It’s true that life is hard. But it’s equally true that God is good! Popular author Darlene Sala will refresh your heart with that message in this new devotional. This beautifully packaged, 90-entry follow-up to her recent devotional You Are Blessed will show God’s heart for you, His concern for the trials and struggles you face. Addressing issues such as loneliness, stress, aging, and money, Sala (author of Created for a Purpose and Encouraging Words for Women) reminds you that God is always watching, listening, and loving. When you’re feeling tired and drained by life, find strength in the Bible-based encouragement of You Are Loved.
|Publisher:||Barbour Publishing, Incorporated|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||1 MB|
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
Then Peter came to himself and said, "Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod's clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen."
Acts 12:11 The whole story: acts 12:1–11)
What a Difference a Year Makes!
* * *
It was Passover, and the apostle Peter was in prison sleeping between two soldiers, bound with chains, with sentries standing guard. No Passover meal for Peter.
Where had Peter celebrated the previous Passover just a year ago? At that unforgettable meal with Jesus, the Last Supper. In prison, Peter had all the time in the world to remember.
He must have remembered that Jesus washed his feet that night. Remembered that he told Jesus he would rather die than deny Him. With what shame he must have remembered that three times he denied that he even knew Him — then wept bitterly.
The crucifixion followed, and afterward Jesus' body was put in a tomb. But then came Resurrection Day! Peter saw for himself that the tomb was empty. There was that thrilling moment when Jesus appeared in front of him and the other disciples. Later the risen Savior ate breakfast with them on the shores of Galilee and Jesus told Peter, "Follow Me" (John 21:22).
Peter's trial was to be very soon (Acts 12:4). He might shortly suffer the same fate as his Lord. Now in prison waiting for the outcome, Peter had the peace of knowing he had been obedient and that his life was in God's hands. And so he slept soundly — even in prison.
Later, after his miraculous release, he wrote: "In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials" (1 Peter 1:6). "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7).
Like Peter, may we too obey Jesus' command: "Follow Me."CHAPTER 2
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
* * *
At the age of ten my dad dedicated his life to serve the Lord, and longed to go to Bible college. His parents, however, thought he should go to a secular college.
One day toward the end of his senior year of high school he was standing waist deep in a swimming pool during physical education class. My dad felt a strange sensation and began to lose consciousness. He remembered praying, "Lord, save me!" as he slipped under the water. An alert lifeguard saw him lying at the bottom of the pool and rescued him.
In June of the following year, he fell unconscious again. There was no logical explanation for either incident, but a day or so later, his mother greeted him as he arrived home, tears streaming down her face. Throwing her arms around him, she said the Lord showed her that these incidents had occurred because she wanted him to go to secular college. She said, "You can go to Bible school tomorrow if you want to."
When the fall semester began, you can be sure that my dad was on the front row of the student assembly at Bible school. For the remaining seventy-four years of his life, he faithfully served the Lord as an evangelist, pastor, author, and seminary professor.
Incidentally, my dad was never unconscious again in his entire life of eighty-nine years. His favorite Bible verse when it came to guidance for life was John 8:12, where Jesus said: "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." How wonderful to have a God who personally directs our lives!CHAPTER 3
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.
Bigger than the Sombrero Galaxy
* * *
One of the most beautiful galaxies viewable from earth is the Sombrero Galaxy. This brilliant heavenly mass got its interesting name from its resemblance to a broad-rimmed Mexican hat. Even though this galaxy is just beyond what the naked eye can see, data from the Hubble Telescope has determined that it's actually a massive object equivalent to eight hundred billion suns. If you were to travel from one side to the other of the Sombrero Galaxy, it would take you fifty thousand light years!
Our minds have trouble wrapping themselves around anything of such large dimensions. But even if we can't truly grasp how massive eight hundred billion suns are, just trying to understand is good for us because the effort enlarges our concept of how big God is. If God made the heavens, He must be bigger than, greater than, and superior to anything He has made, right? Does it not follow, then, that He must be bigger than our problems?
"By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth" (Psalm 33:6). Poof! Just like that God created our tremendous heavens and earth! Even a glimpse of how big our God is makes trusting Him easier.
Check out a book on astronomy. If you have access to the internet, search the size of the universe. Investigate the heavens, and I can pretty well guarantee that your faith in God will grow.CHAPTER 4
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
* * *
"When I became pastor of my first church in Canada," related my dad, "I noticed that virtually every man wore a hat. So I decided that if I wanted to be a respectable member of Canadian society, I should purchase a hat — and I did: a beautiful, light tan fedora.
"After about two years, I noticed that my hat had become terribly dirty, and I began to pray for the money to get it cleaned. Somehow I managed to get seventy-five cents together, and had my hat cleaned.
"The next Monday night I wore my hat to church for what we called a fellowship service — a specially blessed time. I was praising the Lord as I walked home — when all of a sudden, the most cantankerous wind came and lifted my beautiful, clean hat off my head and deposited it in a mud puddle.
"Resentment welled up and the blessedness I felt quickly leaked out. As I picked up my hat, I fully expected to see the underside completely muddy. But as I turned it over, to my amazement there was just one little piece of dirt. I flicked it off with my finger and it was gone.
"I said, 'Why, you dirty old devil. You almost robbed me of a great blessing over absolutely nothing.' I put my hat on my head and walked home with joy."
Then Dad concluded, "Whatever you do, do not allow some petty annoyance to rob you of the sweetness of God's blessing in your life."
As the apostle Paul said,"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).CHAPTER 5
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
Yet I Will Rejoice
* * *
The prophet Habakkuk lived in a day of uncertainty. Babylon was growing as a world power, and the people of Judah were afraid for their lives. Yet for all his questions about the future, the prophet ends his writings with a song of encouragement that confidently declares that God will protect and sustain His people. He writes,
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
If Habakkuk were writing today, he would have written something like this:
Though the Gross National Product does not rise, and there is no pay increase this year, though the stock market falls and retirement benefits end, though negotiations be broken off and there be no hope of peace in the world, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
I have homework for you today. Before you go to sleep tonight, please open your Bible, read Habakkuk, and write your own paraphrase of the last verses of this book. Substitute your problems for Habakkuk's. When you get to the part where Habakkuk says he will still be joyful and rejoice in the Lord in spite of all the problems, tell God the same. I believe you will be encouraged.CHAPTER 6
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
The Owner of the Bible
* * *
The following is a true story told by Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ.
In the 1930s, Stalin ordered a purge of all Bibles in the former Soviet Union. He had millions of Bibles confiscated. In Stavropol, Russia, this order was carried out with a vengeance.
A few years ago, a missions team was sent to Stavropol. When the team couldn't get Bibles from Moscow, someone mentioned that the Bibles confiscated in Stalin's days had been stored in a warehouse outside of town.
One member finally got up the courage to ask government officials if the Bibles were still there and could be distributed to the people. The answer was "Yes"!
The missions team arrived at the warehouse with a truck and a young Russian who was hired to help load the Bibles. A hostile, skeptical, agnostic collegian, he had come only for the day's wages.
As the team was loading the Bibles, the young man disappeared. Eventually, they saw him in a corner of the warehouse, weeping. He had slipped away hoping to quietly take a Bible. What he found shook him. Inside the Bible he had picked up was the handwritten signature of his grandmother! Out of the many thousands of Bibles in the warehouse, he had stolen the one belonging to her. She had no doubt prayed for him, and now this young man's life was being transformed by the very Bible that his grandmother found so dear.
"Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! "the Bible says," How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out" (Romans 11:33). In His wisdom He answers our prayers with perfect timing.CHAPTER 7
For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
Making Beautiful Music
* * *
When a composer visited the cathedral at Friedberg, Germany, he heard the magnificent sounds of the great organ there. Climbing up to the loft, he asked permission to play it. The old organist refused but was finally persuaded. After listening with delight and amazement to the glorious music, the old man laid his hand on the shoulder of the inspired musician and exclaimed, "Who are you? What is your name?"
"Felix Mendelssohn," replied the player.
Like the organist, control can be such an issue for us. How many of us let God, the Master Musician of the universe, have full access to the keyboard of our lives? Often we hesitate to get off the organ bench and let Him compose our life's music.
When will we learn that God wants only the best for us? The Bible is full of verses that tell us this:
No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11 KJV).
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17).
Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing (Psalm 34:10).
"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:11).
With promises like these, how can we afford to run our own lives? We'd be fools to try. Get off the organ bench and listen to the beautiful music God will make out of your life.CHAPTER 8
I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.
At All Times and in All Places, Give Thanks
* * *
Author Elizabeth Sherrill was frustrated. Having flown in to speak at a seminar for Christian writers, she was annoyed that part of her luggage had not arrived, including her dress shoes.
"Of all times for this to happen," she said to herself. Then a phrase came to her mind: "We should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee."
So Elizabeth went ahead with her session. At the end of the seminar, several writers came up to the platform. Suddenly there was the sound of gunfire and breaking glass. A woman shouted, "Lie down everyone!"
Outside two drunk men were taking potshots at telephone poles. One of the shots had come through a window, and the "bullet," which was the tip of an electric screwdriver shot from a homemade gun, lodged in the wall behind the speaker's stand.
As police reports were being filled out, Elizabeth traced the trajectory of the bullet from the window to its resting place, just one inch above her head. Her mind went immediately to a pair of shoes with two-and-a-half-inch heels in a missing suitcase and a prayer, "We should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O Lord."
How many times have we come close to death and not even realized it? A car accident that didn't happen. An armed robbery that God prevented. On an occasion when King David had just experienced one of his many close calls with death, he said, "I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips" (Psalm 34:1). Let's remember to give thanks to the Lord at all times and in all places.CHAPTER 9
Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
What God Does with Our Sins
* * *
Have you just done something you know you shouldn't have done? Are you afraid God will never forgive you for it? Then read these encouraging verses written by the Old Testament prophet Micah: "Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression ...? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea" (Micah 7:18–19).
I love the word pictures Micah used. He said that God, in His compassion, grinds our sins into the ground under His great foot. As you would step on a poisonous spider so that you would never have to deal with it again, God tramples our sins underfoot.
In the next word picture, Micah said God hurls all our sins into the depths of the sea. Notice that God doesn't deposit them near the shoreline, where they might be washed ashore with the tide. Nor does He merely drop them into the sea. No, He hurls them. And then, as Corrie ten Boom said, He puts up a sign that says, "No Fishing."
Other verses in the Bible tell us that God sweeps away our sins like the morning mist that evaporates so quickly (Isaiah 44:22) — that He blots out our sins and remembers them no more (Isaiah 43:25).
That thing you know you shouldn't have done? Admit right now that you did wrong and ask God to forgive you. Then watch as He hurls your sin into the deepest sea.CHAPTER 10
"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me."
The Prison Walls of Loneliness
* * *
Can you imagine being in solitary confinement for years? That was the experience of Madame Jeanne Guyon, a French mystic in the seventeenth century. Madame Guyon was imprisoned in the infamous Paris Bastille for her belief that anyone can directly enjoy God's presence through constant, reflective, and intimate prayer. Madame Guyon was in prison but her attitude made all the difference. She believed that she was there in the will of God. The reality that God was with her helped her survive the terrible living conditions.
She learned that moment-by-moment communication with God banishes loneliness. Madame Guyon chose to accept everything that happened to her as from the hand of God. She learned not to fight difficulties but to live with them, believing that since God allowed them, He would supply the strength she needed. She had such great delight in God that her spirit soared far above the prison walls. In fact, she said the stones in her prison shone like rubies. She wrote, A little bird am I.
Shut out from fields of air, Yet in my cage I sit and sing To him who placed me there! Well pleased a prisoner to be, Because, my God, it pleaseth Thee.
Are you feeling isolated and alone? Jesus said, "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me"(Revelation 3:20). When you make Him your dearest friend, you too can soar above the prison walls of loneliness.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "You Are Loved"
Copyright © 2014 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 loved - Inspiration to refresh you soul", originally published in February 2014 under the title "Refreshing words for busy women", is now republished by Barbour Publishing. It is an inspirational devotional with the goal to uplift the reader with 90 short readings. Sala starts with a personal word to the reader and then presents her readings based on some of the experiences of Bible characters such as Peter, Micah, or Habakuk, but also on other personalities such as her own father, Bill Bright, Madame Guyon, or others who are not named. Sala links the experiences of those people with Bible references. She wants to show Gods heart and His concern for the daily trails and struggles for the reader. Some of the topic she addresses are loneliness, stress, aging, and money. She underlines that life is hard, but God is good which he shows in the fact that he is always watching, listening, and loving. It is the first book by Sala that I have read. This book can be recommended for women who need a short spiritual boost since the individual devotions can be read in just a few minutes. #YouAreLoved #NetGalley This book was provided by the publisher through Netgalley free of charge. The reviewer was under no obligation to offer a positive review.