Scripture verse: “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” -Psalm 147:3
I stared down at my empty index finger. It did not seem fair. I felt dazed and confused at the loss of my broken marriage. The heaviness seemed to hang over me wherever I went and felt as heavy as a ton of bricks.
Indeed, this breakup before my first anniversary could not be real.
Yet, it was. I had no idea how to begin to pick up the pieces of my shattered life and dreams. God is patient with us during times of grief, reminding us, He provides the strength to take small steps forward with a peaceful reassurance that waters our weary souls.
A failed marriage is a season, not the end of a life
A broken marriage may seem like the end of life, but life is composed of seasons, including valleys.
I had the pleasure and privilege of serving on this launch team. I received an early copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
This book is the gem I needed years ago when I walked through the valley of sorrow that accompanies a divorce. The warmth of Tracie’s words emanates from each page with a gentle strength that will journey with you until the last page.
Many people who struggle through a divorce do not have the support system as they try to navigate the confusion and emotional upheaval that a loss brings along with the practical implications for dealing with a new life transition.
This impactful resource will offer timeless wisdom and equip you with relatable strategies to reclaim your life.
As Tracie describes the stages of grief, she offers hope and reassurance that acceptance of the loss will be found through the recovery of self and identity.
Her words are based on sound biblical truth that God is the source of our true identity, a truth essential for the soul’s healing after a loss on the road to wholeness.
Her tender rebukes will awaken you to new possibilities as you wrestle with your own personal journey.
Tracie’s words will peel off the layers of shame, fears, and negative thoughts that accompany the devastating loss inherent in divorce.
The premise of the book is writing can be instrumental in helping process pieces of your life as you navigate the journey to wholeness.
This book spoke to me personally on many levels. Ally covers the neuroscience of rewiring the brain and the potential to change our thought process. This book is a stark reminder of the life changing nature that story telling can bring.
The right words will help you see more clearly from new angles. This pursuit of expressive words can allow a healing of the disconnected parts of the fragmented self. Healing of the self can lead to healing of other areas of life.
The power of writing as Ally insinuates lies wherein the transformative nature of self-discovery and the potential to influence others.
I recommend this book for all ages since I feel that expression is pertinent for self growth and this book is one that will remain in my personal arsenal to remind myself of the facets of gifts that writing brings.
A few of my favorite quotes include:
“Your influence can be wide or deep.”
“The only way we will ever have a shot at speaking to other people is if we start by speaking to ourselves.”
“The writing practice will grow your heart.”
I have thoroughly enjoyed being a member of the launch team and am pleased to say it is one of my favorite books on writing because Ally’s words were deeply challenging.
The power of writing it down: how a simple writing practice can be ordered through major book retailers. Ally fallon is an author, speaker and teacher. She can be found www.findyourvoice.com where you can learn about writing prompts, her books and courses to help you in your writing journey.
Haven’t we always longed for a true friend? Each of us feel the need of that one person who we could share our heart out with and enjoy our time and resources. Somebody who we could always rely on and somebody who would understand us, our situation no matter what. Well we do have a friendship that is offered to us, a reliable one, where our friend is always there in our need and so is our friend indeed. GOD is our friend, Yes indeed He is. Seems far-fetched but its true!
We are privilege to have friendship with GOD, we made for friendship with our FATHER. To have an intimate relationship with Him is one of our greatest joys! To experience his friendship is a joyride that helps us to get to know Him from GOD our master to GOD our friend. GOD’s WORD encourages us to accept JESUS not just as our redeemer and saviour but also our friend.
No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). This honour that has been bestowed upon us as transcended from a journey of Christ as our Master to Christ our friend. This is the privilege that we have that JESUS has called us friends. To be called his servant is beautiful, but to be called his friend is overwhelming. GOD’s Word says that JESUS calls us friends.
We do expect for our friends to prove themselves to us, we don’t just make friends and call them like family for nothing.
To look at his sacrifice, to understand the depth of what he did for us will bring us to an understanding of how faithful a friend he really has been, his compassion for us and that he is irreplaceable as a friend. To save his friends, he went through the circle of fire, to save his friends he paid their debts.
How beautiful is the heart of JESUS that he died for his friends! We love and honour His friendship, we do not take Him or his sacrifice casually. We want to always love and adore this friend we have in JESUS, we want to magnify his finished work.
We want to acknowledge his acceptance of us, despite of us being undeserving. We want to always be grateful for his grace! We now enjoy his affection and authority.
He knows us better than we know ourselves, and he loves us more deeply than anyone else ever could. We are closer to his heart than anyone has ever been to ours.
So let’s water our friendship through communion. A medium where we experience Him and everything that he has done. In that very medium lies so much. A welcoming, a conversation, a relationship, a developing ongoing love, an understanding and an acceptance.
Oh, what a friend we have in JESUS, always lifting our spirits, never a dull moment with HIM. If we are drawn in the failures of this world, he strengthens us and turns our sorrows into joys! His love is not conditional and HE’s the friend who’s there till the very end!
To read more from Manisha’s blog, from her ministry house of authority, Mumbai, India, please go here.
Have tantalizing aromas been trailing from your oven this year? When the world shut down last March, we rummaged through the pantry for ingredients and spent lots of meaningful time in the kitchen together. Did you bake too? When I look back, it seems baking became the official pastime of 2020.
As a family, we are practiced up for the upcoming holiday season.
The tasty morsels we create to celebrate holidays delight our tastebuds. Christmas doesn’t feel the same without them. Our family enjoys baking Christmas treats to bless our neighbors. We pack up the yummies in festive boxes and visit the people who live nearby. Our family lives up a hill in the middle of a pasture. It helps to bridge the gap between us and our neighbors when we deliver gifts to share around tables. I’m not sure what we will do this year, but we will continue some version of our tradition.
Saltiness is a gift from Scripture that opens when we read Luke 14. At the time Jesus uttered Luke 14:34, His audience had an intense understanding that salt represented their covenant with the Lord, which initiated when their ancestors left slavery behind in Egypt.
To further open this gift, let’s examine how this covenant originally tasted:
“You shall season all your grain offerings with salt. You shall not let the salt of the covenant with your God be missing from your grain offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt.” – Leviticus 2:13, ESV
Salt, a preservative, symbolized permanence. In antiquity, this represented the binding, unchanging character of a covenant. Historically, these grain offerings, in the form of unleavened bread, sustained the Israelites during the first Passover. This flat, salted bread provided the energy needed to flee Egyptian captivity and cross the parted Red Sea towards the Promised Land of Israel. Imagine the leftover sensation of salt lingering in the mouths of the fleeing Israelites, reminding them of God’s presence and promise as they escaped enslavement.
Believers should be characterized by the taste experience of a particular kind of salt—freshly smoked. The flavor of this salt is unusual and has a particularly exhilarating taste. Its flavor lingers uniquely, perhaps because it is unusual when compared to table salt.
I want to represent saltiness to those around me, particularly as we approach a more-challenging-than-usual Christmas season. I pray the Lord will use us to season others in a way that is uncommon and lingering. Let’s be the salt and sprinkle others with deliciously flavored words that point to the best spiritual meal ever—Jesus, the Bread of Life. (Luke 14:34, Mark 9:50)
We praise You, God, for reflecting Yourself in creation, even in something as simple as salt. Thank You for extending Your covenant of salt to us as believers. We pray that we would be intensely savory salt to those around us. Please help us to constantly point others to our main spiritual course: Jesus. Amen.
It is my honor to invite you to Count Up To Christmas in the Gospel of Luke with my new book and a fun, encouraging on-line community. Here are the links you need.
And, I’ll finish off this post with a recipe for smoked salt. If you are looking for an encouraging, unique gift, fire up the BBQ and make sure to smoke enough for yourself as well! (It really is delicious.)
Like many others, I feel the joy of the holidays and the pull to complete every task. During this season, I look for a devotional to help me linger longer in God’s presence and provoke me to remember the season’s true beauty. If you are looking for a devotional this advent, I highly recommend Jennifer Elwood’s Counting up to Christmas, based on Luke’s book.
This devotion is divided up into chapters based on a topic that corresponds to the daily reading from the chapter of Luke. I particularly enjoyed the vivid pictures from Israel and the concept of receiving a new daily gift from God. This sparked a fresh sense of peace and wonder for the holiday season and is a reminder that God’s Word is the best gift. Inside His word, there are many endless treasures to discover and this devotional will set you on that journey. Grab a copy today and soak in the peace that comes from receiving priceless gifts from the heart of the God.
To read more about Counting up to Christmas on Jennifer’s blog, click here
A Recipe for Smoked Salt
Salt (I prefer pink Himalayan because it is such a beautiful color)
Wood chips (The best flavor comes from Applewood)
A foil pan
A few sheets of tin foil
A charcoal grill
Choose your salt. Pink Himalayan, Kosher, and Maldon salts are types I have tried. Maldon salt is flaky and resulted in some pretty flavorful salt. Consider that any salt you take the time to smoke will be delicious. If you plan to give some away as Christmas gifts, pink salt is quite lovely.
Choose your wood chips. When I gleaned information about the best type of wood chips on the internet, there seemed to be a consensus that apple wood made the most delicious salt. The first time, we used cedar chips, and the second time we used mixed wood pellets. The cedar chips made a nice flavor. The pellets were fine, but the cedar chips were better. Next time, I will definitely try apple wood!
Place each salt variety you have in small, open foil packets. Fire up your charcoal grill with the wood chips to at least 350. Place the salt packets inside and leave them 1-2 hours, stirring now and then.
When you’re done, let it cool and keep it in a sealed container close to where you cook and serve food. You will enjoy the unique flavor for many meals to come!
About the author
Jennifer Elwood resides in Yakima, Washington. She is a lover of Jesus, wife of Tom, mom of three, and bonus mom and grandma of many. She enjoys rich coffee, European chocolate, and the color orange. Going to Israel for the first time in 2015 sparked her desire to write and she has not stopped since. Counting Up to Christmas: Twenty-Four Gifts from the Gospel of Luke is her first book. Stay up to date with her, download freebies, and receive the recipe book that accompanies Counting Up To Christmas, at www.jenniferelwood.com.
Guest post from ShameRX at Denise Dubois Pass blog, click here to read the full blog
Doing Our Calling
Doing our calling is a chance to cultivate our partnership with God and experience his faithfulness in the process.
God cares more about our obedience in the process than results.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord, your God will be with you wherever you go.” —Joshua 1:9
Doing Our Calling—Obedience
I woke up late and realized I was behind again. Oh, why does doing what you love to do have to be so hard? God cares more about our obedience than what we produce. Even so, it can be hard to continue in our calling.
As I closely observed my colors of paint on my art canvas, I began to notice the resistance in the movement of the textures.
As I tried a few techniques to no avail, I began to feel despondent in my ability to create. The process did not start seamlessly; it was rather cumbersome, messy, and disappointing. As I exhaled, I released the need to create perfection.
As my eyes opened to the nuances of the tedious process, I began to behold a new view. This longer path requires one to press in can lead to a cascade of fluidity, breaking all confinements allowing creativity to burst forth.
Entirely independent colors began to flow in oneness to create a visual symphony of divine grace before my very eyes.
Check out today’s guest blog, where Denise and I talk about developing our calling while being free from shame.
Here is an excerpt:
Discovering Our Calling
Discovering our calling is rooted in finding the unique identities that were predestined for us in Christ.
Discovering our calling is about learning to celebrate progress over perfection.
1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (ESV)
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.”
God is delighted when we begin to discover our identity and gifts as a Father delights in a child. Discovery is not shameful; it is a method of celebration!
A path is full of sights to see and beauty to relish. Our way to discovering our callings may not be a straight path or even one that makes sense. Condemnation may tell us that it is selfish to seek out your calling, but it is not true. Seeking out and discovering your calling will only help you release a fragrance of Christ in a thirsty world. Finding and developing a calling is a path of sacrifice done out of love for others for to give our gifts to others bless our Father’s heart.
Valiantly taking your stance is courageous, for creating a legacy takes sacrifice and substance. Through grace, the rugged terrain of my heart has become adorned with the wildflowers of surrender and miraculous manifestation.
Hope watered the barren places, creating an apothecary of healing waters. In the winding roads of my heart, the allure of a mysterious victory exists where tragedy becomes a triumph. For amidst the struggle, a curious abundance remains.
The Way Home Bible study: God’s invitation to New Beginnings by Tessa Afshar
Tessa Afshar’s new study, The Way Home is based on the book of Ruth. This six week study brings the book to life in a revelatory way, weaving the cultural backdrop and highlighting the spiritual progress of each character. You will come to adore and understand the familiar actors as you navigate their struggles and victories.
Naomi and Ruth experience a profound sense of hopelessness that comes from deep loss. However, the state of Israel at the time of the book of judges, which immediately precedes the book of Ruth, was one of utter despair and political upheaval.
The book of Ruth is about new beginnings. Despite Ruth and Naomi’s ethnic differences between Gentile and Jew, the stark evidence of God’s love and hand is tenderly visible. The heart of God for reconciliation between Jew and Gentile is highly apparent.
The study starts with the backdrop of famine, emphasizing the lack and emptiness present in Ruth, recently widowed and Naomi’s lives.
Ruth’s decision to operate out of hope and love demonstrates the power of personal choice. Her loving actions bring the same blessing of a new beginning to Naomi, her mother-in-law, and to Boaz, whom she marries after moving to Jerusalem with Naomi.
My favorite part of this study, as with all of Tessa’s writing, is the depth of her historical research. There is so much wisdom to glean from putting the familiar Bible stories in their historical context, which is something that enriches all her texts.
I encourage you also to purchase the video series along with the study as I found them indispensable as I navigate and continue to study this inspiring study.
May you have your threshing floor today and find abundance where they has been lack in your life by following the Father’s voice into your land of new beginnings.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the way home bible study as a member of the launch team per Moody publishers. I did not receive any compensation for my review.
Turning away our faces from the divisive hatred still prevalent in hearts today, words of unity can only go far to bandage the pain of any forms of supremacy and racial division, which still forms the foundation of the not so “united” states.
If love is the way to tear away the veils of hatred than George Floyd’s murder this past week by a Caucasian cop in Minnesota may have torn the veil of complacency covering the eyes of the American public of the darkness that still prevails over this land.
As voices scream for the injustice that has sent shock waves through the Christian community, the topic of racial intolerance has surfaced once again.
Will the passionate pleas turn into conviction for the lack of love in our hearts or will these words remain as a forgotten hastag to be replaced by a new one next week?
As Christians should mourn the loss an innocent man, let us remember to pray fervently for George’s grieving family. George leaves behind a legacy of hard work, kindness and a respected community leader.
As America wrestles with sleeping giants of racial and political divides among a global pandemic, the state of Minnesota grieves the loss of George Floyd’s life amidst the havoc of a city in ruins post rioting.
Broken hearts lay amidst the ruins of broken dreams of many as the riots have trampled upon the hard work of innocent bystanders. For revenge is a fire that doesn’t burn just one individual, it consumes and spreads to others quickly destroying all in its ravaging path.
What can you do to break down the walls of division in your community? What can you do to become more aware of other cultures and close the racial gap? Are you willing to examine any stereotypes you may need to release?
Anne Bogel presents a compilation of strategies to equip readers who struggle with overthinking.
Overthinking has implications for productivity, mental health, and relationships. This book provides concrete steps towards freedom from cycles of overthinking to the joy that comes from making simpler decisions.
This book will spur you towards personal growth and help you harness the gift of making decisions from a posture of peace.
Fear is not the channel that helps build healthy choices; peace and love are the healthy avenues needed to make impactful decisions yielding lasting change.
In a simple conversational style, Anne narrates examples from her own life and provides practical implications that have the power to transform your life. Pick up a copy of this book today to infuse your life with subtle prompts to steer you forward into progress in your projects.
As my eyes tried to adjust to the stubborn haze, I realized this journey felt familiar.
Years ago, as a new believer in Christ, my spiritual vision was dim. As I made attempts to make sense of Christianity and aspects of the gospel, I often had the sense of stumbling my way forward without clarity.
This new world seemed to hold promise although I didn’t understand how to tap into the promises of God or how to process what my senses were awakening to.
My faith muscles were about to be stretched. Abraham knew what it felt like to follow God into unknown territories leaving behind a world of comfort and familiarity. My journey began to take on a similar route.
As I felt the fog began to lift, I felt more relaxed and it became easier to navigate my trip.
Spiritual vision becomes acute with intentionality and depth in the context of relationships.
As Job states, “ I had heard of you only by the hearing of the ear, but now my spiritual eye sees You.” -Job 42:5
Similarly, as I began to grow in my faith walk, details became magnified as I noticed budding beauty all around me with a fresh perspective.
Jesus engages the senses to make each moment resplendently glorious resurrecting the wonder in each of us again.
John 9 tells the parable of a blind man and his encounter with Jesus.
Jesus creatively used spit to bring vision, turning the mundane into the miraculous.
It is interesting to note, that Jesus restored sight to a man who had never seen.