The Stirring Faith Blog

Start with What You Know

Hey there Girlfriend Days 1

Welcome to Day 1 of Hey There, Girlfriend: finding courage for friendship. I’m glad you are here and hope you will stick around for the five days. What I have learned in my adult years is that most of us could use a good friend. Many of us have been hurt by those we brought in close, and some of us have the emotional scars to prove it. Moving out to build relationships calls for risk. We are not even sure how to do it right. And because of all this, it is comforting to know that the Bible speaks to our very needs. The call, in our quest for deeper relationships with other women, is for courage. In Christ is where we will find it. The first step is to start with what you know.

Start with What You Know

Feeling isolated, lonely, or lacking in the friendship department? If so, you are in good company. In fact, the pandemic has only exacerbated the situation. Today, an alarming number of women feel they have no close friends; and if they have them, the relationships feel distant.

There can be many contributing factors causing your loneliness. The toll it takes makes us a more isolated people. Too often, you and I approach friendships in hesitation, timidity, and disappointment, weighed down with hordes of emotional baggage.

Our relationship baggage looms large because, frankly, this is not our first rodeo. We all survived middle school. Fear and experience override our faith. We stop believing God is for our good. You and I cope with our lack by dismissing our need of other people. Emotional walls stand tall for protection. We create insulators, like settling for digital relationships, because we are NOT allowing THAT to happen again. Failed friendships can leave open wounds and gaping holes in our hearts for sundry reasons we cannot fill.

How Starting with What We Know Affects Our Loneliness

Liberating our loneliness calls for a faith that believes God is for our good when all evidence is to the contrary (Psalm 34:8). Not only is He willing to meet our needs (Psalm 46:1), God is trustworthy with us in every circumstance (Deuteronomy 31:8). He also loves us despite ourselves (Romans 5:8), and sticks by our side closer than any human companion (Proverbs 18:24). In Christ, we have the best of intimacy, faithfulness, grace, comfort, and understanding, beyond what we deserve.

He, alone, sees you in your loneliness, your woundedness, and your need (Jeremiah 12:3). Just like the Psalmist, we can express how we feel and ask for His help.

Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Psalm 25:16

Courage for finding and experiencing the friendship for which we long begins with what we may already know. Jesus is the one who gets you. He stands with you when the rest of the world passes you by. Our initial move away from loneliness is to draw closer to Jesus. Believe and trust Him to provide the courage required to try again.

Start with what you know. Jesus knows how to provide for your deficits. You can rely on Him for your wholeness.

Scripture for Day 1: Start with What You Know

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Psalm 34:8

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth. Exodus 34:6

It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8

 

Meet you tomorrow for Day 2.

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A Prayer Against Distraction

cover against distraction

A Prayer Against Distraction

She Prays on Fridays

What’s your plan for the day? I’ll bet you are multitasking and fighting to get everything done on your “To Do” list. How’s that going? If you and I are anything alike, half the battle is me and my personal wanderings. I spend too much time fighting against distraction, landing in a wilderness—miles, and miles from where I intended to go.

The “what if’s,” “maybe I should,” “ooh, look at that,” “oh, I forgot about X,” cat videos and social media scrolling, creep in, seeping into my thoughts and my thumbs, turning my actions away from my original agenda, and often in an opposing direction.

I know you get it because current data supports my predicament. Researchers have found that 47% of our days are spent in this wilderness wandering. Apparently, this wandering is so common and natural that we don’t even realize it is happening.

This finding shouldn’t be surprising in light of John 10:10.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

How better for the enemy to steal our focus and attention, far from experiencing the life Jesus came to give, than to lead us into distraction before we realize it’s even happening?

If you and I desire, not only to become the most productive versions of ourselves but women who live in abundance through Christ, we need to do what is unnatural, spending our efforts working against distraction.

The Good News in our Battle Against Distraction

The good news is that we are not alone. This recent discovery by researchers is nothing new. We don’t have a discourse on the thinking behind David’s writing of Psalm 119, but we can deduce where his problem areas surfaced. He aggressively attacks the battle with thought and action.

  1. He recognizes the problem.
  2. Then he sees the solution in seeking hard after God.
  3. In that process, he prays –affirming his battle plan.

I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. Psalm 119:15 ESV

But fixing his eyes and mind on God’s truth is not his only defense. Not only does David go on the offensive, he makes some defensive moves.

Turn my eyes from looking at what is worthless; give me life in your ways. Psalm 119:36

This one Psalm has found its way into my prayers regularly – for the sole reasons I expressed above. I can’t make good decisions without divine intervention. My deep need and depravity and longing for what seems natural – overpowers me and I lose.

Unless I do exactly what David models here.

How to Win Against Distraction

Recognize the problem

Attack the problem by doing what is not natural

Praying for God to enable me to be victorious in seeking Him over that which seeks to weaken me, shrink my reach, make me ineffective, and live a life absent of abundance.

I find Proverbs 4:25 to be helpful as I think and move and pray.

Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Proverbs 4:25

We could go on looking to other places in the Bible that illustrate this same fight – and hear from different people from various centuries who knew the battle well. From Job to the writers of Psalms, Solomon, Luke, Matthew, Peter, Paul, and the author of Hebrews, to name a few, the battle against distraction is as old as time and common to all peoples.

Today, let’s advance toward abundant life in Jesus through prayer – to help us do what we cannot and experience what we might miss otherwise.

A Prayer Against Distractions

Against Distraction pinLord,

I am so thankful for your timeless Word that meets us in our culture, our circumstances, and our need. Today I pray over my friend what I, myself need. Help her to recognize her need to move away from distraction and toward You. And as she does, make her away of what is stealing her attention and affection from you. If it’s too much on her agenda, give her the wisdom to know what NOT to do.

When her mind wanders into the wilderness of wastefulness, help her see how and when it’s happening. Instead, draw her focus to your word. Make it clear, easy to understand, and enable her to embrace what you give over every natural inclination that beds down in her heart. Show her how to meditate on you and what it means to fix her eyes on you. And at the same time, turn her attention away from all that will not last. Supernaturally enable her to look directly forward, and gaze on you and the eternal purposes you have planned. Give her life in your ways, and nothing less.

Thank you for transforming her thought life to experience the abundance that lies in you.

In the glorious and unmatched name of Jesus.

Amen

Have you received my FREE gift to you? Get 3 resources to help you experience more of God in your everyday life. It’s filled with practical helps for living out what really matters.

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Don’t forget to check out the latest FREE reading plan available from YouVersion?

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Times of testing

 

God is For You

Cover God is for you

God is For You

She Prays on Friday

She Prays exists for two main reasons. One reason results from the rich depository of resources I have discovered for my own prayers in Scriptures, and the second is the realization that a woman might not have anyone in her life praying over her. Even if we cannot be together, in the flesh, I can pray the Word of God over you. There is nothing more effective than praying Scripture into the lives of others. And the easiest place for finding a biblical treasure trove to utilize is in the Psalms. Today I pray you leave with an overwhelming sense that God is for you.

How can you know God is for you?

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Romans 8:31-32

Simply stated, the Bible tells us He is. And because He is, Paul moves us to consider the limits God will go on our behalf.

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

I’m not really thinking along the lines of whether God is going to give you a new Mercedes or help you win the lottery. You can ask-but I’m thinking more about personal transformation, and greater Kingdom-type long-lasting ventures. Things like:

  • People transformation
  • Situation-reversals
  • Relationship reconciliation, and
  • Mountain-moving of all sorts.

The Offer

Herein lies the offer with a solid guarantee. Do you want to be different? Do you want to see a change in a relationship? Does anyone you work with need the hope found in Jesus? Is there any situation in your family that cries for reconciliation? Are there broken friendships that needs restoration? Are you waiting for God to move a mountain of obstacles in some miraculous way? What about the people you live around? Is there anything you are facing or anyone you know with consequences that are literally life or death in severity.

For thousands of years God has been placing His people in just the right location in exactly the situations necessary, exposing them to needs, hurts, atrocities, pain and disparity. Why? For what purpose? So that we would pray, begging Him to move on their behalf, and believe.

We must ask ourselves if we really expect God to do what we request? Are we ready for Him to do what is not humanly possible—to make a way in the darkest, bleakest situations? Because, if God is for us, who can be against us?

Still, God is for you.

What about you?

Do you believe God is for you?

Are you convinced, like Paul, that He for you in your situation? We’re not manipulating God here. God is Sovereign. He will do what He will do. But are we living today as if our God is for us. personally? If so, are there things that you and I need to get in place if God were to actually answer our prayers? This is the confidence in which Paul encourages us to pray.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Romans 8:31-32

A Prayer for knowing God is for you

God is for you pinFather,

I pray for my friend, reading today, thanking you for essentially, having her back. Help her believe You are the God who knows her and loves her, regardless of what she has done or failed to do. The reasoning is so clear. You love her so much; you did not spare the pain or torture or humiliation or rejection or even an excruciating death from your own son to offer her such love.

Today, I ask that you grant her what she needs. I pray for a boldness on her part to ask with expectation. Give her the boldness to petition You with a “How will you not graciously give her all things?” mindset. Prepare her for your response. Heal hurts. Repair brokenness. Open doors. Make a way forward. Usher in transformation. More than anything, help her to know you as the God who is for her.

Amen.

Have you received my FREE gift to you? Get 3 resources to help you experience more of God in your everyday life. It’s filled with practical helps for living out what really matters.

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The Journey Toward Waiting WellConquering Chaos

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You can meet Cheri on the She Yearns blog for more truth-saturated, Gospel-centered encouragement like this:

 when to quit

 

 

Praying Through Times of Testing

Times of testing

Praying Through Times of Testing

Sometimes you can read a chapter or a passage of verses in the Bible that feels like the person writing is sitting near you, telling you a story. That’s how Psalm 66 lands on me. It’s conversational as if the writer is talking to an actual person, and he’s telling the account passionately in just a few words. In these moments we have together, I want to pick up on that passion by sharing his words with you, and then use them as a framework for a prayer you and I can pray through times of testing.

Psalm 66:5-12

Come and see what God has done:
he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
6He turned the sea into dry land;
they passed through the river on foot.
There did we rejoice in him,
7who rules by his might forever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah

8Bless our God, O peoples;
let the sound of his praise be heard,
 Psalm 66:5-8

The Invitation

The first section calls the friend or audience to come in close. He wants you to see with your mind and heart what God has accomplished. No. They were not there to experience the wonders described, but they have been the benefactors. They didn’t watch the people cross the Red Sea, but they are a part of the community that came from that legacy.

Because of what God has done (that which we did not see but can experience the effects) the writer drawer on the listener to raise her eyes upward. Stop and praise the Lord in a manner He can hear it from you.  Then he gives us some reasons that are not locked away in a history book or grandpa’s storytime.

9who has kept our soul among the living
and has not let our feet slip.

God has kept you alive.

Think of all your near misses. Do any come to mind? Personally, I have experienced more than enough to legitimize this point. I’ve walked away from a plane crash in was in, car accidents, and tornadoes. From what I understand, as an infant, I wasn’t expected to make it out of the hospital alive. I’m sure you can think of similar accounts. The bottom line is this: If you are breathing, it’s on purpose for a purpose. Girl, Praise God!

Then our writer does something you and I don’t always like to reflect upon or raise our hands in the air to celebrate.

10For you, O God, have tested us;
you have tried us as silver is tried.
11You brought us into the net;
you laid a crushing burden on our backs;
12you let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water;

God uses tests, nets, and enemies

According to Scripture, there are times in our lives when God tests us. He brings us “into the net.” Not that He leads us into situations so that we will fail or will be destroyed, but He will allow circumstances, difficulties, bad guys, and impossible situations access to us without intervening. In other words, God allows adversity that has been at times, unbearable, varied, and seemingly constant–just one thing after another, on purpose.

I wouldn’t do it His way. You and I might even say, we don’t like His way. It’s been awful at times. Crushing. Painful. And difficult. Yet, the Psalmist is not finished:

yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.

Times of TestingYes, we go through the times of testing, but He does not leave us there in the net, or in the storm, fire, or dying under the weight of it all. I don’t believe the Psalmist is saying there is a particular location on this planet this side of heaven that is absent of drama, problem-free, with no more nets. But there is abundance in reliance on Jesus through the mess, looking upward at Him through the difficulties rather than focusing on what doesn’t last and cannot save. And it’s right here for us to use as we pray.

This one is a prayer that helps turn our eyes upward, speaking these things back to God in gratitude. If we are in the middle of the difficulties, buried under the weight, we can pray for Him to be true to this word. Also, we can pray for this victory and the presence of God over someone else, which is what I am about to do for you.

A Prayer for Times of Testing

Lord Jesus,she prays

In this moment, I bless your Name. Thank you for the mighty works you have done to get us here today, praying, and able to know your Word freely. More specifically, I thank you for the life of my friend reading. For Your perfect purposes You have preserved her. Help her live in complete assurance and freedom. There is no accident, coincidence, or mistake that You have provided for her presence, her abilities, her availabilities, and her positioning.

We know that to ready her, equip her, and to show her to Whom she belongs, You have tested and will test her. In fact, You may be testing her now, allowing her to experience untold difficulties, strains and struggles we cannot alleviate. So Lord, I ask that you give her the strength to rely on You. Help her to see through to the end, keeping her eyes looking upward, and not be given to discouragement. Give her eyes to see beyong the testing toward Your abundance–whatever that looks like from Your perspective.

In the glorious and unmatched name of Jesus.

Amen

Have you received my FREE gift to you? Get 3 resources to help you experience more of God in your everyday life with practical helps for living out what really matters.

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Don’t forget to check out the latest FREE reading plan available from YouVersion?

She has over TWENTY different reading plans for you to choose from. Just click on the images below to check it out:

The Journey Toward Waiting WellConquering Chaos

If you like She Prays for battling fear you will like finding light

You can meet Cheri on the She Yearns blog for more truth-saturated, Gospel-centered encouragement like this:

 when to quit

 

How Do You Face Disappointment

disappointment

How Do You Face Disappointment?

Guest Post by Rebecca Barlow Jordan

When disappointment knocks on your door, how do you face it?

I remember when a phone call brought me to my knees. “He’s gone.” I never got to say goodbye to my father.

And the time my gynecologist’s brow furrowed as he placed his stethoscope to my abdomen and frowned: “There’s no heartbeat.”

And that’s only a few.

Maybe you’ve experienced your own dilemmas and disappointments:

A betrayal. A job loss. A prodigal. And so many other disappointments too many to mention.

I haven’t always responded the way I wanted to when disappointment arrived at my doorstep. But through the years, God has taught me some awesome things about His character and His activity in my life—and in all our lives.

What would your faithful Father tell you if you talked to Him about your disappointment? Does God really care about your concerns? Is He too busy to listen?

Does God Care About Your Disappointments?

Throughout the Bible, God offers encouragement when disappointment tries to steal our hopes, joys, and dreams. How do respond at those times? As we turn to Him, based on His Word and His attributes, I wonder what our faithful heavenly Father might say to us personally. Here’s what I imagine Him saying to me.

My child, disappointment can creep into your life like an unseen enemy. Just like in a marriage or a family, when you hold on to misplaced expectations, you will meet frustration head-on. Imperfect people will let you down; circumstances will cloud your perspective, and life will disappoint you. Sometimes you even get angry with Me if My answers are not what you expected or if I don’t come through like you thought I would. But I will never withhold My love or anything good from My children.

I am the One who never disappoints. And I always know what’s best for you. How you choose to respond is up to you. But instead of giving up, try giving your discontentment to Me. Are you afraid that I will disappoint you if you place your life and circumstances in My hands? I’ve always been faithful. My Holy Spirit has flooded your heart with My love and security. When you open your heart to Me, placing your hopes and expectations in Me, I have promised you a wonderful love relationship with Me—the One who never disappoints.

You can read my answer and prayer response to God in my new book, Day-votions® with Your Faithful Father: 90 Days with the One Who Wants to Meet All Your Needs.

What Does the Bible Say About Your Disappointment?

Here are only a few of the Bible verses in God’s Word that verify His care for us in times of disappointment: 

Those who believe in him will never be disappointed. Romans 9:33 TLB

And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:5 NLT

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 NLT

God’s Word reassures us and encourages us to respond in a way that draws us closer to Him. He is, after all, the only One who never disappoints.

DAILY TRUTH:

Disappointment is only an appointment to trust God more.

facing disappointmentChallenge

Here’s a challenge for you today to help you plan your response the next time you face disappointment:

Write down any recent disappointments you’ve experienced. How did you react? Do you see any misplaced expectations? One by one, turn them over to God and ask Him to renew your life with joy. How would you like to respond to disappointments the next time you encounter them?¹

Rebecca

¹© 2022, Rebecca Barlow Jordan, adapted from Day-votions® with Your Faithful Father: 90 Days with the One Who Wants to Meet All Your Needs, All Rights Reserved. Parts of this blog post were first published as When Disappointment Comes.

From Rebecca

What if your needs were special invitations from God to experience His faithfulness in a greater way? Would you like to discover more about your faithful Father and how He longs to meet your needs? Whatever your need, He has the supply and IS the supply!

facing disappointment

 

Day-votions® with Your Faithful Father is a 90-day spiritual and devotional encounter based on God’s attributes and activity that will help you renew your hope, joy, peace, and trust in the One who is faithful and unchangeable—the One who wants to meet all your needs. Through intimate prayer conversations with your heavenly Father, focused Bible verses, powerful truths, reflective Bible study questions, and even journal pages, this book will guide you to deepen your relationship with Him. Use it as a devotional, prayer book, personal or small group Bible study, or a devotional prayer journal.  You can find it here or on Amazon.

 

 

Guest Blogger Rebecca

Rebecca Barlow Jordan is a day-voted follower of Jesus whose passion is helping others find intimacy with God. A bestselling CBA inspirational author, she has written 13 books, including Day-votions® with Your Faithful Father: 90 Days with the One Who Wants to Meet All Your Needs, and Day-votions® for Mothers, winner of the Serious Writer 2021 Book of the Decade. With the pen of a poet and the heart of a disciple, Rebecca encourages others from years of Bible study and teaching experience, in over 2000 greeting cards, devotionals, online articles, and other inspirational books. Rebecca is a minister’s wife, has two children and four grandchildren, and lives in Texas. Connect with her on her website and encouraging blog at rebeccabarlowjordan.com.

I am grateful for Rebecca sharing with us today. Be sure to check out her resources!

Have you received my FREE gift to you? Get 3 resources to help you experience more of God in your everyday life with practical helps for living out what really matters.

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Don’t forget to check out the latest FREE reading plan available from YouVersion?

She has over TWENTY different reading plans for you to choose from. Just click on the images below to check it out:

The Journey Toward Waiting WellConquering Chaos

You can meet Cheri on the She Yearns blog for more truth-saturated, Gospel-centered encouragement like this:

 when to quit