August 23, 2017

A Free Hand

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I will praise You as long as I live, and in Your name I will lift up my hands.
Psalm 63:4

As a child, I was the quiet one.  I was a shy, curly-haired, red-headed little girl who wanted to hide behind others.  If I was thrown into the spotlight, I was not comfortable there, like others. Can you relate?

In third grade, I was about to play in a piano recital. I knew the piece, “Suppose” by memory very well.  But as I stepped in front of the huge crowd, sat on the bench and my long blue skirt brushed over my black shiny shoes, fear captured me!  My hand would not move away from “middle C” on the keyboard.  I played that note over and over again. (My Mom stood to applaud, and everyone else did, too, in order to release me from my agony.  I may be the only person ever to get a standing ovation for playing one note!)  This is only one of many examples when I’d let fear overtake me where I could not move forward—not completely—for fear of mistakes or fear  of hurting someone or fear of letting someone down.  And when the fear cycle began, it easily could snowball into a cycle of bigger fears. Can you relate?

I had asked Jesus into my heart at the age of eight.  I knew I needed a Savior!  But for a long time, it was hard for me to release some of my fears…even some hidden ones.  In my twenties though, in God’s wisdom, He allowed me to come to the end of myself.  I realized in that time of complete brokenness that my focus must be on Him—faith not fears, depth in relationship with Him instead of people-pleasing and swirling circumstances.  My life dramatically changed for the better when I became very God-focused!  (I still have my moments, but I get back on track quickly.)

The freedom, comfort, guidance, and peace that He lavished on me when I needed it most increased my faith and love in my relationship with Jesus!  For many years, I have expressed myself and moved forward—especially where Jesus is concerned!   My hand is no longer like that paralyzed hand that could not move in one direction or the other during that piano recital as a child.  My hand can easily be lifted up to praise Jesus in a worship service.  (It’s just an external expression of the overflow of a thankful heart!)  My hand can write/type words (in various written formats) that praise and glorify Jesus as I share with others about His great saving love!  And with great expression, passion, and boldness, my hands have moved in grand gestures as I have taught Bible studies and directed drama or acted on the stages of churches over the years.  (I share all of this for the great glory of God!  For you see, He took me to a greater level of understanding of freedom and faith in Him and a greater awareness of His Holy Spirit working in me and God’s amazing, continuous grace…or else…those things just listed would not have happened.)

To God…ALL glory and praise! I am nothing without Him!  Oh, how I will praise Him as long as I live…please join me.

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Dear Lord, let us be in awe of You.  Let us move forward each day—with thankful hearts— following You!  Let us give our hearts and lives completely to You to use for Your glory!  We love You, so let us praise You as long as we live, and let us lift our hands to praise You!  Let us keep our focus on You as stated in Hebrews 12:2, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the Cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.

Esther – Chapter 4:8-11

Here we are in Chapter Four of Esther, sisters, and today we are looking at verses 8-11.  Wow – there are so many topics that jumped out, wanting to be discussed!  But I want to delve further into one that touches us all in some form or another – trials or testing.  To say that Mordecai and Esther were facing trials is a bit of an understatement, wouldn’t you say?  And yet, while facing the same trial – extinction – they each had their own individual trial, as well; Mordecai was concerned for his people and their salvation, Esther was concerned for her own safety in honoring Mordecai’s request to approach the King.

Sisters, we’re going to have trials. Troubles.  Rough patches.  Dry seasons.  Disappointments. Jesus tells us this several times throughout the Gospels, and Darlene reminds us of 1 Peter 4:12 – 13 (NIV).  “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.”   Uh, wait a minute – did that scripture say rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ?  Yep.  And so does this one, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-3 NIV).  These verses in James say we will go through trials “of many kinds” – some will be severe, some not so much.  We may be losing our keys or our patience.  We may be having “one of those days” or wonder if we’ll even make it through the day. But God allows us to face trials because they “develop perseverance.”  I saw perseverance defined as “steady persistence in a course of action, especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles or discouragement” (Dictionary.com).  So, if I can paraphrase, God allows us to face trials so that we can develop the ability to stay the course, finish the race – in spite of what difficulties, obstacles or discouragement will come our way (especially from our enemy, Satan).

I know, I know.  I hear the protest rising from you right now. “How am I supposed to rejoice in the trial I am going through now?  You have NO IDEA what I am suffering.”  You’re so right…I don’t.  But God does.  And He promises never to leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5), so He will be with you through the whole thing.  He also tells us that “…no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.  This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me…” (Isaiah 54:17 NIV).  “Yes, yes,” I hear you protesting, “but joy, Robin? JOY???”  Yes, sisters, joy.  Because unlike happiness, which can come and go with our moods, joy is the deeper sense of understanding  and well-being that comes from accepting that God is in complete control of your life and, as such, will always work on your behalf, for your good, because He promised (Romans 8:28).

Trials are not easy, sisters.  And no one said you had to be happy to experience them.  But they do give you the chance to get closer to God.  Psalm 34:18 (NIV) says “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”  When you find yourself in a hard place or season—cry out to God!  He hears you.  He LOVES you.  He wants to help you.  He wants to deliver you!  He wants to fill all the voids in your life.  He encourages you to “cast ALL your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Psalm34_18

I have heard testing/trials described beautifully in this way:  “Our lives are like gold – but in its unrefined state.  The goldsmith heats up the metal – so hot that it is liquefied – and then begins to skim the impurities and waste from the surface.  This happens not once, but MANY times. Each time the goldsmith skims the impurities and waste from the surface.  Do you know when it’s done?  When the goldsmith can see his face mirrored in the surface of the gold.”  God does the same with our lives. The rough times, hard times, difficult seasons, times of trial and suffering are like the heat used to liquefy the metal that is our character.  If we allow God to ‘heat up’ our character, he will skim the impurities and the waste that particular challenge brings out of us. With each trial we become more like Him (remember our first scripture, 1 Peter 4:12-13?) until one day God sees His face mirrored in our lives, and His glory is revealed – in us!

Let’s pray:

Dear God, I am asking You to help me through the trials I am experiencing in my life.  There are times that I just don’t know what to do, and I wonder how I’m going to get through this.  Thank You, Lord, that I can pour my heart out to You and trust that not only CAN You help me, but You WILL help me!  Thank You for holding me in the palm of Your hand.  If there are areas that I haven’t surrendered to Your care, please help me give them to You.  Help me to cast ALL my anxieties on You!  Thank You, Lord, for Your protection and provision.  Help me to come through this fire looking more like You every day.  In the name of Your Son I pray.

Amen.

Safety in the Lord

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Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
Psalms 91:1 and 5

God has placed within man the instinct of self-preservation.  There is then a kind of fear that is a natural reaction to threatening circumstances and situations of impending danger. At such times the body pumps adrenalin into the bloodstream, releasing a sudden super-burst of mental and physical energy to face and combat danger.

However, God made man to be fear free.  It was not His intention that we should be afflicted by rebellion, disease, loneliness, fear, or death.  Nor can we blame God for the afflictions in which we find ourselves.  Adam, the first man, chose to disobey the clear-cut directive of His Maker and, with that act of rebellion, man became separated from God.  The light within ceased and darkness came.  The joy of God’s Presence was replaced by sorrow and with the absence of peace came fear.   So fear is a natural consequence of our separation from God.  It afflicts us all until we turn back to God and know a restoration of relationship with Him through Christ the Son of God.  This is why the psalmist stated in verse 1 of Psalm 91 that, “He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall rest, or abide, under the shadow of the Almighty.”

What does it mean to “dwell in the secret place?”  It is being in Christ, for He is the only Way, Truth and Life.  And once we are in Christ we shall not be afraid for the ‘terror of night; nor the arrow that flies by day’ (Psalm 91:5).  The Bible assures us that when we are in Christ and Christ in us we are complete.  Matters of fear can not slip up. Psalm 91:5 is explicitly saying “You shall not be afraid ….”  And specifically it is talking of night and day that we shouldn’t be afraid.  The psalmist had a revelation that without dwelling in Christ anything can happen during the day and at night.  This psalm offers security for God’s children who abide in Christ and His word that nothing can happen to a faithful servant except by God’s permission. This truth does not mean there will never be unpleasant or difficult times but that as long as we make God our Lord and our Refuge, in everything that happens to us God will work for our good.  As Christians we face struggles but the word of God makes us aware of the armor of God available to us for protection.  For our struggles are not against flesh and blood but against ‘the rulers, the powers, the world forces of this darkness, the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12). Let us dwell there…for there we will be safe.

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Our Father, who art in Heaven, we come before You with thanksgiving in our hearts knowing You are our Shield at all times.  May Your Name be glorified now and forever more…in Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen!!

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Conquering Fear

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Dear Megan,

I have been battling crippling fear for sometime now and it is affecting my whole life. I know I am trying to control this myself and not fully giving this to God. I really need some guidance on how to get started with giving back to God what is not mine to take on. Can you help me begin to reclaim God’s truth on my fear? Bless you, KL

My Dear KL,

Thank you for taking this first step to reclaim your abundant life back and not live gripped by fear! You are so right… God does not intend for you to hold onto this fear and He longs for you to release it all to Him! I know, it’s not as easy as saying that so I pray that this post will give you the tools needed to begin to give all of your fear over to your Heavenly Father and begin to stand on His truth!

There are four types of fears:

  • Fear of loss
  • Fear of Failure
  • Fear of Rejection
  • Fear of the Unknown

Many people struggle with one or more of these fears and they can paralyze you and keep you from God’s best. When I begin to work with a client on fear, we focus on this Scripture:

2 Timothy 1:7

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

The world would like for us to believe that we have no control over our fears and that our only recourse is to totally avoid all fearful situations. However, with Christ alive inside of us, we  KNOW this to be untrue! God asks us to stand in His strength when we’re afraid. As we focus on His perfect love, we will feel His perfect peace in the midst of every fear-producing situation.

1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.

The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Knowing the truth and acting on the truth is critical to conquering fear. The source of the truth is the One who said He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life. “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). The primary resource we have for finding God’s truth is His Word, the Bible. The first step in applying truth is to identify the lies behind the fears you are experiencing as to replace those lies with facts. John 8:32 says “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

FEAR: “I can’t help this intense feeling on fear!”

FACT: “This feeling is a bluff to my mind and body. It is not grounded in truth.”

Psalm 27:3

Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.

FEAR: “I have this feeling of doom… a feeling that I am going to die.”

FACT: “The time of death is in God’s hands. I will choose to trust Him.”

Job 14:5

A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months
and have set limits he cannot exceed.

FEAR: “I’m afraid of what others are thinking about me.”

FACT: “My peace comes from pleasing God, not in pleasing man.”

2 Corinthians 5:9

So we make it our goal to please him

FEAR: “I am hopeless and can never change.”

FACT: “In Christ, I am a new person. Nothing is hopeless.”

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!

FEAR: “I am so nervous, I can’t think clearly.”

FACT: “God will guard my mind and give me peace.”

Philippians 4:7

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
FEAR: “To be safe, I have to be in control.”
FACT: God is in control of my life, and He is with me step by step.”

Deuteronomy 31:8

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

FEAR: “I feel trapped with no way of escape.”

FACT: “God always makes a way of escape.”

1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.

But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Blessings,

Coach Megan 🙂

Glorious Living w/ Coach Megan: Dare to Dream — Don’t be Stunted by Self-Doubt!

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Dear Megan,

God has placed some pretty big God-sized dreams in my heart, but I keep letting my self and all my doubts and fears get in the way of letting God work to help my dreams become a reality. Can you help point me in the right direction with combating this self-doubt?

~LB

Dearest LB,

…and you KNOW God specifically designed YOU to fulfill these dreams on earth to further His Kingdom! He so wants all of us to get out-of-the-way and give Him full reign over our dreams!  God wants you to rely on Him to guide you and give you strength…for ONLY through Him will you truly reach the potential He has for you!

Isaiah 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you;do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Here are a few helpful tips when you find yourself coming across self-doubt:

1. Let go of the need to know HOW you will create your vision of what you want.

You likely do not know how you will create your dream, especially not in the beginning. That is the way it is supposed to be! Your intuition is how the Universe shows you the way to your dream! We often end up doubting ourselves when we can’t see how we can create what we want. Or, sometimes we think of one way to create it and think we aren’t capable of doing that. Let go of this kind of thinking and trust that, if you have a vision that excites you, you have within you what it takes to create it. And trust that you will be given what you need to make it a reality, when you need it.

Proverbs 3:5

Trust in the Lord with all your heartand lean not on your own understanding

 

2. Remind yourself of how important your dream is to you.

Give yourself 5 to 10 minutes of free time to spend focusing on your vision of what you want and how you will feel when you have created your dream. Let yourself feel these positive emotions and imagine that you have already created what you want and are living your vision. Let yourself get excited, these positive emotions will energize your vision and allow it come to you faster. This reminder of why your vision is important to you can help you set that doubt aside.

2 Timothy 1:7

 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 

 

3. Be a witness to the voice of self-doubt.

As you notice the voice of doubt coming up, watch the thoughts that come up rather than participating with it. Recognize that it is the voice of the part of you that wants to keep you the same and to keep you in familiar territory. Distancing yourself from this voice can help you to gain perspective so you are still in charge and the doubting self is not. Release the need to fight it, simply allow the doubt to be expressed and move on.

Philippians 1:6

…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

 

4. Get the doubts and fears down on paper and out of your mind.

In your mind, they tend to endlessly repeat themselves and keep you stuck. Get out a piece of paper and write out all of the doubts and fears that come to mind. On a new piece of paper write down positive statements around why you CAN create your vision. Maybe you are downplaying your strengths and abilities; list these on this second piece of paper as well. When you are done, read over the doubts one last time, then tear the paper into tiny pieces and throw it away. Read over your positive statements and let the positive emotions and a feeling of confidence take over. Feel free to read these positive statements whenever you need to remind yourself that you are capable!

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

5. Repeat a personalized affirmation to yourself.

This will instill positive beliefs around your ability to create your vision. Make sure the affirmation feels good when you say it, and it is meaningful to you. The better you feel when you repeat it, the faster it can become your reality. Examples: I believe in myself; I deserve to have what I want; God put this desire in my heart; I am safe, etc. whatever resonates with you. You can also use the positive statements you created in #4 above.

 

Self-doubt is likely something that you will face on the path to your dream, but that is no reason to stop moving forward. Take a few minutes to readjust your focus using the tips above and you will be feeling better and more confident, ready to move forward to your dreams once again! God NEEDS this to be a priority to fulfill His purposes on this earth! 

 

Blessings,

Coach Megan 🙂

 

Captivating: Chapter 12 – “In The World” – “Do Not Give Way to Fear” (pgs 212-215)

People always talk about their “calling.” It’s such a Christian-ese phrase.  “So what led you to that decision?” “Well, I believe it’s my ‘calling’.”  Now, I’m not trying to put down anyone who may have used this word.  In fact, I use the word often.  Typically, after frustration grips my emotions, I cry to God, “LORD, WHY CAN’T YOU JUST TELL ME WHAT MY CALLING IS! TELL ME WHERE YOU WANT ME TO BE! OPEN THE DOOR ALREADY!”

Once I lose the anger, I remind myself of the truth.  And the truth is this: much like the reasons God allows bad things to happen to us, He may have us in a place we aren’t “called” to be right now because He is preparing us for His plans that are to come.

We can’t see the big picture, but God can.  He has you right where you are for HIS reasoning.  It’s also similar to why you may be single and lonely right now.  God has a reason.  God is preparing you for your “calling” every single day you awake.  He’s preparing your heart for something that is to come that will be so worth the wait, the patience, and the persistence!

So the question remains: how do you find your “calling?” In an effort to help you find that answer, our authors pose the following questions: What is it you yearn to see happen? How do you long for the world to be a better place? What makes you so angry you nearly see red? What brings you to tears?

The answers to those questions are different for each person – praise God! And those answers are the desires within our hearts, desires that God set within us even before we were born. Those answers are invitations.

“They are invitations to bring your heart to your Lover and ask Him to clarify, to deepen, to speak to you about how and when and with whom.”

I am reminded of this passage in Matthew 6:

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet Your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (verses 25-33).

So maybe you know a few answers to the questions above.  What’s keeping you from pursuing them? What’s keeping you from action? For me, Stasi and John hit the nail on the head when they discussed that terrible four letter word: F.E.A.R.

Fear of failure, fear of disapproval, fear of rejection, fear of vulnerability…I could go on.  But all of these fears have one thing in common—They are not from God.

As we have journeyed this book together, I pray that each of you has found who you are in Christ.  You are a strong warrior princess made to share in an adventure, made to serve and to love.  But no warrior princess can realize her own strength and purpose if she hides away in the castle her whole life.  No, we are called to take risks!  Risk the failure, risk the disapproval, risk the rejection, and risk the vulnerability.

Jesus did that.  And if we are called to live like Him, we must live radically, fully entrusting our lives to Christ. One of my favorite authors and inspirational speakers, Bob Goff, states in his book Love Does:

“Every day God invites us on the same kind of adventure. It’s not a trip where He sends us a rigid itinerary, He simply invites us. God asks what it is He’s made us to love, what it is that captures our attention, what feeds that deep indescribable need of our souls to experience the richness of the world He made. And then, leaning over us, He whispers, “Let’s go do that together.

Ladies, I pray that each of you will live, breathe, and act that verse. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!

2Tim1_7

Praise Him,

Carissa

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Let’s Pray:

Father, I thank You for the life You’ve given each of us. I thank You that You have promised each of us a purpose and to use us to further Your great kingdom.  Father, in our days of doubt, remind us that You use all things (and situations) to Your glory.  Lord, draw close to us, reveal Your plans for our lives to us.  We want to know You and serve You more. Father, in Your time, give us the courage and will to pursue those desires You’ve set deep in our hearts.  We love You so much! In Your precious Name, Amen.

Your Assignment:

Spend time in prayer today, drawing closer to God, asking Him to deepen your desires and reveal His plans for you. He is faithful; He will answer.

Life’s Healing Choices: Week 3 “The Commitment Choice” – What’s Holding You Back?

I have a question for you this morning: What is holding you back from surrendering your problems and your life to the care of God?

Today we are going to talk about five things that keep us from making this choice: Pride, Fear, Guilt, Worry, and Doubt.  

This has been, and to this day still is, a battle for me in a few areas in my life. I found it painfully hard to fully acknowledge to myself those painful feelings of guilt that I tried to push down deep inside that would continue to pop up and hurt. Satan loves to try and ruin our day by bringing up past scars. He loves to see us reliving that pain and being pushed bit by bit away from God. His desire is that the pain will always be there and we will not ever be able to heal.

Everyone has feelings of pride, fear, guilt, worry, and doubt from time to time. But God wants us to stop, let go, and give Him these feelings and hurts that cause destruction in our lives and to those we love. He simply wants to take care of our hurts; all we have to do is hand them over to Him today. For many, this is not easy. In fact, this was so very hard for me to do. I would like to share a situation in which I had a very hard time giving up control and putting my love and trust in God.

Due to the lack of male figures as a child growing up, I had trust issues and I yearned for male attention. I had my heart broken many times as a young child and I truly felt very sorry for myself and very angry toward men, but on the other hand, I wanted their love so badly. When I was 14 years old, I was raped by my boyfriend. He pressured me to be with him because he “loved” me. Although I wanted that love so bad, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to give myself to him.  At the last minute, I decided not to go through with it, but he chose to continue…without my consent.  Afterwards, he threatened that if I ever told anyone what he did, or tried to break up with him, he would let everyone know what I had done with him; that I was no longer innocent and pure.

As time went on, anger, hurt, love, and trust turned into major resentment toward every man I came in contact with. I was not about to trust a man with my heart. I would be the one in control, and I would not have to fear rejection. I started using my body as a way to control that overwhelming need for love. I used sex lying to myself calling it “love.” I would now become the rejecter. Although, reality was that sex became disgusting to me because it was filth and not love that I always yearned for. That was when I decided I would be the one who would cause one to feel sad, hurt, and unloved. I wanted men to “want” me, because this is what I thought love was. I learned great ways to manipulate them with my eyes, the way I moved my body, the way I did things to cause them to feel jealousy so they would stay with me. This was (in my mind) justifiable behavior. I had been treated that way, so why shouldn’t I treat men that way. Isn’t that how love works?

After this, I turned very selfish and could not offer real intimacy and pure love to anyone, even with my devoted husband who truly loved me. I just never believed that love was real. I had never received it in any other male relationships before, so I thought how would my marriage be any different. That boyfriend I had, said he loved me, but look how that turned out. I believe this is my reason for having a hard time putting my trust, not only in my husband, but mostly with the Lord. How on earth could my Heavenly Father really love me that way?

Finally I woke up and decided to quit playing the victim. I chose to give this hurt to the Lord along with the control, pride, guilt, fear, worry, and doubt. In the beginning, I did not think He could change me, but God did. He was going to set me free!

“I have swept away your sins like a cloud.  I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist.  Oh return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free.”  — Isaiah 44:22

Today, love is changing between me and my husband. I am “learning to trust” him and even more, trusting God in all things. God is calling out to all of us “This is the Lord, trust me, let go, and I will catch you.” (Baker)

How about you? Are you willing to lay down your pride and surrender? Are you ready to stop being tormented by your hurts that have controlled you for so long? Are you having doubts right now even though you want to believe? Ask God right now to help you with your unbelief. As John Baker says, “Jesus said, that’s good enough.” All you need is faith as small as a mustard seed. If you put that faith in our Big God then you will get results. (Baker)

Jesus replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

So what are you waiting for? Let go and give Christ control! He wants a loving relationship with you more than anything!

 

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Let’s Pray:

Lord, Thank You for Your love for us. You tell us, Lord, to come to You with all things and You will give us rest. Lord, we want to do this and surrender our problems and care over to You; but it’s not easy. The pride, guilt, fear, worry, and doubt get in the way. Lord, we ask You to help us right now to let go and surrender our problems and lives to the care and control of You. Lord,we need help. We need You in our lives. All this we pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Your Assignment: 

Write down and explain which of these things God is showing to you about yourself such as: pride, guilt, fear, worry, and doubt that is holding you back from making a decision to surrender and give Christ control of your life. Remember, comments made here are public. You do have the option of signing in anonymously.

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Crazy Love – Chapter 3: “In Love with the One I Fear” – Pgs 56-57

Quoting Frances Chan, page 56:  “If I could choose one word to describe my feelings about God in those first years of being a Christian, it would be fear.  Basically, any verses that described His overwhelming greatness or His wrath were easy for me to relate to because I feared my own father.   However, Chan stated on page 55 that his relationship with God took a major turn when he became a father himself.  The words he now uses are reverent intimacy.

Personally, I am so grateful I never experienced the fear of my father.  I knew my daddy loved me, even when he disciplined me, and I have never doubted God’s love for me. However, there came a time in my life that I experienced what Christian counselor and psychologist, Robert McGee, refers to as blocked development, which began to affect my relationship with God.

In his book, You and Your Parents, McGee points out that a child goes through 4 stages of emotional development, each stage serving as a foundation for the next.

  1. Bonding (birth – 2)  The need to be loved:  Its purpose is to convey feelings of love, value, worth, closeness, and trust.
  2. Separateness (2-11)  The need to set personal boundaries:  This is what I feel, I  don’t feel that way; I believe this, I don’t believe that.
  3. Adolescence (11-18)  The need to develop adult behavior and identity: What am I good at doing and not good at doing.  What are good and unwise choices.
  4. Maturity (19 & older)  The need to continue growing in adult behavior and identity: Learn how little we really know, and how much more we have to learn.

McGhee says that based on the type of parental modeling a child encounters starting at birth, the child could become blocked and not progress to the next stage.  When that happens, the child’s emotional, relational, as we as hi spiritual, development remains at whatever stage he became blocked in.

Hang with me while I give a personal example that bears this teaching out. As I said, I never doubted how much my dad loved me as a child.  Certainly, I had bonded with my dad and it transferred over to knowing God loved me unconditionally.

However, once I reached the next stage called a separateness, that’s when problems started, although I didn’t know this as a child.  In both my parents’ efforts to shield and protect me from “life,” they were unable to find a balance between advising and guiding while at the same time giving me some freedom to begin forming my own thoughts and beliefs.

Added to that was my own personality type, which could be described as laid back, don’t rock the boat, desires peace and harmony at all cost.

The result of these two scenarios combined were:  I became a cripple at making decisions on my own and had no confidence in myself.  In short, I lost my identity and became a puppet on a string in my adult life trying to please everyone with whom I interacted.

I began to sense the emotional strain this was having on me, but did not realize that it had actually affected my relationship with God until He began to lead me down a totally new path in my life—a path that would require a major transition.

Fear gripped me.  I was afraid of trusting my own heart.  I was afraid of making a  decision…something I had never done as a child nor as a grown woman.  Up until this time, I had allowed others to think, feel, and make decisions for me. 

However, after months of prayer in trying to make a decision to follow the path I felt God was leading me down, these Scriptures literally leaped off the pages of the Bible to me: 

  • For do I now persuade men or God?  Or do I seek to please men?  For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.  (Galatians 1:10)
  • These are the commands, decrees, and regulations that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you. You must obey them in the land you are about to enter and occupy, and you and your children and grandchildren must fear (reverence) the Lord your God as long as you live. If you obey all his decrees and commands, you will enjoy a long life.  (Deuteronomy 6:1-2)

A peace settled over me, and I knew it was God that I should be concerned about pleasing.  And with that, I began walking in obedience to His call on my life.  “He’s the BOSS.”

 

And that chapter in my life was my testing time in learning what Reverent Intimacy or the Reverence of God means.   Mr. Chan learned it when his own children were born.  I learned it when I was put in a position to make a decision to wholeheartedly follow God’s leading.  My life has never been the same.

Be blessed,

Martha

**********

Let’s Pray:

Father God, thank You for Your unconditional love for us.  May we put aside anything that has hindered us from being intimate with You.  In Jesus’ name, I pray.  Amen.

Your Assignment:

What does reverent intimacy mean to you?  Share your experience of coming to this place.

 



If you would like more information about Crazy Love Bible study, click HERE to be taken to the sign-up page.  Once we receive your registration, we will email you further details.

If you would like to send Martha a personal message in regards to this blog, you may email her at: Martha@GirlfriendsCoffeeHour.com.

Life’s Healing Choices: Week 1 -The Consequences Of Our Problems

“No! I do it by myself!” Awe the famous phrase of a toddler. Unfortunately I still use this phrase at times today as an adult. I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand to be told what to do! I don’t like not having control, and truthfully I rebel a lot of times and completely do the opposite of what’s being asked of me, even though I know it’s not the right thing to do.

Every one of us struggle with circumstances in life that we know are not good for us, but we still do them anyway. I have struggled with insomnia ever since childhood. There are many ways my doctor tries to help me by giving suggestions to help with falling asleep. However, I don’t always do them. For example, no caffeine after 3pm. (Honestly, I never listen to this one.) When I go out to eat, I order that coke with my meal because I think my meal is much better with one. I will drink 1 or 2 cups of coffee with my husband in the evening because it’s a special moment together we share. Yes, there are non-caffeinated drinks, but who cares! I want the real stuff! As a result of doing wrong, I suffer the consequences of being up late at night, not getting enough sleep, and SO cranky the next morning.

If the cause of most of our problems is our efforts to control everything, then what are the consequences of playing God? Isn’t that exactly what we are doing? There are 4 consequences listed in this book:

1) FEAR: When we try to control everything we become afraid. In my life I felt so out of control and scared inside that I faked being happy. In high school I acted like I was so happy and I smiled all the time. I was a good actress and thought that if I could get others to believe I had it all together, than maybe I too would somehow convince myself it was true. But truth was, I was hurting and so scared of people finding out this was not true. I was scared they would not like me and wouldn’t want to be my friend. I have remained in fear this would happen to me my whole life. Do you ever feel like this?  What is it that you fear today?

2) FRUSTRATION: Although I tried my best to hide my problems, a new one would arise. It never seemed to fail that I never stop with one pop up, I would have numerous ones and they never went away. I felt so frustrated all the time! Are you walking around today pretending your God thinking you can handle all your problems yourself, and you don’t need anyone’s help? Here are two examples of people in the Bible talking about feeling frustrated. Apostle Paul felt frustration: “It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I eventually do what is wrong…There is something else deep within me… that is at war with my mind and wins the fight and makes me a slave to sin.” (Romans 7:21-25 commentary)…David also felt frustration: My dishonesty made me miserable and filled my days with frustration.” (Psalm 32:3 LB)…Are you Too feeling frustrated today?

3) FATIGUE: I feel so tired all the time when playing God and pretending everything was ok when it definitely was not. Every day I felt weak and tried faking how I was feeling with everyone I came into contact with. I started feeling like I couldn’t keep up my lies much longer. I felt like my strength was almost gone. David experienced fatigue: “My strength evaporated like water on a sunny day until I finally admitted all my sins to you and stopped trying to find them.” (Psalm 32:3-4)

4) FAILURE: I always fail at playing God. Every one of us will fail at doing this and that’s a guarantee! The wisdom of Proverbs tells us, “You will never succeed in life if you try to hide your sins. Confess them and give them up; then God will show mercy to you. Are you being honest and open about your weaknesses, faults, and failures?

 

Psalm 32:3-4

Psalm 32:3-4

LET US PRAY:
Father God, I come to You because I’m weak, so tired of trying to handle everything on my own. I’m afraid to let others know what’s going on inside of me. Lord I give to You my hurts, my failures, my faults. I’m tired of running and I’m going to let YOU be GOD. Thank You Lord for Your amazing love
In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

 

ASSIGNMENT: Review these 4 consequences and list fears you have right now and how they cause you to react and feel. Share with us what you have been trying to control that have you tired today.

 


If you would like more information about this online Bible study, please email us at: GCH_VH@girlfriendscoffeehour.com.

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

 

 

A Daughter’s Worth: Week 12/ Day 4 – Rest in the Hope of God

GCH_LifesJourney

I believe that we all have things that we worry about. It can be hard not to worry and work things out on our own. We have to learn how to truly give our problems and worries over to God, for Him to work out for us. If we tried to work it out on our own, it would probably drive us to a state of frustration and anxiety. It can be hard to give something over to God that you want to fix on your own, when you know that you really cannot.

I can say that I have for the most part of my life, been a worrier. I have always tried to fix things on my own, even when I knew that I couldn’t. I usually made the problems worse for myself. If I only could have given it over to God and rest in the hope that He would fix it for me. It has never been an easy task for me to do. I can now say that I am having to learn how to do this because of the different things that God has placed in my life for me to have to deal with. I am eagerly placing them all in His hands because surely I know now that these are things that I cannot physically handle on my own.

Girls, please don’t take as long as I did to figure that out, that God wants you to bring your worries and problems to Him and rest in knowing that He is going to handle it, in His time. He loves you so much! If you don’t know yet, He really, really does! Give Him a chance to show you : ) Give whatever you may be wrestling with, worrying about, frustrated with, over to Him and watch Him work it out for you, because He loves you and you are most definitely one of His daughters! : ) Rest in knowing that He is on the job!

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11: 28

Let’s pray:

Dear God thank You for allowing us to take this journey with You called, A Daughter’s Worth. We have learned so much and made so many new friends and Lord we ask that You continue to watch over them and deepen Your relationship with them.

Love, Ms. Tonya : )

 



Have you found things in your life that are extremely difficult to deal with?  We invite you today, to ask Jesus into your heart to help you with these things.   Whether it’s stress, fear, anxiety, temptations, peer pressure, whatever it may be, Jesus can and will give you wisdom, guidance, and rest!  If you would like to ask Jesus into your heart today, please pray with us now:

Jesus, I recognize now that I was not meant to handle all these cares and pressures on my own.  I know now that I can turn to You and ask You to come live in my heart, as my personal Lord and Savior, and I know that You will guide me from now on.  Jesus, I ask You today, right here and right now, to come live in my heart.  I invite You to be my Lord and Savior.  I confess my sins to You today, and I ask for Your forgiveness.  Cleanse me of the unrighteousness in my life.  I thank You now Jesus, for dying on the cross for ME, and for my sins.  In Your Name I pray, AMEN!

If you have just prayed that prayer with us, please send us an email and let us know.

Our email address is: GCH_Decaf@girlfriendsCoffeeHour.com.  We would like to celebrate this day with you!!

Be Blessed!!