Need a Filter?

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”                                                                                                                                          Ephesians 4:29 NIV

A friend I worked with for several years was known for his sarcasm and quick comebacks. But after realizing his “humor” had hurt people’s feelings, he began to work hard to control his speech. Whenever he wanted to say something he knew he shouldn’t, he would pass his hand in front of his face as a physical reminder to “filter” his words. It was a visible reminder to himself to think before he spoke. It gave him pause. Of course, since his efforts weren’t subtle, we all knew he had left something unsaid.

Like my friend, we all need to “filter” our words before we allow them to leave our mouths, to check our speech for any impurities or damaging elements. Unfortunately, our culture doesn’t much value the verbal filter today. Instead, we want to hear every cutting, rude, crude, hurtful word. In fact, the more outrageous the better. All we have to do is tack on a “just saying” and it’s all good.

God not only tells His children we should use filters for our mouths, He tells us very specifically what we should filter out and what we should allow ourselves to say in Ephesians 4:29 NIV: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

The Greek word translated as “unwholesome” refers to far more than foul language or curse words. It means we shouldn’t say anything that tears down or deflates the one who hears our words. That doesn’t mean we don’t ever say anything hard or difficult to hear, but that the goal of our speech is to help and build up the other person.

This is so challenging for me! Think about this, what percentage of what comes out of our mouths helps and builds up the hearer? What percentage hurts or tears down the hearer?

Yes, I long for 100% of my words to build up and 0% to tear down. Unfortunately, my filter is often faulty. How about you?

God commands us to control our speech, so in part, using our filter is a step of obedience. But we also need the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit because “no one can tame the tongue” (James 3:8) on our own. We need His divine power!

If you want to tame the tongue and control your speech, join me in this “filter prayer”:

Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips. Psalm 141:3, NIV

Here’s the good news: God is waiting to help us control our speech! Let’s ask Him to help us keep that filter in place!

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Need a Filter? insight from @KathyHHoward on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy HowardAbout the Author: A former “cultural Christian,” Bible teacher and speaker Kathy Howard now lives an unshakable faith for life and encourages women to stand firm on our rock-solid God. The author of eight books, Kathy has a Masters in Christian Education. She and her retired husband live outside the Dallas/Ft Worth area with their miscellaneous assortment of dogs. Find free discipleship resources on her website, www.kathyhoward.org and connect with Kathy on FacebookInstagram, or Pinterest.

Kathy’s book “Before His Throne” leads you on a 9-week journey through the book of Malachi to discover what godly fear looks in our daily lives and how this biblical attitude will help you find deeper intimacy with God.

Join the conversation: What about you? Have you ever taken pride in your “anything goes” speech? Have you struggled to control it only to fail time and time again?

Hair Appointments, Road Construction, and a Truth to Depend On

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:3 ESV

Last Saturday, I was ten minutes late to my hair appointment. Not because I was running late; I left home on time. The highway made me late.

Due to the quickly growing population, the portion of I-35 that runs through our college town has been under construction for years. Yes, we need more lanes, better overpasses, and additional on-ramps, but the construction process is frustrating. And the highway changes constantly. Which is exactly why I was late. The off-ramp closest to the salon was newly closed. And there was no easy way to get back. See, the highway did make me late.

The experience taught me that I need to double-check my route before leaving home. I can’t depend on the roadways to be the same as the last time I drove on them. In fact, we really can’t depend on anything in this life to remain the same. Everything changes. Everything. Nothing in this world is 100 percent dependable. Nothing and no one.

Even the people in our lives whom we love and rely on the most aren’t dependable all of the time. They may want to be. They may try to be. But they will let us down. They don’t have the power to control every circumstance. They cannot foresee every scenario or prepare for every contingency. Those we love and trust the most will fail us. They will leave us.

Even though God’s physical creation will pass away, there is One that is constant, One that will always remain:

“You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.”  Hebrews 1:10-12 ESV

Our triune God is eternal, without beginning and without end. He does not change. He has been, is, and will always be holy, divine perfection. There is no need for change in Him. His character and His ways do not shift with the tides of culture. His Word His true, constant, and stable.

Have you ever contemplated that the God who closed the mouths of the lions for Daniel is the same God we worship today? Our God can part the sea, defeat vast armies, and raise the dead. Our God can calm the storm, give sight to the blind, and feed the hungry.

Embrace this unfathomable truth. He is forever and always good, trustworthy, and mighty. This unchanging, eternal God, who was faithful in your yesterday, will also be faithful in your tomorrow.

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Hair Appointments, Road Construction, and a Truth to Depend On – insight from @KathyHHoward on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy HowardAbout the Author: A former “cultural Christian,” Bible teacher and speaker Kathy Howard now lives an unshakable faith for life and encourages women to stand firm on our rock-solid God. The author of eight books, Kathy has a Masters in Christian Education. She and her retired husband live outside the Dallas/Ft Worth area with their miscellaneous assortment of dogs. Find free discipleship resources on her website, www.kathyhoward.org and connect with Kathy on FacebookInstagram, or Pinterest.

Kathy’s book “Before His Throne” leads you on a 9-week journey through the book of Malachi to discover what godly fear looks in our daily lives and how this biblical attitude will help you find deeper intimacy with God.

Join the conversation: What character trait of God is the most meaningful to you?

Alzheimer’s is No Match for the Spirit of God

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.                                                                                                                               Psalm 139:11-12, ESV

It’s been a long goodbye. My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s more than a decade ago. And although physically she is still with us, we have been losing her by bits and pieces for years. According to her doctor, Mom is now in the final stages of this cruel disease, in her last weeks. She is on a hospice wing of a nursing home in Knoxville, Tennessee where my brother lives. I live in Texas. I wish I could simply sit by her until she goes to meet Jesus, but the nearly one thousand-mile trip makes that difficult.

But recently, my daughters and I spent several days with her. They wanted to see their grandmother one last time. Their visit was hard but good. She never “recognized” them, but she did focus on them, hold their hands, and interact. It seemed as though she knew she should know them and was cheered by their presence.

After they flew home, I stayed a while longer. One afternoon, I sat beside Mom’s bed, holding her hand, and my sweet sister-in-law sat holding her other. Up to that point, Mom’s conversation hadn’t made much sense. She put words together into sentences that had no meaning. But that afternoon was different. Something very precious and amazing happened.

I asked Mom to tell us about Jesus. And that’s when it happened.

She closed her eyes and a serene look came over her face. When she spoke, her voice was filled with awe and wonder. And her words made so much sense. I wish I had recorded it. She said things like “He is so good… He is so powerful… He helps me… He helps me be good. He is so wonderful.”

Mom went on for several minutes without any prompting or encouragement. Then when she finished talking about Jesus, she opened her eyes and her communication reverted to what it had been before.

God allowed me to witness answered prayer that day. One of my regular petitions for Mom is that God will continue to give her awareness of His presence with her in these final days. Oh yes, in this dark valley of circumstances, God is with my mother.

Psalm 139 teaches us incredible truths about the presence of God. He is omni-present. We could not escape His presence if we tried. We do not encounter any hard thing alone. We do not walk into any dark place without Him lighting the way before us.

Not even Alzheimer’s is a match for our powerful, ever-present God. He is able to penetrate even that and touch my mother’s soul in a way nothing else can.

That afternoon at my mother’s bedside, I saw the Holy Spirit override the deficiencies in her brain. Alzheimer’s could not contain Mom’s praise for Jesus. Oh yes, He is good and He is powerful!

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Alzheimer’s is No Match for the Spirit of God – encouragement from @KathyHHoward on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy HowardAbout the author: A former “cultural Christian,” Bible teacher and speaker Kathy Howard now lives an unshakable faith for life and encourages women to stand firm on our rock-solid God. The author of eight books, Kathy has a Masters in Christian Education. She and her retired husband live outside the Dallas/Ft Worth area with their miscellaneous assortment of dogs. Find free discipleship resources on her website, www.kathyhoward.org and connect with Kathy on FacebookInstagram, or Pinterest.

In 30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents, author and fellow caregiver Kathy Howard offers encouragement and wisdom on giving your parents the kind of care that pleases God, providing the honor and respect that will allow them to maintain their dignity.

Join the conversation: Has God answered a prayer of yours lately? Please share!

 

 

Stuck Like Glue

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

We have three, geriatric, special needs dogs. Boone, our 12-year-old yellow lab, is deaf. Cooper, the 11-year-old chihuahua we inherited when my father-in-law passed away, is blind. And then there’s Remi, a 10-year-old rescue dog. Remi belonged to our son Mark. When Mark went away to college eight years ago, we kept him temporarily while he lived in the dorm. But then we refused to give back when he asked for him. Don’t tell anyone, but Remi is my favorite.

Remi is a mutt descended from mutts. We actually had his DNA tested. (Yes, we are “those kind of people.”) We wanted to know what all was in his genes, because he’s such a great dog. He’s super smart, energetic, affectionate, and athletic. For instance, he loves jumping in the air for a ball and doing twists and turns on the way down. In case you care, we did get some information from the DNA test. He is 12.5% Miniature Pinscher, 12.5% Chihuahua, 12.5% Poodle, 12.5% Pekinese, and 50% too much mutt to identify.

Remi’s been healthy until recently. A few weeks ago, he fell off a chair and hurt his back. The vet checked him out and assures us it’s all muscular. She put him on steroids and muscle relaxers and it helped. But this morning, he reinjured it.

He is clearly in pain and can’t get in a comfortable position. He’s been clinging to me or my husband constantly. He gingerly follows us around, sitting on our feet when we stop moving. He needs help and believes we can help him. So, he’s sticking to us like glue.

As I watched him lean on my husband, I remembered something I heard at a funeral a few years ago. The pastor encouraged the family to allow their grief to press them into God rather than let it push them away from Him. That has stuck with me. I pray this for others going through grief, loss, and pain. I pray it for myself.

Too often when we are hurting, we allow our pain to wedge in between us and God. We may wonder why He isn’t fixing things, what’s taking Him so long, or why He would allow us to suffer. But over and over in Scripture, we see encouragement to do just the opposite.

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.”  Psalm 121:1-4, ESV

When trials, grief, or troubles hit, that’s the time to press in even closer. To cling to the One who loves us most. To stick like glue to our all-powerful, sovereign God. Even if He doesn’t change our circumstances, He promises to walk through the trials with us. To comfort, encourage, and strengthen us. To be closer than our very breath.

For you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. Psalm 63:7-8, ESV

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Stuck Like Glue – thoughts on moving closer to God when life gets hard from @KathyHHoward on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy HowardAbout the author: A former “cultural Christian,” Bible teacher and speaker Kathy Howard now lives an unshakable faith for life and encourages women to stand firm on our rock-solid God. The author of eight books, Kathy has a Masters in Christian Education. She and her retired husband live outside the Dallas/Ft Worth area with their miscellaneous assortment of dogs. Find free discipleship resources on her website, www.kathyhoward.org and connect with Kathy on FacebookInstagram, or Pinterest.

Kathy’s book, God is My Refuge: Twelve Weeks of Devotions and Scripture Memory for Troubled Times, provides the direction women need to discover, understand, and tap into the ”ever-present help” that only God can give.

Join the conversation: Have you allowed grief or pain to come between you and the Lord?

 

The Case of Mistaken Location

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

It had been a busy and unusual year. A death in the family, the arrival of two grand babies, our son’s wedding, and my parents’ severe health struggles had kept me on the road. A lot.

One particular week included two trips back-to-back, with no going home in between. I went straight from my parents’ home in Louisiana, where we had been packing for their move to Tennessee, to my daughter’s home in Dallas to help with the baby while they unpacked after a recent move into a new home.

I had seen the house once before they moved in, but still needed to use Google Maps to find it again. I drove into the neighborhood and spotted what looked like their home on the next corner. As I turned onto the street in front of the house, Google announced “You have arrived at your destination!” Great!

As I parked on the street in front of the house I took note of the cars in the driveway. I didn’t recognize either of them, but since friends and family had been helping them move earlier in the day, I surmised they belonged to them.

Since I didn’t want to cause more work for them, I got all my stuff out of the car and up to the front porch. When I travel by car, I don’t travel lightly. I had a suitcase, a shoe bag, a snack bag, my rolling briefcase, and two king-sized pillows.

As I got the last of it on the porch, I knocked on the door and looked around. Although it looked just like the house I’d visited before, there were a few things that gave me pause – the potted plants, the door mat, and the multiple dogs that began barking at my knock.

Hmm. Could I possibly be at the wrong house? I texted Sarah. “Am I at the right house?”

Meanwhile, I heard a woman’s voice inside talking to the dogs, just inside the door. “Who’s out there guys?” It was not my daughter’s voice.

I envisioned the home owner looking through the peep hole. What did she see? Unknown middle-aged woman with baggage.

What should I do? What would she do?

About that time Sarah texted back. “No.”

My fear was confirmed. I was at the wrong house.

Okay. Well, I decided that when the woman opened the door, I would explain my mistake with a laugh and apologize.

But the woman didn’t open the door. She must have thought I looked too dangerous. Or crazy.

Either way, it was time for me to go. I wanted to run and not look back. But I needed all my baggage. And it took two trips to get it all back to the car. I wondered if the woman watched out the peep hole the whole time.

Sarah’s house was exactly one block to the south. Same corner. Same layout. But the residents were much more friendly. They even helped me haul in my bags.

I love how God works. In the midst of an overwhelming, chaotic time in my life, he used a case of mistaken location to give me a laugh and relieve some anxiety.

Is your life a little chaotic right now? God cares about your daily struggles, big and small. He will give you strength when you are weak and peace when troubles shakes your life. He is “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our afflictions” (2 Corinthians 1:3b-4a, ESV). And He’s got a great sense of humor.

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The Case of Mistaken Location – insight from @KathyHHoward on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy HowardAbout the author: A former “cultural Christian,” Bible teacher and speaker Kathy Howard now lives an unshakable faith for life and encourages women to stand firm on our rock-solid God. Kathy, who has a Masters in Christian Education, is the author of eight books, including “30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents.” She and her retired husband live outside the Dallas/Ft Worth area with their miscellaneous assortment of dogs. Find free discipleship resources on her website, www.kathyhoward.org and connect with Kathy on FacebookInstagram, or Pinterest.

Join the conversation: What comic relief has God given you recently?

A Father’s Good Gifts

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:13 ESV

When I was a girl, I took my parents’ provision for granted. I always had enough food to eat and nice, new clothes to wear. They provided me with a reliable used car when I began my last year of high school. They paid my college tuition and room and board. And although I did have to work for spending money and extras, in hindsight, I know Mom and Dad used that to teach me a valuable life lesson.

I didn’t know – and honestly may not have cared at the time – that Mom and Dad went without things they wanted in order to give to me. They even went above and beyond my basic needs to give me things I simply wanted. For instance, my mother didn’t buy clothes she needed so I could have a fancy prom dress. And my parents sacrificed years of vacations so I could get an education. It wasn’t until later – until I had children of my own – that I began to understand what my parents had done for me.

When Wayne and I started a family, we naturally began to make the same kinds of sacrifices my parents – and Wayne’s parents – had made. Date nights and dinners out dwindled. We set aside much of our own desires, and even some needs, in order to provide and bless our own children. We did it because we love our children. And it gave us joy to give to them. And now we get to see our own children love our grandchildren and sacrifice to provide for them.

Not all earthly parents properly care for their children. Far too many are neglected and abused. But most parents do treat their children with kindness and love. Most desire to abundantly provide for them. If that’s how we treat our children, even with all our sin and imperfections, how much more will our perfect heavenly Father respond to our petitions with kindness? How much more does He long to give us good gifts?

Jesus taught His disciples, and us, to pray to God as “Father” (Luke 11:1-4). If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you have access to God because you are His child. On the basis of this relationship, you can boldly bring Him your every need. Every longing of your heart. Every hurt and grief and pain.

Yes, God knows our needs before we ask, but prayer is an expression of relationship. Through prayer we acknowledge our trust in the God who not only can provide for our needs, He also wants to provide abundantly.

God is a good, good Father and the giver of good, good gifts. Let us pray expectantly, trusting in God’s good provision.

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A Father’s Good Gifts – insight from @KathyHHoward on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy HowardAbout the author: A former “cultural Christian,” Bible teacher and speaker Kathy Howard now lives an unshakable faith for life and encourages women to stand firm on our rock-solid God. The author of eight books, Kathy has a Masters in Christian Education. She and her retired husband live outside the Dallas/Ft Worth area with their miscellaneous assortment of dogs. Find free discipleship resources on her website, www.kathyhoward.org and connect with Kathy on FacebookInstagram, or Pinterest.

This post was adapted from Kathy’s book God is My Refuge: Twelve Weeks of Devotions and Scripture Memory for Troubled Times. It provides the direction women need to discover, understand, and tap into the ”ever-present help” that only God can give.

Join the conversation: How has our Heavenly Father provided for your needs in the past?

 

Rusty Mailboxes, Aching Bones, and the Overcomer

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:4-5 ESV

My parents lived in the house where they raised my brother and me for almost 50 years. When we moved onto Dianne Street, I was eight and my brother was just five.

When my parents’ health severely declined, we moved them closer to my brother. But, during the last few years they have lived there, every time I make the four-hour drive to visit them, I am keenly aware of the passage of time and the toll this physical life takes on physical things.

For instance, once when I was there for a visit, I noticed the mailbox. I mean, I really took note of it. It’s the same mailbox they’d had for decades. The same one I mowed down with my mother’s Lincoln when I was a young driver. The post wedged under the car and Dad had a hard time getting it free. But even then, Dad didn’t replace the box; he just replaced the narrow iron post I had mangled with something a bit sturdier.

The day we moved my parents’ belongings, I studied that mailbox. It displayed the wounds of standing unprotected for decades at the end of the driveway in all kinds of weather. Although the numbers, 6413, still bravely cling to the side, rust dominated the exterior, and the lid didn’t quite close all the way.

Time has marked my parents as well. Joy and grief. Success and failure. Fullness and loss. Just like anyone who lives in this world for very long. Dad went to heaven late last year and Mom suffers with the last stages of Alzheimer’s. I miss my father; and though my mother is still here physically, we feel we lost her years ago.

Some days I wish I could change things. Or turn back the clock.

Yet God graciously reminds me that none of this takes Him by surprise. He well knows the effects this broken world has on His children. Sin has subjected this physical world and all that live on it to decay. We all groan inwardly while we eagerly wait for the fulfillment of God’s promises to His children (Romans 8:20-25).

We can replace rusty mailboxes with new ones, but they would soon rust again. The world would still get the last word.

But, praise God, the world does not get the last word in my parents’ lives. Or my life. The world does not have to have the last word in your life.

God gets the last word. The victory will be and is His, for everyone who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. His victory is our victory. We are overcomers! 

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Rusty Mailboxes, Aching Bones, and the Overcomer – @KathyHHoward on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy HowardAbout the author: A former “cultural Christian,” Bible teacher and speaker Kathy Howard now lives an unshakable faith for life and encourages women to stand firm on our rock-solid God. The author of eight booksKathy has a Masters in Christian Education. She and her retired husband live outside the Dallas/Ft Worth area with their miscellaneous assortment of dogs. Find free discipleship resources on her website, http://www.kathyhoward.org and connect with Kathy on FacebookInstagramor Pinterest

In 30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents, author and fellow caregiver Kathy Howard offers encouragement and wisdom on giving your parents the kind of care that pleases God, providing the honor and respect that will allow them to maintain their dignity.

Join the conversation: What challenges are you facing lately?

 

 

Sustaining Grace

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

 I woke in the middle of the night and the rawness of it all washed over me again. Our family faced a serious situation. I tried to fix it, but it seemed hopeless. I knew sleep would not come easily. I had no words left for prayer. I was prayed out.

Anxiety welled up and I reached for God. The Holy Spirit began to bring Scriptures to mind, so I began to “pray” them. Soon peace started to push out the anxiety until it was gone. Somewhere in the first chapter of 1 Peter I drifted off to sleep.

At the time, I was away from home staying with my oldest daughter. My grandson was just a few days old, and I was helping out. The next morning, Kelley reported on how Micah slept the night before. Then almost as an afterthought she added, “The second time I came back to bed, Jeremy asked me to pray with him. He felt strongly we should pray for you right then.”

“What time was that?” I asked.

“About 3:15, 3:20,” Kelley replied.

That was the same time I lay awake in bed with anxiety threatening to take over. I know because I had looked at my phone. God did not fix the situation like I’d hoped, but He was not idle. He saw my need and He cared. He poured out His grace through the heart of my son-in-law and gave me the peace and strength I needed to keep going.

Sometimes God intervenes in our trials in physical ways. He heals. He frees. He delivers. But not always. Often God works in far more miraculous ways. He pours out His grace to cover our soul needs.

The apostle Paul wrote about how he experienced God’s sustaining grace in the midst of his trials, after he had pleaded with God multiple times to remove his “thorn.”

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NIV

Like this instance in Paul’s life, God may not change our difficult circumstances. But He will strengthen and sustain us with His grace.

God also used my experience to teach me more about Himself and His ways. First, this experience changed the way I respond to prompts by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit prompted my son-in-law to pray. Jeremy obeyed and God answered His prayer by filling me with peace. Now, when the Spirit prompts me to pray for someone or urges me to call someone or send a card or give something specific, it’s because He wants to use me as a tool for His grace. I want to be a part of that!

Also, anytime I am tempted to think God doesn’t see my need or doesn’t care, the Spirit brings this moment to mind. And I know, God does see me. He knows my need. He does care. And He will graciously provide what I need in the midst of the trial.

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Sustaining Grace – thoughts on walking through the trials of life from @KathyHHoward on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy HowardAbout the author: A former “cultural Christian,” Bible teacher and speaker Kathy Howard now lives an unshakable faith for life and encourages women to stand firm on our rock-solid God. The author of eight booksKathy has a Masters in Christian Education. She and her retired husband live outside the Dallas/Ft Worth area with their miscellaneous assortment of dogs. Find free discipleship resources on her website, http://www.kathyhoward.org and connect with Kathy on FacebookInstagramor Pinterest

This post was adapted from Kathy’s book “Embraced by Holiness.” Do you long for a deeper, more intimate walk with God? Embraced by Holiness is a focused six-week Bible study that will take you on a guided, deep, and consistent look at biblical principles on holiness.

Join the conversation: When has someone’s obedience to the Holy Spirit blessed you?

Captured by His Holiness

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

Who among the gods is like you, Lord? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?   Exodus 15:11, NIV

The power of the ocean surprised me. I had heard stories of rogue waves, dangerous currents, and destructive tsunamis, but I had never experienced them. That was before the Pacific caught me in its pull.

Our family was vacationing on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. We rented boogie boards earlier in the day and I eagerly wanted to try mine out. When we hit the beach, I didn’t hesitate. I jumped right in and paddled out to catch the waves. Unfortunately, by the time I realized they were breaking too far out for boogie boarding, I was in over my head. So with my upper body on the small board, I began to kick my way back to the beach.

Despite my efforts I couldn’t make any progress. In fact, after several minutes of trying I was farther away from the beach and farther down the shoreline. The board was strapped to my wrist so I let it trail behind me and began to swim. I swam until I was exhausted and swallowing water, but I was even farther from shore.

Powerless against the riptide, all I could do was cling to the board and holler for help. My dear husband, who came quickly to my side atop his own boogie board, talked me through riding out the current. Soon we were safely on the beach.

That experience gave me new respect for the ocean. I had heard of its power, but without first-hand knowledge, I treated the water too casually. My new attitude does not prevent me from enjoying the ocean, but I approach it differently than I did before. The personal encounter with its power changed everything.

Likewise, intellectual assent to the holiness of God is not the same as personal experience. We can mentally agree to the truth that God is holy, but when we come face to face with His holiness we are forced to respond.

You can experience our holy God in a real way. For instance, God can reveal His holiness to you when you are enjoying a magnificent sunset or reading His Word and praying. Sometimes we simply don’t wait before Him long enough. We see His glory in nature or we read of His majesty in Scripture, pause long enough to say, “Wow,” then we’re off and running again. I’m guilty of that.

Let’s take time today to contemplate the glory and holiness of God. Ask Jesus to overwhelm you with His divinity, power, and holiness. Let His majesty envelop you like a bright cloud. Now sit, be still, and know. He alone is worthy of all our worship and praise!

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come… You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” Revelation 4:8, 11 NIV

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Captured by His Holiness – insight from @KathyHHoward on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy HowardAbout the author: A former “cultural Christian,” Bible teacher and speaker Kathy Howard now lives an unshakable faith for life and encourages women to stand firm on our rock-solid God. The author of eight books, Kathy has a Masters in Christian Education. She and her retired husband live outside the Dallas/Ft Worth area with their miscellaneous assortment of dogs. Find free discipleship resources on her website, http://www.kathyhoward.org and connect with Kathy on FacebookInstagram, or Pinterest

This post was adapted from Kathy’s book “Embraced by Holiness.” Do you long for a deeper, more intimate walk with God? Embraced by Holiness is a focused six-week Bible study that will take you on a guided, deep, and consistent look at biblical principles on holiness.

Join the conversation: Have you ever personally experienced the power of God?

Do You Hear the Song?

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

My friend Lisa longed to see Old Faithful ever since she studied the geyser in her sixth grade geography class. Artesian springs were abundant around her southeast Texas home, but their gently flowing waters could not satisfy her desire to witness the power of Yellowstone National Park’s most famous natural site.

Unfortunately, Lisa’s family did not have the resources for many vacations, so almost three decades passed before she stood on the viewing platform next to Old Faithful. Lisa, her husband, and their five children had started their trip at the northern end of the park. They enjoyed the hot springs, canyon, mud pots, and wild life. But she purposefully saved the geyser for last.

Lisa knew the geyser would be impressive, but the depth of her reaction surprised her. The eruption built until water and steam reached more than 150 feet into the air. The power of nature demonstrated by the Old Faithful geyser turned Lisa’s heart and mind to the power of its Creator. The holiness of God overwhelmed her as she witnessed His majesty revealed in His creation.

“All I could think of was the majesty of God; how holy and mighty beyond my imagination. He had created this spectacular display of power, yet it is minuscule compared to His power. I could stand safely on the viewing platform and witness the power of the geyser, but I knew I could never stand in the presence of God except by His grace through Christ. I worshiped God in that moment. He had given me a glimpse of His majesty.”

Have you heard the songs of praise?

Before the stars dotted the heavens and the waves crashed on the shore, God existed in all His holiness. Divine, perfect nature witnessed solely by the Triune God Himself. Then God spoke, and His majesty burst forth in visible wonder. He splashed His glory across the skies and spread His power in the ocean depths. Now all creation sings a clear, unbroken chorus of praise about the holiness of God.

Since the beginning of time, what has been made testifies to the unlimited power and worthiness of its Maker. Nature beckons us to seek God, bidding us turn our eyes and hearts to the Creator. It is beyond comprehension that this powerful, majestic, holy God desires us to know Him. And yet He does.

The psalmist David responded to God’s handiwork. As a shepherd, he spent many nights under the stars with the sheep, where creation’s song fostered his own praise:

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.  Psalm 19:1-3, NIV

Creation reveals the power and majesty of God. No language difference or cultural barrier can hinder its message. No government or law can silence its voice. The complex beauty of the heavens and the earth reflect the holiness of God to every person, of every language, in every place. Without exception.

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Do You Hear the Song? – Thoughts on the Majesty of God from @KathyHHoward on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy HowardAbout the author: A former “cultural Christian,” Bible teacher and speaker Kathy Howard now lives an unshakable faith for life and encourages women to stand firm on our rock-solid God. The author of eight books, Kathy has a Masters in Christian Education. She and her retired husband live outside the Dallas/Ft Worth area with their miscellaneous assortment of dogs. Find free discipleship resources on her website, http://www.kathyhoward.org and connect with Kathy on FacebookInstagram, or Pinterest

This post was adapted from Kathy’s book “Embraced by Holiness.” Do you long for a deeper, more intimate walk with God? Embraced by Holiness is a focused six-week Bible study that will take you on a guided, deep, and consistent look at biblical principles on holiness.

Join the conversation: When was the last time something in God’s creation filled you with awe and worship for its Creator?