October 19, 2017

“I AM” Week 3 – Day 4: The Day of The Lord

Memory Verse:

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; 

he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, 

he enables me to tread on the heights.

Habakkuk 3:19

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You, my friends, are God’s chosen people, and He wants to lavish you with His love and shower you with blessings that only He can give. But you have to put Him first in your life, above everything else and constantly seek Him. Friends, the day of the Lord is coming. Are you ready? Are you serving Him only? Or are you still dabbling in worldly behaviors?

Zephaniah, Haggai, and Zechariah were all prophets, chosen by God to send messages to His people about the coming day. They had messages of hope and blessings for His people after years of persecution, captivity, and darkness. The only thing they had to do was seek God. They had become complacent, content in their lives, desensitized to the evil that was going on all around them. Some were worshipping idols, others were worshipping their own lives. God loved them enough to send some hard words, warnings of what is to come if they didn’t turn from their wicked ways and follow hard after God.

Zephaniah 3:14-18 is a beautiful, love letter from God to His people then and to us now. You can make this personal and find such hope in these words from your Father. No matter what your life may have looked like, God wants to rescue you and redeem you.  I want you to substitute your name in these verses. (Italics mine)

“Sing, O daughter of Zion (your name), be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. The Lord has taken away your punishment. He has turned back your enemy. The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you. Never again will you fear harm. On that day, they will say to Jerusalem (your name). “Do not fear, O Zion(your name), do not let your hands hang limp, the Lord your God is mighty to save. He will take great delight in You! He will quiet you with His love and He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephaniah 3:14-18

I’m in tears, aren’t you? God, the Great I AM is rejoicing over you with singing!!!

Next  comes  the book of Haggai. He brings a message of encouragement to the people of Jerusalem. He wanted them to return to the task of building the Temple. When they were first released from exile, they were filled with hope, excitement, and on fire for God. But life and the pressure got to them and they became selfish and they quit doing the work God called them to do. Can you relate?

Haggai was to get them back on track. To get them to stop making excuses and to show them the reasons they were suffering, which were directly related to not putting God first in their lives. How true this is in our own lives. We can get back on track just by asking. It is that simple. And we will be better than we were before because of what we learned in the battle.

“The future glory of this temple will be greater than its past glory, says the Lord Almighty. And in its place, I will bring peace. I, the Lord Almighty, have spoken.”

Haggai 2:9

And last, Zechariah leaves us with the hope of the coming Messiah, the coming of Jesus! He wanted God’s people to know that even in times of discouragement and turmoil, and trials, God is working out His plan in our lives and guides and directs us if we trust and follow Him. Is He going to be your Savior or your judge? Some of His promises are conditional. We must obey Him to receive them. He will give us consistent blessings when we consistently live our lives for Him.

 “When that day arrives, The Lord, their God, will rescue His people, just as a shepherd rescues His sheep. They will sparkle in His hand like jewels in a crown. How wonderful, how beautiful they will be. The young men and women will thrive on the abundance of grain and new wine.”

Zechariah 9:16

You will be a sparkle in God’s hand! A jewel in a crown. He calls you beautiful and wonderful. Amazing grace! We may feel like our life is a battlefield!  As long as we are on this earth, there will always be a battle going on between good and evil. When we turn our lives over to Him, the Great I AM, He will rescue us and keep us secure; safe and in His arms we will dwell. We will never be fully satisfied in life without Him. We were made to need Him.

The Day of the Lord is coming! In the blink of an eye this world will be no more!  All that we have endured will be worth it when we look into the eyes of our Savior. Is there something that you need to turn from today? Dear friends, He is worth the sacrifice. Eternity with Him is your reward. You are worth it!

Let’s Pray:

Dear Lord of Heaven’s Army, Messiah, we praise You for sending Your Son to die so that we may live in eternity forever with You. Thank You for all these promises that we are seeing come true in our lives. Thank You that no matter where we have been or what we have done, You will forgive us and set our paths straight again. You long to be our Savior and Redeemer. Thank You for Your Word, and for these prophets You sent before us with Your messages of hope that relate to our lives today. We love You and Praise You. We can’t wait to meet You face to face one day. In Jesus’ name we pray.

AMEN

Girls with Swords: Chapter 13 – Sword of Forgiveness & Restoration: What’s Your Story? (pgs. 205-206)

2Cor1_4

If you could see the underside of your life, you would see God your Father all over the details. He wrote your story. What is your story, dear friend? Do you have deep wounds that still need healing? Or perhaps you have overcome and you are in a good place, but someone in your family is struggling and you are just at your end with it. The ripple effect is reaching everyone including your children. How can you do this any longer? I don’t know your story. I don’t know what your childhood was like.

If your daddy loved you and told you how beautiful you are or if you are still begging for his attention; or maybe your childhood was stolen by someone who had no right to it. Maybe you had life happen to you as an adult and you’re ashamed of the way you dealt with it. Oh dear one, there is One who knows all and He came to take your shame away, to redeem and restore; release you from all that’s past and give you a future full of possibilities. Your story is full of opportunities to help someone else struggling.

We are given so many opportunities as His followers to step out and share the hope that we have in Him. One by one, story by story, lives are transformed and families restored…the list goes on and on. Hope is passed on when we walk in obedience; when we speak His words of restoration.

There’s a saying that goes: “Hurt people hurt people.”  Oh how true this is! But let me encourage you to try something if you are that hurting person. Instead of lashing out at a grumpy cashier, or anyone else giving you a bad attitude, show compassion. We don’t know their story of why they are acting the way they are. We are called to be His hands and feet in this lost world. Lisa asks us if we have any daggers of disappointment or bitterness that might threaten to misdirect a sword at hand. If so, we must willingly lay them down (pg 205).

Only when we have let go of resentment and forgive can we be free. As stated on page 206, “How might God use YOU as an agent of restoration?”

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Let’s Pray:

Dear God, my Daddy in Heaven, I surrender all. I lay it at Your feet. I trust You will guide each one of us and direct our steps as we step out into a hurting world and speak Your words of restoration and healing to others. Give each one of us the courage to be bold and use this story You have given us to encourage and give strength to one another as we travel together. I pray we choose to always say ‘yes!’ to You. We love You and we praise You and worship You with our whole being. We release our hurts and resentments. We release those who hurt us so that we may be whole to serve You wholly.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Taking Our Thoughts Captive to Obey Christ

I am not sure if you might be like me…at times it can seem to be so difficult to keep thinking the TRUTH of what God says about myself.  Do you struggle with this too?  But, somehow by God’s grace, we muster up the fortitude and remind ourselves,

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,
and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5

I like to tell these thoughts, “I do not believe that!  You <ugly thought> must be obedient to Jesus Christ.  God’s Word says ______ .”  (And then I speak or read the TRUTH of God’s Word.)

We are in charge of what we think!  We control the thoughts that we allow to live in our hearts!  We determine to put the TRUTH into our hearts and minds!   That is exactly what this verse reminds us to do!

Have you ever thought or said any of the following to yourself?

“I look _____ <fill in the blank> … no one could ever love me like this.”
The TRUTH is: I am beautiful in His sight!

I am fearfully and wonderfully made and beautiful in the eyes of the Lord.
Psalms 139:14

“I am not important…I have no value to anyone.”
The TRUTH is: I have great worth to God!

Aren’t five sparrows sold for two pennies?  Yet not one of them is forgotten
in God’s sight. Indeed, the hairs of your head are all counted.
Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows!
Luke 12:7

“I can never forgive ____ for what they’ve done! They don’t deserve it.”
The TRUTH is: I have been forgiven of so much!  Forgiveness has nothing to do with what is ‘deserved;’ it is all about trust and obedience to God.

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father
will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others,
then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.
Matthew 6:12, 14, 15

We all have occasional thoughts that are lies.  Sometimes they are long-buried words that others have spoken to us in our past.  Sometimes they are strongholds that are in our hearts that we have not dealt with.  Sometimes they are vicious deceptions that the enemy of our souls speaks to us.  It really isn’t too important where the lies/thoughts come from.  What we do when we think those lies/thoughts is vitally important!  We could dwell on those lies/thoughts, harboring them in our hearts and allowing them to fester and grow.  NOT a good idea!  Or instead we could recognize those lies/thoughts for what they are, and choose to refute the lie by replacing it with the truth of God’s Word, and have peace and joy.  A REALLY good idea!

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable,
if there is any excellence,
if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—
practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:8 and 9

This is one way to replace those lies/thoughts, “…think about these things.”  These are the things that God wants us to fix our minds on!  Just look at them: whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, of any excellence or worthy of praise…and when we do…we will have God’s peace.  Just what we so desire, yes?  Amen.

Are there lies in your heart that you believe about yourself?  Take a moment…write down two lies on a piece of paper.  Now, bring them to the Light—the light of God’s Word.  Find the Truth in the Scriptures about who He says you are.

Perhaps you are not quite sure how to go about this…try this:  google ‘God says I am worthy’  Now, try it putting into the Google search engine a phrase that you desire to find what God’s Word says is the TRUTH.  And, if you need help, come back here and let’s work together on it, ok?  I would love to work through this with you!   ♥ 

Praying for each of you!  ♥ 

♥  coleen

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If you would like to send a personal message to Coleen concerning this blog post, you may email her at: Coleen@girlfriendscoffeehour.com

 

Captivating: Chapter 10 – “To Mother” – “My Sister, My Friend” (pgs 176-181)

So, if you don’t already know, I’m single.  I’ve never been married, and I don’t have any children.  Furthermore, if you know me at all, you know that little kids fascinate me.  I’m one of those creepy people who will stare at your kids just because they always put a smile on my face.  Nothing brings me more joy than when I wave to a little baby and get a great big smile in return.  Children are life in its most simple, pure, and innocent form.

Deep down, beyond all the outward fascination, I struggle with jealousy.  Oftentimes, I watch a mother take her toddler’s hand to “go find a book to read before bed tonight,” and I get jealous.  I want that.  I want to take a little mini-me and read bedtime stories to her.  I want to watch my son play baseball or score his first goal playing soccer.  I want to get lost in an imaginary world, dress up like a superhero and fly around my living room with my little ones. I want to listen as they try to pronounce words like “popsicle” and “spaghetti.” I want to snuggle with my baby as she falls asleep in my arms.  I want to mother.

When I find the jealousy creeping in, I have to turn it over to God.  He’s faithful, He knows these desires of mine, and I know He will give them to me in His time.  And when it is my turn to mother, I want to encourage my children to live a life from their heart, as our authors state.  I want to encourage them to be the person God has created them to be—nothing more, nothing less.

But, even if you don’t have children of your own, you do have opportunities to mother not only other people’s children, but other people in general.  All you have to do is care about someone, offer a listening ear to that person, and encourage him or her to simply be who God created them to be.  Let the following passage from Philippians resonate in your hearts:

“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  Phillipians 2:1-4 ESV

Count others more significant than yourself? Really? I mean, who does that?

Mothers. Mothers do that.  Or, at least they should do that.  If you haven’t had a mother who sacrificed and loved you the way she should have, I’m sorry.  But there is Someone who has filled her role. There is Someone who counts you more than He counts Himself.  There’s Someone who died to save you from your sin so that you can live forever with Him in Heaven.  That Person is Jesus, and He loves you unconditionally.  I love this quote by Jerry Bridges, a notable Christian author.  It reminds me of a mother’s love for her children:

“God’s unfailing love for us is an objective fact affirmed over and over in the Scriptures. It is true whether we believe it or not. Our doubts do not destroy God’s love, nor does our faith create it. It originates in the very nature of God, who is love, and it flows to us through our union with His beloved Son.” — Jerry Bridges, Christian author

Right in suit with caring more about others than yourself falls our friendships with other women.  Do you have those? How are they? Can you think of a girlfriend who you know would be there for you if you needed someone to talk to, cry to, receive godly advice from, or just goof around with? If you don’t have a friend like that, I encourage you to seek one.  My mother told me that when I was a toddler, she didn’t have many girlfriends.  When I entered preschool, she had been praying for a good friend to come into her life.  God was faithful! Through a fun course of events, He placed another family into my family’s life, and our friendship continues to this day.  Not only did we gain a friendship, but this family led my family closer to God.  Our faith was strengthened through that friendship.

Do you have a friend who causes your relationship with God to deepen?  Does she encourage you to grow and walk closer with Him daily?  If not, I pray you seek, invest, and spend time with godly women in your church, Bible study, or even with this group online!  Proverbs 27:17 reminds us that “iron sharpens iron.”  Do you have an “iron” friend in your life? Friendship with like-minded women is crucial to your spiritual growth, and I’ve seen it create accountability and a safe place in my own life.  If you already have your “iron” friend or two, then don’t forget to nurture those friendships with love and attention.

Praise Him!

Carissa

 

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Let’s Pray:

Heavenly Father, thank You for our innate desires to mother, care for, and encourage those in our lives.  I pray that we will apply these desires in the lives of our children, future families, marriage, friendships, and even acquaintances.  I pray that Your love that dwells in each of us will overflow to those around us.  Father, thank You for the gift of girlfriends and friendships.  Lord, I pray that our friendships will grow as we all seek to know You and serve You better each and every day.  In your Holy Name we pray, Amen.

Your Assignment:

Do you like kids as much as I do? I can’t be the only creeper out there! What does your heart desire with regard to children and a family?  Do you feel the desire to “mother” as our authors discuss?   In the past, what has held you back from forming friendships with other women? How do you plan on changing that for the future?

 

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GWS

Our next Women’s Online Bible/Book study begins March 24th.  

To sign up for this amazing study, click on the picture above, complete the registration form, and we will email you further details.   

We hope you will join us.

GCH:decaf – Friends are IMPORTANT! and so is FAMILY

We have been having a most AWESOME time getting to know each other these last three months.  We began our Teen Ministry with the hopes that we would be able to reach young women all over the world with the love of God and for them to see how much they are worth to the Father.  In the process, we got to know many new hearts and smiles.

Yesterday Diane shared with us about her friend, Jesus.  How many of you truly think of Jesus as a friend?  Does He have a place in your heart like your best friend does?  When bad stuff happens to you, who do you run to?  Is Jesus first, or do you go to a friend, or a parent?  Sometimes Jesus is the LAST person we go to – and only because we couldn’t figure it out on our own.  That’s not cool.  That is not how Jesus wants us to think of Him.  How long would we have a best friend if we only talked to them when we were bored or in danger?  Not long, I think.  Friends need to be cared for even when things are fun and good.

It is a FACT that bad things will happen in our lives.  It is a FACT that we need other people to walk along side of us for support.  It is a FACT that Jesus wants to be that person that we go to FIRST…even before our friends or our parents.

Through this teen ministry of GCH:Decaf I have met some pretty amazing women, teens and friends.  We have been introducing you to some of the girls that responded to our interview questions.  Today, I would like to introduce you to a pair of sisters who I met while doing the first study and preparing for things to come.  It is truly amazing how God works miracles in our hearts and lives when bad things happen to us.  Some things girls go through are just too awful to survive, let alone use that terrible thing as a ministry opportunity.

These sisters reminded me of the scripture in Psalms 34:18, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”   Through our online study group I met Trinicia and Carlia.  They answered my interview questions very honestly, just like the other girls did.  I love these girls so very much that I want to get to know them in person.  I want to watch their ministry unfold as they walk out the path God has laid before them.  The events in older sister’s life affected the life of the younger sister.  That is the way we were designed to be.  We bear each other’s burdens and joys.  I love that they are sisters and support each other.  I love that they have a heart for God.  Here is their story:

CarliaI first want to introduce you to Carlia.  She is 13 years old and lives in Memphis, Tennessee.  She likes the group One Direction (much like many of our girls here at :decaf) and this girls LOVES LeCrae.  I have to say that I am loving me some LeCrae myself these days.  I got a new CD for Christmas.  J  Her favorite movie is “Home is Where the Heart Is” and her favorite TV show is House of Payne.  By these choices alone you can tell Carlia values “home”.

 Carlia loves to dress eccentrically and to do that she needs to SHOP with her friends. When asked about food, she responded that all things “Rafferty’s” was her fave.  I have eaten at a Rafferty’s and I would have to agree that they have good food.

 Now here is the answer to the question:  What is one thing that changed your life?

“The day my oldest sister told my Mom that my dad had been touching her in a bad way.  It was hard because that was my dad and he was a part of me, but so was my sister and she was a girl, so I could feel what she was saying and it was hard for me to deal with.  It still is sometimes.  It did bring us closer as a family and it has made all of us stronger and more protective of each other.  I love her!”

Carlia loves her big sister, Trinicia.  God truly came close to these brokenhearted sisters, daughters and friends.  He has begun to heal the wounds that have crushed their spirits and out of these precious hearts, a ministry has been born.

 Trinicia

Let me introduce you to 19 year old, Miss Trinicia.  She goes to college in Nashville, Tennessee.  Her favorite singer is Beyonce and her favorite Christian artist is also LeCrae.  Oh, yeah, and he is CUTE, too.  Trinicia said that Disney’s Pete’s Dragon is her all-time favorite movie and she likes to watch Criminal Minds and Cold Case on TV.  Don’t mess with her, she’s analytical.  LOL  Trinicia likes to be casually dressy.   She sounds pretty classy to me.  Her favorite thing to do with friends is go out to eat and her favorite is Chinese food.

 So here’s the kicker for me; when Trinicia was asked about one thing that changed her life she responded:  “Meeting my best friend Devin at a time when I had to disclose to my mom that my stepdad… had been molesting me and raped me.  God has used that horrible time in my life to help other girls and women get through such a horrific moment in their life.  God has really given me a ministry!  He has used something bad and is using it for His good!”

Trinicia could have said that the action was the thing that changed her life, but what really changed her was the friendship of Devin who stood by her when she needed support to talk to her mom.  Do bad things happen to good people?  Absolutely.  Is it fair?  I don’t think so, but life isn’t fair.  The thing that matters is how Trinicia responded to the bad thing that happened in her life.  She gave it over to God to use as He saw fit and now Trinicia has a ministry helping other girls and women recover from these crushing blows of life.

Did you notice that not only did the bad stuff affect Trinicia, it affected Carlia?  Did you notice that Carlia said that their family is “closer” now than before they found out about the “bad stuff”?  How can that be?  I can understand how these sisters were reluctant to join us in our study “A Daughter’s Worth”, but getting to know them I see that they know the Father loves them and they return that love.  They have turned their pain into ministry to others who are hurting.  I truly love these young ladies.

In Matthew 22:37 it says, “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’”  That verse sums up what we were trying to learn in our last Bible study.  We want to seek God with everything in us, make HIM a part of us that we cannot live without.  We would be lost without our HEART, our SOUL or our MIND.  Make it a point to get to know Jesus this year like Trinicia and Carlia have.  Make 2013 the year you become a true FOLLOWER of Jesus!

I love all my girls,

Mama T

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 If you are interested in sending a private message to Teresa in regards to this blog, please email her at: Teresa@girlfriendscoffeehour.com

GCH:decaf – Letting God Into Our Study

Hello there everyone!  

I know that we have been doing interviews and that is probably what you are expecting from me today.  I know you are probably wanting to get to know another friend that will be doing this study with you, but truth be told I was unable to interview someone this week.  I was nervous about what I was going to do, kind of feeling like a failure.  I was praying about it a lot and then God gave me an idea.  One thing I have learned in my life is that no matter what – God always comes through.  When I think there is no solution, the Lord opens my eyes to HIS solution!  Just when I was worried about my blog this week, God came through with the most perfect idea for a blog post for you.  I may not have a decaf friend to introduce to you this week, but I have another friend who I would like to share with you this week, Jesus!

I am wondering how many of you have done a Bible study before.  My first study was in 6th grade.  We did a study on Job at church.  I still remember things from that study.  One thing I really liked about the study was that we prayed before we discussed the study.  The leader would welcome God to our study that day.  Being eleven years old, I was kind of confused as to how God can be in our study with us.  I believed that God was there, but I could not see Him so if it were not for that prayer, I would have completely forgotten that God was really there with us doing the study with us.  He was the most important part of our study.

Let God In

God is the most important part of GCH: decaf.  God has placed each and every one of you here for a reason.  God desires to be apart of not only this study, but our lives too.  Without God, there is really no point in doing a Bible study.  As we start our new study, Not A Fan, let’s think about what God wants this study to be.  What do you think He wants you to learn?  What do you think He wants to you say?  There is something for each and every one of you that God has prepared for you in this study.

I have done this study years ago.  When I did this study, my take away moment was learning to picture myself following God everywhere I go.  This has made my relationship with God even closer.  It has helped me remember that even though I cannot see God, He is there, desiring to have me make Him the most important part of every aspect of my life.

I want to dedicate this blog to honoring God for bringing us together and giving us this opportunity to make new friends and grow closer to Him.  I want to invite God into every aspect of our group!  Giving God control of this study can only guarantee one thing: It will be better than anything we can picture or imagine!  Letting God into our study, we let Him transform this study into something HUGE, something better than we could ever do on our own!  I do not know about you, but I am really excited to grow closer to God with all of you.  Would you like to get to know God more and more?  I hope you see Him as your friend, comforter, and Savior.

For me, God is where my heart is.  God is the reason why I am here.  I love God so much.  I look to Him as my Father, and Protector.  He is the most important thing in my life.  Let’s share today who God is to us.  I thank God so much for being exactly what we need!  I thank Him for being a part of this group!  I thank Him for loving us!

Love and Prayers,

Diane

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If you are interested in sending a private email to Diane, you may email her at:  Diane@girlfriendscoffeehour.com

 

GCH:decaf — Meet Miss Amber!

IMG_20130102_125304_Bob_Hassel

Has anyone started a countdown for the start of our new study, not a fan??  I love countdowns but always mess the days up somehow — so someone help me out here please  —  how many days till our next study begins??!!!

Anyway, this past week I have absolutely loved reading the blogs.  Getting to know you all is so much fun!  I am so glad that we have a whole month of these blogs!  More excited that we have an entire study coming up where we will have such amazing opportunities to not only get to know one another but get to know our God in Heaven even better!

I am so excited to introduce you to Miss Amber.  This young lady is pretty amazing.  We did the last study together and through that study I have learned that she and I have/ had similar experiences in life.  It is nice because you know there is someone else out there that can relate with you and understand where you are coming from.  I appreciate Amber so much because through her opening up in our last study, I was able to realize this — The more you share with others the more you can relate!  I hope going into our next study as we learn more about each other and grow in our relationships, we are all able to open up, relate to, encourage, and love one another.

Now, here is some info on Amber…she is totally a lady after my very own heart (when we get to favorite clothing apparel you will see why!)  Amber is twenty years old and comes to us from Hendersonville TN.  Her favorite Christian band is Tenth Avenue North, which also happens to be my favorite band!  Her favorite singer is Mat Kearney.  Amber’s favorite movie of all time is Titanic.  That brings me back to days of laughing with my girlfriends repeating, I’ll never let go….I’ll never let go!  Honestly though that movie is one of my personal faves and just oh so sad.  When it comes to television it is Grey’s Anatomy all the way for Amber.

When it comes to fashion, I feel like we could share a closet…a very large walk-in closet filled with pink sparkly shoes (ummm…what size shoe do you wear Amber??).  In fact I bet Amber’s closet looks a lot like mine!  Her favorite style of clothing is sweaters.  As for shoes it’s her pink sparkle ones, and accessories is her birthstone necklace.

When Amber is with her friends her favorite thing to do together is play the battle of the sex’s game.  I have never played that game before but she assures us it is super fun!  Her favorite restaurant is Logan’s Roadhouse, never heard of it; they do not have that here in Pittsburgh!

This is by far my favorite question we are asking.  I am blown away by the responses to this question that we are getting from you all.  The question is: What is one thing that changed your life?  Amber’s answer: One thing that changed my life was getting the believer baptism, for the right reason. I felt like that was a moment where the time stood still and things finally seemed real to me, and I opened my heart, mind, and soul, to God and only God.

Ah!  My heart is smiling, is yours?  I am so so happy for that moment in Amber’s life.  The moment where believing in God and having a relationship with Him finally makes sense and you do not know how you have been doing it up to that point without Him; and you do not want to live one second of your future without Him!  I know God has HUGE things in store for Amber and I am excited to stand alongside of her.  Praying for her, encouraging her, and getting to know her more and more!

Much love to all of my decaf friends!

Love, Diane

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If you are interested in joining us in our GCH:decaf Teen Girls Ministry, please email GCH_Decaf@girlfriendscoffeehour.com for more information.

We’ll be starting our next online Bible study soon! So be sure to keep checking back for sign-up details to be posted soon!

If you are interested in sending a private message to Diane in regards to this blog, please send it to:  Diane@girlfriendscoffeehour.com.

 

GET READY!!!!! 2013 is Almost Here

Welcome Back, EVERYONE!!!  2013 is almost here and we are READY to get started in a BIG way.  We just completed our very first online Bible study of “A Daughter’s Worth” by Ava Sturgeon.  We had approximately 30 girls and lots of women participating in our ministry in 2012.  As our study came to a close, we were looking forward to Christmas and then the New Year.  We had time off from school for winter break in the United States and summer break in South Africa.  Is that not a wild concept???  Christmas is still Christmas, but it’s winter on one side of the world and summer on the other!  We have gone from a brand new online ministry to a ministry that is being read and has participants in over 100 countries across the globe.  God is SOOOOO good!

Do you think that when Jesus told the disciples to “Go and Tell the World” he would know that we would have the internet and Facebook and friends all over the world that are as close as our keyboards and phones?  The original disciples and followers of Jesus walked from city to city.  They floated a boat from coast to coast.  It wasn’t as easy to tell the world about Jesus as it is today, BUT THEY DID IT!!!  You know how I know they did it?  Because if they hadn’t, you and I would not know the name JESUS.  We would not be here, in this place, in this time if the followers of Jesus had not GONE and TOLD about the Savior of the World.

Over the next few weeks, the month of January, we are going to get to know each other.  We are going to see just how much we have in common, no matter where we live.  The central, most important thing we have in common is JESUS.  I want to “hear” you guys talking and getting to know one another.  I have had the chance to “meet” some wonderful friends here at Girlfriends Coffee Hour and my teen friends here at GCH:decaf are THE BEST!  I have even gotten to meet some of the girls and ladies face-to-face.  That has been so much fun.  Megan, Tina and I are going to start meeting with girls in our area to help the friendships grow.  I want you guys to form your own groups and send us pictures, videos and stories of how you are sharing GCH:decaf and Jesus with your friends and your community.  Jesus said, “Go and Tell the Good News”.  Let’s DO IT!!!

We are going to be studying the teen book “not a fan” by Kyle Idleman and working through the teen edition Follower’s Journal.  You will need both books to keep up and get the most out of our study.  We are going to look at our relationship with Jesus and see what our relationship status is.  The book starts out telling us that believers fall into TWO (2) categories:

1.  The “I Like Jesus on Facebook” group, and

2.  The “Why does Facebook even ask about religion?” group.

I liked this book from the start.  No nonsense, no church-y words, just real life.  We are going to learn a new term:  D.T.R.  (Define The Relationship).  Every girl knows that when you have a crush you want to know if that special someone likes you too.  It doesn’t take very long before you want to define the relationship (know where you stand).  We are going to do that with our relationship with Jesus, too.  He already knows how HE feels about us.  He loved us so much that he came to earth as a baby (Christmas) and died (Easter) for our sins so that we can live with Him forever.  While He was here, he taught average, normal, lost people about himself and His Father in Heaven.  Then He told them to spread the word.  The story of Jesus started with 12 disciples who followed Him and has grown to believers that cover the globe.

As we finished the study of “A Daughter’s Worth” by Ava Sturgeon, we hope that you have a better understanding of who you are to God and why Jesus came to save you.  Some of you shared how your lives were being changed and we are very thankful for that feedback and for the difference Jesus makes in your life.  The leaders were definitely changed and grew closer to the Lord and each other through this study.  We ask you to go a little deeper and define your relationship with Jesus.  Find out just how deep your crush on Him goes.

In addition, we are going to have TWO (2) age groups in GCH: decaf.  The older group will have ladies from 18-24 years old and we call them VENTI.  The younger group is for young ladies 12-18 years old and is called GRANDE.  We want you all to feel comfortable talking about relevant life issues in an age appropriate way.  The fellowship group is open to all ages, so we will get to “see” all our friends and chat and giggle with each other.  Tell all your friends.  There will be a contest coming in January and the student with the most referrals gets cool prizes.  The leaders are already recruiting and want to compete too (SMH, smh).

I cannot tell you all just how excited we are to be offering “not a fan” beginning Monday, February 4th, 2013!!!!!  My relationship with JESUS is the most important one in my life.  I hope you D.T.R. and see that it is the most important in yours as well.  Get your books.  Begin READING the RED book and we will begin the Follower’s Journal on February 4th.  Same great bloggers, same great schedule.

Let the NEW YEAR begin………………………………………….

Much LOVE to you ALL,

Mama T

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If you are interested in joining us in our GCH:decaf  Teen Girls Ministry, please click the sign-up form button at the top of our webpage. Just follow the instructions on the form and hit submit. We’ll be happy to add you to one of our Online Bible Study Groups! Please email GCH_Decaf@girlfriendscoffeehour.com for more information.

A Daughter’s Worth: Our Final Day! PLUS, we have a BIG announcement! Don’t Miss It!!

Today as you and I look forward to Heaven with God, can you describe what thought or image comes to you? When I think of heaven I think of angels everywhere, singing with the ethereal voices of praises to God our Father. I think of mansions that we have built for ourselves and streets paved with gold and that we have no more sorrow or tears. I, like Ava, can most times cry at the drop of a hat. I think God likes that I have a heart for Him and his children.

When you arrive in heaven, are there women you would want to ask questions? My thoughts turned to Florence Nightingale, Joan of Arc, and Mary, the mother of Jesus. I would love to find out from Florence what sacrifices she had to make in a predominately male society to care for the sick and injured. For Joan of Arc, how God was there when she knew he was speaking to her and no one else accepted it. Then I would love to ask Mary what she thought about as Jesus grew older, and how her heart would swell with joy, knowing that God blessed her with His son.

Philippians 3:20-21 (ESV) says 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. To me that is so exciting! Jesus cares enough about you and me to give us the hope of Eternal Joy and a hope that he will one day come to take us home with him. When life seems to get tough, and it will, we have the peace of knowing that God sent his son Jesus to redeem us, to save us and to help us.  With the assistance of the Holy Spirit you and I can share and spread the good news of hope, love, peace, rest and joy we have since we have accepted Jesus in our heart and consistently pursue Him.

Do you know Jesus personally? 2 Peter 3:13 says In keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new Heaven and a new earth, the of righteousness. The only way to get there is to ask Jesus into your heart, tell Him all of your sins, ask Him to forgive you and begin seeking Him by reading your Bible. Then, please let us know that you have made this decision to accept Christ as your Lord and Savior. And if you have decided to rededicate your life to Him, we would love to know that as well. We all have strayed a bit or a lot. But God is faithful and His GRACE is enough to accept us when we truly repent and turn away from our life of sin. He loves us so very much.

Let’s Pray:

Father, I love You and I thank You for this Bible Study. I want to seek You and do my best for You and Your kingdom. Reveal to me where I can further Your kingdom right where I am. Forgive me for when I have strayed from my walk with You and I ask that Your Holy Spirit never depart from me. I ask that the Holy Spirit be my guide and assist me to keep my feet on Your path. Thank You for sending Jesus Your son to die on that cross for my sins so I can become a Daughter of the Most High.  Amen!!!!

In His Love,

Tina

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Now a word from the AMAZING GCH:decaf Founder, Megan Smidt!  (She has a BIG announcement below!!)

___________

Worthy Daughters of the King,

WOW!!!!! We did it! The past 12 weeks have been one incredible journey and it has been an honor to take it with you! Congratulations on being a part of GCH:decaf’s very first online Bible study!!! I have learned so much with you along the way and I hope you all enjoyed this study as much as I did.

What was YOUR biggest take-away from the past 12 weeks? For me, it is that God does NOT call us to compromise in any area of our lives. As worthy daughters, He calls us to use our strong voices to stand firm for His Kingdom and He will always equip us with all we need, in every season, to fulfill His purposes on earth. How AWESOME is that!

The lessons of the past 12 weeks have laid the perfect foundation for the NEW study we will beginning in February! Are you ready to hear what it is!?!??! I have been SO very excited to announce this to YOU!!!

GCH:decaf will be starting our new online Bible study for Not a Fan: Teen Edition February 4, 2013! This will be a 6 week study and you will need the red book and companion journal for it. You can order your copy online or pick it up at your local Lifeway store. Ask for it for Christmas and read it in January to be ready to dig in February 4th!

Not a Fan - Teen Edition

Not a Fan – Teen Edition

Not a Fan - Journal

Not a Fan – Journal

Mama T, our other leaders and I want you to recruit your friends to do this study along with us! There will be a contest coming in January for friend referrals when we start sign-ups for this new study…. Be on the look-out for that!

We have one more announcement going into the new year. We will be breaking up GCH:decaf into two age groups…. “Venti” will be our group for young college-aged women ages 18-24, and our “Grande” group will be for our friends who are ages 12-18!

Sign up for this awesome study will start soon!  So stay tuned!!

Thank you for all you do to help make GCH:decaf such a fun and safe place to hang with your friends all over the world and grow in your walk with Jesus! God has big plans for you in 2013 and it is an honor to walk this season with you.

Make today and every day AMAZING,

Megan



A Daughter’s Worth: Week 11 – Day 2: Be Sensitive to the Holy Spirit

 

I have a story to tell you and it’s not pretty.  It’s one of those stories that you really wish had never happened and you never had to own up to.  But the truth is, it did happen and it is part of my history.  Kind of like a Series of Unfortunate Events, only I was a main character and I made decisions that I knew I shouldn’t have and I paid the price for my actions.   I have to tell you so you will see how the Holy Spirit works in our lives if we let Him.

First of all, to have the Holy Spirit in your life you have to have given your life to follow Jesus.  That is #1.  Getting to know Jesus and what He expects from us is #2.  Learning to walk the walk and talk the talk is #3.  Making a mess of life and making changes to bad behavior and habits is part of #3.  Deciding that God’s way is best and that He wants what is best for me, that’s #4.  Today’s story comes in at #3 and I’ll tell you about how I learned about #4.

I have to tell you that I am a very stubborn and strong-willed person.  Sometimes that works in my favor, sometimes it gets me into trouble.  Finding that balance is where the Holy Spirit comes in.  I was raised in church and was drawn by the Holy Spirit to give my life to Jesus when I was 11.  Boy was that a hard admission to make when you are stubborn and head strong…and shy.  I knew I needed Jesus and I knew He wanted me.  I was afraid to admit it publicly because people would look at me.  My God did not give up on me and He continued to tell me to come to Him.  Finally at summer camp, during cabin quiet time, I gave my heart to Jesus.  No tears, no hysterics, no party…just obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.  Peace entered my heart and calmed the inside of me.  That was pretty cool, then I had to tell my mom, and my pastor, and my church.  It’s biblical you know.  Romans 10:9 says, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  So after I told my church, I got baptized…in the river, the Tennessee River, just like the old songs and the movies show it.

Man, I was on fire…on the inside.  Still shy, you know.  I dug in to the Bible even more than I had before.  My favorite verse was, and still is Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  At 12, I felt God (through the Holy Spirit) tell me of the plans He had for my life.  I asked Him questions and He answered me.  I have held those words in my heart all these years.  They are just as real today as they were when I was 12.  I am now living those plans that God revealed to me when I was young.  Never could I have known what my life would look like, or who I would marry, or how many kids I would have, or that I would be leading an online Bible study.  I had to trust that if I gave my life to Jesus, He would take care of the details.

So HERE is where I MESSED up and had a NO good, DIRTY, rotten, Horrible DAY for about a year.  :-/  I was in church, in school and everybody had boyfriends.  I felt left out and really wanted a boyfriend soooo bad.  I prayed for a boyfriend, ANY boyfriend to make me feel special and show the world that somebody wanted me.  I was getting attention from some boys, but none that I really liked or thought would be a good choice.  I got really tired of waiting for the person God was preparing for me and decided to take a risk on a “bad boy”.  Well, in my defense, he was the pastor’s son, he rode my school bus and he was kinda cute.  He also cussed, smoked pot on said school bus and didn’t do his homework.  He and his buddies got into all kinds of trouble, but he liked ME.  HMMMMM, what’s a good girl to do?

So back to #3.  I got distracted from walking the walk, because the talk I was talking was not good.  I let this relationship with the boy distract me from the plan God had for me.  I got in trouble at school.  I lost some friends.  I got two In-School suspensions and one 3-day unpaid vacation that my parents were not thrilled about.  (sarcasm here)  I’m surprised they let me live.  It was a close call in my house for a while.  My sophomore year of high school is one I wish I could get a do-over, or take a HUGE eraser to and wipe it from my history.  I can’t erase it, because it brought me to #4, “Deciding that God’s way is best and that He wants what is best for me”.  I had to learn the hard way and some of you do too.  Maybe I went through that way back then so I could share it with you today.  DON’T DO WHAT I DID!

Ava tells us in today’s lesson, “When you focus on God, the Holy Spirit goes to work.”  Try really hard to get your heart focused on God.  Push out the distractions and listen for the Holy Spirit to speak to you.  Just because I messed up at 14, I didn’t erase God’s plan that He gave me when I was 12.  He didn’t throw me away because I made a bad decision, or several bad decisions.  He loved me and drew me back to Himself and taught me to walk the walk.  I’d like to say that was the only mistake I made in my life, but it’s not.  It is however, one that I was embarrassed to talk about for a long time.  Now it is part of my love story with Jesus.

LET’S PRAY: 

Heavenly Father, Thank you for loving us enough to let us make our mistakes, correct our path and give us a job that brings glory to YOU.  Forgive us when we mess up.  You know we are going to mess up and need you to come to our rescue.  Thank you for picking up the pieces of our heart and putting it back together.  We love you, Father and want to bring you all of us to use any way you want.        AMEN

Much Love,

Mama T <3

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If you are interested in joining us in our GCH:decaf Teen Girls Ministry, please click the sign-up form button at the top of our webpage. Just follow the instructions on the form and hit submit. We’ll be happy to add you to one of our Online Bible Study Groups! Please email GCH_Decaf@girlfriendscoffeehour.com for more information.