Read an Excerpt
Spiritual Refreshment for Women
By Pamela McQuade
Barbour Publishing, Inc.Copyright © 2006 Barbour Publishing, Inc.
All rights reserved.
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
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God gives good advice on anger. Often, if we listen carefully and hold our tongues, we don't become angry in the first place. Good communication forestalls a lot of emotional trauma. Hurt emotions often cause us to speak words we regret, simply making the problem worse. So when we feel tempted to anger, let's stop, listen, and hold our tongues for a while. That's God's plan for more peaceful relationships.
A Prayerful Solution
I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in. prayer, without anger or disputing.
1 Timothy 2:8
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Anger becomes a real trap, even for Christians. When we try to settle differences angrily, we land in big trouble, affecting and even destroying a whole congregation. One solution to anger is prayer. It's hard to stay angry with someone you pray for, even if that person continues to irritate you. As God's Spirit works in your heart, you give the other person a second, a third, or even a hundred and third chance. In Jesus, unrighteous anger cannot linger.
Letting Go of Anger
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery ... idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath.
Galatians 5:19–20 NKJV
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It's not something we like to hear, but according to God, anger is right up there with sins such as adultery and idolatry. Most of us feel wrathful occasionally. But if such feelings take hold of our lives and bitterness results, we fall into sin. When anger touches our reactions, let's use it as a warning sign of an issue that requires our attention. Through wise action and prayer, it need not control us.
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.
Ephesians 4:26 KJV
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We have valid reasons for anger when we see wrongdoing against the innocent. But God tells us not to let that anger last long. We need to come to Him in prayer, consider the issue in Him, and ultimately leave it in His hands. If we can help correct the wrong, we should, but letting ourselves dwell on the situation until we fume is not an option. Let anger push us to do good, not ruin our emotional health.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
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How you speak can strongly affect those around you. If someone is hot under the collar, do you quell that anger with calming words or inflame him with harsh ones? Do you start a forest fire with your sister who irritates you or quench the blaze with soft words? Anger's heat makes wise decision making impossible. But God's Word offers advice that brings peace to our lives. Gentle speech leads to wiser choices.CHAPTER 2
In His Hands
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
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Need a sure cure for anxiety? Start praying. As you trust that God has your best interests at heart, no matter what situation you face, His peace can replace concern. God says there's nothing you need to worry about. Just put all your troubles in His hands, and He who rules universe upon universe yet knows each hair on your head will see that everything works out right. Are you ready to trust now?
"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
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You can look ahead and obsess about fears for the future or take life one day at a time and enjoy it. But you only live in today, not in the weeks, months, and years that may lie ahead. You can only change life in the moment you're in now. Since worry never improves the future and only hurts today, you'll benefit most from trusting in God and enjoying the spot where He's planted you for now.
God Is in Control
"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"
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What does worry gain us? It can't change the length of our days, except to decrease the health of our bodies. Ultimately, worry is the most self-defeating thing we can engage in. Besides, why should we give in to concern when God controls our lives? He will always set us on the right path, so we don't have to agonize over life's details.
Sharing with Jesus
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
1 Peter 5:7 KJV
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You don't have a care in the world that you cannot share—with Jesus, that is. There isn't one thing He doesn't want to hear about from you. Before you ask a friend to pray for you (and you should do that), be certain you share your care with your best Friend, Jesus. Your human friend may try to help you and may do a lot for you, but no one helps like Jesus. There's no worry He can't alleviate or remove.CHAPTER 3
We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it.
1 Corinthians 4:12
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God gave Paul many blessings, and the apostle passed them on, even if the recipients didn't seem to really deserve them. Those who cursed him (and they were, no doubt, many) did not receive a cursing in return. Instead, Paul tried to bless them. Do we follow the apostle's example? When we are cursed by the words of others, what is our response?
"The Lord bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you."
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Want to pray for someone? This is a good way to do it. It's the blessing God gave to Aaron and his sons, to pronounce on Israel. What Christian wouldn't appreciate these words, committing her to God's care and wanting her to draw closer to Him? Who would turn down the good things God has to offer? Can you bless your friends and family with these thoughts today?
Living for Christ
If you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
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Living for Christ through His Spirit offers real life, overflowing and abundant. Blessings spill over in obedient lives. But the world, at war with God, doesn't understand. Unbelievers never feel the touch of the Spirit in their hearts and lives, and Jesus' gentle love is foreign to them. Put to death worldly misdeeds, and instead of the emptiness of the world, you'll receive blessings indeed.
Hold on to Hope
The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.
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Trusting in Jesus gave you new life and hope for eternity. So how do you respond when life becomes dark and dull? Does hope slip away? When no obviously great spiritual works are going on, do not assume God has deserted you. Hold on to Him even more firmly and trust. He will keep His promises. Truly, what other option do you have? Without Him, hope disappears.
An Obedient Life
How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord.
Psalm 119:1 NASB
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Want to be blessed? Then don't live a sin-filled life. God can't pour out blessings on anyone who consistently ignores His commands. Blessings belong to those who hear God's Word and take it to heart, living it out in love. Want to be blessed? Obey the Master. You'll live blamelessly and joyfully.CHAPTER 4
Share Your Faith
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6 KJV
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What a promise for Christian parents! When you feel pressured by the task, take comfort. You are not alone—your Father is with you and promises that the effective witness of your life, as you teach your children His way, will not fail to bless them. Parents who have just come to Christ can begin the training today. It is never too late to share your faith with those you love most.
A Godly Example
"Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 19:14 NKJV
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On earth, Jesus loved children. He never shut them out. Though their youth gave them little credence in Israel, He saw the faith potential in them. Certainly the children loved Jesus, too, for His kind-heartedness. Do we shut children out of our lives because we are too busy or have more "important" things on our minds? Then we need to take an example from Jesus. For a new take on God's kingdom, spend time with a child today.
The Gift of Children
Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.
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Today, many people see children more as a punishment than a reward. But when you hear of parents who wish they had never had children, you know they're missing out. God creates families to love each other and share His joys. Parents who honestly live out their faith before their children can also guide them into a good family life. Are your children a blessing? He's given them as a reward, not as a punishment. Do you treat them that way?
The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.
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In today's world, fears of child abuse have caused us to ignore this verse. Have we therefore missed the power of correction, which gives our children wisdom? As God restrains us from wrongdoing, we need to stop our children, too. We need not touch a child physically to modify behavior. Will we discipline harmful actions now or lose the chance to be proud of our self-controlled children who love the Lord?CHAPTER 5
God of Comfort
[God] comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ...have received from God.
2 Corinthians 1:4
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When you hurt, God offers you comfort. No trouble is so large or so small that He will not help. But when you have received His strength for the trouble at hand, do you share it in turn? Comfort isn't meant to be hidden away, but passed on to those in a similar need. As part of the body of Christ, we—the church—should be sharing the knowledge that God cares for and strengthens all His children.
Just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.
2 Corinthians 1:5
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Paul knew the pain of persecution, but he also knew the deep comfort God offered. When people gave the apostle trouble, God drew His servant close to His heart. When trials come your way, God will do the same for you. If life is always going smoothly, comfort is meaningless, but when you're in the midst of trouble, He comes alongside with tender love that overflows your trials and reaches out to others.
Renewal of Faith
"As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you."
Isaiah 66:13 NKJV
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Like a tender mother, God comforts His people. When life challenges us, we have a place to renew our faith. Instead of questioning God's compassion because we face a trial, we can draw ever nearer to Him, seeking to do His will. Surrounded by His tender arms, we gain strength to go out and face the world again.
Giver of Comfort
You ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.
2 Corinthians 2:7
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Do you know someone who is sorry for her sin? Then don't keep reminding her of it. If she has sought forgiveness and put it behind her, it is dead. Instead of criticizing, remind her of the power of God that works in her life. Encourage her when temptation calls her name. Then she will not be overcome by sorrow and fall into sin again. Give comfort, and you will be a blessing.CHAPTER 6
Now godliness with contentment is great gain.
1 Timothy 6:6 NKJV
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Paul warned Timothy against false teachers who wanted to use the church for financial gain. If these people were looking for security, they were on the wrong track. Money, which comes and goes, never brings real protection. Our security lies in God's provision. Whether or not we have a large bank account, we can feel content in Jesus. The One who brought us into this world will never forget we require food, clothing, and all the rest. When we truly trust in Jesus, contentment is sure to follow.
Look to the Shepherd
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
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No matter what your physical circumstances, if Jesus is your Shepherd, you never have to want spiritually. No matter what the world throws at you, you can be at peace. No fear overcomes those who follow the Shepherd as their King. He guides them through every trial, leading them faithfully into an eternity with Him. Are you lacking contentment today? Look to the Shepherd for peace.
I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.
Philippians 4:11 NKJV
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Paul wasn't writing about a grit-your-teeth kind of contentment. He had learned to trust deeply in God for all his needs, so the apostle did not worry about future events. His strength lay in God, who cared for his every need, even when churches forgot him. We, too, can be content in Jesus. If the boss doesn't give us a raise or an unexpected bill comes in, He knows it. Nothing escapes His watchful love in our lives.
Contentment in Trouble
The fear of the Lord leads to life: then one rests content, untouched by trouble.
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God doesn't promise we will never suffer trouble, but He does promise something even more important. In the middle of trouble, we will experience real life—contentment in the middle of confusion, doubt, or turmoil. Which would you prefer, trouble and life in Jesus, or trouble on its own? You can't avoid trouble here on earth. But share life with Him, and contentment will follow.CHAPTER 7
"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"
1 Corinthians 15:55
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Nothing in this world ameliorates the pain of death. Losing one we love reaches deep into our souls. But with His sacrifice, Jesus permanently overcame the sting of mortality. Those who trust in Him do not live for a few short years, but for eternity. When sin takes their lives, they simply move into heaven. When we lose loved ones, our hearts feel pain. But if they gave their lives to Jesus, He is still victorious. In time, we will meet them again in paradise.
God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.
* * *
Death could not grasp Jesus, the sinless One who died for the guilty. Though it clings to sinful beings, it had no claim on God's Son. Jesus is our only hope. Though sin deserves death, God's compassion made a way to free us from its agonies. When we give our poor, mortal lives to Jesus, we rise in Him, sharing His eternal life.
Death Will Die
The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
1 Corinthians 15:26
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If Jesus conquered death, why do we still suffer with loved ones dying? Because today, we live in the promise of death's destruction, not its completion. God's Son has ransomed us through His sacrifice, but death still exists in our world. But one day, that will no longer be so. Jesus promises to destroy death entirely—death shall die, and heaven will be ours.
This is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life.
1 John 2:25 NKJV
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The promise of eternal life comes straight from God. Those who receive Jesus into their hearts do not end their existence when they stop breathing. Their last breath on earth is merely a precursor of life in eternity with Jesus. Today, you miss the one you lost, and your heart aches. But in eternity, you will be reunited and will share the joys of death conquered by the Savior. Until you meet again, simply trust in His unfailing promise.CHAPTER 8
The Only Way
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
Excerpted from Everyday Encouragement by Pamela McQuade. Copyright © 2006 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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