Discovered

Have you ever discovered something that you didn’t know you had?

How fun is it when you discover an awesome surprise! Something totally unexpected. Something not planned. What a treat! 

My husband bought a GMC truck in 2019. Last winter and until a few weeks ago, we did not know we had a remote starter. We could have taken advantage of a slipping into a warm truck during the cold months but we had no idea. No idea. 

You might be thinking, “Are they wacko or something? They didn’t know they had a remote starter?” In our defense, this is our first vehicle to have the remote start feature, so it never occurred to us until someone asked. Then we checked it out. Woo hoo! We could start our truck without going outside to do so. 

It's embarrassing to admit this but how many of us don’t know what we have? Until someone tells us? Something that is either hidden or we are unaware of – something we haven’t heard of or seen? 

Friends, we have a treasure to be discovered – a treat that can be ours – a gift to be opened – for everyone. No matter our race. No matter our social status. No matter our economic standing. No matter our skin color. No matter our political alliance. No matter our denomination. No matter what. 

If you haven’t discovered the awesome treasure that is yours for the claiming - let me tell you. You have a God who loves you – to death. You have a Savior, Jesus, the Messiah. You have a home waiting for you in Heaven. You can start your eternal, abundant life now – here on earth. 

I have been immersed in “religious” practices since birth. I attended a faith-based school until seventh grade. I have been able to recite the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostle’s Creed since first grade. I learned the names of the apostles. I was in church every day – Monday through Friday – and on holy days as well as every Sunday. I heard what was being taught but I did not have a relationship with Jesus. The truth was there but I didn’t discover Him until I was 25 years old. He was there – just like our remote start. Although I wasn’t aware of Him, He loved me. I had to discover Him for myself. 

And when I did – my life was changed. He was the best discovery I’ve ever made. 

My friends, life is short. We don’t know how many days or hours or minutes we have been given. Let’s not waste them. Let’s not be unaware of the gift that is ours to discover. Jesus. He is waiting. He loves you. 

“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” Jeremiah 33:3

Kathy Troyer
Author

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Antiquated Treasure

Several months ago, I was invited to go antiquing with a friend. Wandering aisle after aisle of “treasures,” I was somewhat surprised to find a large portion of my childhood filling the shelves. Knick knacks, toys, furniture and appliances that once filled my childhood home, were now considered prized antiques.

I found myself waffling back and forth between the shock of “why would anyone buy this old junk?” to “wow, I wish I would have saved my old toys because now they’re worth a fortune!” 

How nice it would be to know for certain what items will appreciate in value and which ones are simply worthless castoffs. In truth, however, even if something is valued at a ridiculously high price – if you can’t sell your priceless treasure – it really has no value. Something is only worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it.

My childhood toys may be valued at hundreds of dollars, but if I can’t find a buyer, those toys aren’t worth anything.

The only thing that will never lose its value, is our salvation in Christ. There are times in life that many of us struggle with our worth and value in the Body of Christ. We must never forget that Jesus paid the ultimate price for us. 

We may have people in our lives who would tell us we are nothing and will never amount to anything, but we must never forget that we are the apple of God’s eye (Psalm 17:8). God knew us before we were born (Psalm 139:15). God has great plans for our future (Jeremiah 29:11). God loves us so much he sacrificed his one and only son for us (John 3:16). The currency used to secure our eternal home and guarantee our salvation was the blood of Christ (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). 

The next time the enemy tries to convince you that you are worthless, remember whose you are and never forget that God paid dearly for you. In the Savior’s eyes – YOU … are a priceless treasure! 

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8 (NLT)

Kathy Kurlin
Author

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Ahh, Decisions

The next day Moses entered the Tent of the Testimony and saw that Aaron’s staff, which represented the house of Levi, had not only sprouted but had budded, blossomed and produced almonds. Numbers 17:8

I admire decisive people--people who can walk into the department store, look at the racks of shoes and immediately know which pair is for them. I, on the other hand, could spend hours thoroughly perusing every shoe, building pie charts and bar graphs writing full on analytical reports on the probability of usage, durability, cuteness and practicality while also considering weather, number of color coordinating outfits and so on. THANKFULLY I have six children and am seldom allotted such time in ANY store, thus I have perfected the art of “stick-to-list-grab-n-go” (a much more financially sound approach, too, I might add). However, left to my own destruction I would be quick to revert to my tragic natural ability to over-analyze everything.

So when I came across this passage in Scripture I was intrigued.

The Israelites were trying to determine who God’s chosen leader would be. God told Moses to put 12 staffs, one from the leader of each ancestral tribe, inside the Tent of Meeting. Numbers 17:5 says, The staff belonging to the man I choose will sprout.”  

The next day Moses went in to check the staffs for God’s direction and not only had God made His chosen leader's staff sprout but it had budded, blossomed, AND produced almonds! There was no doubt, God had made His direction for chosen leadership VERY clear.

God always has a plan. 

Am I seeking Him for HIS plan or am I so diluted by self that I’m not even asking the right questions for clarity? 

Have I fully surrendered to Him my will and my desires so that when I ask Him for His way, or to hear His voice, I’m really ready to receive it? 

Or, am I already looking sub-consciously for what I want to hear and thus am blinded to all the buds, blossoms and almonds God is trying to show me?

Dear Jesus search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24). 

Amen.

Janette Kieffer
loveSTRONG Ministries

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Catch the Breeze

Feel like you’ve been in a rowboat paddling like a crazy woman?

Or, in a battleship that you can’t get to turn around?

Or, a cruise ship surrounded by people who won’t go away?

Or, a fishing boat that is smelly and messy?

Or, a speed boat that is going full throttle?

Today it is time to take a breath and catch the breeze in your sails.  Breathe.  Deep breaths.  Close your eyes and breathe.

You are not alone.  Jesus has been with you when you were aboard the crazy rowboat or in any of those other boats. The problem is you have been trying to do it all yourself and it has worn you out. 

Try something different.  Imagine life as a sailboat where you are dependent on the breezes to move you.  Instead of puckering up and blowing into the sail trying to move the boat yourself, take a deep breath and say, “Jesus.”  When you do, open your hands as a gesture of showing Jesus you are done trying to right the ship.  

“My beloved ones, don’t ever limit your joy or fail to rejoice in the wonderful experience of knowing our Lord Jesus!” Philippians 3:1

Your experience is designed to give God praise.  Then, and only then, can you realize Jesus has been beside you in every port, ship and boat these past few weeks.

Hands open!  Breathe deeply!  Say His name – Jesus!  

You will catch that breeze.

 

Sherree Fischer
loveSTRONG Ministries

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If The Shoe Fits

When I was a little girl, one of the greatest life lessons I learned had to do with a pair of shoes.

I remember begging my mother for a pair of bright blue patent leather shoes. My mother was a single working mom so it was a big ask for her limited budget. Somehow though, she managed to scrape together the money to buy the shoes. 

Once I owned these blue beauties, I was afraid to wear them for fear of scuffing them. I’d slip them on and walk around on the carpet like a fashion runway model – but rarely wore them outside. Even though the shoes kept their perfect patent leather shine, my feet weren’t done growing. Quite naturally, I outgrew the prized shoes, barely having worn them and ended up giving them away.   

Today, I have a habit of using things until they completely fall apart. My athletic shoes, exercise equipment and favorite Bible are all held together with duct tape and a wing and a prayer. Eventually I dispose of the shoes and the gym equipment, but even in its broken-down state, I can’t discard my Bible. It contains a lifetime of notes, prayers and tears and still has much more to offer.

There are lessons to be gleaned from shoes – old or new, and worn-out Bibles.   

If we overuse things, they fall apart - but if we let things lay dormant, they have little value.  

I possess gifts and talents that I fail to use for various, mostly selfish reasons. If I’m not using them, God has every right to take them away and give them to someone else.  

My choices are to use every last bit of talent that God has given me to further His Kingdom and glorify Him (because I still have much more to offer). OR … I can let my gifts die from inactivity, basically throw them away - which ultimately benefits no one because I am choosing to let them waste away. 

The choice should be obvious. I pray daily, “take everything that you have given me, Lord and use ME. I may be old, but I’ve still got much to offer!” Even if I am being held together with the adhesive of God’s grace and mercy –take all of me, Lord!”

How do your “shoes” fit these days?  Do you plan to “use them … or lose them” or “lose them, never having used them at all?” 

You know what they say … if the shoe fits!

To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.  Matthew 25:29 (NLT)

Kathy Kurlin
Author

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Window Shopping

Back in the day – B.C. (before COVID) - window shopping in clothing stores was one of my favorite past times. I didn’t always buy anything, just enjoyed trying on clothes. There’s no better pick-me-up than trying on a nice outfit to boost your ego.

Since our country was in lockdown for a while, little luxuries like shopping haven’t been available. Online shopping isn’t the same thing. I like to try on clothes in front of the mirrors that highlight the good, the bad and the ugly. In triplicate.

As things are starting to open up, there are some obvious changes with businesses. Dressing rooms in every store are closed indefinitely.  This means I have to make an actual purchase now. That entails bringing clothes home to try on and making a return trip for an exchange if things don’t fit. 

During a recent shopping/return trip, the “closed” sign on the dressing rooms got me thinking about a friend. Throughout our very long friendship, I’ve tried unsuccessfully to share the gospel message of Jesus with her.  I’ve tried everything short of beating her over the head with my Bible to get her to accept Jesus as her Savior. She’s made it plain, she’s not interested. 

When this COVID thing started early in the year, my friend was so consumed with fear, she required medication and barely got of bed for the first few weeks. I figured there was no better time to try sharing Jesus with her again. She was a little more receptive because the world was in chaos and she wasn’t coping.  

My friend brought Jesus home with her to “try on,” but quickly wanted to make a return. Her problem seemed to be that she thought she was buying a “one-size-fits-all” religion, rather than getting to know the real Jesus. My friend was only “window shopping.” 

I’ve never tried to sell her something under false pretenses. I’ve been clear that Jesus is not about religion, but a relationship. I’m not giving up on her though. My prayer for her and anyone looking for peace and reassurance during these uncertain times is to bring Jesus home. Try Him on and wear Him around the house until He becomes a perfect fit. 

You can try and wear Jesus out – but once you say “yes” to Him – He’s not going anywhere. He wants to wrap His Holy Spirit around you and keep you safe throughout the storms of life.

“But I will call on God, and the Lord will rescue me.”  Psalm 55:16 (NLT)

Kathy Kurlin
Author

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WHAT DO YOU THINK ON?

Led by Kelly Kruse – Our minds are always thinking. We are hearing stories, information, words, and seeing events, expressions, sunsets and movies! What we choose to think on matters. It matters so much the Lord continually urges us to take our thoughts captive. His word reminds us that transformation, renewal and peace begins with what we think. We will discover what you are thinking and talk about not believing the worldly lies.  It takes intentional effort to change our minds, take our thoughts captive and look for God’s promises.

MEANT FOR MORE

Led by Stephanie Hendrick – Uncovering God’s Purpose for your Life: one of God’s greatest gifts to humankind is the hidden purpose woven into each of us. Discovering the true intent of our own life is a journey of growth- spiritually, physically, and emotionally- and is often a journey that most people never pursue. In a world of conformity, many women settle for the path already paved for them. What if God’s greatest desire was for you to question why he designed you the way he did? What if the pursuit of purpose and the complexity of then living life with purpose left a legacy you could’ve never otherwise imagined? Uncover the purpose for your own life and remove the barriers – including the fear to begin this work – that will attempt to keep you from carving that path you’re meant to create.

LET’S TALK

Led by Stefanie Calens – It’s often a challenge as women to discover a safe space to sit. This breakout session is that safe place. It is a discussion group where no topics are off limits. No matter where you are in your walk with Jesus, it’s comforting to know, you aren’t alone.


SHE’S DRIVING ME CRAZY

Led by Elizabeth Bedoya & Diana Doucette – I love my mother and I love my daughters……but there are days that they all DRIVE ME CRAZY!  Can you relate? If you are a mother, a daughter or both the answer is probably “Yes!” This is one of those relationships that we are kind of stuck with for most of our lives. Unlike friendships or other relationships that come and go, the mother/daughter relationship is one we are in for the long haul, even if it’s bad, it’s still going to be there and effecting you. In this session my mom and I will try to share some practical and Biblical thoughts on how to deal with that woman (even if she is a miniature one) who is driving you crazy.

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