He Knows My Name

But now, this is what the Lord says—     he who created you, Jacob,     he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;     I have summoned you by name; you are mine. (Isaiah 43:1, NIV) For many years, I wondered if I mattered. I questioned my worth. I doubted I had value or a purpose. Certainly God had little use for me, even if He did love me. Lies spoken to me in my past rang loudly in my ears. They were sometimes deafening, sometimes silenced by truth. Yet, the lies remained. Even in the best moments, the lies swirled quietly in the back of my mind. I was made to feel I did not deserve the grand lives others were given. I did not believe I would measure up or accomplish much regardless of what I did. I would say I was determined, and I expertly developed a strong exterior, but inside I often crumbled. While I tackled goals with tenacity, I typically believed my efforts would amount to nothing, and I would fail. Failure became my identity. Have you come to a place of knowing there was more, of knowing there was something better, yet did not know how to obtain it? As I have dived into Scripture, I have found my answer. I have found answers to my questions, and the rebuttal for every lie. I have found how deeply God loves me. He knows me. He calls me by name. Jeremiah 1:5 says: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,     before you were born I set you apart;     I...

A New Thing

It's a new thing. A good thing. A great thing, in fact. And, I'm thrilled to be a part of it. Today, September 9, 2013, Thomas Nelson is unveiling a new community of women authors called InScribed. InScribed is a collection of studies by women inspired by Proverbs 3:3 – "Stay focused; do not lose site of mercy and truth; engrave them on a pendant, and hang it around your neck; Meditate on them so they are written upon your heart." (The Voice) Who is this for? The InScribed Collection is for any woman with a passion for God. Each title touches on a subject matter unique to the needs and issues that women face everyday. Whether used individually, in small accountability groups, or in larger discussion groups, women will be challenged to engage their entire person in the study and can expect life change. What will these books be about? Each of the books within the InScribed Collection takes on real-life matters from the perspective of Scripture. Just as in real life, the InScribed studies are at times uncomfortable but always appropriate, helping to bring understanding and healing. They all have common elements ranging from personal reflections, biblical illustrations and principles, study helps, reflective questions for application and comprehension, along with suggested tasks, projects, or additional studies for the reader and concluding with discussion. Who makes up the InScribed community? The authors of InScribed are a community of Christian writers committed to continually improving their skills and working together to develop the best techniques and finest materials in women’s studies. They are a community focused on collaboration and...

What IS the Purpose of Christmas?

It's that time of year. Time to trim the tree and deck the halls. Time for Fa-la-la-la-la's and jingles all the way. But… What IS the purpose of Christmas? Is it the beautiful evergreens that light up our family rooms or the snowmen decorations that sit on our mantels? Is the purpose of Christmas to see just how many lights we can hang from our rooftops and blowup Santa’s we can adorn our yards with before the breaker blows? Could it be that the true purpose of Christmas goes much, much deeper than the beautifully wrapped presents that sit beneath our trees and the stockings that hang strategically by the chimney? Could it be? Yes, indeed! I do believe it could be…in fact, it IS. The purpose of Christmas? A promise, made by God to a sinful people. A promise, that from the woman a Seed would come. A Seed that would heal mankind of the disease of sin. Christmas is God's promise fulfilled through the Seed, His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Christmas IS the promise of healing for all those who...

Taking BRAVE Steps into Abundant Living- week 13

“So the Lord gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt in it. The Lord gave them rest all around, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers. And not a man of all their enemies stood against them; the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand. Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.” Joshua 21:43-45, NKJV Upon the completion of the distribution of the Promised Land to the twelve tribes of Israel they could then settle in and become the nation God intended them to be. They could practice the laws and the statues God had given to Moses on Mt. Sinai and they could live out those laws, being an example to other nations, reaping the benefits of a life of obedience. "The LORD gave them rest all around, according to all that He has sworn to their fathers. And not a man of all their enemies stood against them; the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand." God was faithful to His people. He provided for and He fought for His cherished treasure. He never one time failed them. "Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass." All came to pass…all that God said He would do, He did. Because He is trustworthy and can, without a doubt, be taken at His word. His spoken Word penned...

Taking BRAVE Steps into Abundant Living- week 12

  “And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the LORD God of your fathers hath given you?” Joshua 18:3, KJV (emphasis added) There remained seven tribes who had yet to receive their inheritance; they had yet to lay claim to the land God had promised. Why? Why had they not taken possession of what God had already declared their own? Why were they “slack”? Slack is a transliteration of the Hebrew word, râphâh. It means to be slack, be remiss, be idle; to be weak, be feeble; to desist; to sink down; to be despondent, be disheartened; to be lazy. (Zodhiates, Spiros. The Complete Word Study of Old Testament: Bringing the Original Text to Life (New King James Version). Chattanooga: AMG Publishers, 1994. Print.) Lazy. It stands out to me. Because so very often, I find myself being lazy in the work God has called me to. And in my laziness I fail to lay claim to the life of abundant living He has for me. Joshua spoke into their slackness, their laziness, and encouraged them to get up and get busy. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ It was definitely not my intention. My plan was to drive; to stay in the truck and enjoy the cold A/C blow on my face. My skin was already sun burned from the previous day’s swim club adventure with my kiddos, so to be out in the sun again wasn’t the wisest of choices. And, I was certainly not dressed for the occasion. Wearing a white tank underneath a cute little jacket, comfy...

Taking BRAVE Steps into Abundant Living- week 11

Thank you to our friends at Zondervan, for offering an awesome giveaway last week. Lucie is the winner of the NIV Thinline Bible. Lucie please choose which Bible you'd like (Chocolate/Copper Flowers, Cherry Quilted, Zebra, or Woolen Gray) and email me at jenifer@internetcafedevotions.com with your physical address. "…I wholly followed the LORD my God." Joshua 14:8, NKJV We live in a day where waiting is something we aren't very accustomed to doing. There's just not much that you and I have to wait on or for these days. For instance… ~Need something for dinner? Just go to the nearest fast food restaurant or pop something in the microwave, and ta-da… dinner is served. ~Out and about and need to call a friend? Never mind waiting until you get home, just pick up your cell phone, hit #2 because you have her on speed dial, and talk until your heart's content. ~Forgot that your mom's birthday is tomorrow and now it's too late to send her a card through snail mail? Don't panic! Send her an e-card, with music, for free!! Are you with me here? Waiting has become a lost art. And while I am thankful modern technology has afforded us the freedoms to hurry some things along, I'm afraid an attitude of impatience and dissatisfaction has been birthed in our hearts. In this week’s lesson we learned of the land Caleb inherited; a land that he waited 40+ years to claim as his very own. Forty years people! Forty years, he waited for God’s promised land. And for forty years—through years of wilderness wandering, complaining of the people,...

Taking BRAVE Steps into Abundant Living- week 10

“And it came to pass, when Jabin king of Hazor heard these things, that he sent to Jobab king of Madon, to the king of Shimron, to the king of Achshaph, and to the kings who were from the north, in the mountains, in the plain south of Chinneroth, in the lowland, and in the heights of Dor on the west, to the Canaanites in the east and in the west, the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite in the mountains, and the Hivite below Hermon in the land of Mizpah. So they went out, they and all their armies with them, as many people as the sand that is on the seashore in multitude, with very many horses and chariots. And when all these kings had met together, they came and camped together at the waters of Merom to fight against Israel. But the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid because of them, for tomorrow about this time I will deliver all of them slain before Israel. You shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire.” So Joshua and all the people of war with him came against them suddenly by the waters of Merom, and they attacked them. And the Lord delivered them into the hand of Israel, who defeated them and chased them to Greater Sidon, to the Brook Misrephoth, and to the Valley of Mizpah eastward; they attacked them until they left none of them remaining. So Joshua did to them as the Lord had told him: he hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots with fire.” Joshua 11:1-9, NKJV...

Taking BRAVE Steps into Abundant Living- week 9

“Now it came to pass when Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem heard how Joshua had taken Ai and had utterly destroyed it—as he had done to Jericho and its king, so he had done to Ai and its king—and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were among them, that they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, like one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were mighty. Therefore Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem sent to Hoham king of Hebron, Piram king of Jarmuth, Japhia king of Lachish, and Debir king of Eglon, saying, “Come up to me and help me, that we may attack Gibeon, for it has made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel.” Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon, gathered together and went up, they and all their armies, and camped before Gibeon and made war against it. And the men of Gibeon sent to Joshua at the camp at Gilgal, saying, “Do not forsake your servants; come up to us quickly, save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites who dwell in the mountains have gathered together against us.” So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valor. And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have delivered them into your hand; not a man of them shall stand before...

Taking BRAVE Steps into Abundant Living- week 8

So Joshua made peace with them, and made a covenant with them to let them live; and the rulers of the congregation swore to them. And it happened at the end of three days, after they had made a covenant with them, that they heard that they were their neighbors who dwelt near them. Joshua 9:15-16, NKJV The Gibeonites plotted. They schemed. And they devised a plan to secure their freedom. They came to Joshua and the Israelites claiming to be something they weren’t. They told them things that were untrue and staged materials to ensure compassion. Joshua and Israel didn’t see it coming; they’d been duped, deceived by the enemy. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ It was my fourth semester of Old Testament. I sat in the second row, the fourth desk in, inside a room covered from floor to ceiling with painted maps of the nations of Israel, Abraham’s journeys, the Exodus, the divison of the Promised Land and many other pertinent Old Testament happenings. But that week the maps didn’t distract me. My thoughts, eyes, and heart were completely focused on the professor as he stood behind the lectern, tears streaming down his face, and taught through the book of Hosea. I was deeply moved as we took this journey, but wouldn’t completely grasp its true meaning until years later when my own husband would suffer long for my affection and love for him having lived through my deceiving and manipulation. Hosea was a prophet of Yahweh. He served the LORD in ministry from around 755-710 B.C. During his years of service, the nation of Israel, God’s chosen people, experienced...

Taking BRAVE Steps into Abundant Living- week 7

"And Achan answered Joshua and said, “Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I have done: When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. And there they are, hidden in the earth in the midst of my tent, with the silver under it.” Joshua 7:20-21, NKJV The doors slid open and there she was. Just to the left of me sat the most beautiful, sweet smelling pineapple I'd ever seen in my life. I walked right over to where she stood and picked her up to get a better look. She was firm yet soft; bright green and yellow skin protected her juicy fruit. Tall green leaves topped her beautiful body and she screamed out to me, “Buy me! Buy me!” There I stood deliberating- should I, should I not, should I, should I not? My heart so wanted to take her home with me. I could already picture it in my mind the yummy fruit salad I could create- the juicy strawberries, the sweet cantaloupe, the delicious blueberries, maybe even throw in some watermelon and a few peaches. Then, oh yes, then I would finish off my fruit salad creation with this most excellent pineapple. AH…pure joy flooded my soul! So, what was the dilemma? Why was I standing there debating in my mind if I should or shouldn't take her home and provide her with the best life possible? Well, I’m allergic to pineapple. Not like deathly allergic, but allergic...