Focus Friday – God’s Word, Your Hammer

Focus on this scripture throughout the day. It’s about the pulverizing  power of God’s Word. It’s like a hammer; so use it by speaking it! It’s what He desires us to believe. Believe it is true for you because God’s Word is Truth.  Speak this Word to yourself throughout the day.

Focus Friday Hammer

Delayed but not Denied

A promise of God may be delayed but His Word tells us it is not denied (2 Corinthians 1:20).

Have you prayed for a child for a LOONNGG time? Do you feel like God is ignoring your request or is somehow holding back the one thing that you desire with all of your being?

Today, I want to encourage you to not give up while you wait.

Take a look at the Bible’s account about the prophet Daniel and the delay he experienced in the manifestation of his requests to God (Daniel 10:1-12). Daniel was a man of boldness; he was not afraid to pray and trust in God, even when it was illegal for him to do so.  Daniel prayed earnestly—he had “set his heart,” that is, devoted himself, to this thing he was praying about.The Scriptures give the account of how the prophet lamented for 21 days, not understanding why he had not yet heard from God. He mourned during that time, not eating, not anointing himself.

Is it possible that the waiting had become a distraction to Daniel? Could it be that in the waiting his focus had changed from the faithfulness of God to the troublesome circumstances surrounding him? Not necessarily. There could be something else working behind the scenes to cause the delay in manifestation.

When God, When?

Do you sometimes wonder WHEN God’s promises will manifest in your life? Delays are a strategic tactic of the devil. It’s during the delays that he seeks to fill your mind with doubt. He wants you to ever so slowly lose your trust in God’s willingness to answer your prayer.  He wants you to become hopeless, thinking that having a baby will never happen for you.

delayed but not deniedThe devil wants you to believe that God’s promises of fertility are not true for you. He wants you distracted, stressed out, and anxious about your future rather than resting in knowing that God’s promises are true for you.

But, when you look up and see Jesus in the midst of your situation, you see more clearly that He is right there with you, loving you and wanting to give you the desires of your heart. In Daniel’s case, when he looked up and saw God’s messenger, the messenger acknowledged, “I have come in response to your words” (Daniel 10:12 NASB) and that he had been dispatched to bring the answer as soon as God heard Daniel’s request.

What had caused the delay? It wasn’t anything that Daniel had done. It wasn’t anything God had done. Evil spiritual forces had interrupted the dispatch and caused the delay.

Have you considered that spiritual forces are causing the delay in the manifestation of God’s promises in your life?  The delay is meant to make you give up, to become hopeless, and to no longer expect that God’s promises will come to pass in your life.

How can you deal with this delay?

The best way is to continue to hold on to His promises by speaking them daily. Speak them with gratitude, as if they have already been granted to you.As you speak them, you build your faith (Romans 10:17). As you speak them, your mind stays focused on Jesus and His loving power instead of the turmoil of your circumstances. As you speak them, you’ll find it easier to let go of the problem and let God solve it.

It’s important to realize that God loves you, that He has heard your prayer, and that He wants His promises to manifest in your life. While you wait, it’s critical to trust in God’s faithfulness and to never give up on His promises.

Remember, delayed does not mean denied when it comes to God’s promises. The spiritual aspect of infertility always needs to be addressed.

While you wait, here are some additional scriptures to consider, speak, and believe.

You are loved:

John 17:23b ESV - that the world may know that You sent Me and loved them even as You loved Me.

God doesn’t withhold His goodness:

Psalm 84:11 HNV- For the LORD God is a sun and a shield. The LORD will give grace and glory. He withholds no good thing from those who walk blamelessly.

You’ve been made blameless; infertility is not a punishment:

2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV– “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”

Trust Him:

Jeremiah 17:7 NLT- “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.”

Mark 11:22-23 NIV – “Have faith in God. Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.

God’s word is true and final:

Psalm 119:89 NLT - Your eternal word, O Lord, stands firm in heaven.

Matthew 24:35 NIV - Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

It’s a spiritual battle:

Ephesians 6:12 NASB– “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places”.

A Story of Fertility Hope – Part 2

It can be difficult to maintain fertility hope BUT, God is the God of the impossible.

I met Camille virtually, through my blog, in July 2012. She was disheartened about her infertility and was searching for some answers. We exchanged a couple of emails during my attempt to encourage her to keep her hope alive. I shared her email in last week’s post.

Fast forward to July 2014: As I stated last week, I “happened” to come across her email while cleaning out a file (I LOVE IT WHEN GOD SETS THINGS UP!). I decided to check in with her to see how she was doing.

Here’s a part of her email. My prayer is that is gives you hope and inspires you to trust the promises and faithfulness of God. He is not only able, He is willing!

Hi Evangeline,

It is so nice to hear from you. God is good. I am happy to report to you that my husband and I have been highly blessed and favored. I am a few days away from being 38 weeks pregnant with a little boy due July 28th.  Your book, A Seed of Hope, was so encouraging and truly advanced my faith that this would happen for us one day!

I have to say that my husband and I read your book and it was so encouraging.  I would re-read certain passages over and over again when doubt and fear crept in. Back in November my husband and I decided to start the process for IVF.  This was after trying 3 unsuccessful IUIs before I ever read your book. So we thought we would go for it and if it was God’s will, it would happen for us.

Here’s Camille’s back story:

One day I was talking with my best friend about my struggle with infertility. I have to mention that she and her husband had just given birth to my god-daughter through IVF and while I was extremely happy for her, I felt why was God not making it happen for me.

However, on this particular day of talking with my best friend, I was so down and depressed … I felt she could no longer relate because she had her baby. That’s another story.

I remember going to Wal-Mart to get some household supplies after getting off the phone with her and when I came out it was pouring down raining. With no umbrella and getting completely soaked and wet, I looked up to the sky and said to God, “Come on… are you serious?” I was so full of anger and depression.

However, when I got home, I had an email from you! Now I had never spoken to you and am sure that I had only posted on your blog just one time. This was a sign to me that the Lord hears us and he sends people our way (sometimes even strangers) to show us that he is still with us even when we think he is not. I have used this story as a testimony.

I really wanted to let you know how much you and your book have meant to our lives. You following up with me is another reminder of the importance of telling our story of God’s greatness and continued blessings.

Thank you and I love you!

Camille

Camille was so thoughtful– she sent me a set of her baby’s pictures. He’s adorable and such a cutie pie when he yawns. :)

I hope her story will serve to encourage you to continue to trust God’s love for you, stand on His promises by believing and speaking God’s Word into your life, and expect that they will produce His and your desired harvest in your life.

Need more encouragement? Decide now to pull away from the stress of infertility and renew your mind to the promises of God about your fertility.

Join me at my next iHope Fertility Retreat in November 2014!

The iHope Fertility Retreat is a time of refreshing, restoration, and renewal.

 

fertility hope, iHope fertility retreat

Monday’s Marinade – Power

Monday’s Marinade is provided to you as a means of “soaking yourself” in the hope-filled Word of God at the beginning of your week. Start your week by meditating on this Word about the power of the words you speak. Repeatedly think about it and quietly say it to yourself.  Marinate and season your week with hope and a confident expectation of good things happening!

Here’s your spiritual marinade for power this week:

monday's marinade - power

Focus–My “F-Word” for August

My "F-word" Rocks

My “F-word” Rocks

Focus: to concentrate; to have a central point of attraction, attention, or activity.

Half of August is officially over. Time for an update on this month’s “F-word” — FOCUS.

I’ve developed the habit going to my special chair every morning soon after I awaken to sit and read a devotional and my Bible. I recently finished Encouragement for Today by Renee Swope and the Proverbs 31 Ministry Team (I highly recommend it). Some word or phrase will usually jump out at me while I’m reading and I’ll spend time finding other scripture passages that broaden my understanding. I feel my best when my day starts focused on the Word. And so I should; after all, the Word is Jesus, right?

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  ~ John 1:1

During these first two weeks of August, there have been days when I’ve seen all the benefits that come from being focused. My To Do List gets whittled down quickly, I’m less stressed, and feel better about myself and what I’m accomplishing. Taking steps toward my goals is getting easier. I feel less burdened and more joyful throughout the day.

F-word, Focus

There have also been a few days when I’ve gone to bed feeling like I haven’t focused on anything at all–work–family–marriage–my health (exercise)—ANYTHING. It seems as if my To Do List has gone virtually unchecked. I’ll ask myself, “What did I do with my time today???!!!” I shouldn’t beat myself up about it. Those are the moments when I should shift my focus back to Jesus’ love for me.

I prod myself to ask Him to be my time and task manager for the next day— to guide my decision-making so I can do what HE needs me to do in my marriage, family, work, etc.  Those days that I make that request are always more productive. :)

Here’s what I’ve learned: DISTRACTIONS are the enemy of focus.

When I purposely ignore the distractions and keep my eyes on Jesus, when I look to Him to show me the way throughout my day, I am more productive, less stressed, and live with a more hope-filled focus.

Thanks to all of you who let me know last month that you’re taking this F-Word challenge with me. Let’s see how things improve the rest of this month as we focus and allow Jesus to be at the center of what we do each day.

Here are a few affirmations crafted from passages from the Message Bible about focus that I hope will help you direct your attention to the One who is ultimately able and willing to help you in every situation you’re facing every day.

  • “Give me an uncluttered and focused heart so that I can obey what you tell me and live by Your directions and counsel.” ~ 1 Chronicles 21:19
  • “I shift my focus  from what I do to what Jesus has already done for me.” ~ Romans 3:31
  • “I quit focusing on the handicap/challenge/trouble and begin appreciating and using Your gift of grace.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:6-8

Focus Friday-Delayed

Delayed does not mean denied!

Focus on this scripture throughout the day. It’s God’s Word about His promises being firm and true for you in Jesus’ finished work on the cross. It’s what He desires us to believe. Believe it is true for you because God’s Word is Truth.

Use it as an affirmation. Speak this Word to yourself throughout the day. Personalize it by putting your name in it!

focus friday delayed

A Story of Fertility Hope – Part 1

Having fertility hope is important!

If you feel like giving up on God in your hope for improved fertility and having a child, read on…

Recently, I shared with you that a woman who has been reading my book, A Seed of Hope: God’s Promises of Fertility, had become pregnant.

 

fertility hope, A Seed of Hope

Camille and I first communicated about 2 years ago because she’d found my blog and posted a comment. In addition to responding to her comment on the blog, I sent her a personal email reply a few weeks later.   I got a response from her (back in July 2012) that she has given me permission to share:

Hello Evangeline,

I hope you are well.

It was meant for you to send me an email just when you did. God knows what we need and when we need it. I have been reading A Seed of Hope and it is very encouraging. However, I have not been in the Word (the Bible or A Seed of Hope) the last few weeks. Things have been rough for me emotionally. I’ve been having feelings of questioning God and my faith, then feeling guilty for that.

I have received the news of so many people announcing their pregnancy within recent weeks. I am happy for them, but it makes me sad that it hasn’t been my time. Then I feel guilty because although we have been dealing with infertility, I have so many reasons to be grateful: life with all my faculties, a wonderful, loving and supportive husband, family, and much more. So much more it is impossible for me to name them all.

I also feel guilty because I don’t want my relationship with the Lord being only based on Him making this happen for me or for it to be perceived that way. I also feel guilty at times because I have let this infertility issue consume so much of my mind and energy instead of focusing on the Word and goodness of God. I then get mad at myself because I know it’s the trick of the enemy but I still fall for it.

Thank you so much for checking in because just reading your email has given me encouragement. The fact that you emailed me this day, during this time, at one of my lowest emotionally, confirms to me that the Lord hears my cry and he knows what I need and when I need it. Thank you for listening to God’s Spirit leading you to email me. BTW, I have recommended the book to other friends who are going through similar situations.

Thank you,

–Camille 

Two years later, in July 2014, I “happened” to come across her email while cleaning out a file (I LOVE IT WHEN GOD SETS THINGS UP!). I decided to check in with her to see how she was doing. When I received her reply, my chin dropped to the floor—she was almost 38 weeks pregnant! More important than anything else in her journey, Camille’s heart had become fertile ground for the seed of God’s Word she planted (Mark 4:14-20).  It grew and flourished in her life as she made the spiritual aspect of the infertility a priority. It enabled her to increase her trust in God and expect a miracle from Him.

Next week, I’ll share a part of her most recent email to me. I know that it will give you hope and inspire you to trust the promises of God.

Will you choose to hope continually even when things look hopeless?

If you need some in-person inspiration and relief from the daily stress of infertility, please come to my next Fertility Retreat, November 7-9, 2014 in Phoenix, AZ.

fertility hope, iHope fertility retreat

Monday’s Marinade – Courage

Monday’s Marinade is provided to you as a means of “soaking yourself” in the hope-filled Word of God at the beginning of your week.

Start your week by meditating on this Word about why you can have courage. Repeatedly think about it and quietly say it to yourself.  Marinate and season your week with hope and a confident expectation of good things happening!

Here’s your spiritual marinade for courage this week:

marinade, courage, make room for mommy

Truths from a Grapevine

In John 15:4-5 [MSG], Jesus says, Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me. I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing.

Grapes in San Francisco

If you look at this picture I took of a grapevine in Napa Valley, you’ll see a thick, strong vine standing at ground level. The vine is always firmly rooted, remaining in a fixed state. Above the vine, tied onto the trellis, are many tender and flexible branches filled with large green leaves and clusters of  juicy grapes. They tend to be blown in the direction of any wind that comes along, thereby the need for the trellis so that the branches aren’t torn away from the vine by gusty winds. The branches get their nourishment through the vine, which transports energizing sap to each branch. The vine acts as the strong connector to the source of energy and nutrition—the root system in the soil.  Because the vine imparts sap, each of the branches has the ability to produce leaves and fruit.

Jesus said that He is the Vine. As the Vine, He imparts His nature (the sap) to us. With His strength and power to stand against the winds of life, He brings stability to our lives as we choose to make a pointed recognition of Him in our everyday lives. Because He is connected to the Father (the roots), He is always giving to us whatever the Father gives to Him. The Father is the source of everything good and EVERYTHING the Father gives to Jesus is good (James 1:17). The blessing in that fact is that Jesus has finished the necessary work on the cross in order for us to receive all that goodness and favor from the Father. His answer to every promise that He made is “YES” (2 Corinthians 1:20).

As the branches, we are in constant need of spiritual contact with Jesus in order to live the abundant life He died and rose to give us. Believers will always have Him living inside their spirit but, with no pointed commitment to fellowship with Him, we don’t bear much fruit–there’s not a lot of evidence of His favor working in our lives. Abiding in Him is the difference maker in our personal harvest.

Abide= to be established, to have continual fellowship with no separation

Abiding is an act of faith in His grace. It means we choose to depend on Jesus and rest in His finished work. It means receiving His “no matter what” kind of love over and over again everyday. A branch separated from the vine cannot produce leaves or grapes. By remaining connected with Him, we branches receive the Vine’s sap, the stream of supernatural Life flowing from the Father to Jesus to us. Abiding provides for greater production of fruitfulness/good things in our lives.

Without Him=making no use of, having no association with, lack of connection and fellowship

As a believer in Jesus, you are never out of His care because He said He would never forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). After salvation, it is our choice whether to make daily fellowship with Him a priority so that we take advantage of the Life flowing from Him to us. When we have the combination of Him in us and us abiding in Him, then we bear much fruit and enjoy the abundant life Jesus speaks of in John 10:10.

We have free will to choose whether to abide in Him today. We get to decide whether we will look to Jesus throughout the day and abide in Him or be distracted by the gusty winds of life and feel disconnected.

What will you choose?

 

Monday’s Marinade – No Fear

Monday’s Marinade is provided to you as a means of “soaking yourself” in the hope-filled Word of God at the beginning of your week.

Start your week by meditating on this Word about fear and anxiety. Repeatedly think about it and quietly say it to yourself.  Marinate and season your week with hope and a confident expectation of good things happening!

Here’s your spiritual marinade for this week:

Monday's Marinade Isa 41-10