Category: thoughts by Julie Cosgrove

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The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18

Many of you have heard the adage that FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real. But right now, what’s going on isn’t false. It is very, very real. So I am offering another acronym: Facing Evil Alone Repeatedly

As we choose to hole up and isolate ourselves from other people in order to thwart the spread of COVID19, let us not retreat into our own fears. Yes, it might seem nice at first to have time to read, watch TV, or do hobbies. But retreating into yourself is fodder for trouble. There is an old saying that states the devil divides.

But God unites.

Even if we cannot attend church, we can still call each other, text each other, email each other, or Skype or Facetime with each other. Frequently check on your friends, families, and the elderly.  Today we have amazing technology that allows us to communicate. Let us use it to pray and fellowship together.

Do not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25

Just because we cannot touch each other doesn’t mean we can’t stay in touch.

By Julie Cosgrove
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I knew it was there. I recalled downloading it in the past. It was exactly the picture I needed. But, even though I was confident it was somewhere in my folders, I had to search for it.

Sometimes I think it is the same with the things that God provides. At times, what I need appears in an instant. Bam. Thank you, Lord.

In a few incidences, God’s provision has been there even before I knew to ask for it. But more often than not, I have to search for it. A blessing may be hidden in a circumstance I didn’t expect. Maybe I was looking for something else, then realized, oh, wow. OK. This works. A few times I have wondered, “What in the world God is thinking?”

But I have confidence that God has provided what I need in my life because He knows my needs. He has already given it to me and it is there somewhere. And so, in faith, I keep seeking, knocking, searching. Like the woman searching high and low for the lost coin in Luke 15, I won’t stop until I discover where it lies.

Why? Two reasons. First I’ve found it in the past. My experiences tell me God has provided. Secondly, Scripture tells me He will always do so because He loves me, and the Holy Spirit whispers that I can trust in that fact. So, even when things appear hopeless, the love that kept my Lord hanging on the cross reminds me that the situation is anything but hopeless.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” Matthew 7:7.

Whatever you are seeking has already been downloaded into your folder of life. It may appear in the form of a hymn stanza, a Scripture verse, a friend’s timely phone call, or a myriad of other ways.

Don’t give up. It’s there. Seek, and you will find.

By Julie Cosgrove
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“The fruit of the Spirit is love….”  Galatians 5:22

There are more aspects of the fruit of the Spirit, but I think Paul listed love as the first because without it, it’s hard to accomplish the rest, such as joy, peace, forbearance, gentleness, kindness, etc. The Greeks had three words for love. Eros was for physical, passionate love. Philia was for brotherly love, the “love thy neighbor as thyself” kind that respects human dignity.

But the third is agape. That is the love of God that the Holy Spirit instills in every believer. That is the fruit of the Spirit’s aspect Paul speaks about. I saw a social media post that said love isn’t shaped as a heart, but as a cross. How very true. Because only with agape can the other two forms of love line up. We need the vertical post to balance the two ends of the horizontal one.

Agape isn’t an emotion. It is an action. But it is not one we can successfully do on our own. And we need the Holy Spirit inside of us to make it work correctly the way a mechanic keeps all the parts of a car’s engine running. Paul wrote to the Corinthians that without agape love, he was nothing more than a loud noise. And above all else, love was the greatest gift of all (I Corinthians 13).

If you find it hard to love, you are not alone. That is why the Holy Spirit is there. Tap into his wisdom today in prayer.

Come Holy Spirit, and dwell in me today. Tune my heart, mind, and soul to the agape the Father has for me and all his creation. Let me exemplify the agape Jesus portrayed on earth and on the cross. I can’t do it alone. I need you in my life. Amen.

By Julie Cosgrove
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And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep.” Matthew 8:23- 24 (ESV)

You have accepted Him as Your Savior — you have followed Christ into the boat. Now, in a stormy part of your life when the waves of despairing doubt are crashing in and you need Him the most, does He seem to be asleep?

I think that all Christians have felt that way at one time or another. I know I have. Even David in the Psalms was known to cry out and ask God why He was being so silent. But it is during those seemingly silent times that we can learn so much. What happened when the disciples in that boat called on Jesus?

Jesus was asleep as the storm raged. Why? Because he had total trust that God would protect Him. He was at peace. Jesus knew His life was protected and that God would not let Him down. He wanted His disciples to sleep in peace as well. He still does. If we have faith, we can rest in the assurance that no matter how our boat is tossed, God will be there with the life preserver.

Jesus was….” He didn’t leave them. He was right there with them in the boat the whole time. They followed Him into the boat. He didn’t vanish in a poof into Heaven and say, “OK, it’s all yours. Now, you handle it. See you later.” No matter what we go through, we can be confident our Lord is right there beside us. We can call on Him.

Jesus responded to his disciples’ pleas for help. He calmed the waves. Maybe like the disciples, you also scream for Jesus to wake up and do something, then marvel, just as they did, when He does it. There is an older Christian song that says sometimes He calms the storm, but other times He calms His child. The point is, He calms.

Dear Lord, thank you for never leaving my side in good times and in bad. Let me rest in Your peace knowing that whatever happens, You are with me. Amen.

Thought: The next storm, will you scream out to call on Jesus? Or will you honker down next to Him and rest peacefully in His arms?

By Julie Cosgrove
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“Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.”  Psalm 51:1

I must have been about eight-years-old. We were shopping in the mall, which was a new experience for me. So many people. So much noise. Suddenly I realized I’d dropped my mother’s hand. From my viewpoint, I only saw knees and racks of clothes. I have never felt so lonely and frightened in my life. I think that was the first time I felt my heartbeat. Of course, it only lasted a few moments. Mom found me and took my hand again.

A few times in my adult life, I have felt as if I’m not holding on to God anymore. A sense of loss engulfs me. My heart pounds, my eyes tear, and I can’t seem to catch my breath. “Where are you, God?” “Why have you left me?” And just as my mom found me that day, he always lets me know he is still there.

Scripture tells us our Lord will never leave us, and that he promises to be with us until the end of the ages, according to Mathew 28:20. His Holy Spirit dwells inside of us when we ask Jesus to come into our lives, as Peter proclaimed in Acts 2:38. We don’t always feel our heart beating, but we know it is. In the same way, we can be confident that the Spirit is there.

Do you feel a bit lost right now? It’s okay. If Jesus is with you, you are never alone. Call out to the Holy Spirit to comfort you and guide you. He’ll grasp your hand. You can count on it.

Dear Lord, thank you that you are always with me no matter what happens, and especially when I do not feel you near me. Let me always feel comfortable calling out to the Holy Spirit to guide me and keep me safe. Amen.

By Julie Cosgrove
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“You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.”  John 15:3

Palestine was a dusty place. People walked along dirt roads barefoot or in sandals of woven leather or reeds. Feet became extremely dirty, so it was commonplace to wash them upon entering a house. The wealthy had servants to clean others’ sweaty, dirty feet.

Similarly today, manners dictate that we wipe our feet on the doormat before entering a house. We don’t want to track in the dust and mud out of respect for the house owner. We want to be clean and presentable as well.

When Jesus bowed to wash his disciples’ feet, Peter recoiled (John 13:1-9). But Jesus told him he needed to become clean. Peter then changed his tune. He basically told Jesus to wash all of him.

But Jesus offers more than a temporary cleansing of our body. His promise is to clean us on the inside. In Psalm 51:1-12, the writer asks for God to create a clean heart within him by cleansing him of his sins.

The old adage is true — cleanliness is next to godliness. To draw near to God, we need to be cleansed. Then he promises to allow us into his holy presence as his beloved children. Through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, he offers cleansing to all who come to him for forgiveness. You might say that Jesus is the doormat. We wipe our sins on him and he cleans us so we can come before God’s heavenly throne.

So, faithful ones, wipe your feet.

Lord, thank you for coming to earth and dying on the cross for the sole purpose of cleansing us from sin so we could approach God’s throne. Remind me that because of you, I can live in his presence as God the Father promised. I look forward to the day I will no longer attract the dirt of this world and will worship before his throne forever, thanks to your sacrifice. Amen.

By Julie Cosgrove
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God loves you so much that He sent His son Jesus Christ to die for your sins. After His resurrection and ascension into heaven, He sent His Spirit to live in our lives and empower us to live the abundant life.  But we must personally ask Him into our lives to be our Lord and Savior.  If you are sincere about asking Him into your life, why don’t you pray the suggested prayer below:

(Prayer is talking to God. God knows your heart and is not as concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart.)

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.

Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? You can pray it right now, and Jesus Christ will come into your life, just as He promised.


If you prayed this prayer we would love to hear from you . If you would like to know God deeper we can connect you with an email mentor and/or send you some great links.


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“You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart…” Jeremiah 29:13

Have you seen evidence of God in your life recently?

God often revealed Himself through signs and wonders throughout the Bible, and I believe He still does so today. His holiness breaks through the mundane and transforms it to get our attention — like a heavenly tap on the shoulder. It may be to tell us He loves us. Perhaps he wants to correct our path, instruct us, or just let us know He’s still watching over us. I call it the present of His presence.

Perhaps most of us will never have a burning bush experience, but He can use a variety of ways to get our attention. He may touch you with the words of a hymn. Your toes may feel a bit crunched upon by a sermon. Perhaps someone says something that perks your ears and pierces your heart. God often speaks to me through observing the nature He created. Sometimes, you just need to refocus your faith-eyes and look not at this world, but to Him who created it.

Our Lord desperately wants you to present whatever is on your mind to Him so He can become more present in your life.  Like a gift tucked way under the Christmas tree, what He wishes to give you may at first seem out of view, but if you seek it, you will find, right there, with your name written on it…just for you so you know He cares.

Dearest Lord, Thank You that You are present in our lives. Open our faith-eyes to see You in our daily, knowing that You bring the most precious gift to our day, — Yourself. Amen

By Julie Cosgrove
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Is there a difference?

I think “being smart” often relies on our own cognitive abilities.

He sure is smart.”

That was a smart solution you came up with.”

What a smart thing to do!

We tap into our own knowledge, be it through reading, studying or experiences.

When we are being wise, we rely on someone or something other than our own storehouse of knowledge to inform us, knowing our own limitations. That takes humility but also discernment.

The Apostle James wrote: “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17

The more we embrace the wonder of God, the more we realize how inadequate we are without His guidance in our lives. Smartness relies on what you already have stored in your brain. Wisdom constantly seeks to learn, embrace and use knowledge from an outside source. For the believer, that source is our Lord.

It is good to be smart, whether from the street or from books. But how much better to gain wisdom from the One who created the universe and expressed complete love on the cross!

Lord of all wisdom, increase our desire to know You, to emulate You and to turn to You when we just do not understand. 

Thought: What situation or problem today is beyond your ability to figure out? Bring it before God in prayer. Ask for His wisdom.

By Julie Cosgrove
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“Then the glory of the Lord rose from above the cherubim and moved to the threshold of the temple. The cloud filled the temple, and the court was full of the radiance of the glory of the Lord.” Ezekiel 10:4

Can you picture what Ezekiel describes? It’s hard to because none of us have seen the temple built by Solomon. It no longer exists.

The people in exile in Babylon, where Ezekiel wrote this prophecy, might have seen it. If they didn’t they probably heard about it from their elders. It was where God dwelled in the Holy of Holies, behind a thick curtain. No one except the high priest was allowed behind this veil, but the people believed somehow, someway God dwelled there amongst them. Then it was destroyed. Ezekiel’s description of God’s future return to a newly restored temple gave the exiled people hope.

Today, the Holy Spirit dwells within the believer and we are the temple (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)  “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” We carry God with us wherever we go. That seems fairly daunting to me. When people see me, do they get a glimpse of God’s love?

To be honest, most of the time I don’t feel full of the radiance of the glory of the Lord. I feel inadequate, bumbling, and way too human. But like the ancient Hebrews, I believe God does exist “behind the curtain”. Even during those times I cannot detect him, God still dwells with and in me. The more I choose to empty myself, the more he can fill me with his loving nature.

How about you? Has God filled your temple? He wants to, you know. Whisk open the curtain and let him in.

Father God, help me to empty myself of all the things that do not honor you. Empty me of any hurt, anger, jealousies, and negative thoughts. Then fill me instead with your Spirit so others can witness you in my life. Through your Son, my Savior, I pray this. Amen.

By Julie Cosgrove
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“When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.’ …When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.” Luke 5:4,6

At first Peter questioned Jesus’ command. Then he obeyed. The result was phenomenal. Scholars say they caught enough fish that day to provide income for their families for three years — the length of their time with Jesus during his earthly ministry.

Our pastor preached on this account in Luke recently, talking mostly to the men about following God’s agenda instead of their own. But it “got me to thinkin‘”, as we say in Texas. What about the other hardworking fishermen who were not with Peter? They’d probably not caught anything either. How did they react when Peter and his crew brought in this amazing haul? Did they pout or rejoice?

What would we have done as we watched?

Do you wonder why life is so tough right now yet so easy for others? Their life seems abundant and “overflowing with fish” while you have been casting your nets until your arms are rubbery and have still not seen results. Do you dance with joy at their blessings or stomp away while mumbling?

When it comes to reeling in what God wants us to catch, how many of us are willing to go out and try one more time… even though we have done it ten hundred times without success? Will we cry, “Not fair, I love God, too” or join in the hallelujahs?

Have faith when you see others’ faithful fortune. See it as a sign of God’s loving provision, knowing he will provide for you as well in his own time. Go ahead. Let down the nets again.

Lord, at times I get tired. I don’t see any purpose in my struggle as I journey through this life. And I admit, jealousy creeps in when I see how you’ve blessed others. Forgive my attitude of ingratitude. Teach me anew to trust in your provision. Amen.

By Julie Cosgrove
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“‘One thing you lack,’ he [Jesus] said. ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.”
Mark 10:21-22

This story used to confuse me. The young man had tried to follow the Ten Commandments. So why does Jesus discourage him by telling him he has to give away all he owned? Are we to do that as well?

I have heard a few stewardship sermons lean in that direction, but that doesn’t sit right with me. On the other hand, modern prosperity preaching that claims good Christians will receive riches galore as a reward doesn’t sound correct either.

Now, having lived life a lot more, I get it. Jesus knows where our priorities lie. Wealth meant the world to this young man. It was his status symbol and probably a source of pride since he’d achieved riches at such a young age. A biblical Bill Gates.

Jesus actually asked him to release his pride. The first commandment states that we should not put anything above God. So when the young man said, “All these I have kept since a boy” (Mark 10:20), Jesus knew the guy was mistaken. He had broken the very first one.

What if Jesus asked you to give up your prize possession, be it something material, another person, or perhaps an attribute? Remember everything belongs to God anyway. He has blessed you with all the things you cherish and the means to achieve them. It’s all in your attitude. The first step is to hand everything to him in faith and let him show you how to utilize or treat each one.

“Dear Lord, help me to place my priorities in your capable and loving hands. Everything belongs to you and I am just a steward of it. Help me to use what you give wisely and to the benefit of others before it becomes a source of pride for me. Amen.”

By Julie Cosgrove
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“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.”  Psalm 62:5

As Christians, we are called to hope. Not wishful thinking, imagining things, or pining for better days. Hope. Hope is not a pipe dream or a fairy tale. It is a strong action instead of a reaction. When we choose to hope we:

H – Heed His Word.
Hang onto encouraging verses in Scripture in times of trouble, stress or doubt. Recall His promises, read, mark and memorize helpful verses, and repeat them often.

O – Obey.
Sometimes we have to do things simply because someone in authority says so. If we can trust God and obey, then in hindsight we may look back and see more clearly why He told us.

P – Pray.
Instead of fretting, if we can drop to our knees and lay it at the cross we will find an inner peace which, as Paul states, surpasses our understanding. Much better than jogging in a hamster wheel of worry and churning it over and over in our minds. Pray, lay it down, walk away.

E – Expect.
The more we rely on God’s promises and His timing, then experience will show us things work out for the best when we “let go and let God” handle it.

So pry your fingers off the situation and relax. Have faith that God will see you through it, and claim that promise.

Father God, let us always choose to hope in You instead of fretting, or getting stressed over things we have no control over. Replace our qualms with quiet, our fears with faith, and our worries with wisdom.  Amen.

By Julie Cosgrove
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“Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on.” Mark 2:3-4

The paralyzed man had four great friends who were willing to not only carry him but, with tenacity and great effort, make a way for him to meet Jesus. Did the paralyzed man ask them to do all of this? Mark doesn’t tell us. But the next verse says that when Jesus saw the faith of his friends, he told the paralyzed man that his sins were forgiven.

Wait. What? Jesus didn’t say, “Take up your mat and walk” first, which is what everyone probably expected, including the four friends. Jesus saw that something else needed to be healed first — the man’s soul. Then he healed his legs. Both acts astonished even the skeptics in the crowd. But only the latter miracle was visible.

What does this story tell us? Sometimes it takes more than one person to free someone from a life of darkness and sin. Our prayers carry people to the feet of Jesus. However, we must be willing to allow Jesus to heal in the way he deems best. That may mean taking care of something we haven’t detected in our friend or family member. Until it is removed, the person is unable to move on and accept Jesus as Savior. They are paralyzed.

Don’t ever give up on the people for whom you are praying. The Holy Spirit will help you find creative ways to bring them to Jesus. But then, you have to let the Savior do what he needs to do and trust his timing.

Lord, I often cannot see you moving in someone else’s life or see them moving towards a life with you. Keep my faith and trust strong, because you came to earth and died so that everyone might believe in you and thus be saved. Help me to see new ways to help that person see you face to face, and also to realize it is not my job alone, but may take several others, and you, Lord, acting as well. Amen.

By Julie Cosgrove
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“When he [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:36

The speaker entered the room dressed as a sheep. After the laughter calmed down, she explained about the shepherd’s relationship with his flock. She explained that if sheep fall and tip over, they cannot physically right themselves. They will die unless the shepherd lifts them up, turns them around, and places them back on their feet.

Perhaps you have seen those commercials for the elderly where they press their call button and say, “Help, I fell and I can’t get up.” A compassionate voice assures them help is on the way.

Since I live alone, I’ve feared falling and lying there for days. The speaker’s message reassured me that God will come to my aid whether anyone else does or not. He will always be looking out for me, and not just if I physically fall.

In Matthew’s passage, the residents of Jerusalem had fallen in their faith. Yet Jesus didn’t throw his hands up and walk away in disgust. He had compassion on them. He wanted to lift them up, turn them around, and set them back on steady feet. He still does today, for each and every one of us.

You shouldn’t struggle on your own because, like a sheep, most likely it will be beyond your capability to get right again no matter how hard you try. Press the call button and seek out the Shepherd. He will have compassion and help you get on your feet again, or carry you until you’re strong enough to do so.

Lord, thank you for being my Shepherd and having compassion on me. Help me not fear but know you are always there no matter what. Amen.

By Julie Cosgrove
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thoughts by Julie Cosgrove Thoughts by Women

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“But God said to Jonah, Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?’ ‘It is,’ he said. ‘And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.’” Jonah 4:9

Anger is a silent killer. Not only can it fester in our hearts and cause our blood pressure to rise — it also discolours how we see things. It tightens our jaws so we grind our teeth. It tenses our lower back muscles and disturbs our sleep. So why do we hang onto it so often?

Jonah was angry — at the people of Nineveh, at God, at everything. Even the withering of a plant that had shaded him from the sun. His disposition had soured his whole outlook on life, and God called him on it. Was it right for him to be angry?

Throughout Scripture, God is said to be compassionate and slow to anger. The two go hand in hand. When compassion flows in, anger is squeezed out. The focus shifts from our feelings to the other person’s. It is no longer about who hurt us or did us an injustice. Instead, God’s love encourages us to see the “why?” behind the act.

Yes, there is such a thing as righteous anger. The Bible states that God can become angry, but not swiftly. Feelings are not factored in. No jealousy, no revenge, no hurt. Instead, the anger spurs a call to action to right a wrong, to turn a negative into a positive.

Paul warned in Ephesians 4:26,

In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry…

Anger is not the sin. Letting it cloud our compassion for others can be.

Dear Lord, help me to release any feelings of anger in my heart. Do not let them shackle me and keep me from seeing others with compassion as you see them. Amen.

By Julie Cosgrove
Used by Permission

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thoughts by Julie Cosgrove Thoughts by Women