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God is Still Speaking Through This Devotional (And How to Win a Copy!)

Awaken by Priscilla Shirer

 

It’s the only devotional I’ve read four (soon to be five) consecutive times.

Priscilla Shirer’s Awaken: 90 Days with the God Who Speaks welcomes my soul like an old familiar friend. It settles in smoothly but never grows weary of speaking truth and timely words of advice. Who wouldn’t want to welcome this kind of friend over and over again?

 

One benefit of reading a devotional multiple times, especially when jotting down notes along the way, is to see how God is moving and stretching us over a span of time.

 

For instance, on the second read-through, these questions were posed: What are you waiting on God for right now? What does faith and confidence look like, knowing He’s undoubtedly working for you in the distance? I answered, “I’m waiting to see God’s plans for my book.” The next time I read it, a few months later, I answered, “Thank you for Cynthia Ruchti — my dream agent — and thank You for confirming Your work in my life.” I paused to consider God’s goodness in bringing this dream to fruition.

You may remember my first post on this devotional, but I’m here to testify that the joy discovered under Shirer’s tutelage continues to build. Pour a cup of tea and savor these excerpts from Awaken:

 

Day 70

“Storms will do that to you sometimes–wash you ashore in unfamiliar places, around unfamiliar people. But if not for the storm (Acts 28:7-9), Paul wouldn’t have been in this location to meet these people and help them. God’s sovereignty had not been shipwrecked by the storm. His plans were not derailed just because the sailors’ plans had been thrown off course. God’s hand had steered them to the exact place where revival was primed to break out. And the storm was the instrument He used to do it. Are you in a fierce storm right now? Are you watchful and mindful of the various places it’s unexpectedly taking you and all the various people it’s unexpectedly introducing you to? Next time you’re frustrated or perplexed by where your latest storm has dumped you, pray for the joy of discovering that God is using this storm to intersect your life with someone else’s life, becoming part of answering their prayer, even as He’s answering yours.”

A fierce wind called the “northeaster” rushed down from the island. Since the ship was caught and unable to head into the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along. Acts 27:14-15

Day 78

“From your current vantage point, you may not be able to see how God is working out His purposes in your life. You’ve gotten your feet wet. You’ve tried to believe. But life just seems to roll on like always before, oblivious to your prayers and to the faith you’ve placed in God’s ability to change things. But be convinced that even though God may be working a great distance away, He is working. He hasn’t forgotten you or His promises to you. He has not run into a snag that may prevent Him from following through.”

The vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay. Habakkuk 2:3

Day 88

“The tumor is still there. Your family is still in crisis. The church is still without a pastor. Your son or daughter still can’t find work. It’s one thing to believe that God is able to do anything He wants. He is God. You know that. But it is quite another thing to believe that He is willing and able to do it for you.”

Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yes, our God is compassionate. Psalm 116:5

Day 90

“An encounter with God is meant to change us. To stagger us. To blind us to old pursuits, interests, ambitions, and fleshly desires, while miraculously opening our internal vision to eternal pursuits. What a waste to simply get up and go back to our normal habits after being in His presence and sensing the exhilaration of His nearness–after powerful moments in His Word, in prayer, in places where He’s made His way so plain to us.”

The unfolding of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. Psalm 119:130

 

Does a particular sentence or excerpt stand out? We’d love to know! Comment below, and you’ll automatically be entered into a random giveaway for a copy of Awaken! 

(And if you received a copy of “31 Ways to Pray for Your Children” or “Praying Throughout Your Home”, you’re in the right place. Welcome!)

 

Searching for A New Morning Devotional? Win My Favorite Here!

Yep, I gotcha covered!

That is if you’re not into full-on fluffy, feel-good words that drip thicker than syrup but leave the soul empty, hungry inside. Give me Truth in a relatable way and God will do the rest.

Because it matters, right? Devotionals are an investment. Not only do they cost money (unless you win this copy!), they also become a companion of sorts. It’s why pages that start clean with crisp edges can end with tear-smudged words, spilled coffee, and cornered edges. In my copy of Awaken: 90 Days with the God Who Speaks by Priscilla Shirer, you’ll find them all.

 

I didn’t read a devotional, I went on a journey.

 

And as a result, God taught me the beauty of biblical community, bruising a few toes, and severing one in the process. He also revealed through His Word and those He gave her, what real freedom looks like, how to listen for His voice, and how to fan the flame into a frenzy for God’s glory.

But y’all, the words He chose and placed on Priscilla’s heart to share in recent days have especially awakened my spirit to His presence through both encouragement and conviction.

 

These words are for you and me, and anyone longing to draw closer to the One who draws us near:

 

  • “No act of service is too small. The little piece you do matters. Every piece matters. They’re like ripples of water circling outward from a skipped rock. Everything you do creates an impact somewhere else you cannot see, but it’s a part of the big picture that God is putting together.”
  • “Compassion is willing to be inconvenienced. Compassion compels.”
  • “In-between times are necessary. They are the bridge between what He has done for you and what He’s preparing to do in your future.”
  • “He wants us to see our weakness mixing with His strength, causing our work to actually…work.”
  • “When our hearts are full of gratitude and humility, certain of God’s love, and when we genuinely prize the worth of those around us, we will release a steady stream of graciousness that refreshes others through everything we say.”

 

And then there was Day 64:

“Your God can be trusted. He will grant you the full supply you need to excel at His purposes today, no matter how varied or prodigious those tasks may be. Every decision you need to make, every task you need to accomplish, every relationship you need to navigate, every element of daily life you need to traverse, God has already perfectly matched it up with an equivalent-to-overflowing supply of His grace.

…because of His extravagant grace you will never lack, you’ll be more willing and able to give freely of yourself and your resources, certain that God will always replenish your supply.”

I read this on a day when my heart skipped that extra beat it seems to have⏤a day when, before opening the book to this page, I was frazzled, not sure how to arrange the to-dos.

My mouth fell open and almost flooded from the tears rolling down my cheek as I read her words…twice.

“God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 CSB

 

This is our God! He is personal and He is present, whether we feel it or not.

 

“A better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.” Hebrews 7:19 CSB

Did one of the above quotes speak to you today? Please share! You’ll encourage others and also have a chance to win a copy on Friday.

 

*If you don’t want to wait to grab a copy, Amazon has temporarily reduced the price of Awaken: 90 Days with the God Who Speaks. By purchasing the book through the orange link, I will receive enough money to put toward a cup of coffee at no extra expense to you. For more information on my affiliate statement, please see the sidebar. Thanks!

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Photo by Nienke Broeksema on Unsplash

Staying in Step with the Spirit Via Honing Your Gifts

by Cathy Baker

{ Day 27 }

“Give back to the Lord the desires and gifts He has given you and then trust Him to use them when and how He chooses.” 
– Priscilla Shirer

In Judges 6:19-20 four vital steps in giving our gifts to God is discovered, as shared in Priscilla’s study Gideon: Your weakness. God’s STRENGTH:

1. Prepare it.
2. Present it.
3. Put it down.
4. Pour it out. 

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 1 Cor.

She shares how many Christians don’t want to do the hard work required for the preparation process. 

Perhaps some don’t expect to have to hone their God-given gift(s) but like muscles in training, our gifts grow stronger and sharper with practice.

Here are some ways I’m learning to hone my spiritual gifts. I’d love to hear your ideas, as well: 

  • A diligent [not perfect] prayer life, realizing no matter what I do, say, or write will be divinely effective without God’s wisdom, discernment, and power. 
  • Diving in to God’s Word—refusing to be satisfied with surface level knowledge by meditating on passages, reading background information, and learning some of the original language (now available to all of us non-scholarly followers thanks to the web!) Plunging headfirst, regardless of our gift, will collect spiritual treasure troves of truth that are sure to benefit us (and others) for an eternity.
  • Surrounding myself with people who shared the same or similar gifts. Obviously, we want to spend time with a variety of people, but there’s a synergy to be reckoned with when like-minded people join forces for God’s glory.
  • The first 18 years of my journey were spent honing my teaching skills. For the past 5 years, my focus has primarily shifted to writing, although I still love to teach. If I’m convinced writing is where God wants me right now then I must be willing to pour in as much time and energy into it as I did for teaching. Each gift requires something different, but they all must be practiced.
  • Anticipate opportunities. Where God guides, He provides. Watching, listening, and anticipating ways to use our spiritual gifts doesn’t come natural. It requires living intentionally. I know of few things more exciting than watching God at work in the lives of mere human beings, such as ourselves.

“You cannot expect God to use what you have not taken time to prepare. Dedicating the time to hone your gift will help you be ready when He opens the opportunities before you.” -Priscilla Shirer

Your turn! How are you honing your gift(s) so that you’ll be ready when opportunities arise? 

Staying in Step with the Spirit: Preparing, presenting, putting it down, and pouring it out. When we’re honing our gifts and pouring them out, we are following the Spirit so closely we could give Him a flat tire if He wore shoes. Yes,that close! 

Heavenly Father, help us to freely return those desires and gifts which You have placed in our hearts. May our fingers spread open wide allowing everything You’ve given us to be released for Your glory alone. Protect us from self-abasement when we feel we’re not “good enough” to use our spiritual gifts (truth is, we’re not, but You are) as well as from pride when results become our primary focus, our god. 

{ Day 15 } Staying in Step with the Spirit Via A Paper Bookmark
{ Day 16 } Staying in Step with the Spirit Via A Fresh Start
{ Day 17 } Staying in Step with the Spirit Via Spontaneous Service
{ Day 18 } Staying in Step with the Spirit Via God’s Creation, Wk. 3
{ Sunday } 
{ Day 20 } Staying in Step with the Spirit Via A Mini-Getaway
{ Day 21 } Staying in Step with the Spirit Via Piped Icing
{ Day 22 } Staying in Step with the Spirit Via A Knock at the Door{ Day 23 } Staying in Step with the Spirit Via The Book
{ Day 24 } Staying in Step with the Spirit Via A Breath of Prayer

When a One-Liner Becomes a Game Changer

 

by Cathy Baker

I love one-liners, especially when they’re girded with truth. As our community Bible study group closes out the Gideon study I’m reminded of the testimonies we’ve received. Spiritual eyes opened, forgiveness forged, and callings confirmed. May the fragrance of Christ continue to invade our lives and captivate those around us.

15 one-liners from our study:

  • Today’s difficulties are often a result of yesterday’s disobedience.  

  • Ordinary is often the disguise of the divine.
  • Knowing God’s purpose requires first being aware of God’s presence. 
  • Opened eyes precede your calling being realized.
  • Today’s tasks are preparation for tomorrow’s calling. 
  • If God said it then, He still means it now. 
  • Who you are is more important than what you have been called to do. 
  • Pride forgets. Humility remembers. 
  • Many of life’s external difficulties find their roots in the internal reality of pride. 
  • Don’t try to retain what God is asking you to release. 
  • Your faith can be stronger than a fleece. 
  • A vessel’s value is not determined by its composition but by its contents.
  • Finishing well could mean not finishing. 
  • Modernized idolatry is still idolatry. 
  • Commitments trumps convenience.  

Which of these means the most to you right now? 

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits. Psalm 103:2


He Loves You, After All

Pride forgets. Humility remembers.
Priscilla Shirer, Gideon
I distinctly remember singing along with Babbie Mason’s After All as a relatively new Christ follower back in the early 90’s, lyrics barely audible for the tears. By the time I reached the final verse, my heart cry was Lord, please don’t ever let me forget my past. 
It’s not that I wanted to focus on my past but I didn’t want to forget it either, for it was there I came to know Christ, smack dab in the pit of my own making, i.e., rock bottom. Because I know my propensity for pride and self-reliance when
circumstances improve, my heart cry remains the same today after all
these years—especially after all these years.
I don’t want to forget. Therefore, I choose to remember:
  • The ugliness of my sin – and God’s breathtaking blanket of grace that covered it all. 
  • The depth of my shame – and God’s startling and awe-inspiring unconditional love. 
  • The bondage of my sin – and God’s freedom, loosening me from its grip for an eternity.
  • The stumbling of my flesh – and now, because of Christ, I’m able to stay in step with the Holy Spirit.
May I never forget. 
After All, by Babbie Mason

I heard You calling
I felt You knocking
But I drew further from You
Everyday
 
I knew better
Still my heart grew colder
And I just kept on going my own way
 
But after all that was said
And done with me
 
After all my pride
And my fall
I was so amazed
To still find You there
 
After all I’ve done
You still love me
After all.

 
Your eyes said welcome
Your arms were open
How could I ever doubt
Your love was real
You never mentioned
 
All my past rejections
Words can’t express the way
That makes me feel

 
CHORUS

To freely forgive
It’s so hard to do
But You completely forgave me
And I will spend
My whole life with You
After all,
Forever and always.

Thank You Jesus, for loving me…after all.
What’s a particular song God has used to remind you of His grace and mercy towards you? 
Tiny House on the Hill

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