Archive | October, 2013

Moving Forward

31 Oct

This week we have talked about moving forward in Renee Swope’s book, A Confident Heart. We are in chapter 4, and it is about how God promises HOPE  despite the pain of our past.

For several weeks our chapters have talked about “Sam” the Samaritan woman.  I never knew so much about Sam until recently.  She had been divorced by five men and lived with one and yet Jesus saw beyond her sin.  He loved Sam just where she was with the weight of all her pain, and he made a special trip to meet her at the well.  She was scared one moment to go and draw water when other women were there, and the next moment after meeting her Savior she was running back to town telling the very people she had been running and hiding from about Him.

Jesus came to Sam.  He comes to us asking us to take our broken pieces and let him change them from broken to whole, to something beautiful.  Sam  allowed God to rewrite her story once she let go of those ugly, broken pieces.

One of the verses we studied this week was blog - jer 29.11

God has a plan for us and they are plans to give us HOPE.  Hope is defined as “something that is possible or likely,”  We cannot go back and fix or change the people or things that wounded us, that changed our lives up until now, but we TODAY we can “process the pain with Jesus”.  We can allow Him to heal our hearts, to heal those broken pieces.

This song says it all.  “Give him your wounds and your bruised and broken pieces.  He know how to make your pieces fit.”   I love it and was just introduced to it this week.  Enjoy.

Changing My Perspective

31 Oct

blog - mighty oaks

  

#MovingForward and Changing My Perspective

This is week 3 of our on-line Bible Study of “A Confident Heart” by Renee Swope, and what a week of learning how to turn away shadows of self-doubt,moving forward toward the light, and changing our perspectives.

I think all of us have had “stuff” in our past that has caused us to have self-doubt and not believe God’s promises.   We need to let go of our past, let go of our self-doubts, our disappointments, our baggage and anything else that is causing us not to believe God’s promises, move forward and stop questioning Why!  It’s not where we have been, where we started, but rather how we finish that matters.  It is changing our perspective and running the race with Him, letting go of our ugly pasts and basking in His Word today moving forward!

This week a friend shared a sermon from Joel Osteen  One of the things he said was that in our cars we have a large windshield and a small rear view mirror.  What has happened in our past is like that rear view mirror (small) and what lies ahead is like that windshield (big).  Our best days are ahead.  blog-rear view mirror

Sometimes we let our past allow us to get stuck.  We cannot go back and change the past, but we can go back and process the pain with Jesus.  Our past is never as important as our future with God.  We have to stop self-doubting ourselves, invite God into our broken places, and savor the promises He has given us.  He wants us to have a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  He wants us to use our messes for His glory.

Just as Renee talked about Gideon in the book wanting to look back, God wanted Him to look forward.  What is holding me back, what is holding you back?  It is time for us to look forward through that windshield and forget the past in that rear-view mirror.  It is time, like Gideon, we stop and focus our thoughts on what God says about us, instead of what we think about ourselves.  God wants us to depend on His strength.

This picture  by one of my OBS sisters, Kristy Aiken was shared as we read about this week:

confident heart - week 3 - oaks

We have three oak trees in our front yard and they have been there for over twenty years.  Through all types of storms we have not lost one of the oaks, but one year when we had one hundred mile per hour winds we lost many fruit trees and also several others.  The oak trees stood strong.  God wants us to be planted strong like an oak tree – planted strong in His Word so that when the storms come, we are ready and we can grab hold of  His promises.

Oak trees are beautiful, deeply rooted, not easily swayed resilient to diseases and pests and as we have seen with the Texas drought the last few years they are resilient to heat.  They are not only beautiful but valuable .  I have noticed they grow slowly as their roots grow deep.

This year in February my Mom died.  We went out and bought fruit trees in her memory.  She always enjoyed the fruit and the jams, jellies, cobblers and breads I would make.  But also in memory of our Dads we bought an oak tree to remind us of their strength.  DSC01594

We planted the oak, watered the oak, fertilized it and watched it as grew a lot taller.  Oaks do not come strong trees overnight.  It takes lots of water, fertilizer, sun and pruning.  Alot like us don’t you think.  We need nourishment from God to grow.  We need that nourishment to fill our holes when we hit rock bottom, when the shame, guilt, fear, doubts and all those other things come to mind.  We need to replace those thoughts and re-seed with the Word of God and move on as we change our perspective.  Changing perspective is letting go of the shame of the past and present and moving forward so we can be comforted.

In the verse above God promised to bless his people and raise them up so that they would be called “Oaks of Righteousness”.  That should be our prayer for ourselves and our children and generations to come.    He likens us to the oak trees and says we will be called oaks of righteousness.  What a beautiful message to us and expression of love from God!  He wants us to be strong and He has given us the Word to show us how to grow deep roots in Him. Those deep roots come slowly and need time to develop.

That verse also says, “for the display of His splendor.”   Did you know we were planted or born to display His splendor?   What a verse!  It does not matter if I am having a bad day, it does not matter how I am feeling, it does not matter if life is hurting, that verse says we should be displaying His splendor through it all. We are not to give up and wither when we are in a drought, but rather let our roots of our knowledge in Him draw us closer to Him.

Here are two pictures of oaks in Llano, Texas.   One is a mighty oak still growing with my husband and son standing under it.  I love looking at this one and thinking of the day we took it and how my heart leapt as I think of them being mighty oaks of our Father and as we drove on down that country road we took another picture of a dead oak.

mighty oakmightydeadoak

TODAY is a timely reminder to us all that we are here “for the display of His splendor.”  We are to turn gracefully towards the light just as trees bend toward the light and learn that no matter what our circumstances we are to move forward and display His splendor.    Are you an oak, are you displaying His splendor or are you a dead oak?

… they will be called

oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display
of his splendor.”
Isaiah 61:3
blog-oak tree mary tulilla Shared by my friend, Mary Tullila!!  Thanks Mary!

Natalie Grant and Wayonna Judd – He can bring it all together for good. Bring it All.

UNFAILING LOVE – MY SONG!

25 Oct

confident heart - week 2 - memory verse a- kristy   

David’s love for God was an unfailing love.  David’s love was faithful.   David ran from God, but we find later that He returns to God because of that deep thirst that God has placed in us.   David wrote many of the beautiful Psalms in the Book of Psalms including the awesome verse we have memorized this week.  It is in the Psalms we see David pouring out his heart and soul and it is here that we find our own souls searching to find what David had found.

blog - our hearts were made to worship

As we are studying A Confident Heart by Renee Swope,  I have stopped to ask myself what gives me confidence in my Lord, and how can I be more like David.  How can I have a confident heart in Him?  How many times have I run from Him when He was there to shelter me?

Do you have a confident heart, do you believe His love is unfailing? Do you believe His love is #priceless?  Oh my how God has spoken to my lazy heart this week as all the things I have had head knowledge about are finally moving to my heart.  I just want to stop and dwell and savor in this chapter for another week.  No, I don’t want to move to the next week, but I will, and I can only imagine the nuggets that my Savior has in store for me in the weeks ahead.

confident heart - blog - week 2

Until this week I really did not appreciate David in the Bible.  Yes he was there, he was slinging that stone at the giant, he committed adultery, he was a liar, he was a murderer, he ran from God, and he was a man after God’s own heart.  This week even though we did not dwell on David personally too much but rather that beautiful verse Ps 36:7 that he wrote, I began to think about what he had done, and this morning I woke up thinking about him and “Sam” the Samaritan woman, and the great I AM we have been studying.  I thought about what they had become and who I am and what I am NOT, and what I want to become.  I lay there in my bed saying “SAM”, “I AM”!  I know Sam, I am is in a kid’s story about green eggs and ham, but today it was my heart story about my Savior, the I AM!

On Page 51 it says,  “The thought of God valuing me so much that His love would never fail – even if I failed Him – was inconceivable, yet something deep in my soul told me it was true.” and “You’ve been trying to earn your value in everything you’ve done.  But you will never find the love you long for in anyone or anything but Me.  I AM the unconditional love you are looking for.”

I AM, He is, the ONLY unconditional love there is in this world.

Before I finish I just have to talk about “Sam” and I AM a bit.  Have you ever felt like “Sam”?  No matter what she did or tried she was unable to please.  One thing I learned through Sam is that I would much rather have the unfailing love of Jesus than the approval of others.

But , the biggest thing I think we need to take from “Sam” is that no person or thing can fill our longing for the Savior.  Are you like me in that I have been in a place expecting my husband to fill those needs or my children or my bosses or my friends?  We look for others affirmations and , and when they don’t come as we planned, we are disappointed.  The only affirmation or validation we should be looking for is God’s, and everything else will fall into place.  There is not a single person or thing that can fill our longing, and yearning that only He can fill.  He gave us that yearning, that heart like David’s that was seeking Him.

Page 55:  “Jesus helped Sam see that no person or position, such as being someone’s wife, could fill the empty places in her heart. Just like He has done with me and just like He wants to do with you, He showed Same what she was looking for and where she could find it.  Sam was looking for love that wouldn’t fail, even when she did, and that day she found it in Christ.”

Pg 60 –   “The wells of our hearts were created to be filled by God alone.  The deepest thirst of our soul can only be quenched by Him.”

Blog - Confident Heart - Wk 2 = Quench

Pg 62 – “We were made for love that isn’t measured by our last accomplishment…”

blog - confident heart week 2

The last of Ps. 36:7 touches my heart every time I read it.  “People take reguge in the shadow of your wings.”  Can you see Him covering us with the shadow of His wings when we are having those shadows of doubts?  I can and I have felt it over and over this year of tragedies – 2013.    I have come to a realization this year that it is a step at a time, moment by moment, day in and day out with our Jesus.  I have come to the realization that I, Debbie can be safe in Him in tragic times, when I am in the valley, when my life seems to be falling apart, when my children are hurting, when I lose my parents, when I lose a dear friend to a horrible disease, and when life just wrenches our souls.  MOMENT by MOMENT consciously looking to Him!
Blog - Psalm 36.7

One of my aha moments was the week with that no-fail tins.  I hope you read about it herehttp://proverbs31.org/online-bible-studies/2013/10/23/when-then/ .  I added more today to that beautiful jar.  I want to have it available and ready!

DSC02571

Lastly, we were asked to write our own psalm of praise this week.  I haven’t done that yet. God did not lead me to do that, but He did lead me to this song this morning that I had never heard before, and it has blessed my heart.  This is my song today.   I hope you will listen. How priceless, how precious is His unfailing love!!!!!!!!!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwI1BVlC-qM      

#Priceless

24 Oct

 blog - Psalm 36.7 priceless

In my verse mapping this week, here is what I found:

Priceless – Merriam Webster defines it as having a value beyond any price :  invaluable and:  costly because of rarity or quality :  precious

God’s love is precious and invaluable – it is PRICELESS!  There is absolutely nothing in this world that can equal His love. There is no love in this world equal to God’s love.  As some of the songs remind us His love is incomparable and irreplaceable.  It is prized and treasured.

God’s love is unfailing.  It is completely dependable, without error and without fault, endless and inexhaustible.

In God we can take refuge.  He is our shelter, our safe-place from danger and trouble, our protection, our escape.  In Him we can find shelter when the storms come.  He protects and cares for us just like a mother bird and spreads His wings of love.  No matter what we are going through, we can flee to Him for His protection and always, always expect unfailing love!

WHEN-THEN

24 Oct

This week we studied about When-Then statements. It was hard for me to sit down and write.  Life is hectic isn’t it?  No matter what stage we are in – it is always busy with young children, teenagers and later your aging parents, or at least it has been for me.  I am retired, but you would not know it. I am a substitute teacher, a facebook group leader in the Proverbs31 Online Bible studies, have a new granchild born with a serious skin disease, and am trying to dispose of my Mom’s house, and much, much more – church, family, etc..  So how about you?  Are you busy?

Are you overwhelmed by everyday life?  Are you overwhelmed by obstacles that Satan is constantly throwing.  Today I have been overwhelmed myself.  Here it is Monday and a beautiful new week I have planned for all weekend – things to share with my group that blessed my heart as I read Chapter 3 of Renee Swope’s book A Confident Heart.  But now, I cannot post a message, comment or like on facebook.  It it a facebook glitch today, or is it Satan throwing an obstacle to stop the beauty of fellowshipping in our Lord?  You decide!

As I got off facebook and got on my knees God spoke to me this morning.  Satan – 0, God – 100.  Now I am blogging until I can get back on facebook.

We cannot allow our circumstances to affect our joy.  Sometimes I do and I know you do too.  One of the things I loved that Renee spoke about in Chapter 3 on  page 52 “Those of us who struggle with insecurity and find ourselves in the shadow of doubt often get there because we are seeking our validation in people’s opinions, our worth in accomplishments, and our identity in excessive commitments.” OUCH!

So now it is late Wednesday night.  Where did the week go?  I

This morning on the blog Stephanie Clayton shared lots of “good” stuff.  She talked about WHEN-THEN statements and oh I wanted to do one – but how and when.  We were on a conference call and asked for one of ours.  I have none but something had happened this morning that made me feel so bad after and awesome Worship Wednesday in our group that God just put one on my heart.  Here it is:      blog - when then

When I feel overwhelmed then my God says, ” Debbie remember this:

Blog - John 14.27

Blog-Jer 29.11

Read more: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/bible-verses-about-peace-20-great-scripture-quotes/#ixzz2ibQuUyTz

Secondly, today Stephanie shared a “no-fail pail” and encouraged us to make one with the scripture cards on the P31 site today.   http://proverbs31.org/online-bible-studies/2013/10/23/when-then/.  My no-fail pail ended up being a jar.  I walked in the kitchen to make my creamer below and I grabbed a butterfinger.  That moment God pricked my heart.  I emptied he candies in the jar in a plastic container and put them in the pantry for Halloween night.  I then washed the jar, printed out all the scriptures you can find on Proverbs31 and made a pretty bow and now I have my no-fail pail which I have named my God-nuggets.  Here is my new no-fail jar.

scripture jar

And lastly a recipe for pumpkin spice creamer.  Here were my ingredients today before I mixed mine up.

DSC02564

Can I say yum!  You can find it over at the Proverbs 31 site also (link above).

In closing I share this statement from Renee. “By recognizing and replacing our emptiness with the fullness of God’s promises, we drink the gift of living water.  We acknowledge our need, which allows Him to pour His truth into the well of our hearts.”  She encouraged us to write when-then statements and promises to go to so that He can pour into us.  How about you?  Did you write a when-then statement this week?  I would love to hear it.


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