Looking Up This Week

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Many Americans are turning their eyes toward the heavens this week as we experience one of the most unique solar eclipses since 1979. This is the perfect opportunity to stop and consider God’s creation and observe His amazing and ordered universe. I marvel at the work of His hands in creating the cosmos. Take some time this week to reflect on His handiwork and thank Him for all He has made. One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Psalm 19. It’s a great passage to meditate on and memorize. Allow its truths to permeate your thinking this week.

 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.

 Yet their voice  goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth.

 The law of the Lord is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
 The precepts of the Lord are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
 The fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
and all of them are righteous.

 They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.
 By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
 But who can discern their own errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

 

Here’s some websites to check out if you want to find out more about the eclipse:

https://www.nasa.gov/eclipselive-info

http://time.com/4882923/total-solar-eclipse-map-places-view/

https://www.space.com/33797-total-solar-eclipse-2017-guide.html

Looking for fun space ideas to do with the kids? Check out www.positivemom.com

Photo by Michael on Unsplash

Are you a Confident Person?

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Confident? That’s not exactly how I would have described myself for much of my life. Words like “insecure” and “self-doubt” were much more accurate terms. For many years, even as a Christian, I battled self-defeating thoughts and guilt feelings in my mind. Perhaps you can relate to what I’m talking about in your own life. Most women struggle with some form of insecurity. Even women who appear confident on the outside, often struggle internally with a lack of self- assurance. It’s one thing to look confident; it’s another to be confident.

In all honesty, true and lasting confidence is found not in focusing on ourselves, but focusing on the one who created us and discovering our confidence in Him. He is the one who gives us the strength and power to walk boldly in this world.

The word confidence means to have a firm belief or trust. The root word, fidere, means faithful or faith and is the same root you see in words like fidelity or confidant. To have confidence means you have faith or trust in someone or something. Now we can try to live our lives by placing our confidence in our appearance or in a relationship or having the right job or enough money, or being a good parent, but none of these can offer lasting security or inner strength. A God-confidence is different. When we place our hope and security in Him, no one can take it away. It is a rock-solid confidence from the well-spring of our soul.  How do we get to a place where we live with a God-confidence?

The apostle Paul said, “Let your roots grow down deep into Christ.” He penned these words to the early believers living in Colossae as he expressed the importance of knowing Christ and finding satisfaction and security in Him. Confidence begins in our thinking and what we believe, and it plays out through the way we live our life in relationship to God and to others. Our confidence spreads its wings and soars when we realize God has a purpose for our lives, and we use our gifts and talents for His glory.

 

This is an excerpt from Karol’s book A Woman’s Secret to Confident Living.

Check out this month’s $5 special, Karol’s DVD on the topic.

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Press on Through the Challenges

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Bad starts don’t always determine how you finish. I’ve had a few rough starts in my life, and I’m sure you have too. Take for instance the one and only marathon I ran back in my college days as a student at Baylor University. When I lined up at the starting line of this momentous marathon race, I somehow didn’t realize there would be thousands of other people joining me. I guess I assumed there were not too many people on this earth who would choose to run in a 26.2 mile race. Well, let me just tell you there were so many people that I couldn’t even see the flags marking the starting line.  I began the race way, way, way back in the pack, and it took what seemed like an hour just to get beyond those first flags. Of course I couldn’t even think about stopping to tie my shoe or taking a look behind me. One false move and I would be trampled by thousands of Nikes.

Eventually the crowd began to thin out, and I worked into a pretty confident stride until I began to face new challenges like blisters in places I never imagined a person could have blisters and my socks feeling like sandbags around my feet.  Four hours and thirty-two minutes later I crossed the finish line with a smile of victory and a hearty sense of accomplishment (and relief).  I made it! I can’t begin to describe the feeling of excitement I experienced in knowing I set a goal and achieved it. The point is, I didn’t have such a glorious start to the race, but through persistence and perseverance there was a grand and sweet outcome.  At dinner that night we celebrated my triumph with family and friends, and of course I fell asleep in the middle of my mashed potatoes.

No doubt it is easy for any of us to become discouraged when we have rough spots in our lives, especially if they happen at the beginning of our journey. Maybe your marriage started off on a negative note, or your career got off on the wrong path or your childhood years were a disaster.  It could be that you simply had a bad start to your day and you felt defeated even before you got out the door.  The good news is, no matter how you start your journey, the beginning doesn’t necessarily determine the outcome. There are tremendous possibilities up ahead. Sometimes we must press through the challenges and keep our mind on the goal.

The apostle Paul wrote, “Forgetting what is behind me, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God is calling me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” God has a wonderful purpose for you here in this world. The marathon may get tough at times, but don’t give up. Press on.  God is not finished, and He has a plan that is bigger than your troubles. What may seem like a mess, could simply be the beginning of a beautiful masterpiece.

Remember, God is the God of hope, and He brings redemption to even the worst of situations. This week let your mind be filled with hope and possibilities as you face both victories and hurdles. He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

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This is an excerpt from A Woman’s Passionate Pursuit of God. Check out Karol’s DVD on sale for $5 only during the month of March!

Life Lesson Learned from the Super Bowl

 

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If it weren’t for the commercials, I would have turned the Super Bowl off after the third quarter. Honestly, I enjoy watching the commercials more than the game, so I kept the TV on even though it seemed the Falcons were destined to win. Who would have thought that the Patriots could make such a powerful comeback from a 19-point deficit?

 

This year’s Super Bowl provides an important life lesson for all of us – don’t lose hope even when it seems as though the game is over. Hope is a powerful word. It drives us forward and turns us away from despair and defeat. It reminds us that no matter how bleak a situation, there are always possibilities.

 

What is it in your life that seems like a defeat? Maybe you are discouraged, tired or feel afraid that the game is over. Press forward, my friend. Look for the possibilities and do what you can do with the time and gifts God has given you. Your victory may not look like a Super Bowl win, but your perseverance can push you in a new and positive direction.

 

One of my favorite NFL coaches, Tom Landry, put it this way, “A champion is simply someone who did not give up when he wanted to.”  You never know what is around the corner. Ask for God’s wisdom to navigate the challenges. More important, ask for His strength to persevere with hope when the game seems over.

 

The apostle Paul could have called it quits many times, as he was jailed, beaten and persecuted for preaching the gospel. Yet, he continued to discover hope as He turned His focus toward God’s purpose for His life. He wrote, “One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

 

When our goal is centered on God’s plan and purpose for our lives, we can always press forward despite the challenges. Let us continue to look at what is ahead and not behind us. Let us look up and not down, and remember we are never alone. He will guide us and give us He strength.

Growing Stronger

One of my favorite daily devotionals is  Streams in the Desert  compiled by Mrs. Charles Cowman. The following story reminds me of the power of patience and allowing God to do His work in our lives. God uses the challenges we face in an essential way to strengthen our hearts and build our character.

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I kept for nearly a year the flask-shaped cocoon of an emperor moth. It is very peculiar in its construction. A narrow opening is left in the neck of the flask, through which the perfect insect forces its way, so that a forsaken cocoon is as entire as one still tenanted, no rupture of the interlacing fibers having taken place. The great disproportion between the means of egress and the size of the imprisoned insect makes one wonder how the exit is ever accomplished at all — and it never is without great labor and difficulty. It is supposed that the pressure to which the moth’s body is subjected in passing through such a narrow opening is a provision of nature for forcing the juices into the vessels of the wings, these being less developed at the period of emerging from the chrysalis than they are in other insects.

 

I happened to witness the first efforts of my prisoned moth to escape from its long confinement. During a whole forenoon, from time to time, I watched it patiently striving and struggling to get out. It never seemed able to get beyond a certain point, and at last my patience was exhausted. Very probably the confining fibers were drier and less elastic than if the cocoon had been left all winter on its native heather, as nature meant it to be. At all events I thought I was wiser and more compassionate than its Maker, and I resolved to give it a helping hand. With the point of my scissors I snipped the confining threads to make the exit just a very little easier, and lo! immediately, and with perfect case, out crawled my moth dragging a huge swollen body and little shrivelled wings. In vain I watched to see that marvelous process of expansion in which these silently and swiftly develop before one’s eyes; and as I traced the exquisite spots and markings of divers colors which were all there in miniature, I longed to see these assume their due proportions and the creature to appear in all its perfect beauty, as it is, in truth, one of the loveliest of its kind. But I looked in vain. My false tenderness had proved its ruin. It never was anything but a stunted abortion, crawling painfully through that brief life which it should have spent flying through the air on rainbow wings.

 

I have thought of it often, often, when watching with pitiful eyes those who were struggling with sorrow, suffering, and distress; and I would fain cut short the discipline and give deliverance. Short-sighted man! How know I that one of these pangs or groans could be spared? The far-sighted, perfect love that seeks the perfection of its object does not weakly shrink from present, transient suffering. Our Father’s love is too true to be weak. Because He loves His children, He chastises them that they may be partakers of His holiness. With this glorious end in view, He spares not for their crying. Made perfect through sufferings, as the Elder Brother was, the sons of God are trained up to obedience and brought to glory through much tribulation.
–Tract, Streams in the Desert

“For I consider our present sufferings not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

This month, my devotional Pursuing God in the Quiet Places is on sale for $5. Click here to order your autographed copy. 

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