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 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 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 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 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...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Philippians 4:6-7

Philippians 4:6-7
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

This is my go to verse on worry. I have it memorized. I don't have to look it up. But do I live it out? Not exactly...

This verse says that I am to be anxious for NOTHING...for No Thing...Nada...Zilch. I mean is this even possible? There are so many things to worry about on any given day, things like health issues, financial issues, job issues, marriage issues, balancing it all issues, and don't even get me started on my kids. God says that I am supposed to bring every single thing to Him in prayer. I am to bring the big things and the little things and lay them down at His feet in prayer. I have to continually pray about all the issues that run through my brain, reminding myself to hand them over to God with an attitude of thanksgiving...regardless of the outcome. I have to admit, I have the prayer part down. But that is only half the battle. I take lots of things to God in prayer, but the "leaving them there" part is what I struggle with.

I have to admit, thus far in my life, most of the things that I have worried about have never happened. All my worries have accomplished in my life is heartache for know, lost sleep, lack of enjoyment in the moment, many upset stomachs, and a complete lack of peace. My worrying has never fixed anything, nor has it accomplished anything positive in my life.

God tells me in these verses that I can have complete peace when I bring every single thing to Him in prayer. For me, this is going to mean taking every thought captive (2 Cor. 10:5) and making it obedient to the Word of God. I have to constantly acknowledge that God is good....that He sees me....that everything that touches my life has been filtered through a sovereign God who never leaves my side. When my brain starts to worry about something, I have to stop my thoughts and ask God to remove that line of thinking, replacing it with His truth instead. When I do that, He promises peace...peace that surpasses my understanding. The peace that He provides will continually guard my heart and my mind. I love that promise and I desperately want to live it out. I am so tired of worry robbing me of living life in the moment.

The notes in my Life Application Bible say that to worry less, one has to pray more. At the moment you start to worry, pray instead. This is what it means in 1 Thess. 5:17 when it calls us to pray without ceasing. All through the day, we have to pray sentence prayers up to God instead of worrying.

Phil. 4:6-7 can be summarized like this...Anxious in nothing, prayerful in everything, and thankful for anything.

Is this possible?
Yes, it is!

Until next time...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Two Verses and Halloween

I am sorry that I never got around to posting my verse for yesterday. It was a crazy day. Gracen woke me up 3 am and she never went back to sleep. She appeared to have a nightmare of some sort and was petrified to go back into her crib. I tried laying down with her and she was simply wide awake. Yesterday, was Halloween and I had volunteered to help at Reagan's school...starting with a hayride at 8:30. I was tired by the time I got there. Gracen and I got back home around lunch. We both ate and then took a nap. Gracen slept for 3 hours and I slept for about an hour. After that I had to shower and get ready for the night... "Light the Night for Jesus" at our church in honor of Halloween. We picked Reagan up from school and I spent the afternoon bathing both girls and getting them dressed and ready in their costumes. We had a great night and I added a few pictures below.

This week in our Bible study we are leading up to a lesson on worry...a big issue for me. I don't feel worthy to teach the lesson because this is one of my biggest weaknesses. Through the study, I am starting to realize just how much Satan uses my thoughts to distract me from God's truth. When I worry about ridiculous scenarios that usually NEVER happen, I am not resting in God's Word and the many promises that are available to me.

Yesterday's verse was Matt. 11:28..."Come to me all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest."

This is not your typical go-to verse on worry but the author of our study makes a great point that worry makes you physically tired. It causes a heaviness in your spirit and robs you of restful sleep. Worries about our relationships, our many roles, our responsibilities, our finances, etc. can be overwhelming, causing our thoughts to get "divided" all over the place. God desires that we focus on His truth which promises to give a sound mind. Jesus calls us to come to Him and to lay everything down at His feet, which means we have to stop rehearsing things in our minds. When we lay everything down, He will truly give us rest for our spirits.

Today's verse is Psalms 91:1-2..."He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, My refuge and My fortress, My God, in whom I trust."

Again, not your typical verse on worry, but when we worry and we are fearful, we are not resting in the truths found in these verses. God is sovereign and He sees our entire lives from beginning to end. Nothing takes Him by surprise. Everything that touches our lives has been filtered through His hands for our good purposes. He wants us to continually remember that He will never leave us....He is a shelter... He calls us to abide in His shadow...He is a refuge...He is fortress...He can be trusted.

Abiding in God is spending that daily time with Him in His Word and in prayer. That time is what transforms us from the inside out. The more time we spend in His presence the more we will trust in the promises of scripture enabling us to conquer anxious thoughts.

For family, I wanted to share a few pictures. On Saturday night, we carved two pumpkins for the Halloween weekend.

Reagan loves to get the insides of the pumpkin out. She likes to get messy. Gracen on the other hand wouldn't touch it.
The finished pumpkin

And here are my little "trick or treaters" from last night.

Snow White

Princess Belle

Until next time...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Romans 12:5-8

Romans 12:5-8
"So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching, the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness." (ESV)

This is one list in the New Testament that gives some of the spiritual gifts that one might receive at the moment of salvation. Unlike talents and abilities received at natural birth, spiritual gifts are received at spiritual birth. God's grace deals out differing gifts to different people. And God gives the necessary strength or ability to use what gifts we have. Every Christian has a spiritual gift and it is given to help build the church and to bring God glory.

Seven gifts are listed in this particular passage...
Prophecy- A prophet is a spokesman for the Lord. Someone with this gift often has spiritual insight into situations and can be a powerful prayer warrior or truth-teller, depending on how God leads. This person will share God's truth regardless of what anyone else thinks.

Service- Someone with the gift of service often ends up doing what no one else likes to do. If you have the gift of service, you demonstrate love by serving people and enjoy helping others while meeting their needs. You also prefer behind-the-scenes assignments instead of being out front.

Teaching- If you have the gift of teaching, you enjoy explaining why things are true. You see the need for Biblical knowledge and understanding. Someone with this gift loves to research and dig into details and then share what they discover.

Exhortation- A person with the gift of exhortation loves to encourage the faith of others and help them grow spiritually. These people feel compelled to share God's encouraging words and give practical advice on how to apply God's truth in everyday life.

Giving- A person with this gift has unique financial insights, often has resources to meet needs, and enjoys sharing material blessings. You sincerely like to give to others. You see material needs in the church and are sensitive to how money is spent and saved.

Leadership- If you have this gift, you like to oversee and organize projects and find things for people to do because you see the big picture. You are good at planning for the future while working to keep everyone on track.

Mercy- If you have this gift, you feel compelled to help people reduce pain. Are you more concerned with the person than the reason for their suffering? Many times those with this gift have experienced pain and can therefore empathize with the hurts of others.

(**Descriptions taken from A Confident Heart by Renee Swope)

Every Christian has a spiritual gift and every Christian should be using it to build up the body of Christ. If you are not sure what your spiritual gift is there are a few things that you can do...

  1. Ask God in prayer to show you what your gift is.

  2. Just start serving in the church or in ministries outside the church and see what you truly enjoy doing. If it is your "gift" then that particular role will make your heart sing. If you try a role and hate it, then you can be sure that is not where you are suppose to serve.

  3. Ask someone who knows you well, like your spouse, best friend, etc what spiritual giftedness they see in you. Oftentimes, those closest to us see our strengths before we see them in ourselves.

  4. Take a spiritual gifts inventory. These can be found at Lifeway Christian Stores in Montgomery. Gene has some in his office and I bet Pastor Shane has some as well.

Until next time...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ephesians 4:15-16

Ephesians is another favorite of mine. I'm an "underliner" and I think the entire book of Ephesians is underlined in my Bible and a good bit of it is highlighted. I also have this book of the Bible downloaded on my ipod and I listen to it as I do odd jobs around the house. Listening to God's Word is a great way to lift your mood....anyway....on to our verse.

Ephesians 4:15-16
"But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love."

First of all, as believers, we have to operate out of the truth of the gospel message. That is the basis for all of our actions, and truth has to be grounded in a right spirit. From that foundation, we can grow in Christ. As individuals we have to be actively pursuing Christ every single day. As we pursue Him, fall in love with Him, and become more intimately connected to Him, He will begin to show us our spiritual gifts, our passions, and our calling that will benefit the entire Body of Christ, which is the church.

Beth Moore said it this way..."If you want to know your purpose, pursue the heart of God and you'll have a head-on collision with your calling." We have to stop striving, or just spinning our wheels, and start seeking Him. The closer we get to Jesus, the more clearly we will understand His purpose for our lives. When we know that purpose then we will have a fullness of joy about what we are doing to grow the body.

At the moment that we received Christ as our Savior, we also received a spiritual gift (or gifts), that was thoughtfully chosen by our heavenly Father to help us fulfill His plans for us. Your spiritual gift indicates the way God designed you to serve and complete the body of Christ. We each play a vital role in supporting other parts of the body through love in action. Without each person knowing and using their spiritual gifts, the body is incomplete and is hindered from reaching its full potential.

We have to know and believe that God wants to make an impact for the kingdom through our lives. As we grow in our relationship with Him, we have to look for ways to allow God to do just that. Only then will the body of Christ be complete!

Until next time...

(*Some thoughts were taken from our study A Confident Heart)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Psalm 139:13-14

Psalm 139 is probably one of my all time favorite sections of scripture. Whenever I don't know where to read in my Bible, I turn to this passage and read the entire chapter. It is so comforting to me that God knows me so personally and yet loves me so deeply.

These verses took on a new meaning when I gave birth to Gracen. As soon as she was born and I looked at her for the very first time, my doctor, Matthew Phillips, quoted these verses over her and then prayed for her. It was a beautiful moment and solidified how intimately God loves me, loves Gracen.... and loves ALL of us! Pregnancy is such an amazing thing! To feel your child grow in your womb from the size of a pea to a full grown baby is the neatest thing. Gene and I used to look at the magazine pictures that would show month by month the stages of development and it is mind boggling. Our God, creator God, absolutely knit each one of us together....piece by piece.

Psalm 139:13-14
"For you formed my inward parts; You wove me together in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are your works, and my soul knows it very well."

In the context of our Bible study this week, these verses help us to recognize that God is the one who created us. He knit us together exactly as we are with our personality strengths and weaknesses, our God-given desires, our natural talents and abilities, and our spiritual gifts. He has a purpose for each of us and wants to use each one of us for kingdom work. When we embrace who God created us to be, we will find confidence and joy.

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

2 Corinthians 10:12-13

2 Corinthians 10:12-13
"For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding. But we will not boast beyond our measure, but within the measure of the sphere which God apportioned to us as a measure to reach even as far as you."

In context Paul is speaking of false teachers who came into the city of Corinth commending themselves. Being false teachers, their teaching would have been in complete opposition to Paul's ministry, or the gospel message. These teachers thought that they were right and above everyone else. Of course, they only compared themselves by themselves or those like themselves. This shows that they were without understanding or unwise.

Paul chose not to get caught up in the comparison game. He knew exactly what God had called him to do. He knew the ministry that he had came from God...He apportioned it to him. Paul said that he would not boast beyond that.

As woman it is incredibly easy to stay in a place where we constantly compare ourselves to others. We compare everything...our looks, our clothes, our husbands, our financial situations, our houses, the way our children behave or perform in school, our bodies, etc.

This week we are talking about our service for the Lord and this just happens to be another area that we compare ourselves to others. We look at other women to see what they are doing for God and we want to be used in the same way. We want their influence, their respect, their giftedness, etc. We compare ourselves to others and then feel completely lacking in our own giftedness to do anything grand for God.

As a person who enjoys teaching God's Word to other women, I can look at Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, and Vicky Courtney and desperately want their ministries, their influence, and their giftedness to speak. I think it would be so cool to have the platform that they have. Of course, I still get nervous in front of 25 people, much less stand up in front of thousands. God has called those particular ladies to that size ministry. I know that I cannot compare themselves to those ladies. I am not them and never will be. To compare what I "do" for God and what they "do" for God is silly. I have to focus on what God has called me to do, the ministry that He has apportioned to me, and stop comparing myself to others. I cannot even compare myself with myself. I have to constantly be measuring myself against God, continually growing to become more and more like Him.

This week I hope that you will be praying about what your ministry for God currently looks like. As Christians, we should all be serving in some way. God has given us a gift called a "lifetime" and we should be using it to glorify Him. If you are not serving in the body of Christ, you are robbing yourself and others of great joy. It is time to get serious about your calling!

Until next time...

Oh, my Bible study group knows what I am talking about...but with Gene out of town, no one threw up in the night....Praise the Lord!!!! LOL!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ephesians 2:10

Ephesians 2:10
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them."

I love the idea that I am God's workmanship...his handiwork, his masterpiece. I assure you, this is not how I see myself. To know that He chose to create me and that He is proud of His creation gives me a great sense of peace. I was created to KNOW God personally through salvation, but I was not saved merely for my own benefit. According to this verse, there are good works that I should be doing to serve others and to build up the church....because of my love for my Savior.

I can beat myself up, compare myself to others, wish I was someone else, etc. but it boils to the fact that I was created by a Holy God just the way that I am...with my problems, my personality, my temperament, my looks, my weaknesses, and my strengths. I am uniquely me for God's purposes and not my own.

This coming Sunday night we are going to talk about our God given purpose...what it is that you think you were created for. What is it that makes your heart come alive? What are you passionate about? We were created to enhance the church body. We should be serving in some way, walking in good works that were created for us before the foundation of the earth. Just as Pastor Shane said Sunday morning, you will not walk in the fullness of joy until you start fulfilling the purpose for which you were created.

I know that I am suppose to be teaching God's Word. It brings me great joy. On the flip side of that, it still makes me nervous to stand in front of a group and it is work to prepare the lessons. I get tired at times and will go through seasons where I do not teach. During those seasons though, I miss it and it seems like everything I read makes me think, "Every woman needs to hear this". This blog was started during a season when I was not teaching. It became an outlet for me to share what I was learning with God. It is also safe and doesn't require me to stand in front of a group. But, when I am just blogging, I sense God pushing me to do more.

This week, start to think about what you were created to do for God. What makes your heart sing? If you don't have some sort of area of service, you are not walking in the good works that God created for you before the foundations of the world. You are missing out on a blessing and so is the body of Christ.

Until next time...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Psalm 37:23-24

Psalm 37:23-24
"The steps of a man are established by the Lord, and He delights in his way. When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong because the Lord is the one who holds his hand."

This is one of those verses that I love! God is with me all the time, in good times and in tough times. As I walk with God and delight in Him, staying in fellowship with Him, He will direct or order my steps. Of course, I am still going to blow it at times, which is just part of the journey. How encouraging to know that I will not be "hurled headlong", that I will not be completely overtaken by trials and failures because my God is right there with me holding my hand.

If I desire God's direction then I must stay in fellowship with Him, reading His word every single day and talking to Him throughout the day. As I make the effort to stay in communion with Him, then I am assured His direction and will sense His presence.

Prayer Requests:
1. I woke up with a pretty scratchy sore throat and a stuffy nose. Pray that this doesn't get worse. I have asked God throughout the study to allow me to be well every Sunday so I can teach the week's lesson.
2. Pray that Sunday night's lesson will come together. By Friday I am usually finished with the lesson with my copies run off, ready to go. I am not even half way through. I just keep reading the chapter not exactly sure what direction to go.

Thank you for the prayers.

Until next time...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Colossians 1:21-22

Colossians 1:21-22
"Although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now RECONCILED you in His fleshly body through death in order to present you before Him HOLY and BLAMELESS and BEYOND REPROACH."

Such powerful verses that talk about what we once were compared to what we are now! Before I accepted Christ as my Savior I was alienated from Him, which means that I was a stranger to Him and to His way of thinking. I was hostile in my mind, which means that my thoughts were sinful and opposed to the things of God. I went my own way and my actions were based on my own perception of right and wrong and not on God's standards of holy living.

But my merciful God reconciled me to Himself through the death of His fleshly body on the cross. To be reconciled means to be restored to a right relationship or standard, or to make peace where there was enmity. The Bible NEVER speaks of God being reconciled to man, but ALWAYS man being reconciled to God.

When sin entered the world, man became estranged to God. The sin caused a huge chasm that made it impossible for man to reach God. In his great mercy He made a way for us to be able to reach be able to be in right relationship with Him. That position of right standing before a Holy God only comes through believing in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross and accepting that work on our behalf.

Jesus has to become your Savior and your Lord.

When I accepted and believed in what Jesus did on the cross and I believed in His resurrection, then His blood covered me. And it covers me still! I became Holy ...BLAMELESS...and BEYOND REPROACH. Because of that I will give Him praise with my life...believing and living the truth of who I am in Christ.

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Romans 8:1-2

This week all of our verses are speaking about God's power toward us and the forgiveness of sin that He offers us. We are leading up to a lesson on fighting the lie that whispers that we are failures.

If you are in Christ, you are no longer condemned. You are not a failure. Nothing that you have done or will do can define you as a failure.

Romans 8:1-2
"Therefore there is now NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you FREE from the law of sin and of death."

I love the explanation of these verses from my Life Application Bible... "Not guilty; let him go free...What would those words mean to you if you were on death row? The fact is that the whole human race is on death row, justly condemned for repeatedly breaking God's holy law. Without Jesus we would have no hope at all. But thank God! He declared us not guilty and has offered us freedom from sin and the power, through the Spirit of the life (the Holy Spirit) to do His will."

This explanation made me think of Mandisa' song called "Not Guilty", which I attached below. It is such a powerful song that talks about this very idea....I was condemned...I went and stood before the He looked at me he said...I KNOW YOU...I LOVE YOU...I GAVE MY LIFE TO SAVE YOU...LOVE PAID THE PRICE FOR MERCY ...MY VERDICT...NOT GUILTY!

Powerful words that have changed my life! I no longer have to live a defeated life. I can live a life of freedom because I am no longer condemned!!!

If you have about 5 more minutes, listen to the message of this song and as you think about the words, worship Him for the amazing gift that He gave to us.

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Psalm 18:35

I am praying for my Bible study group this morning and praying specifically for Kelli Tyrone who has been hospitalized. Join me in praying for her healing!

Our verse this morning is Psalm 18:35
"You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, and Your right hand upholds me; And your gentleness makes me great."

These powerful truths are mentioned many times in the Bible, especially in the book of Psalms, which is one of my favorite books in the Bible to read.

God is my shield!
My salvation is a protective covering!
He supports (upholds) me!
Christ living within me is what makes me great!

I have to stop beating myself up, giving Satan access to my thoughts and instead, allow God to be my shield. Yes, I will blow it. Yes, I will fail. But that doesn't make me worthless. My failures, my mess-ups, do not make me a failure. With God on my side I can always pick myself up and start all over again.

I need to realize what I have in Christ. He is everything that I need.

Father God, thank you...thank you...thank you for every single thing that You provide on my behalf. Help me to rest in You today. Be my shield. Be my protective covering. Uphold me with your righteous right hand no matter what comes my way today. Empower me to live victory and joy....the joy that comes from my salvation. Amen.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Great Reminder

For our Bible study this morning, we have two great verses that are just reminders for us.
Romans 5:8
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Romans 6:23
"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

It is so easy to beat ourselves up with thoughts like "I am not good enough." "I am not worthy." "I'm such a failure." But these are not God's thoughts toward us. Satan is the author of these thoughts and we have to learn to take them captive and focus on God's truth instead.

The very idea that He died for me while I was still a sinner because of His great love for me is almost too much to comprehend. The wages of my sin should have been death and eternal separation from my God. But He made a way for me, offering me eternal life through Jesus Christ. It is amazing really.

On my worst days, I can hold on to the truth that Jesus didn't die for me because I was "good enough". He died for me simply because He loved me. My Life Application study Bible says that whenever I feel uncertain of God's love for me, I can remember that He loved me before I ever turned to Him. When I was living life as a complete rebel, he loved me with an unconditional love. He pursued me. He wanted me. He saw the value in me. He offered me a free gift that cannot be paid back. As a believer, I need to learn to simply rest in this great truth.

Until next time...

*If you missed last night's lesson you can email me at, send me your email address and I will send you the lesson.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Picture Post

It has been a while since I have posted pictures of my girls and our activities so I thought I would do that today. Most of these were on Facebook at the beginning of the week. And these are not in the order that they happened...blogger is very difficult when it comes to uploading and organizing pictures.

Here are the girls doing s'mores for the first time of the fall season. It was only about 4:30 in the afternoon but Reagan begged us to get started early. As soon as we got the fire going, it started to rain so we had to move the firepit under the carport...and that worked just fine!

Gene enjoying his one and only s'more. He is not a sweet eater so one is enough for him. I, on the other hand, could eat about 5. That is why one of us is thin and one of is...ahem....not so thin.

Reagan eating her first s'more of the night.

As it got dark, it got cool so Reagan bundled up with a blanket. Too cute!

This was a day at Pump It Up. Both girls love this!

Reagan coming down the big inflatible slide.

Me and my girls...taking a break.

Gene and the girls.

Our night at the fair...Reagan is fearless!

High in the air!

Blurry....but Reagan, Gracen, and their cousin, Hayden.

My younger sister and her family....with one on the way too!

Gracen and Hayden "talking" about something!

Gracen chilling out at home, eating lunch.

Reagan with one of her sidewalk chalk creations. She did this giraffe all by herself. I was pretty impressed. Oh, and it had been Pajama Day at her school.

My parents with the girls.

Reagan playing in the yard.

Gram opening her birthday gifts with lots of "help."

Well, those are my most recent photos.

I hope you have a great Saturday.

Until next time...

Friday, October 14, 2011

1 Peter 5:8-9

This entry is a little later than normal this morning...but better late than never right!

Our verse this morning is 1 Peter 5:8-9...
"Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood."

We need to always remember that we have an adversary who is constantly prowling around us watching for the best time to attack. According to this verse we can resist him. We can be firm in our faith knowing that we are not alone in experiencing these types of attacks from Satan.

*We do not have to be afraid of him because the one who is in us is greater than the one who is against us. Who do, however, need to be aware of his schemes and ready to stand against them. We need to keep our minds clear by asking Jesus to replace the clutter of insecurity, pride, and Satan's lies with the clarity of His truth. We need to be alert, listening to our own thoughts. If our thoughts are against us, then we can sure that the devil is prowling around us. Our enemy knows if he can influence the way we think, then our thoughts will determine how we feel, and our feelings will shape how we live. But, if we will get into God's Word and let God's Word get into us, then He will start to shape the way we live. (*taken from A Confident Heart by Renee Swope)

I am so tired of living a defeated life and I am slowly learning that victory in the Christian life boils down to taking my thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ....replacing my negative thoughts with his truth. I cannot do this if I am not in God's Word every single day ! I also have to be talking to Him throughout my day. This is where my victory will come from.

Another great verse related to this is James 4:7..."Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you."

Until next time...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Matthew 4:4

Today's verse is a simple one...Matthew 4:4
"But he (Jesus) answered and said, 'It is written, Man shall not live on bread alone but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.' "

This is a very familiar story and one that has huge implications for our Bible study. It holds the key for us between either living a life of defeat or living a life of victory.

Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil. After fasting for 40 days and 40 nights, he became hungry (you think?). Satan came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread" (Matt. 4:3). Jesus responds with today's verse... "Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God". Jesus was actually quoting Deuteronomy 8:3, quoting scripture to fight Satan's lies and temptations. That is what we have to do as well. When Satan comes to us with a temptation or a negative thought, God does not leave us powerless. He gave us a weapon to fight with and that is the Sword of the Spirit, (Ephesians 6:17), which is the Word of God. This is why it is so important to be in God's Word every single meditate on truth...and to start to memorize scripture so it is ready on our tongues.

Sunday night we talked about the importance of using note cards to write down verses that speak against the issues that we are currently facing. Those note cards should go with you everywhere you go, so you can pull them out throughout the day and be reminded of God's truth over your life. The more you read the cards, the quicker the verses will get down into your heart. I made the joke in class that in the moment that Satan comes and speaks some lie into your heart, you can't say, "Hold on Satan, let me find the card that speaks to that issue!" You have to be ready for the attack with the Word of God already planted in your heart and mind.

It is also important to note that Satan came to Jesus when he was the most vulnerable. He was alone in the wilderness and he was extremely hungry. Your church attendance is so important, but simply attending is not enough. You have to get plugged in to a small group where you can be taught God's Word and you can be held accountable for its application in your life. We gain strength from being in constant fellowship with other Christians and from hearing God's Word taught throughout the week.

Jesus was extremely hungry... We have to be careful not to give in to temptation or beat ourselves up emotionally when we are hungry, tired, stressed out, etc. It is in those moments of weakness that Satan will come and whisper lies into our hearts.

Study God's Word every day and don't accept defeat. In Christ we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37). We just have to start living like that is true!

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

2 Corinthians 3:4-5

The last two days have been wonderful! Reagan has been out of school and we have just enjoyed spending time together as a family. We started both mornings sleeping late and then making muffins together. Reagan loves to "cook" and thinks she is making a masterpiece when I let her mix, stir, and pour the mix into the muffin pan. On Monday, we spent the morning at the Millbrook park. Both girls love going there and Gracen is getting to the point where she can finally play...pretty much unassisted, even though I still follow her around the entire time. Monday afternoon we headed to the fair with family, and as I said yesterday, we had a blast. On Tuesday morning we went to Pump It Up. Again, both girls love this! Gene took the day off and the family time was wonderful. We came home and everyone took a nap. That afternoon, the girls played outside. After dinner we made s'mores around the firepit. Gene and I drank some coffee and just soaked up such an enjoyable night. At bedtime, Reagan said she had a wonderful "Fall Break" and thanked us for taking her to all the places we went. Pretty sweet for a 5 yr.old! Sweeter still coming from Reagan who can be a handful! I posted some pictures of our adventures on Facebook last night, but will probably do a picture blog post on Saturday for those who are not on Facebook.

Part of me is thankful for a normal Wednesday at home, with Gene back at work and Reagan back in school, so I can catch up on all the housework I haven't done over the last 3 days. Part of me wishes that Gene and Reagan were off all week and we could just play some more. Oh, continues!

Our verse for today is 2 Corinthians 3:4-5...
"Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God."

What a perfect verse for a Bible study called A Confident Heart. Paul is writing and he is defending his apostleship and his ministry that the Lord has given him. If you start reading back in verse 1, you will see that false teachers had arrived in Corinth with letters of recommendation, possibly from the elders in Jerusalem. They were carrying these letters with them, using them to prove their credentials. They were questioning Paul's authority to teach, wanting proof of His credentials. Paul responds in verses 2-3 that he doesn't need a letter of recommendation written by man because God, through the Holy Spirit, has written his letter on his heart and through his life it can be read by all men. In our verses, 4-5, Paul's confidence comes from the Holy Spirit. His confidence comes from the relationship that he has with Christ. He states that he isn't adequate on his own merit, but rather his adequacy is from God.

As believers, the same thing is true for us. We can have a strong confidence in whatever it is that God has called us to do for Him. We don't have to be competent in our own abilities....and thank goodness, or I would never stand up to teach His Word. Whatever God calls us to, He will equip us to do....if we will just yield ourselves to Him and trust Him to work through us. We are NOT adequate in ourselves and thank God, we don't have to be!

My adequacy and my confidence will always come through my relationship with Christ and believing "who I am" in Him.

Another verse that popped into my head this morning was Phil. 4:13..."I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"...and I can you know. He has yet to fail me. Daily, I bow my head in prayer and ask Him for His provision, His perspective, and His power for whatever lies ahead of me in the day. As I do that, He fills me up with a confidence that never comes from myself or my own natural talent. Left to myself, I would fail over and over again. But in Christ, I am more than a conqueror...complete with confidence and adequacy!

This one is another keeper and it just might end up on a note card today.

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Isaiah 62:3 and a Video

Last night we all went to the fair, meeting my sister, her husband, and their little girl, and my parents. We had a blast laughing at those little girls! Reagan is fearless and will ride anything we let her ride. Gracen is not so fearless, but she did open up and ride some things as the night progressed. I hope to post a few pictures at some point during the week, but between bedtime and this morning, I just haven't had time to upload them yet. We didn't get home until 10:00. After giving the girls their baths, it was quite late when we settled into bed. Again, I'm tired, which seems to be a theme lately, and I am praying that those little precious angels will sleep late this morning.

Reagan is out of school one more day and we are either going to Pump It Up or the zoo. At bedtime last night, she said that couldn't decide and she would let us know in the morning.

My Bible verse for the day is a simple one... Isaiah 62:3
"You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God."

Isn't that a beautiful truth from God's Word? He loves us so much and thinks so highly of each one of His children. Most days, I don't feel beautiful and I don't feel like a treasure. That is because I have an enemy who is constantly saying..."Your not good enough. You will never amount to anything. You will never change. Your not pretty enough. Your are worthless. " Feel free to add your own worst thought to the list.

But then our God steps in and He says...."No, no, no my child....You are a crown of beauty to me. You are a royal diadem in my hand." As we talked about Sunday night, we have to choose what we are going to think about. We can focus on the lie that Satan wants us to believe or we can find beautiful truths in our Bible and focus on those. On those days that we feel ugly, Isaiah 62:3 is an awesome truth to put on a note card to carry around with you, and then read throughout the day.

This study is really opening my eyes to the fact that Scripture has to become my life. I can't just read a little 5 minute devotional and expect to be radically changed. I can't just go to church once a week and that be the only teaching I receive for the week. To rise above anxiety, fear, discontentment, negative thinking, etc., I have to stay in God's Word. Regardless of whatever "funk" I might be in, God has a counter truth that I have to rehearse, and rehearse, and rehearse until HIS TRUTH becomes my truth.

Emily Price and I were talking the other night at church and she told me about this beautiful video that was on the blog "Kelly's Korner". The song is "I Am" by Nichole Nordeman from the year 2005, but it is so powerful and so appropriate for our study. It follows a girl's life from the time she was in her mother's womb all the way to the grave, pointing out that during every phase of her life and every need that she has....God says, "I AM". Take 5 more minutes and listen to the words of this song. God is always with us. He loves us so much. No matter what you are walking through, God is your "I AM".

Monday, October 10, 2011

Isaiah 54:4-6

Well, it is a brand new week! Reagan is out of school today and tomorrow. To kick off her holiday, she asked to have a family movie night last night. As tired as Gene and I were from a long, but good, Sunday, we agreed. We pulled out the air mattress, popped popcorn, and poured the Sprite. Sprite is a treat for the girls. I haven't let them drink any other kind of soda due to the sugar and the caffeine, but they know when we pop popcorn that get a Sprite. Even little Gracen brought me her cup that had water in it from church and said, "No water, Momma, Sprite!" Of course she said the word Sprite without the "r". Too cute! We got out lots of pillows and blankets and watched Monsters, Inc., Reagan's choice.

Both girls usually go to sleep around 8:00pm and they were up until 10:00, so I praying that they sleep until 10:00am this morning...wishful thinking, I know! When they get up, we are going to the Millbrook Park, if it doesn't rain and then on to the fair late this afternoon. Hopefully, it will be a fun day.

For my Bible study group, our verse for the day is Isaiah 54:4-6
"Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced. But you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. For your husband is your Maker, whose name is the Lord of hosts; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, who is called the God of all the earth. For the Lord has called you, like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit; Even like a wife of one's youth when she is rejected, says your God."

This was a long one but a good one!

The author of the study, Renee Swope, shared a story in her book of being heartbroken because she was dumped during two different engagements. During those times, she believed Satan's lies that she was not good enough, not worthy enough for any man's love. As a Christian, she knew that was not true, but she found it very hard to move beyond her feelings in light of her current circumstances. She found these verses and wrote them down on a note card, carrying it with her every where, reading it throughout her day. She inserted her name in the verse to make it personal.

And you can do the same thing which makes this section of Scripture read like a love letter from our God. Fill in your name as you read the verses again.....
Fear not _________, for you will not be put to shame: And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced. ________, you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. For your husband is your Maker, ___________, Whose name is the Lord of Hosts; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, who is called the God of all the earth. For the Lord has called you __________, like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit; Even like a wife of one's youth when she is rejected, says your God.

Didn't that feel like God was talking directly to you...and He is, you know. We have to start reading the Bible as a personal love letter to us, because it is. God loves us so very much and He will never reject us! He wants us to know that and live like that is true. The Bible is so beautiful when we learn to see it for what it truly is!

Maybe you have been put to shame, humiliated, or disgraced in your past. God says that you can move beyond those feelings and remember them no more. He is your Maker. He is your husband. He is your Redeemer who has called you by name. He will never abandon you or reject you. We have to learn to rest in those truths.

Until next time...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Romans 8:37-39

Oh man, am I tired this morning. I simply could not get out of the bed! Gene is off every Friday so Thursday has become our at home date night after the girls go to sleep. We stayed up until around 11:30 and this is about 2 hours past my normal bed time. I am a girl who likes her sleep....and if it isn't a full 7-8 hours it doesn't really count as sleep for me. Today is going to be long and will include another pot of coffee at some point after lunch.

Anyway, on to today's verses...Romans 8:37-39
"But in all these things we OVERWHELMING CONQUER THROUGH HIM who loves us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, not height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be about to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Oh, goodness...such a powerful truth. My Life Application Bible says that these verses contain the most comforting promise in all of Scripture...and I must say, I agree. Verse 37 begins by saying that in all these things....we are conquerors... in what things you might ask....go back to vs. 35...tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, or sword...which pretty much covers everything that could possibly happen to us. And what I love about the NASB version is that is says that we are not only conquerors but we will OVERWHELMINGLY conquer all the things that we face in this life and even death itself THROUGH HIM. We won't just squeak by....we will conquer with power!

Unfortunately, I don't have much time to elaborate this morning, but this verse tells me that I have nothing to fear in this life or the life to come. He loves me more than I can fathom, He never leaves my side, and nothing can separate me from His presence or His love....nothing that I have done, will do, or might be done to me. This is a truth that we need to bury deep into the recesses of our hearts and minds. I think I will carry this one around today. And if you are in the Confident Heart Bible study, I hope you will do the same. This one is a keeper!

Until next time...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Deuteronomy 20:4

Deuteronomy 20:4
"For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you."

What a simple verse this morning but a powerful reminder of the fact that our God is always present. He is with us. He is actively fighting for us. He will save us.

For the purpose of my Bible study, this verse speaks of spiritual warfare. We have a real enemy. The enemy of our soul is Satan and there is a constant battle raging, whether we believe that or not. Our biggest battlefield is in our own mind. Satan is constantly fighting against us with lies that sound just like truth to us. He is the father of lies so this is an activity that he has perfected. The lies include thoughts of self-doubt, low self-esteem, fear, discontentment, negativity, depression, worthlessness, lack of confidence, etc. As believers, we have to learn to refute Satan's lies with the truth of God's Word. This means that we have to be in God's Word...reading it, meditating on particular verses that speak to our issues, and memorizing the truth so it is in our heads and down in our hearts. This is the only way to replace the lies with truth. When we actively do this, we invite God into our battles. As the verse says, "God goes with you...He will fight against your enemy....He will save you."

And as our pastor says...that verse will preach!!!!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thursday. I am on a cleaning fit at my house. It is currently 9:15a.m. and I have already completed 2 loads of laundry, cleaned all our hardwood floors, picked up a ridiculous amount of clutter, made beds, made breakfast for 4 different people which equally 3 different meals, cleaned the kitchen, cleaned my bathroom, I am about tackle cleaning out summer clothes, making way for the fall clothing.

Next week, I will have pictures to share. We will be going to the fair, the park, and the zoo over the next couple of days. I just love enjoying the nice fall weather outside!!! Fall is my favorite season.

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Romans 8 :5-6

It is hump day and I hope and pray that everyone is staying strong in their personal pursuit of daily Bible study. God's Word will change your life, but you have to be in it for it to have that effect.

Today's selection is Romans 8:5-6
"For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace."

The context of this verse is the unsaved man, who sets his mind on the things of the flesh, versus the saved man, who sets his mind on the things of the Spirit. One way will bring death while the other way brings life and peace.

For our study, A Confident Heart, this is a call to always set our minds on what God says to be true. As a saved person, it is very easy to set our minds on the things of the flesh, also known as the things of this world. Too easily we become focused on our weaknesses, our own negative thoughts, what others think about us, what we don't have, our past sins, etc. All of these thoughts rob us of the peace and joy that God offers His children. To change our focus and to set our minds on the things of the Spirit, we have to stay connected to God. As we read His Word and we pray to Him every single day, throughout the day, asking Him for His perspective, our minds stay focused on His truth about ourselves and about our circumstances. When our minds are focused on the things of the Spirit and we constantly take our "fleshly", or worldly, thoughts captive, only then will our lives be characterized by JOY and PEACE. And isn't that what we all want. I know I do! In the midst of my crazy days, my soul longs for joy and peace. I have a choice of how I will find that peace...the world's way, which could include things like overeating or shopping, or the Spirit's way, which is simply resting in His truth. The world's way will never satisfy, but God will satisfy me every time.

Today, I will set my mind on thethings of the Spirit. How about you?

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

1 Peter 2:9

1 Peter 2:9
"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light."

What a powerful verse this morning! We have so many things to be confident about in our relationship with Jesus many privileges that belong to us as believers. I desperately want to wrap my mind around theses truths in this verse.

I am part of a CHOSEN race. God chose me before the foundation of the world to belong to Him (Ephesians 1:4) It was nothing that I did or deserved!

I am part of a royal priesthood, meaning that I can go directly to God in prayer, in praise, in worship, in confession, etc. I have direct access to my Father anytime of the day or night because of my relationship with Jesus. This was not the case back in Old Testament times. The people had to go through a priest to make their sacrifices to God and to be cleansed of their sins. Today, I can have an intimate relationship with my Father.

As a believer, I am part of a holy nation. Just as Israel was God's chosen people to live in holiness and to be a light to the nations around them, I am called to live a life of holiness today. There should be something different about my life, the way I live, the way I talk, what I watch on television, how I spend my money, etc. Holiness should be a distinguishing factor in everything. I have a long way to go in consistently modeling holiness.

I am God's own possession. I belong to him in a special way, and I am of great value to Him. This should change the way that I see myself.

Because I believe all of these things, I should proclaim out loud the excellencies of my God. I should constantly tell others how He brought me out of darkness into His marvelous light.

May my life shout His praises!!! He is worthy!

"Father God, most Holy me to start to understand all I am in You and how much You love me. Because of my belief in You, I should live so differently...full of confidence...proclaiming to those around me Your goodness and Your love. Help me to live in the Your Marvelous Light...all of my days!"

Until next time...

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Confident Heart

I am loving the new Bible study, A Confident Heart, that I am teaching at my church. What a fabulous group of ladies who are truly hungry to learn about God. This past Sunday night our lesson was about painful experiences in our past and how those experiences can change the way that we view God. When we are in the midst of a difficult situation it can be very hard to view God as loving or view His plans as good. I shared my testimony with the group regarding the 10 year period of infertility that we went through. I experienced some really hard years, especially in the middle of the journey, where I was mad at God for "withholding" a child from me. I deeply regret that I didn't just trust God's timetable for my life and rest in the fact that He DOES love me unconditionally and that He did have my ultimate good in mind. I wish I could go back and just enjoy those years...enjoy my time with Gene...rather than being so focused on the one thing that I didn't have. As you know, time is something that we can't get back.

I have already had many ladies share some really hard things with me...past abortions, multiple miscarriages, sexually abuse during childhood, being abandoned by a parent, multiple divorces, etc. I am praying for these ladies as they dig into God's Word this week and possibly make a timeline of their lives (an optional homework assignment), asking God to help them process the painful times in their lives through the lens of the Holy Spirit. I want every woman to know that God uses every single thing in our lives for His sovereign plan. He will redeem every thing that touches our lives for His ultimate glory. We cannot go back and change our past, but we can definately surrender all of our hurt feelings, our regret, our confusion, and our questions to a Holy God. As we do that, He begins to change us from the inside out, making us a "firm planting" (Isaiah 61:3) for the Lord that displays His glory to a lost world.

Over the past week, I have also had several ladies say that they are having trouble with their daily SOAP Bible study and that they would like some help understanding how the daily verses apply to our I am going to try to blog as often as I can, sharing the daily verse and the applications that I see. I am hesitant to do this because God can use the verse differently in each person's life. If you are a part of the Bible study group, don't wait on my response to the verse...try to do it on your own, praying for God to show you something very personal...then, let's compare notes. Hopefully this will help those of you who might be having some trouble.

Today's verse was John 8:12
"Then Jesus spoke again to them saying, 'I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.' "

The world is full of sin or darkness but Jesus is the light that illuminates our path. He brings light to mankind. His light allows me to see myself as I really am...a sinner in need of a Savior. Because of Jesus I can avoid walking blindly and falling into sin. He lights my path so I can see how to live. He guides me each and every day...step by step...moment by moment.

I am so thankful that I get to live in this marvelous light and that I get to spend my life pointing others to the light as well! Serving in ministry is such a privilege.

Until next time...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Just so you know....I blog in my head all the time....every day in fact. Unfortunately, I can't make it appear here with a snap of my fingers. If I have any faithful readers know...people that check periodically to see if I have written anything... Just know that I mean well and would like to get back to regular blogging but others things are taking precedence right now.

Maybe one day I will figure it all out...

Monday, September 12, 2011

A New Study

I have been missing in action again....for a good reason though. I am teaching a women's Bible study at church called A Confident Heart, something I desperately need in my life right now. Anyway, for the last two weeks, I have used all my free time to prepare the first couple of lessons. Our first session was last night with about 35 women participating. I was nervous on the inside, but begged God for his strength to be made perfect in my weakness. And He was there in our doubt!

I struggled over this particular study and if it would be right to do in a public setting. I mean this is my struggle, it's a personal struggle, and it has been for years. I question myself, I doubt, I worry...all those things that God's Word tells me not to do. I thought maybe I should just work through this topic myself. But, at the end of the session last night, I had several women come up to me with tears saying how much they needed to get this message down in their hearts. They too lack confidence and beat themselves up over different issues. They too desperately want to walk in the confidence that God says is available to those who believe in Him. I know that this is not just my issue and I am praying that God does a work in all of us.

I have encouraged the group to have a quiet time every single day because that is the only way that we will grow in the knowledge of Him. We are using the SOAP method of daily Bible study that I have talked about on this blog before. I passed out a verse or a section of verses for each day of the week for the next 10 weeks and explained how to journal through each step of the SOAP method.

S = Scripture...write out the scripture for the day
O= Observation...write out what you see in the verse...summarize what is there
A= Application...write out one or two ways that you can apply the verse to your life today
P= Pray the Word and how you will apply it to your life back to God

I thought I would encourage the group today with my notes from our section of Scripture for Monday....

S= Ephesians 1:17-20
"That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will KNOW what is the HOPE of His calling, what are the RICHES of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His POWER toward us who BELIEVE. These are in accordance with the working of the STRENGTH OF HIS MIGHT which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places."

Paul is praying for the Christians in Ephesus, sharing his requests for them. He wants them to know God have a spirit of wisdom and revelation that can only come from God. Revelation has to do with the imparting of knowledge from God and wisdom has to do with the proper use of that knowledge in our daily lives. He wants them to know the hope of His calling, the riches they have in Christ as part of their inheritance, and the surpassing greatness of His power toward those who believe. All of these come through the power of His strength...the same strength that was at work when Jesus was raised from the dead.

The same thing that Paul prayed for the Ephesian people is available to me today. I can know God in a very personal way and that knowledge will change my life from the inside out. I want to walk through this day with wisdom, confidence, and hope because of everything that He provides to me.

Jesus, help me to grasp the fact that You love me and Your strength and power are available to me. Thank you that I have the certain hope of a great calling. Thank you that I have riches in Christ as part of my inheritance. Thank you that I have your power at work in me. Help me to know you more and more so I will have personal revelation from You. I love you Lord. Amen.

Well, maybe that helped someone out there...

Until next time...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I pulled up my blog and could not believe that it has been 7 days since my last entry. Where does the time go? I want to do better. I hope to do better. I envisioned having more "free" time with Reagan in school and it just ain't happening. Gracen apparently is feeling the loss of her sister and wants Mommy to "sit" with her all day, regardless of what she is doing. She is constantly saying, "Come sit Momma, come sit." I know all you moms out there who are further along on this journey would tell me to sit and enjoy the time because it will be gone before I know it. So, I have been sitting and soaking up her desire to have me near. We were painting a picture this morning together on the back patio and she looked up at me two different times and said, "I love you". I tell you there are no sweeter words.

Reagan is loving school. She comes home every single day saying "school is awesome". Of course, her favorite thing to talk about is PE, but I trust that she is learning academic things too. Her teacher called me last night to tell me that she was doing wonderful and that she was very well prepared for kindergarten. She shared a weakness though. Reagan is slow about getting things done. I knew this about her already but was hoping that it wouldn't show itself at school. It takes her 10 minutes to put one shoe on in the morning and I wish I was joking. Mrs. Miller thinks it is mix between perfectionism and procrastination. I would agree. She is very particular about writing her letters and coloring, but she also has a hard time focusing on the task at hand and just getting started. I am glad that she wants to do such a good job on her classwork, but I want to encourage her to speed up and I am not sure how to that.

This problem shows itself at home too, especially in the mornings. Our morning are difficult because she is SLOW to get moving. We wake her up a little after 6:00am and Gene takes her to school at 7:30. You would think that a 5 year old could be ready for school in an hour and a half. But it is like pulling teeth to get her to do anything. I am probably exaggerating but it feels like it takes 1o minutes to put on her shirt, 10 minutes to put on her shorts, 10 minutes to wash her face and brush her hair, 10 minutes to potty....You get the idea. And don't even get me started on eating breakfast. She has yet to leave the house finishing even half of her breakfast and she is given more than enough time to eat it. For every step in getting ready I have to stay with her and stay on her or she won't do anything. And I have tried walking away. It is ridiculous! I am finding that I am a complete grump by the time she leaves at 7:30. Who knew that this season of getting her out the door on time would be so diffcult. Again I had visions of getting up and getting ready and eating a family breakfast together followed by a family devotion. I would kiss Reagan on her cheek and send her on her way. (I have a lot of visions of the way I would like things to be.)

I read somewhere recently that your children are the sandpaper that God uses to rub out the rough edges in the lives of the parents. I think that is so true. Being a mom has shown me my own weaknesses in too many ways. I see something ugly in one of my children and it scares me because I know that they learned it from me. Like this whole "slow" thing that is coming to the surface with Reagan. I probably taught her this. It takes me two hours to get going in the morning. Not because I am not doing anything, but because I really like to have a long quiet time with God. The truth of the matter is that Reagan's hour and a half battles in the morning are taking my time with God and it is irritating me. Again, I am reminded of the post I wrote not too long ago about laying down my life for my children. I know God is showing me my selfishness and I have to lay down my own desires to meet the needs of my children. I have to learn ways to teach them to overcome their own shortcomings and that is hard when I am such a work in progress my self.

Any suggestions on how to motivate Reagan in the mornings and how to encourage her to work more quickly would be fabulous!

And I know I have said this a thousand times, but parenting is NOT for the faint of heart!

Until next time...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Looking for My MOJO

I honestly was looking forward to a few hours of "alone" time when Reagan started kindergarten. I had high hopes for all I would accomplish while Gracen was taking her afternoon nap. I envisioned myself exercising, blogging, working on an upcoming Bible study that I will be teaching, catching up on odd jobs like putting pictures into photo albums, etc. And y'all, can I just say that I haven't done anything. I simply cannot get motivated.

Reagan started school last Wednesday and I took a nap on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon. I never nap! I am a little embarrassed about it, but the quiet was so nice that I found my bed calling my name. Normally, after laying Gracen down for her nap, I would be starting some one-on-one time with Reagan, and I just couldn't hold my eyes open on those days. Gene was off on Friday, so needless to say, nothing got done around here. Monday rolled around and I literally wasted 2 hours trying to decide "what to do". And here it is Tuesday, and I am blogging, which is accomplishing one of my desires, but I honestly would rather just lay down.

I cannot find my MOJO! I cannot get going. I cannot focus on one task, but rather I just float around the house doing little things, that leave me feeling like I did nothing, if that makes sense. I don't know what is wrong with me. I really just don't feel good. No energy....just blah....everyday. My mom suggested going to the doctor and having some blood work done to see if maybe I am deficient in something. She is probably right, but I seriously hate having blood drawn, so I am hoping this passes instead.

On a positive note, I have enjoyed spending some quality time with this little cutie!

We have spent the mornings doing puzzles together, reading books outside on a blanket, in the shade, of course, and just playing together. She really likes when I sit and color with her or when we get out the playdough or play at her kitchen. These are the kind of things that I did with Reagan before Gracen came along, and now it is her turn. Gracen has such a sweet temperament, and I really enjoy just being with her.

Of course, yesterday she found my favorite tube of lipstick....and she wasn't such the little cutie pie in that moment. She did pose nicely for a picture though.

I have missed Reagan. The house has been really quiet! I like quiet, but it takes some getting used to when it has been missing for so long.

She has LOVED kindergarten. She comes home every single day talking nonstop about her teacher and different activities from the day. She has been eager to get up and get dressed in the mornings too. I know we are only 5 days in, but I am thankful that she likes it so far.

Yesterday, she came home and could read 6 sentences on her own. They contained some of the sight words that she is memorizing. Her homework was to read each sentence 3 times to me and then repeat the activity with another adult (her dad). She was so proud of herself, and I must admit, I teared up! I was so shocked to hear her read...on her own. In true Reagan style, she did say that since she could now read, she didn't need to go back to school. Thankfully, she wanted to go this morning.

(Her sentences were very simple and repetitive..."I am a dog. I am a cat. I am a pig. I am a hat. I am a bat. I am a mat.)

Until next time...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Reagan's 1st Day of Kindergarten

The big day finally arrived! Reagan's first day of kindergarten is here. She got up early this morning excited and ready to go. I was very thankful for that! In my nightmares, I thought we might have to drag her out of the bed kicking and screaming. Of course, that will probably come in the next week or so as the "newness" wears off.

Here are a few pictures from the morning.

Here is her lunch for the first day of school...her requests, of course. I cut her sandwich in heart shapes and added a little lunchbox note inside her sandwich box letting her know that I would be looking forward to seeing her after school. My older sister sent me these cute notes in the mail and I think they are just precious. Thanks Lori!

Here is Reagan ready to head out the door. She looked so grown up to me.
Here she is in her new classroom. She literally gasped when she walked into the room. She walked all around the room and was pointing things out to us. She was introduced to a few of the students and to her new teacher, Mrs. Miller. Gene and I helped her put all her things away and get settled in her seat.

Her cousin Jacob is in her class and they seemed really happy to see each other. A familiar face was a good thing in such a big, new place.

And here are both of my girls with the teacher, Mrs. Nancy Miller.

I am so excited for this new season in her life and I have prayed for her throughout the day.

My day sure has been quiet though. Reagan is my talker and Gracen has always been quiet. Gracen and I enjoyed a lot of one on one time today doing puzzles and reading books. I enjoyed that time with her and I think she did as well.

Of course Gracen did walk around the house a few times calling "Sister! Sister!" I guess she will get used to Reagan being gone during the day.

Until next time....