Cheri's Blog

Shattering Doubt

Shattering Doubt

Shattering Doubt

She Prays on Friday

Last week I met with a group of precious souls gathered because they believe God has or is calling them to write a particular message to a particular audience. Writing is a solitary endeavor. Most days it feels like you are trying to be something you are not. Other days it seems you have made up the calling in your own egomaniacal brain. Getting together with others who question, even doubt, God’s ability to use them is comforting.

Without knowing what God is speaking into your life or any real details, I can imagine you know these doubts. Maybe you are struggling with a child, feeling like you are not a good mom. It could be you feel inadequate at your job, fearing someone might discover your deficiencies and fire you any day. So many of us keep this type of mental drama spinning, filling us with questions and hesitancy. It’s in these emotional predicaments I find Psalm 138 so instructive.

Shattering Doubt with Scripture

 

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. Psalm 138:8 ESV

 

The LORD will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands. KJV

 

These verses are filled with declaration, promise, and faithfulness. David is expressing at least three things in these verses:

  • David first declares what God will do.
  • He explains why he can say God will do the first thing.
  • Finally, David prays, asking God to be true to these realities.

The first thing we should notice is who is directing this ship.

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;

David is not the captain of his ship. At the onset, David declares who is in charge—and it’s not him. Neither are you in charge of our own ship. It’s not your employer, the coaches on your child’s sports team, your doctor, or any other entity that seems to hold sway over your life.

The Problem of Doubt

Most of the time our problem is us. We lead. David makes clear he cannot orchestrate his life to turn out the way he wants. If you know his history, the man tried directing his own life, and it was a colossal disaster. He stole someone else’s wife, got her pregnant, and had her husband killed. Of course, he got caught. Then the child died. The whole selfish and sin-filled season left David looking like a loser for years. There was a loss of dignity, respect, and at one time, the kingdom.

The Solution for Doubt

This man knows a thing or two about what he declares here. David’s way is not better. The LORD will fulfill His purpose for him. God will. Not David. At the same time, David knows something you and I often forget. You can be a total screw-up and a disappointment to everyone and yourself while still experiencing this promise.

The LORD Will. . .

Consider his certainty. David states this as an absolutely surefire deal. The LORD will. He will. David does not hesitate with “God might, but I’m not sure because I’m a loser.” He does not record how God is able but likely not with him. Instead, he knows what you and I often forget. Even in the midst of our failures and screw-ups, the LORD will. This is the assured faith we need in what is not seen or deserved.

The LORD Will for You. . .

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me. It’s not an impersonal gesture like the gift bags given to every conference participant when you check in at registration. You and the other thousand participants enjoy the same free stickers, schedule, a pen, and cheap water bottles. Everybody gets the same thing. It’s not personal.

This is not how God works.

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; (ESV)

What an ever-so-personal promise.

Shattering Doubt with Promises

I love how the KJV and the Amplified versions record it:

The LORD will perfect that which concerns me.

There are a lot of things which concern me, yet—it’s still just me. And it’s still just you. God is concerned about that which concerns you.

David is as sure of God’s concern and devotion to him, personally, as part of His character.

. . .your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.

This sticking-to-you-like glue, never to be shaken off kind of love that will not end is steadfast. Forget what you have done or can’t do. He loves you. There is mercy enough. David has tried God in this and lived to tell tales. Ugly ones. Let us not forget this man was a real person who knew and experienced what you and I can know and experience. The love of the Lord toward you—as a person—will not ever end.

A Final Plea to Shatter Doubt

Shattering DoubtBecause of these realities, David is drawn to plead with God.

Do not forsake the work of your hands.

You would think David would be so convinced of God’s ability, based on the preceding lines, there would be no need for direct petition here. What is this plea about? The Bible doesn’t say. What we can recognize are patterns. David has a habit of walking us through an internal process—some necessary inner work of getting his heart ready to act.

David first states the known. God is personally invested in your present and future for everlasting good because of His commitment to His own. This understanding is backed up because of God’s steadfast love for His people. Therefore, David injects a let us not leave anything on the table type plea. In other words, “Lord, do it in spite of my shortcomings and lack.” It’s a plea based on His character, calling God to crush any doubt to which he is clinging being faithful to Who He is and what He promises.

What an incredible prayer to use in our own lives today.

A Prayer for God to Fulfill His Purpose in You

Lord,

Thank You for investing in that which concerns my friend. I thank You for Your commitment to her. Right now, I ask what David asks: Fulfill Your purpose for her wherever she is. Perfect what concerns her in her family, her relationships, in ministry or in work. You lead.

Because of Your love for her, show this friend Your mercy to use her brokenness. Demonstrate Your character in her life. Work wonders in and through her. Yes! Fulfill your purposes for her life. For what she cannot yet see or understand, I pray for clarity. Inherent in these verses is the possibility of doubt and  discouragement. Therefore, renew her sense of trust and action, looking to You to move out diligently until she sees the fulfillment of what You have called her to in this season. For all this we thank you. In the glorious and powerfully able Name of Jesus,

Amen

For His Glory,

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The Journey Toward Waiting WellConquering Chaos

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

Be sure to check out the Stirring Faith Podcast, where you will find encouraging episodes like this one:

If you like Truths Jesus Taught 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

 

Do Not Waste These Gray Hairs

Don't Waste These Gray Hairs Blog

Don’t Waste These Gray Hairs

The She Prays Friday edition of the blog seeks to be some of the most encouraging FIVE minutes of your Fridays, straight from the Word of God. Welcome. I’m so glad you are here because today is extra special. It’s my birthday (and I’m not 29–not even close). I have a few gray hairs. And with these and the passing of time, there is the fear of becoming irrelevant. Today’s Scripture screams my sentiments about my age at this stage in life, and maybe your own: Lord, don’t waste these gray hairs! 

Psalm 71:17-18

O God, from my youth you have taught me,
and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.

So even to old age and gray hairs,
O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might to another generation,
your power to all those to come. 

I am experiencing another turning of the clock, becoming a much older version of myself. This birthday is not a Big One, just another one. Sort of like our Psalmist, I have been reflecting on the reality of life and the passing of time. Here the author ponders his reality, that God has been with him teaching him, growing him in his character, and allowing him to experience the wonders of who God is and what He does—which enables him to tell other people just how great God is.

And this has been fulfilling.

So much so, this is what he does not want to stop. The Psalmist fears, much like you and I might fear, in the quietness of our own hearts–that we will get passed over. Replaced. Not picked anymore, because we are too old. No one wants to listen. What could we possibly have to offer?

While this may be true when it comes to fashion (as I refuse the high wasted movement from the ’80s), keeping up with the latest technology trends, or advising people about what entity sells the best kale and chi tea.

Like the Psalmist…

Don't Waste These Gray Hairs StoryMy heart’s cry is not about all that. I don’t need to be so cool, and you likely feel the same way. More than anything, I want God to keep me relevant enough to proclaim His glory, His goodness, His mercy, His compassion, and His overall Ableness–to the next generation AND BEYOND. “You can take a lot of things, but please don’t take that!” This is the essence of the Psalmist’s prayer.

I don’t know if you have ever felt this way, holding a passion to continue passing on what God has done beyond your own experience–but it is a gift worth asking God to continue to give.

Today, I pray for the one who is a believer who is filled with the desires articulated in the verses in Psalm 71. I am going to pray the Scripture over you much like I have prayed it over myself for the last few years.

A “Don’t Waste These Gray Hairs” Prayer

Lord,

Today I pray over my friend reading as one who knows You. She is one of Your own children. I thank you that You have been with her to teach her, showing Yourself to her, so that she knows of Your wonders and mercy and greatness. I thank you for her willingness to share You with others so much so that THIS IS HER HEART.

As time keeps marching onward, the years are passing. Entropy is setting in. Age is much more apparent, and the fears of getting passed by in so many areas creep in. Let this not be so with YOU. Do not forsake Your own, Lord. Not until she has proclaimed Your greatness to another generation, and your power to ALL those to come.

This is a hefty request because ALL MEANS ALL. But You, alone, are able to make this a reality in her life. I ask that you be gracious to her and give her this blessing.

In the glorious and powerfully able Name of Jesus,

Amen. So be it.

Be sure to stop by FB or Instagram to wish me a happy gray-headed Birthday (LOL), and remind me to keep my eyes right here–focused on God’s willingness to give what we have asked.

Thanks for stopping by. I pray we meet again soon.

For His Glory,

 

 

Have you discovered Cheri on YouVersion where she has over TWENTY different reading plans for you to choose from, such as:

If you like the Journey you will like Finding Light

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

 

 

 

 

 

Be sure to check out the Stirring Faith Podcast, where you will find encouraging episodes like this one:

If you like Truths Jesus Taught you will like finding light

 

 

 

 

 

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

Becoming a Stronger You when to quit

 

 

 

Who Does God Say I Am?

Who Does God Say That I Am?

One of the most formative seasons in my life came through difficulty. It was the kind of time and place that causes a person to question if they are truly in relationship with the Father or just crazy. The outside voices pouring into me from those people I trusted were less than positive. They were downright mean. If these voices were accurate in their assessment of me, then I clearly could not hear God. The dissent raised against me was not, “When you do or say X, it makes me feel…” or any particular situation in which I could apologize.

From their perspective, the problem was me.

And my problem was twofold:

  • I believed them.
  • I did not know who God says that I am.

It was during this season God taught me Whose voice matters most. At just the right time, the many places across Scripture about those who have made Jesus their Savior came alive. In my desperation, I began to write these down. This understanding was nothing short of a paradigm shift in my life, leading me to believe God over man and helping me discern His purposes for my life. I thought you might benefit from knowing who God says you are, as well.

who does God say I am

Here are 15 verses that tell you who God says you are.

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. John 15:16

 

Ephesians 1:3

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, Ephesians 1:3

1 Corinthians 3:16

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 1 Corinthian 3:16

Romans 8:37

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37

Psalm 97:11

Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart. Psalm 97:11

1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9

Ephesians 2:10

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

1 Thessalonians 5:5

For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. 1 Thessalonians 5:5

Ephesians 2:8

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8

1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Ephesians 2:7

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, Ephesians 2:7

Ephesians 2:4-5

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved– Ephesians 2:4-5

1 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  2 Corinthians 5:17

Colossians 3:12

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, Colossians 3:12

Matthew 5:14

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14

I pray these verses minister to you in a genuine way today. Be sure to share this resource with someone who needs it. Thanks for stopping by.

Until we meet again.

For His Glory,

 

 

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Have you discovered Cheri on YouVersion where she has over TWENTY-FIVE different reading plans for you to choose from, such as:

If you like the Journey you will like Finding Light

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

 

 

 

 

 

Be sure to check out the Stirring Faith Podcast, where you will find encouraging episodes like this one:

If you like Truths Jesus Taught you will like finding light

 

 

 

 

 

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

Becoming a Stronger You when to quit

Living Shoulder 2 Shoulder

Shoulder to Shoulder

Living Shoulder 2 Shoulder

What if you were The Plan for offering hope and healing to a culture in crisis? God’s Divine plan for utilizing you and me as instruments for bringing hope into our surroundings and even impossible situations sounds about as genius as leaving my twin boys home alone for the weekend and handing over my credit cards.

It just doesn’t seem smart.

Surely there is a better pathway, one that is guaranteed to succeed. Why couldn’t God use a few millionaires, pro-athletes, and movie stars with international platforms? Maybe rain down some hail to smite the bad guys and right some wrongs, or drop a few other miracles now and then to remedy the world’s catastrophic atrocities and disasters? I mean, He is God. Can’t He fix all that is wrong in the world? Can’t He comfort the lonely and bring hope to the despairing?

Yes, He can. And He will.

Until that time arrives, His plan is YOU. Oh, He doesn’t need you… But He has fitted you perfectly into His plan.

And we won’t need to look very far to find the needy. Current research tells us what we already know. Those around us feel lonely. Isolated. They feel as if no one understands. There is no telling what they are going through. And most lack real relationships. Maybe you have felt this way, too.

The solution for people within your sphere of influence finding hope and losing their sense of isolation is, of course, Jesus. But they are never going to get to Jesus, hold up in their ruts of sameness. And people who know Jesus still face challenging situations oozing with troubles galore, disappointment, loss, or any combination of the sort. We need each other.

You and I are the catalysts for connection.

My challenge to you is to pray through connecting with a handful of women (it could just be 1-2 but no more than 5-7) in 2022. Maybe they live in your area. They might possibly work in your building or department. Or they might be the women you see regularly in and about life.

Make it a goal to meet with your handful once a month. Meet for coffee. At someone’s home, or backyard. Have dinner at a restaurant where the conversation can still rule. Inside. Outside. It doesn’t matter. Just make it casual and easy.

While you are together spend some time getting to know one another. Ask questions. Answer theirs. Then, move the conversation toward the Gospel. What you do next will depend on your group, but the goal remains the same: to offer hope and help through listening, speaking Gospel truth, and living it out.

Each month, if you subscribe to my FREE News and Updates, I will provide you with a key verse or passage, a few thoughts on that verse or passage (for you, the leader), and some discussion questions you can utilize with your group. Nothing formal. The focus is connecting and building the relationships on a deeper level to invite and foster sharing what it is like to live as Believers in Christ.

And I will throw in a recipe for sharing–something easy that doesn’t need 4-5 hours and 2 different store stops.

Shoulder to Shoulder

You will identify these goodies by the following title: Living Shoulder 2 Shoulder (taken from)

 

“For then I will restore to the peoples pure lips, So that all of them may call on the name of the LORD, To serve Him shoulder to shoulder.” Zephaniah 3:9

 

Starting a Shoulder 2 Shoulder Group

As this is the beginning, let’s forgo the verse or passage and focus on getting comfortable with the situation. Here is a suggested To-Do list as you prepare.

  • Pray for who might be in your Shoulder 2 Shoulder group.
  • Invite each one to come together when and where you have selected (think 1.5 hours to begin).
  • Use this first meeting to help people get familiar with each other and set the tone for the future.
  • Ask fun get-to-know-you questions.
  • Then use one or two of the Gospel conversation options provided.
  • Create a way of communicating your people agree upon (GroupMe, texting, email, etc.) and get everyone connected.
  • Set your next meeting date/time.
  • Before you leave, ask if there is anything you can pray for them about.
  • Start communicating with them at least once per week between meeting times.

Fun Get to know you Questions for Shoulder 2 Shoulder

  • If you could move anywhere in the world where would you move to?
  • If you could open any kind of restaurant, what would it be?
  • Do you have any pets, if so what kind, and what are their names?
  • What is a job you’d definitely not want to have?
  • For Valentine’s Day, (or something like it), would you prefer flowers or chocolate, or something different, like a new fishing pole?

Gospel Conversation Starters for Shoulder 2 Shoulder

  • What are you reading right now?
  • What is something you consider to be a great personal success? Why was it so significant?
  • What is your spiritual background?
  • Have your views on religion changed since you finished college (or became an adult)? How?

Shoulder 2 Shoulder Recipe

 

Red Velvet Cake Mix Cookies

Ingredients

1 (16.5 oz.) box red velvet cake mix

1/3 cup oil

2 large eggs (at room temperature)

1 cup white chocolate chips

Instructions

Preheat over to 350*F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Add cake mix, oil, and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Mix until combined. Add white chocolate and fold into batter. Drop by tablespoons onto prepared pans, 2 inches apart.

Bake at 350* for 10-12 minutes, or until the tops of the cookies are done. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before transferring to wire rack.

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For His Glory,

 

 

Have you discovered Cheri on YouVersion where she has over TWENTY different reading plans for you to choose from, such as:

The Journey Toward Waiting Well

 

 

 

 

 

Be sure to check out the Stirring Faith Podcast, where you will find encouraging episodes like this one:

Truths Jesus Taught How to Pray

 

 

 

 

 

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

Becoming a Stronger You when to quit

 

Finding Your Vocation

Finding Your Vocation

Finding Your Vocation

by Anita Peluso

Has anyone ever asked you “What is your vocation?” (Not your vacation to Hawaii, but your vocation.) A vocation is what you do that uses the gifts and talents God gives you. Within the church, it may describe your ministry.

When I enrolled in seminary, I was required to take several assessment tests to help me discover my gifts and determine my vocation, or my personal “calling.” Chasing after a vocation as revealed by an assessment test made me feel uneasy. Not everyone is called to be a Moses or a Paul. Not everyone’s gifts and talents are meant for full-time church work. Most of us are the unnamed faithful followers of the assembly. Over time, I discovered that developing a watchful eye for ways to live out the truths given in the Bible for all believers in all generations was my “calling”.

The Israelites were told to:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deut 6:5)

Similarly, Paul tells us to:

“Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life, […] and put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph 4:13)

What does it mean to love God, putting off your old self, and putting on your new self? Micah plainly tells the Israelites,

“What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)

In the same way, Paul tells New Testament believers,

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” (Col 3:23)

What Vocation Looks Like for You and Me

Vocation then becomes living out our daily lives in a manner that glorifies God, represents His character, and encourages others. As a wife, I am to be kind and respectful to my husband – even in the midst of disagreements. Toward my neighbor, I am to act justly and truthfully, not with deception and disrespect. As a customer, I can show appreciation for the hard work the store employee does to provide a service.

The “good works prepared in advance” (Eph 2:10), often used to describe vocation, then become the fruit of these simple truths. At your job, working honestly and heartily is the “good work” of physically demonstrating God’s righteousness to others. In your home, being kind and respectful is the “good work” of showing God’s steadfast love to those whom you love. In a paid ministry job, being humble, fair, and perceptive to the needs of those whom you serve becomes the “good work” of displaying God’s character to them.

All of these actions are our living testimony of God’s goodness and faithfulness. This living testimony is our vocation – to be ambassadors for Christ. (2 Cor 5:20)Finding Your Vocation

Your Turn

Where can you apply these biblical truths in your life today? Choose one biblical truth that you can bring to the Lord, asking him how you might apply it to a current situation or relationship in your life. The Lord will be faithful to show you how to be an ambassador for Him.

Anita

Anita recently graduated with an MA in Biblical Studies where her love of all things Old Testament took root. She lives in Western Washington with her software engineer husband and two furry cats.  Together, they are renovating 2 ½ unkempt suburban acres while converting a Ford Transit van into a camper van. On the side, she moonlights as a freelance quilt designer. You can find her on Instagram here

 

 

 

 

Have you discovered Cheri on YouVersion where she has TWENTY different reading plans for you to choose from, such as:

 

 

 

 

 

Be sure to check out the Stirring Faith Podcast, where you will find encouraging episodes like this one:

Truths Jesus Taught How to Pray

 

 

 

 

 

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

Truths Jesus Taught we Like to Forget

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