Archive | September, 2013

Out of My Own Substance

28 Sep

blog-John 20.18This week in our on-line gap Bible Study, we are studying Mary Magdalene who followed Jesus, ministering to Him from her own resources.  Jesus has taught us that whatever we do to even the least, we are doing for Him and His glory.  One of our suggested topics this week was to write about how we give back to ministry in our homes, churches, communities, online, etc and what gifts we feel God has given us to use for His kingdom and if we feel a tugging to step out of our comfort zones and say yes to something more.

I loved this topic this week because for me after working for years and years, trying to always keep my Christian perspective and watching people

For many, many years I have felt God nudging me to lead women but my pride, or lack of it, kept pulling me back.  Not me, not me it’s too hard.  I dabbled with it – took women around the state and even out of state to Beth Moore conferences or weekend retreats where she would be one of the speakers – let her speak, not me – I am not qualified. I bought some CDs and had women over to the house for women’s lunches/brunches and played the CDs – not me – I cannot teach.

Almost two years ago I I said Yes to my Lord and retired.  I know it was a word from Him because normally I would have given a year’s notice for a hard to fill job, but early one November He whispered to me and I listened and I retired just a little over a month later because I felt my Mom needed me.

A few months later I wanted to join a Bible study and those at church were in the evening so I surfed and God led me to Melissa Taylor’s Online Bible Studies.  My first was “I Used to Be So Organized by Glynnis Whitwer”.   I had joined the OBS and was awe-stricken with so much honor and respect for these ladies at Proverbs 31 and Melissa Taylor’s on-line Bible study.  If only I could be like them – just a little like them would be nice.  I wanted to be a Proverbs 31 Lady but thought to myself – who me?  Never.  I continued through the study, and sometime near the end I was asked about being a leader.  Wow I don’t think I have been that happy since my children were born, but I was afraid.  How in the world would I lead women?  I certainly am not qualified.  I said I’ll pray about it and let you know.  I prayed for a few days and talked to my family who all were thrilled, and encouraged me, and eventually God spoke to me and I dove in and I said YES!

I am so glad I  said Yes humbling myself by giving up that pride of thinking I couldn’t teach so that He could become greater through me.  I know now without Him I can not do it alone.  I know when I am leading I may only be an audience of one.  I learned through that experience that God can and will enable the unequipped if we will exalt Him and let Him do it through us.

As I grew more and more through those studies walking along beside some very precious women of God, I began to choose my one word for 2013.   God placed on my heart my “one word” for this year – not a New Year’s resolution but one word and that word was Less as I reflected on being less of me and more of Him.  At that time we were int he study, Greater and just a few days later I read God’s confirmation of my one word – “Jesus must become greater: I must become less.”

I see Mary Magdalene a lot like that and a wonderful role model for all of us.  I’ve looked at the Proverbs 31 Lady and wanted to be like her, but as we studied Mary this week, I think she is another good example of a woman to desire to be more like.  Christa Hutchins shared today that to her “the hallmark of Mary Magdalene was her capacity to love by supporting His ministry, serving Him, standing by Him through the toughest times, refusing to abandon even to the bitter end, and ministering to Him even after His death”.  I had to pause to think about that.  Am I there yet?  NO I am not.  Am I loving others through serving Him, standing up for them in good times and bad? I do know that God has brought me further the last two years of my life than ever before and I believe it is because I want to serve Him.

Last September 2012, I took a second plunge in saying “YES”.  One I was also very scared and timid to do, but again I felt God nudging me to go out and minister to my immediate community.  We had lived here for many years but had attended church and a Christian school and our jobs all 45 minutes away.  We really only knew our immediate neighbors and I just felt God calling me to get out and serve Him here.  I decided I would substitute teach, meet new women and children at school and be a light – so off I went to train where I listened as they begged for teachers to work with the “special needs” children.   I sit there  and said no way, Jose’ could I do that.  I’ll stick with reading, writing and arithmetic  A few weeks later the automated phone call came for my first teaching job.  Excited I left and called my husband on the way to school.  I said I hope it is not a math class.  I walked into the school office and they said you are in CBI today.  My heart SUNK!  I wanted to CRY!  What could I say?   I wanted to RUN out – forget about ministering to my community.  But with God I said “YES” and I  walked down that hall and walked in that class and my life was forever changed.

Have you ever worked with a “special needs” child?  I came home that day wanting to cry because of my stinking thinking.  I was so humbled, so over-joyed and exhausted.  Last year and most of this one so far I have been in “special needs”.  I love those teachers and those kids and I do cry – cry for joy that God chose me to work with them.  Humbled each time I watch one of them learn something new and it stick.  Every time I teach a simple color or number or something in our PE or computer class or get a child to eat with a spoon, or throw a ball, play a game, work a puzzle, I am thrilled – absolutely thrilled – that my God would take someone like me to help a child grow in Him.  And I am thrilled that He knew that Colt, my grandson would need some special needs this year.  God planted me early to grow and be prepared for this season of my life.

As Pastor Furtick said last year in our study of Greater, “The only path to greater heights in the things of God is to get lower.  The lower you get, the higher God can take you”.  It’s not about me, it’s about Him.  Less of me, MORE of Him.   My one word.  LESS!  blog - one word

As I have studied about Mary this week and her obedience, I wonder where God is calling me next.  I wonder if I can have that same obedience like Mary in Luke 23 who rested on the Sabbath in obedience with the commandments.  At that moment she was mourning, confused, and angry at what had happened to Jesus.  Do we find ourselves obedient during these times?  I find that sometimes I DO NOT trust God when it does not make sense.   Sometimes my obedience is delayed – I usually come around but not like Mary did.  In Luke 23:55-56 …… we are called to take advantage of the opportunities given us, doing what we can do and not worrying about what we cannot do.  Are we missing moments with the Lord because we are worrying about what we cannot do?  How many moments did I miss for so many years thinking I could not lead/teach women.

In Mark 16:1 it read “Amongst all the overwhelming problems and obstacles, the women faced them and went on out with love, and gratitude for Jesus and leaving the big obstacles to God.”  What are my obstacles in the coming year?  I am not sure, but God knows.  This year it was losing Mom and then having our precious grandson born with a horrible skin disease called EB.   Was God preparing me for these obstacles?  I have no doubt.  He placed me with some precious women to love on me and He placed me with some beautiful children to teach me.  Moving on to 2014 with love and gratitude and preparing for what is ahead.  Some of what is ahead I know and that is ministering to my daughter-in-law as I help her with her home and Colt in the coming weeks, subbing in other areas (this week a lab and it was frightening because it was ALL subjects and we do not know who is coming in next) but I did it and last week I looked in our church bulletin an opening for a women’s director – just for a moment I paused – but I know without a doubt I am where God wants me today – ministering at school and to my family and my OBS ladies.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be more like Mary Magdalene.    Mary said in John 20:18  “I have seen the Lord!” Have you seen the Lord?  Are you missing moments with Him?

blog - John 20.18

He Knows Me By Name

28 Sep

He Knows Me By Name-  There are several Marys in the Bible, but Mary Magdalene was called by name. He knows us by name, too… we are engraved in the palms of His hands… and He loves us each individually.

Blog-Isaiah 49.13

Have you ever thought to yourself that maybe you do not matter or that no one cared about you?  On days like that, we need to go back to this beautiful verse.

No matter how long we have served the Lord, there are those periods of time we are overwhelmed with what seems impossible – times we are struggling with life.

He loves us so much he has cut, engraved, written our names on the palms of His hands.  What a beautiful picture of His love for each and every one of us!  He opens his hands and He thinks of me!  What a picture of those same hands that created each one of us, the same hands that were nailed to the cross.  Those are the precious hands of one that cares so much!  His loves us with an everlasting love!

blog Jer 31.3

Redemption (Luke 2:38)

21 Sep

 blog-Luke 238

The same redemption Anna spoke of has been offered freely to each of us.  What does redemption mean to me?

To be redeemed is to be forgiven and reconciled to Jesus. According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word ‘redeem’ means “to free from the consequences of sin.”  Are you redeemed?  I am.  I was redeemed and baptized when I was 15.  Once redeemed we are no longer slaves to sin!

So what does it mean to be redeemed.  Staci Elderidge said this,  “Redeemed women of God have tender merciful hearts, backbones of steel, and hands that are prepared for the fight.”

I know over the years I have not always had a tender, merciful heart nor a backbone of steel.  But the longer I know Him, the more I want to make an impact on this world, the more I want to delight in Him serving Him with gratitude.   Lysa Terkeurst said it like this, “Our time here is but a small dot on an eternal line.  What we do now in this brief moment will determine our destiny for eternity.”

I went to church as a child, but in high school I started going to church with my best girlfriend in the 10th grade.  I was saved at the age of 15, during a Sunday service when I began to feel a conviction in my heart and a desire for God and that’s when I came to know Jesus – He touched me that Sunday morning and I knew Him.  I was baptized (and all my family was there) and I have remained in church and in love with my Lord. I was redeemed (saved).   You see it was not radical like some testimonies you hear, but it was sweet and it was REAL and it was BEAUTIFUL.

I once was lost, but now am found and now I see whose I am.

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If you have a sad story today, you can turn it into a happy story, a victorious story.  All have sinned and come short of the glory of our Father.

One of my favorite songs of all time that I never tire of is sung by Big Daddy Weave.  I hope you will take a minute to listen to Mike Weaver’s story of struggling with self-worth and personal acceptance and why he wrote this song and listen to the words of the song itself.  Every single time it comes on the radio, I just am so blessed and I hope you will be to. It is overwhelming and beautiful!   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RornLHjfma8

Let Him wipe away all those stains, let Him set you free.  Don’t be who you used to be.  Let God look at you and say “REDEEMED”.

 

 

 

 

Simply Start and Start Simply.

21 Sep

Where do I start?  Where do I start?  Studying the Word is like a treasure hunt!  Not sure where to start!  START simply!  Quit putting it off and simply START!  Here is my treasure map.

Blog-Bible Study Steps

Set Aside Some Time   – For me the first thing I had to do was set aside a time and place to study.  My favorite time is early morning,  right after my husband leaves for work, when it is still dark outside, and I grab a big cup of coffee with some wonderful creamer like hazelnut, cinnamon roll, but my most favorite is gingerbread which I can’t always find during the Christmas season.  Sometimes I add a bit of just pumpkin spice to it like I’ve been doing this week.

Set aside the Place –  In a study we just finished “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God” we shared our white spaces.  My white space  is actually several different places depending on the season.  I love just sitting in my front den on our sofa, but sometimes I like to go in our back den in a huge chair and look out when the sun comes up in the back yard, and then sometimes I just sit in the dining room.  It just depends!  A white space can be any place you spend with God – it could be your office space area at work, it could be your dining room table, it could be a closet, it could be in your car on a long drive to work listening to a radio program or praising him on the radio with song.

Have supplies on hand – Next you need supplies before you sit down and start.  Here is a picture of my basket DSC02361 Hoping to find a bigger/prettier one sometime when I am out shopping.  I keep my Bible, a study Bible (hoping to get the Inductive Study Bible for Christmas – hint, hint to my children reading this), a notebook or journal for notes while reading to scribble down those things that jump out at you and touch your heart, lots of pens and highlighters.  I buy highlighters that I can use in my Bibles without bleeding through.  My favorites are blue and pink. I go through my Bible and whatever book I am studying at Proverbs31.Org and highlight things that are important, the scriptures we are memorizing and studying.

Study Topic –   Are you going to just start reading the Bible or joining in a formal type Bible Study.  For me again, my study time is my lessons for Sunday School at church and my daily Bible study has been for the last year the studies hosted by Proverbs31.Org and whatever book they are studying.  We will soon be starting “A Confident Heart” in October and I can’t wait.  Actually, I have already started reading and highlighting my book.

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Pray Before Beginning – Each day I ask God to help me understand what I am about to study.  I ask Him to lead me and give me the right words to say before I enter my facebook group to study with my friends.  Each day I go through a separate notebook I keep that includes pages on each of my family members and friends and study group members and pray specific prayers for them.  

 Techniques I Use – One of the things I love doing is looking up words in my study.  For this you need a good dictionary.  I love “verse mapping” which is breaking down the verse, looking at words and annotating what they mean and I use index cards for that as well as for my memory verse cards.

Another technique I  have learned from my Bible study sisters -web sites.  They are great and here are some of them that have been shared over the past months that are excellent resources and tools:

  • studylight.org (Go to Bible Study Tools in the menu bar)
  • biblehub.com
  • biblegateway.com (Go to Additional Resources in the left side. You can also use this to read the Bible in many translations.)
  • m.biblestudytools.com (This link takes you to the Library. You can also click Bible to read the Bible. Trusted resources such as Matthew Henry, Scofield and Wesley are located here.)
  • blueletterbible.org (More trusted sources. Also includes commentary from two of the “Father’s” of the Reformation: Martin Luther and John Calvin.)

Get rid of distractions like the television, telephone and radio because this is a time you need to be alone with God.

Keep a notebook/journal – I currently keep a notebook.  Many people keep journals but I love the notebook because I print out pictures that might not fit in a journal.  I can also make many notes in my notebook and it will also fit in a bigger binder where I keep all my prayer request notes and praises.

Study with others – This I believe is one of the most important things I have done.  I have spent all my life in Sunday School and Bible studies at church.  Last year I began the on-line Bible studies and found they keep me not only accountable but humble and in the Word and I am in a group with others that point out things I have totally missed.

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Don’t give up!  Start SIMPLY! Join us in our next Bible Study.   ConfidentHearta

 

 

A Heart At Rest

12 Sep

Blog - A Heart at Rest A Heart At Rest – How has saying yes to God through this study helped you find a heart at rest?  This was one of the blog topics at Proverbs31.Org that spoke to me this week.

It has amazed me with each study that the book that was chosen at least a year in advance was chosen by God just for me.  My first study after retirement was I Used to be So Organized.  Having just retired I thought that book would teach me how to organize my home after working for 43 years.  Little did I know that God placed me there to teach me to organize not only my life, but my home.  Then we moved on to Unglued and how I needed that as we were going through a major remodeling in our home and then Greater when I learned to blog  and loved this quoteHis greatest ambition in leading you into greater things isn’t that you would know what to do. It’s that you would know who He is”, and then Let It Go all of them getting me prepared for one of the hardest years of my life 2013.  OUCH!

In February when I lost my Mom we were in the midst of Let it Go and that Thursday before we lost her I had just written about Whatever is in our lives we need to GLORIFY Him.  Only God and that study and the amazing women of Proverbs31.Org got me through those months – some of the hardest I have been through.  Losing a Daddy was tough, but losing my Mom was tougher even though I thought I was closer to Daddy.  I think it’s more that they are both gone, and when they are why is it that we have so many questions and we thought we had asked them all! But in the midst of that loss, I was in the midst of learning how to let it go.

Right now we are in the last week of What Happens When Women Say Yes To God.  One month ago today one of my greatest prayers was answered – a grandchild.  Our first grandbaby, a boy was born with a very rare genetic skin disease called EB.  Those first days were rough – not knowing and not being able to touch our little grandson. During those first days we had two choices – to let Satan pull us down or get down on our knees and GLORIFY our Father.  We could be in turmoil or peace.   We could choose how we reacted to this circumstance and indeed we did.  Our family and thousands of friends and Proverbs31 women all over the world began to pray for Colt.  We have seen the power of prayer when women join together and #SAYYES to God and we have seen what God can do when we choose peace and give Him the glory!

And then 2013 would be the Lord sent Mandisa and her song Overcomer and she was on a conference call with us at Proverbs31.org.  Listen!  Maybe this song will bless you like it has me these past weeks and guess what I just found it on my front porch this morning.  WOOHOO the mandisa CD is in my computer playing now.  http://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=UTF-8&fr=crmas&p=overcomer+mandisa+you+tube

Our family has been blessed over and over and over as daily someone else joins us in praying for Baby Colt.  We are praying for a miracle and so far God has sent many.  From the first day of providing doctors once we got to a children’s hospital to know what was wrong with his precious little feet that had no skin, to two days later when he had not developed sores all over his body, to him being able to wear a diaper which normally breaks their bottoms out in sores, to him wanting to suck even though he had sores in his mouth, to him going home in 10 days after the doctors and nurses all told us it would be at least two months.

Miracles continue day after day.  God moments I call them – the moment this Nannah got to hold that precious little one finally for just a God moment for a picture, a moment last week when I took off one of his mittens that are there to protect him from scratching himself to let his precious little hand hold my finger, to seeing him roll over for the first time at the age of one day less than four weeks on my sofa last Sunday and wondering if he really did that and then he did it again the next day at his other grandmoms in his play pen.  GOD MOMENTS!

As we end the study this week I am thankful – thankful that God placed me here to teach me how to be strong through trials and  how a woman who has said #YesToGod lives. Thankful this week that my heart is at rest – at rest in Him.   My heart’s at rest with Colt as we continue to pray for that biggest of miracles that God will completely heal him of EB as only God can do right now since it is a life-time disease.  That first biopsy was inconclusive and I believe it’s God – it’s God working through Colt to show the world that only He could have done this.  From a few weeks ago to doctor’s saying he has the worst case of EB to now a biopsy being inconclusive.  Two more months to wait for another biopsy and two more months to pray like we have never prayed before.  Pray for Baby Colt https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pray-for-baby-Colt/350863471710362. And here’s a picture at my house last week (4 weeks old).

Colt - 4 weeks

I looked back this morning over the chapter titles.  They speak for themselves how this book has blessed me:

  • Whatever God says do, do it.
  • God wants us to live in expectation of hearing from Him.
  • God wants us to be willing to obey with our whole heart.
  • God must be Lord of all if He is our Lord at all.
  • Whatever we worship, we will obey.
  • Radical obedience is born out of delight, not duty.
  • Our life will follow where we focus our vision.
  • We are managers, not owners, of God’s resources.
  • The blessings of radical obedience are unending.

As we ended with Chapters 8 and 9 these three thoughts jumped out at me as I highlighted these chapters on Monday and Tuesday:

  • Do we trust Him?  Do we trust that He will bless us?  Do we trust that His blessings are infinitely better than we He might first ask us to release?
  • That’s not your voice sowing seeds of doubt, it’s Satan’s voice.  He wants to keep you in doubt and confusion.  He wants you to pull off to the side of the intersection and remain ineffective.  He wants you to fail to fulfill the purposes God has for you and thwart the positive impact you could make in the lives of so many.
  • The mark of a truly godly woman is one who reveals the power of God not so much in her doing as in her being.
  • Our hearts search for deeper meaning in life, and radically obedient people find it in loving the Lord, loving others He brings in our path, and continually seeking to become more like Jesus

And lastly I loved this in Chapter 9 and I wrote Dot above it.  Blog-Dot

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