Category: <span>thoughts by Julie Cosgrove</span>


You want to pull it, but you know you shouldn’t. That dangling thread on the seam of your clothes is bugging you. Does that describe your life?

I looked down and saw it. Arghh. Now would everyone see it? Would it snag on things through the day?  A broken strand of thread dangled out of the seam. And I was running late.

Do I pull it? Is it worth the risk unravelling the whole hem?

Tape it? Most likely it wouldn’t hold very long.

Snip it? A temporary fix, but that wouldn’t solve the issue of the broken thread unravelling again. I knew the integrity of the stitch had been compromised. But it might give me time to deal with it later…when I get the chance.

Things in our lives can feel as if they are starting to unravel.

What we have carefully hemmed together is starting to tear.

What do we do about it? 

Do we yank at the problem to get rid of it quickly and take the chance of it all falling apart? If we tug, it might reveal more and more that has become untied.

Do we tape it and hide the issue from others, hoping it will stay beneath the surface. Then go one about our business as if it is fixed?

Or do we snip at it each time it appears, never really investing the time to dealing with it properly?

Do we rush to discard that piece of clothing, put on something else, and toss it in the to-be-meded pile?

Or do we actually stop, take time to tie it, stitch it back, and secure it so it doesn’t happen anymore?

I once heard that a day knotted with prayer at both ends won’t unravel. Paul says it this way:

The lines of purpose in your lives never grow slack, tightly tied as they are to your future in heaven, kept taut by hope.”  1 Colossians 1:5 (MSG)

When something snags in our lives, we need to deal with that dangling thread lest it unravel us.

Hope, bolstered by prayer, is the best way to re-anchor our faith.  We need to allow our Lord to be the needle which can guide the wayward thread and knot it so it doesn’t affect the rest of the hem that is our life.

That may mean stopping what we are doing in order to handle it. It may involve a few pricks of our conscience as His needle deals with the transgression, anger or guilt. Perhaps it will cause us to halt in our tracks and not go further until we are sure it is dealt with properly.

But unless it is resolved correctly, that dangling thread tickling our conscience will bother us over and over until we are forced to deal with it. And by that time, the things hemming our lives might be starting to unravel enough that it shows.

By Julie Cosgrove
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“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us.” Psalm 67:1


I remember one of my mother’s favorite sayings: “How I love to see your shining face.” When faces shine they are elated, full of joy, love and anticipation. “Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow” are the words in a familiar carol that describes children waiting for Christmas.

It is humbling and awesome at the same time to me that God wants to bless us and be gracious to us. But more than that, He wants to shine upon us. Why? So we can spread the light. When I have been in His presence, His light is reflected in me for others to see. The Old Testament talks of Moses’ face shining so brightly after he communed with God that he had to veil it.

Jesus said He is the Light of the World, the one thing that can dispel the shadows in our souls. We, too, are called to

let our light so shine before mankind that people may see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

When God’s light shines upon us, we are blessed double-fold. We receive the warmth of His loving presence and are also called to be His reflection to a dark, hurting world. Like the star over Bethlehem, we become a beacon for all seeking truth, love, and refuge. In anticipation, with our eyes all aglow, we point to our Savior.

Shine, Jesus shine. Amen.

How will you reflect the light of Christ this holiday season? Will other people bustling and shopping see Him reflected in your face?

By Julie Cosgrove
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But Jesus called the children to him and said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’”  Luke 18:16-17


I know it’s not actually in the Bible, but I can picture the little drummer boy on the night Christ was born. There he was, peering around legs, sheep, and long robes. Maybe he heard the angels sing to the shepherds? Perhaps he was sleeping at the inn and awoke to the ruckus outside. Curious, he went to see what the fuss is all about. People were bringing gifts. Someone said this was the new king. The little drummer boy steps forward and offered his song, and the babe in the manger smiled at him. Barumpa, pum, pum.

Many people say Christmas is for children. We grown-ups are too harried, too conscious of the money, too cynical to get sucked into the whole thing. Christmas bonuses go to paying down bills, or buying gifts for the kids. It doesn’t matter. It’s all become too commercial anyway. Bah-humbug.

Yet Jesus invites us closer to the manger. “Don’t be anxious about material things,” He says. God loves and cares for us. Seek the kingdom first (Matthew 6:25-33). Draw near like a child with curiosity, openness, and faith. Embrace the season once again in its original joy.

Dearest Lord, invite us into your presence with the innocence of a child. Help us to adjust our faith-eyes to see you shining through the glitter and presents and parties. Then, in humility, let us bow down before your manager and once again declare you king over our lives. Amen.

By Julie Cosgrove
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“But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”  Matthew 6:15


I didn’t want to forgive them. They’d emotionally abused me for a long time, and it felt like a bone bruise — deeply hurting and hard to heal. Like a dog, I licked that wound often over the years. It became a banner I could hang out when I wanted either sympathy or admiration for putting up with it for so many years. I mistakenly thought it made me a better Christian witness to acknowledge the pain I’d suffered, and still residually experienced.

But in reality, pride was at the heart of my resistance. If I forgave them, the hurt would dissolve. My banner would disintegrate at the foot of the cross and turn to dust. No more empathy from others.

When we harbor unforgiveness, we block the love and mercy the Father wants to give us. Our hardness of heart becomes a dam that withholds the flow of His life-giving Spirit. The verse above is not so much a tit for tat thing as it is a cause and effect. Until we go through the painstaking effort to forgive, that wound controls our thoughts, colors our view of the world, and dictates our reactions. God cannot make room in a heart so filled with concrete ugliness.

Once we practice forgiveness, we realize how wonderful it is that God forgives us. Jesus’ act of taking on our sins becomes even more vivid. It’s like wearing a pair of glasses for the first time — everything is clearer, brighter, and more vibrant. Smugness dissolves. Our hearts melt. God enters.

Dear Lord, help me to be quicker to forgive so that the hurt doesn’t build up and block your mercy in my life. Help me to realize we all need forgiveness. Release the shackles of pain from my reactions so I may see others as you do. Then we can both heal. Amen.

Ask God to open your heart to those you need to forgive and then help you go down that path.

By Julie Cosgrove
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Further Reading

•  Forgiveness – Yourself and  Others

•  Forgiveness is Good for Your Health | by Katherine Kehler

•  Salvation Explained


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“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!”  Psalm 103:1 (ESV)

Sure, I bless the Lord with my lips and, as much as I can, with my heart. But with all that is in me? Can I really bless Him when my lower back is kinked or my sinuses are blocked and filled with pain? Can I bless him for my middle-aged tummy bulge or those widening hips? What about my second chin that is beginning to appear, or my hair, which has a mind of its own and pays more attention to the humidity than to any futile attempts to style it?

When we look at our flaws, imperfections, and body aches, it is hard to be positive, isn’t it? Other people may see our good points, but we magnify those things we hate about ourselves: our too-straight or too-curly hair; our big or pointy or hooked noses; our short legs; or, our over-sized bottoms. Some of us despise the fact that we are scrawny and tall and can’t seem to gain weight. (By the way, I secretly envy you, if that is your difficulty.)

Then there is the inside stuff: Our anger; our pride, which rears up when confronted; our stubbornness; and, our bad habits. Do people judge us more harshly than we judge ourselves? Does the way we act affect our appearance, or vice versa? What does that say about us as disciples of Christ? Where is our attitude of gratitude?

When will we realize that we are wonderfully and fearfully made by our Creator who desires relationship with us so much He even went to the cross so He could be with us? God sees us not as we are, but through the eyes of a loving parent. He sees the potential of who we can be when we use all the talents He has given us and when we choose to follow His ways. As the children’s song says, we are precious in His sight—no matter our race, our body shape, or our background.

It is true that some of our flaws are the result of our own life-choices. Through prayer and study of the Scriptures, we can change how we react to stress and to life in general. We can start turning to God for comfort and satisfaction, rather than to food or other worldly pleasures. We can spend less time at computers or on the couch in front of a television screen and, instead, get out to enjoy the beauty of our world. At the same time, we can help others in need.

Let’s read what Psalm 103: 2-5 (ESV) goes on to say:

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s”

The key is in the second verse when we forget not all His benefits; that is the attitude-changer. Once we claim Jesus as Lord, we receive eternal life and will one day have spiritual bodies free of disease and all imperfections. Since we have confessed Christ as Lord, we also get the crown. He forgives us, loves us, and shows us mercy. We can be more-than-satisfied with what is good, both in our bodies and in our lives. We can also seek God’s help to begin to see ourselves as He see us.

PRAYER: Dear God, the next time we feel down on ourselves, help us to remember who we are to You. Heal our attitudes and our bodies. Give us Your strength so we can renew every aspect of ourselves: our hearts, minds, wills, and bodies. May we rejoice in what we have been given, rather than complaining, knowing that so many have so little. Most of all, may we bless You with all that is in us for redeeming us from death and granting us eternal life and the forgiveness we could never hope to earn. We ask these things in Your holy and mighty name, Lord Jesus, Amen

Questions: When you look in the mirror, do you see yourself for your faults or for your blessings? How do you believe the Lord sees you?

By Julie Cosgrove
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•   Should I Pray Every Day? 

•  The Supernatural Power of Praise

•  Salvation Explained


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Do not judge and you will not be judged.” Luke 6:37


In today’s society of over-tolerance and lack of personal responsibility, this command of Jesus seems to fit right in. But does it allow us to be wrapped up in our own little world doing what we want because we are not to judge and others are not to judge us? Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Jesus did not say we should not speak out against hypocrisy. He did not say we should silently allow atrocities such as abortion, child abuse, elderly neglect and sex slavery to exist in our communities. He did not say we should ignore the fact that someone has lied or cheated or stolen, no matter their power or stature in society. Justice must reign. Civic laws must be obeyed.

So what did Jesus say? Jesus says judgment is final, unwavering. We are not called to do that. Only God can judge, but we can act as His servants to lead a person to ask for forgiveness so he or she may be justified through Christ. Sure there may be consequences for their actions, but no one is beyond redemption.

Earlier in the same chapter, Jesus commands us to: love our enemies (see them as fellow sinners in need of a Savior); turn the other cheek (do not let our emotions get in the way); pray for those who mistreat us (give them to God); and be merciful (see them through God’s eyes). That’s justice God’s way, not taking judgment into our own hands.

Heavenly Father, only You have the right to judge. Thank You for forgiving my sins through the power of the cross. Teach me to see others not as people who need judgment, but people who need Your justice in their lives. Show me how I can help in that process. Amen.

The next time you are quick to judge, stop and ask God to alter your attitude so you might be an instrument in bringing that person to true justice—through Jesus.

By Julie Cosgrove
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 The Only Totally Fair Judge!

•   The Old Apple Tree – lesson from a tree on bearing fruit as a Christian

•  Salvation Explained


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“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. ”  John 10:9


I live in a gated community. In reality, it is little more than a false sense of security. I have lived here four years, and the code has never changed. Every pizza and package delivery knows it. The tenants who move in and out every six months to a year know it.  But even if the manager was more diligent in changing the code, it wouldn’t really matter.

The same gate that lets a car in also lets a car out. In this warren of residencies, one usually only has to wait a few minutes before another car appears, wishing to exit. No code needed. Slip right on through as they drive out. To avoid lawsuits, I imagine, the gates open and close very slowly, and if they detect a car in the path, they will stop and reopen. This allows at least two or three cars to zip through at a time.

What we need is a guard 24/7 to monitor who passes in and out. But that would be too pricey.

Why am I telling you all this? We each put up barriers and boundaries to keep us safe in our personal space: Rules, internal alarms, habits. However, there is also a gate. A gate you assume will stay closed during the times you want to stay safe, but in reality, can allow lots of things to seep in. That whisper that tells you this one time will be okay. You won’t really be breaking the rules. You are being bold, adventurous, trying something new. That new idea which makes you think perhaps your boundaries have been too rigid and unfair. An interpretation of Scripture that opens your eyes to a more broad understanding, adding a new lane along the road to salvation.

Jesus told His first-century listeners that He was the gate for the sheep. The people who heard His words understood the analogy. Shepherds would lead their sheep from pastures into a communal enclosed area at night. This was in order to watch over them and protect them from predators and poachers. The shepherds then laid down in the gap and guarded the entrance. Nothing came in or out without their permission.

The Holy Spirit is our mind’s gate. The gate code is the Word of God. Whenever something rattles our thoughts, we should ask, does it jibe with what I know to be Truth? Even so, if we rely solely on our own understanding, it can be a false security. Many people use the gate code, and not always for good purposes.

We need the Gatekeeper, 24/7. Don’t worry, He already paid the price.

By Julie Cosgrove
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https://wheredidyoufindgodtoday.com/

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If you don’t want to risk burnout think about how you can be refilled


Do you ever feel nearly burned out? Can’t really hum This Little Light of Mine with fervor at that moment? Yeah, I know the feeling.

One of my duties at church is to make sure the candles on the altar are filled with  liquid wax/oil so they do not burn out during the service.  Because it is hard to determine the amount of influence the AC vents will have on the burn rate Sunday to Sunday, we always “top them off”… just in case.

Today, as I squirted the liquid inside the cylinders, God spoke to me. “You are running low, Julie. You need to be filled anew. Let Me refill you.”

And I have been. I admit it.  My light isn’t shining as brightly as it should because I have been dimmed by physical pain and a questioning of whether or not I have a secure employment future in this new year. Being a missionary is tough, especially when the funds don’t roll in.

Yes, I know…God provides. But lately my trust has slowly burned down to below normal levels. And that is when the devil can slip into the dark corners of the mind and begin to whisper doubts.

Today, my task at church reminded me of the parable of the bridesmaids in Matthew 25. The ones who kept their lamps primed with oil were the wise ones. They were always ready for the bridegroom.

As Christians, we should strive to always have our lamps filled so we are ready to shine when God calls upon us to do so– and to ward off the darkness where doubt, envy, and pouting lurks. When we shine our light brightly, it not only helps another to see the path but us as well. God illuminates us both, as well as others off to the side whom we may not notice are watching and wondering.

We can be refilled with the Holy Spirit through prayer and by meditating on His Word.  If we don’t do so regularly, our levels of faith will drop. We will shine brightly for a while, but slowly start to flicker and dim.  And when the time comes for God to use us, we  may not have enough in reserve.

So, if you don’t want to risk burnout think about how you can constantly be refilled…just in case. Then ask the Lord to help refill you so you are always ready to shine

You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.” Psalm 18:28.

By Julie Cosgrove
|Used by Permission
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Further Reading

•  Pressing the RESET button on our lives 

•   Keeping Yourself in God’s Love – even during painful times in your life

•  Salvation Explained


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Jesus went to the Mount of Olives to rest and rejuvenate


Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening He went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, and all the people came early in the morning to hear Him at the temple  Luke 21:37-38

I’d never noticed it before. Perhaps I am the only one. But in the Scripture passage above it states that Jesus went to the Mount of Olives to rest and rejuvenate after each day of teaching to the crowds. It became His refuge

Now it makes sense that He would go there His last night on earth to pray and rededicate Himself for the torturous mission that lay ahead. It was the one place He’d often found peace. And that night, He needed it more than ever before.

Do you have a place of peace?

Perhaps it is the park down the block, or an off the beaten path stretch of beach. Maybe it is closer to home such as a bench in your garden, a soaking tub filled with bubble bath (and if you have kids, a locked door!), or a cozy chair draped with a prayer shawl.

Wherever your peace place is, go there.  Take a few deep breaths. God will meet you. Just as He met His Son on the night before the most important day of His ministry. We all need a break now and then.

By Julie Cosgrove
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From: https://wheredidyoufindgodtoday.com/

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•  Keep Yourselves in God’s Love

•  Peace or Panic?

•  Salvation Explained


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Have you ever had a spiritual high, only then to slide into the valley at lightning speed?  You  come home from a fabulous spirit-filled retreat and discover the water heater burst and flooded the house, or the entire family contracts the stomach virus, or you get an IRS audit notice in the mail. Why Lord? Couldn’t You have let me feel great for just a while longer?

Jesus understands. The same thing happened to Him:

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.  Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.  And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

 At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness...” (Mark 1:9-12)

At once…bam. Why?

Perhaps because our faith is forged in trials.

Perhaps so His human pride wouldn’t swell.

Perhaps because God knows we cannot exist on emotional highs.

If there were not valleys, would we appreciate the mountain tops? Jesus never told us becoming a believer meant an easy road where the potholes would vanish. Far from it.

What comforts me is the last part of Mark 1:13

and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted  by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. (Emphasis mine).

What have I learned?

First, God prepared Jesus. He gave Him the spiritual high, the encouragement, and the faith to head into the wilderness, knowing it was coming. He gave Him His purpose- You are My Son, with you I am well pleased. 

Second, God never left Him. He sent angels to minister to Him.

Because of His experience on earth as a human, Jesus understands the slippery slope off the mountain into the valley. He gets the fact that life is tough. He knows that evil can chip away  our armor of faith.

But He is God, too. He knows when those “Oops” are going to come for us. He will prepare us for them, and guide us through them. Even in the wilderness, we can find His blessings.

By Julie Cosgrove
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•  Pressing the RESET button on our lives 

•  Cling to the Lord

•  Salvation Explained


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It takes a Savior who sacrificed Himself for our transgressions to show us how to act.


“With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?”  Micah 6:6

God demands a sacrifice in order to forgive us. It’s not because He is some power-hungry being that wants to see humans suffer — just the opposite. By sacrificing something, God’s people looked beyond their own selfishness and learned compassion. If they could give to God, perhaps they’d learn to give to each other as well.

But as the people turned from Him, God made it clear that sacrificing material things out of traditional duty was not His original intent. They weren’t supposed to sacrifice their crops and animals to gain a ‘get out of jail free card’ for living sinful lives. So, through the prophets God tried to make it clear that He didn’t want their things. He wanted their hearts softened so they could once again learn to think of Him and of others before themselves. Micah tells the people, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (6:8).

Sometimes donating money out of our paycheck is an easier sacrifice. We can throw money at the project and let someone else do it. But to give up our self-centered, pride-filled, and judgmental human nature to serve God and others is a sacrifice. It is a lifestyle do-over. It takes commitment. It also takes a merciful God who can forgive us when we stumble. It takes a Savior who sacrificed Himself for our transgressions to show us how to act.

Dearest Lord, by your example teach us to be more just to others, knowing they are loved by you and are of worth in Your eyes. Let us prayerfully humble ourselves so we can be more open to serve. Instill in us a sense of compassion and mercy so we can truly love our neighbors. Help us to truly sacrifice the world’s ways for yours. Amen.

By Julie Cosgrove
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Making a Difference

•   How to Pray

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Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me! Isaiah 6:8


There is a contemporary hymn that asks, “Here I am Lord, Is it I, Lord?” I’ve felt that way at times. Wanting eagerly to do God’s will but not sure how. Inadequacy slips into my heart. With knitted brow I whisper, “Are You sure about this, God? Isn’t there someone else more qualified?” Perhaps you have felt this way as well.

One time, brand new to a city, my late husband and I joined a church. Three weeks in, the pastor said he felt God called me to be the Outreach Coordinator. I sucked in my breath. “I barely know where the super market is!” But I prayed about it and said yes. I told God, “You are going to have to help me.” He was faithful to do so. Over the next few months, outreach needs and opportunities dropped into my lap without me having to search for them. I knew I was ill-equipped to find them on my own. God’s hand was in the process from start to finish, and that gave me the confidence to proceed.

Perhaps you’ve heard the quote, “God doesn’t called the equipped, but equips the called.” I found that to be true. Isaiah wasn’t equipped. But he was willing to serve. So God ordered Isaiah’s tongue touched with a purifying coal to prepare him for the task at hand. God equipped Isaiah. He equipped me in that new city. He will do the same for you. All you need is a heart willing to serve.

Dear Father in Heaven, prepare me for the task You wish for me to accomplish, with Your help and guidance. Keep me from rushing ahead or taking the credit. Retain in me a servant’s heart and point it all back to You. I pray this through Your servant Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

By Julie Cosgrove
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We are Christ’s Ambassadors

Come Alongside – what it looks like to come alongside of people while Jesus draws them closer.

•  Salvation Explained


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“Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.“ Proverbs 1:5


Winston Churchill said, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak: courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” I find the second harder to do, especially in my prayer time. How about you?

I am often guilty of treating God like a celestial Santa Claus, bringing my lists of wants and expecting Him to fill them because I have been a good girl this year. I believe we should bring our desires, troubles, and even confessions to God. It takes courage and honesty to openly come before Him. He knows them anyway before we speak. Like the patient, loving, Abba Father He is, He takes time to listen, knowing there are things we need to get off our chest. God always listens to us. Wouldn’t it be prudent to return the favor?

If prayer is truly a conversation, then we should listen for His response instead of doing all the talking. Perhaps we could even let Him speak first. I have begun to incorporate this practice into my prayer time. I begin by being still, I listen and come into His presence with thanksgiving, as Psalm 100 states.

I am thankful my Lord is a loving God who cares and stops to hear my needs. I’m thankful He died on the cross so I can come to Him, and that I have life eternal. I am thankful for all the times He has heard and responded. Then I end my time with listening as well.

I believe our Lord always does respond. That may not be at the time we decide we can carve out a few minutes of reflection time. It may be later in the day, or the week, or the month. But His response will come, and as always, in perfect timing. Will we be listening? Or will we try to solve the problem ourselves, or be off on another task, or too occupied by worry to catch His response?

Dearest Father in Heaven, we can never thank you enough for all the goodness you bestow in your grace and mercy for us. Forgive us for the times we do not stop, sit and listen to your will, advice, correction, or answer. Help us to have the courage to come before your throne honestly with our needs, but then give us the faith and courage to be willing to listen, and then accept your response. Through Jesus’ name, amen.

By Julie Cosgrove
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https://wheredidyoufindgodtoday.com/

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Further Reading

The Importance of Knowing God

Hearing God’s Voice – a Study by Charles Stanley

•  Salvation Explained


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thoughts by Julie Cosgrove Thoughts by Women

Like our bodies, our souls need regular nourishment to function.


“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”  Matthew 5:6

I was in the zone…typing away without losing my train of thought, editing as I went, the plot moving along.

After a while, a slight wooziness washed over me. My stomach growled. I sighed, pushed back my chair, and snatched a protein bar. Quick, easy to eat, no cooking or mess to clean. I chomped as I typed. That staved off the hunger for a while, but the sensation returned within a few hours.

Isn’t this often true of our spiritual lives? We are in such a rush, our concentration focused on the “doing” mode. We forget that, like our bodies, our souls need regular nourishment to function. A deep hunger for God niggles us. At first, we ignore it, but it doesn’t go away.

But what to feed it? We flip through a few highlighted verses in our Bibles, scan our bookshelves filled with devotionals and inspirational guides, even stare at the Biblical saying plaques on our walls. Still, the deep aching isn’t quite satisfied. We need real God-time. And Sunday is days away.

To fully digest what we read, see, and hear, we need to take it to the Father and let his Spirit feed our faith. Truly absorb his truth the way our stomach takes in nutrients. That requires undisturbed prayer time.

Spend quality time with God today. Don’t snack as you keep on “doing.” Instead, sit down, relax, and devour the full-plated goodness God wishes to provide. That’s the full meal deal. Talk about soul food!

Lord, I hunger for your presence in my life. Let me not ignore the need to spend daily time with you. Fill me to the brim with your goodness, wisdom, and mercy. Let it sustain me as I go through my day. Amen.

Reflect on how you want to deepen your walk with God, and especially your time in his Word.

By Julie Cosgrove
Used by Permission


Further Reading

•  Spiritual Oxygen: Are You Getting Enough?

How to be Filled with the Holy Spirit

•  Salvation Explained


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thoughts by Julie Cosgrove Thoughts by Women

“As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way.”  Mark 1:2


For many people, this upcoming time of year is filled with decorations, music, parties, and shopping. But it is also Advent — a season where we can not only prepare our own hearts to celebrate the Christ child, but also help others prepare their hearts as well.

Scripture tells us that John the Baptist cried out passages from Isaiah about preparing the way of the Lord. He called the Israelites to return full heartedly to God, knowing another would soon come whose sandals he was unworthy to tie — Jesus, the Christ.

Perhaps we are not called to be John the Baptists. But we can spread the Christ-mass cheer in other ways. Smile with your eyes, over your mask, to the frazzled store clerk and call them by name if possible. They are often the brunt of many people’s frustration and selfish nature. We can treat them with dignity and care.

Be a friend to the poor. What if we take 10% of what we normally spend on gifts and give it to our church ministry programs? Maybe send Christmas cards with a Christian message to friends and family? Above all, let’s pray each morning that God will use us to shine the light of his love and joy in a dark world.

Lord Jesus, come. As we prepare our hearts for you, open them to receive others as well. Let your light shine through the pre-Christmas season’s hustle and hassles. Keep us focused on the main thing — celebrating you. Help us to point others towards you as well. Amen.

Throughout the day seek to glorify Jesus through your attitudes, sacrificial giving, or prayer.

By Julie Cosgrove
Used by Permission

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Further Reading

Great Expectations for Christmas

Practicing the Presence of God

•  Salvation Explained


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