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Biblical stories of eighteen New Testament women who Jesus encouraged, empowered, and loved.

When a Woman meets Jesus, BookHow could a man who had no wife, no children, no home, no job, no money, and wandered the hills of Judea with twelve men relate to women of his time, much less women in the 21st century?

That's the question that led author, Dorothy Valcárcel, to search for biblical women whose lives intersected with Jesus. As she explored the lives of every woman Jesus met, she discovered that they faced many of the same challenges women encounter today.

Available at:
Barnes and Noble
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Christianbooks.com

 

Devotional Week 11 Friday

 

“Cast your burden on the Lord, releasing the weight of it, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be moved or made to slip and fall or to fail.”

Psalm 55: 22

Amplified Bible

 

Our Burden Bearer

 

“The little sharp vexations

And the briars that catch and fret,

Why not take all to the Helper

Who has never failed us yet?

 

Tell Him about the heartache,

And tell Him the longings, too;

Tell Him the baffled purpose

When we scarce know what to do.

 

Then, leaving all our weakness

With the One divinely strong,

Forget that we bore the burden,

And carry away the song.”

Phillips Brooks

 

 

 

Today’s Study Text:

 

1.) “But He knows the way that I take. He has concern for it, appreciates, and pays attention to it. When He has tried me, I shall come forth as refined gold, pure and luminous.”

Job 23: 10

Amplified Bible

 

2.) “For You, O God, have proved us; You have tried us as silver is tried, refined, and purified.”

Psalm 66: 10

Amplified Bible

 

3.) “Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God will receive the victor’s crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him.”

James 1: 12

Amplified Bible

The Message Bible

 

“Furnace of Affliction” – Part 25

           

“The Victor’s Crown of Life”

“While God is for us, and we keep in His love, we may with a holy boldness defy all the powers of darkness. Let Satan do his worst, he is chained; let the world do its worst, it is conquered: principalities and powers are spoiled and disarmed, and triumphed over, in the cross of Christ. Who the dares fight against us, while God Himself is fighting for us?”

Matthew Henry

 

What thoughts come to my mind when I hear the words “victor’s crown of life”?

 

What lessons have I learned at those times in my life when I’ve found myself within the “furnace of affliction”?

 

“But if the path we tread be rough and lowly, it is that in which our great Exemplar has gone before. Going down into the valley of humiliation we walk in His footsteps.”

John Dawson

 

“God wants us to be victors, not victims; to grow, not grovel; to soar, not sink; to overcome, not to be overwhelmed.”

William Arthur Ward

 

            Many years ago, my dad took my sister and me to the Hayden, Arizona copper smelter. It wasn’t far from my grandparent’s canyon ranch and my dad thought it would be interesting for us to visit this facility with its 1,001 foot tall chimney – which happens to be the tallest free-standing structure in Arizona.

 

            I’ll never forget the tour we were on for one simple reason – it was so hot inside the building. I recall my sister and I were thrilled when the tour concluded because we were two sweat balls! Our clothes were literally wet. It may seem that I’m exaggerating. But when you consider that in order for a base metal to be produced from its ore, temperatures as high as 1250 degrees C. may be required. You can understand why I used the word “hot”.  I don’t want to mislead you, it wasn’t over 1,000 degrees in the places where we were standing. However, as we passed by some of the areas where “reduction” was taking place, which I might add is the final step in smelting, you could just feel heat radiating from the furnace. As I’ve gone back in time, reflecting on what the Bible tells us about the “furnace of affliction, I’m reminded that just as the end result of “smelting” is the production of a pure form of a metal, so it is with God’s heavenly “smelting” of your life and mine. Just as most ores are impure and extraction must take place to produce the base metal; so in your life and mine, the adverse situations we face; those times of affliction we walk through; and the suffering we endure, act to reduce us to a point where we have only one “home base” to go to – and this is to Jesus. As author David Kingdon underscores, “only in the furnace of affliction do we as Christians let go of the dross to which, in our foolishness, we ardently cling.”

 

            How often in my own life I’ve found that as long as I am able to say to myself, “I know how to take care of this problem” my trust in God is less than it should be. But when, because some trial comes along which knocks me off my feet and leaves me feeling helpless, only then is it that I am driven into the arms of my heavenly Rescuer – my Refuge and my Strength. Over the last few years, I’ve learned in my own spiritual life that God has longed for me to press into Him, to rely on Him as never before. Why? Because if I rely on my own props, I’ll never understand how strong my God is and how capable He is of taking care of me – totally! It makes all the difference in the world, when we finally have proof that our Father not only wants the best for us but He wants the best in us.

 

            When the Apostle Paul was writing to the Christians in Rome, he asked the question, “What can separate us from the love of Christ?” (Romans 8) I think for each of us who have experienced those times in our lives when it appears that the challenges outweigh the blessings that we can take away from our suffering the reality that the victor’s crown is given to those who endure to the end for as E. H. Chapin so thoughtfully pointes out, “the brightest crowns that are worn in heaven have been tried, and smelted, and polished, and glorified, through the furnace of tribulation.” Praise God for the furnace that draws you and me into the never-failing embrace of our Father.

 

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us…He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?...Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? …Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8: 18, 32, 35, 37-39

K.J.V.

 

Lament Psalm Forty-two

 

“O God, I am struggling

            to survive,

preoccupied with dismal

            thoughts

            that will not

            let me go.

My blood pressure climbs,

            and I have aches

            and pains

that have no cause except

            my broken heart.

 

Why have You turned

            your back on me,

            O God?

Why won’t You protect me

            against my emotions?

 

I have nowhere to turn

            if not to

            You.

I have nowhere to go

            if not to Your

            house.

I have no one to talk to

            if You won’t

            talk.

Break Your silence

            and speak

            to me.

 

Open Your door

            so I can

            get in.

Turn Your face to me

            and pay attention

            to my problems!

 

Trouble surrounds me

            like a fence

            with no

            gate.

I need eyes in the back

            of my head

            so I can see

            what’s coming next.

I’m worn down from trying

            to deal

with one hell after another.

            the pain in my mind

            leaves no room

            for rest.

            O God, return me

            to a life of

            joy!

            Give me a reason

            for           

            laughter!

 

Can eyes weep

            all

            the time?

Can hearts race

            night

            and day?

Can minds agitate

            constantly?

Can my soul survive

            this assault?

            O God, please

stop this revolving door

of emotional oppression!

            stop the outpouring

            of unrelenting

            adversity!

 

O God, on the wings of dawn

            You come to my house,

            bringing peace

            in the palm of Your hand.

            You open my eyes;

            You stand in

            my doorway

            and invite me

            to Your house.

            O God,

            You are my peace!”

Ann Weems

 

 

Your friend

Dorothy Valcárcel, Author

When A Woman Meets Jesus

Dorothy@TransformationGarden.com

 

 

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