Encouragement, Faith, Fear, Grief, Inspiration

Glimpses of God

One of our blog topics this week asked, “How can your life experiences help provide people with glimpses of God? (Phil. 2:14-16)”.  I am in a Bible Study called “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God” by Lysa TerKeurst.  Can I say WOW, but then I say that with each study with Melissa Taylor at Proverbs31.Org.

Do you grumble and complain?  I do sometimes but God is still working on me.  In Philippians it says DO ALL things without murmuring! Really, what do you do when things don’t go your way?  What happens if you have a life interruption – a sickness, a death, adjusting to a newborn, the car breaks down, something breaks in the house, the kids are making messes, it’s the first week of school, your husband calls and company is coming for dinner, someone pulls out in front of you or cuts you off while driving…….???

I read a verse the other day – Matthew 12:36,   and it is a bit scary.  It says, ” But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”.  OUCH!

As Christians we are called to be careful with our words.  I have not always been careful, but learning to watch my words these days.  We can’t be bitter, we have to forgive,  we have to let go of the me mentality, and let  God have authority over our lives and that includes our words and our thoughts.  WHATEVER is going on in our lives, He is in control!   Do our reactions should reflect that? Remember that “his understanding is infinite” (Ps 147:5) Every detail of our lives does not escape Him.   We need to praise God in the NOW, whatever that NOW may be.  We should have peace at ALL times, in every circumstance.  (2 Thess 3:16 KJV).  It doesn’t say to have peace in certain circumstances, but ALL!  We should be content no matter the state we might be in  Phil 4:11 (KJV).

This year 2013 has been hard, but through all the pain God has sent blessing after blessing.  I have to admit there have been tears and times I thought about questioning God’s plan, but I don’t dare.  I know whose I am.  I know He cares.   I know He has a great plan for my life if I will trust.  I lost my Mom this year, my brother-in-law was diagnosed with prostate cancer that had spread, a very special person to me has medical problems I cannot share but pray for that person every day, my aunt that is helping us with Mom’s house had a stroke, one of my dear cousins had major back surgery and has a long recovery,  one of our aunt’s is dying with lung cancer, my first grandchild was  born three weeks ago with a serious skin disease called EB, and today we are going to a funeral to love on a cousin whose son shot his wife and killed himself.  It’s been a hard year for my family, but do you know it has been a blessed year, and one I will remember a Father who I could always run to and be covered by His wings and precious, precious sisters in Christ who have loved on me and been with me through it all.

So how do our life experiences give others a glimpse of God?  It’s by our attitudes, our ability to persevere in all situations.  It’s setting at the Master’s feet and getting a glimpse of Him so that we can share those glimpses to others when they see  our humility, our honesty, our tendency to forgive, our lifestyles, our joy in all circumstances and how our lives radiate his love.

Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you!  James 4:8 (KJV)

We radiate Jesus!  How are you radiating Him today?  Is it with a smile and a song? Let others see Jesus in you today.

The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.  Exodus 15:2 (KJV)

 

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Bible Study, Grief, Inspiration, Obedience, retirement

Say What?

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Lysa TerKeurst says in her workbook for What Happens When Women Say Yes to God that “Every day we have an opportunity to move beyond the normal ruts and routines of life, and we can be on the alert for divine adventure as we listen for God’s voice and say yes to His invitations.  When we recognize God’s promptings and act on them, we no longer have to settle for a normal life.  We get to be different – and make a difference – in the lives of the people God leads us to.”

God is looking for each one of us to say “Yes”!  I looked back over the last two years at the growth that has occurred in me and realize what a difference saying yes has made.  Every day if we will only listen, God speaks to us.  Have you heard Him, have you heard His whisper – not audibly but a tug at your heart, have you heard Him call you?  I have many times and even more so the last few years as I have grown closer to Him.

For many years I wanted to retire but could not get the courage.  I kept feeling God nudging me because my Mom was sick and had been.  My best friends at work retired at the same time, and again I felt the nudging but did not heed the call.  I prayed about it, but did nothing about it.  Finally, on the spur of the moment one day God nudged me to move, to get out, to do what was important.  Say What? WHAT was the future going to look like?  How could we live like we had been living if I retired and my salary was much less?  What would it be like being home all the time if I said Yes to God.   I said yes, and I retired with only two months notice.  I spent the year of 2012 visiting my Mom, taking her meals, reading to her out of the scripture and devotionals.  I also joined Melissa Taylor’s Online Bible Studies, now a part of Proverbs 31.  I wanted to go to studies at church but they were only at night and I wanted to be home with my husband so I found these studies convenient and God led me there one day searching.

In September 2012, I was approached to be a leader for a Facebook group in the studies.  I thought I am not equipped and no way.  SAY WHAT Lord – You want me????  I prayed, talked to my family and finally said YES to God.  What happened is He took my radical obedience and equipped me to lead a group.  At first my groups were quiet.  One group I had only one lady responding and she was growing in the Lord because she was working so hard to help me, and little did I realize until later that God was grooming me for something big and preparing me for sad days ahead.

In February 2013 I lost my Mom.  Proverbs31 ladies all over the United States and the World mailed cards, sent messages, and loved on me.  My group and our team leaders were there to walk me through it.  Melissa Taylor even took the time out of her busy schedule and called me one day knowing the pain of losing her Mom.

I have seen this year through my radical obedience that God was preparing me for 2013,  Today in August 2013 as I write this blog I am about to leave for the hospital.  Our daughter-in-laws water just broke.  I believe I am here growing like I have never grown in my life to minister to a grandson, to minister to ladies all over the world, to minister to my family.  I have the most awesome group I have ever seen.  Every one of them now participate – some days it is hard to keep up with all their enthusiasm and love.

Years ago I prayed for God to send me just one friend to share my heart with – someone to tell all and it not be repeated.  I kept praying and praying for one person I could call sister and share – I mean really share.  I have many friends in Christ at church but God put me in with a group of sisters, and we share our deepest hurts and joys because we have built a bond and love for each other.  I thank God today that He answered my prayers for one “sister” by sending me a group of “sisters” that love me know matter what.

So what has God done because of my “radical obedience” as Lysa calls it.  First I retired.  That had to happen before all the rest.  Second, much time with my mom not knowing it would only be a year.  Third, blessings upon blessing leading Group 31.  Fourth, the love of a big ministry team within Proverbs  31 that love us no matter where we’ve been, no matter where we are going, but for who we are – just like Jesus does.

Have you had a “Say What” moment?  I would love for you to share here.

Hosea said in Romans 9:25-26 (KJV) “As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.”

Encouragement, Faith, Grief, Inspiration, Prayer

INTERCEDE

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Has there been a time in your life when you could not find the words to pray, when you were so emotionally overcome by a situation that you could not even utter a prayer, and just so overwhelmed and perhaps even angry at God?  Tracie Miles says “we have all found ourselves in a pit at one time or another.”

I remember one time in my life when I was in one of those deserts, one of those pits where I found I could not pray.   I did not understand how something so bad could happen to someone so in love with Jesus, and I am so ashamed to say that I was angry with that thorn and I wanted it removed and the doubt, tears, and all that came with it.   I wanted to pray at times, but I could not get the words to come.  I know during those times that my God cares, and He is interceding for me, but nonetheless it hurts when you know you need to pray but you can not utter the words.  I find it scary that “He knoweth the secrets of my heart.’  Psalm 44:21b (KJV).  In Psalm 139:2  (KJV) it also says,  “Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.”   Did you know Jesus knows us inside out?  Yes we may hide to others what we are thinking or feeling, but we can never, ever hide our thoughts from Him.

He knows our thoughts, he hears our cries, and carries us through those heartbreaking times.  Romans 8:26 is   comforting to me because I know God is standing in the gap for me and you.  God desires to intervene and he will intercede .  Our prayers, and our cries are heard by Him.  He sees our tears too and hurts with us.

I  believe the enemy will try his best to keep us from praying.  Read this quote from Beth Moore, “What victory the enemy has in winning us over to prayerlessness. He would rather we do anything than pray.”  WOW!  But thank God that it is He who is in control .

This week in Stressed Less Living in Chapter 11, we studied how we can reset our lives when we come to the end of of our ropes.  As I studied those steps I realized at times I have gone through all of them and sometimes more than one at once.  These were the steps that Tracie Miles revealed:

  1. Realign your life to God’s word.
  2. Recognize your need for God’s help.
  3. Adjust your focus to God, not your circumstances.
  4. Be filled with the Holy Spirit.  (Remember the one who’s praying on your behalf)
  5. Be faithful in your prayer life.
  6. Believe God is Who He says He is

While I can improve in all these areas, the one that spoke to me  was #3.  I need to adjust my focus to God and not  on my circumstances.   It is hard at times to not focus on the negative.  Stuff going on in life can just get you down.  The loss of my Mom this year in February was much harder than I ever dreamed.  Going to her house now each week to mow and try to get it cleaned out and empty both hers and Dad’s “stuff” to sell – well let’s just say it has been heartbreaking with all the memories.  I find when I focus only on the negative happening in my life that it makes things so much worse and I could easily stay and wallow in that pit.  But, if I focus on God and all the blessings in my life, it does bring peace.

So how do I adjust my focus to God and not all these negative circumstances, hurts and pain.  One way that God showed me this week was when I jump in the car to leave Moms is to turn my radio up and sing with 94.9 KLTY or put a good CD in like  Big Daddy Weave and I can sing Redeemed without missing a word (love that song) or this one “Every Good Thing” by The Afters because it will make you and me worship.   Even if I do not know the words I can let that music blare.   Another thing a sweet Bible study friend shared with me this week that, like me, she wakes up during the night with thoughts of her mother.  Last night she said I came to mind and she prayed for me when she woke up.   Sooooo when I wake up again with thoughts of Mom, I know now that instead of feeling sorry for myself, I will turn that around to reflect on Him and to reflect on Linda and lift her in prayer as well as all of Group 31 and our leadership team.  I will also focus on all the precious memories of Mom and not the pain of her being gone.  FOCUS – adjust my focus to God and not my circumstances and me, me, me – but HIM!

So how about you?  Will you share how you get through the  hurts and pain, thorns and pit in your life, or one of the steps above that you need to tackle to reset your life?