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: Tamika M.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:14 (KJV)
God, the one who sits on the throne, the ruler and creator of this world,
he came on this earth in the flesh and walked, dwelt, and taught among us.
He did not just sit in the heavens, commanding for change down on the earth.
He gave us a chance at change by walking out the truth here on the earth.
When Jesus walked the earth, the Bible says that he was without sin.
He taught truth; he walked truth, he lived truth.
Though tempted, he did not let sin overrule us.
Fully man and fully God, he walked in this world without being of this world.
He came as an example; he came as a propitiation; he came as a change of change.
What a beauty found in this truth. What a beauty found in the Father. What a beauty found in his love for us.
His love walked this earth for you and me. His love suffered, was abused and beaten, yet his love overcame.
The word became flesh for you and me so that we can have a chance at eternity.
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: Tamika M.
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV)
Jesus, he truly is the reason for the season.
Jesus, he walked this earth, he died for you and me, and he gives us a chance at eternity.
Paul reminds us in the book of Ephesians of what salvation means.
It is grace saving us through us having faith.
It reminds us that the grace our Father gives is a gift.
It's a gift we do not deserve; it's a gift that works alone will not get us.
Salvation is a gift that we receive when we choose to walk in the faith that comes from the Father.
It is so amazing that the gift that comes from God calls us to have faith.
And the beauty in walking in faith is that our heart's faith response is displayed in obedience.
When we love someone, we show that love in our actions.
We do not display love merely by saying we love someone.
We display our love in the actions that we show.
And while the Bible says that our works do not save us, the Bible does remind us to keep the Father's commandments.
The Bible says in John 14:15:
"If ye love me, keep my commandments" (KJV)
While it is essential to understand salvation's truth, it is also vital to understand that God's grace and love call us to walk in obedience. The gift of salvation was paid with a cost; salvation was delivered with the blood of Jesus. He came, died, and rose. His love was in the blood, His love was on the cross, and his love is with us every day. As we walk through this holiday season, let us not forget the gift given, and as we reflect on the gift, let us not forget to walk in the truth of what that gift represents.
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.
By: Tamika M.
There is such a beauty found in the message of Christ.
There is such hope and truth in who God is and what he has done.
God is love and not just any love; he is a love like none other.
He is agape love.
Agape love is a love that is without measure; it is a love that can not compare; it is a love shown in sacrifice; it is unconditional, unmatchable love.
It is love that is given to those who are undeserving, with no requirement or criteria.
It is freely given to us. That love is found in Jesus.
The Bible says in John 3:16:
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. (KJV)
And in this verse, we see that agape love made a sacrifice for you and me. The Bible does not say that to receive this love, we have to do anything; it does not say to receive this love that we have to have it all together.
It reminds us that this love made a sacrifice for us even before we made a decision to choose him.
Love on this earth, as we know it, comes with conditions and stipulations.
It's usually self-serving and based on if you do this, then I will do that.
But the Bible teaches us of a different type of love.
It teaches of a love that holds no record of wrongs. It teaches of a love that is forgiving. It teaches of a love that makes sacrifice.
It teaches us and shows us the love of Jesus.
And this holiday season, as we bask in the truth of Jesus, in the truth that he came on this earth, was born in a manger, as we reflect on that, let us not forget what his coming represents.
It represents redemption; it represents forgiveness; it represents another chance even when underserving. It shows true sacrifice in the face of adversity.
As we reflect on the love of Christ in this holiday season, let us not forget to share that love with others.
By: Tamika Mahomes
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder. And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 (KJV)
As I revisit this scripture time and time again, I reflect on the truth that it unpacks.
In this verse we not only see the beauty in the birth of our Savior, but we also see the truth in who Jesus is.
And today I want to talk about that name, Wonderful, Counselor.
In his time on earth and even now, Jesus was a Wonderful Counselor.
He not only counseled the sick, raised the dead and help those in need, he also showed that he knew people.
We as humans can often look for our substance in people. We can run to our pastors, or to a counselor, or to a friend, but the Bible tells us right in this scripture that all we need can be found in Jesus!
He is not just a counselor in that he walks with us in and through all seasons, he is a counselor who loves us and finds us special to him. When we look at the scripture in Isaiah, it not only represents the birth of Jesus but it also points to the truth of his finished work on the cross.
It points to the truth that he did not just come to counsel those we read about in the Bible, but through the Holy Spirit, he walks with and counsels us as well.
When you need a healer he's there, a provider he is there, when you need a friend, he is there too! And here is the beauty in this truth, the beauty is that it Jesus is not just any random person, he's not just someone who finds you as just a number. He is someone who cares about you, he is someone that loves you so much that he died for you, His counsel comes with wisdom, knowledge, understanding and truth. The same one that sits in the sky, they same one that sits in heavenly places is right there ready to walk through all things with you!
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: Tamika M.
Today is the day. The day I look forward to every year.
All the holidays pass, and we transition from spring, summer, fall, and winter, and I finally arrive today: December 10th, the day on which I was born.
Today I celebrate leaving my 20's and entering my 30's.
While many people say their 20's is the most challenging time of their lives, I found that my 20's were the most beneficial.
In my 20's, I learned so many lessons, and in my 20's, I began to grow a solid foundation in my relationship with Christ.
As I start this new decade, I reflect on James 1:5 that says:
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." James 1:5 (KJV)
People tell you that with age comes wisdom, and while I do not want to negate the validity of that statement, there is another truth. There is the truth that we can find wisdom in and from many things, but the Bible here in this passage reminds us that we can find wisdom from God! Not in the things of this world, not in our life experiences, but we can gain true wisdom, knowledge, and understanding from God. And to attain this wisdom, the Bible says all we have to do is seek the Father.
Proverbs 21:2 says:
"Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts." Proverbs 21:2 (KJV)
This tells us that while we can find wisdom in and of ourselves, our wisdom may not always be in alignment with God's purpose. If I can be honest, in my 20's, I found myself trying to be lead myself, but it was also in this season that I truly began to learn that my ways and God's are different. I found that I can rest in the truth that God is in control, and if I lean into him, if I learn him, and if I trust him, he will lead me and make even my crooked paths straight.
Despite my crooked paths, despite my mistakes, despite my failures, I am standing here. I am standing here because God's truth kept me; I am standing here because I have learned that when I trust God, he will keep me, and I never have to go through anything alone. I have learned that I can trust in his truth, and he will lead me.
So today, as I enter this new decade, I rest in this truth. I rest in the word that I need God to lead me, and I do not need to lead myself. I set myself on a path to knowing God more and knowing him deeper; I set on a path to seek him more, understand him more, and share him more. Wisdom does not merely come from life experiences; the Bible reminds us that true wisdom comes from the Father.
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