as they offered the "high seats" to others. Some gave up simple pleasures. As I studied, I realized that I could fast traditionally, but also creatively throughout my friend's treatment.
Aren't you supposed to be quiet about fasting (Matthew 6:16)? Are you boasting? You might be wondering.
I'm not sharing this to boast, but because I quickly discovered the power behind fasting. When I waged Kana the gaping holes, those where I lacked discipline, were revealed. Some of those discoveries were surprising. Giving up sugar? Not too hard. Giving up complaining? Not a big deal. Giving up TV? Such a struggle that it shocked me.
One week I felt compelled not to abstain from something, but instead to immerse myself in Scripture. As each week passed, I began to invite God in to show me how to fast, and to shine His love in the areas where I needed to abstain so that He could fill them up.
Kana taught me where my strengths lie, and where my weaknesses flourished. It wasn't a legalistic pointing of the heavenly index finger, but an opportunity to take an honest look at where I was bound, and how to grow.
My friend is ending treatment soon, but I have come to embrace the process of Kana. My prayer is that it brings low the enemy as my friend continues to heal, but I know that fasting not only touches Heaven for my friend; it can't help but touch me, too.
Dear Lord, help me hear You more clearly, to bring low the enemy of my soul, and to open the gaps in my life to Your touch. In Jesus' Name, Amen.




Fearing the Unknown
Micca Campbell

"Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before."
Joshua 3:4a (KJV)

Devotion:
Do you ever fear the unknown? Perhaps it's your health or the uncertainty of your future. Maybe it's the decisions your children will make about following God or following their peers. Fearing the unknown can cause us to spend precious energy anticipating the worst-case scenario. There are two problems with this type of fear:

• The future is not here.
• The future is not ours.

While the future may be out of our hands, it is not out of the hands of our faithful trustworthy God. When we face a worrisome unknown situation, we can look to Joshua as an example of how to trust God in the face of uncertainty.
It's recorded in the first chapter of Joshua that before Moses died, God passed the baton of leadership to Joshua. The Israelites had been wandering in the desert for 40 years under the guidance of Moses. Now, their journey was almost over. Just beyond the Jordan River was their promised land -- the land that God had guaranteed to Abraham and his descendants.
Upon reaching the Jordan River, Joshua and the Israelites set up camp by the stream and awaited God's direction. Much like their meeting with the Red Sea, God had to make a way for them to cross over the river. On the third day, God told the officers to instruct the people that when they saw the Ark of the Covenant (where God's Presence abided) to follow it because they had "never passed this way before" (Joshua 3:4). In essence, God was saying: Follow Me and I'll see you through this unknown territory.
That's not all. The people were instructed on how closely they should follow the ark. Without this instruction, the people would have crowded the ark and God wanted every person to be able to see His presence faithfully leading them through the unknown valley. What greater encouragement could they have than this, that the Lord was their God, a God who was with them?
You see, friend, the Lord understands our fear of the unknown. He realizes that you may be in a situation that you've never passed through before and you're afraid. It may be the first time you've been without employment. Maybe you've just been diagnosed with an illness or your child is in rebellion. You've never been down this road before and you don't know which way to go or what to do. God will guide the way.
Joshua's life was unpredictable and full of unknowns much like yours and mine. Yet, he successfully resisted fear by keeping his focus on God rather than the events surrounding him. Just as God guided the Israelites through unknown territory, He will guide you and me, too.
As He promises in Isaiah 43, when we come to a place we've never passed through before, God is always present to help us. "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior" (v.2-3a, KJV).
Even though the children of Israel were not told how they would pass over the river, the people went forth in faith. We too can move forward in faith sharing in the promised presence of God leading the way through our unknown circumstances.
Dear Lord, thank You for Your promised presence. It comforts my heart to know that I am not alone. Lead me, Lord, through the unknowns in my life. Make Your path clear and I will follow it. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Application Steps:
The Bible calls us to walk by faith not by sight. God doesn't always give us the details we desire, but He does give us Himself. We can trust He's laid out a path and He goes before us.
Write down three fears of the unknown and a prayer from your heart, committing to trust God with them.

Reflections:
Have I ever run from fear? Where and when?

Where did I find comfort from my fear?

How can God's promised presence soothe my fears?

Power Verses:
Psalm 32:8, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you." (KJV)

Jeremiah 29:11, "'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.'" (KJV)


How Can God Bring Good from This?
Lysa TerKeurst

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
Romans 8:28 (KJV)

Devotion:
Have you ever faced a personal struggle and wondered how God could possibly bring good out of it? How could Romans 8:28 apply to my hidden issues -- the ones I don't like to think about, deal with, or even admit I have?

If you would have told me 10 years ago that God could bring good out of my weight issues and food struggles, I would have seriously doubted you. I would have rolled my eyes and excused myself to the bathroom.
Bathroom stalls are great places to cry in secret.
When a soul is rubbed raw from years of trying and failing, you don't want to hear, "eventually good will come from this."
I wanted something to instantly fix my issues.
I wanted to stop calling myself awful names I'd never let another person call me.
I wanted to be naturally thin like my sister.
I wanted to stop crying when I walked into my closet to get dressed in the morning.
I would have cared less about some elusive, eventual good. My jeans didn't fit. Even my sweatpants didn't fit. I felt horrible. I couldn't stay committed to a healthy eating plan to save my life. And I saw no hope in sight.
It's a terrible thing to scan the horizon and see no evidence of hope.
Maybe you've been there with some hidden issue. Maybe you've been there like me with food and weight struggles. Maybe you're there today.
Whether your issues are the same as mine or not, all of us Jesus girls have struggles. We all fall short in some way. And we all need to know more about this "good" mentioned in Romans 8:28.
But instead of a three point sermonette, I want to share with you a letter I recently received. As I read it, the mercy gates of heaven split wide open and reigned down "this working of good." It was heaven's salve soothing deep places in me.
It is a picture of the reality of God's Word being true. Always true. God does work for the good... in all things... every single thing… even our most raw and seemingly impossible things... but we must know it even when we don't feel it.
"Just want to say thank you for sharing your struggles, Lysa. I've had an eating disorder since August,1978. Full blown anorexia, which led years down the road to bulimia.
I became a Christian in 2002, but never could fully surrender my eating disorder to our Lord. Through your story and the advice you shared the Holy Spirit is empowering me as I never knew possible.  I've had 7 days of no binging or purging!!!
This may not seem like a high number to you, but after 33 full years with this binge/purge addiction, this is AMAZING. Hallelujah!!
You shed such new light on scriptures that I have read, but never knew how to interpret in my life especially with regards to eating. I'll be honest I figured my eating disorder wasn't that big a deal to our Lord. In fact I had told myself that He made me this way so it must just be the sin I was born to deal with; so glad to know that it isn't, and that I matter to HIM." -- Melissa P.
As I read this, my tears leaked free. We don't have to figure out how God will bring good, we just have to stay on the journey with Him and watch Him work.
May this be a glimpse of hope in the midst of your struggles as well.
"And we know (we know it even if we don't feel it) that in all things (even the ones we can't even fathom being used for good) God works for the good. (He works for the good. Our job is to walk with Him day by day. His job is to work the good.)
Dear Lord, thank You for this hope. Thank You that You don't waste our tears, our struggles, or those places rubbed raw from years of trying and failing. Once we do what You've instructed us to do, You always do what only You can do. I know You will bring good even when I can't see it or feel it. And what a comfort that is to me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Application Steps:
Write out your struggle on the front of a 3x5 card this week and pray for the next 5 days for God to reveal some good that could come from this. Write some of the power verses on the back of your card and meditate on these truths.
Reflections:
God doesn't comfort us to make us comfortable. God comforts us to make us comfort-able. Able to comfort others with the same comfort we've received from Him. Is there someone in my sphere of influence who could benefit from hearing my story? Could this be some of the good God can bring from this?

Power Verses:
Ephesians 2:10, "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (KJV)

2 Corinthians 1:4, "He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us." (KJV)











A Place of Thus Far
Wendy Pope

"Then King David went in and sat before the LORD and said, 'Who am I, O Lord GOD, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?'"
2 Samuel 7:18 (KJV)

Devotion:
Have you ever been in a place of "thus far?" A place where you are experiencing God's blessing and favor on your life. Not blessings and favor by the world's standards of materialism and wealth, but by the Lord's standard of provision, protection, providence, and peace that come from walking in His presence daily.

I want to be in that place of faith, like David, following the Lord's leading and trusting His ways, not my own. I want to meet regularly with the Lord, sitting and taking summary of all He has done for me. With thankfulness and humility, I want to say, "Who am I that you have brought me thus far?"
Oh the places David had seen in his lifetime! From grassy meadows to the splendor of palace life. From dirty fields tending sheep to hiding in a drafty cave, and then to the throne itself, King David arrived at a place of "thus far" in his life. He had experienced every emotion that exists, from confidence to fear, love to hate, and sadness to joy. After all that King David had been through I can certainly understand why he needed to go sit before the LORD and ask, "Who am I?"
He was overwhelmed with the goodness of God and the faithfulness he had experienced. He had been through some of the toughest situations a person could go through, yet he remained faithful and God gave David his reward. Yet, I have to think the reward of kingship and royalty paled in comparison to knowing the goodness and faithfulness of God.
Have you been there? Life has taken twists, turns, and changes at every bend, yet somehow for a season you have arrived at a place of seeing spiritual blessings from the Lord. Yet you realize your place of thus far pales in comparison to knowing and experiencing the goodness and faithfulness of God.
No matter what current circumstances you find yourself in, with our Living God there is always a place of "thus far" waiting around the next bend. This is a place of celebration, praise, complete humility and gratitude before the Lord. I have discovered the hardships we go through are all worthwhile when we get to our place of "thus far." From a grateful heart, we can pour our blessings back out to the Lord as we cry, "Who I am Lord, that you have brought me thus far?"
Dear Lord, forgive me when I don't sit and take summary of Your tremendous favor in my life. Your blessings are far superior to anything this world can give me. Help me to remember my place of "thus far" when Your plan for my life leads me to another season that may be risky and cause me to walk by faith and not by sight. I offer this praise of thanksgiving to You. In Jesus' Name, Amen
Application Steps:
Find a place to sit quietly with the Lord. Take summary of His blessing and favor on your life. Write down all the things He brings to mind. Read the list back to Him as a song of praise.
Reflections:
Is there anything in my life preventing me from entering the place of "thus far" the Lord has for me?

How can I use my time while in a place of "thus far" to be a blessing and encouragement to others?

Power Verses:
Psalm 52:9, "I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good. I will praise you in the presence of your saints." (KJV)

Psalm 63:4, "I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands." (KJV)


Faith vs. Fear
Ariel Allison Lawhon, She Reads Co-Director

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you."
Deuteronomy 31:6 (KJV)

Devotion:
Our pediatrician told me that my baby had a collapsed lung. The baby I'd given birth to just an hour earlier.

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but the presence of faith."
They weren't the words I wanted to remember in that moment, but they came to me as I sat and listened to the doctor's news, jaw clenched and blinking back tears.
The trauma started the previous evening when my doctor declared that I needed to get to the hospital immediately. A series of sonograms and tests revealed that my son was in distress and dangerously underweight. We had to deliver as soon as possible. So my husband and I packed a bag and left our three other children in the care of my mother. We walked through the door of that hospital afraid that our worst fears were about to become reality. Faith did not come naturally in that moment.
I would have preferred that courage meant I wouldn't fear the path that lay before me. But no, my path would involve hours, and then days, learning the ins and outs of oxygen tubes, IVs, and heart rate monitors. I would learn terms like spontaneous pneumothorax and the dreaded pneumonia. My path contained a great deal of fear.
It is no wonder that God had to remind us in Deuteronomy 31:6 not to be afraid. Fear, it seems, is a natural reaction when we face a challenge, whether it is being led through the desert into the Promised Land, or being rushed to the hospital for an emergency delivery.
But the only antidote to fear is faith. And courage is not something we find within ourselves. It is the result of faith, and even that is a gift from God.
We spent five days in the hospital with our tiny son. And each day God took a little of our fear and replaced it with faith. I have wondered since if our stay in the hospital was as much for my healing as my son's. Thankfully, God healed us both.
Be strong, God said, and courageous. We can do this because He has promised to never leave us or forsake us. He stands with us in battle, and He sits with us who hold the tiny hand of a newborn baby in the Intensive Care Unit. He never leaves our side. Never.
Dear Lord, thank You that You stand beside me today as I face this trial. Thank You that I am not alone. Would You take my fear and replace it with faith? You have said that You will never leave me nor forsake me. You have told me not to be afraid or discouraged. I believe that You will make me strong and courageous. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Application Steps:
Susan Schoenberger's debut novel, A Watershed Year, is the story of a woman who adopts a young boy soon after the death of her best friend. It is a story of loss and healing, what it means to be a mother, and the importance of moving forward. Visit the She Reads blog this week and enter to win a Kindle preloaded with a copy of A Watershed Year.

Join the She Reads online fiction book club as we discuss the themes found in this month's featured selection, specifically grief, motherhood, and grace.

Pray for someone else who is in a difficult season of life. Pray that they will trust God and not be afraid.

List five different ways that God has been faithful to you, and thank Him for these.

Reflections:
What is God calling me to trust Him with today?

Are there any secret fears that I harbor? If so, how can I release them to God and replace them with faith?

Power Verses:
Hebrews 4:16, "Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (NIV)

Psalm 31:9, "Be merciful to me O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief." (KJV)

Genesis 15:1b, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward." (KJV)





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