How God Grows a Girl of Grace: A Devotional

How God Grows a Girl of Grace: A Devotional

by JoAnne Simmons

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Overview

God Is Growing You into a Girl of Grace
How God Grows a Girl of Grace is a devotional designed to grow up today's girls God's way. Featuring 180 devotional readings complemented by easy-to-understand scripture selections and prayers, this delightful collection offers a powerful blend of inspiration, encouragement, and godly guidance just for you. You'll be motivated to spend one-on-one time with God as you read about topics that are important to you, including Family, Friendship, Hope, Prayer, Trust, and more. Your faith will grow right alongside your relationship with the heavenly Father, as He fashions you into a lovely girl of grace.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781683223221
Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date: 11/01/2017
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 872,600
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 5.90(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

A DOWNPOUR OF GRACE

Where sin increased, grace increased all the more. ROMANS 5:20 NIV

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Have you ever been mean or selfish toward someone and didn't even say you're sorry, yet the person went right on loving you and taking care of you and giving you good things? Then you know what grace is. Grace is best defined by experiencing it. Good parents, especially, know how to love with grace like that because they learn it from their heavenly Father.

The ultimate, most amazing grace is the kind that God offers. He gives it to anyone who believes that He is the one true God and that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross to shed His blood to cover our every sin. Not only that, but He rose back to life to be our Savior who gives us eternal life. That's the incredible message of the Gospel! It's because of Jesus' death (that took the place of our sin) and His resurrection (that triumphed over the death that sin causes) that God can offer everyone grace.

God doesn't just offer grace like a little sprinkle, either. No, when we come to Him, He pours it on us like the heaviest rainfall. Have you ever played in the rain? Like you dance with delight in a really good downpour, God wants you to dance in the grace He showers on you. He wants you to know grace and grow in it every day, experiencing His love and forgiveness and His power to help you in all things.

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Dear God, even when I don't deserve it, You love and care for me so much anyway. That's grace, and I'm so thankful for it. Amen.

LET IT GO!

Then Peter came to him and asked, "Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?" "No, not seven times," Jesus replied, "but seventy times seven!" MATTHEW 18:21–22 NLT

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If you haven't heard Elsa's "Let It Go" song at least a zillion times in the last few years, then you must have been living under a troll's rock. I might be exaggerating ... but only a little. Whether you're terribly tired of the song or happily humming it right now, a great way to apply its three little key words is when you're needing to forgive someone.

Since Jesus offers us so much grace, we are called to give grace and forgiveness easily and abundantly to others. When Peter asked Jesus in the Bible how often he should forgive someone and suggested seven times, Jesus said multiply that times seventy! He didn't mean it in the literal way — that once you get to 490 times of forgiveness you're done and you can hold on to any grudges you want forevermore. He meant it in a way that whatever you're thinking is the right amount to forgive, go FAR above and beyond that and keep on forgiving again and again.

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Gracious God, You are so good to forgive me again and again ... and again. Help me remember this when I need to forgive others. Amen.

SOFTEN YOUR HEART

"If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins." MATTHEW 6:14–15 NLT

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God is so serious about giving grace and expecting us to do likewise that He says in His Word that He will not forgive people who refuse to forgive others. Real forgiveness is not just saying you forgive someone, either. It's acting like it, too. Ephesians 4:31–32 (NIV) says, "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."

Bitterness and anger are often what we hold on to when we haven't truly forgiven someone, and this scripture urges us to get rid of it all! Instead of letting our hearts harden up with bitterness and anger, when we truly forgive, our hearts soften with compassion and grace — and gratitude that God forgives us so much. Our heavenly Father has such a soft heart toward us, and we are called to soften our hearts toward others, too.

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Dear Father, it can be SO hard, but please help me to fully and truly forgive, letting go of all anger and keeping my heart soft and tender toward those who have done me wrong. Amen.

MAKE IT LOOK EASY

Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light." MATTHEW 11:28–30 NLT

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Grace also means how you handle things or carry yourself. You've probably heard a good ballerina described as having grace. She dances smoothly and beautifully and makes her hard work look easy. Have you ever seen The Nutcracker at Christmastime? There are so many graceful dancers and beautiful scenes, and such lovely music!

The grace that God gives is like the word graceful describing a ballerina because God's grace does help you handle things smoothly and carry yourself well. Being a Christian and having God's grace does not guarantee that everything that happens in your life will be easy and nice, but He will help you handle hard things in smooth and beautiful ways. Also, He will take on the work of each difficult thing and help you make it look easy because you're depending on Him.

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Dear Jesus, life can be so hard sometimes, but You give me grace to handle it well. You make things easy for me when I depend completely on You for love and strength. Thank You! Amen.

GRACE FOR THE MESSES

God loves you and has chosen you as his own special people. So be gentle, kind, humble, meek, and patient. Put up with each other, and forgive anyone who does you wrong, just as Christ has forgiven you. COLOSSIANS 3:12–13 CEV

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When Jodi, Lilly, and I were first brainstorming ideas for this very book, we had a funny situation in need of grace. We went to a coffee shop for some treats while we worked together. (Sharing treats always makes work a little more fun, right?) But not long after we sat down, a major spill caused hot cocoa to spread over the table and all down Lilly's pants. She was soaked and had to walk to the restroom looking a major mess in front of a room full of people and then ride forty minutes home feeling quite sticky! We needed grace to handle that situation. Our instant reactions were shock, annoyance, anger, frustration ... you get the idea. But we all chose to let those first reactions go and instead decided to laugh and make the best of the situation. We focused on the blessings that the hot chocolate wasn't too hot, no one was hurt, and nothing was ruined. We wiped the table, easy- peasy, and the pants washed clean in the laundry! Another blessing was that the baristas gave us fresh hot cocoa!

Let the grace that God constantly gives you fill every single moment of your life so that you can handle anything and everything — no matter if it's a major messy situation or just a minor spill — with a supernatural kind of calm, cool collectedness.

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Dear God, help me give grace to others, too, no matter what kind of mess we're in. Amen.

BOLD CONFIDENCE

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. HEBREWS 4:16 NLT

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If I ever had the chance to visit the Oval Office to meet the president or Buckingham Palace to meet the queen of England, I'd probably trip over my own clumsy feet, forget what I wanted to say, and nervously laugh too much. What would you do?

What about with God in heaven on His throne? Being almighty Creator God of the whole universe is kind of a big deal. The biggest deal ever, actually! Too many people don't respect Him anymore or even believe in Him at all. That's awful, but it doesn't mean He isn't still the one true God and isn't on His throne, sovereign over all His creation. He's there and always will be, and He'll always be the biggest deal, the one worthy of the most respect and honor and praise. What's so incredible about God's grace is that because of it, you can go to God, not timidly, not with shaking legs and a quivering voice, but boldly to receive even more grace to help you with whatever you need.

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Dear God, I am so thankful for Your amazing grace that lets me come boldly to You with anything I need. Please keep growing my confidence in You! Amen.

GETTING TO KNOW GOD

Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 PETER 3:18 NLT

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Do you know all about who God is? No one here on earth knows everything about Him, but a Christian's goal is to keep knowing Him better. He's the best giver of grace, and the more you know about Him, the better you are!

It seems confusing sometimes, but it's important to understand about God that He exists in something called the Trinity, which means three in one. He's God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. He's not three different gods but all the same single God; He just exists in three forms, kind of like there are three forms of water — liquid, frozen, and steam. Their forms don't change the fact that they are all water. That example still doesn't explain the Trinity fully, but it's a start to try to wrap our human minds around the Trinity of God.

When your brain is spinning about God, remember that you don't have to figure it all out! That's the beauty and wonder of faith! Keep trusting that God's Word is true and that His Holy Spirit helps you, little by little, to understand more about Him as you read your Bible and go to church and worship Him!

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God, You are awesome and sometimes confusing, too. But I trust You! Please grow me in grace and faith, and help me keep learning more about who You are. Amen.

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. GENESIS 1:1 NLT

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God's many names in the Bible tell us more about who He is and how He loves us. The first Hebrew name of God in Genesis 1:1 is Elohim, and it's a name that describes God's power and might and the fact that He is the Creator.

When you're facing something really hard in your life, maybe dealing with a difficult friend or a really stressful situation, stop and think about who exactly you have on your side. Elohim! Powerful, mighty, and Creator God! Call out to Him at any and every moment and believe that the almighty God of all the universe sees you, your problems, and your fears and wants to help you. Keep calling to Him, having faith in Him, and waiting for Him to help you in His perfect timing! Romans 8:31 (NLT) says, "If God is for us, who can ever be against us?" And Psalm 118:5–7 (NLT) says, "In my distress I prayed to the LORD, and the LORD answered me and set me free. The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? Yes, the LORD is for me; he will help me."

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Elohim, You are powerful and mighty, and You are on my side! I praise You and ask You to help me with the problem I'm facing. Amen.

THE ONE AND ONLY

But Moses protested, "If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, 'The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,' they will ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what should I tell them?" God replied to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me to you." God also said to Moses, "Say this to the people of Israel: Yahweh, the God of your ancestors — the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob — has sent me to you." EXODUS 3:13–15 NLT

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Yahweh or Jehovah is another of the names of God in the Hebrew language. This means "I AM WHO I AM." With this name, God shows that He is the one and only God. There is no one and nothing higher or worthy of all honor and praise!

Is your calendar pretty jam-packed with stuff you have to do? It's hard not to let all the activities and responsibilities and people in your life get in the way of your relationship with God. But it's so important to keep Him first in your life and spend time with Him each day, praying and reading His Word. He is your Jehovah and there is no one else in all of time who is as great as He is, and He wants you to spend one-on-one time with Him every chance you get! How cool is that?

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Jehovah, You are truly the greatest, and it's so awesome that You want to spend time with me. Amen.

GOD THE FATHER

You received God's Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, "Abba, Father." ROMANS 8:15 NLT

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I hope you have a wonderful father in your life, and I'm so sorry if you don't. Either way, you always have your heavenly Father, whom the Bible encourages you to call Abba, which translates like "Daddy."

That means you don't have to think of God like some unapproachable dictator dad in the sky, but you can go to Him with anything. He wants to hug you close and keep you safe, comfort you when you cry, listen when you want to vent, and love you through all of your life. He is so awesome that He's almighty, all-powerful, all-knowing Creator God, worthy of all praise and honor and respect, yet He longs for you to know Him like a cozy and cuddly daddy who wraps you in big bear hugs. Picture your heavenly Father that way. Respect and honor and obey Him, and also bask in the snuggly, warm love He offers you every moment of every day. He never leaves you or lets you down (Hebrews 13:5).

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Abba, You're my heavenly Daddy, and I'm so thankful that You're with me and love me so much. Amen.

GOD PROVIDES

"Go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars, setting each one aside when it is filled." 2 KINGS 4:4 NLT

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What a cool miracle God worked through Elisha to provide for a woman whose husband had died and who was about to lose her sons to slavery to pay debts her husband had owed. From one flask of oil, she was able to miraculously fill many, many jars and then sell the oil, earning enough money to pay the debts plus enough for her and her sons to live on.

Just like He provided for this widow, God will always provide what you need, too. One of His names is Yahweh-Yireh (Genesis 22:14), which means "the LORD will provide." Anytime you might be worried for yourself and your family about having money to pay bills or buy food, think about this story and ask God to help you like He did the widow. According to His perfect will and timing, He will make sure you have exactly what you need at exactly the right moment. Trust in His goodness and grace. Trust that He is your constant provider.

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Yahweh-Yireh, You have always provided for me, and I know You always will. Help me to keep trusting You for everything I need. Amen.

GOD IS PEACE

And Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and named it Yahweh- Shalom (which means "the LORD is peace"). JUDGES 6:24 NLT

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The world sure is full of too much fighting, turmoil, and trouble. If you pay attention to the news, you feel like it's everywhere, all the time. That can be so stressful if you let it constantly fill your mind. So don't! Instead, focus on the fact that a name of God in the Bible is Yahweh-Shalom or Jehovah- Shalom. It means "the Lord is peace." He is your constant peace, and He is the only hope for peace for the world.

You cannot possibly control the events of this world or even all the events right around you or in your own home and activities. But you can "do your best to live at peace with everyone" as Romans 12:18 (CEV) urges you. You can't do that on your own, of course. It's far too easy to get into a squabble with someone, especially brothers or sisters, right? You can only do your best at living in peace with everyone by asking God to help you and believing in Him and depending on Him for true peace. And when you mess up, you can ask God to forgive you, ask for forgiveness from the person you were in conflict with, and then start fresh again, trusting that God's grace covers your mistakes.

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Jehovah-Shalom, please steady me always with Your unfailing peace. Amen.

OUR HEATING GOD

"I am the LORD, who heals you." EXODUS 15:26 NIV

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I'm guessing you know someone who is currently struggling or has struggled with cancer or another disease. Maybe they've overcome the disease, or maybe it overcame them. My heart aches for all the loss of our loved ones in this world. In that aching, it's so comforting to know that our God is called Jehovah-Rophi, which means "our God heals." I cry out to God sometimes, "Why, since You can heal here on earth, don't You always do it, and so many people die way too young, and we have to miss them?" When I just can't understand, I trust in the many promises of God, especially that "for those who love God all things work together for good" (Romans 8:28 ESV) and that "the LORD is near to the brokenhearted" (Psalm 34:18 ESV).

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "How God Grows a Girl of Grace"
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