What a great message as we enter into the Day of Thanksgiving...
The following is a devotional from "Our Daily Bread " by Oswald Chambers.
- Vernon Grounds
Wall Street Journal columnist Jonathan Clements offered his readers “Nine Tips for Investing in Happiness.” Interestingly, one of his suggestions was precisely the same as that given in the favorite old hymn by Johnson C. Oatman, “Count Your Many Blessings.” Clements urges us not to brood over the riches of our neighbors but to focus on the many blessings we actually do possess. That’s wise counsel, provided that we realize our spiritual wealth in Jesus is immeasurably more valuable than any material possessions.
God didn’t give us the Bible as a guidebook for happiness. Yet it tells us how we can be eternally joyful and how we can experience joy on our ￼￼way to that eternal happiness. So it’s enlightening to compare biblical truth with common-sense advice.
“Godliness with contentment is great gain,” Paul wrote to Timothy (1 Tim. 6:6). The apostle wanted his protégé to understand that being grateful for the basics of life would help keep him from the trap of covetousness.
So let’s focus on the wonders of God’s grace, training ourselves to make a spirit of gratitude pervade our lives. That’s the way to experience joy today and to be forever joyful.
When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings—money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven nor your home on high.
Count your many blessings and you’ll soon lose count.
I said "No" to a dream so that I could say " Yes " to a calling...
In my previous post entitled, "A Call to Say No", I shared how the Lord had impressed upon me to give up on my dream to start my own screen printing business so that I could focus more on missions. In the back of my mind I knew starting a business would bog me down but I still thought I'd be able to do both. Of course, God knows me better than I know myself.
There's always been a burden for missions since I was 12 and there has been several opportunities given me to participate in several short term trips.
The Lord doesn't always work in our timing and in the ways we believe He should. After graduating FGBI, the only answer I received from God when seeking my next step was, "Wait. Work". I honestly had no idea what I was "waiting" for although my imagination did run a little wild. But "work" I did, and I have. It took sometime to find my place back at home but I knew that's where I needed to be so that, along with my other classmates from Goshen, we could help our pastor in different ministries of the church.
For the past 2 1/2 years there's been that question that has been a somewhat silent prayer, "Ok. I'm 'working' so what am I 'waiting' for?" It's been a joy to work in areas of designing, website building, writing, teaching, and more. Now, I've received the rest of my answer.
Our church just finished a week of powerful revival services with Rev. Neil Bridges, who fervently reached out to every soul in attendance, including me. On Wednesday night, he opened his Bible to read a few portions of Scripture, spoke passionately about God tugging on the heartstrings of some people, then had the song leader sing, "Have Thine Own Way". As he spoke, my heart started pumping in my chest knowing that God was pulling on my strings. There's without a doubt NO OTHER option more satisfying than saying, "Yes!" when God calls. That's why there was no hesitation to go to altar and lay down ALL.
So now He's revealed a little bit more of the Big Picture called Sonia's Life. "Work. Wait. Go."
I've accepted the call to full-time missions, praying for God to lead me to the right place. There's been several invitations but direction is needed to walk through the right door.
For the past month, a song that we sang in choir at FGBI has been rolling nonstop in my mind.
I'll go where You send me,
I'll follow where You lead me.
Lord, I'll be all I can be.
As you search this world over,
Don't look amy farther.
Lord, here am I.
I'm anticipating the next step!
The following is a devotional from "Our Daily Bread" Bible Plan...
Hope In God
- Bill Crowder
Looking at the western shores of Sri Lanka, I found it hard to imagine that a tsunami had struck just a few months earlier. The sea was calm and beautiful, couples were walking in the bright sunshine, and people were going about their business—all giving the scene an ordinary feeling I wasn’t prepared for. The impact of the disaster was still there, but it had gone underground into the hearts and minds of the survivors. The trauma itself would not be easily forgotten.
It was catastrophic grief that prompted the psalmist to cry out in anguish: “My tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say to me, ‘Where is your God?’ ” (Ps. 42:3). The struggle of his heart had ￼￼likewise been turned inward. While the rest of the world went on with business as usual, he carried in his heart the need for deep and complete healing.
Only as we submit our brokenness to the good and great Shepherd of our hearts can we find the peace that allows us to respond to life: “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance” (v.5).
Hope in God—it’s the only solution for the deep traumas of the heart.
The Christian’s hope is in the Lord,
We rest secure in His sure Word;
And though we’re tempted to despair,
We do not doubt that God is there.
—D. De Haan
No one is hopeless whose hope is in God.
PSA 42:1-5 KJV
As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday. Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.
By: Ande Johnson
“But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: …”
- 1 Corinthians 11:15a
“My hair is so ugly!” cried the young girl as she was talking to her Mother.
“I am the ugliest girl in the world. My hair is frizzy. It refuses to grow, and I have split ends galore!”
Her mother listened to her as she went on about her appearance. She was sad to hear her daughter so unhappy with herself. Her Mother stopped her by asking her this question,
“Do you think that God makes mistakes?”
The girl was startled “No Mom, God doesn’t make mistakes.” Then her mother asked another, “Does the Bible say He makes ALL things beautiful?” The girl thought for a moment and replied “Yes, it does” Her Mother smiled “He made you, didn’t He?”
The girl realized what her mom was saying. Her Mom continued “He made you beautiful Honey. He wants you to take care of yourself, so let’s see what we can do to help your hair.” With a warm embrace they, together, began the process of taking care of their glory.
There is Spiritual, physical and practical aspect to our hair. It is a serious thing to God and it should be a serious thing to His children.
“…because God designed nature to give women long hair to distinguish her sex it is not a sign of shame to her, but rather a sign of glory to her for it increases her femininity and womanliness.”
FACT: Did you know that statistically women that have longer and/or well-kept hair get more compliments than those with shortly cut or bobbed hair?
1) A Lady’s Adversary - The devil knows that the hair is a very spiritual matter and will try to trap you unaware. He sets snares for you to fall in. We as young ladies need to be aware of our weaknesses.
FACT: Some women in the world do their hair in a sensual way to get a man’s attention.
We, as young women of God, need to beware of the trends of the world, and be cautious of the way we do our hair; Being careful with the reasons why we do our hair certain ways. Be sure you have the right motives.
2) A Lady’s Advantage - We are NOT men! We ARE women.
“Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?”
- 1 Corinthians 11:14
FACT: Men are more likely to go bald when they get older than women.
It is true that God beholds our inner beauty, inner motives, inner thoughts and dreams, but man has nowhere else to look but on the outward appearance! Remember that.
FACT: Did you know that one of the first things a guy will notice about a girl is how she takes care of herself, specifically her hair.
Ladies, God has given us a gracefulness and beauty that He designed. Let us be sure to walk pleasing in HIS sight and He will direct our path.
3) A Lady’s Awesomeness
“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's”.
- 1 Corinthians 6:20
“And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment." - Luke 7:38
“I can imagine that even after the Saviour was crucified, this woman, saved from a life of sin, would brush her long hair happily and remember that with it she had had the joy of wiping the feet of the Saviour the day her sins were forgiven.”
~John R. Rice “Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.” - John 12:3
She no doubt had long beautiful and healthy hair to be able to wipe Jesus’ feet with it. What an honor! Imagine with me the beautiful smell that her hair would have had when she left that place.
What type of fragrance do others experience when you walk into a room?
1. “Proverbs 31” KJV Bible
2. “The Hype About Hair” by Rev. Jayme Carter
3. “Becoming a Women of Beauty and Strength” by Elizabeth George
“Reputation vs. Character”
The circumstances amid which you live determine your reputation;
The truth you believe determines your character.
Reputation is what you are supposed to be;
Character is what you are.
Reputation is the photograph;
Character is the face.
Reputation comes over one from without;
Character comes from within.
Reputation is what you have when you come into a new community;
Character is what you have when you go away.
Your reputation is learned in an hour;
Your character does not come to light for a year.
Reputation is made in a moment;
Character is built in a lifetime.
Reputation is what men say about you on your tombstone;
Character is what angels say about you before the throne of God.
The following is a devotion from "Our Daily Bread " by Oswald Chambers...
In a sermon some years ago, Father Frere said, “Have you ever had to do something to a pet dog in order to get it well, something which hurt it very much—pulled a thorn out of its foot, or washed out a wound, or anything of that sort? If so, you will remember the expression of dumb eloquence in the eyes of the dog as he looked at you; what you were doing hurt him tremendously and yet there seemed to speak from his eyes such a trust of you as if he would say, ‘I don’t in the least understand what you are doing, what you are doing hurts, but go on with it.’” That is an apt illustration of suffering “according to the will of God.”
Sometimes we have to look up mutely to God and say, “I don’t understand it at all, but go on with what You are doing.” That marks a real stage of learning to trust in God. Spiritual experience has begun; suffering has already deepened the soul.
Reflection Questions: What is God doing that defies understanding? What do I hope to gain by resisting? What can I hope to gain by trusting?
1 Peter 4:18-19 KJV
And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
Sonia E. Vargas
Sonia's desire and hope is to write for the purpose of inspiring this generation, especially young woman.
Hannah Helm is a fun and outgoing young woman who loves to bring laughter and joy to anyone she comes in contact with. She is 23 years old and is a leader of Girl's Exalting the Master Ministry.
Paula is a passionate follower of Christ and loves to encourage others around her to do the same. She is 26 years old and is currently attending Free Gospel Bible Institute. She was a part of the Guatemala GEM team in 2014.
Kristyn is a sweet and gentle young lady from Trinity Holiness Tabernacle. She is 19 years old and is currently attending Free Gospel Bible Institute. She plays the piano and sings beautifully. She was a part of the Guatemala GEM team in 2014 and Honduras team in 2016.