By: Vivy Fomengia
When I hear the word peace, I remember who the Prince of Peace is, Jesus. I reflect on the joy that fills my heart when I heed the Holy Spirit’s instruction. I ponder the calmness that I experience during hardship. With exceptional gratitude, I consider walking into my home, a physical space where no distress lingers. I tend to get lost in my thoughts, so when my inner peace is disrupted, I experience external anguish through sickness, pain, and restless nights. “Anything that costs you your peace is too expensive.” A mandate that I abide by as this beautiful truth fosters my desire to do all that I can to protect the glorious gift of divine peace.
One of the most memorable experiences related to peace is when I quit my first full-time job shortly after graduating with an MBA from Hampton University. Once I left this company, I endeavored on about ten different job interviews and did not receive one offer in return. I was distraught and felt rejected. Unexpectedly, I was positioned to engage in conversation with the president of a consulting firm. Following our enriching dialogue, God moved on his heart to extend a job offer to me without a formal interview. Although I was overwhelmed with gratitude, I vacillated with if this was God or the enemy taking advantage of the desperation I felt in securing stable employment.
I contemplated the health benefits, the potential for professional growth, the salary, the position change, the new company culture, and the like. As I prayerfully considered this gracious offer, there were no red flags in my spirit or anything that contradicted God’s word. Thankfully, my spiritual mentors quickly reminded me that my fervent prayer had been for God to shut ALL doors that were not for me and open only the ONE door from Him. That was when I knew I could accept the job offer. God had answered my prayer. There were weeks when I worked long hours, but I still felt I belonged there. About 1.5 years later, I sensed a significant shift in my peace, and I quit. Within the next year, I was presented with the opportunity to return, and I did.
During each juncture of the journey, ruminating the job, accepting the job, working at the job, leaving the job, and returning to the position, I prayed.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
I have made long-lasting friendships, been given exceptional support as a first-time mom, and received tremendous accolades for my performance while at the firm. As I take inventory of some of the highlights: peace that surpasses all understanding is evidence that good fruits have been birthed from my connection with this firm.
Valerie Fomengia, aka Vivy, leverages her personal financial experiences and her passion to educate others as the basis to help African Americans become financially aware. She is a government contractor by day, financial coach by night, and mom to a toddler 24/7. Vivy also loves to sleep, travel, exercise, binge watch Netflix, and sob her heart out to authentic Christian worship music. Connect with Vivy via her Instagram account @vivymotivates or her website!
By: Shanine A.
Some seasons are more difficult than others. There are seasons when you feel like giving up. There are seasons where you feel invisible or unloved. There are seasons where you want to see the fruit of your labor. Life gets rough sometimes, and we may not enjoy every season we encounter.
Seasons change. I want to remind you of these two powerful words; seasons change, just like there's winter, fall, summer, and spring. There are joyful seasons and painful seasons. This year has been rough on a lot of people. Some of you might have lost your job or lost a loved one. Some people are dealing with depression and negative thoughts. This may not be the most comfortable season for some of us to navigate through.
I've noticed that when we are going through a difficult time, it's hard to see our way out, much less believe there is a way out. When times are good, it's a little easier to be hopeful and optimistic. In the difficult seasons, we must remember that we must carry along a specific companion with us. That companion is called faith; we need to carry this with us in the difficult seasons and during the joyful seasons.
Hebrews 11:1 reminds us that:
"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." (NIV)
Faith can keep us afloat and give us that push we need to endure. Even when we are unsure of how things will get better, faith tells us it will. It's so important and necessary to have faith in all seasons. Having faith will help you walk confidently and trust that your life is in the Creator's hands; therefore, you have nothing to worry about.
Embrace every season and always hold tight to your faith.
Shanine Alessia Young is a powerful, dynamic speaker, educator and entrepreneur who is passionate about encouraging and empowering individuals from all walks of life. She is a professionally certified English teacher in the state of Florida and believes in reaching beneath the surface while teaching. She is the author of her newest book Reaching While Teaching: An Educator's Guide to Impacting and Transforming Lives.
She is a wife, mom and minister at Living Word Christian Center In Coral Springs Fl. She is a woman of faith and is always seeking to pour out hope and biblical wisdom into the lives of those around her. She coaches authors on marketing and the self-publishing process. Her aim is to reach people while teaching them how to live their best life. Connect with Shanine further via her website or instagram!
By: Arrica H.
The anticipation of Christmas is one of the joys of childhood, but unfortunately, our society has made it about Santa coming and the gifts we will receive. Here are some ideas from my home to yours this Christmas season to put Jesus front and center.
1. Do A Countdown Focused On Jesus
This can be as simple as introducing a new character in the Christmas story or reading a passage of scripture each day. Purchase a fun package or devotional from a Christian bookstore or download something free online. Here are our picks for this season: Donkey in the Living Room and Countdown to Christmas with the Names of Jesus
2. Have A Nativity Set For Play
Decorative nativities are pretty but not practical for hands-on. Children learn so much through play and get a chance to act out the things they have learned. Some of my sweetest memories from Christmas pasts include watching my son save Baby Jesus from Herod and his army and seeing my daughter carry baby Jesus with her to bed each night.
3. Give Like Jesus
We’re called to imitate Jesus by humbly serving others and giving to those in need. Of course, this should be a regular part of our living out our Christian faith, but Christmas allows giving extra. We can reinforce God as a Giver by giving us Jesus and how much of a Giver Jesus was by giving His life for us.
This year our family has incorporated not eating out the entire month of December and instead using the extra money to donate food to a local food bank and give gift cards to those we know in need. Sit as a family and discuss how you can give like Jesus.
4. Have a Birthday Party for Jesus!
We tell our children that Christmas is a celebration of the birth of our Savior. In their world, we have a party for the birthdays of special people in our lives. So, bake a cake together, sing happy birthday to Jesus, decorate if they want to, and take the opportunity to explain to them that the greatest gift we can give back to Jesus is giving Him our lives through salvation. We do our party on Christmas Eve night!
5. Start Christmas Morning with Family Worship
Before presents or rushing to get food prepared, gather your family together, and worship our Lord. In our home, we sing some traditional Christmas hymns, read the Christmas account from Luke 2, and then praise God in prayer for the gift of Jesus and the life, joy, peace, and salvation He brings.
Colossians 3:2 instructs, “set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” If we want to keep the focus on Jesus, let’s be intentional in building a sense of excitement over the birth of our Savior and not worldly traditions. I pray you find these ideas helpful. What are some ways your family puts Christ first at Christmas?
Arrica is a follower of Jesus, church planting wife, and homeshooling mom of 4. Her passion is discipling women and in particularly moms. She writes at a http://www.achildshallleadthemblog.wordpress.com and prays she can help other Mommas find joy in their motherhood while serving their Savior. Find her on instagram and facebook.
By: Oris M.
Jesus stood before the tomb of Lazarus and offered a prayer of thanksgiving. The man had been dead for four days, so Mary and Martha, his sisters, must have been wondering why Jesus was thanking God while they were grieving. Yet the reason wasn't that Jesus didn't share in their grief; it was because Jesus wanted to show that God is present even in the most painful times.
The same thing happened when there were just five loaves of bread and two fish available, while a multitude looked longingly at Jesus for provisions that day. It was hopeless to the disciples that there was just no way they could feed five thousand hungry people, so they suggested to Jesus that he send them away. Instead of sending them away, Jesus took what was available and gave thanks. It was not because he was in denial of the situation but to remind us that God is near even when circumstance seems hopeless.
Where's the joy I started the year with? The confidence, hope, and assurance? If you've asked yourself this question at some point this year, know that you're not alone. I have too and countless others. It's like our plates have been piled full with stuff we didn't ask for, and because we weren't prepared for the overload, we've sought different ways to cope. There's something about the trips of life that can make even the most committed Christian falter. Trials have a way of making us forget who we are and whose we are, yet the Bible tells us to be 'thankful in all circumstances' - All Circumstances - because as you may have noticed, it's easier to say, "Thank you, Jesus !" when everything is going well.
"Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NLT)
A grateful heart magnifies God instead of the problem. It protects us from being hardened by despair, discouragement, hopelessness, or even turning away from Jesus. Thanksgiving helps to bring to light the things God has done for us in the past, thus providing hope about the future.
When we choose to look up, to raise our hands in worship, we are saying to that situation: "This is tough, but I know that my heavenly father is on my side, He is for me, and I'm coming out on the other side better and not bitter."
As Christmas draws near and 2020 winds to a close, I'd like to share this scripture:
The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" (which means "God with us") Matthew 1:23 (NIV)
God sent His son Jesus to the earth to demonstrate His love for humanity and tell us that He is with us. No day or year can come into existence without His knowledge, and because He is aware, we know that He will take care of us. He is ever-present, and that is why we can count our blessings with grateful hearts.
Oris Morolani is an author, Christian blogger, and founder of Every Woman's Heart; a ministry that uses insights and inspiration from the Bible to help women to flourish in their different roles, make the best of womanhood, and become all God wants them to be, You follow her on Instagram and Facebook @everywomansheart.
Waiting is hard.
Waiting can produce hopelessness.
Weariness, anxiety, feeling unloved, spiraling down into dark places, it’s hard to see any way out in those valleys.
When you see those around you happy, loved, and encouraged, you wonder when you get yours, especially during this time when love, joy, peace, and hope seem to be on overload. You may still feel left out, empty, unsure you even want to give any of those a chance.
Sometimes those dark places seem more comfortable. Or we think that it will be impossible to get out.
Hopelessness is a lonely place to be.
But there is hope. If you are breathing, there is hope.
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”- Hebrews 10:23 (NIV)
Christ came to Earth to give all of us a living Hope.
Everything can be chaotic around you; getting out of the pit may not be instantaneous. Even seeing the Light at the end of the tunnel won’t necessarily mean we are on the outside already. But it illuminates the path we must walk on.
In moments of hopelessness, we desperately want something we can hold on to. But while our hope isn’t tangible, our hope is real. It comes by believing, knowing, and seeking a Savior. When you are struggling, when you don’t know where to turn, Jesus Christ provides that anchor.
“We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain.” -Hebrews 6:19 (ESV)
No one is beyond hope. No one. If you do not know Christ as your Savior, He is near to you and waiting for you to say, “Lord, I am yours, forgive me, help me, Father, I choose you.”
Finding yourself in a place of doubt, questioning, or hopelessness gives way to the enemy. The Bible shares the message of the hope of Christ as we see those who endured hopelessness, pressing into the hope of the Father. If he did it before, we can find peace in the truth that he can do it again. He is unchanging; Jesus is our true living HOPE.
Carol is writer and mother of 7, who finds joy in using her words to encourage others. You can connect with her via her blog or instagram
By: Brittany T.
2020. The year that none of us saw coming. When we made our plans at the start of the year, no one would have predicted how the entire world would turn upside down, and for most of us, how taxing this year would be on our souls.
While some industries have been blessed, our lives have become riddled with insecurity for the majority of us. Unsure of what to expect, we all wait with bated breath for this to end.
Waiting. Now that sounds like Christmas.
We aren’t the first people called to wait on God to intervene. The Bible is overflowing with examples of people who were forced into waiting.
We are a people trapped between two advents desperate for hope, for change. So what can we do with this ugly in between?
We can choose joy.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Paul offers this comfort to a church eagerly awaiting Christ’s return.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Rejoice always. Paul instructs us that no matter what, our response as we wait should include joy. “Re-” as a prefix means “again and again.” This implies that Joy isn’t just a one-time affair. It’s a choice to renew our faith in Him over and over again.
Joy is a continual choice in every moment to shift our eyes from the insecurity of our world to the certainty of our God.
So how can we practically “re-joice” no matter what our circumstances hold?
Circumstances will shift and change, but Jesus is our rock, our unchanging foundation. In this ugly in between, choose joy, dear friends. May this season remind us that there are gifts on the other side of our waiting- a deeper relationship with Jesus and habits that enable us to endure through the security of His eternal love.
A wife and a mom of three girls, Brittany is passionate about connecting her generation to the truth of scripture and the love of God. Diving through the depths of God’s word, she makes theology practical & tangible enough for authentic and abundant living.
Empowering others through wit, humor, and her bold personality, she uses the Bible to champion women and curate communities - providing space for everyone to be both seen and supported on their faith journey.
Blog Link- https://brittanyjturner.com/blog/
YouTube Channel- https://bit.ly/iambrittanyjyoutube
By: Kari Minter
It started with just a little pain in the lower back. Eventually, I couldn’t walk out of the house, driving was painful, and parenting was impossible.
As the months wore on, Christians around me started saying, “I can’t wait to see what God is trying to teach you” or “sometimes God needs to completely destroy us in order to rebuild us”.
As if I was somehow responsible for my pain, and God was punishing me. As if the pain wasn’t from the brokenness of our sinful world, but the pain was from the very hand of God.
Their words got to me and doubt crept in. Is God withholding his love from me?
Walking through suffering or pain can make us doubt God’s love. But it doesn’t have to.
If you find yourself in a season of doubt, here are three scriptures to help you comprehend the depth of the Father’s love.
He brought me out to a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. Psalm 18:19 (CSB)
David is writing this Psalm as he is running for his life from Saul. But notice God doesn’t rescue David because David is godly or going to be the next King of Israel. He isn’t rescued because of his future contribution to God’s temple. Or even because Jesus would be his descedent.
No. David was rescued by God simply because God delighted in him….
And the same is true for you.
God delights in you simply because you’re his child. Not because you’re godly, or raised kids well, or suffered strong. He delights in you simply because you are his child.
Meditate on that truth for a bit. God simply looks on you and delights in you. That’s how much he loves you.
"This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Romans 5:5 (CSB)
This hope, finding rest in God’s presence, doesn’t disappoint us. Why? Because our Father’s love has been POURED OUT in our hearts through the Holy Spirit.
You don’t earn it. If you have put your faith in Christ, God has poured out his love to you.
"Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword." Romans 8:35 (CSB)
The suffering you’re experiencing or the bad decisions you’ve made? Can’t put a dent in how the Father loves you.
The depression or anxiety or worry that is consuming? It has no power to take you from the love of your Father in heaven.
Whatever is happening in your life does not have the power to change the love of your God towards you.
God delights in you, he pours out his love over you, and his love can never be taken from you. Today I pray these truths will erase your doubts as you realize the depth of the Father’s love for you.
Kari Minter is a Christian writer and Bible teacher. She longs to help women cultivate a deeper walk with the Lord, and she uses her website and shop, www.kariminter.com, her instagram, and FB page to encourage and provide resources to women. She is also a pastor’s wife of 17 years and has 3 children who she adores.
By: Sharon Fernandez
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Philippians 3:10-11 (NIV)
As Apostle Paul has so humbly spoken of his God-Given Desire, to know Christ, I draw my inspiration for today's blog from it. Without the invitation from Christ, one can never know Christ on their own. Not by our own strength, our human wisdom, can we ever know Christ.
It is purely by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit; one can truly know Christ. We can't know Christ without knowing of His love.
To further illustrate this, I draw your attention to the Apostle Paul, who once was against the body of Christ. Before meeting Christ, Paul, known as Saul, was on a mission to kill all who chose Christ Jesus as their Lord and savior. We see Paul's experience and testimony shared in Galatians 1:13–2:10. In 1:13–14, Paul boldly summarizes his life before meeting Christ as one in which he sought to destroy the church of God.
Sharing his testimony, Paul expresses the truths of his violent persecution of the Christian community before Jesus met him on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1–2, 13–14). The Greek verb translated as "destroy" in Galatians 1:13 (portheō) was also used to describe the sacking of cities, and so we see how much the apostle hated the church and wanted to eliminate it. Paul's conversion has no natural explanation; rather, his transformation from great enemy to chief advocate can only be attributed to his supernatural encounter with the risen Christ.
Knowing Christ starts in an individual's heart, which is the greatest miracle of all time. Jesus is touching the hearts of millions all over the world. Why does He do that?! He does it so that we, Humans, can know Christ and His passion towards us.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (KJV)
The Love Of God speaks about His heart towards us. It is always full of goodness, kindness, and long-suffering. It is so pure and divine. It completes us and makes us whole. The love of God is nothing we can find in our humanely formed relationship with one another, yet; it is so profound and true. The love that saves sinners with its amazing grace and still calls us His own. The love that is found on the cross for ages long and still stands to be the testament of God's love for humanity. His love transcends all gender, race, color, and religious tradition that we humans could ever come up with.
God is Love. To know Christ, one should have the power to understand His Love. What kind of a mystery is this?! That God would send His only begotten Son to take our place as sinners on the cross so that we have a pardon for our sins and can be made right with God. We can boldly and confidently approach the throne of grace, knowing that we won't be condemned or judged. We have access to enter through the blood of the lamb; purified, sanctified, and holy. Indeed, a mystery that cannot be comprehended with human wisdom but by the spirit of God who bears witness to us, showing the goodness of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Sharon Fernandez, 32, is a young Singaporean born again Christian. She sensed the calling of God as a mother of two and now dedicates her life to serve God in the worship ministry and bible sharing. She spends her time studying the word of God fervently and teaches its application in practical everyday situations. She shares her devotions in her blog and daily devotions in her Instagram. She is known for helping individuals to look for divine wisdom to solve life situations and personal emotional matters through her bible studies. She believes with the help of the Holy Spirit, anyone can truly live their life to the fullest as the will of God is done on earth as it is done in Heaven.
By: Sacha C.
What are you thankful for? Is it the roof over your head? The food on your plate? Your friends and family? What makes you so appreciative? For me, I am so thankful for Jesus. I am so thankful for the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for my sins. Without Him, I would be nothing; I would have no real purpose in life.
There are so many things to be thankful for or show appreciation towards, but as Christians, I believe that the most important thing should be our faith. God sent His son into the world to take the punishment for our sins so that we may be forgiven and receive the free gift of eternal life with God in Heaven. Isn't that amazing?
The most important person in our lives should be God. He should be at the head of our household and the sole focus for how we go about our day to day lives. We should be focusing on things above and not things of this world. He is the one who gave us all of what we have in our lives. He is the one who hears and answers our prayers. He is the one who sets us free.
There are so many scriptures in the Bible that talk about being thankful and practicing gratitude towards our God. But how often can you say that you do this? We need to learn to be more thankful and appreciative of our Lord and Savior. As such, here are three simple tips on how to be a more thankful Christian.
1. Read Your Bible Daily
“Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).
This one may seem pretty obvious, but it is so important to do. We need to read our Bible each day and focus on/meditate on the word of God. Have a look at the various scriptures that talk about thankfulness (you will find that there are many of them in the Book of Psalms). Write down, highlight, memorize, and focus on these key scriptures. This will help you become more thankful towards God once you learn and understand these scriptures.
2. Practice Journaling
"Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer" (Psalm 19:14).
Have you ever done journaling before? Either way, this is a very practical form of practicing gratitude. You can do it in the morning or evening, whichever suits you best. Write down things that you are thankful for each day and connect it back to God. For example, today, I am thankful that I got plenty of rest and have time to sit here and write these tips for you all! How does this relate to my relationship with God? Because I prayed about getting plenty of sleep, and He answered my prayers. Also, He allowed me to have time to sit down and write these tips to share with fellow Christians. He is guiding me on what to say to you.
3. Stay In Prayer
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God" (Philippians 4:6).
Prayer is the direct communication that we have between ourselves and God. It is so important for us to stay in prayer and to believe in what we pray about. When we do this, we are strengthening our faith in and relationship with God. This will help us to show more appreciation towards Him and be grateful for God to be a listening ear to us and a supportive God in our lives.
Which one of these tips is your favorite? I hope you will start practicing thankfulness today and show more gratitude towards God and all you have in your life. We have all gone through so much this year, and with Thanksgiving coming up later this month, now is the perfect time to start.
Sacha is a Christian blogger and owner/creator of Clothed With Dignity. She's encourages women to be strong, honorable and faithful to God.
By: Angela Lawley
The air is crisp; the leaves are falling, pumpkins are out and decorated. It's the time of year when we start planning our Thanksgiving dinners and reflecting on what we are thankful for. As we pause and look back on this year, are you going to be thankful? I get that it might be hard for some to see the blessings in this year, understandably so, but they are there. They are there because God is there. During these next few weeks, as we start to wrap up 2020, let's focus on what Yahweh has done for us.
The blessings from giving thanks are clear. Not only does it change your outlook on life, but it also sets us up to be blessed by God. There are blessings when we fill our hearts with thanksgiving even through the bad times. I know that it is hard to think about. Usually, this is the last thing on our minds. It is easy to get caught up in the crazy of this world. But in the crazy is where we need the Father more and more. God wants us to see that when we set our hearts on His goodness, there is no room for selfishness, anger, malice, or envy. It is a pure form of worship.
Ezra 3:11 says, "They sang, praising and giving thanks to the LORD, saying, "For He is good, for His lovingkindness is upon Israel forever." And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the LORD because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid." (NASB)
In the middle of building the temple, they realized that an amazing event occurred, and while the foundation was laid, they gave thanks. An event as simple as a foundation being laid, they gave thanks. Isn't that a beautiful thought? They knew what their Father in Heaven had done for them, and they all shouted together with praise and thanksgiving.
Sometimes I give God a shout of praise when a bill gets paid, when I finish a project on time, or when I get a door opened that has been closed for what seems years. Through my praise, I've learned to see God's hand in every situation as doors are opened to the gates of Heaven.
While it may seem simple to others, I know the prayers I've prayed, and I know the tears I've shed. So when God makes a way where there is no way, even in the little things, I will give thanks! I will worship Him, for His lovingkindness endures forever.
Psalm 100: 2-5 says:
"Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name."
I want to live my life in such a way that I can enter His gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise. In the good and the bad, because I know that My loving Father has provided Heaven for my loved ones and me. Like the songs says, I want to say this is the day that the Lord has made, and I will rejoice for He has made me glad.
Looking at any situation with gladness puts God's hands in it. You will begin to understand James 1:2 that reminds us to count it all joy when facing being persecuted to the point of death.
When we learn to declare through all things that Yahweh is in control, we learn to put our trust in Him and not what's going on around us. Each time I declare this, I am telling God that He is Lord. I promise that it will change your perspective in every situation. And no matter what is going on, in good times and bad, GIVE THANKS!
Angela Lawley Founder of Giving Hope Ministries. Host of Giving Hope Podcast -Teacher women’s Bible Study. Angela is a 2007 graduate of Rhema Bible Training Center, where she graduated with a certificate in Helps Ministry. Angela and her husband Ryan have been married for 20yrs. They own their own business in their home town of Canton, Tx. Angela is the mother of two amazing boys Nicholas and Aiden. Three years ago Angela decided to start a home ministry where women from all backgrounds could come and hear the Word of God. Her heart was to teach and equipped women to fight for their marriages, children and their God given place in this world! There in her living room Giving Hope Ministries was born and is growing day by day. You can join her live every Sunday evening on the Giving Hope Ministries Facebook page. Connect with Angela further by clicking here!