Faith

Look at the Butterflies

img_5399

Living in a warm climate has its advantages. We still have flowers blooming, and butterflies are still showing up to eat nectar. Monarch butterflies swarmed our garden in early November during their migration to Mexico. There were dozens of monarch’s all over our Mexican sunflowers. It was amazing! 

There is something so peaceful and beautiful about butterflies. I love nature. I love being outside. I see God everywhere I look. The sky, flowers, birds, insects, trees, and all of it. He made everything. There is no denying a Creator when you stand in His creation. 

Here is a short video of the butterflies that were in the garden on Saturday, January 1, 2022. 

What an incredible way to start off the new year. Butterflies happily feeding on my sunflowers in the middle of winter. It makes me smile. Those butterflies have not a single concern. They do exactly what they were designed to do. Eat nectar, and get to Mexico for the winter. Sounds pretty good to me. 

God takes care of the butterflies. He provides flowers with nectar for them. He also gave monarch’s the instinct to migrate south for the winter. Monarch’s use environmental cues to know when it’s time to make the migration to Mexico and California. Amazing! If God cares for butterflies, then He is definitely going to care for us too. 

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26, NIV 

You are much more valuable than a butterfly, or a bird. God loves you. He loves caring for you. Take a deep breath in, and know God is watching over you. Trust Him. Now get outside, if it’s not too cold, and watch how He cares for all of creation. You are worth more than that. He’s got you.

Love you all,

Meghan 

If you need prayer leave your request in the comments, or send it to meghanewhiteauthor@gmail.com

Authors

Eyes on Jesus is available NOW! —

My new book, Eyes on Jesus: A 90-Day Discernment Devotional, is available now. See what other Christian leaders are saying about the book.

Eyes on Jesus is available NOW! —

Check out this new devotional by author, blogger, and podcaster, Tim Ferrara. He has a great blog called Discerning Dad. Give him a follow, and consider ordering his devotional. This would make a great gift.

Click on the link for all the details. 

God bless you,

Meghan 

fear

Fear Not!

img_3060

I went to clean out the pool skimmer basket and jumped back. This terrifying looking snake was waiting for me. I quickly realized it was not alive. Phew. I was safe but still freaked out knowing a snake had been in our pool. The same pool we swim in freely. Now I was questioning if I should ever swim in the pool again.

There is an epidemic running rampant these days. No, it’s not that one. Fear is out of control. We are told in hundreds, if not thousands of ways, every single day to “be afraid”. Fear the virus, fear the new variants, fear getting the vaccine, fear not getting the vaccine, fear inflation, fear the potential food shortages, fear losing your livelihood if you disagree with someone, fear natural disasters, fear the rise in crime, fear the government, fear your neighbors, fear travel, fear pollution, fear standing up for your convictions.

These fears are based on potential outcomes that are legitimate. I call these, “What if’s”. It’s the worst case scenario that runs through our mind. It does not mean any of it will happen, but it could possibly happen, so we need to operate in fear, right? Wrong.

All of this fear comes from the enemy. The devil is real, and he loves to spread fear by lying. He’s very good at it. Jesus does not mince words when talking about the enemy.

You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44, NASB

As followers of Jesus we are to be wise and discerning. Don’t let fear motivate your decisions. Make decisions based on Godly wisdom and discernment. How do you do that?

Pray. Ask God for wisdom and clarity on those things which cause you fear. He will show you what is really going on. He will give you peace and comfort. He will also help you know how to respond.

Trust God fully. You can stand firmly on The Rock, even when you cannot see. He sees all. He knows all. He loves you.

Stay in The Word. God’s word is the truth. With the bombardment of lies we must go to the truth.

Worship. Turn up the worship music and turn off the news, social media, and all the other stuff that fills our minds. Praise God simply for who He is.

Fear is a spiritual battle so we must use our spiritual weapons.

When you feel afraid let that be a reminder to take your fear to Jesus. If you have to take your fear to Jesus a thousand times in one day then do it. He is always available and able to help you.

We are in a fearful time in history. There are plenty of very real things to be afraid of. As Christ followers we are not to live in fear. Sounds easy. It’s not always easy, but it is possible to stand our ground in faith without fear. You can guarantee the scary stuff will come. It’s our response to it that makes all the difference.

You belong to God.

For you are all sons and daughters of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26, NASB

Jesus intercedes for you.

Christ Jesus is He who died, but rather, was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Romans 8:34, NASB

Jesus is always with you.

“I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:20, NKJV

The Holy Spirit will help you.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and remind you of all that I said to you. John 14:26, NASB

God will never forsake you.

For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5, NKJV

The Lord is your helper.

So we may boldly say: “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:6, NKJV

Things are not always as they seem. Remember my creepy snake? It was actually just a baby snake. Discernment is essential when there is so much deception.

img_3061

Love you all,

Meghan

Father God,

Praise Your holy name. Thank you for your faithfulness and goodness. I lift up every person who is gripped with fear. Give them peace, comfort, and wisdom. Help them to see with their spiritual eyes the truth of Your soverignty. May they experience Your incredible presence in new ways. Lift their heads and their eyes towards You. Give us all wisdom and discernment to know truth from lies. Let us hear Your voice above all the noise of this world. Shine Your light through us to a dark and hurting world.

In Jesus name,

Amen

Women in the Bible

The Heroic Hebrew Midwives

img_4766

Pharaoh and the Midwives, James Tissot, C. 1900 WikiArt

When admired women of the Bible are discussed, names like Esther, Ruth, and Deborah are mentioned. These faithful women were used by God mightily. But these aren’t the only Godly women in the Bible. There are many women who obeyed God and impacted history. Some were named, and some remain nameless in the Word of God. 

Shiphrah and Puah are heroes of the faith. Two ordinary Hebrew women used by an extraordinary God. Shiphrah and Puah were Hebrew midwives. Puah means “splendid or radiant” in Hebrew. Shiphrah means “beauty or harmony” in Hebrew. What beautiful names for two Godly women. 

In the first chapter of Exodus we learn about the oppression of the Israelites by the Egyptians. The king of Egypt did not like that the Israelitess had grown to such a large number. He feared that if war broke out, the Israelites would join an enemy army, fight against Egypt, and leave the country. So Pharaoh put slave masters over the Israelites and forced them into hard labor.

Pharaoh’s oppression backfired. The more the Israelites were oppressed, the more their numbers multiplied. The Egyptians dreaded the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly. The Israelites had to make bricks, and work in the fields. This was hard backbreaking labor.

Pharaoh came up with another plan to decrease the numbers of the Israelites since harsh labor was not working. 

The Hebrew Midwives obey God.

15 The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, 16 “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.”17 The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live.18 Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?”  Exodus 1:15-18, NIV 

Pharaoh vastly underestimated these women by thinking they would follow his orders. Shiphrah and Puah took an enormous risk by refusing to kill the male babies. They were just lowly midwives, yet what they did was daring. Because of their fear of God they protected the Hebrew baby boys. 

19 The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.” Exodus 1:19, NIV 

It’s assumed that Shiphrah and Puah lied when answering Pharaoh. This may not be the case. Many Bible commentators say the midwives lied, and some say they did not. Verse 19 gives their answer, and we are not told anything further on whether or not what they said was true. Maybe it was partly true. If the midwives did lie, was it justified?

20 So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. 21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own. Exodus 1:20-21, NIV 

God blessed the midwives because they feared Him and obeyed Him. God did not bless them for lying. He blessed them for their faithfulness. God always knows our heart and what is motivating our actions. Shiphrah and Puah were rewarded for their incredible faith with families of their own. 

And so the Israelites just kept increasing. God blessed the Israelites during harsh oppression by continually multiplying their numbers. When Pharaoh’s oppression increased, God’s goodness increased more. These two incredible ordinary midwives were a part of God’s extraordinary plan. 

Shiphrah and Puah stood up to evil because they loved God. As a result, the Israelites grew in great numbers, and the groundwork was laid for Israel to be set free from the Egyptians. The stage was also set for the birth of Moses, the prophet who would lead his people out from Pharaoh’s enslavement.

God used two seemingly insignificant regular women to participate in His perfect plan for Israel. 

These precious women inspire me to fear God, not man.

Love you all,

Meghan 

If you need prayer send your prayer request to meghanewhiteauthor@gmail.com

References

https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Puah.html

https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Shiphrah.html

https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/shiphrah-midrash-and-aggadah

https://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/3555182/jewish/Who-Were-Shifra-and-Puah-the-Hebrew-Midwives.htm

Bible, Faith

How to Read the Bible

img_2843Followers of Jesus need to be in the Bible every day. We are told regularly to read The Bible. What should we read? How do we read the Bible? Where to begin can be overwhelming. If you’ve been a Christian for a long time, you may wonder what to read next. Maybe you want to study in a different way.

Thank God that the Bible has never ending wisdom and knowledge to gain. Just because you’ve read it all the way through many times, does not mean you’ve got it all figured out. That is impossible. We will be seeking truth in God’s Holy Word the rest of our lives. There is always something new to learn regardless of how learned we are. God will never stop revealing Himself in His Word.

Some Bible Basics:

There are 66 books of the Bible compiled into one volume with two sections, the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Old Testament

Law

 

Genesis
Exodus
Leviticus
Numbers
Deuteronomy

 

 

History

 

Joshua
Judges
Ruth
1 & 2 Samuel 
1 & 2 Kings
1 & 2 Chronicles
Ezra
Nehemiah
Esther

 

Poetry

 

Job
Psalms
Proverbs
Ecclesiastes
Song of Songs

 

Prophecy

 

Isaiah
Jeremiah
Lamentations
Ezekiel
Daniel
Hosea
Joel
Amos
Obadiah
Jonah
Micah
Nahum
Habakkuk
Zephaniah
Haggai
Zachariah
Malachi

New Testament

Jesus

 

Matthew
Mark
Luke
John

 

History

 

Acts

 

Letters

 

Romans
1 & 2 Corinthians
Galatians
Ephesians
Philippians
Colossians
1 & 2 Thessalonians
1 & 2 Timothy
Titus
Philemon
Hebrews
James
1 & 2 Peter
1,2,3 John
Jude

 

 

End Times

 

Revelation

 

 

The Bible is about relationships.The Old Testament is about God’s relationship to His chosen people, Israel. The New Testament is about God’s relationship to the world through Jesus Christ.

The Bible has one theme. God’s passionate pursuit of a rebellious people.

When reading the Bible follow these steps.

1. Rely on the Holy Spirit. We cannot properly read and understand God’s Word without the Holy Spirit. Ask God what He wants to teach you today. Thank Him for who He is and humble yourself before the Lord.

17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.     John 14:17, ESV

25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.   John 14:25-26, ESV 

26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.                 John 15:26, ESV

2.  Engage in a passage. Choose a book of the Bible to complete. Start in The New Testament with John, or any of the four Gospels. Or, start with a short book like Philippians or James.

Use the four “C‘s”

Chief people – Who is writing, receiving, or any other important names.

Challenges – What words, phrases or sentences don’t you understand. Underline them and write them down in a notebook.

Crucial Words – What words or phrases are repeated? Any comparisons/contrasts?

Cool Verse – What verse summarizes your study for the week? Underline that verse and memorize it.

 

3. Ask: Who is God? As you read through the verses look for any reference to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Look for His name, personal pronouns or His activities. Underline them.

Fill in the blank:

God is ___________

God _____________

4. Dialogue with God. Talk with Him. Pray.

Do I believe this about you? Why?

What truth do I need to remember about you? 

What are you doing that I need to be a part of?

How does what I read apply to me? In my relationships, work, school, etc.

Do I have unconfessed sin? Or areas of unbelief? 

Rely

Engage

Ask

Diaologue

This is a very basic breakdown of the books of the Bible and how to read it. This does not cover every thought, or idea on the Bible and Bible study. It’s simply a starting point. Most of this information came from a handout I received from my church years ago.

You will need a Bible that you can write in and highlight. Don’t be afraid to write in the Bible. Also, a notebook can be quite helpful to write down thoughts, questions, or what God spoke to you.

There are many versions of the Bible. I will not go into detail, in this post, on Bible translations. There are three main versions:

Word-for-word: NASB, ESV, NET, KJV, NKJV

Thought-for-thought: CSB, NIV, NLT

Paraphrase: NIRV, MSG, GNT,

That’s not every translation. There are numerous ones. I like to use several. My favorite is my old, beat up, 1978 New International Version. It was my Mom’s when she was a brand new Believer.

I pray you will pick up your Bible today and read it. Hopefully with new eyes and new passion. It’s the most exciting book you will ever read.

12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12, ESV

 

Love you all,

Meghan