by Frances Judge copyright 2020. Used by permission from the author.
The Image of His Heart
Frances (Francy) Judge is an inspirational illustrator and author of “Randy’s Steps” a middle grade novel and an award-winning poet published in Clubhouse Jr. and several anthologies. She is a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and lives in Long Beach, New York with her husband and five children. You can learn more about Francy on her website: www.francesjudge.com
Early last year I was purchasing some small gifts to hand out at our ministry planning retreat. The theme I had decided on was personal care items. With the lotions, face wipes, etc., the idea popped into my head to buy hand sanitizer. But when it came time to go to retreat I had second thoughts. It seemed silly … who would want hand sanitizer as a gift? So I returned them.
Then the pandemic hit and everyone needed hand sanitizer. I hurried to our local store hoping to buy those purse-size hand sanitizers again … but no. All the stores were sold out. How could I possibly have known what was about to happen?
For the rest of 2020, my lack of listening to that still small voice went round and round in my head. God put the idea there, but I didn’t recognize his voice because it seemed silly. Instead, what a timely and God-directed gift it would have been if I had just followed through with what I had heard.
We’re told in Isaiah 1:19 that if we’re willing and obedient we’ll eat the good of the land. My hope is that next time I’m more willing and obedient.
And that’s what’s coming up on Sunday, February 14. Just show up at church and look for the smiling ladies selling cute bags of Valentine yumminess. You will be blessing someone (or yourself) with delicious, homemade treats, plus blessing our church women’s ministry with funds that allow us to host amazing events throughout the year as well as provide partial scholarships for our fall retreat.
Wow! That was a mouthful. Well, just getting you ready for February 14th!
… for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
— Philippians 2:13 (NIV)
As I consider the work of an author—creating, writing, re-writing, and editing until every word is shaped into a cohesive manuscript, I think about Jesus as author of my life. Jesus, the Living Word, entered in and took residence as the Author and Finisher of my faith. What a remarkable deposit of power and desire to see me prosper!
Jesus, as the author of my faith, writes his truth on my heart. In difficult times, he writes it again to encourage me. When I repent, he deletes my sin. He inserts the fellowship of believers, which sharpens my faith. By the power and authority of his Word, he edits out the enemy’s lies and deceptions that try to creep into my mind. He expands the vocabulary of my circumstances, either to test the placement of my trust or faith in his “I AM” and “I CAN.” With wisdom, he inscribes his words on my heart, line-by-line, until faith is established (finished) in me.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV). Today, as you run the race of your Christian faith, contemplate that Jesus is authoring and finishing (or perfecting) your faith. Allow this to free you from all striving. You can be “…confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion …” (Philippians 1:6 NIV).
I’m forever grateful, Jesus, that you are my faith giver. I don’t have to muster faith on my own, for you dwell in me to perfect me to the end. Amen.
Thought of the Day:
When I said I believed, the Author of faith came in. Faith reigns in me.
Pray for the weak and weary to look to Jesus, the Author of Faith.
For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear, I will help you. (Isaiah 41:13 NIV) My Russian friend Natalia adores her grandchildren. She loves to delight their hearts by creating memorable experiences out of ordinary events, even just walking the familiar route to their house from hers. On their way through the downtown traffic, they pass a market surrounded by thick, knee-high ropes affixed to concrete pillars, which separate the sidewalk from the hazardous parking lot. Eugenia and Mita cannot resist their granny’s urging to hop up onto the rope and pretend they are circus performers on the high wire.
“Look straight ahead to the next post,” Natalia encourages, “and hold my hand tight. You cannot fall beyond my reach. Don’t be afraid! Granny knows the way.”
Such a bright illustration for our walk of faith in Christ. As we reach out our hands to the Father, he grabs hold and promises to help us cross the treacherous tightropes we so often find ourselves balancing upon. The place of safety is straight ahead—on the Rock of our Salvation—Jesus.
Lord, help me to keep my fragile hands outstretched in faith to your mighty ones.
Connecting with one another is something we could all use a little more of these days. And so as a way to bring back some connection, we are bringing back Secret Sisters for this season.
Have you ever participated in a Secret Sister program? If not, this is the way it works.
Fill out the attached form (click the image to the right to get to the full form)
Return it by clicking next at the bottom of the page
Wait for us to return a form to you so you know who your Secret Sister is
Pray for your Secret Sister
Acknowledge her on her birthday with a small gift
Send notes to her throughout the year (once a month if that works)
Reveal yourself at a designated time at the end of the year.
If you or someone you know would like a paper form, you can either print it out on the link above or pick one up at church. Please return your completed form to Cindy Gould and let her know if you have any questions.