The Word For 2019: Faithful

A voice says, “Cry!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field
. Isaiah 40:6

The word this week is one I needed to be reminded of: faithful. Sometimes in life a Christian when you get discouraged we have a tough choice to make. Do allow discouragement to take us down or do we press on and do the work God has called us to accomplish? This week started out like that for me. I was ready to throw in the towel and just walk away. Seeing my church body ramping up the in-fighting as our convention draws near was heartbreaking. I have talked to enough pastors to know I am not alone in this feeling. When I was in the parish it was a regular Monday morning battle. Ministry is hard, the work of the church seems fruitless. Now working with the church at large, ministry becomes even more daunting. I read a statistic that eighty (80) percent of the churches in America are either dying or stagnant.

As a pastor, my role is not to discourage the sheep but point them to the promise of brighter days. Isaiah is reminded of this by God. Remind the people to be faithful, brighter days are coming. So in this devotion I want to faithfully remind the church, don’t lose heart. Don’t allow Satan to distract you from the mission of Christ and the grace and mercy of God to accomplish the mission. Don’t get into the politcial arena and start throwing mud, instead fix your eyes on Jesus. Ignore the typical things you measure, church attendance and offerings, instead be about the work of an evangelist. Go out and plant seeds of faith it is God who waters it and makes it grow. The results are not drive my your efforts but by the working of the Holy Spirit. I love this illustration of John Wesley.


Focus on God – Live Out Our Faith

~ Ray MacDonald

I love this passage. It so speaks to focusing on the eternal rather than the temporal. Focusing on the things of God and the promises of God rather than on what we can see with our eyes – understand with our minds – or hold in our hands. Unfortunately – many of us often focus on what we can see rather than what has been promised.

An example of this is Abraham and Sarah. They were promised by God that they would have many descendants – but late in life they couldn’t see the promise fulfilled so they took things into their own hands. Sarah gave Abraham her maidservant Hagar to bear him children because she was barren (Genesis 16). Of course God wasn’t late in fulfilling His promise – God gave Abraham and Sarah a child – Isaac – and he did become the father of a great nation – the Hebrews. Hagar’s son did as well. His name was Ishmael – and he became the father of Muslims.

Read more of this post

Looking Back to Go Forward

“But 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.”1

You’ve no doubt read that if flies are placed in a jar with air holes in the lid, they will fly around frantically, banging into the lid, desperately trying to escape from their prison. However, if left there long enough, eventually they will stop banging into the lid. Later, if the lid is removed, they won’t even try to escape. Somehow they have been conditioned “to believe” that there is no escape. They just keep circling in the cramped jar.

Some of us are like that. Somewhere in our past, through a bad experience, perhaps in a bad marriage, or as a teenager or child we were hurt and have been “conditioned” to believe that there is no escape, so we are afraid to try again for fear of failure or of getting hurt again.

To overcome, one needs to acknowledge where and how in the past he or she had been hurt, express the hurt, anger and/or grief creatively if these feelings exist, and then let go of them so he/she can go forward into the future unencumbered by his or her past.

As Peter said, “So get rid of your feelings of hatred.”2 Repressing or denying feelings doesn’t get rid of them. It only adds interest to them and makes things worse in the long run. Negative emotions need to be expressed verbally (or written out) in a creative manner. With grief we need to sob it out until it is all gone. That’s what tears are for. For some of us skilled counseling may be needed to help us re-connect to our super-charged repressed negative and damaged emotions, and to express them creatively.

Once this is done, forgiveness becomes possible, which we need to grant to anyone who ever hurt us. Only then can we be freed from the past and put it behind us. And then, if there is still fear of being hurt again, acknowledge the fear but choose not to allow it to control you. With God’s help step out and try, try, try again until you succeed in what it is you want to do, or better still, to do what you believe God wants you to do.

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, please help me to resolve any hurts from the past that are affecting my life in any negative way, and help me to forgive any and all who have ever hurt me. And help me to seek forgiveness where I have hurt others, so I can put all these things behind me, forget them, and be free to fully live and fully love. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen.”

1. Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV).
2. 1 Peter 2:1 (TLB)(NLT).


Philippians 4:7 – Heart

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
John 15:5

Sharing my thoughts……

A heart that knows the peace of God is a beautiful thing to experience everyday.

The peace of God keeps our hearts and mind through Christ Jesus.
What a blessing.

We’re branches connected to the vine and there’s fruit! Praise The Lord.

Scripture references to verse:

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
Isaiah 26:3

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.:
John 14:27

Abundant blessings and have a marvelous day!

The just shall live by faith. Praise The Lord.

As always, I welcome your thoughts.

©Ann V Friend, afriendofjesus2013Blog, Aug 2013 to present.


How to Worship When You’re Weary

Today’s guest blogger is Anna Schaeffer, my administrative assistant at Southeastern Seminary. She is an MA graduate of SEBTS, and she’s the author of All of This, a Young Adult Christian novel.

A few weeks ago, I hit a rough patch. Lots of things went wrong all at the same time. I wasn’t walking through tragedy – just the heaviness of life. Yet I still felt so run-down by everything that was happening, it all made me want to stay home and take a lot of naps.

One night, I admitted my weariness to God: “I’m going to need you to help me through this because I’m just so tired.” In the past, my prayers have ended there. But this time, I truly wanted more out of my circumstances – I wanted to walk through them trusting that God is very intentional in everything He does and allows in my life. So I prayed, “God, please show me your character in this. Use these things to bow my heart toward You and Your purpose for my life.”

My prayers didn’t make everything snap into place. Nothing about my circumstances changed overnight. But, God began to help me see the wonder of who He is as He walked with me through those challenging days and continues to walk with me now.

Here are five ways I’m learning to worship, even – and especially – when I’m weary:

  1. Remember. Call to mind times God has shown Himself faithful before—those times He led you through something you couldn’t imagine yourself enduring. Read in His Word about how He walked with His people through difficult days in generations past.
  2. Praise. Praise God for His faithfulness. Praise Him that, even if you can’t necessarily feel His presence, He’s with you in the middle of your mess. Why? Because He promised.
  3. Look. Whenever I’m overwhelmed by life, I zoom in on the small things. I look for evidence of God’s character in the everyday moments of life, like the beautiful sunset reminding me of His creativity, the warm smile of a friend reminding me of His gift of community, or the smell of dinner in the oven, reminding me that God provides for my daily needs.
  4. Record. Write down your struggles in a prayer journal. Pour out your heart to God. Keep up this practice as you walk through your challenges. Then, the next time you face hardship, you’ll have a reminder – a memorial stone – of God’s steadfast love.
  5. Share. Tell of God’s faithfulness to others. When someone asks how you’re doing, be honest about your challenges, but also be quick to share those God-designed details you’ve been collecting. Not only can this encourage another struggler, but sometimes hearing ourselves say something out loud bolsters our own resolve, too.

I’m not a master of weathering difficult days. Far from it. At the end of the day, though, Christ is my reward. Knowing that, I am able to worship in my weariness.

What about you? How do you seek God when you’re weary?

Comment at:

The Worst Sort of Pride for a Christian


Pride is one of the greatest snares to the souls of men and is the snare of measuring ourselves by ourselves and comparing ourselves among ourselves (2 Cor. 10:12). When we allow pride to fester and take root in our hearts, we begin to think, act and speak as if we are more holy than others. When we do so, we make that at which we think we excel our standard of holiness, rather than God’s Law with all of its unattainable depths and requirements. Once we begin to do this with regard to spiritual disciplines or biblical principles, we have succumbed to spiritual pride. John Owen once wrote, “Spiritual pride is the worst sort of pride.” He went on to explain,

“Pride, or carnal confidence in our own wisdom and ability of mind for all the ends of our duty towards God, either keeps the souls of men under the bondage of darkness and ignorance, or precipitates them into foolish apprehensions or pernicious errors…”

Read more:

Be An Encourager!

1 Thessalonians 4:17-18 17 After that,we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Be an encourager. What is it that would encourage us today dear readers? When we’re trying to lose weight or put it on – doesn’t it encourage us when people notice and say something nice to us? When we are trying to change our shape – exercising more or watching what we eat – it is nice when people notice. When you’re trying to change something about yourself – isn’t it nice to hear someone say something nice about that change? Let’s try to notice others and not be so narcissistic – focused on self so much.

Continue reading:

Are We Too Casual With God?

For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”[1]Hebrews 12:18-21

I once encouraged my church members to consider taking off their shoes when they entered the house of God. Many pointed out what a bad idea this was for many reasons. My point inmaking this request was I think we are losing our sense of awe and respect for God. In losing this we are making God into a kindly old grandfather-type easy to ignore. Albert Einstein said, “He who can no longer pause to wonder, is as good as dead.” And Madeleine L’Engle replied, “I share Einstein’s affirmation that anyone who is not lost on the rapturous awe at the power and glory of the mind behind the universe ‘is as good as a burnt-out candle.’”

Hebrews 12 ties together the two images of God. The Mount Sinai God and the Mount Zion God.

As P. H. Hacking describes this tale of two images: “What we believe about our future inevitably affects how we react here and now. Hebrew Christians no longer lived in the Old Testament dispensation, centered on Mount Sinai, but in the New Testament era, centered on Mount Zion. This is a kingdom of joy, not of fear, and yet God has not changed and needs to be approached with reverence and awe. So, this chapter will end with the reminder that ‘our God is a consuming fire’ (v. 29).”

The Image of God from Mount Sinai

Read more:

What I Like And Don’t Like About Spiritual Gifts Inventories

Extra-Biblical Sources in Jude