November 25, 2014

About Martha Bush

Martha Bush — Blog Contributor
Martha has been married to her amazing husband for 46 years. Together they have two grown daughters, and three grandchildren, of whom she is very proud of! She lives in Orange, Texas. Martha has been involved in ministry with her church for 20 years. Some of her favorite hobbies include reading, walking, and playing with her grandchildren.

CHRISTLife — ThirtyFive: Delighted In, Favored, and Honored

cl delighted in favored and honored

Hadley, my two-year-old granddaughter, recently spent a week with me.  And, yes, I pampered her as all grandmothers do their grandchildren.

Like most women, Hadley enjoys a bubble bath at the end of a day and I was happy to oblige her.  One night, along with the rest of the bath toys she likes to surround herself with, I tossed a crown into the tub that had been used for decoration on a birthday cake.  As she soaked in the bubbles, the crown floated past her.  She grabbed the crown, placed it on her head and said:

I’m a Queen.

Oh, the imagination of a child!  How quickly Hadley had made the transition from being a little girl surrounded by bubbles and toys to wearing the title of Queen!  Just for fun, let’s play an imaginary game.

Suppose you were standing outside the palace gates of a king. As you stood there at the gates, your attire looked something like this:

  • you were clothed in filthy rags of whining, coaxing, self-pity, anger, resentment, revenge
  • you fought for your own rights and pushed your way through life
  • you always tried to borrow from others the kind of love you desperately needed
  • you rummaged through garbage pails looking for scraps of self-realization
  • the life of a pauper was your lifestyle

As you stood outside the palace gates in your filthy drab, you heard the king beckoning someone to come to him and be his bride.  You look around to see who he is calling, but there is no one else standing at the gate at this time.  And then you hear him issue the call again.

You look up to the window where he stands, your eyes meet his gaze, and say:  “You can’t mean me—why I’m just a pauper.  I’m not good enough for you. And my appearance, well, I am not the prettiest woman in the world.  I wouldn’t be a very good helpmate either, because I am just so dumb.  One of my teachers in school told me I would never amount to anything, and she was right, I didn’t; I’m just a failure.  No, I can’t marry you; I’m just too unworthy to be your bride.  But, thanks for asking anyway.”

Without another word spoken from the king, he stretched forth his hand beckoning you to come into his arms.  This time, you caught a look of love on his face that you had never ever seen on another.  It penetrated into the very depths of your heart and you at last realized that, “Yes, he wants me!”  You accepted his proposal, you were quickly ushered into the palace to be with him, and he placed a crown on your head.  Instantly, your life took on a new identity with the king in the palace.

Oh, my dear friends, this is no fairy tale, it is for real.  It is a story about YOU and ME, and how quickly we transitioned from our pauper state into a place of royalty when we accepted Jesus Christ as Savior.  Oh, yes, we became the Bride of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  You now stand daily in His presence and—

  • He sees you as His gift that He delights in—Ephesians 1:11; Isaiah 62:4
  • He takes pleasure in you—Psalm 149:4
  • He rejoices over you with gladness and singing—Zephaniah 3:17
  • You captivate His heart—Song of Solomon 4:9
  • You have favor in His sight—Psalm 84:11; Exodus 33:12; Psalm 4:3; 5:12
  • He honors you by making you royalty—Revelation 1:6; Romans 5:17

Enough said!  Now, if you will excuse me, I think I will just go fill my bath tub with bubble bath, light a candle, turn on the praise and worship music, and hop into the tub with my crown on. Just like Hadley said: “I’m a Queen!”

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * 

Let us pray: Father God, I thank You for rescuing us out of our pauper state through the shed blood of Your son, Jesus, into a place of royalty. I am overwhelmed when I read in Your Word how much You delight in me, how much You favor me, and bestow honor on me as Your queen. May we all wear the crown and title in a way that will bring honor and glory to Your name by fulfilling the purpose for which You created us to be. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

CHRISTLife — Thirty: Belonging

cl belonging

Picture this scene:

Years ago while walking down the hallway of the school where I was teaching, I came face-to-face with an eighth grade student who had transferred out of my class the previous quarter.  Curious about her transfer, I stopped her and the conversation went like this:
“Why did you transfer out of my class?”  She replied: “I don’t like you!
After years of teaching, I wasn’t naïve enough to think that every teenager in my class was madly in love with me.  However, no one had ever point-blank told me so to my face.  A glutton for punishment, I pressed her for more information. “What is it that you don’t like about me?”
Placing her hands on her hips, swerving them from side to side and rolling her big eyes at me, she bluntly said, “Lady, there ain’t nothing about you that I do like!
Whoa! It wouldn’t do for me to repeat what I wanted to say and do to this fourteen-year-old.  Let’s just say, if I had carried through, I would have been put behind prison bars for assaulting a child.  So, I just mustered up a fake smile to her, and continued on my way.  As I walked on down the hall to my next class, my thoughts flashed back to an encounter I had with myself a few years earlier.  Alone in my bedroom one cold and rainy night, I had gazed into the mirror on the wall and uttered the exact same words that this fourteen-year-old had so bluntly spoken to me: “I don’t like you,” and I also admitted for the first time in my life: “I have no idea who I am.”

After my encounter with myself in the mirror, and what was fast becoming my bottomless pit of despair, it was as though the Holy Spirit took me by the hand and we began to travel down a muddy road that I had traveled for years.  As I retraced my tracks along that road, I viewed people whom I had allowed to mold and shape me into their image.

Being a “don’t rock the boat” kind of person with a low-key personality, I had avoided conflict at all extremes.  In doing so, I became a yo-yo on a string, bobbling up and down, trying to keep peace and harmony, albeit a false harmony. People Pleaser—that was my addiction.

Talk about having no sense of belonging, that was me.  How well I can relate to what Mrs. Myers says we do on the human level to achieve a sense of belonging:

“…we base our feelings of belongingness on our ability to attract love and approval and inclusion. Since both we and other people are imperfect and changeable, human relationships fail to fully meet our need for inner support.” (page 127)

New Sense of Belonging:  I believe the Holy Spirit took me down that muddy road to view ways I had gotten off the right path and then He gave me a new direction.  I began to travel on a new ‘Road of Identity’—one that gave me purpose in life.  In our chapter today, Mrs. Myers describes it so well.

  • “In God we have a belongingness based on eternal, unconditional love that accepts us without regard for our merits or demerits.”
  • “…In Christ we never have to view ourselves as deficient or as outsiders, or as inferior to those who see themselves as exclusive or elite.”
  • Christ is in us. (Colossians 1:27)
  • We are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. (1 Corinthians 3:23)
  • ‘Through the blood of Christ,’ we are now ‘inside the circle of God’s love.’ (Ephesians 2:13)
  • We ‘belong in God’s household with every other Christian.’ (Ephesians 2:19)
  • Each of us is a full member of ‘the Church of the Firstborn, whose names are written in heaven.’ (Hebrews 12:23)

It reminds me of an old hymn of the church…
Now I belong to Jesus,
Jesus belongs to me.
Not for the years of time alone,
But for eternity.

Let’s pray:  Father God, Your Word says: “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light” (I Peter 2:9 NIV).  Thank You, Lord, for choosing us as Your own.  Help us to look only to You for belonging…not anyone else.  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.

Girls With Swords: Chapter 14 Weekly Review – “Cross Carry.”

Welcome to Campground USA

Log Cabins, Nature Trails, Canoes, Paddle Boats, Bikes, Fishing

________________________________

Once upon a time there were 5 girlfriends–Teresa, Jennifer, Tonya, Diane, and Martha–headed to a weekend retreat. They were riding down the road giggling so hard that their sides were splitting. Then all of a sudden, they saw a road sign up ahead that read: 

 You are now entering the Prince of Darkness Territory.

You are a Target!

Deciding that they would not allow fear to defeat them, they continued on their journey, and met up with 2 bu loads of women.  Previous plans were cancelled and all 150 plus women ended up camping at Campground USA studying Girls With Swords by Lisa Bevere.

What a time they have had!  Tonight was their last night together before heading back home.  I can’t wait to hear what my 4 girlfriends have to say about  the final chapter: Cross Carry.  Let’s head on down to the bonfire.

Teresa

Throughout our study of Girls With Swords, we have learned that we are Chosen, Equipped, and Armed.  This week, we have been COMMISSIONED to enter active service.  ‘Commissioned’ means: the act of granting certain powers or the authority to carry out a particular task or duty; a group of people officially authorized to perform certain duties or functions; in active service; authority to undertake or perform certain duties.

Preparation for Active Service

1.  Jesus gives The Great Commission:  “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.  Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, BAPTIZE them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  TEACH these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.  And be sure of this:  I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

2.  How to carry out this job?  “If anyone would COME after me, let him DENY himself and TAKE up his cross and FOLLOW me.”  (Matthew 16:24)

3.  What is OUR crossIt is our part of the Kingdom.  We each have a job that only we can do.   

Take up your cross, do your job, and be honored to lay your crown down at the feet of Jesus.

Jennifer 

Quoting Lisa:  “Jesus didn’t hold formal crusades, conferences, or even weekly services.  Yet every waking moment of his life was a message.  There is nothing wrong with these, but they are rarely part of our everyday lives.  Jesus carried God with Him every day, everywhere He went, and He is asking you to do the same.  Embracing all of what God has done for you and reflecting this new life to others can be likened to taking up the cross.  As we lay hold of this truth, we carry ourselves and see our world differently.”

How does each of our lives become a living message

  • It comes down to TRUST.
  • Will I let God use me, this fragile clay jar, in order to further the gospel message? 

For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.  

(2 Corinthians 4:6-7)

Tonya

I have loved learning about the various crosses we are to carry, the true power we have as girls with swords, and the true power that those swords possess.  We are instructed to wield different kinds of swords, to possess different characteristics.  

I have asked, “How do I do this and do it the right way, Lord?”  Two words:  “Follow Him.”

Christ:

  1. Loved the people  (Matthew 4:23) 
  2. Forgave the people  (Matthew 9:2-8)
  3. Fed the people  (Acts 10:38)
  4. Redeemed the people  (Psalm 107:2)

As Lisa said:  “The Cross is our sign and you are His wonder.” 

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:23-25)

Love.  Forgive.  Free.  Heal.  Redeem.  Encourage.

Diane

In Zechariah 9:13, God tells us He will make us like a warrior’s sword:  “From now on people are my swords.”

1.  A Sword

  • As God’s warrior swords we put Him on display each morning as we begin our day letting His love shine through our imperfect human flesh.
  • Quoting Lisa:  “Daughter of God, turn from your reflection, deny its limitations, and reflect Him.”

 2.   A Hero

  • Being a hero is getting rid of yourself, and filling up your life with Jesus.
  • When we let ourselves be God’s sword, we become His hero as well.
  • Being a hero has nothing to do with us, it has everything to do with what we let flourish inside of us:  Jesus
  • Quoting Lisa:  “Live like a hero, and you will strike a sure blow to the enemy, and the captives will be set free.”

Be sensitive and obedient to the Holy Spirit’s leading in your life.  As He leads you, Satan will be cut by the living Sword you have let flourish.  Lost, lonely, hurting captives will be set free, and you will be nowhere to be found but living as a hero in Christ!

***************  

And so it was a night to end all nights around the campfire.  “Something” got a hold of everyone in that campground. 

  • Such singing like you never heard led by Coleen
  • A pink bedazzled sword group led by Diane marched around the bonfire as in the Jericho March
  • The prayer team of Coleen, Merol, and Mary laid hands on every single woman in attendance
  • Much scriptures were given by Mary, Clella, Colleen, Amy, and Kim
  • At midnight, Christi started preaching again

And just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, Laurie started dancing around that bonfire.  To put it mildly, she danced, shall we say a Freedom Dance. She stopped long enough to say:  “Come on everybody, join in with me, and let’s dance!”

Oh, how I do love to worship the Lord, but I have got to tell you that, in public, I am a little conservative.  But, when I saw Laurie dancing, something moved in me, and I said to myself;  “I want that kind of freedom, too.”  And so I began to move out slowly at first, but then, it happened.  What came upon me next was not, shall we say, a little charismatic skip and hop, it was a warfare dance.  Bondages fell off me, and I felt like The Great Commission had now taken root and would become active in my life. 

And that’s the way our time together ended—worshipping the Lord, and dancing into the night.

 *****

Let’s Pray: 

Lord, how we thank You for this time of studying Your Word together.  We thank You for using Lisa Bevere in our lives to learn more about the sword You have given us to wear daily.  We pray Your blessings upon her as she travels around the globe ministering to the lost and hurting.  I close with:  May we all fulfill The Great Commission in our lives.  In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen!

**********

Now a word from our Founder, Christi Wilson:

Ladies, I pray this last study has been as much of a blessing to you, as it has been to us!  We have enjoyed learning from Lisa Bevere, and will continue to lift her in prayer, as we have each day of this study.

We hope you will join us for our next study that begins July 8th.  

Written by Teresa J Bolme, especially for Girlfriends Coffee Hour, “I AM” will be a study about discovering who the great I AM is, who you are in the great I AM, and what your eternal hope is in the great I AM!  This is an amazing study, and we are so excited to share it with you.  I want to personally thank Teresa for all the many hours she put into writing this study!  The Holy Spirit truly led her in the writing of this book, and we are very appreciative!  We feel very blessed to have such a talented person, as Teresa is, on our Leadership Team!  THANK YOU TERESA!

We will release the study next Wednesday, July 3rd.  You will be able to purchase it then with a donation to Girlfriends Coffee Hour, in ANY AMOUNT.  This helps us defray the ministry and website costs that we incur; as well as helping us provide Bibles to those who are in need of one.   

You are able to REGISTER TODAY, but will not be able to purchase the study until July 3rd.  Once you register, we will email you when the study is ready to purchase and download to your computer.  

Once again, thank you for joining us again in this “Girls With Swords” study.  May the good Lord bless you, and all that you put your hands to, in Jesus’ Name, AMEN

Girls with Swords: Chapter 13 Weekly Review – “Sword of Forgiveness and Restoration” (Contest Included)

 Welcome to Campground USA

Log Cabins, Nature Trails, Canoes

Paddle Boats, Bikes, Fisher

_________________________________________

For the last few weeks, I have felt like a kid on Christmas morning as I unwrapped each gift God has literally placed in my hands.  He gave me a:

  • Sword of Harvest

  • Sword of Light

  • Sword of Song

  • Sword of Silence

  • Sword of Forgiveness and Restoration

My thanks to Lisa Bevere for helping me realize just how much God loves me.  Oh, you got the same bag of Swords?  Well, of course you did!  I feel a song coming on.  Sing it with me.

“Oh, how He loves you and me. Oh, how He loves you and me.
He gave His life, what more could He give.
Oh how He loves you, Oh how He loves me, Oh how He loves you and me!”

But, He did give more.  Not only did He give His life for us, but He gave us a bag of swords to join with Him on the battleground in which the enemy rages war against us.

Let’s go on down to the bonfire, and learn more about this Sword of Forgiveness and Restoration from my four girlfriends.  And BTW, don’t be in such a hurry to leave the bonfire tonight.  It is Bible Sword Drill Time.  You don’t want to miss it.  You will see the quiz questions below this review.  Answer the questions to the best of your ability, without using your Bible.  Submit your questions; we will announce the winner on SUNDAY, June 23rd!  

_________

Teresa

The concept of “stooping beneath” someone else is seen as subservient and undesirable.  Pride is prized above personal relationships.  Grudges are held until the reason for the anger can no longer be remembered.  Stubbornness and pride are not virtues in God’s economy; humbleness and forgiveness are.

Quoting Lisa:

  • We have to be devoted to a greater cause than our individual rights and opinions.
  • Though we are entrusted with a Sword of the Spirit, we are not armed to harm.
  • We do not fight to tear down, but to build up.  The authority heaven lends to us on earth is to destroy evil by doing good.

Someone will eventually need to “stoop” to show love.  Make 1 Corinthians 13 your guide as you break down family curses.

All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  (Romans 3:23)

Jennifer

During a visit with her father, who was in a facility due to dementia, Lisa relates a story about God’s faithfulness. Lisa sensed that her father was fully cognizant of who she and her children were; and she prayed asking God what she should say. Here is the exchange:

  • Heavenly Father, what should I say?”
  • The response was:  “Tell him he was a good dad.”
  • I countered, “That’s a lie! I am not going to lie to himespecially not now! He was not a good father.”
  • I heard a firm assurance: “He was as good as he knew how to be.”

If you are nurturing hurt from a broken relationship and God is prompting you to move toward restoration, listen to what He has to say and then act.  His timing is always perfect and He knows just what we need to say and do every time.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior.  Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.  (Ephesians 4:31-32)

Tonya  

As a Bereavement Counselor I have seen unforgiveness

  • lead to children not visiting their parent as they die
  • breed words of hurt and hate, open wounds that were thought closed, and cause those wounds to go unhealedopportunities gone.

I have also seen forgiveness

  • build bridges, heal hearts, create new beginnings, new opportunities relationships restored and mended.

We don’t know what will happen after we pick up that sword of forgiveness and carry it with us on our journey. But what we do know is after we forgive, after we lay the issue at God’s feet and allow love to fill the space where the unforgiveness lived, that God will take over.  He will fulfill the promises He made regarding relationships before they were even formed.

Forgiveness – -whom the Son sets free is free indeed.

Kim

What is your story, dear friend?

  • Do you have deep wounds that still need healing?
  • Perhaps you have overcome and you are in a good place, but someone in your family is struggling and you are just at your end with it. The ripple effect is reaching everyone including your children.
  • Did your daddy love you and tell you how beautiful you were, or are you still begging for his attention?
  • Was your childhood stolen by someone who had no right to do so?
  • Maybe something happened in your life as an adult and you’re ashamed of the way you dealt with it.

Your story is full of opportunities to help someone else struggling. Only when we have let go of resentment and forgive can we be free.  As Lisa said:  “How might God use you as an agent of restoration?”

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others when they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.  (2 Corinthians 1:4)

***********

Let’s Pray:  

Father God, we are so thankful that You gave Your life for us so that we might have a home in heaven with You.  But, we are also so thankful that You did not leave us stranded as the enemy tries to wage war against us here on this earth.  Help us look to You for guidance as to how and when to use the Sword You have given us.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

 

 DON’T LEAVE YET!!  IT’S QUIZ TIME!!

 

QUIZ TIME

 

Girls with Swords: Chapter 12 Weekly Review – “Sword of Silence”

 

Welcome to Campground USA

Log Cabins, Nature Trails, Canoes,

Paddle Boats, Bikes, Fishing

Picture this scene: There was an eerie silence among the townspeople as a vast army invaded their city.  No doubt the people feared for their life as this army marched around the walls of their city without a word.  

Sitting up in the window of one of the buildings in the city was a woman they all recognized from her occupation.  But today, there was something different about this woman.  As the townspeople peered from behind their windows watching the scenario unfold before them, they could tell she looked peaceful and content as the army marched.  And what was that thing she was holding in her hands?  A long red thread?  Wonder why she is holding that?

You see, the lady in the window had, shall we say, CONNECTIONS with the commander of the army, and was just following his instructions.  “Sit still and be quiet, and when the walls of the city are all down, we will come in and rescue you.  But——-if you go out into the city to try to save yourself, your blood will not be on our hands.”  (Joshua 2, paraphrased.)

Yes, Rahab—the harlot, one whose name ended up in the Hall of Faith for her obedience of wielding her Sword of Silence as the walls of Jericho came tumbling down.  

Let’s go on down to the bonfire and learn more about this Sword of Silence from my girlfriends.

Teresa:

Some of us are “basket cases” and some of us are “cool cucumbers”  as we face major trauma.  If we look at Jesus’ example, we will find He sought silence to be alone with the Father before His major battles. 

  1. He was fasting and praying when He was confronted with Satan in the desert. (Matthew 4:1-2)
  2. He sought silence and seclusion after the death of His best friend, John the Baptist. (Matthew 14:10-13)
  3. After ministering to the crowds and pouring Himself out, Jesus sought solitude and quiet in the mountains. (Matthew 14:23)
  4.  Jesus dealt with His popularity and the crowds by taking times of silence to reconnect with the Father.
  5. He dealt with this fear and anxiety through quiet time with the Father. (Matthew 17:1-3)
  6. Before Jesus faced his death, He went alone to pray to His Father and ask for the coming events to be taken from Him.  (Matthew 26:36)
  7. When questioned by the Pharisees, Jesus was controlled, reserved, and thought before He spoke. 
  8. When Jesus appeared before Pilate, He was asked very direct questions which would cause Him to be put to death and Jesus remained silent. (Mark 14:61)
  9. “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”  (Isaiah 53:7)

If we follow Jesus’ example, we will seek the Father BEFORE we get into hard and traumatic situations.

Jennifer 

Wielding the Sword of Silence is very tricky, especially when the battle we are fighting is personalThere is so much wisdom regarding quarrels, friendships, and revenge in Proverbs as it relates to wielding the Sword of Silence during our individual struggles.

1.  Quarrels and Gossip

  • Proverbs 26:20 – – – Fire goes out without words and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.
  • We have to make a choice to stay silent, to not be angry, and to entrust the situation to our God.

2.  Friendships and Strife

  • Proverbs 16:28 – – – A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends.
  • We must recognize that “we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies but against the powers of the dark world” (Ephesians 6:12).

3.  Revenge

  • Proverbs 28:29 – – – Don’t testify against your neighbors without cause; don’t lie about them. And don’t say, “Now I can pay them back for what they’ve done to me! I’ll get even with them!
  • Revenge is the way of the world; it is not God’s way. Jesus was arrested, tried, convicted, and put to death an innocent man. During the course of His trial and conviction, He had many opportunities to plead His case, but He remained SILENT. He knew that His Father was taking care of everything.  

We all have our individual struggles, but we were not created to handle them on our own. God is right there, waiting for you to call on Him. He wants to change our hearts. Be still; be silent. Let God speak to you and then do what He says.

Tonya

The sword of silence seems too heavy to bear when we have been wearied by altercations of life, relationships, and responsibilities.  As Lisa said:  The trick is choosing to allow those critiques to refine, not define us.

Keys to remember:

  1. God alone establishes houses.
  2. When we live under the directive of God’s Spirit, God protects us.
  3. God knows how to settle matters with our enemies.
  4. We should never use our position with God to protect ourselves.
  5. We are not to take judgment or salvation matters into our hands; both of these matters belong to our God.    

I remind myself to step back in prayer and allow God to handle the situation; I’m supposed to bite my tongue.

Kim

I’ve never thought of silence as a weapon, but I can think of countless situations where silence would have definitely been my best weapon.

  • As a mom, when that precious child you’ve nurtured, built up, loved and protected comes home wounded by the words of her friends.
  • When a husband isn’t doing things the way I would.
  • Because of my past, I was the topic of conversation at many dinner tables even after I had a few years of a transformed life under my belt, rumors and yes, the facts were still spoken about me, hurting my children and me.

As much as I wanted to set the record straight, as much as you may want to set a record straight, we are to be different and choose a different weapon!  

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”  Exodus 14:14

***

Let’s Pray:

Father God, how wonderful it is that You have given us a sword to use for every battle we face.  How I thank You for the Sword of Silence.  Though it is our natural tendency to want to “fix” our problems.  May we allow You to train us to be still, hold our peace, knowing that You are the one fighting the battle for us.  In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.

Girls with Swords: Chapter 11 Weekly Review – “Sword of Song” (with a SURPRISE Guest!!)

 

Welcome to Campground USA

Log Cabins, Nature Trails, Canoes,

Paddle Boats, Bikes, Fishing

________________________________________________

Sing unto the Lord a new song!”  Did this group ever worship the Lord in song this week and bring joy to Campground USA!  Music, music, music could be heard blaring from our cabins, and women singing all up and down the nature trails as they went on their morning walk.  Guess who else was singing with us?  Why, the birds, of course!  They seemed to be saying:  “It’s about time you all joined in with us!”

Even the other campers didn’t seem to mind the sound of music and songs filtering throughout the campground.  Yes, music is a universal language everyone seems to relate to.  But, as a sword??  Who would have thought?  I can’t wait to see how my girlfriends explain this one.  Let’s check them out!

Teresa

Lisa begins this chapter with the introduction of a truly amazing sword.  (The flamberge, which means “flame blade.”) This sword causes vibrations which loosens the opponent’s grip and causes them to lose footing.  The vibrations give the sword-bearer the upper hand. 

The same thing happens when the created ones praise the Creator.  The power is in the praise.  Lisa says, “as we singespecially when we sing the Wordthe airwaves begin to vibrate with sound, and the grip of the enemy slips as the friction between light and darkness increases.”  

When we sing praises to God the Father, the Creator, we join our vibrations with other humans, animals, and His creation to return thanks and worship to One worthy to be praised.

Jennifer

Exodus 15:1-2 says:  I will sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously; He has hurled both horse and rider into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my song; He has given me victory. This is my God, and I will praise Him – my father’s God, and I will exalt Him!

This song marks the origin or beginning of songIt came after the Lord had just parted the Red Sea for the Israelites allowing them all to cross; then the water rushed back into place, sweeping the Egyptians away with it. 

Music:

  • draws us closer to our Creator
  • it invites Him into our space and allows Him to work
  • provides a means of coping with a difficult life situation
  • declares our trust in the One who is trustworthy; the One who loves us beyond comprehension; and the One who seeks to meet our every need in His perfect time
  • God is magnified, His dominion is declared over our situation.  As He inhabits the praises of His people, we are before Him even as He is within us.  Our hearts begin to swell with His courage as they overflow with gratitude.  (Lisa)

Lift your voice to the King.  He is waiting to hear your voice!

Tonya

Isaiah 54:1 says: “Sing, O barren, you who have not borne! Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you who have not labored with child! For more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married woman,” says the Lord. (NKJV)

Just as Lisa has described it:  “The sounds of music helps to create a type of joyful strength and the ability to remind us of just how awesome the Most High is.”

There are times in our lives when we need to pick up our sword of song, we need to wield it, shout and sing.  The song of battle needs to be one of our tools as a warrior of Christ, and as a girl with a sword.

Diane

There are some things I feel compelled to share with you about this chapter.

1.  Revelation 4:9-10  Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

The first time I read this passage —-

  • It helped me solidify who God is in my life.  He is worthy of all of my praise, glory, and honor.
  • It challenges me to make sure that in everything I do, there are elders on their knees in Heaven worshipping our One and Only.

2.  Music invites your body to move, but remembering all that God has done for you will move you.  (Lisa) It will move you out of darkness!

3.  The song that moved me out of some of the darkest hours of my life is:

I love you Lord, and I lift my voice

To worship you, oh my soul rejoice.

Take joy, my King, in what you hear

May it be a sweet, sweet sound in your ear.

4.  Is the song you sing every day the life you live for God? 

********** 

After Diane spoke, I stood before the group and spoke.

Ladies, I believe the Sword of Song has touched all of our hearts in a powerful way.  Tonight, as we enter into His gates with Thanksgiving and into His courts with praise, we are very blessed to have a very special Guest; one of our very own GCH group members leading us into God’s presence.  

Would you please welcome Coleen Hayden and her husband Robert, as they minister to us in song. Coleen is our Prayer Ministry Leader, and we just love her to pieces!  Sing to Him a New Song!

Thank you Robert & Coleen for blessing us with such a beautiful song!

 ____________________________

Let’s Pray: 

I come into agreement with Diane’s prayer that seems to sum up the whole chapter.  I thank You for orchestrating the songs of our lives.  Help us to play back to You the music You created in our souls from the very beginning.  I pray we desire to bring You praise and glory and honor.  I thank You for the melody You are playing in our lives.  Help us to always let our lives be a sweet, sweet sound to Your ear!  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Girls with Swords: Chapter 10 Weekly Review – “Sword of Light.”

Welcome to Campground USA

Log Cabins, Nature Trails, Canoes,

Paddle Boats, Bikes, Fishing

Yes, here we are at the campground listening to the birds chirping every morning, as well as sipping coffee, taking walks along the nature trail, and above all, learning so much about our Sword from Lisa Bevere.  No doubt each woman has their own special chapter that might have ministered to them the most.  For me, it was Chapter 10, our current chapter.  So, let’s head on down to the bonfire to see what my 4 girlfriends have to say about it.

Teresa 

“We can’t see the whole picture NOW (the earthbound temporal realm). Because there is more than what meets the eye, “we need the sword of light and discernment”  to see what our eyes are missing in the Big Picture.  (Lisa)

If we do not recognize the Light, the darkness will overtake us and the ones we love.  Paul’s letter to Timothy described the last days as:

People will—-

  • love only themselves and their money 
  • be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful 
  • consider nothing sacred 
  • be unloving and unforgiving
  • will slander others and have no self-control
  • be cruel and hate what is good 
  • betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God
  •  act religious, but will reject the power that could make them godly (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

These are not issues brought about by circumstances of where you live, but about where your HEART is.  Just as Lisa said: 

  • The Word of God is the lamp that lights our paths while it judges our actions as surely as it discerns our hearts.  Without the light of God’s Word, we would all be running around in the dark, afraid of what we cannot see. 
  • Without the insight of God’s Word, it is easy to mistake an enemy for a friend and someone’s past for their future, because the shadow realm distorts our perspective.  But when the light is brought to a situation, you see what is actually before you.

Jennifer 

Satan uses his schemes, plots, and tactics to divide us from God and each other.  Lisa presents three methods of countering Satan’s attacks.

1.  Love - - Biblical love teaches us what true love really is in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and Mark 12:31. 

  • “Hate lives in the dark; love lives in the light.”  (Lisa)

2.  Power – – Satan attempts to make us think we are not worthy or good enough by using our past sins against us.  Remember:  “We are descendants of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession”  (1 Peter 2:9). 

  • Our #1 assignment is to be an ambassador for Christ and to let His will be done in our lives.
  • “You are his prized possession, redeemed to proclaim all that He did when He called you out of a life of darkness to live forever in the glory of His light.  That’s the power of your testimony.”  (Lisa)

3.   Sound Mind – – Our thoughts can breed a multitude of negative thoughts.  “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.  Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is”  (Romans 12:2).

  • “The Word of God has the power to renew your mind and change it from unsound to sound.” (Lisa)

 Tonya

We are a society that almost automatically labels those around us; we label ourselves just as much. Often times these labels focus on our negative characteristics, what we or others may see wrong on the outside, or on our brokenness. But there is more beyond those labels.

Lisa says:  “Discernment is about knowing what is really going on, so that heroic daughters can turn what others see as a disadvantage into an advantage. The discerning warrior will know how to turn evil around for good.”

God gifted us with discernment so that we could see the good and the bad, so that we could help encourage the good and help us see ourselves and those around us for what He created us to be. 

As the much loved scripture says: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Diane

The following words from Lisa are ones that stuck out the most to me:

  1. Discernment and true intercession have the power to release restrained captives into their destiny.
  2. Throughout His earthly walk, Jesus discerned the work of the Evil One, then interceded by bringing light, truth, and healing into the darkened days of earth.
  3. Discernment realizes when others are blind and then intercedes based on their ignorance rather than on their actions. The cross ended our separation from God, but his intercession didn’t stop there; Jesus not only rose from the grave; he ascended into heaven and is interceding for us.  (Romans. 8:33-34)

(Diane’s testimony sums up ‘Discernment and Prayer’ beautifully)

  • I was once held captive, restrained by Satan’s slithering grasp. I was so blinded by the darkness my life was quickly becoming. 
  •  I cried painful tears every single day.  Every time I cried, I wished someone would see me crying, and then maybe someone would pray for me; I had no strength or words to pray for myself.
  • Then I came across this passage:  In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.  And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.  (Romans 8:26-27)
  • I then realized that God saw every tear that fell from my eyes, not only did He catch them in His hands, but He also prayed each one away.  In those teary moments, God’s spirit interceded for me. He was the One I was wishing for all along to pray for me – -I just didn’t know it at the time.
  • Because of the dark we find God’s light.
  • Because we have found God’s light, we are able to help others find God’s light.

IntercedeForOthers.jpg

**********   

After Diane spoke, Praise and Worship began.  This is usually the time I reflect on what my friends have just spoken about.  As I said, this chapter really touched my heart.  To be honest, I have never considered myself an intercessor. Oh, I talk to God all day but, sometimes I have this vision of intercession as being on your knees hours at a time.  But, Lisa listed other ways we intercede:  speak up for another as an advocate, speak into a conflict that needs resolution, stand up for the downtrodden and silenced. 

Oh yes – -I am an intercessor!  I get great pleasure doing that!!  I walked back to the cabin in the moonlight and felt the presence of the Lord all around me. 

Let’s Pray: 

Father God, how we thank You for Your Sword of Light.  May we become a discerning daughter, and ready to be a vessel to set free those who are being held captive by the enemy.  In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Girls with Swords: Chapter 9 Weekly Review – “Sword of the Harvest”

Welcome to Campground USA

Log Cabins, Nature Trails, Canoes,

Paddle Boats, Bikes, Fishing

Picture this scene:  You are sitting around the pool at the campground, soaking up some warm sunshine with other women from our group studying Girls With Swords.  Ah, how relaxing! 

I was sitting there with you.  As the sun beamed down upon my face, tears of conviction rolled down my cheeks.  You see, I was reading over the handout sheet Teresa, Jennifer, Tonya, and Diane gave us for Chapter 8 in regards to WORDS—words that I had spoken unkindly to others, words others had used to persecute me, and words that I had omitted speaking as a witness for Jesus.  It was a time of judging myself, and asking forgiveness of the times I had grieved the heart of God.  It was also a time of blessing others who had persecuted me.

Though I didn’t realize it at the time, God was untangling me from some of the weeds I had allowed to grow in my heart that had gotten me off the path of holiness that we would be discussing further in Chapter 9.   Oh yes, those tears actually felt good.  Not only did they seem to serve as a cleansing stream, but cleared a path to go forward.

Before I knew it, it was time to head on down to the campfire to hear what my friends had to say about Sword of Harvest.  Come, go with me.

Teresa

Lisa points to the fact that there is only one native North American, all-purpose sword—the machete.  It is made to be used for hard work…clearing a path to walk on, insuring safety, as a tool for many purposes, and even food preparation.

Our sWord is much like a machete—it clears our path and ensures our safety.  For example:

  • Deuteronomy 5:33   Stay on the path that the Lord your God has commanded you to follow.  THEN you will live long and prosper in the land you are to enter and occupy.
  • Psalms 1:6   The Lord watches over the path of the godly, the path of the wicked leads to destruction.
  • 2 Samuel 22:29   God, your light floods my path; God drives out the darkness.
  • Proverbs 3:6  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.
  • 1 Kings 2:3  Do what God tells you.  Walk in the paths He shows you. 

At some point in your life, you will find yourself with a choice.  Which path will you take…the one that ascends to light and life, or the one that descends to darkness and death?  There is no middle way.

I urge you to get to know the Leader and follow His path. Let Him carry the machete and clear your path.  He has a plan that is best for you.  

 

Jennifer:

According to Jeremiah, God’s people have wandered off the path of holiness (Jeremiah 18:15).

Lisa tells us how to get back on the path:

  •  Just as a machete clears paths in the wild, the sword of God’s Word has the power to sever what entangles us.  
  • Through the power of His Word, He makes a way where there seems to be no way.
  •  Sometimes you need to make a radical environmental change – turn off your television, get off the Internet, and hang up the phone. When all these voices are silenced, you have a chance to quiet yourself as well. This isn’t an invitation to meditate on a deeper revelation of YOU but to experience a deeper revelation of HIM.
  • To avoid a hostile re-invasion from the enemy, you mustfirmly establish a new lifestyle and environment 

What changes do you need to make today in order to return to the ancient pathto be a trailblazer like Jesus?  God does not really want us to be comfortable. He wants us on a mission, to reach the lost and hopeless, to be trailblazers for His Kingdom.

 

Tonya

Lisa examined the relationship between Jesus and John the Baptist.  (John was the herald and Jesus was the heralded.)

Herald means:  an official crier or messenger, one that precedes or foreshadows, one that conveys news or proclaims, one who actively promotes or advocates—messenger, crier, foreshadows, proclaims, conveys news, promotes, advocates.

Quoting Lisa: 

  •  ” In times of harvest, paths must be cleared and maintained so the harvesters can get to the fields”
  •  “John was a forerunner who understood his season and purpose; like him, we should herald the One to come.”

We have been assigned many titles—woman, wife, mother, daughter, friend, employee, girls with swords, warriors—and now we are also heralds. 

Are we clearing the paths or are we adding more barriers for those trying to reach Him?

 

Diane

Genesis 3:15 says:  Satan will strike His heels (referring to Jesus), but He (Jesus) will crush Satan’s head. 

When we are on God’s path for us, we will encounter Satan, the snake, in many forms. The snake wants us on his path. He will pull out all of his tricks to discourage us on our path for God.

Lisa said:  “Even if the snake is not positioned to strike, it must be removed. Snakes are a threat, but not to God. When we are living our life for Christ, snakes lose their threat to us.”

We have all power and all authority of God behind us, ready to take on that snake! Philippians 3:21 The Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.

We have God’s mighty power behind us, the work has already been done, Satan is already dead, we must continue on God’s path and be prepared princess warriors with the machete of God’s word in our hands and on our tongues at all times!

************   

After Diane spoke, I sat quietly while Praise and Worship began.  I was letting all the words that each lady had spoken sink in. But, tonight God was driving home to me something Diane said about the snake slithering around trying to have us.

It brought me back to a time a few years ago when I was unloading several bags of groceries out of the trunk of my car onto the driveway.  I was going through a hard situation at the time, and I was singing to the top of my voice as I unloaded the groceries:  “The Lord is my light and my salvation.  In whom shall I fear, in whom shall I fear.”

About the third bag I picked up to carry into the house, a tiny lizard jumped out of the bag.  I threw the bag up in the air.  When it met the ground, jars of mayonnaise, pickles, and grape jelly, splattered all over my driveway. 

The Lord spoke ever so gently to me:  “Satan is no more than that tiny little lizard, but yet you allowed it to scare the living daylights out of you.” 

As I recalled that memory, suddenly I began to laugh and laugh and laugh.  My laughter caught on with the other ladies, and suddenly Holy Laughter began to spread all around that bonfire. 

I believe we all were set free and our eyes were opened to see the fields that surround our lives that are white and ready for harvest.

*****

Let’s Pray: 

Father God, how I thank You for Your Word.  It is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.  As Lisa said:  I want to use Your Word to create environments that encourage others to flourish.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.  

Girls with Swords: Chapter 8 Weekly Review – “Sword Words”

Psalm19_14

Welcome to Campground USA

Log Cabins, Nature Trails, Canoes,

Paddle Boats, Bikes, Fishing

Our review of Chapter 8 in Girls With Swords by Lisa Bevere, will be a little different than usual.  I am going to “pretend” that after Teresa, Jennifer, Tonya, and Diane spoke around the bonfire, they gave each of us a “handout sheet” summarizing what they had spoken about.  They encouraged us to take it back home with us once we departed from our stay together.  It is the summarized “handout sheet,” that I wish to post. Great information to keep with your Bible.

Teresa

Lisa’s Quotes:

  • We are ministers of hope whose words are seasoned with salt and light and sound foreign in a world peppered with darkness.
  • Words are invisible, but if misused, they can prove deadly.
  • If we knew we were going to live out the rest of our days in a foreign country, we would take the time to learn the language to communicate.  It makes sense to learn heaven’s language NOW.
  • We lift swords when we lift His Word.

Teresa’s Questions:    

  1. If the Bible is my guide book to life does that mean I should follow all the ideals set forth?
  2. Do I pick and choose which ones I like and which ones I don’t?
  3. If I do have to follow all of them, how do I translate those stories to apply to modern day living?

Challenge: It’s time to break camp, Warriors! We have been called. We have been trained. We have been forged into a weapon to be used against the forces of darkness.

Scripture:  Death and life are in the power of the tongue.  (Proverbs 18:21)

 

Jennifer

Lisa’s quotes:  

  • Out of the abundance of God’s heart, He spoke the universe of galaxies into existence; this power lives within us.
  • When we truly have something to say, God finds a way to interpret it for all who need to hear. When we yield ourselves to speak His words by the power of His Spirit, astonishing things can happen.
  • For far too long the Word has been interpreted rather than proclaimed.
  • Our God Most High is triumphant. His glorious love and wondrous mercy know no bounds. The gift of salvation is through faith in Him alone, and all who seek Him find grace and hope.
  • Unifying ourselves with our Father’s purposes and language will initiate, or begin anew, God’s plan and unify a people around His purpose.
  • When we root ourselves in God, in His Word, our sword grows stronger.  It finds substance.

Jennifer’s Questions: 

  1. Have you unleashed God’s power in your life?
  2. Will you choose to use your words in a way that removes yourself from the picture and glorifies God?
  3. Will you speak in your flawed manner or tell of His flawless works?
  4. Will you be part of a unified voice by allowing His Spirit to fill you?

Challenge: Have a conversation with the Lord and be honest when answering each question I have posed.

Scripture:  Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  (Matthew 12:34)

 

Tonya

Lisa’s Quotes:

  • Far too much is lost in interpretation when we pass the words through the filter of earth rather than fashion the earth with the words of heaven.

Tonya’s Questions:

  1.  Are we allowing our words to become earth-based?
  2. Are we allowing them to become catchy or cliché?  
  3. Are we trying to make the sacred words common?  
  4. Are our words lacking wisdom, and hurting instead of healing?
  5. When we say things, are we saying them because they sound good and will grab the attention of others?
  6. Or have we passed what we are going to say through God’s filter?  
  7. Have we asked His advice about what to say and how to say it?  
  8. Have we sought out His Scripture?

Challenge:  What are we doing with our words? 

Scripture:  The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12:18)

 

Diane

Lisa’s Quotes:

  • How awesome that our Father not only gave us a language but gave us Jesus, the example of how to live what we speak.

Diane’s Questions:

  1. When is the last time you have prayed God’s will for your life over your own desires?
  2. Do you desire to be the tract lady for Jesus, giving people His words that they are in desperate need of?
  3. What words are we using when we fearlessly share the saving grace, love, and power of Jesus Christ with the lost and the hurting—God’s words or our words?

Challenge: Let God’s words transform your actions to line up with what He is showing us to do.

Scripture:  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

**********

After the ladies spoke, there was a hush all around the bonfire.  It seemed as though every woman was in serious thought and prayer concerning the handout sheet that they had received.  And then, as if to confirm the whole message that had been spoken to us, Christi stood before the group and began to speak.

Christi

I want to share something with all of you today. It is a message that I hope and pray ALL parents grab a hold of and meditate on. For years, words have scarred my life. From the time I was 5 years old words have produced scars and they have created me to be who I am today.

I can remember the first time I was called a whore by a loved one…I was 8 years old. I didn’t even know what the word meant, but I knew it had to be bad because of the look on her face when she said it. For years, I was told I was stupid, and worthless; I would never amount to anything. I grew up “knowing” I was all of those things, and more.

My actions throughout my teenage years were, I believe, the product of the words that were spoken over me. I became very promiscuous. From the age of 15 to 25, I honestly can’t tell you how many men I slept with. I’m horrified to even admit that, but it is truth. I was so naive to believe that a guy “loved” me, only to find out that he only wanted one thing. It just began to prove to me over and again that the words this loved one spoke over me were truth. I was unlovable, and I had actually become what my loved one, and many others would call a whore.

When Jesus came into my life in 1984, I devoured God’s word day and night. I was learning something totally new: God Loved Me! Within time, my thoughts began to change; I began to allow God’s word to go deep into my heart. I began to see that I was truly worthy, and lovable! I’ve never experienced a love like that before! I began to start loving myself because God was showing me that I was lovable.

My message to parents today: PLEASE watch the words you speak to your children. They truly will form the belief that your child will develop in themselves. Tell your kids how proud you are of them. Make sure they know that you love them! Make sure you tell your daughters just how worthy and special they are! Make sure you speak truth, God’s TRUTH, into them! I truly believe that by doing this, it will definitely make a difference in how they believe in themselves, and in the choices they make in life!

**********  

 Let’s Pray: 

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my thoughts be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”  Only then can we be the warrior that you have called us to be.  In Jesus’ name, I pray.  Amen.  

Girls With Swords: Chapter 7 Weekly Review – “Forging a Sword”

 

Welcome to Campground USA

Log Cabins, Nature Trails, Canoes,

Paddle Boats, Bikes, Fishing

Trivia anyone?  Aren’t we having so much fun in the midst of our study on Girlfriends With Swords by Lisa Bevere!!  I know I am.  This Christian life wasn’t meant to be drab, that’s for sure.

But, let’s get serious for a moment (if that’s possible with this gang) while we do a recap of where we are in our study.   In Chapter 6, our status changed: we went from being just an enlisted soldier in Basic Training to being a Warrior.  Oh yes, we are now on the front line of duty! 

My four girlfriends explained  our promotion in this way.

  • Teresa:  Using the teaching of the Apostle Paul in Hebrews 6, Teresa added:  Once a new believer understands the basic lessons, it is time to practice what was learned and “move forward” toward spiritual maturity. 
  • Jennifer reminded us that warriors are not hired, they are called.
  • Tonya emphasized the importance of being tempered to form character.
  • Diane talked about the importance of warriors getting rid of fear.  She reminded us that where God’s love is, fear doesn’t stand a chance.

That takes us up to tonight’s study on Forging a Sword, being led by my 4 girlfriends. Aren’t they amazing writers and speakers?   Let’s head on down to the bonfire and see what they have to say about Chapter 7. 

 Teresa 

What does it take to “Forge a sword?”  The word forge is a verb for a process much like the word mold. The dictionary defines these words as:

  •  Forge: (1)Make or shape (a metal object) by heating it in a fire or furnace and beating or hammering it.  (2)Move forward gradually
  • Mold: (1)A hollow container used to give shape to molten or hot liquid material (such as wax or metal) when it cools and hardens.

To mold a product, the product has to be melted, or softened, from its original form and poured into the mold to obtain the desired shape and size.  The mold then has to be shaken to remove all air bubbles from the finished product.  These bubbles can cause the product to crack, fall apart and ruin the end result.   

To forge something, take separate metals, heat them to a molten liquid, burn off the impurities, and prepare to meld them into the final product.  This intense heat leaves a liquid virtually free of imperfections and no “bubbles.” The original metal is not changed from what it originally was, but is so much more useful now. 

What does this have to do with you and me?  If we have made the commitment to follow Jesus, it’s time to submit to the original Blacksmith and let Him forge you into the character He needs you to be.

(Martha’s Note:  Lisa states that FIRE, WATER, and PRESSURE are the tools used to refine metal, temper steel, and create swords.  “The process of making a sword is a whole lot like the process of making a life.”   Jennifer, Tonya, and Diane speaks to each one of these ‘tools.’)

Jennifer

Fire and Water:  What does the Bible tell us to do when trials come into our lives?

  • Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. (Isaiah 43:1-2)         

Refinement is painful.  But these trials will strengthen us and, in turn, help us to forge the sword we will ultimately wield – the Word of God.

Friends, God is our Source of power and strength. He is trustworthy. What affliction are you struggling with today that you need to bring to God’s feet?

Tonya

Pressure:  What does the Bible tell us to do when pressures come into our lives?

“Count it all joy.”  (James 1:2-8)

  • Pressure and joy are not two words that are normally paired together in the world, but we need to remind ourselves that we only live in this world, we don’t think like it.
  •  Joy is something that is unaffected by circumstances.
  •  It is a state of mind and an orientation of the heart.
  • Joy is a settled state of contentment, confidence and hope.
  • Joy doesn’t mean that it is going to be easy.
  •  Joy isn’t happiness; it’s the knowledge that we are where we need to be for a season in order for us to be formed into the woman He wants us to be.

Lisa said:  “God wants us to thrive whether we are under pressure or free floating” and in order to thrive in all situations we must be prepared, we must be tempered. Tempered daughters of God are resilient.  We have the capacity to flourish under all types of trials in every season.

Diane

Pressure:  As Lisa tells us about her “doubtful moment” (John’s faith to give away 250,00 books) it brings me back to one of my very own doubt-filled moments.

It had been several months after my very last therapy session. I knew in my heart of hearts that I was healed, but as I stepped into my counselor’s office that day, the doubt that had been filling in my heart since the last time I was in that room followed me in.

As I was explaining all of my doubts, my dear counselor asked me a simple question. What are the things that you know that you know that you know are true?”

  • I am safe (Proverbs 18:10)
  • I am loved (John 3:16)

Knowing the truth is just not enough to keep the doubt away. The more we “know” something, the more Satan tries to convince us that we don’t know anything at all.

As a princess warrior in training we cannot let doubt consume us. We must empty ourselves into God so that He can consume us. No two princesses of the King are the same. We are all created for a unique and important purpose.

  •  It is time to wash away the doubt caused from past hurts or current hurts and hold tight to God’s promises that will never shift.
  • All we must do is empty our hearts of the doubts that have been filling up at His feet.
  • He will fill our hearts with HIS blessings. No more room for doubts, only His love.

*********

After Diane spoke, Praise and Worship began.  As I lifted my hands and face toward heaven, suddenly my mind took me back to a children’s church program my girls were in years ago.  Like the rest of the parents, I sat in the audience beaming from ear to ear as we watched our children singing and marching to a song. 

Tonight, I became that little girl.  I stepped away from the bonfire, and began softly singing and marching to the same song.  No longer was it just a cute little song to me.  It was as though I was coming to God as a little child, accepting His call on my life to be on the front line of duty in His army.  I could hear Him whisper in my ear:  “I yoke myself up with you and the way you go, I’ll be there to hold you up!”

Will you join me in singing this song?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDIy5TUXovo

Let’s pray:  Father God, I come into agreement with my sister, Teresa, for the prayer she has already prayed over this group:  “We thank You for loving us enough to want to forge us into a unique creation and not just a molded image like so many others.   We submit our lives to the refining fire of Your love.  Remove the impurities and make us strong. In Jesus’ name, I pray.  Amen.”

***** 

Last Day of our Anniversary Giveaway!!

I hope you have enjoyed this week of celebration with us!  It has been such a blessing to see so many of you come out and post your comments on our blogs! I know it has truly blessed our bloggers!  Your words of encouragement have blessed all of us!

As we pray Martha’s prayer above, this brings me to the giveaway that we have for today.  It couldn’t have been scheduled for a better day. Between Teresa’s prayer that started our week, and Martha’s agreement in prayer with her that ended our week, this giveaway just fits perfectly!

As you go before the Lord each day, we would like for one blessed winner to cover herself with this amazingly beautiful, handmade Prayer Shawl that was made by one our very own Leadership members – Amy Butterfield.  Amy was such a blessing to put her crochet hook to work and get this gift ready for our Anniversary Giveaway!  Thank You so much, Amy!!  It is beautiful!!

PrayerShawl(2)

PrayerShawl(1)

How do you enter to win this beautiful Prayer Shawl?  All you have to do is read today’s blog and make a comment in regards to what the Lord said to you in today’s message.  That’s it!  

One blessed winner will be chosen and all winners for this week will be announced on our Facebook Community page TOMORROW!!!  So be sure to check out our page to see if YOU are one of the blessed winners!

ALL ENTRIES MUST BE COMPLETED BY 8PM CST TONIGHT.
WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED ON OUR FACEBOOK COMMUNITY PAGE ON MAY 11th.