Women’s Devotion | December 2018

Keep Us in Perfect Peace 

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord forever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.
– Isaiah 26: 3-4 (KJV)

 

How can we define peace in a world where people in high places are dividing the nation with substandard news? It is difficult to peruse the news because of spiritual warfare in the world where mass shootings and murdering are on the rampage. Webster defines peace as a state of tranquility or quietness. It also states that peace is freedom from any civil disturbance. This devotion is written to encourage believers and saints of God that during this time of year, we should be praying for peace for our community, state, federal and national government leaders. It has become a monumental year of hate crime, global destruction and division with governmental officials.


Many Christians feel when they trust God, trials and tribulations will not come knocking at their doors. Nevertheless, Christians faces some of the same problems that unbelievers encounter. Therefore, if we as women trust in the true and living God, our tests will become our testimony. Our obstacles will transform into victory. As a result, our living will not be in vain. Although we are disheartened by all the events which have occurred in the world this year, we must hold fast to God’s unchanging hands and walk by faith and not by sight. Isaiah encourages us to simply trust in God for our strength.


Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” There have been unbelievable situations in my personal life concerning some family members where I must trust God to work it out for me. He has afforded me peace to withstand spiritual warfare and overcome adversities that have been overwhelming to bear. My peace and strength come from Psalm 28:7 (NIV), “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.”


In essence, do not stress out over the holidays about gifts that you can’t afford to purchase. We should not concern ourselves with the outcome of this nomination for our next leaders in government. We need to continue to pray for our neighbors in the world who have experienced losing all their personal belongings in just one storm or fire.


Consequently, we simply must stop allowing ourselves to be burdened down with problems that God has already promised that He would solve if we keep our mind stayed on Him. I am so glad we serve a God who is capable of keeping His promises to us. 2 Corinthians 1:20 (NKJV), “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” God knew over 2,000 years ago that this world would be in such disarray. Nevertheless, I thank God for His peace that surpasses all understanding. I pray you’ll have a peaceful holiday celebration and a prosperous and blessed New Year. Please always remember to hold on to the peace of God and He will direct your path and help you along your journey to withstand what this world or life may present to you.

 


 

 

Evangelist Dianne Rawls-Griffin is an Ordained Minister in the Church of God. She serves faithfully in ministry with her husband, Bishop Verdell R. Griffin, Jr., at Wheeler Street Church of God, St. Marys, Georgia. They have been married for 18 years. She is a fervent teacher of the Word of God, and operates in the gifts of prophecy, teaching, and evangelism. She is an educator with the Glynn County Public School System and enjoys traveling, teaching, reading, studying and preaching the marvelous gospel of Jesus Christ. Her favorite scripture is Matthew 28:19 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” She believes in holiness, and that holiness is still a standard by which we must live. She enjoys preaching to the people of God and delivering life-changing applicable messages with intensity, passion, and severity.  

Women’s Devotion | November 2018

 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands
– Psalm 19:1

 

I have always been mesmerized by the sky. Even when I was a little girl I loved the sky! I remember my sister and I resting in the grass and staring up at the clouds as they drifted by. Many times, we’d imagine seeing shapes of animals or people and laugh about the things we “saw” way up high. One of my fondest memories is of peering through a telescope to view the stars and the moon with my father. It doesn’t matter if it’s white puffy clouds that slowly float by, dark rumbling storm clouds, or the velvety darkness of the nighttime sky enhanced by soft twinkling stars-I love it all! But I believe my most favorite things to see in the sky are sunsets. The warm orange and red colors that merge together so perfectly simply amaze me. Sunsets make me want to slow down and savor those last moments of the day.


I can often be found sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch watching the sun sink unhurriedly behind our rusted corn bins and pecan trees. There have been so many times I have stared in utter amazement at the handiwork of God in a sunset, a starry night, or a dark thunderstorm. Psalm 19:1 is brought to my memory many times, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” When I meditate upon this scripture while viewing a remarkable sky, I am filled with such joy! God created these things not only for our enjoyment but also to show us His glory, power, grace, and love. Isn’t it reassuring to know the God of the universe, who created the sky, is in complete control of the world and all the circumstances in our lives? And above everything He loves you and me!


The Bible states in Psalm 97:6, “The heavens proclaim His righteousness; all the peoples see His glory.” The words “all the peoples” tells us the people in the busy cities, the rural farming communities, and even the most remote places in the world- EVERYONE- can see the glory of God by simply looking up to the heavens. I challenge you to put down your phone, walk away from your computer, work, or household chores. Get away from all the distractions and noise of the day and look up at the sky. Take a few minutes and study it. If you continue to gaze at the sky, the hand of the Lord will become evident. The glory of the Lord is declared through the heavens.

 

Prayer:

Lord, thank you for the puffy white clouds, the dark storm clouds, the sunsets, and the nighttime sky. And thank you for the reminder they provide us- that You are great and greatly to be praised. Lord, open the eyes of my heart to see you. Help me slow down and put away distractions and help me hear Your voice. If the heavens declare Your glory, then help me declare Your glory as well. Lord, help me be a witness to testify of Your work in my life. Help me declare Your love and share the Good News. Amen.


 

 

Jennifer Carver is married to Mark Carver. She is the Women’s Evangelism Coordinator and Women’s Ministries assistant; her husband is the Ministries Director at the South Georgia State Office. Previously they served as pastor/pastor’s wife for 19 years at Alma Southside Church of God. She and Mark have been married for twenty years and have two children, Makayla (16) and Grant (14). Jennifer is also a certified teacher and holds a master’s degree in education. She has worked in the field of education for almost two decades. Her hobbies include baking, reading, and spending time with her family.

Women’s Devotion | October 2018

Fear is a Liar

I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.
– Psalm 34:4

While recently traveling with my husband and my two youngest sons I decided that it would be a great idea to play a song that I heard several people mention. Surely, it was something that I needed to listen to right that minute.


As a mom of all boys, I am always at the center of attention when it comes to sad, sappy movies or in this case, a song. During times such as these, all eyes are on me to see my reaction. Not only did I listen to the song surrounded by all of this testosterone, I decided it would be an even greater idea for the whole family to enjoy it too.


As the song began to play, I could feel my face flushing and I felt emotion welling up. There was no going back, if I turned it off they would know something going on because it was my idea but I was trying hard not to cry. As I sat there trying to compose myself and not bring attention to the emotional explosion that was about to take place, a tiny tear fell from my eye.


At this point, the car that had been full of chatter and excitement had become eerily silent. I thought to myself, surely the boys have gotten preoccupied so I will escape their ensuing ridicule and laughter at mom’s silliness. Oh, how wrong I was! As soon as I opened the glove compartment to pull from the overflowing stash of drive-thru napkins to wipe my eyes, I was busted.


My dear husband, the protector that he is, caught a glimpse of what was happening out of the corner of his eye. He stared straight ahead at the road with both hands placed firmly on the wheel trying his best not to draw attention to the waterfall about to take place.  In that instant, over the music, I heard “Mom, are you crying?” and then another, “Really Mom, why are you crying, it’s just a song”. I raised my hand for them to give me a moment and quickly stopped the song. My family had a laugh but what they didn’t realize was the teachable moment that had just happened. This situation led to an entire conversation about marriage and how God places extra water in women sometimes so it just pours out faster. Oh how they love those conversations. This was sweet payback for them laughing at me. A conversation was sparked about fear and how crippling it can become to so many people.


We all have fears. We can have fears over things that may seem silly to others, such as spiders (not silly to me, by the way), lizards, crossing bridges, fear of the dark, etc. There are very serious, emotional fears such as worrying about sickness, loneliness, not measuring up and being enough, financial stability, on and on. So, how do we overcome those fears as believers in Christ?


We have been given an arsenal of weapons to fight against fear. Two of these weapons being the ability to speak life into our situation and take our thoughts captive. Proverbs 18:21 NKJV says, “death and life are in the power of the tongue and those who love it will eat its fruit”. One way to overcome fear is by the very words that we speak. Whatever the fear is, we have to see ourselves as God sees us and not as the fear that is disabling us at that very moment. Scripture teaches us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made! We can pray scriptures out loud over ourselves, such as Matthew 6:26 NIV which states, ”Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 tells us that we aren’t fighting a physical battle but a spiritual one. We have to take those thoughts captive and replace them with thoughts of what God thinks of us.


We also have a weapon of praise. When we are struggling with fear, we have to think on the good and begin to praise Him for that. The enemy expects us to succumb to fear but when we lift our hands and our voices to God, it confuses the enemy. Deuteronomy 10:21 NIV says, “ He is the one you praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.”


Another weapon is our faith. Hebrews 11:1 NKJV says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” We have evidence that God is for us exemplified by our faith in Him as a loving, caring father. Paul states in 2 Timothy 1:7, that God did not give us the spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. We have to have faith that God wants us to be victorious over every obstacle in our life.


We also have to set up stones of remembrance. In Joshua 4 we find the story of Joshua leading the Israelites over the Jordan River on their quest to the Promised Land. Their next stop would be Jericho but they had to make it across a raging river first. The Levites had to pick up the Ark of the Covenant and step into the water, when they did the waters parted and everyone walked across on dry land. God told Joshua to have a leader from each of the twelve tribes of Israel pick up a stone from the river bed to build a memorial of what God had done for them. We have to setup memorials to draw from when fear attacks.


In 2011, I had a skull based tumor removed. It was a very scary and a trying time for me and my family. My only symptom for several years were very scary, heavy nose bleeds. Now years later, when I have a regular nosebleed fear tries to return. I have to stop my thoughts and pull from the stones of remembrance that God had me lay down in 2011. I have to quote 2 Timothy 1:7 and then surround myself with worship music. I cannot allow thoughts such as those to plant themselves in my mind.


Back to the song and the setting that caused my demise. The song mentioned is titled “Fear is a Liar” by Zach Williams.   There is truth in the title of the song because fear comes from Satan who is the father of all lies according to John 8:44. There is no truth in Satan. How wonderful is it that we have a Father that cares about our fears, our worries and anxieties! Our heavenly father will always be truthful to tell us how precious we are to Him. When fear comes against you turn up the praise music, take your thoughts captive and think about your stones of remembrance.


 

 

Amy Bryant serves alongside her husband, Scott Bryant at Blakely Church of God. Together they are reaching rural Georgia in Early County. Amy grew up in a pastor’s home where both her dad and mom were ministers. She is thankful to carry on the legacy left behind to follow. Her passion is to see women live victorious, fruitful Christian lives free from their past. Through her own past struggles, she can share how to overcome what the enemy tried to use to destroy her. Amy is the mother of three boys, a grandmother to a beautiful one-year old granddaughter and a daughter in love. Her delight is to spend as much time as possible with them.

Women’s Devotion | September 2018

My Name is Alice

 

We live in a world where we are identified by our name. When we meet people, we greet each other by shaking hands, introducing ourselves and giving our name. It’s a connection when you see someone you’ve previously met and mention him or her by name. It makes them smile and feel good when you remember their name and can be very embarrassing when you don’t. By now you may be thinking, “What’s the point with the name thing?”


I love being married to my husband, who is a pastor, and doing what God has called us to do. We have been in ministry for 28 years; for the most part it has been good. I’m sure there are some things that we as pastor’s wives can all relate to—we share some common ground in this role.


I have seen pastor’s wives lose who they are when they become the PASTOR’S WIFE. Not lose themselves in every way, but in some ways. You may have put aside what you once loved to do or even put your career on hold to fulfill your new role as the pastor’s wife.


When my husband and I were ready to accept our first pastorate, my First Lady (who had been in ministry for years) came and gave me some mentoring advice and encouragement. I remember this puzzled me when she said, “Your husband will be in the spotlight and you will be the shadow.” At that time I didn’t understand what she meant, but years later I did.


When we would go out or visit people, I would be identified as “the pastor’s wife.” I have no problem with that because I am the pastor’s wife, but please identify me by my name some of the time. I wouldn’t have a problem with Sister Mack or Lady Mack. But it’s like, “That’s Pastor Mack, and oh, by the way that’s his wife.” You may be thinking, “Sister Mack really?” Yes really! It bothered me at times, because my name has meaning and it identifies who I am.


When God called me into the ministry, He called me by my name. I was reading Isaiah 43:1 and I heard His voice call my name. He said, “Alice, I have called you by name, you are mine.” I read the entire chapter and began to weep because I didn’t feel worthy to preach His word.


Tasha Cobbs sings a song entitled, “You Know My Name.” It’s a beautiful song about how God knows all of our names, how He walks with us, comforts us and tells us that we are His own.


Revelation 3:5 ESV says, “The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life, I will confess his name before my Father and before His angels.”


Psalm 147:4 tells us God determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.


We all know what he told Mary, “Thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son and shalt call his name Jesus…” Luke 1:31 KJV “… for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 KJV. No other name is GREATER or more POWERFUL than the name Jesus!


Names identify, have value and meaning. Many times when I go to a store or an establishment, I look for the employee’s nametag. I will begin a conversation with that individual and during the course of conversation I will mention their name. Their whole demeanor changes and they begin to smile because I called them by their name. I have identified who they are and it is meaningful to them.


I pray and trust that this has blessed someone who feels like you are not special because you are not recognized or accepted more than someone else. God loves you and he knows where you are and who you are and HE KNOWS YOUR NAME even if no one else does!


Yes, I am the pastor’s wife, but MY NAME IS ALICE.

 


 

 

 

First Lady Alice Mack is a licensed, ordained minister in the Church of God. She is married to Bishop Terry Mack, Sr. They have been in ministry for 28 years and are proud parents of two sons and grandparents of five. She has ministered in several women’s conferences and churches in South Georgia. She is known for her exuberant praise and worship as well as a keen sense of humor. She enjoys letting her hair down, especially with women of low self esteem, telling them that she had once been in that same place, but God turned her life around and filled her with JOY!