“Well done good and faithful servant…"(Matthew. 25:23)
Those are the words we want stringed together at the end of our lives as we stand before our Righteous and Holy God.
Those are also the words we should want to hear daily.
Faithfulness is daily.
Our walk with the Lord and in the Lord won’t promise us earthly benefits. This path will be one with warfare and struggles, but He guarantees and assures us of the joy that is set before us in being with our Father, forever, in Heaven. What great reward! What great Hope!
It’s that Hope that allows us to be faithful. It’s what allows us to “count it all joy when we face hardships and various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let endurance have its perfect result so that you may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing” (James 1: 2-4).
The truth is, we don’t drift into faithfulness. We must intentionally and daily fix and gaze our eyes on Christ, the author and perfecter of our Faith (Hebrews 12:2).
He perfects us as we endure, sanctifying us in Him so that our lives will grow brighter and clearer in representing Him.
He delights in our faithfulness to one another when we love and bear each other’s burdens (Galatians 6). He delights in our faithfulness to serve in our local church, loving the fellowship with one another. He delights in our faithfulness to prayer, not giving up or losing heart (Luke 18).
He delights in faithfulness.
May we treasure His faithfulness to us. May we treasure those in our lives who are faithful to Him and our journey and may we pursue to emulate that faithfulness as we grow in the knowledge of our God (Colossians 1:10).
Peace, love & blessings,
By Yodit Kifle
I woke up this morning to a text by my dear friend in which she wrote, “You have entered the other side. Happy Valentine’s Day *insert laughing face * “
I chuckled and wrote back that I couldn’t wait til tomorrow to get half off on candies and flowers! (I mean, come on, let’s be real lol)
I thought about her text and I thought about the fact that yes, I am in a relationship. Yes, I do get to share this day with someone special (well, it’s long distance) and yes, it does feel good!
However, I thought about how this man made day can really amplify the emotions within us that deeply desire companionship….the desire to experience love with someone who loves us back. And there is nothing wrong with that desire because I believe it’s God-given. I just believe that if not guarded, the enemy can use this day to plant the fear of whether that experience will ever come or discontentment of it having not come. And they are real. I’ve felt them before.
But here’s what I’ve learned being in a relationship. The reality is that love is so romanticized in our world as if it’s perfect people experiencing perfect love. And that often leads people to making decisions based on the idea of love verses the commitment of love.
The idea of love says that you just want the highs of feeling the butterflies. Being noticed and adored. Thinking that your relationship will always be like those Instagram pictures where the guy is tightly hugging the girl and the hashtag #relationshipgoals is posted.
The commitment of love shows how prideful, selfish, fearful we as human beings can be and yet still commit to walking through that in humility by relying on God for the grace and wisdom of what it means to put one another first.
You see, if you aren’t willing to be exposed of your flaws, you aren’t ready for a relationship. If you aren’t willing to be refined from pride, selfishness, insecurity, expectations and so much more, it will be a hard road.
Yes—those highs will be there. Those butterflies will visit, but just as quickly as they came, they will vanish. So what will you be found standing on?
If God and the message of the Gospel isn’t at the center, the top, the middle, the left, the right, inside, outside, and everywhere in your relationship, I am telling you, it won’t last!
So, what am I saying?
Be found rooted deeply and grounded in the love of Christ. Let Him dwell richly in you. (Ephesians 3: 17)Let your security and identity be found only in Him. Let Him lead you in making this kind of commitment in His time.
Don’t beat yourself up for desiring what God delights in. But don’t be so consumed by it that you forget that He delights in you and we are called to delight in Him.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you ladies! LOVE in its purest form is beautiful and thank God that Jesus is just that for us! He's Perfect. Committed. Without Pride. Without Fear. Without an Agenda. He is LOVE.
May we be found in Him.
By Yodit Kifle
I’ve never been a confrontational person. In fact, I try to avoid it at all costs. But when I have found myself in confrontational episodes, I would be that person who wanted to be right. Praise God He has dealt with me as I’ve matured. My pride is slowly taking a back seat as I realize that arguing is never the best solution — nor was trying to prove the person wrong.
However, I’ve come to see that there is one argument that I have yet to remove myself from and I’m sure many of us can attest to this. You see, there is an Accuser that I don’t like — an Accuser whose life’s purpose is to drag me into arguments about my identity. My worth. My purpose. My hopes. My faith. My mind. The crazy thing is, every time I’ve found myself arguing with him, I’ve come out depleted, defeated, and discouraged. An outcome that he rejoices in.
He makes it very clear that he doesn’t like me. In fact he hates me. And I’m sorry to say, he hates you, too.
The darts of lies that Satan throws at us are extinguishable. Ephesians 6:16 reminds us that we have been given the shield of faith to extinguish them. However, so often, it seems like we put our shield down and find ourselves arguing with the Father of Lies rather than standing firm in and with God’s truth.
God’s word doesn’t need us to make it powerful. It’s powerful all on its own. We are the ones who need it. We are the ones who need to be found standing in it and on it rather than found sinking in the lies of the enemy.
So when the enemy says you are not good enough, why argue with him? Tell him he’s more than right. You on your own aren’t good enough, but God is and He has given you His righteousness.
When the enemy says you are a sinner to condemn you, why argue with him? Tell him he’s more than right — you are a sinner but praise God that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.
Next time you find yourself arguing with the greatest Accuser, remind yourself, he can’t stand a chance with God’s Word. The enemy’s strategy is to make us think it’s about us. So he attacks us in order for us to defend ourselves. But you don’t have to. Jesus Christ and His Word are our defender. The enemy can’t argue with that.
As Proverbs 26: 4 wisely reminds us: “When arguing with fools, don’t answer their foolish arguments or you will become as foolish as they are.” So, don’t argue with the Fool!
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. (Psalm 90:14 NIV)
One night as Brad and I prepared to put our kids to bed, our middle child, Hunter, had an emotional meltdown. Our little gumdrop went from sweet to sour in two seconds flat. The day had been packed full with school and other activities, and it was late. He should have turned into a pumpkin a smidgen before his meltdown took place. You know how those days are.
In an eight-year-old kind of way, Hunter was completely irrational. Tears flowed freely as he floated down his raging river of drama. He said that nobody loved him and that he felt mistreated. I had to just shake my head and wonder, “How in the world could one of my children feel unloved?”
The love Brad and I have for our children is immovable-mountain strong. We are not perfect, nor do we love them perfectly, but we do tell them of our love daily with words. We show them through our actions. We hug and affirm. We laugh and play with them. We spend our lives loving our children. It amazes me that any of our children could think, for even one second, that they are not loved.
As we endured the tear-filled bedtime drama, Brad and I suddenly realized why our son had such a dim perspective: he was hungry. Really hungry.
Earlier that evening, Hunter had chosen not to finish his dinner. Our son believes he should have choices. We assure him that hedoes have choices--eat or be hungry.
Simple as that.
As I emptied the dishwasher this morning, it occurred to me that we were created to be hungry. Our bodies need constant nourishment, and hunger is simply a trigger designed by God to stimulate a necessary response. Whether we’re talking about physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual hunger, you and I are temporarily satisfied when an appropriate response meets a need.
Think about it...
The satisfying response to physical hunger is food and drink.
The satisfying response to emotional hunger is love (among other things).
The satisfying response to mental hunger is knowledge.
And the only satisfying response to spiritual hunger is God. Nothing can take His place. Not the latest-greatest beauty gimmick, not the most fabulous outfit, not a hunky man or a good smelling baby. Not money in the bank, not that promotion you might be after, not the affection you might be craving, and not the appreciation you desire for your efforts.
Nothing can supplant God if you want to satisfy your spiritual hunger.
Our souls constantly demand to be fed, and make no mistake about it: if God does not have the proper place in your life, your soul will remain hungry. When I invite God into my days, I experience His satisfying presence no matter what I face. But when I don’t pray, when I don’t read my Bible, and when I don’t praise, I get hungry. Really hungry (not to mention grouchy).
Christians are hungry people. Just like the Israelites who wandered in the desert, we need God’s daily bread, His spiritual manna. Jesus taught us to ask for a daily portion. In the New Testament book of Matthew, Jesus took a moment to teach His followers how to pray. In that prayer, commonly referred to as the Lord’s Prayer, He said, “Give us today our daily bread”(Matthew 6:11).
He didn’t ask to be fed for an entire week--just for today.
We would be wise to do the same.
Some people might think that once we become Christians all of our spiritual hunger subsides. Not so! I’ve found that the more I get to know God, the more I want to know Him. The more I experience His peace, presence, and power in my life, the more I want to experience His peace, presence, and power. I crave Him more.
Every day we eat bread (food) to keep us healthy and strong. We stay healthy and strong spiritually by continually communing with Jesus. He calls Himself the Bread of Life as well as the Living Water. In order for food and water to sustain and strengthen us physically, we must eat and drink it. Likewise, we need to call on Jesus each day to sustain us spiritually.
Dear Lord, Thank You for the invitation to come, eat, drink, and be satisfied in You. You are all that I need, and more than enough. I pray that You will bear the weight of the burdens on my heart today, and ask that You would fill my soul with Your rest.
In Jesus’ Name I pray,
By Meagan Briggs (WITHIN Member)
It wasn’t the first time I’d heard the hated words, “There’s not much I can do.”
In fact, I’d heard it so many times in one salon chair after another, I expected it, knowing it would be accompanied with a slight wince and eyebrows raised in sympathy.
Hair I can get over. It’s the other times in life when I hear those words—whether from doctors, advisors, or the loved ones I go to when my needs are more than I can handle myself—that I’m most tempted to lose hope.
There was a time I might have despaired if every source I turned to echoed or implied, “Sorry, I can’t help,” “Better luck next time,” “Keep looking.” But now when I hear those words, I find myself turning sooner, faster, and more willingly to God. It’s an intentional redirecting of my hope from the ashes of earthly care to the One who says, “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27 NIV)
Sometimes it’s not until everyone we know says, “There’s not much I can do” that we turn to God and He can finally tackle the situation on our behalf. Sometimes He answers those prayers the way we hope. Sometimes, He doesn’t. Either way, He always heals some part of ourselves that need more of Him.
The thorns in my flesh—whether big or small—may always be there, but since when is my hope for this brief life reliant on happiness, ease, or others’ ability to help? Because God will never say, “There’s only so much I can do,” my hope, regardless of outcome or circumstance, is in the One for Whom nothing is too hard.