Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Missing in Action

I have been MIA again!

We had a fabulous Thanksgiving and an equally wonderful Christmas! We did deal with some sickness...a stomach bug that hit Gracen and then two weeks later hit me and Gracen again...we have all had some pretty nasty colds....and Gene threw his back out at the beginning of December and is still having a lot of pain in his hip and in one leg. But overall, the last month or so was wonderful because it is such a perfect time for family and worshiping our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I loved all of our family and church events and enjoyed some lazy days with my kids.

My blog is not going to be all that active in the next couple of months. I just have to much on my plate. I will soon be teaching 3 times a week and it is going to take all my "free" time to prepare those lessons.

I teach Jr. High girls for Sunday School every Sunday morning and will be starting a Bible study for youth girls on Monday nights at my house for those who might want to dig a little deeper into God's Word. I'm not sure if I will have any takers at this point but I do know that there is a desperate need for the teenagers of my church to learn some foundational truths about the God that they claim to love and serve. I want to see a hunger and a desire for God that I have not seen up to this point. I am praying that God calls some teenagers out to be leaders among the others.

I will also be teaching some sort of Women's Bible study on Sunday nights...I guess....that too has been undecided at this point, but it is certainly my desire to teach something.

I want to pour in to people and disciple people more than I have been, but I still want to be the wife Gene needs me to be and the mommy that Reagan and Gracen need. This is the main reason that I don't work outside the home. God has given me a love to teach His Word and there is no way I could teach the way I would like if I worked all day long and then tried to fulfill all my other roles from approximately dinner time to bedtime....just won't work for me. I would be spread too thin.

Gene and I are also hoping to set up ongoing monthly service days with the Elmore County Food Pantry. I want to serve and be a part of a ministry like this that meets such a basic need such as food. What a great avenue to share the gospel and of course, we will be taking youth with us. I think this will be great for Reagan too!

Anyway, the blog takes time and it is just going to have to take a backseat for a while longer. I won't shut it down because there are times I just miss it!

Happy New Year to everyone! I pray it is a great year!!!

Until next time...whenever that might be.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Additional Step to the SOAP Method

In our last Bible study class together this past Sunday night, (the one I had to miss because Gracen was sick), I was told that many ladies shared how much they have enjoyed the SOAP method of Bible study. The liked how it has given them some direction in their quiet time and they really enjoyed writing out a prayer each day based on Scripture.

A friend of mine from the class, Stephanie Beers, said that there were a few comments on difficulty with the observation and application steps. She sent me a wonderful tool that her husband uses called SPECK that can be used during these steps. I loved it and have been using it this week in my "Application" step.

S – Is there SIN for me to confess or avoid?
P – Is there a PROMISE for me to claim?
E – Is there an EXAMPLE for me to follow?
C – Is there a COMMAND for me to obey?
K – Is there KNOWLEDGE of God for me to praise, or apply to my life?

As I am thinking through the verse for the day, it has been really helpful to think through each of these steps. In today's verse, Ephesians 1:17-19, which I made reference to yesterday, there is a promise to claim and knowledge of God to praise and apply to my life.

Next time I teach the SOAP method, I will be using SPECK to take it a little bit further. Thanks to Stephanie for sharing!

Have a wonderful Friday!

Until next time....

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Catching Up

Well, I had sick children for a week and a half. Both girls had fever and a stuffy, runny nose...and just generally felt really yucky. Gracen was the worst to deal with because she was so grumpy and so clingy. She didn't sleep for several nights in a row and just wanted me to hold her. This was bad because this Momma needs sleeps or I am one "grumpy Gus". I try not to be and I do try to pray through it, but it is so tough to function positively on a few hours of sleep.

Thankfully, both girls are well now. Gracen has been better since Tuesday. It has taken me two full days to get caught up around here and to run errands like buying groceries. I hope we are on the "up swing", but Gene is not feeling well today, so I may have another person to take care of soon! We will see what happens.

This past Sunday night was the last Confident Heart Bible study session. What a great 10 weeks we had together. I already miss the group! The last session was a wrap-up of the women that we want to be for the Lord. Of course we are still going to blow it in our Christian walks. We will never reach perfection, but when we mess up, hopefully we will turn back sooner to a Holy God who loves us so! As we yield ourselves to God through the good times and the bad times, through the regular moments and the extraordinary ones, we become "oaks of righteous...a planting of the Lord...so that He may be glorified.." Isaiah 61:3. As we strive to live in close communion with our heavenly Father, our lives continually bring glory to Him and that is what we are here for. I desperately want to live a life that is fully surrendered to God and this study has opened my eyes to ways that I haven't been doing that...ways that I haven't lived with the confident heart that He has given me.

This week is our last week of verses. I hope that those in the group are sticking with it until the end. The verses are great summary verses to all that we have covered in the last 10 weeks. Here are some snippets below...

Isaiah 61:3...we are to be oaks of righteousness...a planting for the Lord...so that He may be glorified.

Hebrews 10:35-36,39...we can NOT throw away our confidence because it has a great reward...I have need of endurance and when I have done the will of God I will receive what was promised...I can not shrink back in my faith.

Galatians 2:20...I have been crucified with Christ...it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me... the life that I live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Colossians 1:27...God has made known to me this great mystery..the hope of glory...Christ within me.

Ephesians 1:17-19...I pray that God gives me a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him...that the eyes of my heart will be enlightened so that I will know the hope of His calling and the riches of His inheritance...and that I will know the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.

This is good stuff and I pray that I never get over all that God has done for me and all that is mine in Christ Jesus!

Until next time...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Catch Up

I am sorry that I never got around to blogging yesterday. I have not had a good week when it comes to getting things done. I have had sick children who want my undivided attention. It started with Reagan at the beginning of the week. She had a sinus infection with fever, a bad cough, stuffy nose, headache, etc. She didn't sleep all that well at the beginning of the week which means I didn't sleep. She stayed home from school Monday and Tuesday, and Monday we spent half the day in the pediatrician's office, followed by the pharmacy getting prescriptions filled.

Reagan went back to school Wednesday and I was looking forward to a "normal" day but Gracen woke up at 5:30am with fever and was just in a terrible mood. Nothing would do unless I was holding her. We were headed back to the pediatrician around 11:00 and the doctor thinks she has a UTI. He is growing the culture for 24 hours so I won't know until sometime today.

Wednesday became the longest day ever. The fever made Gracen just about unbearable. "ILL" doesn't even begin to describe her mood. She didn't nap and literally wanted me to hold her the ENTIRE day. I had to miss church too which always makes me sad. Both girls have been up in the night.....and I am just tired! Yesterday's verse was very appropriate in light of my circumstances, even though things could have been a lot worse, they have not been ideal.... 2 Corinthians 12:7 "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me."

I found myself rehearsing this verse yesterday and I wish I could say that it kept me in a place complete joy...it certainly helped....but it was still an incredibly long day! I literally pried Gracen off of me at 8:30 for bedtime and she was back up at 11:00... "His grace is sufficient".

Today's verse is Ephesians 6:12 "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places."

Sometimes I wonder to myself, "Why does life have to be so hard? Why do some days have to be so unpleasant?" It is because my struggle is against Satan himself. I live in a fallen world with the constant pull of sin. Satan is constantly coming against me trying to bring out my worst self. Sometimes I just get weary and he wins. I let down my defenses, the circumstances of the day keep me from being in God's Word, and by bedtime my uglies spill out. As a Christian, I am assured victory but that means that I do have to engage in the battle, following the steps that God has given me in His Word found in the rest of this passage in Ephesians 6:10-17.

I have a Women's Retreat this weekend with my church. We are supposed to leave in the morning and I am ready to leave two girls with their Daddy. Is that bad? I don't think so.

I may not get to blog in the morning...but we will see.

Until next time...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

1 John 1:9

1 John 1:9
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

What a great reminder this morning that in our Christian walk, we are going to blow it! We are going to sin. We are going to make mistakes. Thankfully we have a God who is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, as we confess our sins to Him.

It would be so easy to view God from our human perspective, making Him like us, thinking that He is up in heaven keeping a tally of how we blow it. When I was younger I used to think that I had a limit of how many sins I could commit and I once I reached that total, God would "write me off". I mean, we do this with other people right. We give them so many chances, and then we are done with them.

God is not like us! He is not keeping a heavenly tally sheet. He loves us so much and nothing that we can do can separate us from His love. Nothing that we can do can cause us to lose our salvation. Sin breaks our fellowship with Him though and it creates a barrier in our relationship. God desires that our fellowship be unhindered so our responsibility is to confess our sins to Him as soon as we become aware of it and trust that He will wash us clean. As we do this, we will have sweet fellowship with our Savior, experiencing peace and joy in our relationship with Him.

Until next time...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hebrews 4:16

In our group Bible study this coming Sunday night we will be talking about the lie that whispers, "I can't follow God consistently". Satan can really get us with this thought. Sometimes I feel so FAR from God despite my best efforts to walk closely with Him. I have days where I just blow it and my flesh oozes out all over the place...and I am a pastor's wife for goodness sakes! Some days I yell at my kids, snap at my husband, overeat, overspend, don't spend enough time praying or reading my Bible, break promises to people, act prideful, act selfish, hold a grudge, or a number of other things that a Christian just shouldn't do. In those moments, Satan whispers to my heart that I will never get it right and I should just quit trying.

Thankfully, my God is not after my perfection. I will never perfectly follow him while on this earth simply because I can never be perfect. What I CAN consistently do is yield myself to Him. When that conviction comes I can go to the throne of grace with CONFIDENCE and pray to my God, confessing my sin, turning from it, and then start all over again. When I do that I always find grace and mercy...not shame or condemnation. His mercies are new every single morning (Lamentations 3:23) and they never run out. Great is His faithfulness!!!

Hebrews 4:16
"Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

Until next time...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Psalm 55:22

Psalm 55:22
"Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken."

This verse is pretty self explanatory but for me it is just a matter of doing it and believing it. I have to learn once and for all how to cast all of my burdens upon God and LEAVE them there at His feet. God sustains my life. He gives me every single breath that I have. He sees the big picture from beginning to end and He wants me to rest in that truth. Resting means that I will stop working myself up into a "tizzy" about possibilities...or even actual events.

I am one of His righteous ones because I am saved and covered by His blood. This means that I will NOT be shaken. I can be strong regardless of what I face.

Yesterday's verse promised me that as I turned my concerns over to God in prayer, He would give me a peace that surpasses all understanding. Today, I am told that His promises are so much bigger than my problems and because of that truth, I can have peace.

The author of our study A Confident Heart suggested that we write down all of our concerns, big and small, and look at them. Take each one of them to God in prayer and pray promises from scripture over them...leaving them with God. Any of the verses from this week will apply or you might look up the following verses as well...Psalm 16:11, Psalm 23:1, Psalm 25:4-5, Psalm 138:7-8.

God is with me during every second of every day and He is so much more powerful than any issue that I face. He will never leave me nor forsake me. He is good and He can be trusted. I know in my heart that this is truth and I want to live this out in my thoughts and my actions every single day.

Until next time...