September 21, 2017

The Warrior Is A Child

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

Lately I’ve been winning battles left and right
But even winners can get wounded in the fight
People say that I’m amazing
Strong beyond my years
But they don’t see inside of me
I’m hiding all the tears

They don’t know that I go running home when I fall down
They don’t know Who picks me up when no one is around
I drop my sword and cry for just a while
‘Cause deep inside this armor
The warrior is a child

Unafraid because His armor is the best
But even soldiers need a quiet place to rest
People say that I’m amazing
Never face retreat
But they don’t see the enemies

‘Cause deep inside this armor
Deep inside this armor
Deep inside this armor
The warrior is a child

Twila Paris
written along with Gary Valenciano

  *   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Today, here in the United States, Christians nation-wide come together in unity without any concern for denomination to stand heart-to-heart before our God and intercede on our nation’s behalf.  Now, more than ever, we must daily put on the armor that God has provided.

This is why you must take up the full armor of God,
so that you may be able to resist in the evil day,
and having prepared everything, to take your stand.
Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist,
righteousness like armor on your chest,
and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace.
In every situation take the shield of faith,
and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word.
Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request,
and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.

Ephesians 6:14-18

We are encouraged, in this passage, to put the Armor of God on each day.  We are reminded that the pieces of God’s armor are TRUTH, RIGHTEOUSNESS, PEACE, FAITH, and SALVATION—a strong foundation on which to take our stand.  And we see that, clothed with this Armor of God, we are equipped and enabled to stand, resisting all the tactics and wiles of the enemy.

Now, consider this…. We garb ourselves in this protective suit of armor.  We gather up our shield of faith.  We put on the helmet of salvation.  We take up the sword of the Spirit.  One would think that we are ready to go, right?  But then we are told to “pray at all times.”  Truly prayer is the final piece of the Armor of God—the item that links all the pieces together.  It reminds me of a football player…outfitted with all those pieces of his uniform (pads, helmet, cleats, etc.) that are designed to protect him…ready to head out of the locker room to battle his ‘enemy’—the other team.  And the coach says, ‘Take a knee.’

This final piece—prayer—is not a half-hearted whisper.  Rather, prayer is spoken with passion, with faith, with ‘strong purpose and perseverance.’  Prayer is uttered with humility and wholeheartedness to the One Who hears our prayers and answers our prayers.

So often when the Scriptures communicate to us on the matter of prayer, the words used are compelling.  As you read these next few verses see which words jump out at you.

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything,
but in every circumstance and in everything,
by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving,
continue to make your wants known to God.
Philippians 4:6

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
Colossians 4:2

Rejoice and exult in hope;
be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation;
be constant in prayer.
Romans 12:12

Which words did you find grabbed your attention?  Were they words like, ‘every circumstance’ ‘steadfast’ ‘constant’ ‘everything’  and ‘watchful?’

So as you put on your armor, my sisters, never forget that the last piece—the prayer piece—is not put ON but rather put IN—into your heart!  Prayer is a truly important part of the equipping of a Jesus girl who desires to be a hero…a warrior.

  *   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

My prayer for you is that as you draw near to Your heavenly Father, seeking His guidance and direction, His help and protection, you would recognize how tenderly He looks on you…His daughter, His child, His warrior, His hero.  He loves you with an everlasting love, and He never EVER will leave you…You are His!

A Shield Of Faith

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~  Listen while you read, please!  ~

Sometimes I’m battle weary; I forget to use my shield
The arrows pierce my armor and I stumble in the field

     A shield won’t do you much good if it’s hangin’ by your side
     Keep the shield of faith before you if you want to stay alive

I’ll think my life is over but the Lord He comes to me
He heals my wounded spirit and He sets me on my feet

Sometimes your battle weary but the war’s already won
Keep your head and hold your shield high ‘til your days of life are done

~  Songwriter: Ron Block / Performed by Alison Krauss and Union Station ~

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Life throws many surprises at us on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. It has its ups and downs.  We stumble, fall, get back up, and keep on trucking until we draw our last breath.  We as people have the freedom of choice…and this is where most of us often stumble.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers,
against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness,
against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Therefore take up the whole armor of God,
that you may be able to withstand in the evil day,
and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore,
having fastened on the belt of truth and having put on the breastplate of righteousness
and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish
all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation,
and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.
To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints
Ephesians 6:10-18

We face a world full of temptation every day.  Satan is tempting us from the moment that we get up each morning.  We live around, and work with, people who do not believe in the power of God.  We can be tempted to doubt our own beliefs just by having intelligent conversations with other people.  We can even doubt our own beliefs when we see all the disasters and suffering on television or see it with our own eyes.

But without faith [it is] impossible to please [Him]:
for he that cometh to God must believe that He is,
and [that] He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.
Hebrews 11:6

If we put on our shield of faith every day, we are protected from the evil that will bombard us every minute.  Yet, when we do not wear our shield, we are subject to fall into temptation and sin.  We wear our shield with faith, and are rewarded with healing and peace.  God rewards our faith and seeking by being in a personal relationship with us. He protects us through our shields of faith.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Dear Heavenly Father, we pray that our shields of faith are strong and grow stronger with every passing moment.  Without You we would be lost to temptation and sin.  With our shields of faith, evil cannot pierce us or bring us down.  Thank You for never leaving us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

With His Help

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Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our Help and our Shield.
Psalm 33:20

I read this verse, and I’m simply grateful that God’s always there to help me!  The Lord is always my Help and my Shield.  Friends, this is huge!  If you are a believer, you too, can say the same!  (When we call out to Him in prayer, serve Him, express our hearts about God to others, face struggles, and do life, HE IS WITH US AND WILL HELP US.  WE ARE NOT ALONE!  The Holy Spirit lives inside of us, and we have HIS POWER working in us.  Let’s be amazed and thankful for that every day.)

Bow to Him, and be amazed by Him!  (He will help you.)

Because He is the great and loving God that He is, friends, go to Him.  Yield your heart to Him first each day!  Ask the Holy Spirit to let you realize He’s your Help and Shield in every possible way.  Live each day/your life in a prayerful way.

Pray without ceasing.
1 Thessalonians 5:17

Be strong in Him, and be amazed by Him!  (He will help you.)

God is greater than any spiritual warfare that we may face!  You will face it, as a believer.  Be ready!  Put on the shield of faith-believing in Him and what He can do. In fact, put on the whole Armor of God every day, and be strong in the Lord!  He will protect you!

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the rulers,
against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness,
against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Therefore take up the whole armor of God,
that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
Stand therefore, having as shoes for your feet,
having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
In all circumstances take up the shield of faith,
with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit,
which is the word of God,
praying at all times in the Spirit with all prayer and supplication.
To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.
Ephesians 6:10-18

Follow Him, and be amazed by Him!  (He will help you.)

With the Holy Spirit living inside of me, sometimes, He wants me to “go out on a limb” for God’s glory. It may not be a popular place to be. It may take boldness and courage to go! It may not be safe! It may be lonely because others may not be with me! Some may not understand what I’m doing at first. But if that is where God wants me to go, I go because I love Him! He will help me as I go, whatever the situation is! (Lord, help me follow You wherever You lead me.)

When He has brought out all His own, He goes before them,
and the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice.
John 10:4

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Lord, we love You.  Let us recognize that You are our Help and Shield in every possible way.  We desperately need You.  Let us bow to You, be strong in You, and follow You—wherever You lead us—all for Your glory! In Jesus’ precious Name, I pray.  Amen.

Esther – Chapter 3:8-11

Haman the Agagite is an arrogant, prejudiced, hateful, bold-faced liar. He was given a position of honor by King Xerxes (Ahasuerus), but that wasn’t enough for him – he had to be worshipped, as well.  And when Haman wasn’t worshipped by Mordecai, he leveled a false charge of disobedience or insubordination against an entire race of people, wrapped it up in an ingratiating package that looked like loyalty and served it up to the king.  Deceived, the king obliged him.

Does Haman sound like anyone else you know??  May I speak Southern, ladies?  Haman is the devil.  (We call all manner of things “the devil” in the south that seek to do us harm – that nosey neighbor, preparing your taxes, cupcakes…. You get the picture.)  Now Haman is not LITERALLY the devil, but he has so many of Satan’s characteristics – elevated to a high place, yet wanting the worship due the King (God); arrogant; hate filled; a definite prejudice against God’s people and a liar.  In this book, Darlene reminds us of Job’s story, where Satan has an exchange with God about Job, and she calls him a tattletale of sorts; “… who puts God’s people in the worst possible light to discredit our faith as he seeks to tempt and destroy all believers” (page 39).  I do agree, but let’s call things as they are – Satan is known in the Bible as the accuser.

“Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ.  For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down”  (Revelation 12:10 NIV).

To accuse, per the dictionary, is to charge with a shortcoming or error, or charge with a wrongdoing, fault, offense or crime. Sounds pretty serious, doesn’t it?  Satan, per Revelation, stands before God day and night charging you and me with wrongdoings, with crimes against God, with faults. What did Haman say in verse 8?  “They do not obey the King’s laws; it is not in the King’s best interest to tolerate them.” (Esther 2:8, NIV) Furthermore, he suggests that he be allowed to destroy them (verse 9).  Unlike the King, God is not deceived! The blood of his son, Jesus, was willingly shed for you to save your life and make you a brand new person!  In Psalm 103:12, it says: “He (God) has removed our sins from us as far as the east is from the west.” (NLT)  Not perfect?  No problem!  In 1 John 1:9, John says that “If we confess our sins, he (God) is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (NIV)

Now hear me, sisters.  If Satan is working day and night to accuse us before God, and God’s not listening to him, who do you think believes Satan’s lying garbage?  We do.  What does Satan’s accusations look like?  Stop me when this sounds familiar: “You don’t obey God’s commands.”  You think God can love you with your past?”  “You’ll never be good enough.”  “You’ll never amount to anything.”  “You aren’t a very good Christian.”  “You’ve never finished anything you’ve started.  Why even try?”  “Do you really think you’re equipped to lead a small group/start a ministry/teach a class/make a difference?”  “God doesn’t care about you. Why bother?”  Lies, lies, LIES!!!   Satan is going to be punished for all eternity, and he’s trying to take everybody with him.  If he can’t get God to sign off on you (never happen!), then he’ll try  to get you to give up on God.

That’s why Ephesians 6:10-18 is so important .  It tells us how to shield ourselves “…against the devil’s schemes” (verse11).  This passage tells us about putting on “the armor of God.”  There are many ways that we can protect ourselves from Satan’s schemes, but only one way to fight back – with the Word of God, which is called the “sword of the Spirit” (verse 17).  When Satan whispers some lie in your ear, tell him (and remind yourself!) what ALMIGHTY GOD says about you!  You are LOVED (John 3:16) ! You are REDEEMED (Galatians 3:13, Psalm 107:2).  You are PERFECT (Psalms 139:13-14)!  You are a CHILD OF THE KING (1 John 3:1)!!

Enough, sisters!  Have you allowed Satan to accuse you of things that God refuses to hold against you, or even think about you?  No more!  If you see yourself as “less than,” let’s ask God to help you see the truth; you are royalty!  You are a child of the King!

 

Let’s pray:

Holy God, I thank You that You love me!  Thank you that You willingly sacrificed the life of Your son so that I can live eternally with You! God, I’ll be honest, sometimes it’s hard to see myself as You see me.  I see my faults, my failures, my attempts and where I don’t measure up. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever make a difference for Your kingdom, or if I’ll ever be good enough to be used by You.  And Satan is constantly attempting to drag me down!  Help me, Lord!   Help me to see my beauty given to me by You!

Help me to see the talents, giftings, and unique abilities that You have provided me by Your Holy Spirit.  Remind me, Lord, in ways that only You can, that I am Your child and am incredibly special.  Thank You for Your invaluable Word, Your infinite grace, wisdom and strength!  Thank You for every good and perfect gift that comes from You.

Shine Your light of love on me, Lord, so much that it pours out and strengthens others.  Help me to remember that through the blood of Your Son Jesus, Satan has NO POWER OVER ME!   Praise You, Lord!  Let my life be Your glory!  In Your Son’s name.

Amen

Prayer is the Final Piece

Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by the strength of His might.
Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil.
For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities,
against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.
This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist
in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.
Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist,
righteousness like armor on your chest,
and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace.
In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able
to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word.

Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request,
and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.

Ephesians 6:10-18

In our current study of Lisa Bevere’s book, Girls With Swords haven’t we SO loved looking at this encouraging section in the Scriptures?!?  We have considered the various pieces of the Armor of God.  We have been encouraged to put them on each morning as we prepare for our day. We have been reminded that they are TRUTH, RIGHTEOUSNESS, PEACE, FAITH, and SALVATION—a strong foundation on which to take our stand.  We have seen that, clothed with this Armor of God, we are equipped and enabled to stand, resisting all the tactics and wiles of the enemy.

Now, consider this…. We garb ourselves in this protective suit of Armor.  We take up the sword of the spirit.  And then we are told “pray.”  One would think that we are ready to go, right?  But truly prayer is the final piece, the item that links all the pieces together.  It reminds me of a football player…outfitted with all those pieces of his uniform (pads, helmet, etc.) that are designed to protect him…ready to head out of the locker room to battle his ‘enemy’—the other team.  And the coach says, ‘Take a knee.’

This final piece—prayer—is not the half-hearted whispering of a prayer.  But rather it is prayer spoken with passion, with faith, with ‘strong purpose and perseverance.’  It is prayer uttered with humble wholeheartedness to the One Who hears our prayers and answers.

So often when the Scriptures communicate to us on the matter of prayer, the words used are compelling.  As you read these next few verses see which words jump out at you.  (Clue: they are NOT the words marked in red!)

Philippians 4:6
Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.

Colossians 4:2
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

Romans 12:12
Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer.

Which words did you find grabbing your attention…were they words like, ‘steadfast’ and ‘constant’ and ‘everything’ and ‘watchful?’

prayer

So as you put on your Armor, my sisters, never forget that the last piece—the prayer piece—is not put ON but rather put IN—into your heart!  Prayer is a truly important part of the equipping of a Jesus girl who desires to be a hero…a warrior.

My prayer is that as you draw near to Your heavenly Father, seeking His guidance and direction, His help and protection, you would recognize how tenderly He looks on you…His daughter, His child, His warrior, His hero.  He loves you with an everlasting love, and He never EVER will leave you…You are His!

Praying for each of you!

coleen

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If you would like to send a personal message to Coleen, you may email her at: Coleen@girlfriendscoffeehour.com, or leave a comment below.

Captivating: Chapter 11 – “Warrior Princesses”

“And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews.  For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish.  Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Esther 4:13 and 14

I love the story of Esther, I have read it many times, and I have watched the adaptation of the story in the movie that Tommy Tenney made “One Night With the King” countless times.  The movie was created beautifully, from the choice of actress to the setup to the beauty pageant and, of course, the colorful wedding of Esther to the King.  As much as everything else is beautiful, it does not take away the purpose of why Esther was chosen by God to be Queen.  She was to fight for her people and deliver them from Haman’s vicious plot.  After seeking the face of God through prayer and fasting, Esther used the only weapon that was available to her—food.  She prepared a feast for the King and Haman.  After they had eaten, Esther told the King what Haman’s plot was: to wipe the entire Jewish nation from the face of the earth.  Well, Haman’s evil plans did not succeed because of the courageous act of this Warrior Queen Esther.

Esther is a true example of the Warrior that we all are.   Just like Esther, each one of us faces battles in our everyday lives.  They may not be as enormous as preserving the existence of a nation, but we cannot deny that they weigh us down, causing us grief and many sleepless nights.

As long as we are alive, we will be required to put on our armor and fight.  We may be called the “weaker sex” but we are not weak.  We are warriors too.  We are in the war zone the moment we wake up to the time we go to bed and the next day is no different.  Some of the battles may seem mundane but still they give us stress.  We battle with our looks when we glance in the mirror; we battle with comparison just as soon as we walk out the door; we look at how others are dressed and we wish our clothes fit the same way.

Then there are battles that we face that are relational, such as misunderstandings with our families that distress us.  The workplace is no different.  We don’t agree with our colleagues, our bosses take us for granted, and we are overworked and unappreciated.

Throughout the day we are bombarded with decisions that we need to make whether we are at home, work, or school.  What happens during our day can make us feel great about ourselves or depressed.

So much of what happens in our day attacks our minds more than any other part of our body.  We need to guard what goes through our minds more than anything else.  Once a thought comes in, we think about it some more, it develops and the more we think about it the more it takes root and then it becomes an action.

No WarriorIt is so important that when we wake up in the morning, we should prepare for the battle that is ahead of us.  No warrior goes to battle without ammunition.  In the same way, we cannot wake up and begin the day without putting on the armor of God.  Just like Esther had to pray and fast to meet with the King, we, too, ought to prepare for what’s ahead of us.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.   

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.    In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.    Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 

Ephesians 6:10-18

Prayer should be part of our lifestyle as Warrior Princesses; we need not wait for a situation to arise that is beyond us in order to invoke a prayerful attitude.  Just like a soldier takes instructions from his superiors, we too need to meet with our Maker to take instructions for our daily living.  Our enemy is real and he is not chained.  He is “…like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).  If you are not dressed for battle then he will prey on your mind, body, and soul.

I pray that as we go through this chapter this week, we will be prepared to fight our daily battles knowing that we are more than conquerors.  Christ won the battle on the cross for us and we need not fear for THE BATTLE BELONGS TO THE LORD.  Face each day like a true Warrior Princess.  Not only are you beautiful, but you are also wise, cunning, strong, courageous, and victorious.

In closing let me leave you with thes words that Paul spoke to Timothy and permit me to change them to suit us Warrior Princesses.

“You then, my daughter, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.   Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.  Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules.   The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.  Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this”   (2 Timothy 2:1-7).

Be Blessed

Jackie

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LET’S PRAY

Father, thank You so much for giving me Your armor so that I can wear it in readiness for the battles that I face each day.  I will face each day knowing that the battle is already won.  May I seek Your face so that I may not be unaware when trouble comes.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT

Read Ephesians 6:10-18 about the full armor of God.  Take time to know what each piece of armor means and literally practice putting it on.

Why would Paul tell us to put on the full armor of God?

 


 GWSOur next Women’s Online Bible/Book Study begins March 24th!  

Click on the Girls with Swords book to the left, complete the registration process, and we will email you further details!  We hope you will join us for this amazing study!

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If you would like to send Jackie a private email in regards to this blog post, you may email her at:  Jackie@GirlfriendsCoffeeHour.com

Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 7 – Maintaining Momentum (pp 205-208)

Reserve a daily time with God for self-examination, Bible reading and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will.

______________

So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!
1 Corinthians 10:12

This week we are going to focus on maintaining momentum on this road to recovery.  If you don’t keep your guard up, and allow God to be in control, you could relapse.  Many think the word relapse is only for the alcoholic who has taken a drink or the drug addict who went back to the street drugs.  Relapse simply means to fall or slide back into a former state.  This could be anything – anger, guilt, depression, overeating – whatever your hurt, habit, or hang-up is.  Chapters 7 and 8 help us to live out our recoveries for the rest of our lives.  It is time to look back at the previous weeks and see that we are no longer in denial…we have made our inventory of the hurts, habits, and hang-ups in our lives…we have done our best at making amends…and now we have the desire to grow closer to Jesus Christ who has brought us through the fire. Sit back and realize the growth you have each made in the past weeks and the healing God has done.  Be proud of how hard you have worked and the freedom you are beginning to feel.

In our book, John Baker outlines four predictable patterns of relapse:

Ø  Complacency

Ø  Confusion

Ø  Compromise

Ø  Catastrophe

First, relapse begins when we become comfortable.  When we have talked with others regarding our issues, begun working through them, have made amends and feel we are making some steps forward—we begin to become comfortable.  How many of you have had a cold or flu and received medication for 10 days from the doctor?  After six days you begin feeling back to normal.  So what do we do? We stop taking the medication, we keep on our regular routine and three days later we relapse.  We then wonder what happened?  Why did the medicine not work?  Just as with good medicine, continuing to seek the Lord daily, keeping up with our prayer and Bible reading tim,e and talking with our trusted friend will help us keep our focus on the race, so we can, like Timothy, say: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith  2 Timothy 4:7.

If we start becoming too comfortable and do not immediately get back on track, we can move into the second phase—confusion.  We can begin rationalizing and thinking, “Maybe it wasn’t that bad,” or “Maybe I can do this myself.” When I look back at the 35 years I was in the alternative lifestyle, I lost count of how many times I rationalized or tried to walk away on my own.  Either I would rationalize that the lifestyle was not wrong and I could continue, or I would try to walk away with no help.  I did not want to ask for any help and I did not think I needed God’s help.  After all I was an independent, hard-working person that could take care of me.  Wrong!!! Every time I attempted to walk away on my own, I fell right back into the tangled mess.

Then what do we do? Go right back to the place where temptations are the strongest.  We compromise and go frequent the bars, back to the internet, down the cookie and donut aisle, back to the one person or place that was unsafe to our healing.  It may start with little things, oh, just one drink – just one website – just one pull on the slot machine – just one cup of coffee with that one person.  Then before we know it, the snowball becomes an avalanche.  We are spinning into…

CATASTROPHE!! 

The time where we actually go right back to the old hurts, habits, and hang-ups.  The anger, resentments, depression, guilt, and shame come back.  We go back to the old catalyst that was controlling our lives.

Each time I tried on my own to walk away from the lifestyle I would be strong at first.  My anger toward that person drove me to be determined to succeed.  I was in control – I could do this!! I would go to church, because in my heart I knew what I was doing was wrong.  Each time I was at church the message was just for me.  Ever been there?  I just knew all those around me and my pastor knew exactly where I was and what I was trying to walk away from.  I would start feeling stronger, so I would work harder, take care of my boys harder, clean my home harder – all I was doing were actions to avoid really dealing with the root.  I still thought – “I can do this!!”

Then when things started stabilizing and I felt stronger, I would slip away from church, continue to work hard, but not so hard on walking away – just avoidance.  This is when the enemy loves to mess with us.  I would think, “‘Well, maybe this isn’t wrong.  After all society is more accepting.  My friends are still my friends, maybe I will just make one call.  Just to see how they are doing…I mean, I am just showing how I care about someone.”

CATASTROPHE!!

I walked right back into my avalanche.  Next thing I knew, I was full-blown back into the lifestyle I had thought – “I can do this!!”

When life had come to the point that I was tired of trying on my own, I realized I needed help to make this stick.  My desire was to walk away from the gay lifestyle into a life close to God.  How was I going to do that?  First, I turned to trusted individuals who would listen and be strong in keeping me in God’s word.  I had to reserve a daily time with Him.

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Mark 14:38

I had to spend that time alone, listening to what the Lord would say to me.  Praying and asking His guidance and direction to stay away from being comfortable. “But if not, then listen to me; be silent, and I will teach you wisdom” Job 33:33.   Daily, I would put on His armor (Ephesians 6:10-18) so I would not compromise or walk back into my areas of temptation.  Finally, as I listened, prayed, spent time in His word and with Him I started seeing the healing He was bringing into my life.  I would then spend time rejoicing with Him and sharing with others the joy He brought into my life.  I am thankful He allows me to continue to serve Him and tell others of His testimony in my life.  As you continue on this journey I will leave you today with one additional scripture:

Romans15_13

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Let’s Pray:

Father, we come to You today so thankful for Your love and grace in our lives.  We admit we have tried so many times to do this changing on our own.  Today we are laying this burden at Your feet, we need Your help, so we do not get comfortable or begin to compromise our lives.  Remind us, Lord, to walk closely to You daily, listen to Your voice, seek Your direction, pray for healing, and rejoice as You bring us through the fire.  Lord, we pray Your word that we may be filled with joy and peace, that we may trust in You, and we thank You for the hope we have by the power of Your Holy Spirit.  Again, we give all glory and honor to You, Father.  In Jesus Name, Amen!

Your Assignment:

Throughout this study we have talked about spending quiet time with Him.  Have you developed that quiet time?  Also, do you take the time to rejoice through the victories, no matter how small?  If so, please share with us how you have done that.

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If you would like to send a private message to Laurie in regards to this blog, please email her at Laurie@girlfriendscoffeehour.com

Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 5 Review (pp 129-148)

  • Realize I am not God
  • Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him, that He has the power to help me recover
  • Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control
  • Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God and to someone I trust
  • VOLUNTARILY SUBMIT TO EVERY CHANGE GOD WANTS TO MAKE IN MY LIFE AND HUMBLY ASK HIM TO REMOVE MY CHARACTER DEFECTS
  • E
  • R
  • Y

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Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires.
Matthew 5:6

This week as we moved into allowing God to make changes and transform our lives, I was constantly reminded of His armor in Ephesians 6:10-18. Now you may ask why?  Once we say “Yes, Lord, I am ready for you to take control” the enemy will try to change our minds or put hurdles in the way.  So, ‘Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes’ Ephesians 6:10, 11.

Monday, we discussed where our character defects came from.  Biologically or through our chromosomes we inherited traits, good or bad.  Some of these traits spun us into our addictions, hurts, habits, and hang-ups. We then looked at how our environment shaped some of our behaviors. Finally, we realized although we cannot change our chromosomes or some of the environmental factors, we have made choices that have driven us into our addictions or habits.

Aren’t we thankful He has made us a new creation—it’s like Play Doh.  Remember when you were younger and made different objects with Play Doh? Catch this visual: God taking your old person and squeezing it—squishing all the imperfections out—then carefully and graciously He creates a masterpiece out of the same clay, but with His hands, as He wants us to be.

Tuesday, Leslie brought it with her testimony of staying wrapped up in her defects because they were comfortable.  It is scary to look at the world outside our comfort zone.  So as we look at the question, “Why does it take so long to get rid of our character defects?” the real answer: (please listen very carefully, ladies…) SATAN IS A LIAR!!! There is no truth in him. Well put Leslie!!  So, let’s counteract that with Jesus’ words, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).  Yes, when we turn our control over to the One who has control of the universe, it will set us free!!  Free from our character defects, free from our confusion, free from satan’s lies!

Wednesday, Kim talked with us about cooperating with the changes God is going to bring into our lives.  Our addictions, hurts, habits, and hang-ups are only a symptom—that there is something much deeper we have to allow Him to come transform within us.  But we first have to get to know Him.   She explained to us her need to find out who she truly was without the addiction.  God sent her a dear friend to help her through; He will always be faithful!  We also have to be faithful, focus on Him, pray and read His Word.  Kim said, “A simple prayer that has become a daily for me is this: ’empty me of me so that I can be filled with You.’”  Finally, Kim reminded us that our character defects cannot be improved; we have to allow Him to remove them.

Thursday, Amy took us to pray about it, write about it and share about it.  We need to remember that things cannot be fixed or changed all at once.  Ask God to show you where to start.  Pray that He will transform your mind and heart and begin to change those defects—as the book says, “one bite at a time.”   Then along with writing in your journal put some Scriptures around that have helped you through this journey.  When you are reading the Scriptures make them personal and apply it to your life as an affirmation.  Finally, how is your progress going with an accountability partner?  Have you shared your inventory with them? If you have, then begin sharing that one defect that God showed you to begin with.  Be open, honest, and trust that through your sharing He will bring you much freedom.  Remember through this process: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another Proverbs 27:17.   

Today, I was going to end here with the review, but last night my son and I decided to go to a different church service. Sometimes I still try to control things. After all I have for so many years, I turn it over to God, then I pick it back up and I play ‘ring around the rosie’ with Him for a while. At church, after an amazing praise and worship time, the kids were dismissed to their group and the pastor began speaking. Here is the title of his sermon:  Trusting God to Overcome Obstacles.  Really?!?  Ok, God I am listening!!!  He spoke about David and Goliath, about the Goliaths in our lives, whatever they may be. Whether they are marriage difficulties, financial issues, children with difficulties, alcohol—no matter the subject…they become our Goliath.

1 Samuel 17 tells us that David looked at this 9 foot 9 plus inch giant, took a sling and 5 smooth stones and told him “I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel” (verse 45).  He then told Goliath “this day the Lord will deliver you into my hand” (verse 46). He then put a stone in his sling and defeated Goliath.  In the beginning of 1 Samuel 17 Goliath is called a champion.  With one stone, not 2, 3, 4 or 5, but one stone a shepherd boy defeated a ‘champion.’  Not because of his strength, his ability, his mind, his size—but because David trusted God would overcome his obstacle.  Sometimes we look to others for help or for approval in how we are trying to live our lives.  Other times we feel defeated before the battle is even started.  There is only One that we need on our side.  It doesn’t matter who counts us out…as long as Jesus counts us in.  Trust God for the Victory—believe He will change those defects and allow the freedom to begin filling your life.

GCH_2Cor5_17

Let’s Pray:

Most loving and gracious Father, we come to You today with open hearts, willing and ready to allow You to change the defects in our lives. Father, we know we cannot take this journey alone—please guide us, strengthen us, and transform our hearts and minds. Heal those hurts we have been hanging onto, remove the habits and hang-ups we have dragged along with us and fill those empty places with You.  We want so much, as Kim said, to be empty of ourselves and filled with You.  Lord, give us the courage to share these changes You are making in our lives.  Let us each be that light to another person for Your glory.

We thank You for preparing us for these next steps.  Help us to stay focused on You with open hearts and minds, willing to take the steps You show us.  Keep the enemy at bay through this, Father, and help us to stand strong. We love You, Lord, and praise Your Holy Name.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!!

Your Assignment:

Continue sharing with your accountability partner and in our private Facebook group, how the Lord is changing your hurts, habits, and hang-ups.

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If you are interested in joining us for the online Bible study, click HERE to sign up.  Once we receive your registration, we will email you further details.

If you would like to send a private message to Laurie in regards to this blog, please email her at Laurie@girlfriendscoffeehour.com