There are so many amazing women named in the Bible. Eve, Sara, Rachel, Esther, Ruth, Mary. However, there is one important figure that we have to do some research on to find out what her name was. Like Eve, she was a mother of the human race. This woman is simply known as Noah’s wife. If you do just a little research outside the Bible, you will see that her name is most likely Naamah (pronounced Na-ah-mah). It just makes me feel better having a name for this woman. We don’t get a lot of insight into her life outside of the general story of the ark, but can you imagine?!
Noah’s wife is mentioned each time the Bible lists the people that were involved in the story. She is never mentioned by name, however. Neither are Noah’s son’s wives. But they, too, are mentioned each time. Take a moment and think back to the story of Noah and the ark. It is one of my daughter’s favorite stories. When she was afraid in a thunderstorm, she would crawl on my lap and I would tell her this story. And usually by the time I was done, she was comforted and the storm was ending.
Head on over to Genesis 6:9 and read the account of Noah and his family. You will miss so much if you don’t read it.
Right away in the story, we hear about how Noah was righteous among the men of the earth. We then read about how God was essentially disgusted with his creation, there is just this one family that is set apart. The human race was violent and wicked and corrupt. He decided that he was going to choose Noah and his family among all of the inhabitants of the entire world to save and start over with. What an honor! What a huge responsibility! And what do we hear about Noah and his family?
“Noah did everything just as God commanded him.” Genesis 6:22
The assumption I am making when I read this is that his family was in on this too. Knowing that God was about to destroy everything he created except this ONE family makes me think that they were led well by Noah, and they too were on the list of people worth saving. So what does all of this tell us about Noah’s wife? She was incredibly faithful.
She was faithful to Noah.
She stood by him and probably helped him in organizing, gathering, and building. It is widely thought that up to this point there had been no major rain - much less any flooding. For Noah to have been told from God that he was going to undertake building a large boat and that it was going to be made to float by a flood he would have had to have a family that stood beside him through all the work. Have you ever packed for a long road trip? My family loves doing stuff like this. One summer we went for six weeks camping around the USA. We loaded down our car, filled up the tank, and took off. Now, what most people don’t know is the amount of planning that had to go into that little trip. We planned financially and saved money so we could enjoy ourselves. We planned for lodging and campsites along the way. We planned for the stops we wanted to make along the way and all the sites to see. We planned for the different clothes we needed, the snacks we wanted in the car, and so many other minor things. This was three people in modern times that can stop by a Walmart and pick up whatever they forgot and it took months of planning. Imagine it being eight people and a ton of animals working toward what was going to be the end of the world as they knew it! I envision Noah’s wife calculating what everyone is going to eat and what supplies they needed for all the animals while the men were doing most of the physical labor. Oh, and Noah was 600 years old which means there is a good chance his wife was close to the same age!
She was faithful to God.
I don’t believe that Noah’s wife would have been chosen to be on the ark if she had not been a faithful believer. God was starting over and wanted the most faithful and pure start he could have. This would have been backward if Naamah had worshiped other gods or not truly believed what Noah was telling her came from the one true God. God knew that she was going to be one of four women responsible for starting the human race over again. She needed to be on His side with things.
The amount of faith it would have taken to listen to what Noah was saying, help him in preparation, and actually step onto the ark knowing that things were never going to be the same. Wow. My mind can’t comprehend it. I actually have a physical response to this thought. When I think about being in her shoes it makes my heart race! What an amazing example of faith.
This story focuses on a lot of physical details, but I wanted to share that insight with you. Just thinking about the faith of Noah’s wife - both to him and to God - makes me want to step up my game.
I know that my husband is happiest when we are on the same page. When we work as a team we can overcome so much. I would say we are healthier physically and emotionally when this happens. How can you come alongside your spouse or loved ones and show them that you believe they are living the life that God laid out for them?
I struggle with really giving myself time to align with God as well. Studying the Bible, taking time to really be in His presence, and truly talking to Him and worshiping Him are sometimes pushed to the side for normal everyday stuff. Since when is God less important? One of the things that I have been challenged to do is pray bold prayers. Our church is actually going through a time of challenging us to do that right now and journal our bold prayers and study bold prayers. How can you be more faithful to what God is telling you to do? Pray more? Serve more? Give more? Worship more?
The blessings that Noah’s wife - Naamah or otherwise named - was able to pass on to her family and future generations are directly related to her amazingly faithful life. I am so glad that when God looked down upon the world he saw at least one faithful family. He did amazing things with them and I know he can do the same with us if we are willing!
WRITTEN BY: ANGIE REESE
Joanna - if you are like me then you don’t think “Bible”, but rather hear the song in your head. Or maybe you think of a friend that has that name.
I was reading my Bible and the name jumped out at me. Who was this woman and why did I not know that she was there all along? Let me share with you what I found out!
Joanna is only mentioned in two sections in the Bible. Both of them in Luke.
Chapter 8 verse 1-3 tell us “After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.”
Then again in Chapter 24 verse 9-11 it says “When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.”
In these brief mentions of Joanna we get a snapshot of a regular everyday Christian woman during the time of Christ. Her presence in the Bible is not an accident and I feel like we can learn a few beautiful things from her.
Joanna was in a position to be generous. We read that she and other women were supporting Jesus and the twelve of their own means. They believed in what Jesus was doing and wanted to show their faith and support in the form of generosity. Making sure these 13 men had what they needed in everyday needs made it so they could focus on the work they were doing as “fishers of men”.
Need for Jesus
It mentioned in the first set of verses that Joanna and the other women were part of this group because they had been cleansed of unclean spirits or disease. They had recognized that they needed Jesus and his healing power. They had a strong enough faith in Him that they went to Him for help and found it. How amazing would it be to have had Jesus himself in the flesh heal you from something that would have set you so apart from society?
Love for others
Joanna and the other women mentioned not only showed this love by stepping into a servant role when taking care of the twelve and Jesus while they were near, but this extended in wanting to give Jesus a proper cleaning and burial ritual in his tomb. She and the others didn’t understand that Jesus would be rising from the dead and so they went down there to take care of him in one final way they knew how. What a surprise awaited them!
While she is not a major Bible character, I am so glad God pointed her out to me. Sometimes practical and timeless examples of women that we can look to as role models in our faith are difficult to find. We can learn from all of the women in the Bible, but Joanna has a special place for me now. She did what she did from a place of love and faith. I am sure Jesus and the twelve appreciated her and the care she took of them. I wonder how much wisdom she gleaned from being in their company for the time she had with them.
I hope Joanna can be an example to you as she has been to me.
Have you ever thought about the concept of redemption? If you are a saved believer then you most likely have on some level. Otherwise, it just might conjure up images of an action movie title (it actually is one, just so you know). Lately I have been thinking about redemption as we begin a new year. While Ecclesiastes assures us that there is nothing new under the sun, it can feel a bit like a redemption the further away from 2020 we get.
My niece, Norah, gave me a beautiful answer to the question, “What is redemption?”. Her answer was “getting a second chance”. That resonated with me. I have needed second chances (or third, fourth, fifth…) in my life many times.
As I think about a redemptive year, I think about the new chances I have for self-improvement in areas of my life that need it. I need to lose some weight. I need to be better about reading my Bible. I need to be more in tune with my kids when they are home and awake. I need to be proactive in learning my Portuguese so I can be a more effective missionary. All of these things were not completed in the last year (or two). So now I have another chance. That kind of thing feels good to me. It’s awesome to be able to hit that reset button and redeem yourself on various goals.
Let’s think deeper, though. Redemption in the Old Testament came through sacrificing animals on certain dates with very specific instructions OR through the high priest going into the Most Holy Place and communing with God for the people of Israel. If you weren’t part of the nation of Israel you had no hope and no redemption! With the arrival of Jesus, we see that these extensive practices come to an end. With his perfect sacrifice, Jesus redeemed us in the deepest sense of the word. While Norah’s answer about redemption was true, Jesus puts a new spin on it. It doesn’t just mean a second chance, but a complete and total exchange of all our mess ups for a clean slate - FOREVER! This means another chance no matter how many chances you have previously used. In video game terms - unlimited life. I kind of like that thought. Jesus gives us unlimited life. Who wouldn’t be excited about that!
John 10:10 “The thief comes only to seal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
This is one of the most awesome promises we have in the Bible. And the best part is that it is all throughout the Bible. The Old Testament is pointing out the need for it and telling us it is coming. The New Testament tells us that it is here and how we can achieve it. Jesus is the way! Giving your life to Jesus - crucifying the old man to the cross allowing Jesus to redeem you and pay the price for ALL your sins - is the only way to true redemption.
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
I hope that you are living in a redeemed state today. If not, reach out to any one of us. We would LOVE to study or talk to you about how to make that commitment to Christ and live in a constant state of redemption. It is a beautiful and peaceful, hopeful and eternal thing. Take advantage of it today!
WRITTEN BY: Angie Reese
This month I have been facing some serious tiredness. I am a mother of three, a wife, and a fifth grade teacher. You know that saying in all the memes…”There’s no tired like teacher tired”? I try not to buy into that. There is also no tired like full-time mom tired, new mom tired, older person tired, chronically sick tired...the list could go on and on until we listed every person and circumstance in the world. The bottom line is: we are ALL tired.
My husband teases me because I love sleep. My favorite place in our house is my bed. I want to sleep in. I want to take naps. If I am trying to find rest and peace, my bed is where I want to go. I want to escape stress and chaos. And there is nothing wrong with having a place where you can relax. The problem is that I can’t always do that. I have adulting to do. As I was reading the articles from the other contributors this month I had a gut check. Am I seeking rest in this world or escape? Am I trying to carry all the burdens that God has asked me to give to Him or am I trusting Him?
I have been pouring all my time and energy into school and whatever is left over I have been giving to my family. Nothing has been left over for God. Not that I have completely ignored Him, but I certainly haven’t been treating him like I should. He’s kind of been stuck in a corner of my mind where I wander from time to time. Not cool. When my priorities get all messed up like this, He has a great way of gently bringing me back into focus. Realignment isn’t always easy, but I am always glad when it happens.
Psalm 28:7 says “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.”
(By the way, “exults” is another way of saying “is extremely happy”. I had to look it up.)
The LORD is my strength - not work. Not myself. If I am tired, what am I expecting to happen? Suddenly one night I get the perfect sleep and am no longer tired? That my fifth grade students are going to suddenly listen perfectly and understand fractions and long division? That my daughters and husband will start acting like sitcom family members and all problems will be solved within 30 minutes and then we get to have lots of laughs in a house that never seems to be dirty? No. Not even. We aren’t promised perfect. We aren’t promised understanding of everything. We aren’t promised health or happiness at every moment.
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26
This verse comes after the writer has just complained about all the wicked people around him seeming like they have everything. This verse is his reality check after all that “tired of the world” stuff has been expressed. It struck me as well in a similar way.
Instead of being tired and focusing on being tired, I need to re-prioritize. Give myself 15 minutes extra in the morning to sit and pray and put on my armor of God. Would that help me be a better teacher? It certainly couldn’t hurt! Instead of commiserating with co-workers about how stressful teaching is right now (don’t get me started on that one), use that time to get organized so I can leave work as soon as possible and get home to my family. God gave them to me and they deserve to have some of my “prime time” as well. After putting the kids to bed, take some time to read my Bible and reflect. What better way to leave things at His feet so I can sleep better?
Sometimes these things seem overly simple and obvious, but they aren’t. They are worthwhile and impactful. They can help me to realize that everything isn’t an emergency. I have help from God and in God and all that He has given me. It allows God to become my strength and my rest instead of trying to find rest on my own. (How’s that workin’ for you Angie?)
Tired happens. When it does, we need to rest our minds and our bodies, but more importantly we need to lean into the Lord so he can be our strength and renew and awaken our spirits so we can be good stewards of our lives.
Take some time to read or re-read the other articles on this topic, they are most certainly worth your time. Lyndsay’s article about doing things “unto the Lord” no matter how mundane they are and how this relates to obedience and holiness. Alexandria’s article reminds us that the God who moves mountains still hears our voice and reaching out to Him can be so refreshing and rejuvenating. Gay reminded us to pause and remember that our rest is found in God alone.
I thank God for these ladies and all their beautiful wisdom. I thank God for you all that join us each week as we reflect and study together. I pray that you find some rest and that in doing so, you rise up awakened in mind, body, and spirit in God.
Written by: Angie Reese
We got home from a two week road trip that was riddled with high temperatures and sudden thunderstorms. We were camping in a tent, so this made this rather difficult from time to time with all the setting up the tent, taking down the tent, cooking food, and entertaining the five and two year old girls (they are our daughters, not some random kids we picked up). When we got home, we originally had planned a week of relaxation, cleaning, and repacking because we were off on a two week mission trip to northeast Brazil (to the city of Caucaia). Instead, there had been a death in the family and so we washed clothes, repacked, and headed out of town again for a few days. After the funeral, we came back home and had about two days before heading to Brazil. We hadn’t packed anything!
We had to pack VBS supplies, gifts for friends, ministry items, bug spray, clothes...did I mention bug spray? The utter disarray of my living room, laundry area, kitchen table, and bedroom were stressing me out. I found myself walking in circles and not really accomplishing anything. Meanwhile, my husband was putting items in ziplock bags and distributing them between suitcases. He was trying to bring organization to all the crazy that was going on. Somehow, mostly due to my husband’s efforts, we got it all packed into four suitcases that weighed just under the maximum and got to bed at a decent time. This scenario happens in life so often. Things are chaotic, unaligned, crazy, wild, bonkers! And then suddenly it all just falls into alignment. And sometimes it falls apart.
When we are working “according to His purpose” (Roman 8:28) we are going to find out that things, no matter how crazy they might become, will fall into place. Now, they might not fall into the place you thought they would, but they will fall into the place they are supposed to. This seemed to prove itself true time and time again during this mission trip to Brazil. It is a lesson that I have to keep learning because I am just not getting it! As good mission leaders we make a plan. What we are doing each day. Who is in charge of what meals. Who is leading the team devotionals and sharing time. What supplies we need to accomplish our ministry goals. We have a plan. Insert 12 other people and this little thing we call “life” and somehow these plans turn into more disorder than anything else. But you know what? It all works out. Everyone gets enough food. We all sleep some. Devotionals and share times happen. Ministry happens in places and in forms we didn’t plan and it is beautiful and authentic. Lives are changed.
It’s like we could hand God this tangled up ball of junk we found in our pockets that we have been collecting for a while and he can make it into a beautiful work of art. And each time I just stand back and think, “Wow! How did He do that?”
I don’t want to minimize the pain that disarray can bring. When your children seem like they are running away from truth and Godliness as fast as they can. When your marriage might be on the brink of disaster. When mental health issues are weighing down on you so heavily that just getting up is cause for celebration. When loss and pain are breaking down the doors to your home. These things are serious. God sees them and he hears you. He loves you and he wants to bring you through these times. And your testimony of triumph in these times will be an amazing tool to bring others through similar paths.
Disarray isn’t always a bad thing though. Even the hardest times can be a beautiful mess that untangles in its own time. It can stress us out and confuse us, but it can also cause us to depend on each other and God. It can point us in a direction that we never thought we could or would go. And on the other side, where we find alignment with Him, we also find a beauty and peace that surprises us each and every time.
So, if you are sitting in a big ole pile of crazy right now, try to enjoy the mess. Make a mud pie. Smear it all around. Take a big whiff of it. Throw your head back and laugh loudly at Satan and tell him “not this time!”. Don’t let it turn you into a monster that is striving for impossible perfection. Then make sure that your goals are to His glory and find rest in the fact that it will all align itself with His help. Think of it as the shackles of bondage being broken, because that is exactly what it can be. Let the promises of scripture speak to your heart. Let them give you peace. Allow them to re-connect you with His purpose and alignment will come.
Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”
Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Written by: Angie Reese
Getting stains out of my kid’s clothes is not a strong suit of mine. I forget to pre-treat. I use the wrong temperature water. I throw it into the dryer before checking if the stain came out. It is a disaster. With a couple of rough and tumble, outside loving girls, this is a regular occurance. I groan as I fold clothes and see the booty of new shorts forever stained with dirt or the front of a shirt spotted with food stains. Sometimes I will have to repeat the process a few times before I can finally get a stain to come out.
You probably know where I am going with this thought if you have an idea of what our theme is this month: Impurity and refinement.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:7 it says, “For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.”
Psalm 51:10 says “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
We walk around this earth and all its dirt every day. No matter how much we try, some of it splatters on us. We are exposed to music, television, movies, books, people, advertisements, and so much more that don’t align with a Godly perspective. We know the difference between right and wrong, but these things still influence us. If you go back to my visual of stained clothes, Christians walk around with Scotch Guard on, but the dirt still can get through.
The great part about this is that Jesus is so much better at cleaning those stains than I am. He knew the perfect combination of things to take even the toughest stain away - the love of our Father God, a life lived as a perfect example, willing sacrifice on the cross carrying the impurities of all generations, resurrection and ascension to heaven to intercede for us. Not only did he take out the initial stain, but he continually is there to wash us clean. Washing us over and over. Repeating the process from moment to moment if needed.
Here are some more laundry analogies:
Pre-treatment : daily time in the word
Heavy wash: prayer/repentance
Spin/rinse: Jesus' blood continually cleansing us
Line dry: meditation and reflection
It might seem a little silly, but we can all relate. As we walk through our daily lives, let’s be aware of those things we might come in contact with that can “stain” us. Take some time reflecting today on how amazing it is that Jesus loves us so much, that he values our purity so much, he washes us clean daily. That he gave His very life so that we could come into His presence and eventually live with Him forever in heaven. Our amazing Savior and our loving God value this purity that pierces our very souls.
What are some impurities that you can rid your life of today to bring you even closer to Him?
Written By: Angie Reese
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From early in life we start looking to parents, caregivers, and other important people in our lives to answer a question that burns deep within us. Am I worthy?
As a mother, I see this question being asked in my daughter’s beautiful blue eyes as she shows me a picture that she made at school. I hear this in the voices of my students as they tentatively ask how they did on an assignment or if I like their essay or poem. I hear it in my own voice as I ask my husband “How do I look?” in a new outfit I picked out. But looking to all of these places will only bring us temporary feedback. Don’t get me wrong, it is not incorrect to look for approval with people that are important to us. It is something that helps us grow and understand ourselves and others. NOT having this approval can really hurt us deeply. When we don’t get it we start to compare ourselves to others and a destructive cycle begins.
In his book, “Search and Rescue”, Michael Thompson is talking about the value of items. He says that antique items are “...reassigned a “real” value because of its story. It is in the story - who made it, who owned it, what it has been through, what it represents - that establishes its worth.”
For a moment, let's think about ourselves as antiques. Not in the sense that you are old (I wouldn’t DARE say that about you!) but in the sense that you are an item. Take a moment and picture yourself as one of those beautiful antique vases, chairs, knick-knacks, or framed mirrors. But instead of showing up on Antique Roadshow or some similar situation, you are presented to the Maker. God himself. Jesus at his side. God gently picks you up and looks at you from every angle.
“See here? There is a scratch.” He says.
Jesus replies, “That happened when she was little. It was the first time she felt unloved.”
He continues to turn and look. “Oh look, a crack.”
Jesus answers, “Yeah. That was a bad chapter in her life. She felt very lonely. That relationship really did some damage.”
This continues through your appraisal process. “What do you think? How much could this possibly be worth?”
Jesus’ answer is filled with love and confidence. “This one? This one is worth everything. I gave my life for this one. She might have scars and cracks, but she has a beautiful story of trusting me, persevering, and strength. The story is amazing because it mirrors my own. This one is priceless.”
Sweet, beautiful sisters, this is what Jesus says about YOU. YOUR worth. The answer to your question: Am I worthy? Is a YES that has been shouted from the mountain tops through time and space and across history. The moment that Jesus gave his life for you is the moment your value was established. You are priceless.
“He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy,” Titus 3:5
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us” 1 John 3:16
If ever you doubt your worth because of something that someone has said or done - stop asking. It is not an answer that we can find when we compare ourselves with others or ask an earthly person. If we do, we will be disappointed and feel that we need to be rescued and revived. But Jesus is there to play the hero of our story. To align with us and save us. Our real worth and value are written forever on the nail-scarred hands of our savior. Lean in, believe in what HE says about your true self. Allow His perfect love to write your value as He writes your story. You are worthy, loved, and valued - prized - because He says you are.
Written By: Angie Reese
We want to connect with you and encourage you! Click here to join our community of women over at our Sisterhood Conversations page!
It could hardly be called a ”battle”. At least not at first. Marching around in circles in full armor for six days looking like they were confused. Then, after doing that one more day, blowing on horns and then yelling. It seemed like more of a parade than a battle. And then something amazing happened. The mighty wall fell. Just like that. Crumbled. And then the real battle began as the city inside the wall was completely destroyed. All the people, cattle, sheep, and donkeys. Not a single person was left alive with the exception of a prostitute and her family. The loss of an entire city in such a brief and violent way was the way that God handled the sin of the city of Jericho in Joshua 6. The chapter starts with God telling Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men.” This was before anything even happened! He knew what would follow. God then gives some of the strangest instructions we might have ever read for an army. But Joshua knew that this great loss of men, women, and children was going to lead to something that was greater than his understanding.
Sometimes loss or defeat seem confusing and overwhelming. We see it everyday if we watch the news or tune into social media. We read of earthquakes, fires, murder, war, and other attrocities that happen. Sometimes these things seem so far away. Other times they hit close to home. There is not a person in this world that hasn’t faced loss in one form or another. For me, the greatest loss that I have faced was loss of knowing who I am. For years, I just went through the motions of church.
It was religion, not worship.
It was habit, not holy.
I am certainly not saying that I am perfect and in tune with what God wants me to do all the time. I still wander away from time to time and have to find my way back. But the time I am talking about was different. I was at a complete loss to know how to even approach God’s throne or call myself his daughter. For a while I convinced myself that I didn’t care and that it didn’t matter, but it did. And certainly from the outside, no one would have known how deep my loss went. But one day, my wall fell. Just like the wall in Jericho. The only survivor was the little girl inside that Jesus had been calling too. As sinful as Rahab the prostitute. As devastated as if my entire world had just been burned to the ground. And to be honest, just like Jericho, I couldn’t even put up a fight. When Jesus breaks open that rock hard heart there is no resisting his spirit. (Hallelujah!)
After Joshua and his army had finished with the broken city of Jericho, we read in Joshua 6:27, “So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land.” I am sure that was pretty awesome. To be famous throughout the land. But I don’t think that is why Joshua obeyed God. It had to do with the expansion of God’s kingdom, His people, and His plan. The same can be said for us. When we are willing to take the loss of self and surrender to Him, we get to be involved in an expansion of His kingdom. What better work could there be?
That kingdom expansion can include your spouse who might not have a strong faith, your children, your parents, your friends, and your co-workers. It can also include the tired barista you just ordered coffee from, or the depressed cashier at the grocery store, or the homeless family huddled together at the intersection. God’s expansion doesn’t always look clear and make sense to us. Just like Joshua, we are told that HE has already won and we are to obey. We have to be in tune with the spirit and ready to listen to the seemingly insane instructions from him.
You want me to WHAT? I am not so sure God. I don’t know what to say. You are in good company, sister. Neither did Moses. (Exodus 3:10-14)
But God, I have never done that before! I don’t know how to! Guess what? Neither did Mary when she was told she was going to give birth to and raise the Messiah. (Matthew 1:18-25)
But if I do that, Lord, won’t I get in trouble or lose friends? His disciples left EVERYTHING and followed him in a moment. I can imagine they had trouble and loss based on that decision. (Matthew 4:18-20)
God calls us to lose ourselves so that he can expand His kingdom, His love, and His salvation in this broken world. That prostitute that watched the loss of her entire city? God used her for expansion. She became part of the bloodline that we trace to Jesus. That broken girl that thought she could never find her way back to the throne? She is still allowing God to work. But she knows now that loss leads to amazing expansion in Him and she is excited to see what He is calling her to do in the future.
Friends, allow yourself to be lost in Him so that he can expand your vision to include His. His way is so much better.
Written By: Angie Reese
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We all hope for things. We hope our sports team will win. We hope we will get a certain present for our birthday (come on pony!). We hope we will get a good grade on the test. We hope that things will get better. We hope all day, every day without even really thinking about it. But what happens when worry creeps in more than hope? When anxiety starts to reign in our lives?
In Romans 15:13 God is referred to as “The God of hope”. The whole verse is quite beautiful.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
Lately I have been struggling with truly feeling hopeful. Between quarantine, COVID scares, dissention in our country, concerns about friends in other countries, debates about vaccines, my oldest child being across the country, deadlines, emails….the list of things to be UNhopeful about is long and heavy.
This is NOT a helpful way of thinking though. God wants to fill us with joy and peace. He wants the Holy Spirit to help us abound in hope. Abound! That word isn’t used much these days. It means to have something in large amounts. He wants us to have large amounts of hope. And not the hope like we have for the pony we wanted for our birthday when we were six. Real sustaining, soul lifting, eternal, Godly hope.
In Psalm 42:5 King David talks about a time when this kind of hope was hard for him.
“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation”
He was feeling pretty crummy and reminded himself, and us, that we are to place our hope in God. So, let me get this straight. If I put my hope in God, then in turn God is going to turn around and fill me with hope, joy, and peace with my belief? That sounds like a pretty good deal to me. Here are 3 reminders I have found help me push through those moments...days...weeks...when hope seems to elude me.
1. Remember that God is not going to leave you.
In our children’s worship time this is something we are teaching them. It is a simple concept but certainly a hopeful one. To hear a room full of school age children shouting “God will not leave me - no matter what!” brings a smile to my face.
Deuteronomy 31:8 “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
2. God is here to help us when we struggle.
I love the mental image of God as a father holding our hand and helping us up when we fall. As a mother of a 2 ½ year old, I can say that a large part of my daughter’s time is spent getting up after falling down. Sometimes she pops right back up, but sometimes she needs a little help and comfort. We are just like that. God sometimes needs to pick us up, dust us off, give us a hug, and set us back on our feet.
Psalm 121:1-2 “I lift my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”
3. When we stop hoping in God, we can always turn around and start over again as forgiven daughters.
I can’t stay mad at my girls for long. Sometimes we argue it out. Sometimes we cry it out. Sometimes we laugh about it. We always move past it though with the beauty of forgiveness. God does that same thing for us. When we forget to put our hope in him like we are supposed to, he just waits for us to come around. Christ is our ultimate example of this.
Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Sisters, keep hoping. Keep hoping that things will get better. Keep hoping for Christ to come back. Keep hoping for the peace and beauty and perfection of God’s presence in Heaven. Keep hoping for your spouse and your children. It is one of the wonderful things that set us apart as believers. Hope is a beautiful and wonderful gift that God has given us. He wants us to believe in him and to fill us with it.
WRITTEN BY: Angie Reese
I can’t be the only one feeling like this: overwhelmed, stressed, apprehensive, exhausted. I am not sure what the culprit is. Some blame it on 2020, but the truth is that I felt like this before now. Feeling like this causes us to ask: Is this what life is supposed to be like? I may not know much, but I do not believe that life is supposed to be like this for us, sisters.
The number of times that “rest” or some version of the word is mentioned in the Bible is surprising (no I didn’t count, I just noticed). A few of my favorite examples of rest are when Jesus and the twelve get on the boat and a storm comes up in Mark 4 and is so bad that these experienced fishermen are freaking out. Jesus is sleeping through all this! If you ask my husband, that is my kind of sleeping!
Another example, just a few chapters later in Mark 6:31, Jesus tells his disciples:
“Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure to even eat.”
As a mother, wife, and teacher, I can relate to this. How many times are we so busy taking care of other people’s needs that we forget to take care of ourselves? Jesus recognized that this was happening and helped the disciples take a moment of rest.
So, Angie, what is the point? Jesus rested. His disciples rested. I am still stressed out!
If we take a moment to read in Psalm 4:8, there is a beautiful passage.
“In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
For you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
Our rest, our peace, our sense of safety - all of these things are found in God. He didn’t send His son to earth so we could be a stressed out mess. He sent him so we could find a rest and peace that we didn’t and couldn’t otherwise have! This verse in Psalm reminds me that God ALONE gives us the environment where we can truly have rest. He has everything under control even when it seems like it is all falling apart.
I love the visual of a child sleeping in their father’s arms. Total trust. Total safety. Total rest. Be that child with God. Let him gather you up. Rest your head on His shoulder. Let His voice be the only one you hear as he tells you that he wants to grant you rest to your very soul. In order to do this, we might have to go away to a desolate place. We might have to stop the insanity of being so busy for a moment and hide in the closet or bathroom and just BE.
Our pastor reminded us this morning during the message that we are always in God’s presence because he is everywhere. We just need to take a moment and be aware of Him. I know that if we can make that a habit, our lives will take a turn toward rest in a restless world.
I wish you all a few moments of rest as we remember Jesus’ birth this week. As humble as it was, it was amazing. And the reason for it, beautiful ladies, is for us to have that wonderful father-daughter relationship with God himself. And part of that is the peace and rest He brings into our lives if only we will take the time. You are worth that time. You are worth that rest. You will be all the better for it. It was made for you. Accept that sweet gift of rest.
WRITTEN BY: Angie Reese
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