Can I Really Persevere?

Perseverance: “Persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.”

Nehemiah is a book of the Bible that gets overlooked too often. As I was reading through it recently the story of Nehemiah and the other Jews rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem really struck me. I don’t have room to type all of Nehemiah 1-6 here, but take the time to read it for yourself. In this post I will be pulling out portions of these chapters and focusing on the incredible perseverance of these Jews.

When Nehemiah, who was a captive in Babylon, heard that the walls of his homeland, Jerusalem, were destroyed, he was very distressed. So he asked permission from the king of Babylon to go rebuild the walls. The king agreed and so Nehemiah and many other Jews went to build, never expecting to face so much opposition.

Let me insert here that no matter what we’re doing doing for the kingdom of God, there will always be someone opposing us. That is why we have to learn to persevere.

Back to Nehemiah. Chapter 4, verse 4 says, “Hear, O out God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity.”

Persevering is not something we can do on our own. We must call on the Lord for help. We are New Testament Christians, so this is our armor. Jesus teaches us to be non-resistant, but that doesn’t mean we are left on our own. Read Ephesians 6:13-18 to learn more about the armor God has given to His children.

All throughout chapters 4-6 of Nehemiah we read about the intense opposition from Jerusalem’s neighboring nations. These men literally wanted to kill Nehemiah. But he had the Lord on his side, so he was able to persevere and continue building.

Nehemiah 4:14, 17-18

“And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not afraid or them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses. They which builded the wall, with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon. For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side and so builded.”

This is perseverance! There were people physically opposing the builders. But the Jews didn’t stop to fight, they just continued working with a tool in one hand and a sword in the other. Now, this isn’t following Jesus’ New Testament teachings, but do follow their example of perseverance. Keep going! Don’t stop working for the Lord as soon as things get tough and people oppose you. If you keep reading in Nehemiah, you’ll see that the Jews did finish the wall. You will survive too. With the Lord’s help, you too can persevere.

Written by Ginger

Prayer; Talking with God

Dear Father, Let your will be done in my friend’s life. Let her know the power of your word and the truth of your promises. I pray you will encourage her heart, even just for today. Remind her how deep and long you have loved her. Let her know she is loved, she has enough in you. Give her strength to move through today. Draw her to a deeper relationship with you. Amen

As I’m writing and thinking about the topic of prayer, I find myself asking more questions. Am I truly a woman of prayer? Do I truly believe He cares about how I feel? Am I coming to Him in worship through my prayers? Am I fervent in praying? ”The fervent prayer of the righteous man/woman availeth much.” James 5:16b

What comes to your mind when you think of prayer? Do you think of prayer the same way you think of communicating with a friend over coffee?

The Lord hath heard my supplication; the Lord will receive my prayer. Psalms 6:9

We pray because He told us to, we get to and this is how we communicate with our Abba Father! Praying gives us the opportunity to be a part of the big picture of this world. God really doesn’t need us to help complete His will, but gives us the opportunity to be a part of His mission.

Do you find it easier to pray for your family, friends and big events, or yourself?

We must guard our time in prayer because the enemy hates it. When we find it hard to pray, tell God. ”Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27. We can approach God in prayer not merely to ask for things we need but to come to the realization that He is what we need.

We must pray for ourselves. It may sound selfish, but we will only be able to give what we are receiving. Only through our time with God will we be able to know His heart! It’s through these times we can see what He is doing in our hearts. Go to Him anytime with anything, before you go to someone. This is an area that can be hard for me, but He really is the only one that can be all to you and me!

We need to tell God it’s hard. We all have those seasons when our devotional life isn’t happening; times when we are angry with God. Tell God what you are feeling, communicate with Him and keep praying. Maybe this is a daily happening for you, but keep going, Don’t give up. He still knows, hears, and is there for you.

Praying scripture is a powerful way to pray God’s words back to Him. Claiming His promises and praying them for ourselves and over other people. Find a passage that is near to you and pray it. Sometimes personalizing it can bring it closer. I have been encouraged many times by a friend sharing a verse or portion of scripture with me. Bless others with the Words that stand out to you! ” For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strenghened with all might.” Colossians 1:9-11a

Focusing while praying is challenging. We need to train ourselves to be still. One thing that I have found helpful in focusing when praying is not looking at my phone or planner before having my devotions and praying.

You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee, Psalms 9:9-10

Prayer journals are something that can be helpful in our prayer life. I personally haven’t used a ‘real’ prayer journal, but I would love to get one sometime. Writing out prayers, using already wrote prayers, praying scriptures are all ways that we can be encouraged. I would love to hear what you do to make your prayer time special. Feel free to leave comments or email; we love hearing from you!

Dear friends, may your prayer time be a time of laying aside your woes, desires and fears. Allow Jesus to fill you and make you more like Him! Keeping pushing into your prayer life. Jesus is the Way, it’s worth it in the end.

Written by: Damarus

Egg Twist Bread

“Happiness is…the smell of freshly baked bread.”

Credits for this post to Sarah Miller, a dear friend of mine. She is an amazing mom who spends a lot of time investing in the many people around her, and still finds time to bake various impressive breads! Here is one of her recipes. -Ginger

Step 1:
Add 1/2 c. white sugar and 1/2 tsp. salt to 1 c. warm milk, and STIR!
Add 1 T. active dry yeast to milk mixture. Set a timer for 5 minutes and allow to prove.
Step 2:
Add 1/2 c. softened butter, almost melted and 2 eggs. Stir well.
Step 3:
Add 4 1/2 c. flour and start to knead the dough with your hands. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and continue to knead bread for 7 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. The dough should feel sticky, but not stick to your hands. If you add too much flour to the dough while kneading, the bread will become dry.
Step 4:
Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover it. Allow dough to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Step 5:
To make braids, split the dough into 2 balls, then split each ball into 3 pieces. Roll those 3 pieces out into a snake about 12 in. long. Braid 3 ropes together and tuck/pinch the ends so that the braid does not come undone. Place each braid on a greased baking sheet.
Step 6:
Beat an egg and brush the tops of the loaves with this to give the bread a lovely color! Allow the dough to rise for another 1/2 hour, then bake for 20-25 minutes at 350⁰.

Tips:
After brushing the loaves with egg wash, you can just let the loaves like that, or you can sprinkle poppy seeds, Everything Bagel seasoning or sesame seeds on top for a pretty topping!

Butter the top of baked loaves when you pull them out of the oven.

Snippets from MisadventuresofanAlaskanHouseWife

I remember as a child counting down the days until my tenth birthday. Ten just sounded so grown up to me! I mean, two whole hands just to show my age!

But it wasn’t much past ten that I began looking forward to the next milestone. And the next. And the next.

I thought life would be perfect when I turned 13 and would finally be a teenager. My family would take me more seriously, my friends would see that I was really growing up.

I especially looked forward to turning sixteen, because at that time in my life my family lived and worked at a camp for troubled boys and all the staff were so much older than me. They had all their staff get togethers to play board games or have a bonfire, or go hiking, and I was often left out. Surely once I turned 16, 17, 18 they would invite me to join in.

And so I spent my childhood and teenage years always wishing for the next thing. The next age, or stage, or event. I lived for the future when I would be able to drive, to volunteer in ministry, or get married.

When I began dating I looked forward to being engaged, and once there I could hardly wait until the wedding. 

That feeling that life would be perfect if only xyz would happen is still something I wrestle against. Because the older I get, the more I realize that there are hard things no matter which stage in life I’m in and wishing them over and in the past doesn’t help me grow.

Getting my drivers license or going into VS work didn’t satisfy my craving for something more, nor did getting married or having children. There is nothing wrong with looking forward to things in the future, but only Jesus can fill our longings and make us fully content in the present. 

I wish I could say I live fully in the present at this stage in my life, but the truth is that sometimes I still get impatient to reach the next stage. To be done with pregnancy and hold my baby. To be finished potty training my toddler. To move into the house we’ve been working on building for the past year.

But each stage not only has hard things, there are also beautiful treasures to be found in relationships and experiences. And if I am so eager for the next thing I miss out on the here and now.

No matter what stage you are in, ask Jesus for the patience to live fully present and content where you are at.

Tabitha is a friend and blogger of ours from Alaska. She was very impactful in Daisy’s and my life when we were younger and we are so happy that she was willing to share with us! Please feel free to check out her blog and Instagram to hear more from her!

Thoughts On Mentoring

What is mentoring, and why is it important?

“Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19 NKJV

What does this mean to you? What do you think of when you hear the word mentor, or mentoring?

Mentor:

– verb: an experienced or trusted advisor

– noun: advise or train

I volunteered as a cook at Faith Builders for one year, and as part of their volunteer program, they offer mentoring. The three of us cooks and the two housekeeping girls were together in a mentoring group, with two older ladies as our mentors. One was married, the other was single, and they had such diverse personalities and life experiences that between them we were given a much wider perspective than if we’d just had one mentor. Our meetings were never dull or boring, and I greatly appreciated their wisdom, encouragement, and practical sense of humor. We were each required to write two journal entries a week to bring to our weekly meetings, and then our mentors would read them later and pencil in comments before returning them to us. I was blessed and challenged by many of their responses. We girls took turns sharing our life stories in the group setting, as well as bringing questions to discuss. Being in the same mentoring group helped us volunteer girls get to know each other better and deepened our relationships so we could be a stronger team. I am so grateful to my mentors for challenging me to leave my comfort zone behind and dream big with God, trusting him with my future and allowing him to open my heart to experience and enjoy Him, and all of life, more fully.

Not every mentoring situation can be as focused and intense as the mentoring program at Faith Builders, but any time you invest in the life of another person to strengthen your relationship and encourage growth, you are obeying Jesus’s command to make disciples. Another way to say it is to just be a very intentional friend to someone older or younger than yourself – talking often about where you’re at and what you’re going through with the purpose of giving and receiving advice and encouragement. Since my time at Faith Builders, I am blessed to have other ladies speaking into my life, encouraging me to continue pursuing God and his people, despite the pain and brokenness in our lives. We will never be perfect, this side of heaven, but we can continue to tear down the walls we build to protect our hearts, replace lies with truth, and commit to loving those around us with the unconditional love and forgiveness that God has given to us.

We were designed for relationship, and there is something so wonderful and beneficial about learning from people who have walked the road of life ahead of us. We love to see a little boy trailing his daddy, learning to be just like him, and we 20 and 30 year olds need to be just as excited to learn from the wise, respected 50 and 60 year olds in our lives. Have you ever asked anyone to be your mentor, or is there anyone in your life that you should be mentoring?

Thank you Bethany for being willing to share with us! I’m grateful for your friendship. I appreciate what you had to say and have been grateful and blessed by the ‘mentors’ I’ve had in my life. – Damarus