WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- MAY 20, 2024: PROMINENT WOMEN: ALABASTER JAR OFFERINGS

The Alabaster Jar Offerings

Luke 7: 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.

 

An alabaster jar (often referred to as a box or flask) is similar to marble in texture. It was used to store expensive perfume and oils and typically had a thin neck. Alabaster jars typically have a seal protecting and preserving the contents until use, such that the seal had to be intentionally broken in order to use what’s inside. Luke 7, Mark 14, and Matthew 26 all tell of women (two passages refer to one woman) who gave their most precious offering, perfumed oil from their alabaster jar, to Jesus. The women did not have much to offer the King, but they gave all they could. In one passage, the woman wet Jesus’ feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair, kissing his feet and pouring perfume on them (Luke 7 36-50). In other passages a woman poured the perfume on his hair (Mark 14 and Matthew 26). In all cases their deeds signified their faith, devotion, love, and sacrifice to Jesus. Once you pour the contents from an Alabaster jar, it would be difficult to put them back in, and even if one could put them back in, the contents would no longer retain their purity. So, the act of the women intentionally pouring the perfume on Jesus’ head and feet is one of complete sacrifice and surrender. 

Those around Jesus frowned upon the women for their offering. But Jesus used it as an opportunity to teach about what it means to love and forgive. He acknowledged that the women gave their all saying, in Mark 14,  “She has done what she could. She poured perfume on my body in preparation for my burial. 9 I tell all of you[d] with certainty, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” In Luke 7, he told the parable of two people who both owed money to a lender, one more than another and both debts were forgiven. He asked, “Now which of them will love him (the forgiver) more?” The Pharisees guessed right when they said the one who had the bigger debt forgiven. Jesus then proceeded to compare the woman’s actions to their own inaction. 

These passages symbolize the women bringing all their sins, all their past, all their devotion, all of their faith to the one true King. We don't know the cost of the perfume in their alabaster jar.  You are my sister and I don’t know the cost of the perfume in your alabaster jar (the symbol of your offering, sacrifice, and praise to Christ), and you don’t know mine, but we do know that Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sins when he died on the cross for our sins and that we are forgiven. So let us continue to be like these women and do all we can, to pour out our praise through our actions. 

SP Women on the Move: Spend some time praising God for paying the ultimate price for you. How are you pouring out your praise through your actions? What is your alabaster jar offering? 

Prayer: Dear Lord, please accept my life and all that I have as my alabaster box offering. If there is any part of my life that I haven’t given over to you, I give it to you today. Today I break my alabaster box and offer my life as a complete sacrifice to you. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins and rising on the third day. Thank you for forgiving me, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Amen. 

Playlist: Alabaster Box, Cece Winans

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- MAY 13, 2024: PROMINENT WOMEN: RAHAB

Rahab: From Prostitute to Hero of Faith

"By Faith, Rahab the prostitute welcomed the spies in peace and didn’t perish with those who disobeyed." Hebrews 11:31

In Joshua 2, we meet Rahab, a Canaanite woman and prostitute living in Jericho. However, by the end of the story we see her courage and faith in God take her from a woman known as a prostitute to a Hero of Faith. 

When Joshua sent spies to scout out the land of Canaan before the Israelites invasion, in spite of the serious consequences she would face, Rahab hid them and protected them from the authorities looking to capture them. Rahab's belief in the God of Israel motivated her to take a great risk to align herself with His people. She had heard of the great things God had done for the Israelites, including parting the Red Sea and defeating their enemies. Despite the possibility of being caught, Rahab chose to trust in what she had heard of the Lord's faithfulness and to align herself with His purposes. (Joshua 2:9-11).

In exchange for her assistance, Rahab asked for mercy for herself and her family when the Israelites conquered Jericho. The spies agreed to spare Rahab and her household, as long as she kept their presence and agreement secret.

When Jericho was conquered by the Israelites, Rahab and her family were spared and brought safely out of the city before its destruction. 

As a result of her boldness and faith, Rahab went on to become part of the lineage of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:5) and is even mentioned in the Hall of Faith (Hebrews 11:31). Rahab's story reminds us that God can use anyone, regardless of their past, for His purposes. It also shows us how important it is to have faith, stand firm, and take bold steps for God, even when it may be risky or unpopular.

Prayer: Lord, please help me to have faith to do your will even when fear is present.

Saint Paul Women on the Move: Identify an area in your life where fear is holding you back, pray for courage, step out boldly in faith, trust in God's guidance, and share your journey to inspire others.

Playlist: 

Chosen, Madison Ryann Ward

Trust In You, Antoine Bradford

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- MAY 6, 2024: PROMINENT WOMEN: DEBORAH

COURAGEOUS FOR BATTLE

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

 

There are many prominent women mentioned in the Bible that are role models and trailblazers to inspire women today.  One noteworthy woman in the Bible is Deborah, whose story is found in Judges, Chapters 4 and 5.   

Chapter 4 tells the story of Deborah as the second recorded Prophetess and first female Judge. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, He gave Deborah the gift of prophecy to speak God’s Word of encouragement and to give instructions to others.  Also, as a Judge she served during a time when the Israelites were oppressed by the Canaanites.  Through her leadership, God commanded Barak to lead the Jews into battle against the Canaanites.  Barak was reluctant because he was afraid of the Canaanites and he lacked courage even though God was with him.  He told Deborah that he would go if she would go with him so she did.  Deborah was courageous for battle because she knew that God was with them.

Chapter 5 recounts the songs of Deborah and Barak immediately following their victory in battle over the Canaanites.  These songs began by praising and worshipping God for arriving with great power to save the Israelites and help them defeat the Canaanites. 

Just as Deborah was courageous for battle against the Canaanites, you can be courageous for battle too.  So don’t run from the “battles” in life because God wants us to face them courageously while trusting Him to deliver us from them all.  Remember that the battle belongs to God (2 Chronicles 20:15) and He is with us!

The book of Judges allows us to see that Deborah had an impressive resume of judge, warrior, poet, and prophetess including singer and songwriter.  Her life should motivate every woman to embrace God’s call to leadership and courage for their life.

SP Women on the Move: Take time this week to read Judges, Chapters 4 and 5 to further look at the life of Deborah.  Afterwards, write a list of your strengths. If you need a little help, ask a friend who has known you for a long time. Then pray and ask God to show you how to serve Him with your strengths so you can embrace God’s call to leadership and courage for your life.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the privilege to petition your throne of grace.  Please help me to continually submit my ways to You so that I may glorify You in all that I do.  Please create in me a clean heart and renew in me a right Spirit so that I can serve You courageously.  Also, help me to walk confidently in faith, hope and courage. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Playlist: 

“Change Me” by Tamela Mann  

“Won't He Do It” by Koryn Hawthorne

“Don’t Wait Until the Battle Is Over Shout Now” by Walter Hawkins Love Alive Choir  

 

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- APRIL 29, 2024: PRAISE: PSALM 117

This week let us PRAISE HIM!

Psalm 117

Praise the Lord, all you nations;
    extol him, all you peoples.
For great is his love toward us,
    and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.

Praise the Lord.

SP Women on the Move: Read and recite Psalm 117 and PRAISE HIM! 

Playlist: 

Psalm 117, Earl Bynum and the Mount Unity Choir

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- APRIL 22, 2024: REST AND REFUGE: PSALM 91

This week we will meditate on Psalm 91, as we focus on rest and refuge in The Lord. 

Psalm 91 (NIV)

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

SP Women on the Move: We invite you to read Psalm 91 each morning this week. 

Playlist: 

In the Shelter, Richard Smallwood

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- APRIL 15, 2024: RENEW AND RESTORE: PSALM 51

Join us this week as we read Psalm 51 with a focus on restoration and renewal. 

Psalm 51 (NIV)

For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
    and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
    sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
    you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
    and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
    you who are God my Savior,
    and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
    you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.

18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
    to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
    in burnt offerings offered whole;
    then bulls will be offered on your altar.

SP Women on the Move: We invite you to read this Psalm 51 each morning. 

Playlist: 

Give Me a Clean Heart, Fred Hammond

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- APRIL 8, 2024: REFUGE: PSALM 11

Join us this week as we meditate on Psalm 11 and seek refuge in The Lord. 

For the director of music. Of David.

In the Lord I take refuge.
    How then can you say to me:
    “Flee like a bird to your mountain.
For look, the wicked bend their bows;
    they set their arrows against the strings
to shoot from the shadows
    at the upright in heart.
When the foundations are being destroyed,
    what can the righteous do?”

The Lord is in his holy temple;
    the Lord is on his heavenly throne.
He observes everyone on earth;
    his eyes examine them.
The Lord examines the righteous,
    but the wicked, those who love violence,
    he hates with a passion.
On the wicked he will rain
    fiery coals and burning sulfur;
    a scorching wind will be their lot.

For the Lord is righteous,
    he loves justice;
    the upright will see his face.

SP Women on the Move: We invite you to read this psalm each morning. 

Playlist: 

The Blood, JJ Hairston & Youthful Praise

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- APRIL 1, 2024: REST AND REFRESH: PSALM 23

Join us as we meditate on Psalm 23 this week. 

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

SP Women on the Move: We invite you to read Psalm 23 every morning this week. 

Playlist: 

Safe in His Arms, Rev. Milton Brunson & The Thompson Community Singers

Rest On His Promise, JJ Hairston and Youthful Praise

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- MARCH 25, 2024: CELEBRATING THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST

“The Man on the Middle Cross” Bible App Devotional

Please join us as we read this devotional for this week leading to Resurrection Sunday. 

Download the Bible App and join the plan with this link: https://bible.com/p/65507701/90c35e819b8da89f9cdf2e7d8dc0c9e5

For those who do not have access to the Bible App, or cannot access the plan, please see the scriptures listed below for each day.  

 

Day 1

Luke 23:42-43

Revelation 21:1-7

 

Day 2

Luke 23:44-45

Amos 8:1-14

 

Day 3

Luke 23:44-45

Hebrews 10:19-25

 

Day 4

Luke 23:46

Revelation 5:1-14

 

 

Day 5

Luke 23:47

1 Corinthians 1:18-31

 

 

Day 6

Luke 23:50-52

Acts 4:1-22

 

 

Day 7

Luke 24:1-12

 

 

SP Women on the Move:

Questions to Ponder each day

  1. How is God calling me to think differently?
  2. How is God reordering my heart’s affections – what I love?
  3. What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?

Prayer:

Dear Father in Heaven, we thank you for your Son, Jesus who died on the Cross for our sins and rose again on the 3rd day!! We are thankful that you got up with All Power in your Hands. Lord, you are Holy!  Without your love and forgiveness, we would be lost in sin and without hope.  We rejoice in the Resurrection of Jesus, and we are thankful for His unmerited favor, His grace and His mercy toward us.  We pray that on this Resurrection Sunday that others will come to know you as their Lord and Savior.    In the Name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

Playlist:

Oh, What Love, Vickie Winans

He Died for Me,  Malcolm Williams & Great Faith

Hosana, Wimington Chester Mass Choir

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- MARCH 18, 2024: ENCORE: CONSISTENCY

CONSISTENCY

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. I Corinthians 15:58

Have you ever struggled with being consistent? One day you’re up and the next day you’re down. You set a goal to start eating healthy and exercising then within a week or two you’re back to your same old eating habits and not exercising. Or you are determined to pray and read your Bible daily then this goal doesn’t work out either. If you have ever set a goal or made a commitment to not do this or that, and you later find yourself doing what you said you would not do then you’re not alone (Romans 7:21). We all know that the struggle to be consistent, in doing what is right, is real.

Consistency is not easy to achieve in our own strength, intellect or skills. But, our goals and commitments can be consistently achieved through the power of God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit—ask the Savior to help you (Matthew 7:7-8). Also, we must be “steadfast and immovable” because we are the “light of this world” (John 9:5) so don’t grow weary in well doing (Galatians 6:9) because your “labor is not in vain.”

There are many examples in the Bible where men/women were consistent in their Faith in spite of the difficulty. For example, Job who was sick in his body, said: “though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him” (Job 13:15). So regardless of the difficulty, persevere because consistency can become easier if we stay focused, disciplined, and dedicated to the Word of God. The more consistently we do something, the easier it becomes, and the more momentum we build up. Eventually, what was once a struggle becomes a habit, and habits are hard to break. Consistency is the key to making lasting change. Be encouraged to achieve consistency in your life because nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37).

SP Women on the Move: What area(s) in your life lacks consistency? Write it down and pray about it to remain accountable, motivated and connected with your progress.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, please give me your strength to remain consistent in my Christian walk. Please give me the grace to be a diligent Christian who is consistent and responsible in my home and in the world. Help me to set goals that are according to Your Will for my life. Strengthen my mind not to fall into Satan’s temptations. Empower me through your Holy Spirit to live a consistent and acceptable life before you always. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

Playlist

Be Steadfast , The Florida Mass Choir

Good & Bad , J Moss

 

 

 

 

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- MARCH 11, 2024: ENCORE: THE BATTLE IS NOT YOURS

THE BATTLE IS NOT YOURS

And he said, "Be not afraid or dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's."

I love communing with God in the cool of the morning when it’s quiet and only the birds are singing. Sometimes I take a walk and just soak in all the beauty that God created, and most of all I breathe His air and I am refreshed. During that quiet time with the Lord, I can relax in Him, take up my sword (the Bible) and clear my mind for the day’s journey. I need those mornings of refuge to refresh and renew my mind and spirit because in this life we will fight many battles, sometimes all at the same time. There are days when just getting out of the house and arriving at our destination safely is a battle. Some battles are within, spiritual battles (Ephesians 6:12), loneliness, and fatigue just trying to balance life! It might be a health issue, a family crisis, the death of a loved one, finances, or maybe you are a college student navigating through endless classes trying to stay focused on your studies until you reach your goal; or a caregiver with little time to take care of yourself.

But there is good news today, sisters. There is Victory in Jesus!! All these things and more confront us each day. And, if we try to handle them on our own, they will exhaust us physically and emotionally. With the Lord on our side, we can walk confidently into each new day because we don’t fight these battles alone. Jesus is right here with us every step of the way and when we are too weak to stand, His strength will carry us. If you are like me, sometimes you place your burdens at His feet only to pick them up again. Let them go! Isn’t it so wonderful to know that God is with us to strengthen us for this journey? If we just hold tight to his never-changing hand, He will guide us through this battlefield called life. So, find your quiet place today, put on the whole armor of God, (Ephesians 6:10-18), call out His Holy Name and place your cares at His feet and leave them there. Isaiah 41:10 says, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

SP Women on the Move: This week write your blessings on sheets of paper and put them in a container. Then write your prayer requests and put them in a different container. Give All praises to God for what He has done and for what He’s going to do. Watch as your prayer requests turn into blessings. 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank you for the privilege of prayer, for the ability to breathe Your air. Forgive me Lord for trying to handle things on my own, help me to secure my armor daily and trust in You fully for my every need. Thank you for your provision, protection, for your peace and for your everlasting love. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Playlist: 

The Battle is the Lord's, Yolanda Adams

For Every Mountain, Kurt Carr

Waymaker, Sinach

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- MARCH 4, 2024: ENCORE: 8 LESSONS FROM MARY

8 LESSONS FROM MARY 

But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary: you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. Luke 1:30-31. 

According to historians, Mary would have been between 12-16 years old when she was betrothed to Joseph. Imagine being visited by an angel and told that God would do the seemingly impossible through you. Below are eight lessons we can learn from Mary and how she submitted to God’s plan to use her to deliver the Savior of the World.

8. It’s ok to be afraid and still trust God’s plan. When the angel Gabriel greeted Mary saying, Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you!”. Mary was greatly troubled and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. (v.1:29)

7. It’s ok to ask questions. When the angel Gabriel told Mary she would conceive the Son of the Most High, she asked, “How will this be since I am a virgin?” (v.1:34)

6. Accept God’s answers and allow him to use you. When the angel told her how she would conceive, Mary’s response was, “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.” (v.1:38)

5. It is a blessing to believe God’s promises. When Mary visited Elizabeth she called Mary the “mother of my Lord” and stated that her baby in her womb (John the Baptist) leaped for joy. She said, “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” (v.1:45)

4. Mary glorified God for what He was doing and what He was going to do. Mary’s spirit rejoiced in God her Savior. (v.1:46)

3. Mary was humble. Mary did not begin to exalt herself, instead she stated, for he (God) has been mindful of the humble state of his servant…his mercy extends to those who fear him (v.1:48)

2. Mary didn’t need everything to be her idea of “just right” to do what God asked her to do. There was no housing available for them, so she gave birth in a stable and placed Jesus in a manger. (v2:7)

1.Mary had discernment about when to share her thoughts. The shepherds spread the word about what had been told to them about Jesus and everyone who heard was amazed. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. (v.2:18).

SP Women on the Move: Read Luke 1:26-2:21. What lessons from Mary can you apply to your life?

Prayer:Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for showing us that you can use any willing servant to do your will. Thank you for salvation through Christ Jesus. I trust in YOU alone. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

Playlist: 

A Chance, Malcom Williams & Great Faith 

Mary Did You Know, Pentatonix

For Your Glory, Tasha Cobbs Leonard

 

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- FEBRUARY 26, 2024- PUT ON LOVE

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:14

L-o-v-e is a four-letter word that means different things to different people because
some people use it but don’t mean it while others may use it but don’t show it.


But, the Bible is very clear about what love is because it is mentioned over 500 times.
One of these love scriptures is 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, which says that “Love is patient
and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude, and never ends.”
Another love scripture is John 3:16 that shows us how much God loves us by sending
His Son, Jesus Christ to save us and give us eternal life.


Love binds us to God and each other. Love is a life that is focused on others and not
just ourselves. God told us to love one another just as He has loved us (John 13:34-
35). This love requires us to show it not just say it. Let’s put on the garment of love
not hate to create perfect harmony in this world.

SP Women on the Move
Pray and ask God to help you share His love by showing someone a “Random Act of
Compassion and Kindness (R.A.C.K.)” today.

Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father, Oh Merciful God, please bless us with Your Love so that we
may Love as You Love! That we may show patience, tolerance, kindness, caring and
love to all! Lord, give us Your eyes and heart to love others even when it’s hard. Lord,
we want to partner with You to unleash Your love into the world so that You become
known to everyone. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Playlist
”Love” by Kirk Franklin’s Nu Nation
Your Love” by William Murphy
”Love Theory: by Kirk Franklin
”Love Lifted Me” by JJ Hairston & Youthful Praise (feat. Tye Tribbett)

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- FEBRUARY 19, 2024

Agape (God's Love For Us) 

For GOD so loved the world that He gave His only SON, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Agape Love is God’s divine Love for us.  God’s Love is pure, it is everlasting and there is no greater Love than the Love that comes from our Father.  If you are blessed to know the Lord, then you know what it’s like to experience His unconditional love.  His unmerited favor. His everlasting forgiveness. How blessed we are to know that God loves us beyond our faults, He is our creator, and He saw our needs and provided a way out for us in the form of His only Son, Jesus the Christ. (Romans 5:8)  

GOD IS LOVE, and God’s love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4 – 8a & verse 13)

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  

Love never fails.

And now these three remain; faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.  

We, as Followers of Christ, can rest in the shelter of HIS Love no matter what we face in this life.  And because God loves us, we are commanded to show love toward others.  John 15:12 says, “This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.”   

Saint Paul Women on the Move: This week we are challenged to demonstrate God’s love towards someone who would least expect it (Random Acts of Compassion and Kindness, R.A.C.K). And as always, keep each other in prayer.

Prayer:  Holy Father, we come first, acknowledging that you are GOD all by yourself, and without you we can do nothing. We ask for forgiveness of sins, and we thank you for your Son, Jesus, who died on the cross for our sins and rose again on the 3rd day with All Power in His Hands!  We thank you that we can abide in you forever because there is no safer place to be.  Thank you for your unfailing love towards us.  In the precious Name of Jesus we pray, Amen. 

Playlist:

Rain On Us,  Earnest Pugh

God Is,  James Cleveland and the Southern CA Community Choir

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- FEBRUARY 12, 2024

Preserving the Masterpiece

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10

A masterpiece can be defined as “a work of outstanding artistry, skill, or workmanship. A work done with extraordinary skill” (Dictionary.com).   

A masterpiece is no common piece of work, but a creation that is considered the greatest work by someone of supreme expertise or masterful skills.  Many go to great lengths to preserve a masterpiece, and if done correctly, it can last for centuries.  Take the Mona Lisa for instance.  Artist, Leonardo de Vinci painted her portrait in the 15th century, and it is currently displayed at the Louvre in Paris, France.  Historians have taken painstaking measures to preserve this painting down to the temperature, humidity, framing, and even the case where the portrait is displayed.  The insurance value of the painting is estimated at approximately 1 billion dollars! 

In Ephesians, Paul tells us that we who are in Christ are God’s masterpieces, and God created us with a plan to do good things.  This means we were created with intention and purpose!! Psalms 139 reveals that every moment of our lives was intricately designed by God even before our birth.  

Sisters, we are God’s greatest work! And it’s our responsibility to preserve His masterpiece.  How do you preserve yourself as God’s workmanship?  

  1. Know your worth:

Psalm 139:13-14 says God knitted us in our mother’s womb.  We are fearfully and wonderfully made and wonderful is God’s works.  We are not just a common creation but rather fearfully and wonderfully made, a testament to the extraordinary works of God. Our uniqueness is emphasized as God personally laid His hands upon us, much like an artist who deliberately crafts every stroke of a brush. In recognizing this, we come to understand the inherent value woven into our existence.   

 

  1. Preserve your value: 

Present your body as living sacrifice - Rom 12:1  

Do not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind – Rom. 12:2 

Be holy in your conduct for God is holy. – 1 Peter 1:15-16 

Cleanse yourself from every defilement of body and spirit.  2 Cor. 7:1 

 

  1.  Honor the creator:

You were bought with a price. So, glorify God in your body. - 1 Cor. 6:20 

Whether you eat, drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. - 1 Cor. 10:31 

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and might. - Deut. 6:5 

Cleanse yourself from the dishonorable so that you can be a holy vessel, useful to the master - 2 Tim. 2:21 

Whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord, giving thanks to God. Col. 3:17 

 The best way to honor our creator is by being obedient to Him and following His word.  God created us with a purpose, and we should pray and ask God what that purpose is.  The more we heed to God’s word, the more attune we become to knowing His will.  Our spiritual walk should be a testament to awesomeness of Christ. 

SP Women on the Move: Sis, you are God’s masterpiece! How are you going to preserve His workmanshipTake a moment to create a list of ways you can honor God with your mind, body, and spirit. Try to live out your list during this week and take a moment each evening to journal your progress.

Prayer: 

Heavenly Father,

You are all knowing and all powerful. You make all things beautiful. I praise you because I’m

wonderfully made. Holy Spirit please remind me daily that I am a masterpiece created in my Father’s

image to do good things.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen!

Playlist: 

Masterpiece, Destiny Worship Music

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- FEBRUARY 5, 2024

IDENTITY IN CHRIST

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 

 

Have you ever been faced with the question, “Who Am I?” People and the world will tell us that we are many things and give us a variety of labels and boxes to fit into to meet their purposes. But, the only identity that really matters is the one given to us by our creator and the purpose He has set for us. When we are in Christ, we are new creations. Therefore, in order to know who we are, we must also first know who Christ is. We are blessed to have a God who wants us to know Him deeply. When we know Him deeply we know that: 

God is our sustainer. Psalm 54:4

God is our refuge and strength. Psalm 46. 

God is our comforter. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. 

God is our provider. Matthew 6:31-33.

God is our…(please continue to fill in the blanks). 

 

SP Woman on the Move: Add to the list above. Look for more scriptures that describe who God is and make your own list. Keep it with you for reference when you need a reminder. 

Prayer: Dear Lord, Thank you for being God almighty.  Help me to study your Word, that I might know you better. Help me as I am in the world, but striving not to be of the world. If you see anything that is not like you, please remove it from my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Playlist:

Jireh, Elevation Worship and Maverick City 

Because of Who You Are, Bishop Paul S. Morton 



WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- JANUARY 29, 2024

Spiritual Resolutions- Praise and Worship

“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Psalm 34:1

As the new year rings in each year, there are many who make resolutions to better themselves by doing something or not doing something. These annual resolutions are mainly focused on external improvements for oneself. But, have you ever made a spiritual resolution that focuses on the internal improvements by examining yourself (1 Corinthians 11:28), laying down weights (Hebrews 12:1) and exploring ways to grow in Christ (Philippians 3:13-14)? A spiritual resolution  is a great place to start when you desire a closer walk with God. There are numerous spiritual resolutions to help us enhance the spiritual aspects of our life, but daily praise and worship to God is an important commitment to consider.


When we praise and worship God, we are coming into His presence and sensing His grace and love through the power of the Holy Spirit. We respond to God in praise for what He does and in worship for who He is! We can praise and worship God anywhere and at any time. In Acts 16:25-34, it says that Paul and Silas were in jail and they prayed and sang praises to God then the jail doors opened and their chains were loosened. Yes, God shows up when we praise and worship Him—it is a spiritual weapon that confuses the enemy especially in difficult times. We should always take the time to praise and worship God throughout the day for what He does and who He is. Also, you can praise and worship God by praying, singing spiritual songs, reading scriptures, and other spiritual acts, i.e., “Random Acts of Compassion and Kindness (R.A.C.K)” toward others.

SP Women on the Move
When we focus on daily praise and worship to God, we can forget about our troublesand concentrate on Him. Try this spiritual resolution or discover another  commitment to draw closer to God, through Jesus Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit in 2024.

Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father, I will praise and worship You with all my heart. I will lift up my hands to praise and worship Your Name forever! I will give thanks and praise to Your name alone. I will worship You Lord with gladness and joyful songs because You have made me and I am Your child. I thank You for the many blessings that You have given me and I worship You for who you are—the All-Powerful (Omnipotent), All-Knowing (Omniscient), Ever-Present (Omnipresent) and Sovereign God. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Playlist
 No Ordinary Worship, Kelontae Gavin
 Praise Him In Advance, Marvin Sapp
 You Deserve It, JJ Hairston & Youthful Praise

 

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- JANUARY 22, 2024

HE Mends the Brokenhearted

 

Psalm 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Grief is the profound, overwhelming sadness we feel when losing a loved one. When a loved one dies, when they are taken from us, no matter the circumstance, whether they were young or lived a long, full life, whether it was through a brief or long illness or sudden unexpected tragedy, we are shaken, and our world as we knew it is not the same. No matter how long they lived, they are always gone too soon. Many experts point to the five (5) stages of grief, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, and not necessarily in that order. We may experience all those stages or only one or two. For those of us who BELIEVE and TRUST in the name of JESUS, our Savior, our Lord, we know that we must cry out to HIM, fall on our knees in prayer, and HOLD on to HIS unchanging hand to make it through these times. There are no words or explanations that will make us feel better. The world as we know it will never be the same, but HE is there, HE is with us, and we must TRUST that HE will see us through. Psalm 9:10, "Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you."

Losing someone we love is hard, perhaps it is the most difficult thing we've gone through. It can challenge us emotionally, physically, and spiritually. We all know of someone who has suffered a loss, we've shown empathy for them, we've sent cards, cooked food, and sent condolences and attended Memorials and Celebrations of Life to show them our love and concern. But, when we experience a personal loss, we understand that after the Home Going Service is over that is when the true grieving period begins. There is no set time for grief, no limit to how long or how often we will grieve. It is said that grief is like an uninvited visitor who suddenly shows up unannounced and stays too long. There will be triggers and memories that just pop up out of nowhere. There will be times of loneliness that no one can understand because we all grieve differently depending on the relationship we had with that person, and there will be emptiness in our hearts that only the Lord can mend. He mends the brokenhearted and HE fills the empty spaces and HE alone can bring us through to the other side of pain where one day the memory of our loved ones brings a smile to our faces, and we find ourselves laughing again and the memory of them warms our hearts instead of breaking it. Matthew 5:4, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."

With the help of the Lord, we get through our times of grief, one moment, one day, one week, one month, one year at a time. And sometimes we may need to talk to someone professionally, or join a support group, and that's okay too because just as we see a doctor about our physical health, we also must take care of our mental health. 

Soon we will come to realize that the Lord left us here for a reason and so we must find ways to live a meaningful life, ways to honor our loved one's legacy, and find out what is God's purpose for our lives for the time we have left on this earth. It is said that grief is the price we pay for loving deeply. It's a heavy but very worthy price to pay to know that on this earth we were blessed to have relationships that touched our lives in such a wonderful way and that they left their imprint on us permanently. As believers in Christ, we look to heaven, where there is everlasting life, and we know we will see them again. Revelations 21:4, "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will exist no longer; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away." 

SP Women on the Move: Let us pray to God together, cherish each other, reach out to those who are grieving with a hug and listening ear, and show them love and compassion by our actions. 

Prayer: Our Heavenly Father, we come to you Lord, thanking you for providing the peace and comfort that only you can during these difficult days. As a church body, we have had many people called home to Glory over the past few years and most recently in the past months, weeks, and days. But, our hope, and ALL our trust lies in You. We pray for comfort for all those who are grieving the loss of their dear loved ones. May your peace that surpasses all understanding dwell in us today and always. In the precious Name of Jesus, we pray, Amen. 

Playlist: 

Hold On Old Soldier,  Mississippi Mass Choir

I Can Only Imagine, Tamela Mann 

I’ll Trust You Lord,  Donnie McClurkin 

I Shall Wear A Crown, Yolanda “Yoli” Berry & Scott O. Cumberbatch 

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- JANUARY 15, 2024

The Intimate God (Matthew 6:5-18) 

Focus Scripture: Matthew 6:6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret.  And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

 Intimacy holds various meanings, yet at its core, it implies a sense of closeness, familiarity, or a cherished private moment. Consider your last heartfelt conversation with your closest friend. Reflect on how effortlessly you were able to be yourself during that conversation. This ease predominantly stems from the deep bond you both share, one that has steadily grown stronger over time through shared experiences and getting to truly understand each other. 

 Our Heavenly Father longs for that same intimacy with us. He yearns for us to seek Him and to commune deeply with Him. I can attest that in my most private moments with God, His voice resonated the loudest, His revelations crystal clear. Just as we're comfortable with our closest friends, God desires the same closeness. He beckons us to approach Him with the same sincerity, vulnerability, and affection. 

 In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus teaches the disciples about prayer and fasting. Prayer, at its core, is the act of communicating with God, while fasting involves sacrificing something for a while to attune ourselves to hear God more clearly. Both practices serve as anchors that keep us rooted in the Lord. However, Jesus warns against the temptation of seeking public recognition for these acts. He emphasizes that any attention received in such a manner becomes its own reward. 

 But the good news is that the Father already has an intimate knowledge of our needs even before we articulate them in prayer. He doesn’t need our prayers and fasts to know what’s going on with us, He already knows.  What he desires is the intimacy that comes with praying and fasting. Praying and fasting is for our sake, so that we will develop a relationship with God, a dependence on the One who is all-knowing and all-powerful. Jesus encourages us to seek God in the quietness of secrecy, assuring that in doing so, the Father, who sees your hearts, will reward our earnest pursuit. 

 SP Woman on the Move:  For more information about fasting, here’s a great article from Focus On the Family: https://www.focusonthefamily.com/live-it-post/fasting-as-a-spiritual-discipline/?gad_source=1&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIksrngYq_gwMVEC7UAR2pCAlzEAMYASAAEgLsXvD_BwE

 Let’s make a daily commitment to seek God. If you haven’t already, consider getting a journal—it’s a wonderful tool for jotting down your prayers. You can organize sections for various prayer categories: prayers for yourself, family and friends, the community, praise and worship, and a space for answered prayers.

 Prayer:  Heavenly Father, I humbly come before you to thank you for seeing us through another year.  As we enter 2024, I pray that you order the steps of each woman reading this, so that we will not astray.   We thank you for the opportunity to seek your face and pray for a deeper connection with you. Please do not let our actions be in vain.  We love and thank you for all you have done. In Jesus’ name, Amen! 

Playlist: Speak the Name - Koryn Hawthown ft. Natalie Grant

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Women's Ministry Devotional | Saint Paul Church of Sacramento (saintpaulsac.org)

Saint Paul Women's Ministry 

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- JANUARY 8, 2024

Spiritual Resolutions: Bible Study/Journaling 

2 Timothy 2:15 says “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”  

Have you ever had a goal you wanted to reach and obtaining that goal becomes your top priority?  Perhaps it was when you pursued your college degree, or maybe a new job, or promotion.  Maybe it was purchasing a home or saving for that first car, moving into your first apartment, or starting a family.  Whatever your goal, you plan and make time for it, you rearrange your schedule for it, and you never stop thinking about how you are going to obtain that goal.  You study and learn and strategize how to obtain it.  You pray about it and talk about it to your friends and family and wait with anticipation until that day comes.  You are excited as you get closer to your goal and overjoyed when you finally obtain what you have been working for and you celebrate!  I believe that God wants us to pursue Him with that same passion and enthusiasm, even more. He wants to be our top priority and He has left us a guide, the Bible, to lead us into a deeper relationship with Him. Each time we read His Word we demonstrate that we want a deeper relationship with God, and we wait with anticipation for what He reveals to us through His Word.  And by studying the Word, we will find the wisdom and knowledge we need to live a full life as a follower of Jesus Christ.  The world we live in has so many distractions and so many ways of thinking. Often, we are attracted to 30 second videos or quotes that grab our attention but offer little substance.  These things can offer us momentary entertainment and may even make us think, but they are not a substitute for studying the Word of God and knowing the Word for ourselves.  Everything we need in this life, as we deal with so many challenges, yes, even how we handle the joys and victories in life, can be found in the Word. James 1:5 reads,If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”   No matter how young we are or no matter how long we have been a follower of Jesus Christ, the living Word of God can speak to us anew every day.  We study God’s Word so that we can obtain the wisdom that comes only from Him and so that we do not grow stagnant in our Christian walk.  We must always pursue a closer walk with Jesus.    

SP Women on the Move: This week please join us in studying this five-day plan on the Bible App “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World.” Click here to join: https://bible.com/p/63870319/888d4daa709e3489ec89acc97c94ed3e

After studying, write in your prayer journal and tell the Lord how the scriptures spoke to you and share what you’ve learned with another sister.    

Prayer:  Lord, our Father who art in Heaven, we praise you for bringing us through to see another year.  While we may not have been everything that we could have been, we know we serve a God who is Everything and you hold us in the palm of your hand!  We pray Father that you will be with us, protect us, strengthen us, give us courage, love, and a compassionate heart for others.  We love you, Lord. Please grant us a closer walk with You as we study your Word. In the matchless Name of Jesus, the Christ we pray. Amen.    

Playlist:

Believe For It – CeCe Winans (Live)

You Know My Name – Tasha Cobbs Leonard, ft. Jimi Cravity

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- JANUARY 1, 2024

New Year, Same God!

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

Pastor Reece’s Sunday Sermon was a reminder for us to, “Go Forward” into the New Year. Let’s recap. The children of Israel were wandering in the desert. They were bewildered and perplexed by their circumstances. They felt trapped. Then they heard the prompting- Fear Not, Stand Firm! God alone is equipped to handle ALL circumstances. HE has the plan. Exodus 14. 

As the earth completes its revolution around the Sun completing the 2023 calendar year, we are reminded to Go Forward with God. Although the year may be new, we find comfort in the fact that Jesus Christ is the Same yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8). So, the same God that delivered the children of Israel with a miraculous plan involving splitting the Red Sea with Moses’ outstretched hand of faith and obedience, is the same God that we serve today. 

As we set our intentions for 2024, we are reminded that God has the plan. We need to only trust him as demonstrated by our obedience. In order to hear Him we need to have a relationship with Him. So, what if we approached the year with a desire to get closer to Him? What if we set spiritual resolutions-  a refocus away from self and towards Christ. What if we  committed to focusing on the Spiritual Disciplines to strengthen our relationship with Christ?

Spiritual Disciplines are biblical habits, practices, and experiences that are designed to develop, grow, and strengthen qualities of spirit and character. They help a believer grow spiritually in Christ and build their relationship with Him. They can be classified into inward, outward, and corporate disciplines such as: meditation/discerning God’s voice, prayer, fasting, study, journaling, simplicity, solitude, submission, service, confession, praise, worship, guidance, and celebration.It’s not so much about the particular activity, but more about how our hearts are turned towards God. (1)

As we Go Forward in 2024, we will highlight one or two new spiritual disciplines each week in January. This is an opportunity for us to collectively reflect on our relationship with Christ and build habits that will serve us this year and throughout our lifetime. 

SP Women on the Move: Which one or more spiritual disciplines will you commit to this year? Consider choosing one spiritual discipline to build a healthy and consistent habit around and then add another one each month, continuing with building and adding year-long.

Prayer: Dear Lord, Thank you for all that you brought me through in 2023. Thank you for allowing me to see the new year, 2024. Let me remember to Go Forward with you and acknowledge you in all my ways. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Playlist:

Holy Forever, CeCe Winans

The Anthem, Todd Dulaney

(1) References: biblereasons.com, cslewisinstitute.com, zondervanacademic.com

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- DECEMBER 18, 2023

The Gift of Salvation 

John 3:16-17 – (16) For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (17) God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. 

Since the beginning of time, God has demonstrated His love toward us.  He created the heavens and the earth.  He created us in His image.  Through nature, God has provided for us - everything from food to medicine is derived from God's creation.  He has shown us His power by working miracles.  He protects, chastises, leads, and answers prayers.  But the greatest act of love from God is the offering of His dear son in order to deliver us from an eternity of pain and misery. 

Since the fall of man and the introduction of sin to this world, we have been condemned to a fate of eternal damnation.  However, God loved us so much that He sent his only son to earth to suffer and die for our sins, so that we could be reconcile with the Father. And in doing so, our debt was paid in full.   

God’s gift of salvation is just that – a gift.  Salvation is free to everyone.  It’s not something we can earn, and it is definitely not something we deserve.  But it is something that is required for us to have eternal life with the Father.   

God made it simple to receive this gift:   

  • We simply acknowledge that we are sinners,  
  • Believe that Jesus Christ is God, and that He died and resurrected.    
  • Confess our sins, then pray and ask the Lord to come into our life.    

Once we do this, we are born again, and nothing can pluck us from God’s hand.   

But that’s not all.  Not only does God love us, but He desires to have a continued relationship with us.  He wants us to diligently seek Him and get to know him, so that our foundation is firm.  Colossians 2:6-7a says “And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.  Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on Him….” 

So, as we go into the holiday season, let’s not forget the real meaning of Christmas.  It’s the celebration of the birth of our living Savior, who gave the ultimate sacrifice.  It’s not about store-bought gifts, but the gift of Christ. 

SP Woman on the Move: Let’s try something new together and start a Saint Paul Women’s Ministry tradition that celebrates Christ by reading his Word together on the Bible App! Join us in a 5 Day Bible Reading Plan? 

1) If you don't already have it, download the Bible App on your phone  Women's Ministry - Saint Paul Church of Sacramento | YouVersion (bible.com) 2) Click this link to the plan: Salvation Has Come https://bible.com/p/63081543/facdaa9310be001608128cb40b478139. We will read Day 1 on Wednesday, December 20th.    

If you don’t have the Bible App, no worries! Join us by following this reading schedule:  

December 20th: Luke 1 

December 21st: Luke 5 

December 22nd: Luke 10 

December 23rd: Luke 15 

December 24th: Luke 20 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank you for your love that is unsurpassable.  You gave the ultimate sacrifice, so that I could have eternal life with you.  Jesus paid it all! Thank you for erasing my debt.  I love you Lord and I continue to seek you, so that I might have a deeper relationship with you.  As I go through this holiday, I will keep my focus on you, for you are truly the reason for the season.  Thank you!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!  

Playlist:  

The Spirituals Choir - Hark the Herald Angels Sing 

The Spirituals Choir – O Holy Night 

 

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- DECEMBER 11, 2023

Random Acts of Compassion and Kindness (R.A.C.K.)

Colossians 3:12 “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.

When you hear the word compassion what comes to mind?  Did you know that compassion is not just feeling empathy, it is an action word?  The definition says, “Compassion embodies a tangible expression of love for those who are suffering.” In other words, you feel empathy and you are compelled to help.

In my neighborhood I’ve witnessed the most beautiful act of compassion for several years now.  I watch nearly every day as a grandfather walks his granddaughter early in the mornings.  It started when she was a baby in the stroller and now, she is a young woman. She walks on her tip toes, and he holds her hand or arm to help her balance.  She is non-verbal; however, no words are needed to see the bond between them because the smile on her face says it all. I think they are a perfect example of compassion because of the ongoing love and devotion this grandfather has that has never wavered.  Whenever I see them together, I smile and then I ask myself, “Have I shown compassion or kindness to anyone lately?” 

True kindness is defined as being selfless, caring, compassionate and unconditionally kind. In other words, giving of yourself without expecting anything in return.  In this busy world that we all live in, it is easy to get caught up in our own problems and concerns.  I’m sure this grandfather has many such concerns too, but no matter what, he has committed to walking with his granddaughter every morning.  I think what that must mean to her to not be required to do anything to earn his love but to just be loved, unconditionally and sacrificially.  Sisters, that’s how God loves us! He gave his only Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins, showing us unmerited favor and a love that surpasses anything we can comprehend. Praise God for His compassion, grace, and mercy in our lives.  

SP Women on the Move:  This week think of what random act of compassion and kindness you can do for someone; a prayer, a simple word of encouragement, a card just to say I’m thinking of you, a phone call, a visit, a helping hand, a listening ear, a simple smile. Let the Lord lead you.

Prayer: Dear Father in Heaven, thank you for your ultimate act of compassion for your people. Help me, Lord, to think beyond myself to show compassion for others. Guide me and direct me to where you want me to go and what you desire for me to do and may I show the love of Christ in my words, actions, and deeds. All Honor and Glory belong to you, Lord.  It is in the matchless Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen. 

Playlist:

Change Me – Tamela Mann

Lean on Me – Kirk Franklin & The Compassion Youth Choir

Your Grace and Mercy – The Mississippi Mass Choir

 

 

 

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- December 4, 2023

The Reason for the Season 

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God,The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6 

Are you looking forward to Christmas? Not just for the food or gifts, but because it is a celebration of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ! Let’s remember that Jesus came and dwelt among us. We did not have to work our way up to Him because He came down to us in the form of a baby in a manger—He took on human form just for us! During this Christmas Season, let’s reflect on the opportunity to accept and know Jesus Christ including the hope, joy, peace and love that He gave us:


Hope: When things around us look weary, we take hope in what Christ has done, is doing, and will do. Hebrews 9:28, “So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” 


Joy: When circumstances do not match the joy you feel inside, it’s because real joy isn’t dependent on anything but Christ. John 15:11, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”


Peace: There is no perfect peace without Christ. This isn’t a peace we can attain by good behavior, or even with government laws. John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will
have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”


Love: It is why Jesus came as a baby in a manger. It is why Jesus went to the cross to bear our punishment for sin. Cling to this love because no one else but God can love us this much. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believed in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.”

SP Women on the Move
Yes, Jesus is the Reason for the Season! Let’s get the word out and share the story of Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection with family, friends and all those around us because this is why we celebrate Christmas!

Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of Jesus Christ our Hope, the One who alone can save us and give us everlasting Joy. We thank you for your Peace that is available through Christ. Also, help us to remember how much you love us and that you are truly the Reason for the Season! In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Playlist
“O Holy Night” by Shirley Caesars
“He is the Reason” by Fred Hammond
“Jesus Is the Reason for the Seaso”n by Kirk Franklin and the Family

 

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- November 27, 2023

Thankful that He calls me friend 

 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15

Isn’t it beautiful that Jesus Christ, when speaking to his disciples, calls us friend? Immanuel, The Great Redeemer, our Savior calls us friend if we do what he commands. Jesus said, 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.” Similarly, in James 2:23 states, “and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.” 

I am reminded of the hymn What a Friend We Have in Jesus written by Joseph M. Scriven (1855). The 1st two stanzas are below: 

“What a friend we have in Jesus, 

All our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry

Everything to God in prayer!

Oh, what peace we often forfeit, 

Oh, what needless pain we bear, 

All because we do not carry

Everything to God in prayer!

 

Have we trials and temptations? 

Is there trouble anywhere? 

We should never be discouraged- 

Take it to the Lord in prayer. 

Can we find a friend so faithful, 

Who will all our sorrows share?

Jesus knows our every weakness; 

Take it to the Lord in prayer.”




Not only does God call us friend, but He also requires us to love one another as He loves us. If He can call us friend, certainly we can extend that grace, that friendship to one another. A few verses to ponder on the topic: 

Proverbs 17:17: A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a difficult time. 

Proverbs 27:9 Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and a person’s advice is sweet to his friend.

Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens another.

 Proverbs 16:28 A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.

Proverbs 18:24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than any brother. 

Ecclesiastes 4:9 Two are better than one, because they  have a good reward for their toil. 

 

SP Woman on the Move: Think about what a friend Jesus has been to you. This week, remember to extend that friendship, that love to others and take everything to Him in prayer. 

Prayer: Dear Lord, Thank you for being the friend of all friends. Thank you for the privilege to come to you in prayer. Thank you for the gift of abundant life. Draw me nearer to you Lord. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen. 

Playlist

What a friend we have in Jesus, Mount Zion College Choir

Silver and Gold, Kirk Franklin and the family 

 

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- November 20, 2023

Thankful for My Church Family (the Fellowship of the Believers) 

Hebrews 10:23-25 says, 23“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds 25 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.” 

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good (Psalm 107:1). In this season of Thanksgiving, I reflect on the first time that I entered the doors of Saint Paul, and I give thanks to God for my church family and the fellowship and care we have for each other. When I came to Saint Paul, I didn’t know anyone, and I had not attended any church for eight years.  My life was in tatters, and I came seeking a God whom I thought no longer heard my prayers. So, with my young children in hand that Sunday morning, I gathered my courage and entered the doors of the church. The smiles that greeted me were warm and welcoming, and I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing and I knew immediately in my spirit that I was home.  Six months later I rededicated my life to Christ and never looked back. That fateful day changed the trajectory of my life and the lives of my family. Over the years, relationships were built, and the people of Saint Paul have become family.  That is what a church home is meant to be for all of us who are part of the fellowship of believers. We have the same purpose and mission, which Jesus commanded in Matthew 28: 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” We need each other to carry out our mission.

Acts 2: 42 “They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” How we, as Christians, come together looks much like the early church.  Just imagine the excitement that these early believers felt as they gathered daily in the Temple to pray and to break bread in each other’s homes. They witnessed signs and wonders, and heard the Apostles preach the Word. Those early believers were filled with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:4), and many people accepted Christ and the church grew rapidly.  Before the Covid 19 Pandemic many of us might have taken for granted the freedom to gather and worship together.  The church building was always open.  But then the unexpected happened and churches around the world closed their doors. But during those years God reminded us that the key to this Christian life was to stay connected to Him first and to each other and He reminded us that we are the church, and not the building itself.   Indeed, we are blessed as a church body that the Lord brought us through those times of testing.

Have you ever thought about how amazing it is for so many different people to gather as one body to Worship the Lord? Being able to gather in one accord with like-minded believers is something precious. Every part of the Worship Service is beautiful, every prayer and every song prepares our hearts and minds to receive the Word of God. For me, the most sacred time of worship, after the Word has gone forth, is the Invitation to accept Christ.  It is, after all, the purpose of our gathering. A soul surrendering to Christ is a sign and wonder that we are privileged to witness. Like the early church, all of us come from different backgrounds and experiences in this life, but the one thing that we have in common, is that we are all God’s children.  Just like the early church, we must keep our focus on the Lord Jesus, gather to pray with and for each other, study the Bible together, love, encourage and comfort each other, break bread and fellowship together, and most of all we must be about our Father’s business.  

SP Women on the Move:  This week, reflect on these questions and write your thoughts in a journal: Do you remember the first time you came to Saint Paul?  What was that experience like? How has your life changed since you gave your life to Christ? Give thanks to the Lord and pray for the opportunity to share your testimony with someone this week.

Prayer: Dear Father in Heaven, we come today thanking you for this Fellowship of Believers, the Saint Paul family.  We pray for every member of Saint Paul and their families.  And we pray for every person who is making the decision to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and may we be intentional about showing love and welcoming them into this fellowship of believers. To God be All the Glory!! In the Name of Jesus we pray, Amen.    

Playlist:

Something Has to Break, Kierra Sheard

Our God, Micah Stampley

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- November 13, 2023

Thankful in All Circumstances

"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:18 

The sun rises every day, without fail. Even in cases when the sun is not visible due to cloudy or stormy weather, we can be certain that the sun rose. We have faith knowing the sun is functioning as intended even when we can't see it with our own eyes. We endure the gloomy days knowing we will eventually see the sunshine. 

The same can be said for our relationship with God. He is present in our lives every day even when we don't sense his presence. It's easy to believe He is with us when life is going well and everything is going in our favor, or when He answers, "Yes" to prayers. But what about the times when we are struggling and barely making it? How about when we are in our season of grief, depression, loneliness, or brokenness ? Is God present then? Absolutely! I would argue even more so. Because this is the time God is working things out in our lives and pruning us to bear more fruit. God didn't promise sunny days every day, but He did promise He would never leave nor forsake us. And for that we can be thankful. 

So how do you give thanks in all circumstances? I'm glad you asked! First, reflect on what God has already done for you - during the good times and the challenging times. Then, we have faith that He will continue to be there for you. Just like we know the sun is always there even when we don't feel the sunshine, so is our God even when we don't feel his presence. Jesus is the reason we can enjoy the sunny days and endure the gloomy ones, adn for that we ought to be thankful. 

SP Women on the Move: The key to being thankful is reflecting on what God has already done in your life. If you need help, reflect on these: 

Just remember...

A time when your friends failed you, but you didn’t feel lonely because God was there to mend your  heart. Psalms 34:18 

 Just remember…

A time when you were anxious and unsure, but God calmed your mind and reminded you to be anxious  for nothing, and to pray continuously because he is already working it out. Philippians 4:6-7

Just remember… 

A time when you lost a loved one, and God demonstrated his comfort. Matthew 11:28 When you were ill and didn’t think you could go on, but God gave you the strength. 2 Cor. 12:9

Just remember… 

When things didn’t go your way at school or at work, but God reminded you that He has a plan for you and not to give up. Jeremiah 29:11 

Just remember...

When you had felt lost, but God guided you back to the flock. John 10:26-29 

Just remember...

A time when you didn’t see a way out of a situation, but God worked everything out. Romans 8:28

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for your presence in my life. I know you will never leave nor forsake me. You said in your Word that we should endure hardship and discipline, because you are treating us like an earthly father who disciples the child whom he loves. For this, I praise you in all circumstances for you know what's best for me. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Playlist: 

Way Maker, Sinach

Revelation 19:1, Naomi and Mav. City

You're Bigger, Jekalyn Carr

You are Good, Israel Houghton

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- November 6, 2023

Thankful for Life

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful; I know that full well." Psalm 139: 13-14

In November, many are excited about food, family, and friends because it's the month we celebrate Thanksgiving Day. However, that day is more than a meal with family and friends. It is a reminder to pause and give thanks to God for His grace, mercy, and many blessings. More importantly, we should be thankful for the gift of life itself! We must embrace the gift of life and not take it for granted because life is like a vapor that appears for a moment, then it is gone (James 4:14). God wants us to unwrap it, value it, and enjoy it by living our life on purpose and to the fullest. 

God knows each of us individually and collectively because he breathed life into our being (Genesis 2:7). God is our beginning and end (Revelation 1:8), and it is God who made us and not ourselves (Psalm 100:3). 

Even when selfishness and sin corrupted and twisted the gift of life and relationship with God as He intended for us, He graciously made a way by sending His Son, Jesus Christ to redeem us (John 3:16). So not once, but twice, God has given us the gift of life--when we were physically born and when we were given the opportunity to be born again (John 3:3). 

SP Women on the Move: Allow yourself to take a deep breath and become fully present to the gift of life right now. Take time to remember what the Lord has done for you, and express your thankfulness to Him in different ways, i.e. sing, praise, and joyfully worship God. 

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for the gift of life. Help me to receive it with joy and celebrate this gift in every circumstance and season. Help me to appreciate every breath I take and do not let me take this gift fo granted. Help me to see your handiwork in my life. I thank you and Praise you forever and ever. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen. 

Playlist

Thankful” by JJ Hairston 

“I’m So Grateful by Fred Hammond

“Thank You” by Walter Hawkins and the Love Center Choir

 

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- October 30, 2023

Fruit of the Spirit: Self-Control 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 

Reflection 

Have you ever started to say something in response to someone, but held your tongue? Or maybe you went to make a purchase that you didn't really need, and decided that it wasn't in your budget afterall? Or perhaps you started to type an email that did not reflect the humility of Christ, and so you deleted it? Wanted to his the snooze button, but knew that if you did, you would not get your morning prayer and devotion time in, so you got up? 

What is self control? 

Self-control is the ability to control oneself, including thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.  Another word for self-control is temperance. Think of temperance as voluntary self-restraint. Self-control or temperance allows our lives to reflect the light of Christ. In 2 Timothy 3:1-9, Paul warns against many things including the lack of self-control. 

How do I practice self-control? 

Each of the reflection scenarios above demonstrate a practice of self-control. Each of us has areas in our life where we must rely on the Holy Spirit in order to exhibit self-control. I Timoty 1:7 says, "For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control." As with the other fruit of the spirit, we must walk in step with the Holy Spirit in order to exhibit self-control. 

Why should I practice self-control? 

2 Peter 1:1-11, tells us that , "His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness (v.3). It tells us that He has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them we can participate in His divine nature (v.4.). And that, "For this very reason make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control perseverance; and to perseverance; godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love." (v.5-6.) Further, we learn in verse 8 that if we possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep us from being ineffective and unproductive in our knowledge of Jesus Christ. 

SP Women on the Move: In what area of life do you need to practice self-control (temperance)? Pray to God to reveal that area and practice is this week. 

Prayer: Dear Lord, Thank you for giving me a heart that wants to follow you. Help me to align my ways with yours as I follow the Holy Spirit. Let me practice restraint and self-control each day, as I follow your path. In Jesus' Name, Amen. 

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- October 23, 2023

Fruit of the Spirit: Gentleness

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.

Let’s explore the fruit of the Spirit – Gentleness. Gentleness is described as strength under control.  It means being strong enough to remain calm and speak the truth in a way that may be received.  It’s the ability to show care and respect to others in the way we speak to them even when that same care is not reciprocated.  

When I think of gentleness, the first visual that comes to mind is the sweetness of holding a newborn baby.  How gentle we are with them.  We hold them so carefully and talk to them in the sweetest tone possible.  It’s not about what we say, but how we speak to them that matters because we want them to feel loved and safe in our arms.  Even someone with a big booming voice knows how to speak softly to a newborn.  Proverbs 16:24 says “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”  

It’s easy to practice gentleness with someone who is doing the right thing or who we agree with, but how do we react when the opposite occurs? That’s where the fruit of gentleness comes in.  Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” We demonstrate gentleness by being able to forgive and have compassion even when we are frustrated or angry.  We must ask the Lord to help us to respond truthfully and calmly, not to cause harm, but to seek an amicable resolution. We may have to take time away in prayer before responding so that the Lord can minister to us. Our example is Jesus Christ.  When Jesus began his ministry, he drew thousands of people everywhere he went, in part because of his compassion and gentleness. He had the ability to speak the unadulterated truth and still show that he cared about people no matter their circumstance.  Jesus’s mission was to come to earth to give His life to save us all from our sins. He showed us unmerited favor.  What a blessing it is when we can demonstrate the gentleness of Christ when we converse with each other.  Philippians 4:5 says, “Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.” 

As I was preparing this devotional, the Holy Spirit reminded me that we must also be gentle with ourselves when we make mistakes or face disappointment.  Let the Lord lead you towards His forgiveness, peace, and restoration as you pick up the pieces and move forward.  In Matthew 11:29 Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest for your souls.”

SP Woman on the move:  Imagine you receive a package on your doorstep marked “Fragile, Handle with Care”. How would you handle that package? Now imagine that you or someone you know is that package.  

Prayer:  Dear Father, thank you for forgiveness of sin and your gentleness towards us.  Help us to show the same gentleness to ourselves and towards everyone we love, and everyone we encounter on this journey called life.  Strengthen us, Lord, so that when we are challenged, we will lean on You to give us the right words to say to speak the truth with love and restoration in mind. It’s in the Name of Jesus we pray. Amen.  

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- October 16, 2023

Fruit of the Spirit - Faithfulness 

 

Lamentations 3:22 – 23 The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. 

 
As I reflect on this scripture, I’m reminded of that familiar song, “Great is thy faithfulness”. The chorus goes, “Great is thy faithfulness. Great is thy faithfulness. Morning by morning new mercies I see. All I have needed thou hand hath provided. Great is thy faithfulness Lord unto me.” Just take a minute and meditate on these words. They are a powerful and a wonderful reminder of God’s devotion to His children. 

Faithfulness is defined as the quality of being true to one’s word or commitments, as to what one has pledged to do, professes to believe, etc. 

In Lamentations we get a glimpse at Jerusalem's suffering because of their disobedience to God. Amid lamenting about God’s anger and wrath against them, the author recognizes and expresses his continued hope in God’s love. Despite their suffering, Jerusalem knows that God’s “faithful love never ends.”

God has surely shown us that His faithfulness is everlasting. Just think how God has demonstrated His faithfulness in your life.  Think about His love for us; His mercy and grace when we surely don’t deserve it; His forgiveness of our sin without even an afterthought; His truth; His protection; His guidance; and His discipline.

God can’t help but be faithful because it’s in His character – Exodus 34:6-7 

His faithfulness is not predicated on our actions. Romans 3:3-4 says “What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though everyone were a liar….” 

Even if we are faithless, God remains faithful because He can’t deny Himself. Hallelujah! 

God promises never to leave us or forsake us. His commitment is everlasting! God’s faithfulness to us should be an example of how our faithfulness should show up in our own relationships. 

St. Paul Woman on the Move: This week pray and ask God to show how you can be truly committed (faithful) in your relationships at home, church, on your job, or at school. Feel free to share with us if you are led.

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for your renewed mercy and grace. I thank you for your steadfast love. I thank you for your faithfulness despite my lack of faith or trust. You are the ultimate example of how true love should look, and I pray that you continue to teach me how to demonstrate it in my life. Great is thy Faithfulness! In Jesus name, Amen! 

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- October 9, 2023

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WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- September 25, 2023

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WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- SEPTEMBER 11, 2023

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WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- July 31, 2023

 

 

 

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- July 24, 2023

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WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- July 3, 2023

 

 

 

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL- June 26, 2023

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WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL - May 22, 2023