May 26, 2017

Captivating: Chapter 11 Warrior Princesses – “Relational Attacks” – “A Warring Bride” (pp 193-197)

Sword and Roses

Whoa. When I read what Stasi and John shared in the “Relational Attacks” section, my mind flooded with past situations with roommates, boyfriends, family members, and friends where the Spirit of Accusation applied.  I bottle things inside of me.  I let those negative feelings fester, and I dwell on the situation at hand.  How dare she not take out the trash after I’ve done it the past five times! If he really cared about me, why would he have said those things? He said, she said…the situations play on.  This Spirit of Accusation doesn’t just occupy our heads.  It occupies our hearts.  As the prophet Jeremiah reminds us, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure” (Jeremiah 17:9). Many times, what we harbor in our hearts are lies and evil.  But there is freedom in Christ.  There is freedom in prayer.

Do you believe that there is a spiritual war that rages around us?  Even when you sit alone in your room, supposedly secure from all physical danger, the war ensues.  But we have no reason to fear; we have power in Christ.  So no matter what she didn’t do or what he said, God has given us power over those evil thoughts and negative feelings. This chapter really brought to light the power of prayer.  When we call on His name, He is faithful to deliver us

I’m ashamed to say that my first reaction to unhappy situations is not always prayer.  I usually let my feelings overwhelm me until I have time to “cool down.”  This chapter has challenged me though.  The next time a situation arises, I want to take a step back, denounce the evil that is at work, ask for the Lord to take the situation and help me see how He wants me to handle it.  Just as Jesus was tempted in the desert, we, too, are tested in our faith daily.  Satan knows our weaknesses, but we are not to give him a foothold.  Let’s take the power that is already ours in His name and use it! I love the quote from our authors on page 196:

“Christianity is not a passive religion.”

We know that oftentimes the Lord will allow hardships so that we may grow in our trust and faith in Him.  Even Paul speaks of a “thorn” that tormented him:

“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

Ladies, God is so good! He will never give us more than we can handle.  Do you believe that?

Do you also believe that we are warriors in Christ?  We have His strength to sustain us when we feel we can’t take another step, another breath, another disappointment, another insult, another negative feeling.  He is with us always, and His power is available to us through our communication with Him. Talk to Him, share with Him, rest in His presence and in His control over things that may seem uncontrollable.  Nothing is too much to handle for our God.

Praise Him,

Carissa

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Let’s Pray:

Father, thank You for who You are and for offering Your power and Your strength to us.  In Your Name, I pray that we take hold of that power daily.  Lord, as situations arise to test our faith, that we will stand firm in the knowledge of Your presence and protection.  Let us be warriors for You.  Thank You for Your strength that sustains us through the everyday battle called “life.”

Your Assignment:

Is there a situation in your life that you need to turn to God?  Do that today. In love, work to reconcile relationships, and know that you have power in Christ to do all things.

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Have you signed up for our next Online Bible/Book study yet?  If not, you will want to right away!  This is going to be an amazing study!!  The study begins March 24th!

Click on the picture below to be taken to the sign-up page.  Once we receive your registration, we’ll email you further details.

GWS

Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 8 – Recycling the Pain (pgs 241-267)

Choice8_LHC

Galatians 6:1-2
My friends, you are spiritual. So if someone is trapped in sin, you should gently lead that person back to the right path. But watch out, and don’t be tempted yourself. You obey the law of Christ when you offer each other a helping hand.” (CEV)
At the beginning of this study in January, I had many comments on apprehensions, anxieties, and generalized worries about getting back in to the memories & experiences of the past. As the study progressed, I’ve been able to see transformations in our participants. Some have had small “AHA” moments on how the past has shaped today. Others have had eye-opening revelations. Where ever this study has taken you, God has blessed your life.
We are heading in to our final week of Life’s Healing Choices, but this is not the final week of our journey. John Baker tells us, in the Celebrate Recover Participant Guide 4, “Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” Instead of the focus remaining on healing your personal hurts, it’s time to consider how others can benefit from our experiences. Baker references “recycling the pain.”
Recycle — to adapt or convert something to a new use
When we faced the events that shaped our attitudes, addictions, thoughts or behaviors, we never would have imagined that good would come out of it. Romans 8:28 states: And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (NLT)
God truly does have an amazing plan for His children. He does not sit around looking for ways to hurt us, complicate our lives, or bring us pain. This comes from our choices in life. But He does promise to use ALL things for His good purpose. So when I consider the experiences of my past, I need to look to ways my experiences can help others. What did I learn from these events that can be passed on to another, give hope and encouragement?
We’re reminded that God “does His best work through weak people”

2 Cor 12:7 -10 tells us, “Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.” (The Message)
If you had asked me in 2001 what good would ever come from the chaos around me, I would have thrown up my hands and said “Nothing!” I never could have imagined that God would restore my heart and soul to the point of remarriage, blending families, and step-parenting. And, I certainly wouldn’t have ever guessed He would use me in a ministry position like Girlfriends Coffee Hour! But in the midst of everything, I didn’t blame God or accuse Him of doing things to me. I knew He didn’t want me to experience pain, but He promised to use whatever I did experience for the positive.
As a parent, I see the same type of things with my kids. I don’t sit around thinking of ways to inflict pain or hardship in their lives (though they may think otherwise with the household rules!), but I do know that their teenage minds will make decisions that sometimes bring painful consequences. My goal as mom is to help them learn from the experience, give suggestions to overcome, and help them move forward. There is a purpose behind all that we experience, whether we want to admit it or not.

God does the same for us through His Word, our interactions with fellow believers, and in daily prayers with Him. Baker shares that , “people are not helped by our strengths; they’re helped when we’re honest about our weaknesses … the proof that you are truly recovering is when you begin to focus outside yourself, when you stop being absorbed with your needs, your hurts, your problems. Recovery is evident when you being to say, ‘How can I help others?”” pg.242
This week we’ll look more closely at the following questions:

  • Why does God allow pain?
  • How can we use our pain to help others?

A few verses to ponder this week:
Ecclesiastes 4:9 -1 2 NLT
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5
All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too. (The Message)

James 1:22 NLT
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

 

Your Reading Assignment this Week

Monday – Chapter 8 Sharing the Choice – Laurie
Tuesday – Why does God Allow Pain? – Leslie
Wednesday – How to Use our Pain – Kim
Thursday – Make the Choice – Amy
Friday – Recap of the week – Laurie

Let’s Pray:

Lord, we thank You because You are ever-present in our lives. No matter what we experience, You are there with us to give us strength, courage, comfort through each and every step. Even as we look to heal from our past experience, we can hold hope in Your promise to work ALL things for good in those who live according to Your will. As our Heavenly Father, You desire the best for Your children. Continue to guide us as we continue to learn more about trusting You. Amen.

Power Verses for Chapter 8
Matthew 10:8
Matthew 6:24
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Deuteronomy 4:9
James 2:17
Ephesians 4:1
2 Corinthians 3:18
Hebrews 10:24
Romans 12: 9, 13
Galatians 6:1
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

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