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Spiritual Refreshment for Women
By Rebecca Currington, Patricia Mitchell
Barbour Publishing, Inc.Copyright © 2008 Barbour Publishing, Inc.
All rights reserved.
"Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you."
2 Chronicles 20:17 NKJV
Adversity, calamity, hardship, misfortune, trouble, hard times—no matter what you call them, these painful episodes are part and parcel of the human experience. But you can choose to not let them bring you down, fill you with fear, and steal your attention from the blessings God has placed in your life. Look adversity square in the eye and know that your God—the God of all comfort—has an answer.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Proverbs 17:17 NKJV
When you give your heart and life to God, the Bible says Jesus Christ becomes your friend and your brother—and that changes everything. You aren't alone when adversity strikes. You've become a member of God's family and part of His circle of friends. His resources are marshaled in your defense, and His loving Holy Spirit—the Bible calls Him the Comforter—is with you constantly.CHAPTER 2
The righteous person faces many troubles, but the LORD comes to the rescue each time.
Psalm 34:19 NLT
An affliction is any source of constant suffering in your life. That might be poverty or sickness or anxiety—only you know what you are facing. You may think that no one understands. But God does. No matter where you are, He's right there with you. Trust Him, and He will show you the way out, the way around, or the way through, and He will never leave your side.
Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
2 Corinthians 4:17 KJV
Have you ever wondered why God doesn't just put an end to your troubles and give you a free pass from pain and suffering? After all, He can do anything! God doesn't bring suffering to your life, but sometimes He will ask you to walk through it for reasons known only to Him. But you can be sure of this—God will use your affliction to make you stronger and more secure in your faith.CHAPTER 3
All of you should be in agreement, understanding each other, loving each other as family, being kind and humble.
1 Peter 3:8 NCV
God knows that much of our strength and comfort comes from other people—our friends and loved ones. But what if there is no one in your life who can encourage and lift you, no one who can understand what you are going through, no one who can pray with you? Don't lose heart. Set yourself in agreement with God and His will for your life. As you agree with God, He will send others to agree with you.
This is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us.
1 John 5:14 AMP
What could be better than to be in full agreement with the One who knows the beginning from the end, someone who understands all the options and sees all the solutions? Take comfort in the fact that your prayer partner, your friend, and your comrade is God Himself. You can take any request to Him with the assurance that He will hear you. As you do, be sure to thank Him for His help.CHAPTER 4
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7
This world gives us plenty of reasons to worry. Danger looms around every corner even for the wise and well-informed. People try all kinds of things to escape worry and anxiety—recreation, yoga, video games, sleep, to name just a few. But in the end there is only one sure remedy. God says to cast all your anxiety on Him. He's big enough to handle anything that comes your way.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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.
What does it mean to "cast your care on God"? Start by opening your heart and telling Him about your fears, your worries, those things that make you feel anxious. Once you've done that, thank Him for taking all that worry off your hands. As you give up your anxious thoughts to Him, He gives you something back—His perfect peace.CHAPTER 5
I do not mean that I am already as God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal, but I continue trying to reach it and to make it mine.
Philippians 3:12 NCV
Are you driven by that little voice inside you that keeps telling you to reach higher, try harder, and never give up until you attain a certain goal in your life? If your goal is within the scope of God's will, that voice is almost certainly His. It isn't His will for you to seek out temporal things like money, fame, or possessions. But He does want you to aspire to become everything He has created you to be.
What matters most to me is to finish what God started.
Acts 20:24 MSG
Who God wants you to be includes what He wants you to do. He has a specific plan for every single person in this world—including you. You may not have a grand talent or an extraordinary intellect, but you have been given everything you need to carry out your mission in life—your calling. Pray each day that God will help you find and complete the work He has given you to do.CHAPTER 6
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for.
Hebrews 11:1 NASB
We human beings have plenty of insecurities, so you shouldn't be ashamed to admit you have a few. The good news is that you don't have to let them shape your life. When you place your faith in God, they will be replaced by the steadfast assurance that those things you hope for are yours through His love and grace. No more wondering if you're good enough or lovable enough or smart enough. In God's eyes you are perfect.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
God has everything under control. That's not just a pie-in-the-sky concept—it's a fact. God knows and understands you from the inside out. And when you place your life in His hands, you can be certain that in the good times and the bad times, the happy times and the heartbreaking times, you will always have someone to depend on, someone to fall back on, someone stronger than any challenge you could possibly face.CHAPTER 7
O Sovereign Lord, my strong deliverer, who shields my head in the day of battle ...
You may be facing a battle right now—a fight for your health, your children, your finances, for example. As the battle rages, know that you are not facing the enemy alone. Your God is fighting by your side. He is leading the charge to bring you safely through. Put your confidence in Him. Follow His lead, and let His unmatched strength be a comfort to you.
It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
It could be that you have been battling for so long that you are feeling weak, exhausted, and ready to throw in the towel. Close your eyes and rest your troubled mind. Don't worry; even when you're resting, God and His army are still fighting on your behalf. And they won't stop until the battle is won. It's all right to take a break and let Him carry you for a while.CHAPTER 8
Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves in stead with the beauty that comes from with in, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.
1 Peter 3:3–4 NLT
Twenty-first-century women are exposed to an almost impossible standard of beauty. And the message is unrelenting. In such an environment, every little flaw or blemish can be devastating. God says that outward beauty is of no consequence unless there is beauty on the inside. After all, even the most beautiful woman cannot hope to keep her looks for long. The beautiful, godly soul, however, lives forever.
"The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
1 Samuel 16:7
Who says what is beautiful and what is not? It would seem that the creator of a work of art would be the one whose opinion matters most. For the creator, every nuance, every brushstroke, every indention in the clay has meaning. God created you—with intention and purpose. You are His work of art. In His eyes, you are beautiful in every way, inside and out.CHAPTER 9
Once made perfect, [Jesus] became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.
The older we are the more we understand the futility of this life. But there is great comfort in knowing that this life is not the end. Through His Son, Jesus Christ, God has provided a remedy for sin, with its constant menu of corruption and death. No longer are we headed only for the grave—but to the grave and beyond. This sacred belief is our blessed hope.
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
Your beliefs say a lot about your future. For example, believing that hard work leads to success will help you meet your goals. Believing that true love lasts forever will help you remain steadfast in your marriage. And believing that God has promised you life everlasting will allow you to continue to value yourself even as your body ages and your earthly life winds down. Beliefs are important, and those invested in God pay the biggest dividends of all.CHAPTER 10
You are all the same in Christ Jesus. You belong to Christ.
Galatians 3:28–29 NCV
We all want to belong. It's a normal human instinct. Unfortunately, our culture places value on so many things that have no lasting meaning—where we live, how we dress, where our children go to school. Comfort yourself with the truth that God values you for who you really are deep inside, nothing more, nothing less. You are His magnificent creation and a member of His royal family. You belong to Him.
Whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
Have you ever been abandoned by a friend or family member? There are few feelings worse than a lost relationship. That's why it's so important to know that once you belong to the Lord, you will always belong to Him. Even when you mess up and make poor choices, your heavenly Father will not abandon you. For the remainder of this life and the life to come—you are His!CHAPTER 11
[Jesus said,] "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."
Losing someone you love is one of the most devastating experiences in life—whether it be a friend or relative, your child or your spouse, even a beloved pet who has brightened your life and helped ward off loneliness. God understands your grief. He gave up His own precious Son for you. He knows the anguish of losing someone who meant everything to Him. Let Him comfort you as only He can.
He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces.
When you lose someone you love, you might wonder what possible comfort anyone could give you—even God. But there is comfort in looking beyond the grave, beyond this life, and knowing that your separation from that beloved one, while excruciating, is not permanent. The two of you will meet again in a place where death no longer has meaning. Even in the darkest moments, God lights your way with hope.CHAPTER 12
He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Psalm 91:4 NLT
Betrayal is such a bitter word. It's always personal. You invested yourself in someone and that person purposefully turned away. Whenever you place your trust in a human being, you risk betrayal. We just don't have the wherewithal to remain 100 percent faithful. But God does. And He promises never to betray the trust you place in Him. He'll even be there to pick up the pieces, to comfort you, when others fail you.
"I'll marry you for good—forever! I'll marry you true and proper, in love and tenderness. Yes, I'll marry you and neither leave you nor let you go. You'll know me, God, for who I really am."
Hosea 2:19–20 MSG
No other betrayal is quite as painful as the loss of marital love and fidelity. All those bright promises of happily ever after lie broken in the dust. If you're feeling this closest of all betrayals, God wants to comfort you with His proposal. He wants to serve as your spiritual husband, providing you with the love, faithfulness, compassion, guidance, understanding, and caring you so desperately need. He won't fail you.CHAPTER 13
[Jesus has] been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let's walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.
Hebrews 4:15–16 MSG
God is big and powerful and holy. Even the most impressive woman pales in His shadow. Good sense would dictate that we keep our distance, interacting only when we are out of options. But in this case, good sense takes a backseat to God's ways. He has invited us to be bold with our requests, comfortable in His presence. He has called us His children. What a wonderful privilege!
In Christ we can come before God with freedom and without fear. We can do this through faith in Christ.
Ephesians 3:12 NCV
Our boldness before God resides in His authority, not in our own. He has set the stage for our adoption as His children, heirs to blessing and eternal life. Our part is simply to accept, to say "yes" and take our places around His table. Through faith in His love and grace, we gain bold access to His presence. Once you place your faith in who He is, you will know who you are.CHAPTER 14
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
God's love is manifest at all times in our lives, but never so much as when our hearts are breaking. It is then that we experience His compassion and comfort in ways we cannot even imagine during the good times. When you've suffered a betrayal or loss or disappointment, when life threatens to bury you under the cold, hard ground, God is there with hope and comfort in your darkest hour.
[God] heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
God has promised to see you through the most painful hours of your life, but His love and compassion don't end there. If you let Him, He will pick up the pieces of your broken heart and put them back together again. Your tears are precious to your heavenly Father, your suffering never wasted. You can trust Him to understand your sorrow—even enter into it with you—as He brings healing and new life from the ashes.CHAPTER 15
Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.
Women are burden-carriers of the first order. In addition to our own responsibilities and troubles, we often take on those of others. God says, "You can't carry all that by yourself. Let Me help." Then He comes up alongside and helps us shoulder the load. If you feel you are faltering beneath your burdens, tell Him you are ready to let Him lend a hand. He won't touch your stuff unless you ask Him. But when you do, He'll step right up.
"Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:28 NLT
God isn't going to snap His fingers and make your financial woes disappear. You will still have to deal with your problem children and bear responsibility for your aging parents or your boss's unrealistic expectations. But God will faithfully provide solutions, like help from other human hands, wisdom, and counsel. And He'll give you a place of rest along the way—like a well-watered oasis in the desert.CHAPTER 16
Just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.
2 Corinthians 1:5
Are you facing an extreme challenge in your life—perhaps your children are rebelling, your marriage is floundering, your health is in peril, your finances are out of control? Jesus had challenges as well—big ones. He was subjected to all manner of indignities, pain, and suffering. Although He submitted Himself to those cruel circumstances for our sake, in God's perfect time He rose up and conquered both sin and death.
Excerpted from Everyday Comfort by Rebecca Currington, Patricia Mitchell. Copyright © 2008 Barbour Publishing, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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