Trusting, Lamenting, Standing

 

Weeping may ednre for a night, But joy comes in the morning.

Greetings Deeper Still Devotional Readers,

After a little more than a month into our “new normal” of quarantine and how that has impacted all of us as a nation and around the world, we have experienced these new practices from “conceptual” to “real” in many ways. At first we were in “all hands on deck” mode to do our part to crush this “invisible enemy” (as our President calls it). But as time goes on we recognize more and more the deep losses we are experiencing as a nation, as a church community, and for some as a family.

As Jesus’ Bride, (until He comes to get us) our mission necessitates that we will be “in” the world even though we stand firm to not be “of” the world. We are not super-human but we are empowered by the super Holy Spirit that keeps us steady and trusting even while we are watching, waiting, lamenting. Trusting the Lord and His ways (that are always higher) is not in opposition to lamenting our losses. As believers we have capacity to negotiate both of these realities with the grace He gives. Let’s not underestimate the powerful witness this is to unbelievers. These are the times that our internal peace shines like a beacon in the fog.

Collectively, as a ministry, we have had to lay down our Spring Retreats, and other events. Some have had to lay down fundraising events and invent creative ways to raise the needed funds for ministry.  On the other end, there is a loss for the participants who were going to attend retreats and finally find some healing and relief to years of pain and desperation. We are able and encouraged to grieve losses. This is both necessary and healthy. We can view it as both a Godly lament, as well as a Godly sacrifice on the altar. We have sadness but we also carry the long-view of His promises for redemption, restoration, and restitution. Lord, give us Kingdom eyes to see your majesty in the midst of adversity.

I have a few scriptures that I want to share with you to encourage our hearts in this season.

Come my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by. Isaiah 26:20

 And while staying with them He ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father,… Acts 1:4

 Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5

 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2 Timothy2:1

 Just as it is written, eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him. 1 Cor.2:9.

 But if he is caught (the thief), he must pay sevenfold, though it costs him all the wealth of his house. Prov. 6:31

Let’s pray for our retreat participants that they will not lose heart. If they persevere through this season of tarrying they will receive even more than they would have before this “crisis”. For the thief has to return seven-fold what he stole. We will give Him all the glory and praise in the seen and unseen. Amen?!

We realize our losses pale in comparison to those who have tragically lost loved ones during this time, and our hearts and prayers go out to those families grieving and lamenting during this time.

Blessings, prayers and peace to all of you. We love you and are locking arms with you.

Father, we thank you for sustaining us, providing for us, and sheltering us during this time of trusting, lamenting, and standing with you. Lord, give us strength to endure and fill our hearts with joy and hope in You, our Everything. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Until All Are Healed,

Karen Ellison, Founder and President of Deeper Still

Deeper Still is a ministry that offers free weekend retreats for women who have had abortions and the men who fathered children lost to abortion. If you have had an abortion and would like more information about our retreats, please go to www.GoDeeperStill.org to find a retreat close to you.

 

 

 

Casting our Cares and Trusting Jesus

“Casting all your care on Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5_7

“Humble yourself, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your care on Him, because He cares for you.”          1 Peter 5:6b–7 

To cast means: Throw forcefully in a specified direction. 

I am originally from Louisiana, the state known as Sportsman’s Paradise. In Louisiana, casting a fishing line from a bayou under the Cedar trees with gorgeous moss canopying overhead, surrounded by numerous stumps in the water among the fallen trees and limbs can be quite tricky. In a bayou there are countless majestic Cedar trees close to each other in certain areas, which is where the fish like to hang out.  

When I cast my line, things can go south in a bad way fast. The hook in flight can become stuck in a tree or find itself tangled in whatever may be under the water out of view. However, no fish can be caught without casting the line. When it is cast, there is a pause of trusting the line to go where it is sent. There is a chance that the line will catch the moss of the trees or be swallowed in the marshy water below.  The outcome of the cast is unknown, the line must be cast in order to fish. 

Jesus tells us to cast our cares on Him.  Like when fishing, it may be difficult to freely cast our lines to Jesus. A part of us wants to hold onto the line because there is a risk to casting. Placing our trust in someone else and letting go of that concern can seem dangerously irresponsible.  For me, this is all too familiar.  There have been some tall trees I have had to chop down before trusting that casting is safe.  In fact, I am going through something now that requires me to cast and trust. Jesus is saying, “Do you trust Me?”

When I was younger things happened to me that were beyond my control. Needless to say as an adult, because of those things, I lacked the trust I needed in order to function. It also caused me to believe that I couldn’t rely on anyone but myself. 

The thought of casting my cares, concerns, worries, and anxieties onto someone else, wasn’t reality to me. The fact that I was to take those cares off my shoulders, then put them onto someone else’s, leaving them there and no longer be concerned, well, I couldn’t begin to grasp that concept. 

Then there is trusting someone to care enough to help without a motive. Someone that loves with a love we can’t begin to comprehend. One that has our best interest at heart. Someone that is working all things for our good. We all know how hard it can be to trust others if your soul has been wounded.

 In John 14:27b, Jesus says, “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” 

Matthew 6:25–31, tells us, “do not be worried about your life, what we should eat, drink or wear.” The tense of the Greek text is properly translated, “Stop worrying.” Verse 31 starts, “Therefore do not be anxious.” This tense is different, however, and means, “Don’t start worrying.” So, Jesus is basically saying, If you are worrying, quit; if you haven’t started, don’t. He is giving us a command, not a suggestion. He knows what worrying can do to us. It can truly make us ill. Steal our joy. Rob us of a close relationship with Jesus, because of the doubt that creeps in with worrying. 

As we grow in the Lord, we need to take Him at His word. We need to trust that He can handle our lives. We can cast our cares, because He loves us so much, that He will take care of what concerns us. We just need to seek Him and His Kingdom first, His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

God can be trusted. Numbers 23:19 states, “God is not a man, that He might lie, or a son of man, that He might change His mind. Does He speak and not act, or promise and not fulfill?” Of course not. His promises are yes and amen. We can put a hook in that and pull it in!  We can trust Him with everything that weighs heavy on our heart. We must trust Him!! 

This is a lesson I am learning. I am so grateful that Jesus is helping me through this lesson. My shoulders aren’t as heavy as they once were or as sore from holding onto the line. I’m casting it to Him. 

Lord Jesus, help us in our weakness when we struggle in the area of casting our cares and trusting You with them. Give us the strength, courage and faith to walk in obedience, that we may do what Your Word tells us, which is to cast our cares onto You. We are trusting that you will take care of our concerns and that we are not to worry, but to bring it all to You and lay it at Your feet. We long to trust and obey. Thank you Jesus for loving us. Amen!

Today’s post was written by Randi Stanton, who is a contributor for the Deeper Still Devotional Blog. Randi lives in Maumelle, Arkansas, and is married to Tom. She has two children, three stepchildren, and two gorgeous grandchildren. She also enjoys hiking in the mountains, playing with her dogs, reading and studying God’s Word. Randi serves on the Arkansas Deeper Still team. 

Deeper Still is a ministry that offers free weekend retreats for women who have had abortions and the men who fathered children lost to abortion. If you have had an abortion and would like more information about our retreats, please go to www.GoDeeperStill.org to find a retreat close to you. 

Finding Rest in the Why

Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.

“Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”. Matthew 11:28-30

WHY…

This one word “Why?” can turn our searching hearts and minds in circles. As we dig for answers amid loss and heartache, any answer that can be squeezed from this one-word query gives hope. With answers, everything will be set right. The searching can stop, and the circling will end. Finally, we can believe…rest, then wholeness and closure can begin.

But what about the times when there are no answers to bring closure? What if, with every new answer, comes another batch of questions? Where do we go for rest when the demands and responses become too much for our souls to bear? When what we had hoped would bring relief, instead offered up a double portion of disappointment and heartache?

Built into each of us is the very human desire to understand every detail leading up to the moment everything unraveled. Knowledge equals power and so we press on in the name of “closure”.  And we trade the power given us from on High for a false feeling of power seeking to know.

In our humanness, control is what answers offer. If we aren’t in control, we can only deduce that someone else is. And in moments of deep pain and hurt, someone else having the keys to our relief can feel risky.  Loss and particularly a loss of control, makes us want to know why…we demand to know. Suddenly, we give up on all things that don’t point us to an answer. Because without an answer to the ongoing question of why, how can we ever rest?

Friends, it is in these moments of searching where our trust is most tested. Even when we don’t know why, God does. He sees everything. Nothing goes unnoticed, no pain ever wasted. He knows the details of each situation: every accident and loss; each missed cycle and monthly excitement; every sickness and exactly what it would take to cure. He sees into the window of the desires of our heart and feels the pain when they shatter. He knows all, He sees all.

And He knows the answer to the depths of our questions. Through God, we have access to The Answer- Jesus.

Jesus– comforter to our souls.

In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says “Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jesus provides us with an alternative to the demands we are making in times where there are no answers. Instead, He says that if we come to Him, He will take our questions, our worries, our hurt; He will carry the whys with little effort, bearing all the weight on His mighty shoulders under everything that threatens to crush us.

God provides Jesus to carry the burden and His Spirit to interpret for us when we have no words. We don’t have to know what to ask, or exactly how to ask for it; the Holy Spirit translates our muffled cries and grief-stricken sobs into phrases our Heavenly Father can understand. Paul reminds us of this in Romans 8:26 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans”. The words and answers have been provided to us in the name of Jesus.

Jesus is our Why. He is our Who. And in Him, true rest can be found even when nothing else makes sense. Take heart! For he has overcome!

Father, help us to trust you with every moment of our lives, but especially in times when nothing makes sense. Help us to look to you for truth, freedom, and hope in our suffering and loss. You have offered us Jesus, who is familiar with our pain; a Savior who knows our loss and heartache. Father, I ask you for your peace as we move through painful places into rest that can only be found in your Son. Amen.

Today’s post was written by Ashley Gregory, who is a contributor to the Deeper Still Devotional Blog. Ashley lives in Mt. Sterling, Illinois and is married to Mark. They have 3 children and she serves on the Central Illinois Deeper Still team.

Deeper Still is a ministry that offers free weekend retreats for women who have had abortions and the men who fathered children lost to abortion. If you have had an abortion and would like more information about our retreats, please go to www.GoDeeperStill.org to find a retreat close to you. 

 

Strength that Comes through Surrender

surrender

“And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying,’Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done.’ And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him.” Luke 22:41-43

I find myself often praying for strength. It might be my age and stage in life, but I seem to be more keenly aware of my lack of “internal supply” to do what the Father has asked me to do. Throughout the Bible you will find a myriad of scriptures about our need to receive the strength that only God can supply. One of the most often quoted passages is:

Isaiah 40:29-31 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

This week is Holy Week and I’ve asked the Holy Spirit to open my eyes to see nuances in the Word that I may have passed over before. No sooner did I pray this prayer and He opened my eyes to a profound truth. In Luke 22 we read about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. He is about to face the most horrific week of His earthly life. It was, in fact, the culminating week for why He came to earth. I imagine that by this time Jesus was beginning to experience the stifling weight of all the sin of humanity. We will never be able to comprehend the immensity of this hour when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, let alone the week ahead.

The first part of Jesus’ prayer we can all relate to “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me”. We all want a rescue from our imminent pain and suffering. I love that we get a picture into Jesus’s humanity here. This is truly our high priest that is acquainted with our sufferings. But in the next phrase we see the profound surrender as Jesus yields to the Father’s will. “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done”. At this point, we all breath a collective sigh of relief; assured that Jesus really did surrender to become our sacrificial lamb.

But for me this time, it was the next verse that jumped off the page. “And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him. If there was ever a time that Jesus needed to be strengthened for the week ahead it was right, then and there. But the revelation we don’t want to overlook is that immediately after Jesus declared His surrender to the Father’s will, the heavens opened up and an angel rushed in to strengthen Him.

There is something so pure and profound about our surrender to the Father’s will and His immediate response to supply us with the strength we need for the road ahead. Maybe you are facing some big challenges and part of you is crying out “Father, please remove this cup from me”. If you stop there you will not receive the abundant supply of strength you’re going to need. But if you are intentional about those words of surrender…”Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done”. Then look out because an angel is about to show up and heaven’s strength is about to be poured into your frail, weak self. Hallelujah!

I’m facing some daunting hurdles myself right now. So, my new approach for these next days, weeks, and months is to first pray “Father, not my will but yours be done”. Then I’m going to open my eyes and look for that angel. Let’s all do this together, then we will have new testimonies to share of His great faithfulness and strength.

Dear Father, help me not to fear Your will, but to trust You that in my surrender You will supply all the strength I need to accomplish your purposes and to build my faith in You. Amen!

True Identity

Blue Photo World No Tobacco Day Social Media Graphic

“If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32

Everyone is being touched by the world crisis of COVID-19. Not one person is left unaffected by this pandemic, either in the form of physically having the virus, knowing someone who has it, losing a job, or being wrapped in disappointment and loss due to the virus.

Identity strings are being clipped leaving some feeling like a balloon floating up and up in the air without purpose or direction. Depending on perspective, this new ambivalence could feel uneasy or possibly freeing. Perhaps this is a time when the Lord wants to realign and tie new strings, anchored in truth.  

A common exhortation our pastor shares is “Know. Be. Do”

First, KNOW.

KNOW the Truth.

Jesus’ Words are, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32)  I added capitalization of T’s to the word truth because Truth is a Person. Jesus.

When Jesus was standing before Pontius Pilate, he asked Jesus a question, “What is truth?” (John 18:38) Pilate didn’t realize the Truth was standing right in front of him.

Jesus is the Word made flesh. Abiding in His word is to abide in Him, the Truth Himself.

There are small “t” truths and big “T” Truths, which is a post for another time, but basically small “t” is circumstantial. Big “T” is the Truth of Jesus. Big “T” trumps little “t” every time.

First we must KNOW the Truth—Jesus.

Then we can BE. It is only by knowing the Truth and believing the Truth of who we are in Jesus Christ that our spirits can settle and BE.

This is where many believers are finding themselves at this moment. I am no longer a teacher, a business owner, a salesperson, a waitress, a pastor, etc. You can fill in the blank, almost anything fits. Who am I if I am none of those things? Jesus is saying,

“Just BE. You are My son. You are My daughter. My BEloved.”

This time is a gift. A gift of discovering the Truth of who we are, of our original destiny, purpose and the reason we were created—to be His. He loves us just for BE-ing His. Our love, worth, and value isn’t based on performance or what we do or don’t do. It is found in Him—Christ alone.

Then, when we KNOW the Truth, are able to rest in BE-ing a son/daughter, then our DO will come from the correct place. No longer will our “DO” come from a place to earn love, acceptance, approval, value, or worth, but rather from the place where we KNOW we are already loved, accepted, are approved of, and have worth, not because of who we are and what we do, but because of what He did.

My friends, we have been given a gift—the gift of a reset. Resetting our “Know. Be. Do” back into proper alignment.  Praying we rest in who we are in Him today.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that we are Yours. Thank you for sending Jesus to die to be our Savior. Thank you for the gift of Truth and that we can know the Truth and rest in being free to be Your sons or daughters. Reset and realign our hearts with Yours so that all we do in unto You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen

If you have had an abortion and you find yourself struggling with approval addiction or performance, we encourage you to go to the Deeper Still ministry website to find resources and information about our retreats that are free of charge. The Lord is calling us all to a deeper place. Amen.

 

 

 

Shelter in Place

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91_1

 

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” Psalm 91:1-2

Many states have issued a “Shelter in Place” act in response to the pandemic crisis of COVID-19.  Until recently, many may have not even heard the term “Shelter in Place” or even understood what it meant. When looking up the term online, Wikipedia defines it as “to seek safety within the building one already occupies, rather than seek a community shelter.”

“The building one already occupies.” As believers, the Holy Spirit occupies us and God says that we occupy, or abide (dwell) in Christ.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15: 5

“If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.” 1 John 2:24

“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” 1 John 4:15

This Truth is comforting. Not only does Christ dwell in us but we are in Him.

Psalm 19:1 says, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High…”.  Our shelter in place, our place of abiding or occupying, is His shelter, it is IN HIM.  What a comforting thought. What a beautiful and peaceful truth.

Praying we all look at “Shelter in Place” a little different today with this truth, that He is our Shelter, our Shield, our Refuge, and our Strength. We have a Shelter in Place and His name is Jesus.

Father, thank you for giving us the provision to abide in You, that not only does the Holy Spirit occupy us but that we also occupy or dwell in You. Thank You for this truth and comfort. Thank You for being our Shelter. We rest and trust in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Certain In Times of Uncertainty

John 16_33

“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Uncertainty is a big word that can cause all manners of chaos. We can be uncertain about something as small as how to dress for an occasion or where to eat dinner. But then there are greater uncertainties that test our hearts and bring us to the edge of the cliff of trust.

I know this cliff well and have stepped off of it many times. There are times I have done well with trusting in the midst of uncertainty, and other times, well, let’s just say it took a while to recover from the fall off the cliff.

Trust is a small word with big consequences. Merriam-Webster defines trust as: Assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something; one in which confidence is placed.

When God is asking “Do you trust me?”  He is asking, “Do you believe in my character, ability, strength and the truth of who I am? Do you have confidence that I will come through for you?”

Sometimes, we choose to dive off the cliff because we think we can handle the situation on our own. That never works out well, and that fall can leave the worst kind of scar that only Jesus can heal. Or He doesn’t come through in the way we thought He would and when this happens, we can get tripped up and nearly or completely fall off the cliff.

Trust is an ongoing lesson. And with each lesson, our trust either deepens or waivers. In my experience, the sooner I surrender to trust, the sooner I see the Lord’s hand of grace, rescue, and redemption. In contrast, the farther I go away from trust, the longer I stay in worry, fear, anxiousness, and doubt.

Trust and worry are archenemies. And uncertainty is a breeding ground for testing our trust.

In these uncertain times, my hope is that we will hold onto the One who is always certain. He never waivers and never changes. That we will cling to the challenge of trusting when nothing makes sense and we are uncertain of what the futures holds, whether that is a strange virus or a marriage issue or a job change or whatever…there are always things we may be uncertain about. Nothing is new under the sun, and there will always be reasons to be uncertain of the future.

Uncertainty has always been there, it is what we do with it and who we look to in those times that counts the most.

In the words of Jesus, “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

He is our Rock and our sure Foundation. We can be certain of His love for us and the closeness of His presence to reassure us that He indeed is trustworthy.

Father, we thank You that You are trustworthy. That You alone know the times, seasons, and hold our lives in Your hands. We know and trust that You are good, loving, and kind. We look to You to be our Rock, strength, and shield. We love You and we trust You knowing that even in the midst of uncertainty, we can be certain of You and Your love for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Growing the Garden {Prayer for Banquet}

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchul to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. Ephesians 6_18 (2)

 

Dear Readers of the DS Devotional blog

Thank you for your faithful prayers over the years. It is such a privilege to be able to share our heart with you for life, healing, and freedom. We wanted to ask if you would join us in prayer for a special event tomorrow evening. Thursday, March 5, we will be having our annual fundraising banquet for the national Deeper Still Ministry, which now has expanded to eighteen chapters in the United States and two chapters internationally.

Our theme this year is “This Garden’s Gonna Grow”, based on the Jason Upton’s song. One of our chapter leaders, Paula Jacobson-Mol, wrote the following post below and it goes along perfectly with our theme this year. This post is a perfect example of how the Lord has been planting and growing the ministry of Deeper Still. Thank you for partnering with us in prayer as we believe the Lord for all the resources needed for this “garden” to grow and flourish. He is a good Gardener. 

Thank you Paula for our contribution today!

Thank you Heavenly Father for all the ways you nurture and grow Your people, Your ministries, Your Kingdom. Father, thank you for being a good Gardener. We ask that Your will would be done for every provision needed for growing Your garden. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Since I can remember I’ve always had a garden and 15 years ago I found myself working more garden space than I’ve ever had, spending sometimes upward of 60 hours per week, keeping my yard and gardens rather immaculate.  I loved this work and I loved having a beautiful yard and gardens– I was in my glory, so to speak.

I’ve also enjoyed physical fitness, running being a part of it.  I would put carrots in front of my nose to help me accomplish new goals, so CrossFit, and races became part of my normal regimen.   I ran a marathon in the Fall of 2012 and had a deep sense throughout the race that it had spiritual meaning, more than I could see at the time.  I prayed through much of the race for everyone and anything that came to mind and I pictured Jesus at the tops of all the hills I needed to climb, including the finish line.  Talking to God the whole way through is truly what got me through. 

His ways are higher than our ways… eight years ago (January of 2012) God started doing a deeper work in my heart, prompting me to do something “pro-active” with the abortion that loomed in the depths of my heart from my past.  As I sought Him further, He led me to a Deeper Still Retreat in the Spring of 2012.   I came home from my retreat forever changed, having met God face to face (as humanly possible as that is) and in a way like never before.

As much as I felt light on my feet from my newly found freedom, I felt a heaviness of heart for the many men and women with abortion wounded hearts that needed healing.  There was much need for a Deeper Still in West Michigan.  I felt strongly that God was prompting me to pursue that, but I had no idea how or what that might look like and I certainly didn’t know how that would impact the other areas of my life.  However, I did know God had me in the very grip of His Mighty Hand.   Through the next 6 years, I continued praying, waiting on, abiding with the Lord as I went to Deeper Still trainings and serving on retreat teams as much as I was called.  As each year past, I was doing less gardening and a little less running.  Then last year God formed and brought the first Deeper Still West Michigan retreat into being.  There is still no garden planted in the natural as of yet and no Spring races on the docket.

As I’ve pondered, I have come to realize that God certainly has me working in a different soil.  I’m working the soil in His Garden, not my own.  He has been pruning and training me to go in a different direction and to help other plants struggling to survive with their abortion wounded hearts.  Rather than me pruning my plants, trellising them to grow in the way I want them to go, God has been and continues to prune me, training me to follow Him on a trellis in His Garden and where HE wants me to grow. 

So, this past weekend a culmination of my years of running came to mind as I sat with my Lord, I felt Him say in my spirit,  “not only do I have you working in different soil, but you are now running a different race.  The races you’ve been running you’ve received medals, but for this race, you will receive a crown.”

The Lord’s garden is the best place to be and letting Him do His perfect work for His glory…right where I want to be.

All for His Glory,

Paula Jacobson-Mol

If you’d like to contribute to this growing garden and life-giving, life-changing ministry, you can go to www.GoDeeperStill.org to give a tax-deductible donation. Thank you for all your support!

Honoring All Life

Every life is created in the image of God and is valuable to our Father and Creator God.

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”  Philippians 2:3

This Friday, hundreds of thousands will gather in Washington D.C. for the National March for Life. From all over the country, men and women will gather with one voice to declare to America and the world that we still value life, all lives, in America. 

What many do not understand is that life issues delve deeper than life in the womb. Although that is a huge stand, and important, it is but a fraction of the wholeness of the realm of all valuing life encompasses. We also need to with intentionality honor the marginalized and often forgotten members of society – the elderly, the isolated and lonely, and those with physical and mental disabilities. 

As a post-abortive and pro-life person, it seems paramount that every life is seen as valuable and cherished, as every life is created in the image of God and is valuable to our Father and Creator God.

Other ways the value of life is violated is abuse (all kinds), violence, racial prejudice, addictions, pornography (it is not honoring to reduce women and men to graphic images for selfish gratification),  gossip (yep, on the list), and sex trafficking. These are just some of the ways, we as a society have violated those created in the image of God. 

Those who oppose pro-life advocates, those who will stand against the March for Life, those who may even act out in violent retribution in response to the unbridled emotions deep within…all of them are precious in the sight of God, all are created in His image and He is deeply in love with every single one of us. 

As a pro-life person, I can be one to admit, we have not always honored every life well and have also responded in anger when misunderstood or mistreated. However, this is not the heart of God. I find it interesting, although I’m not going to go too deeply into this, but just interesting that the day we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day just happens to fall the same week as we nationally celebrate and honor life.  He was a man who advocated for honoring all people. As a nation, we have not done this well. Lord, I pray we can do this well, honor all life and all people well. 

As people all over the nation march this weekend for life, I pray the message of honoring life will ring loudly, and that all life is seen as treasured and cherished by our Father God, and I pray we can honor one another as well. 

Dear Heavenly Father, we pray protection over all standing and marching for life this weekend. We pray that people would recognize the importance of honoring all lives and would hear the heart of people waving the banner for life. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Related Scriptures:

“Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the King.” 1 Peter 2:17

“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.” Romans 12:10 

 

 

The Why Behind the What

there is always a reason people act the way they do.

 

“So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, ‘He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.’” John 8:7

There is something I have said many times when faced with people who act out of woundedness and are engaging in destructive behaviors…

”There is always a reason people act the way they do.”

There are many hurts, bondages, and sins we have committed or that were committed against us that shape our behaviors. Not just ours, but those around us. When we can learn to view the world through this lens of seeing others through their woundedness, their actions become more understandable and hopefully our compassion more obtainable.

The question isn’t “What is wrong with you?”. The question then becomes with compassion, “What happened to you?”

It is from this vantage point that we can begin to understand our fellow man and ourselves.

Grace begs that we look on ourselves with compassion as we seek to understand our past and how it impacts us and others, and then move forward in healing as we recognize these shortcomings and seek the Lord to show the way towards health and wholeness.

As we allow the love of Christ to penetrate and heal our deepest wounds, we can then show love to ourselves and then love our neighbors as ourselves. It is grace and love that allows us to look past the flaws of our neighbors, friends, and others. Love isn’t the same as trust. If someone has deeply wounded or violated you, you are called to love, but trust is only built over time and consistent actions that reveal change.

But it is grace that chooses compassion over condemnation.

Jesus demonstrated this in many ways.

He demonstrated it when He said, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first,” when the Pharisees wanted to stone the woman who was caught in adultery.

And at the well with the Samaritan woman when He saw behind the woman’s sins and saw her, and offered her a drink from the Well that never runs dry.

Jesus saw behind the actions and looked at the person. He separated the sin from the person. May we be able to do the same.

May this new year be one of love and compassion as we seek to love ourselves and others with the love of Christ, see the person behind the sin, and do our best to remember there is always a reason people act the way they do.

Dear Heavenly Father, help us to love like you do. Help us to see behind the why into the what behind people’s actions. Give us your eyes and may we look deeply into the wells of ourselves and others, give grace and find compassion for ourselves and those around us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.