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User Archives: Samantha Evilsizer

  • For When You Feel Alone

    Posted on April 19, 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer

    Samantha Evilsizer

    "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love." John 15:9-10 (ESV)

    Miss Emma's wrinkled hands cupped my chin—her palm a reservoir for my tears. I walked down the hallways saying tearless goodbyes to 119 other residents, and yet my farewell with her released a levy of emotions.

    The scattered pieces of my heart felt like they were blown about by the scurrying of nurses' footsteps and doctors' orders resounding off the walls of the nursing home.

    It felt wrong to leave her alone, forsaken in this dark place.

    Her family, or lack thereof, had rendered her anchorless; adrift in the lonely sea of a 120 bed facility. A drab place where my Activities Department team and I were brought in to dispel the dreariness. My job at "The Brick" would have been more bleak if not for Miss Emma and a few others.

    I didn't allow many details of this place to sink in further than the surface of my heart. Stories repeated ten times each day rolled off my back. Routines of medicine and meals and the wandering of hallways became mundane tasks. Yet one name, one person, chiseled deep into my heart: Miss Emma.

    I perched on the edge of our goodbye, on the edge of her bed, hesitant to leave her. "Who'll sit in the sunshine with you? Who'll listen? Who'll sing hymns with you?"

    Worry wrung my heart. Visions of Miss Emma, alone ... lonely ... made my jaw tense and ache with pain for her. A square punch by sadness will do that to a girl.

    But not her. Beautiful brown saucers brimmed with confidence. I waded in the refreshing waters of her eyes, rich pools of wisdom.

    "I'll be fine sugar ... I'm never alone. Don't you realize the One who created the sun sits with me? He listens always, hearing my prayers and needs. His presence is in the very praises we sing to Him. Child, we're never alone."

    Tucked away from the world, Miss Emma changed mine. She lived tightly knit to the Vine. Abided in Jesus' love through His Word and worship and prayer. Miss Emma dwelled in this truth:

    Christ beside me, Christ before me,
    Christ behind me, Christ within me,
    Christ beneath me, Christ above me. ~St. Patrick

    Though abandoned by her earthly family, she rested in the knowledge that her Heavenly Father never would leave her. Indeed, He made a home in her so she could nestle in Him.

    Her solid assurance lifted my chin, calmed my heart. The strength she found in the truth that Christ never leaves us left a lasting impression on me. I began looking for ways He was with me: by giving me the wisdom to hold my tongue, or helping me sleep at night, or steadying me when anxious.

    Might we find hope in Him today as well? Curl up in His love by writing a Scripture verse on our heart. Lean into God's sure presence through lifting our voice in praise. Abide in His peace with a time of prayer ... sharing and listening.

    Christ is within us, before us, behind us. And as Miss Emma so confidently knew, He will never leave or forsake us. We're never alone.

    Dear Lord, thank You for calling us Your children. And for making a home within us, so we may rest secure in You. Because You are our dwelling place, we are never alone. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    We’d love to be a "Miss Emma" for you! Our team’s daily devotions are sprinkled throughout our brand new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women, explaining passages a bit more and relating them to your real life.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Spend time today in our dwelling place, Jesus, through studying of the Bible, worship and prayer.

    Power Verses:
    Deuteronomy 31:6, "Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you." (ESV)

    Matthew 28:20b, "...and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (NAS)

    © 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org



    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with John

  • It's Over

    Posted on March 18, 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer

    Samantha Evilsizer

    "My beloved spoke and said to me, 'Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me. See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.'" Song of Songs 2:10-11 (NIV)

    These lyrics caught in my throat the first time I sang them: "I'll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon the cross."* I cried as I stared at my circumstances, ashamed.

    I'd compromised big time in some areas and, until the warm truth of that song caught me off guard, I had turned a cold shoulder to the hope of forgiveness. Shame convinced me I wasn't worthy of another chance.

    Last summer, I met a young woman who needed one other chance too, maybe more. On a 75 degree, gorgeous-in-every-way L.A. day, I served a meal on Skid Row with The Dream Center team. There I was, navigating my way around pain and hypodermic needles. There she was, fidgeting outside the women's shelter.

    She melded into the gray of her tattered sweatpants. Washed out and muted, buried under the debris of a dark world, away from the Light for too long. Inching toward me, she stepped over others hibernating beneath cardboard boxes and frigid despair.

    Try as I might, I couldn't catch her eyes as she asked for help. Shame from past deeds had beaten her down. It made her doubt she was worthy of anything, much less another chance for a hot meal and cold drink. This timid woman had been pushed out of the food line. Unable to defend herself and in too much physical pain to stand in line again, she needed someone to make a way for her.

    Together, we walked to the front of the food truck (not gonna lie, it was fun breezing past her bullies). But I felt helpless handing her only scrambled eggs and water. Surely, she needed so much more.

    We all need more at some point, don't we?

    This frail woman needed to know God had more for her than this. That what she'd done to land on Skid Row could be forgiven—forgotten, even. This cold season could turn into a warmer one. I wanted to share this truth: "See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone" (Song of Songs 2:11 NIV).

    Winter, that gloomy season that should pass. But what if it lingers? What if one bad-for-us choice turns into 100 that beat us to our own Skid Row? What if mistakes convince us we don't deserve another shot?

    Been there? Me too. But letting the Light of truth in to our hearts turns our winter of doubt into a spring of hope.

    What we've done doesn't dictate who we are. The truth is, what He's done makes us who we are: forgiven, hopeful and worthy of another chance. We may not believe we deserve a second shot. But Christ's sacrifice on the cross and our gift of a new life through His death gives us one. When we ask for forgiveness and turn from our sins, our past is covered by God's mercy and grace.

    Never doubt, He'll always lead us past the bully of shame to the front of the line for so much more than eggs and water.

    God, it's hard to believe I'm worthy of another chance. But I'm taking a step of faith, choosing to accept that Your death means a new chance for me. I'll never know how much it cost, but I'm forever grateful. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    We'd love to help you find your second chance by reading this truth in God's Word! Our team has tucked hope-filled, encouraging devotions throughout the pages of the brand new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women to unpack Scripture with you. Pick up your copy here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Why is it difficult for you to believe you're worthy of another chance?

    Write down every reason you feel you're not worthy of Christ's love and forgiveness. Now, read them out loud and say after them, "But Christ died on the cross to forgive me once and for all. I've repented and I'm forgiven."

    Power Verses:
    Isaiah 12:1-2, "You will say in that day: 'I will give thanks to you, O LORD, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.'" (ESV)

    John 3:17-18b, "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned ..." (ESV)

    *Light of the World (Here I am to Worship) by Tim Hughes. © 2000 Thankyou Music.

    © 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Song of Solomon

  • How to Let Peace Rule

    Posted on March 12, 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer

    Samantha Evilsizer

    "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." Colossians 3:15 (NIV)

    No more able are we to drive the rain back into the clouds by holding hands to the sky...

    Or to stretch a rainbow's colors wide by grasping its tails...

    Or to force the tides to retreat by running at the sea...

    No more capable of these feats are we, than pursing and capturing peace.

    Peace.

    That for which the world wars. Families crumble. People roam. That for which we compromise, and improvise, and televise: It's here ... if only you race after it with your time, your money, your life.

    But for all our chasing, we never lay hold of peace. Not until we reckon with nine words that beckon a stillness. A truth that causes shoulders to fall and jaws to relax. This scripture tells us there's peace a' plenty, free for all:

    "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts." (Colossians 3:15a NIV)

    If we're to find peace, we must become a pupil of He who is our Peace, Jesus Christ. He who is the Word. And this bit of Word, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts," is a fine educator.

    This truth teaches us to slow down. Those two strong words, "let" and "rule" mean to "umpire" our hurried heart. So when circumstances crumble and we worriedly scramble to right them, we are taught to pause and call our heart to peace.

    How do we do this? Through intimate knowledge of He who is our Peace.

    Christ is just, as Esther's courage and Haman's defeat reflects. (Esther 7)

    Christ redeems, as Job's great loss and even greater gain assures. (Job 42:7-17)

    Christ is trustworthy, as His promised resurrection proves. (Matthew 28:1-10)

    Christ controls the storms, as calmed winds and waves attest. (Mark 4:35-41)

    It will take time to teach our hearts who Christ is and to let peace rule. Umpires don't begin careers in the World Series. Indeed, umpires go through rigorous training and schooling. They must work for years in the minor leagues before even dreaming of the majors.

    We too must set our heart and mind to learning. A good place to start is with the minors. Calling our hearts to peace when running late, dinner burns, scrapes and bruises happen, and fender benders occur. This is our practice and preparation for when the doctor calls, the pink slip is given, the papers are served, and the accusations fly.

    We call our hearts to remember and trust in He who is faithful to us in the small things, so we learn His character again and again. This gives our hearts the training needed to know He is trustworthy to us in the big things, the in-between things ... everything.

    Each call leads to another, which leads to a place of calm and rest. A place where the chase ends. And peace begins.

    Dear Lord, You are my Peace. Teach me Your ways, direct me in Your truth. Help me relax my shoulders, loosen my tense jaw, calm my hurried heart. I want to know You more and more. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    Think of a circumstance you’re currently in that you need peace. How are you going to let the peace of Christ rule?

    Memorize one verses about peace today. Call it out to your heart when trouble comes.

    Power Verses:
    Isaiah 26:3, "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you." (NIV 1984)

    Isaiah 9:6, "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (ESV)

    © 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Colossians

  • Remembering

    Posted on December 26, 2012 by Samantha Evilsizer

    Samantha Reed

    "Remember, LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old." Psalm 25:6 (NIV)

    I sometimes struggle to see how God's Word applies to me and my life. Especially when I've been waiting a long time for some prayers to be answered. For hearts of loved ones to fully turn to Jesus. For manna to rain from heaven.

    The funny thing about waiting is it can be all-consuming. It inhales my attention, chews my focus and swallows my thoughts, leaving me in a place of uncertainty and doubt. I forget God's power to fulfill my hopes for prayers answered. Its then, when I can't see how He's going to bring things to pass, I have to rely on His faithfulness in the past.

    Remembering God's faithfulness in other's lives in Scripture, reminds us of His faithfulness in our own.

    When the waters rise, you've waited long for rescue and you feel God's forgotten, remember... Genesis 8:1*: But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.

    When dust and debris threaten to replace passions, dreams and callings and you feel God's forgotten, remember... Genesis 9:15: I will remember my covenant between me and you.

    When the pitter-patter of little feet is silent and you feel God's forgotten, remember... Genesis 30:22: Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and enabled her to conceive.

    When fear, worry, doubt and anxiety enslave and you feel God's forgotten, remember... Exodus 2:23a, 24a, 25b: During that long period...The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out...God heard their groaning and he remembered... and was concerned about them.

    When you can't sleep and restlessness sets in, remember... Psalm 63:6-7: On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.

    When guilt consumes and you fear God will never forget your sins, remember... Isaiah 43:25: I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.

    When all hope is lost, remember... Luke 24:6a-7: He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you...'The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'

    When your marriage comes back from the brink of despair, remember... Deuteronomy 8:2: Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness.

    When dreams come true and you're thriving in your calling, remember... 1 Chronicles 16:12a, 15: Remember the wonders he has done... He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations...

    Recalling these accounts in Scripture helps me remember His goodness in my own life. When I can't see how He is moving on my behalf, I choose to remember that He promises to be just as present and faithful to me and you today as He was for others in the past.

    When joy surrounds. When sorrow clobbers. When all's right in our world. When the bottom drops out. When we feel loved and cherished. When we feel abandoned and alone, let's remember... They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer. (Psalm 78:35)

    Dear Lord, Your love and Your grace never fail. Please help me remember this today and always. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp

    Share God's faithfulness to those in need by supporting a child through World Vision.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Remember times God has been faithful to you. Recount those out loud today.

    Focus on the everyday miracles that remind us of God's faithfulness like waking up and breathing.

    Great is thy faithfulness, O God my father
    There is no shadow of turning with Thee
    Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
    As Thou hast been, Thou for ever will be
    Great is thy faithfulness, Great is thy faithfulness
    Morning by morning new mercies I see
    All I have needed thy hand hath provided
    Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.
    ~Thomas Chisolm

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 143:5, "I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done." (NIV)

    Jeremiah 31:34b, "I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." (ESV)

    *All verses NIV

    © 2012 by Samantha Reed. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616G MatthewsMint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Psalm, Luke, Genesis, Deuteronomy, Isaiah, 1 Chronicles, Exodus

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