Encouraging Women to Walk by Faith and Change the World
Show MenuHide Menu

When Your Faith is Attacked

August 24, 2016

Have you ever felt your faith was being attacked? How did you react?

Today I welcome my friend and inspirational writer/blogger, Abby McDonald, for a visit here on Walking deeper. Abby and I met through a writing course and I’ve been so inspired by her words. I know you will be, too. Check out this encouraging guest post…

I looked at the words typed across my screen in disbelief, not knowing what to do. Should I ignore the person? Block them? My spirit stirred and I felt shaken, stumbling for my footing.

Sure it was social media and I couldn’t see the other person’s face. But it felt very personal. This guy was attacking my faith, something as vital to me as breathing. I remembered the words of Peter to the church and decided to answer his question.

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” 1 Peter 3:15 NIV

In a few sentences, this person was asking me to prove the existence of God. While I knew I couldn’t do this in 100 character tweets, I shared what I could. I told about answered prayers that couldn’t be explained. Things which couldn’t be justified by logic, reason and even doctors.

But no matter what I said, it wasn’t enough. More questions came pouring into my Twitter feed and when I brought up my testimony, another user decided to jump in.

If I was shaken before, at this point I was ready to retreat. An insult was hurled at the part of my story I hold most sacred, and I felt certain there was a spiritual battle taking place right there on my screen.

I stepped away from the phone and made my kids lunch, trying to put the comments out of my mind. But no matter how I tried to busy myself, the conversation kept circling through my head.

Then, God brought a verse to mind. At first, I dismissed it.

Scripture won’t satisfy their questions. They’ll come up with some sort of retort and it will only get worse.

But Paul’s words kept repeating themselves. They were the answer to the exact issue I was having explaining my testimony, my faith. Things which could only be explained using spiritual terms.

“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:14 NIV

It was plain and simple, but I hesitated.

Then, in a spirit of boldness I addressed the scripture to the other user and waited. And waited. Nothing. No response or rebuttal.

At first, I was confused. Where was this person’s argumentative retort? Where was the question?

The next morning, I remembered the sword. Instead of trying to fight with logic, reason and facts, I had gone to the Word.

And the Word isn’t a dead weight that goes limp when we use it in our defense. It is living and active, able to divide soul and spirit. The same Word Jesus used when he defeated Satan in the wilderness, speaking truth unchanging in its power and application.

I don’t know what happened to the people who questioned me that day. I pray a seed was planted and the Spirit softens their hearts toward the truth. But I learned one thing.

There is a time to use logic and facts. Apologetics exists for a reason and has turned many toward the one true God.

But where logic fails, the Word of God stands. Its power goes beyond anything we can explain with our own reasoning. Tweet

Use it. Memorize it. And when your feet falter, its unwavering authority will give you a firm place to stand.

 

 

Abby McDonald is a mom, wife and writer who desires to show women the hope of Christ can be found in the middle of life’s messes. When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, you can find her writing about her adventures on her blog, Fearfully Made Mom. You can connect with Abby on her blog, on Twitter or Facebook.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Share Your Thoughts

Are We Slouching?

August 15, 2016

 

Do you struggle with posture?

When my daughter was a pre-teen and regular passenger in my backseat, she used to catch me slouching while driving. We agreed each time she noticed my less-than-perfect posture her cue would be, “You’re doing it!” and I’d immediately know to sit up straight. Believe me, she was good at her job.

Can you believe I still need to remind myself of this? What should really deter me is the definition of a slouch: “An awkward fellow or a lazy incompetent person.” How’s that for a word picture?

But posture isn’t just about sitting up straight or standing tall.

Posture goes much deeper than walking with a book on our head. It’s a conscious behavior of both standing firm and walking humbly.

Great examples of this type of posture are found in prayer and worship:

  • Standing –  such as in battle when we armor up, standing firm against the enemy with the Word of Truth (Ephesians 6:10-17)
  • Sitting – we are seated with Christ in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6)
  • Kneeling – prayer of petition, for mercy, submission and reverence. One day every knee shall bow before the Lord (Philippians 2:9–11)
  • Bowing – in a posture of honor and worship
  • Lying prostrate – face to the ground in a posture of humility and submission before the Lord.
  • Outstretched arms – in a posture of worship, praise, and adoration

These positions of posture are not about sitting or standing up straight. Each position has reverence and meaning. While sitting up straight when driving it’s good for our core, a posture of praise is good for our soul.

So let’s work on our posture because we’re not slackers and we’re not slouchers.

Let’s trade a posture of complacency for a posture of praise.

We are children of the one true God who lifts up our head when we lift our heads to Him.

“But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.” Psalm 3:3

Whenever I find myself slouching while driving, I can still hear my daughter’s voice saying, “You’re doing it!”

When we’re intentional about maintaining a posture of praise, we can listen for our Father’s voice as we seek His face in adoration.

Have you struggled with posture? Have these words made you look at posture in a new way?

I’d love to hear about it…

Love & Peace,

 

 

By the way, have you heard about my new book?

Goodbye, Regret: Forgiving Yourself of Past Mistakes is now available on Amazon. When you purchase a copy, just let me know on the book tab on this site, and I’ll send you the free printable companion study guide and prayer journal as my gift to you…

https://www.amazon.com/Goodbye-Regret-Forgiving-Yourself-Mistakes/dp/1530996775/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1471204961&sr=8-1&keywords=goodbye+regret

 

 

Save

Share Your Thoughts

In Case You Missed the Announcement….

August 15, 2016

Hi Friends!

In case you missed the announcement, Goodbye, Regret: Forgiving Yourself of Past Mistakes has launched! It’s now available on Amazon. I’ve created a Goodbye, Regret Companion Study Guide and Prayer Journal to go along with it. I’d love to send you the link to the printable study guide as a free gift for purchasing the book. Just send me a note once you’ve purchased the book, by using the tab on my home page at dorisswift.com with the study guide title.  I pray the message in this book will reach women who need encouragement to move forward and to forgive themselves of past mistakes. Be blessed and thank you for your support and encouragement XO. ~ Doris

 

Save

Save

Save

Share Your Thoughts

Are We Aging Well?

July 31, 2016

 

Any new wrinkles lately?

Girlfriend, I can relate.

I’ve wondered, and I’m sure you have too, why God designed these jars-of-clay bodies to age.

We spend time and money trying to turn back time—trying to hold on to a more youthful appearance. It’s pretty ironic really. It’s like trying to go back to our old self when we were younger.

I know not everyone feels this way, but be honest, “age appropriate” isn’t a warm and fuzzy phrase.  Some would call it vanity, but it’s okay to make ourselves presentable, as long as it doesn’t become all-consuming.

So what does the Bible say about appearance?

The verses in 1 Peter 3:3-4 say this:

Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.

True beauty comes from the inside out. It won’t matter what shade of lipstick we’re wearing if our lips are flapping gossip and unkind words.

The verse in 1 Peter isn’t meant to deter us from braiding our hair or wearing jewelry, it’s meant to remind us what true beauty is and what truly matters to God.

Besides the regimen of facial cleansers and moisturizers, there’s that whole exercise thing. Staying healthy is important, and regular exercise is a must. But let’s be sure we’re exercising for health and not merely appearance.

Here’s a verse with that word exercise in it. It’s found in 1 Timothy 4:8…

 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.

While this verse is comparing how exercising self-denial of certain foods, denying the flesh as in tradition, etc.,  profits little compared to exercising godliness by resisting and repenting of sin, the word still has to do with our bodies.  It profits us little to do 50 sit-ups a day when we aren’t exercising our spiritual health.

That’s not to say God doesn’t care about our physical bodies. He absolutely does. He meets our every need.

He provided Manna in the wilderness when the Israelite’s needed nourishment. It was a physical substance from the spiritual divine. The combination of meeting a physical and a spiritual need. Food provided by God because God is our Provider.

God cares about our overall fitness, the physical and the spiritual. He provides physical and spiritual strength.

I guess we could call it seasonal strength. He gives us the strength to do whatever we are called to do, in whatever season of life we find ourselves in. And God isn’t as concerned with age as we are. He chooses to use us for His purposes at any age. Isn’t that encouraging?

Let’s not miss what God has for us today. Divine appointments and incredible interactions with God are right before our eyes. Like Manna.

We want people to notice Jesus in us. When our beauty comes from the inside out, it radiates so brightly a few wrinkles won’t even be noticed.

And what’s even lovelier than a woman aging gracefully?

A woman who ages, full of grace.

Share your thoughts.

Even to your old age, I am He,
And even to gray hairs I will carry you!
I have made, and I will bear;
Even I will carry, and will deliver you.  Isaiah 46:4

Share Your Thoughts

Why God is Not Our Safety Net

July 1, 2016

Have you been to a circus?

I know what you’re thinking, our lives can be a circus, but I’m talking about the three-ring kind.

I’ll never forget my first experience attending the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. My Uncle Joe and Aunt Janet took my cousins and me to this exciting event at Madison Square Garden in NYC. I’ll never forget it. Who cares that I got car sick on the way there (I may have thrown up down a sidewalk grate), because once inside, I was mesmerized. At the end I nearly dislocated my wrist waiving to the performers parading around the rings before their final exit stage left.

So why do we love the circus? The animal acts are cute, the clown acts are funny, but it’s the trapeze and tightrope acts that have us scooting to the edge of our seats.

Why do we watch?

Two words. Daring and dangerous.

But is it really all that dangerous? Maybe we can watch bodies flying through the air or balancing on dental floss, because it’s comforting for both them and us to know if the bough breaks and the cradle falls, the safety net lies waiting to catch them.

But here’s the thing about safety nets. They give a false sense of security. Though they are tangible and we can see them, safety nets can fail. They are designed by humans, manufactured by humans, assembled by humans, and erected by humans. Google it. They’re not a sure thing.

God is not our safety net. A safety net enables people. A safety net is something we depend on to catch us.

God doesn’t merely catch us, He carries us.

God is not our safety net. He is our refuge.

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance describes it this way:

hope, place of refuge, shelter, trust

Or machceh {makh-seh’}; from chacah; a shelter (literally or figuratively) — hope, (place of) refuge, shelter, trust.

So what’s the difference between a safety net and a refuge?

According to Merriam-Webster, refuge comes from the Latin word refugium. Although this word is Latin, the term is not foreign to aquarium enthusiasts…

“A refugium is a ‘refuge” in the sense that while it shares the water of the main tank, it is somehow set off from the tank. A refugium is generally used to provide delicate species with safety, protecting them from the larger fish in the main tank.” (taken from: ratemyfishtank.com).

God’s refuge does that for us. We are set apart from the world while we are still in it. When we are weak we are strong in Him. We are safe and we are protected, and while God may allow us to free-fall at times, nothing can separate us from His love. Nothing.

We tend to trust a safety net because we can see it, but seeing is not always believing. Not everyone who saw the miracles of Jesus, believed. Not everyone who sees the miracles all around us, believe.

When we trust in a refuge we cannot see? That’s called faith.

What about hope and trust? We can hope a safety net won’t fail but we can’t totally trust it.

We have absolute hope God’s refuge won’t fail and we can put our total trust in Him.

While I don’t recommend intentionally walking a tightrope, life can happen that way sometimes. We look down and we don’t see a net and that can be scary. And sometimes we fall. But God has been holding our right hand the whole time. Whether we make it all the way across or fall flat somewhere in the middle, we are safe and it will be okay.

While God is not like a safety net we can see, God is a refuge that is guaranteed to envelop us.

So what would you choose? A safety net, or God’s faithful and loving refuge we can trust in with all and total certainty?

And those props, like umbrellas and balancing poles tightrope walkers use?

We have something better to keep us steady. The Holy Spirit.

God’s ways are higher than the high-wire. Keep walking straight ahead in faith and don’t look down.

Have you been walking the wire?  Share things you’ve learned along the way.

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy dwelling places of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.  Psalm 46:1-5

 

Share Your Thoughts

What Happens in the Wilderness?

June 24, 2016

Have you ever wandered in the wilderness?

To some, it’s a place uncultivated and natural. To others, it’s a metaphor, a state of mind, a feeling of disconnectedness or wandering aimlessly, lost.

New seasons of life can feel like a wilderness. The lost kind. Am I right? Have you felt that way too?

Life can go from familiar to uncharted. And all we did was blink.

It hit me hardest when my roles changed. Once I was a young wife, a mom of littles, and had a career that began at age 19. Then the littles grew up, the wife was minus the young (but still young at heart), and that 29 year career was over. It was the strangest feeling. I didn’t feel like me. This new territory felt like a wilderness. But I learned that I am not merely the roles I fill and the wilderness isn’t always what we think.

When we’re feeling like a wanderer or a little lost in the wilderness, here are a few facts that should encourage us:

The Lord speaks in the wilderness (e.g., to Moses Exodus-Numbers)

You can be in the wilderness and still be free. (Exodus 14:30)

God leads us into the wilderness to humble and test us. (Deuteronomy 8:2)

David sought refuge in the wilderness. (Psalm 63)

The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness. (Psalm 29:8)

God split rocks in the wilderness, providing an abundance of thirst-quenching water. (Psalm 78:15)

John the Baptist baptized and preached in the wilderness. (Mark 1:4)

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. (Matthew 4:1)

Jesus often withdrew into the wilderness to pray. (Luke 5:16)

God is with us in the wilderness and He still provides in the wilderness.  (Deuteronomy 2:7)

How about the parable of the lost sheep? We focus on the lost one, but the ninety-nine others waited behind in the wilderness. And they weren’t lost.

It’s good to know being in the wilderness doesn’t mean we’re lost. And it doesn’t mean we’re alone.

Holy things happen in the wilderness.

If the season we’re in feels uncharted, we need not be anxious. We can be assured God has already charted all our plans well in advance. My plans and yours too.

God is wild about us and isn’t that the beginning of wilderness?

The vastness of the wilderness can cultivate an intimacy with God.

Have you ever wandered in the wilderness?

 

 

 

 

 

Share Your Thoughts

Shortest Post Ever on Trust

June 3, 2016

Well friend, this takes the cake for being my shortest post ever. Aren’t you glad? Just kidding. So why so short? Because I’m missing community. I want to give you an opportunity to chime in. I don’t want to do all the talking, I want to have a conversation. Your voice matters to me. Your voice matters.

Today I’m sharing a quote from my book “Goodbye, Regret” on trusting God. Some days are harder than other days, aren’t they?

Hard to breathe, hard to pray, hard to take just one more step. It’s in those times and on those days our trust is tested.

Will we trust God with the outcome? Will we trust that God knows best? Will we trust God enough to surrender our fears, our provision, our kids, our lives? Will we trust Him enough to use our past for His glory? Could my past mistakes somehow be used for a purpose?

Surrendering my worry and fear to God has been a true test. I’ve come a long way. I’d say for me, surrendering my children and grandchildren has been my trust test. Truth is, we don’t get everything right.  We’ve been entrusted with these precious ones, but they truly belong to Him anyway. It was key for me to grasp that truth and it helped me release what was not mine to begin with; I’d have to trust God no matter the outcome.  The result of that trust? Peace.

“Trust God, even when it’s hard –

because the true test of trust doesn’t happen in the easy.”

                                              Goodbye, Regret ~ Forgiving Yourself of Past Mistakes

So now I invite you to share.

When has trusting God been especially hard for you? What has been your trust test?

 

Share Your Thoughts

A Word About Mats, Monkees, and Our Calling

May 13, 2016

Remember Kindergarten?

For you learners like me, here’s what Merriam-Webster says about it:

Origin of Kindergarten: German, from Kinder children + Garten garden
First Known Use: 1852

Isn’t that a beautiful word picture? A garden of children.

So what do you remember about being in the garden of kinder? I remember a mini-kitchen, books, blocks, jump-rope, snack time, music time. So basically playing, singing, and eating. We only went for half the school-day since I guess they thought the whole day would make us wilt. We didn’t have computers and I’m a Believer by The Monkees was #5 on the charts. Don’t bother googling, the year was 1967.

We each had our own miniature mat for nap time. We’d roll them out on the carpeted area and scrunch our little bodies to fit within the confines of it’s borders.

Reminds me of the sick man in John 5. He was confined to his mat for thirty-eight years.

Jesus asked the sick man:

“Do you want to get well?” John 5:6b

A simple “yes” would have sufficed, but this man shared how he tried to get well, but someone always stepped into the healing pool before him. Ironically this time, it was his Healer standing before him.

I’m sure Jesus patiently waited for the man to finish his story. Then He said to him:

“Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” John 5:8

He didn’t need the healing water, he had Jesus. The man didn’t laugh or call Jesus crazy.

The man got up.

What if that man refused to stand? What would he have missed out on for the rest of his life?

What if he had grown so comfortable in the life he knew, that it kept him back from a brand new life?

Let’s not stay in the confines of our mat. Let’s pick up our mats and walk. Think of what we’re missing sitting on the couch.

We learned in school a noun is a “person, place, or thing” but God didn’t create a bunch of nouns. And isn’t the thought of being a verb more exciting?

How can we pick up our mats and walk in our calling?

  • The #1 most important step is pray and obey. God provides answers. But how? It may be through strong conviction, a peace, confirmation through His Word, or really, however He chooses. Trust Him. Yesterday, two different women said the same exact thing to me. One spoke this word to me in the morning, and the other in the evening. Two different times, two different places, and they don’t even know each other. I’m taking that as a divine message.
  •  Let’s not allow our temporary tiredness to steal the spiritual exuberance that comes in fulfilling God’s call. Keep your eyes on things eternal. If needed, take a nap.
  • Do not fear. Fear is not discernment so let’s not confuse the two. Discernment is spiritual direction and God has not given us a spirit of fear. Dispel fear with faith. We can do all things through Christ. Stretch beyond the comfortable if His answer is go. We don’t need to fear, we have Jesus.
  • It may or may not be what we would choose, but it will always be fulfilling when the Lord directs our steps.

Believers all have a gift and probably more than one.

A wrong match for our gifts is a quick route to burn-out. Do what you are gifted to do. You’ll probably find God has been equipping you all along.

If we never go, we’ll never grow. It’s time to pick up your mat and walk in your calling. tweet

Although we’re no longer kinders, we’ll always be gardens because gardens are meant to grow.

And I’m a Believer. Perhaps that was prophetic. I was a fan of the Monkees by the way.

Be encouraged. People are counting on us. We never know how God will use our “yes” to change lives and change the world. Pick up your mat and walk. God is expanding our borders.

Let’s get it done together.

Peace & Joy In Him,

 

 

Scripture taken from the New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Romans 10:17 Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Share Your Thoughts

“Goodbye, Regret” and Exciting News!

April 30, 2016

Dear Friend,

Ever find yourself dwelling on past mistakes?

One of my most shared blog posts dealt with this subject. If you missed it, you can find it here.

The response to that post, as well as my own past experiences, inspired me to write a book.

I am excited to share with you the upcoming plans to launch my new gift book:

Goodbye, Regret ~ Forgiving Yourself of Past Mistakes.

As a Walking Deeper email subscriber, you encourage me greatly and I would love your feedback as I share updates and quotes from the book.

I’ll be offering freebies and surprise give-a-ways as well!

Friend, will you help me spread the news? I’m putting together a launch team to help get the word out. I’ll provide all the info you need to share on Facebook and Twitter. I’ll make it easy and launch team members will receive a free copy of the book prior to it’s release!

If you’re interested, please use the “contact me” form. I’ve also created a launch team group on Facebook and would love for you to be a part of it.

You’ll find a quote from the book below and I would appreciate your comments.

Do you find this quote encouraging?

Thank you again for your friendship and readership.

Love & Blessings of Peace and Joy,

 

 

 

 

Share Your Thoughts

Tired of People?

April 14, 2016

Tired of people not being who we think they should be?

Let’s take a breath.

Not everyone will hear what we say, read what we write, or act how we feel they should act.

And we mean well, don’t we? We want people to live the life they were meant to live. Trouble is, they won’t always choose to. Or maybe they’ve taken a detour.

So where does that leave us?

A farmer can plant a seed but he can’t make it grow. It’s God who provides the sun, soil, and water.

And different plants have different needs, don’t they?

I would love a blooming rosebush in my yard, but there’s too much shade. Not enough sun. It wouldn’t thrive.

That same rosebush? It may thrive in my neighbor’s yard.

Just like a rosebush, we can’t expect people to thrive when they’re standing in the dark. Too much shade and not enough Son. And we want so desperately for them to walk out of the darkness, don’t we?

So as we stand in the Son we can pray those in darkness will be drawn to the light. It may be by way of our yard or via the neighbor’s yard. Either way, the credit goes to the Lord.

We shine in unity and thrive in community. Some are called to plant seeds or cut back vines to allow light in; others are called to show those shade-wanderers how to walk in the light. After all, we’ve all been shade-wanderers at one time or another.

And you know what? Our roles can continually change. Because God knows who needs what and who He plans to send to meet that need. And you don’t need a green thumb, because if so, I’d be in big trouble.

We just need to be willing and available.

We can’t change people, only God can. But He uses people to change people.

Never lose hope:

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it?…” Luke 15:8 NKJV

Turn up your lamplight.

Stay the course. We’re all on the ship but we’re not the Captain. Aren’t you glad?

We don’t need to save the world, we just need to share the Word.

It’s Jesus who came to save.

And not just our family, our friends, and our country. He came to save the world.

So don’t give up on people, k? Even when they’ve given up on us; when they say we’re too “churchy” or too “goody-goody” or too “holy-rolley” it’s not personal, even though it feels that way.

And let’s not judge, because while they’re saying we’re “too” this and that, we’re saying we’re not enough. Not good enough, not holy enough.

Insecurity is not from God. As believers, we are sanctified-set apart for a purpose.

He uses the weak to confound the strong. He uses us.

 “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty…” 1 Corinthians 1:27 NKJV

And who do people seek when they need help? A friend who is steady and grounded.

Something is getting through.

So don’t give up on people.

God didn’t give up on us.

Keep praying. It’s worth it.

Joy and Peace to you, friend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share Your Thoughts