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Grace, grace, God’s grace!

For God has revealed his grace for the salvation of all people. (Titus 2:11). 

This year one of my dreams was fulfilled and that was to travel to Europe..Italy to be exact. I usually pick an aisle seat on airplanes but this time around I got a window seat en route to the U.K…and for a really great reason. At some point I looked out the window and realized we were directly over the Alps. Wowww!! What an unforgettable sight! I felt swallowed up in its vastness and took a few moments just to marvel at God’s creative power..and to think I would’ve missed it if I had an aisle seat. Isn’t God good!! 🙌🏼🙌🏼.
As I looked in between these vast mountains, inside the crevices and valleys I could make out roads and houses where people lived.. in between all of that vastness!!!

Isn’t that a picture of God’s grace! Mountains upon mountains of limitless grace whose vastness is beyond comprehension yet we can freely live, move and have our being in it. That grace reached through time and space to save us from sin and eternal death and is the same grace that sustains us every day of our lives. It’s the gift that keeps on giving as God just keeps blessing us through His grace.

Out of the fullness of his grace he has blessed us all, giving us one blessing after another. (John 1:16) 

And..it gets even better!! It’s free, which means we don’t have to work up a sweat striving for it. Only GOD could give such grace!!!

For it is by God’s grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God’s gift, so that no one can boast about it. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

If you don’t know Jesus, receive this free gift of grace today. When Jesus is Lord of your life, you can know that you are covered and filled with a never ending supply of His grace for whatever life may bring. So why keep it to yourself!! Extend that same grace to others.

From great heights to valleys low, grace like fountains overflow, filling every empty place, only God’s grace can sustain and save. (CHJ 2017)

Here’s a song for today:If not for your grace (Israel and New Breed)

Have an awesome one!
By Carol-angel Jackson

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Faith facts

Hi friends, it’s been one of those weeks! Suddenly so many things seem to be in turmoil and as a friend of mine said..the enemy is good at making even things that are blessings seem to be curses! When we face challenges, we may feel discouraged, we may feel overwhelmed but we must never ever let go of faith. Faith helps us meet life’s circumstances with certainty and affirmation that God has supreme control of the outcome..so let’s look at eight encouraging faith facts. I pray that this short study will encourage you as it has me.

1. Faith is the shield that protects us from the potentially damaging effects of the various onslaughts we face. Depression, anger, fear and anxiety come as a natural response to oppressive circumstances but we can flip the switch, pick up the shield of faith and push them back! Better yet, don’t ever put it down! Be always ready!2. Faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit. You see it’s not about sheer willpower, if the Spirit of God lives in you Faith is already there ready for use! Oranges can’t come from apple trees. You’ve got faith!!!3. Faith must be nourished. How? By focusing on God’s word. If your soul is aching or burdened.. read and internalize faith-building scriptures each day. Doing this along with prayer, worship and fellowship..will be like medicine to remedy our aching souls. Ro 10:174. Workout your faith!! Exercise and build your faith muscles during hard times. Our actions should speak to the fact that we have faith. Don’t let apathy move in. Get up and work in Faith! No money for that big project yet? Start small with what you have. With prayer and faith, work your mustard seed and watch God grow it into a tree!5. Faith attracts God! While you’re dealing with a seemingly insurmountable task or challenge..work at it with all your heart towards God. God loves to see faith and He rewards it! 6. In the end you will shine!!! So work with endurance! Work through it knowing that whatever happens, God will bring you through as beautiful and refined like gold. Don’t let discouragement and depression win.  Job 23:107. Our faith is valuable! So much more than just temporal, so much more than just something to help us cope with circumstances this side of heaven. It is so valuable that it has eternal weight and glory! 

8. Faith leads us into to godly rest where even though we work, we do not strive to make things happen or to bring about the outcome we desire! When we believe, we can rest. Rest in the fact that God has this! He will provide, He will see that the outcome is for good. As the word says, let us make every effort to enter His rest! Faith leads us to rest! Heb 4I don’t know what you’re facing but God wants you to know that He sees and honors your faith. So be encouraged, surrender the outcome to God and raise up your shield of faith! Have a great weekend.

By Carol-angel Jackson

(Click photos for photo sources)

Who Are You???

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“God is not calling you to an uncertain future. Let the discovery of your identity be an adventure.”

If you were to try and imagine a stranger, someone that you had never met, you would not be able to do it. Too many unknown variables. Sounds strange right.

The person that God is calling you to be is someone that you have never met. Thus you have no frame of reference for imagining this person.

When you meet someone for the first time, more than likely, you put your best foot forward because you expect an amicable meeting. As you do not know the person, you are unable to judge them on an unknown past. It is a clean slate. You cannot form opinions based on who they are now or what they may have done in the past because you do not know.

For the new person that God wants us to become, we must also do just that. We tend to let past experiences or current actions taint the image of a future self. This results in the attitude of “Nope. Not me. I can’t do that.” or “Are you sure?”

Paul wrote that we are to forget the past and be drawn forward by the new future (Phil 3:13 -14); that higher calling.  Christ says that in Him we are a NEW creation (2 Cor 5:17): recently made, fresh, recent, unused, unworn, of a new kind, unprecedented, novel, uncommon, unheard of. (ALL WOW and ALL YOU!!!)

Let discovery of the new with God be an adventure. You CAN be what He wants you to be and do what He asks of you.

This new person is unveiled over time. It’s not like going from inside to outside. One minute here and the next, there. It is a journey. It may not happen as quickly as you might like. There will be struggles and tests and victories and the peace of God to over shadow it all.

Our cooperation is a determining factor in the length of the journey.

You may have heard the still small voice of the Holy Spirit, or have a strong sense from the Word or have been given a prophetic word regarding the plans that God has for you.

You may even have set out on this journey all bright eyed and bushy tailed only to face falls, failures, disappointments, and you have to believe that God still loves you and wants the best for you.

The thing is, God has already seen that new person. He knows what they look like. He sees the strength that has been built and the faith that has been cultivated and the gifts that have been discovered. He also sees where the chains were broken and where deliverance came and where burdens fell away.

So He is not calling you to an uncertain future. He is certain that you will be that person as long as you put your trust in and walk with Him. No matter how much like a fantasy it seems.

Remember, stop trying to picture this new person and giving definitions of what they are to resemble. You have NO frame of reference. You have no idea what God will do and how he will lovingly form and shape you, once you are in His hands.

Jump in!!! Feet first!!! You know He will catch you!!! Or fly with you. Or keep you afloat.

Ok God, so what now? Where do we go? What do we do next?

He is calling you forward but in all things be sure to count the cost. God wants all of you.

So be excited; not scared.

Don’t  imagine all the ways things could go wrong cause you are not God. There is no way that you could possibly know that.

I recently learned this saying: Stop borrowing trouble; which basically means stop worrying about something that you have no idea how it will turn out.

We can be quick with our ‘what ifs’. Just trust Him and be lead.

You are not your past. Your definition comes from your future. God’s future for you. His purpose for you.

Remember :

Don’t doubt Him. God knows the plans He has for you –  Jer 29:11

Don’t let the fear of failing stop you from moving. You may fall 7 times – Prov 24:16, Psa 37:23-24

Don’t think you know it all. No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him – Isa 64:4; 1 Cor 2:9

Don’t set limits. He is able to do far more abundantly beyond what we ask or thinkEph 3:20, Isa 55:8-9

Don’t try to do it in your own strength. Humble yourself under His mighty hand and in due time He will lift you up – 1 Pet 5:6-7

 

My prayer for all of us, is that we believe the infallible Word of God. The Word that speaks of who we are to God and who God has called us to be in Him. That we know that He cannot lie and that if He says something about us, then it is so. That we know that His Words are meant to comfort and not condemn, to lift us up and not pull us down; to cause us to see the truth and to desire His truth in our lives. That I know and that you know, undoubtedly, unashamedly, that He loves us beyond all measure and will reach out to us and draw us to Him. Let God – not this world, ourselves, other people – define us.

By Marisse Cropper

Choices determine destinies 

Hi readers, this has been one of the longest SK hiatuses as God has been taking us through changes and expanding us in different ways. We’ve certainly missed you and are back! 

There will be a few changes in the way we post to the SK blog. Instead of weekly, we will post as we have content. This means that you may receive something weekly, bi-monthly or once a month. If once a month, we promise it will be worth the wait 😀. 

We will also be adding short motivational videos from time to time as well as content from some of our male leaders. Thanks for sticking with us! 

So today..here’s a repost from Girlfriends in God that’s a kick in the rear for those of us who let fear hold us back from using the gifts God has given us and multiplying it for His Glory!! 

Sometimes God will put you in a dry place to expand your faith and cause you to use what He has placed in your hands to produce something wonderful, life changing and even income earning   to serve your family and others! So let’s go! Let’s become producers, Not just consumers!! 

Reposted from Sharon Jaynes of GiG

Friend to Friend

One day Jesus told a parable to a group of listeners. We’ve come to know it as the Parable of the Talents, but it is really more the Parable of the Three Choices. Jesus was explaining what the kingdom of heaven would be like in common terms.

For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. (Matthew 25:14-18)

When the master returned home, he was well please with the two servants who had invested and doubled their talents, but he was furious with the one who hid his one talent in the ground.

You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents’ (Matt. 25:26).

This story gives me chills every time I read it. For you see, God has given each and every one of us gifts . . . gifts that He has purposed for us to use, invest, and multiply. And I’m not just talking about money, but gifts in our inner being. He has given you talents and abilities that He expects you to use to further the kingdom and minister to others.

So what kept the servant with one talent from doing so? Fear. Giving into fear prevented him from investing what he had. I think the master would have been more pleased if the servant had said, “Lord, I invested the talent and unfortunately lost it all.” At least he would have tried. At least he would have made some effort. But the master saw him as evil and lazy.Fear makes us lazy. Think about that a minute. A fearful person does little.

Moving forward despite the fear gets the spiritual couch potato out from under the afghan and into the life she was meant to live.

So here’s what I want us to think about today: Are we investing the gifts and talents that God has given us, or are we hiding them because of fear.
I don’t know about you, but I want to invest all I have and live bold. We’re going to pick back up on this in my next devotion, but for now, let’s ponder which servant we want to be.

Let’s Pray: Lord, thank You for entrusting me with gifts and talents. Sometimes I’m not sure what they are, but I pray that You will make them clear to me. Help me to be brave and share the talents that You have given me with others. I want to invest in other people and multiply the fruit in Your kingdom. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn
Read Matthew 25:14-30 in your own Bible. Which servant do you resemble the most? Which servant do you want to resemble most? How did the servants’ choices determine their destinies?

Here is a quote from Take Hold of the Faith You Long For: You either show fear the door, or it will bolt the lock to keep you out of the places God has prepared for you to go and do all that He has planned for you to do. Fear has no choice but to leave the premises when you stand on the promises of God and say, “You are not welcome here.”

What area of your life do you need to “show fear the door?”

Have a great, productive day all!! Your friends at Sisters’ Keeper! 

God’s got you!



Ps 23 1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

I don’t know what you’ve been going through, or what you’ve gone through. I don’t know what your day today was like..but at the the end of it all..whatever has happened…Sister, God’s got you! 

Read Ps 23…read it again! Read it quietly, read it out loud! Isn’t it wonderful? Can you see how much your Father is doing for you?

– He’s leading you..in paths of righteousness and besides still waters! So though sometimes it feels like it..You’re Not Lost! He knows the plans He has for you and he’s taking you there. Be patient! Trust His wisdom!  There’s a godly solution to your challenges whether professional or personal.

– His goodness and mercy..they are following you everyday! Some people say “bad luck keeps following me!” Or “Today’s going to be a bad day!” Well, God’s goodness and mercy are covering your back. He’s got you hemmed in at the front AND the back! God’s got you!

– He’s comforting and providing for you in abundance..even among your enemies…and He’s protecting you in the rough and dark places of your journey.

– When you’re tired, weary and feel like you don’t have what it takes..He’s there..restoring and anointing you, equipping you for a life of godliness for whatever task! 

The best thing ever is, His presence will never leave you! 

So let me remind you..God’s got you!  He’s working everything for your good. You can enjoy His peace now! Meditate on His words..the words of this psalm, lay back and rest in Him.

By Carol-angel Jackson

Don’t Miss the Beautiful

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This week’s devotional is taken from Girlfriends in God contributor Gwen Smith. I hope you read and enjoy.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2a, NIV)

Friend to Friend
A few years ago I was invited to speak and sing in Tennessee at a women’s event and, to my delight, my daughter Kennedy was able to join me. The two of us are all about “mommy-daughter time” so we were giddy with happy as we started off on the three and a half hour drive.

Prior to the trip, I had given Kennedy permission to use my iPad to watch a movie. So once we hit the highway, she got cozy with her pillow, her headphones went on, and her attention became fixed on the rectangular screen in front of her. Random giggles floated in the air from the movie-watcher as I drove and prayed through the talk that I was to give later that afternoon.

It was the first week of November, and in the Tarheel state that’s primetime for fall tree color. Just off the Northern parts of the Carolina highway – past the congestion of traffic and the hullaballoo of the suburbs – I was freshly smitten by the splendor of God through traces of red, yellow, orange, and brown leaves that were dancing in the breeze under brilliant blue skies. The trees continued to boast of more and more glory as I neared Virginia… and then they were joined by the mountains. Oh, the mountains! They puffed their chests with the majesty of color and power! My heart was captured by the glory of it all, so I tapped Kennedy and pointed out the window, encouraging her to look around… to lift her eyes and soak in the wonder.

“Don’t miss the beautiful…” I urged.
“Don’t miss the beautiful!”

She paused her movie and joined the beauty moment, agreeing that God was indeed showing off with His creation. Minutes later, she went back to watching her movie as I drove on undone. Wrung out by glory. Overwhelmed by the sacred sanctuary I’d stumbled upon. I stayed in the moment and celebrated the beautiful as the psalmist did in Psalm 96:

1 Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. 2 Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. 3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. 4 For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. 5 For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. 6 Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary.

Worship poured from my heart. I thanked God for the beauty show. As praise and adoration continued to rise, a God-thought settled on my heart. Tell them, Gwen.
“Tell them what, Lord?” I wondered.
Tell the women what you told Kennedy. Tell them not to miss the beautiful.

Ahhhh, yes! I would tell them, and I would chew on that challenge for days to come. Convicted by questions like: How often do I drive right through the busyness of my days and miss the beautiful? How many moments of glory do I not even see because my eyes are on the mundane? Do I even look for it?

As we head into this busy holiday season and dance between the days of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years – as we decorate the doors and the hearths of our homes and communities, let’s be intentional to decorate the doors and the hearths of our hearts with ribbons of God’s grace.

Let’s live with eyes lifted to the Gift of gifts, Jesus Christ.

When we face the stresses of our lists, and our tasks, and our activities, and our heart burdens, let’s commit to remembering that the best present is His presence. He’s our Hope, our Peace, our Joy… our Beautiful.

Don’t miss the beautiful.

Let’s Pray:
Dear Lord, You are glorious and worthy of all praise! Please help me to fix my eyes on You each day so I can walk in your hope, peace, joy, and beauty.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Don’t let go

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1 Peter 1:6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen[a] you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

She suffered in silence as she watched the years go by. How she longed to hold her own little son or daughter.
She watched as others experienced this joy..yet after years of marriage and trying, it seemed as if God said no. “Why would God give me this desire for children if I can’t have any?” she lamented.

How many times do we feel this way about so many different things in our lives. We hope, we wait, we hope..yet year after year there is disappointment when we do not see the fulfillment of what we long for. After a while, some of us give up. We see it as a “no” from God and let go of hope and ultimately our faith that what we are hoping for will happen. Time and circumstances do test our faith but faith believes and believes and is willing to die believing (Heb 11:13)

Here are a few reminders of why we should always choose faith over unbelief and not let go.

– Faith is believing in a God who’s faithful.
-It is the substance and foundation of what we do not see. Heb 11:6
– It is asking God without wavering or doubting. James 1:6
-It is the only way to access God. It moves Him and without it we cannot please Him. Heb 11:6
-It activates the supernatural and is the only way to access supernatural things.
-It is our defensive weapon against the enemy- it extinguishes his fiery arrows. Eph 6:16
-It brings what we hope for into reality.
-It proves that invisible things exist.
-It is not based on our senses- what we can touch, see or feel.
-It is NOT a feeling or mental agreement, it is conviction in our hearts. We know that we will have what we ask for – by faith.
-It does not deny the facts but focuses on God’s truth, and on what God says.
-It is not based on our circumstances, age, finances, physical challenges, but on God’s word. It is word based.
-It is God’s gift to us (Eph 2:8) and very precious.
-It is must be exercised daily and grows in power.
-It transforms our lives – believing in God’s great and precious promises allows us to participate in His divine nature. 2Pet 1:4
-It must be fought for and is not passively retained. 1Tim 6:12
-It precedes receiving, believe FIRST and receive after.

So after 7 years she received her blessing – a beautiful daughter and there have been others like her who received theirs – after 10 years, 14 years.
What are you believing for today? Don’t ever give up! Keep standing in faith even though the years are passing by. God is not limited or restricted by time and neither should we be. Know that you have what you’ve asked for and it will manifest! Be determined to die believing and you will be rewarded. Don’t let go!

Have a wonderful weekend.

By Carol-angel Jackson