Women, where do you turn when you’re tired and drained by all your responsibilities? Try You Are Blessed, the new devotional from popular author Darlene Sala. When it seems that trouble and stress, not hope and rest, define your life, you need the easy-reading, powerfully encouraging devotions of You Are Blessed. Addressing issues such as God’s will, encouragement, perspective, and patience, this book provides inspiration based squarely on the truth of God’s Word. And it’s so beautifully packaged, it’s perfect for personal reading or gift giving.
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About the Author
Darlene Sala and her husband, Harold, live in Mission Viejo, California. Together they founded Guidelines International Ministries in 1963. Guidelines reaches, teaches and touches lives with the hope of the Gospel through radio, books, conferences, and practical missions throughout the world. Darlene is an author, speaker, mother of three grown children, and grandmother of eight.
Read an Excerpt
Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. Proverbs 16:3
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A NEW PENCIL AND NOTEBOOK
When I was a kid, I always liked to get a brand-new pencil, sharpen it to a perfect point, and sit down with a fresh new notebook. Somehow that pristine pencil and paper presented so many possibilities. A New Year feels like this to me too — a fresh beginning.
I remember sitting down at the start of one New Year and praying, "Lord, I want this whole year to make a difference for You." But the problem with that prayer is that I never experience the whole year in one instance. Every year comes in 365 days, each of which has 24 hours or 1,440 minutes. Unless I make those individual days and hours count for God, when December rolls around again, nothing will have changed.
Maybe one never gets to the place of total 24-hours-a-day commitment to God's will. My experience is that commitment only comes in moment-sized acts of obedience. I find no problem, personally, in committing the whole year to God — or my whole life, for that matter. It's the moments that give me trouble — the little decisions about the use of my time, money, and energy. The question is, what does God want me to do right now? Am I willing to do it?
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Lord, beginning today, help me to look at each moment as important to You. Your Word says, "Commit to the LORD whatever you do" (Proverbs 16:3). Help me to care more about what You want than what I want. Thank You for the "new pencil and new notebook"— a fresh start.CHAPTER 2
Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Colossians 3:20
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MY WILL — OR GOD'S?
One evening my daughter called my eldest grandson, who was just a toddler then, to come to the table for dinner. She was taken aback when he replied, "No, Mommy, I'm not going to come. I'm going to play now." As you can imagine, that day my grandson learned the meaning of the scripture verse that says, "Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord" (Colossians 3:20).
When my daughter told me about this, I felt a twinge of guilt. How many times have I said that to God when He spoke to my heart about something He wanted me to do? "No, Lord, I want to do something else right now." You see, there's another power in my life besides God — a strong one: it's my own will. While I hate to admit it, many times my will is against God's will. This battle for my own way is the essence of sin. Isaiah wrote, "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way" (Isaiah 53:6). My way as opposed to God's way. I have been given the ability to make the choice.
Every day I need to come to the Lord and ask, "What do You want me to do today?" Romans 12 tells us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to the Lord. But as someone pointed out, the problem with living sacrifices is that they keep crawling off the altar. That's why I find I need to present myself to the Lord every day.
Which will it be today — God's will or yours?CHAPTER 3
Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" Matthew 14:29–30 (THE WHOLE STORY: Matthew 14:22–33)
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WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?
I'm so glad Jesus chose Peter to be one of His disciples, because he's like most of us — curious, impetuous, and sometimes weak.
Matthew 14 tells us the story of one of the best-known events in Peter's life. The disciples were in a boat, and Jesus came to them walking on the water. They thought he was a ghost, but Jesus immediately said, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid" (verse 27).
"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." Jesus said, "Come," so Peter audaciously got out of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. When he saw the storm, however, he began to sink. Immediately Jesus reached out and caught him. As long as Peter's eyes were on Jesus, he walked on water. But when he looked at the circumstances around him, he began to sink.
When you focus your attention on how many bills you have to pay or the doctor's diagnosis of leukemia, like Peter, you'll begin to sink. Where you focus your attention makes all the difference. If you look in your own heart, you'll become depressed. If you look back to your past, you'll feel defeated by the memory of failures. If you look to others, you may be disappointed. But if you look to Christ, you will never be depressed or defeated or disappointed.
"Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith," says Hebrews 12:2. When you're overwhelmed by the storm, look to Jesus. He is there. Reach for His hand.CHAPTER 4
Your hands made me and formed me. Psalm 119:73
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THE SHAPE I'M IN
Most of us are not happy with our bodies. We'd like to shed a few pounds — without effort, of course. We wish we had firmer muscles or shapelier curves. But what we have is what we've got, right?
Now, the Bible says in the beginning God formed Adam "from the dust of the ground" (Genesis 2:7). But He formed you too. The psalmist echoed, "Your hands made me and formed me" (Psalm 119:73).
So if God formed you, what does that tell you about your body? Clearly, that your body is exactly what God intended for you, to accomplish His unique purpose. We can't blame God when we don't take care of ourselves. Because our bodies are tools God has given us to serve Him, we should take care of them for His purposes.
What if you are disabled? Does God still have a purpose for you? Absolutely. When she was a teen, poet Annie Johnson Flint developed crippling arthritis that worsened until her later years; a pencil had to be wedged between her fingers for her to write. Yet she authored more than seven volumes of poetry that have no trace of self-pity or railing against God's will. She wrote,
God hath not promised skies always blue, Flower strewn pathways all our lives through; But God hath promised strength for the day, Rest for the labor, light for the way.
Offer your body to the Lord today as a gift, "holy and pleasing to God" (Romans 12:1). You'll be amazed with what He does with it.CHAPTER 5
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do.... Philippians 3:13 KJV
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THIS ONE THING I DO
My friend Georgalyn has always been an extremely busy lady. When her husband died at a young age, she raised their two young daughters alone. Through those years and until now, she has also headed one Christian organization or another. At one time it was missionary radio, and now it is missionary printing. With her compassion for needy people, she makes a difference with her life.
While I've always admired her spunk and dedication, I observed something else in Georgalyn that spoke to my heart in a special way. Busy as she was, she made a decision to always give herself totally to her present task. For instance, whenever someone stopped her to talk, she would really listen. No matter how busy she was or how many things she had on her mind, she would give her undivided attention to that person.
The apostle Paul said, "This one thing I do" (Philippians 3:13 KJV). When you get right down to it, that's about all most of us can handle well at any one time anyway, isn't it? One thing at a time.
Jesus was the master of this. I'm sure that no matter whom He talked to, that person knew he had Jesus' undivided attention. He took time to meet each need before He went on to the next. And no one else had more people demanding His attention than Jesus did!
"This one thing I do"— may God help us to remember this thought today and put it into practice. Just maybe it will become a habit.CHAPTER 6
"I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky." Genesis 22:17
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HOW MANY STARS?
In the year 125 BC, Hipparchus counted the number of stars in the heavens. He concluded that there were 1,022. Seventy-five years later, however, the astronomer Ptolemy found four more and declared that there were 1,026.
Interestingly enough, the Bible, written 2,700 years before Ptolemy, said that the stars were innumerable. God promised Abraham that his descendants would be "as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore" (Genesis 22:17). Skeptics scoffed at such a comparison. To compare the number of stars to grains of sand on the seashore was laughable. After all, there are more grains in a handful of sand than the 1,026 stars Ptolemy claimed existed.
But only a few years ago on a highly acclaimed television program the noted evolutionary scientist Carl Sagan said there are probably about as many stars in the sky as there are grains of sand on the seashores of the world. The Bible, written centuries ago, has been correct all along.
Psalm 147:4 tells us, "He [God] determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name." We humans haven't yet counted them all, let alone named each star. But God has already counted and named each of them.
It's no wonder the psalmist wrote, "When I consider ... the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?" (Psalm 8:3–4).CHAPTER 7
Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" Matthew 4:4
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THE INSTRUCTION BOOK
When you buy a machine — whether it's a computer, a car, or a sewing machine — you receive a book of instructions. Most of us set this book aside, doubting we'll ever use it. But one day when something goes wrong with your equipment, you may wonder, Where is that instruction book that came with this?
You know that old saying, "If all else fails, read the instructions"? Well, we'd say a person is not very wise if he knows nothing about a piece of equipment and yet refuses to refer to the directions on how to use it. Yet many people never open the instruction book that tells how to fix a human being — the Bible. It's the book that tells where we came from, what we were made for, how we can be kept in working order — in fact, exactly what will make us most useful and effective. The great tragedy is that so many people try to live their lives without the instruction book.
Jesus said, "Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4). If you've never opened a Bible, I'd suggest beginning with the book of Mark in the New Testament. For one thing, it's short and to the point. You'll get an overview of who Jesus is and why He came to earth. Mark those verses that speak to your heart.
You will be surprised how practical God's instruction book is. Not only will you find directions on how to live, you'll meet the One who designed you — and He can fix anything.CHAPTER 8
But Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" Exodus 3:11 (THE WHOLE STORY: EXODUS 3:1–22)
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WHO AM I?
The bush was on fire but it wasn't being burned up. Curious, Moses stopped to investigate. Never in a thousand years did he expect to hear what he heard — God's voice speaking aloud to him, telling him that he had been commissioned to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt to the place God had promised would be their homeland.
Moses' immediate response was one of utter shock! "Who am I to do a job like that?" he asked. "Don't You remember I had to make a fast getaway out of Egypt because they wanted to kill me there? Now You want me to go back and talk Pharaoh into letting his labor force quit?"
Maybe God is speaking to your heart about something He wants you to do — something you feel is totally beyond your ability. Like Moses, you are saying, "Who am I to take on a job like that?" God reminded Moses that His name is "I AM"— that He is the God of the past, present, and future. He is the God of your past, your present, and your future.
When God gives you a job to do, what matters most is not who you are, but who God is. He will stand behind you with the resources you need to carry out the task He gives you — whether it's a new job, a special call to ministry, or sharing the Gospel with your coworker in the office. Don't worry about who you are; remember who God is — the great ever-present One, who will go with you as you do what He has called you to do.CHAPTER 9
When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O LORD, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. Psalm 94:18–19 KJY
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THE GOD OF ALL COMFORT
Comfort. It's a word I like to hear. It has such a — well, reassuring sound to it. It's also a Bible word. In just five verses of one chapter, 2 Corinthians 1, the word comfort occurs in some form seven times.
Let me give you a sample from 2 Corinthians 1:3–4: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles." That's beautiful, isn't it?
The idea is more than just that He consoles us when we're sad or upset. Bible teacher G. Campbell Morgan writes,
It is the great thought of underpinned, strengthened comradeship, being by the side of, upholding. That is the great word, the upholding power that comes from God.
It's not a sign of weakness to admit you need God's help. In fact, it would be foolish to try to get through life without Him. When life piles up on us, when we face grief and difficulty, we need to turn to our Comforter. The psalmist wrote, "When I said, 'My foot is slipping,' your unfailing love, LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy" (Psalm 94:18–19).
Many years before Christ was born, the prophet Isaiah said that God would be sending Christ to earth "to bind up the brokenhearted" (Isaiah 61:1). Do you need Him to bind up your broken heart today? He is the great Comforter who will come to your side and walk with you through difficult days.CHAPTER 10
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Psalm 32:8
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GOD'S GENTLE PUSHES
My dad used to tell people of an incident that happened when our family was traveling some distance by car. It was long before the days of seat belts, and I was standing in the front seat between them. I was about four years old, and I was whistling. My mom had had ear trouble as a child, and just a sharp whistle would cause pain in her ears, so she gave me a little poke in the side with her elbow.
My dad says I immediately looked at him and with a grin said, "Daddy, I can read Mama's pushes. That one meant stop whistling." He said they laughed about it, but as he drove, he thought, Dear Lord, I wish I were as sensitive to Your gentle pushes, so that You would not have to deal with me harshly in order for me to know what You want me to do.
God says in Psalm 32:8, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go." It is possible to have such a sensitive heart that God can communicate His will to us without having to put a major roadblock in our path to get our attention. Isaiah says, "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it'" (Isaiah 30:21).
Has God been giving you one of His gentle pushes? If so, you know what He wants you to do. So why don't you act on it today?CHAPTER 11
This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. Psalm 34:6
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R. A. TORREY'S CONVERSION
When R. A. Torrey was a young man, he had no faith in God or the Bible. His mother, an earnest Christian, pleaded with him to turn to God.
One day he said to her, "I don't want to hear any more about my sins and your prayers. I'm leaving." His weeping mother responded, "Son, you are going the wrong way. But when you come to your darkest hour, if you earnestly call on your mother's God and seek Him with all your heart, you will get the help you need."
Torrey went deeper and deeper into sin. At last one night, weary of life, with problems pressing down on him, he decided, I'll take that gun I have in the drawer, and end my life.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "You Are Blesssed"
Copyright © 2008 Darlene Sala.
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.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Be encouraged as a woman Darlene Sala leads "Guidelines International Ministries" with her husband. She has written multiple books to encourage women and uses also her weekly radio commentary toward this goal. Her book "You Are Blessed: Inspirations to Recharge Your Soul" was first published by Barbour Books in 2013. In the introduction Sala states: "It is important to take daily breaks to refresh the soul." She underlines that this book is not a substitute for Bible study. The book is geared toward busy twenty-first century women who are tired and drained and offers them encouraging readings. It is scripture-based with personal examples of her own live as well as examples from the life of others (e.g., Annie Johnson Flint, G. Campbell Morgan, Hannah Whitall Smith). Sala's book is easy to read with it short chapters. It is well done with nice graphics. I recommend the book for exactly those women that Sala has in mind: women who are tired, drained, and busy when they need a quick encouragement and do not have the time for a deeper Bible study. The complimentary copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley free of charge. I was under no obligation to offer a positive review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. #YouAreBlessed #NetGalley