November 18, 2017

Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 8 – “Recycling Pain” (pp 241-242)

Choice 8: Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and by my words.

Matthew5_10

Can you believe it?  We are actually on our last week of this study.  It has been an amazing journey with all of you.  As we close up this study, we are going to talk about recycling our pain—sharing the testimony God has given us and our giving to others, so they may know the love and grace we have been given.  I don’t know about you, but I use to think as Moses did, “Who am I?” that He should use me?  But God doesn’t use the strong, or the wise, or the mighty. “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty, and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are  (1 Corinthians 1:27, 28).

God wants to use those very things you want to leave behind, pack away, or just simply not talk about to help others.  When I first completed this study, 3 years ago, one of the sentences that stuck out to me was “God never wastes a hurt.”  He wants to use all the pain and struggles we have gone through to show others His power.  It is during that time when we become weak that His strength shines.  “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength (Isaiah 40:29). 

As you continue this journey beyond this week, and allow God to be first in your life, you will see that everything we have is a gift from God.  Our recovery and healing are built upon the strong foundation of our faith in Christ.  As we share what He has done in our lives, others will see Him living through us.  In Matthew chapter 5, just after the Beatitudes are delivered from Jesus during His sermon on the Mount, He tells us we are ‘…the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden’ (verse 14).  He then says,”Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify Your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:15, 16).  He wants us to place His light in us on that lampstand to shine before others.

As He is the Potter and has made us His vessels, think about vessels and light.  As we become broken vessels and He puts us back together, visualize a pot that has been broken and put back together—cracks here and there.  Now place it next to an unbroken vessel.  Which one, when a light is placed inside, would shine the most?  The broken and healed vessel, as the light will shine through the every crack.  God has healed and put us back together with His power, placed His light inside us to shine so others can see and all glory can be given to Him.

I have had the privilege of giving my testimony many times in the past year.  I love to tell people what God has done in my life.  God has given me the love and grace to be out of the gay lifestyle for three and a half years now.  That is just the frame of His testimony in me.  The masterpiece He has created within that frame has been given freedom from abusive relationships, manipulation of everyone around me, guilt, shame, anger, doubt, setting expectations beyond reach, dishonesty, and other struggles.  He has taken all my sin, dipped it in red, and made me white as snow.  My life has gone from chaos to peace, from despair to hope, from guilt and shame to honor, and from sin to salvation.  I am also happy to say He has taken me from strength and independence to weakness.  For in my weakness, He is made strong.

**********

Let’s Pray:

Most gracious and heavenly Father, we are so in awe of all You have done for us.  Of the grace, mercy, and love You have unconditionally given each one of us.  Thank You for Your healing from all things we have struggled with in our own might.  Lord, as we continue to seek You, show us how to be that light that will not be hidden, shine through us so others will see all Your glory.  Help us to spread Your message of hope and freedom.  Let our lives be that living testimony for You.  Lord, bless each person who has joined this study with Your healing power. Restore within their lives anything that has been damaged or destroyed.  Your word says that You will replace what the locusts have eaten. Father, we stand on Your word in agreement.  We love You, Lord, and give all the honor and glory to You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

**********

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

 

Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 7 Review (pp 205-223)

■Realize I am not God

■Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him, that He has the power to help me recover

■Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control

■Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust

■Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character

■Evaluate all my relationships.  Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others, except when to do so would harm them or others

■RESERVE A DAILY TIME WITH GOD FOR SELF-EXAMINATION, BIBLE READING AND PRAYER IN ORDER TO KNOW GOD AND HIS WILL FOR MY LIFE AND TO GAIN THE POWER TO FOLLOW HIS WILL

■Y

**********

GCH_Colossians 3_16

 

This week we have discussed how to stay on the path, finish the race, and maintain momentum in order to grow in our relationship with Christ and leave our past behind.  When I was just walking away from my past, I remember waiting and wanting God to really show Himself—not just show Himself, but REALLY show Himself to me.  I can only imagine the things He tried to show me or places He wanted me to go to that, because I was waiting for the BIG show, I missed out on blessings.  Then I got discouraged and that’s when the enemy wanted to swoop down and distract me.  The little whispers of “You’re not worthy enough,” or “See, you really didn’t recover from that.”  Recovery is not always seeing the BIG shows but listening, spending time with God, and beginning to know who He really is.  The following Scriptures are just a few that show God’s power through the smallest of things—or what we see as small things:

Be still and know that I am God. 

Psalm 46:10

Listen to this, O Job; Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God.

Job 37:14

And if you leave God’s paths and go astray, you will hear a Voice behind you say, ‘No this is the way: walk here.’

Isaiah 30:21

And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire, and after the fire a still small voice. 

1Kings 19:12

If you go back to read those Scriptures, look at the words used for us to see God’s power:  be still, stand, hear, walk, and the still small voice of God.  We need to seek Him through our prayer time, Bible reading, and begin knowing who He really is and be thankful for all that He has brought us through.  Each one of us has come through a different fire and been refined at different places, but God’s miracles and promises are Yes and Amen!!  Believing that is truly how we can avoid relapse!!

Monday: We discussed the four patterns of relapse – Complacency; Confusion; Compromise and Catastrophe.  If we become too comfortable and start believing we are ok, or that we don’t need to stay the course, then the enemy can quickly get a foothold and start the doubt, confusion, and compromise.  Then we start heading directly for CATASTROPHE!!  God has such a bigger plan for each one of you.  Stay the course.

Tuesday: Leslie talked with us about the causes of relapse—we revert to our own willpower; we ignore the choices; we try to recover without support; and we become prideful.  We cannot stress enough how important it is to have support through this process.  Even when you come to the end of the study, it is important to remember to keep your support person who will stay with you to the end.  Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.  If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in trouble (Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10).   Then Leslie made an excellent statement: ‘Our greatest weakness is often unguarded strength.’  If we get to the point we think we have it, be careful – don’t let your guard down, don’t take your armor off – guard yourself with His strength and power.

Wednesday: Kim started us off midweek with: “We must plant ourselves at His feet daily. It’s like water for us, friends. He is our Stronghold now and what an awesome Stronghold!” Can you imagine going without anything to drink for more than a day? Or a week? Or a month?  So why try to go without our Living Water for a day?!?  He is just waiting to transform and renew your mind.  He longs to restore all we have lost from our past.  Sound good?  So what do we have to do?  Rely on Him; He will restore your soul.

Thursday: Amy brought it back to us with pray about it, write about it and share about it.  The method of praying scripture will be such a refreshment to your daily prayer life.  Talking to God about His word and using it personally in your life can bring so much more freedom and gives you more insight into who He is.  When you are praying, stop and listen for that still small voice to speak—don’t be in such a hurry or routine, you pray through and move on. Take time to write about the four areas we discussed: physical, emotional, relational and spiritual.  Are you hurting? Tired? Angry?  Listen to how you are reacting to others and are you relying on God?  Once you have taken the time to write about it then share with your accountability partner if you are having any difficult areas; also remember what is very important:  CELEBRATE THE VICTORIES no matter how small you may think them to be.

As we take time to reflect this weekend and begin to prepare for the last week, take time to look back in your journals and see how far God has brought you in this healing.  Begin to thank Him for bringing you through your past and into the present with hope for the future.  Thank Him for being the awesome God He is, thank Him for others He has placed in your life, thank Him for your recovery, and thank Him for your church.  Remain in this ‘attitude of gratitude’ through this next week as we embark on how He wants us to use our recovery.

**********

Let’s Pray:

Most gracious Father, we come to You with humble and grateful hearts as we end this week.  Father, I thank You for each one of these amazing women in this study.  Keep them safe, guard their hearts, and help them to rejoice in their healing.  Lord, help us to set aside the distractions of this world to focus and listen to Your voice, whether it is the BIG show or the still small voice.  Help us to understand what You have planned for each one of us and prepare us for this.  Let others see You through our words and actions.  We thank You for Your perfect grace and forgiveness.  Father, as we continue on this race help us to keep humble giving all the glory and honor to You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!!

Your Assignment:
We have talked about celebrating the victories, no matter how small.  We would love to celebrate with you.  After reading this, if you are comfortable, share what victories you have had through this study.

**********

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

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

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

______________

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

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

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

Ø  Complacency

Ø  Confusion

Ø  Compromise

Ø  Catastrophe

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

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

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

CATASTROPHE!! 

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

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

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

CATASTROPHE!!

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

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

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

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

Romans15_13

_________________________

Let’s Pray:

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

Your Assignment:

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

_________________________

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

Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 6 Review (pp. 166-186)

■Realize I am not God

■Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him, that He has the power to help me recover

■Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control

■Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God and to someone I trust

■Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character

■EVALUATE ALL MY RELATIONSHIPS. OFFER FORGIVENESS TO THOSE WHO HAVE HURT ME AND MAKE AMENDS FOR HARM I HAVE DONE TO OTHERS, EXCEPT WHEN TO DO SO WOULD HARM THEM OR OTHERS.

■R

■Y

LHC_Chapter6

How much or how many times do we have to forgive?  Let’s take a look at the story where Peter asked Jesus the same question.  Jesus told Peter about the story of the man who owed the king a large sum of money.  The king wanted to settle the account, but the man could not pay. The king showed compassion and forgave the man’s debt.  This same man went out to someone who owed him money, much less of a sum than what he owed the king, and tried to choke the man, demanding he pay upThis is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart Matthew 18:35.  Those may seem like harsh words; however, having unforgiveness in our hearts hinders our relationship with God and others.  When you think about it, that then hinders our following the first two commandments: Love God, love others.

So, let’s review the week:

Monday: We discussed the three reasons why we should forgive others. Because God has forgiven you, because resentment doesn’t work and because you’ll need forgiveness in the future.  That through our accepting the fact that Jesus came to earth, suffered and died on the cross for our sins and was raised to sit with our Father, we then have to believe He said, “It is finished.”  Meaning it is finished for each one of us.  We do not need to worry, carry resentments of others or unforgiveness in our hearts!  We can let go and let God!!  Imagine the peace and freedom that comes with that.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:1

Tuesday: Leslie talked with us about the 3 R’s in the book: reveal your hurt, release the offender, and replace your hurt with God’s peace.  To reveal our hurt is the easy part, but release the offender?  As Leslie said, “Yeah right, I need to forgive someone who hurt me so badly? They are the ones who had broken my heart in so many ways and did not care at all about it, why should I forgive them?”  How exactly do we do that?  We have to love our enemies, pray for them, and bless them.  Finally, we have to turn it over to God.  By doing so, He will help us to forgive and love them.

With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.
Mark 10:27

Wednesday: Kim discussed how we must stop looking inward and start looking upward.  “It’s been about us for so long. It’s time that it is about someone else or Someone Else. It’s time our lives reflect Whose we are.”  Yes it is.  We need to spend time in prayer and ask God to show us who we need to make amends with and how we make those amends – whether in person, via letter, or the ‘empty chair.’  Our hurts, resentments, and sins are in the past; aren’t you ready to leave them there? Love this: Freedom is yours. Let Him lead you into deliverance. You’ve changed from victim to victor!!

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.
Hebrews 12:14, 15

Thursday: Amy takes us into praying, writing, and sharing about what we have worked through so far.  By asking God to help us both forgive those who have hurt us and make amends to others, we will find freedom because He will guide us in releasing the resentments we have built up for so long.  Writing about these issues helps us see them as real.  It helps you see your responsibility clearly when you write them down and review.  Finally share about it.  It is very important for you to share your inventory with a trusted accountability partner.  This will help you develop a safe plan in making your amends or offering forgiveness.  One thing to remember when making amends or offering forgiveness is that your part is to take your forgiveness or amends to the person.  You cannot control their response.  Freedom comes when we step out in faith to free our hearts from the hurts or offenses we have had.  God will honor that, and give you peace and freedom.

This step is vital in the peace and freedom God has to offer each one of us.  I know I keep saying this but He does want to give us the desires of our hearts and in abundance.

The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.  He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. Psalms 145:17-19

____________________________

Let’s Pray: 

Father, we are so thankful for the grace and love You have given to each one of us.  You are an amazing God and we give You all the honor in what You have done in our lives.  Lord, we are asking now that You lead us through this step of offering forgiveness and making amends.  Help us to forgive those we need to and let go of the resentments we have held onto.  Give us the words to say when we make amends to those we have hurt. Father, I ask that You also heal those we have hurt and go before us in making a way for reconciliation.  Heal the hurt hearts of each one reading this, Lord, and give peace and freedom in their life.  We do love You, Lord, and stand in awe of what You have done and what You are about to do.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!!

Your Assignment:  

Continue praying that God will guide you in offering forgiveness and making amends in a manner that will give freedom to you and those you speak with.  If you have made amends and would be comfortable, please share your comments below.  Pray for all those in this study as we take these steps together.

____________________________

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

Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 6 – Repairing Relationships (pp 167-171)

Choice 6:

Evaluate all my relationships.  Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me, and make amends for harm I’ve done to others, except when to do so would harm them or others.

___________________________

LHC_Chapter6

This week we are going to look back at our inventory and learn how to repair the damage we have seen in our relationships.  Whether the damage was what we have done to others or what others have done to us, there is one way to repair—through forgiveness.

There are three reasons the book discusses why we should forgive others.

  1. Because God has forgiven you
  2. Because resentment doesn’t work
  3. Because you’ll need forgiveness in the future

Because God has forgiven you – Have you truly accepted God’s forgiveness?  I know for so long I felt I was not worthy of His forgiveness.  Have you accepted that Jesus’ death on the cross paid for all our sins? John 19:30 states Jesus exclaimed from the cross, “It is finished.”  No matter what our sin or how badly we have hurt others, God’s grace is sufficient to forgive completely.  Remember the woman who entered Simon’s home while he was having dinner with Jesus? She took an alabaster box of oil, washed His feet with her tears and anointed His feet with the oil.  When Simon criticized her, Jesus told him, “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much.  But to who little is forgiven, the same loves little (Luke 7:47). Jesus then told her that her sins were forgiven and that her faith had saved her.  This woman knew her sins were great, but also knew the greatness of God’s mercy.  She had accepted His forgiveness and been set free.

Because resentment doesn’t work – This second reason to forgive is all about letting go.  Let go of the pain of the past hurts from others.  If you hold onto those hurts or resentments, they will hold you prisoner.  When you release them, you are free…the doors open and you walk out.

  • Resentment is unreasonable: Resentment can build up into anger.  When we are angry, the only person hurting is ourselves.   We lose sleep, we don’t eat, we overeat, we start becoming more tempted by the addictions that God had removed and we snap out at those around us whom we love.  Let Go and Let God!!
  • Resentment is unhelpful: Can all that we are holding onto really help anything now or in the future?  When we become stressed, it affects all our life—our work, our home, our friends, our loved ones.  Let Go and Let God!!
  • Resentment is unhealthy: The book likened resentment to cancer.  When I read that I went back to when I received the call I had cancer.  I had dropped 30 pounds in 30 days and could barely walk.  After many tests, they had diagnosed me with stage 3 cancer.  That call knocked my feet out from under me.  If resentment is like that I want it to be taken from me, just as God healed me of cancer.

Because you will need forgiveness in the future – There have been and will always be days when we are going to need God’s or someone else’s forgiveness.  When the book stated ‘you cannot receive what you do not give,’ that one statement hit home for me. If I do not forgive other’s I will not receive forgiveness.  So wait, if I do not forgive, I will not receive my Father’s forgiveness.  That is a hard one!  But when you look at it, like all other areas of our lives, we need to take that first step.  If there were 1,000 steps, then yes, God will take the 999 others to get to us, but we have got to take that first step.  To receive salvation, we had to ask.  To receive baptism, we had to believe.  To receive healing, we have to believe.  So to receive forgiveness, we have to forgive.

In my walk out of the alternative lifestyle, I did my inventory and made amends with many people.  You see, as others are making their inventory of how others hurt them, mine was on the other side.  I did much of the hurting.  My choices destroyed my relationships with family and friends.  My choices destroyed four marriages, including my own.  I broke off an engagement at the age of 19, left my husband later at the age of 27, lost custody of my oldest son ( he was 3) at the age of 28…see where I am going?  Although there were those that did hurt me, my laundry list was long.  So the forgiveness I longed for was much greater than any I had to give.

My asking for forgiveness from others was the first, and I had to admit, the easiest.  Sure, there were those that hurt me and I did forgive them, but the hardest parts of forgiveness for me were to accept God’s forgiveness and to forgive myself.  The guilt of my choices was really deep.  I had a difficult time accepting that God had forgiven me.  Through years of destroying relationships with my parents, siblings, friends, ruining marriages—anyone who tried to care was quickly tossed to the side.  After all of the hurt I had caused, how could God forgive me?  I was not worthy; I did not deserve His mercy.

Exactly! Mercy is undeserved merit.  Mercy is not earned, He freely gives it.  We serve an amazingly compassionate God. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” Hebrews 4:15-16.

His life on earth, death on the cross and resurrection to the right hand of the Father is the reason we receive His mercy for our past and grace for our future.  I had to step up to His throne and boldly receive His forgiveness.  It took some time for me to realize He died for me too.  When He said, “It is finished,” He meant for me, too.  If you are having a hard time accepting God’s forgiveness, try this.  Put your name in front or behind that statement Jesus made. “________, it is finished.”

Once I received God’s forgiveness, He began nurturing me to forgive myself.  Jesus wants an intimate relationship with us.  He wants us to bring all our burdens, hurts, guilt, and shame to Him.  I love The Living Bible translation of this verse, it make this so personal. Come, let’s talk this over! Says the Lord; no matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow.  Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool!  If you will only let Me help youIsaiah 1:18-19.  ‘Come, let’s talk’–-I can visualize Jesus saying–‘grab your coffee, let’s talk.’  He made the heavens and the earth (in six days), He set the stars perfectly in the sky, He walked me out of the gay lifestyle. He healed my cancer. He gave me two miracles through my sons. He put joy in my life through my brother. He gave me amazing family and friends and He has allowed me to share His testimony of my life with all of you.  How can I not listen and accept His forgiveness?   I urge each one of you to step boldly before His throne.  Take that one step and He will take the 999.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:1

_______________________________

Let’s Pray:

Father, we are so grateful to be able to talk with You.  To spend time with You.  Help us to take that one step toward forgiveness.  We admit there are times when it is hard, Lord, to forgive others, ourselves, or to accept Your forgiveness.  Help us to trust You when You say there is no condemnation, and that You will turn our sins as white as snow.  Father, You cannot lie and Your word says there is NO condemnation—we believe and receive that today.  Help us to walk in that, Lord, and be able to forgive and let go of any resentments we are holding onto.

Lord, as we go through this week, guide us to those we need to make amends with—let us talk when we need to and be quiet when we need to.  Open our hearts to hear from You and give us the strength and courage we need to take this step.  Heal our hearts from the hurts, Lord.  We love You, Father.  We give all the glory and honor to You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Your Assignment:

When we are talking of forgiveness, which is hardest: Forgiving others?  Accepting God’s forgiveness? Or  forgiving yourself? (You can also go to our private Facebook page and share there, as well.)

__________________________

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

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

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

_________________

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GCH_2Cor5_17

Let’s Pray:

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

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

Your Assignment:

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

_________________

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

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

Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 5 – The Transformation Choice

Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects.

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

Woo-Hoo Ladies!!  You are absolutely awesome!  We have taken some amazing steps on this journey.  First admitting we had a problem and were absolutely powerless over it.  Then we began to understand that God could and will help us to overcome that hurt, habit or hang-up if we seek Him and turn our lives over to His care and control.  We started writing our spiritual inventory and are sharing our lives with a trusted person.  Wow – that is a lot of hard work and you should each be doing a praise dance with the Lord right now.  I know you may feel tired and think ‘no way, I’m going to take a nap.’  But take some time to realize you have come a long way in this journey and God is pleased. ‘But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.’ Hebrews 13:16

Now that you have realized what you want God to change or control, are you ready to let Him? Chapter 5 is all about change – now we all do not like this word.  It can be scary, fun or an adventure.  Moving forward into the unknown can be frightening, yet exciting.  I was so excited when the verse used for this process was Romans 12:1-2.  (These verses became my life verses over three years ago when I walked away from the gay lifestyle.) Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  I mean I had just walked out of a lifestyle into a world of the unknown.  I had to walk away from almost all of my friends and change all the places I went to.  I had to look at myself and ask – who am I?  What do I even like now?  God began showing me that I was a new creation, my sins were forgiven and He loves me.  He was going to lead and teach me if I would do one thing.  Offer myself wholly to Him – keep my mind focused on Him and allow Him into my heart.  I was to keep away from the things of the past and renew my mind.  That is where He wanted me – if I became willing, He is always able.

Let’s break those verses down into the character defects John Baker talks about in the book.

Biological/Chromosomes: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God….” We inherited some of our strengths, weaknesses, physical and emotional traits from our parents. We did not choose our parents, DNA or some of our tendencies toward addictions.  However, none of these inherited traits give us the right to some of the behaviors we have chosen.  We are to offer our bodies as sacrifices to God.  We are to be willing…Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness. Psalm 143:10

Sociological/Circumstances: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world….” Where we were raised, the environment, what we saw, how those around us behaved all contributed to our character. Again, we did not have the opportunity to choose how those around us behaved or what our parents taught us.  These behaviors or experiences actually shaped some of our hurts, habits or hang-ups.  Out of our reactions, coping skills or hurt – we stepped into certain habits or addictions.  As I stated before, when I walked out of my lifestyle, I had to walk away from many people, activities and places. We are not to conform back to our hurts, habits or hang-ups.  ‘Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.  As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.’ 1 Peter 1:13, 14 

 Theological/Choices:  “But be transformed by the renewing of your mind….” We can change the choices we have made that have driven us into hurts, habits or hang-ups.  When we remove one of our old habits, we must be able to replace it with a good choice.  Spend quiet time in His word, prayer time, volunteer at your church or a ministry in the area, go to a Bible study, (depending upon your hurt, habit or hang-up) find a support group in your area – these are a few things I found that transformed my mind into healthy habits.  Luke 5:36 talks about not putting a piece of new cloth onto an old garment, the old will tear.  Also, the new piece will not match the old.  2 Corinthians 5:17: If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed, behold all things have become new.

We have become new creations by an amazing Creator!  Are you ready and willing to allow God to take away those defects that you are holding onto?  Another way to phrase that question – are you ready and willing to become free of what has been dragging you down?  Make the choice.  He is ready to step in and give you your heart’s desire.

________________________

Let’s Pray:

Most Gracious Father, we are humbly coming before You with open hearts.  We know we have made choices that have not been pleasing to You.  Help us to be completely willing to allow You to change all our shortcomings.  Teach us, Lord, to do Your will, to not conform to what the world may show us, but to allow You to lead us away from some of our old habits and into Your new path.  Your Word says to be strong and courageous; Lord, we want to be strong through these changes.  Heal the hurts of each one of us and help us to be the people You want us to be.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Your Assignment:

We have talked about being willing to allow God to take control and change or remove our character defects.  Have you been able to release control? After you have read the blog, go to our private Facebook page and share a positive change you have seen in your life through your releasing control.

__________________________

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

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

 

Life’s Healing Choices – Chapter 4 Review

  • Realize I am not God
  • Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him, that He has the power to help me recover
  • Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control
  • OPENLY EXAMINE AND CONFESS MY FAULTS TO MYSELF, TO GOD, AND TO SOMEONE I TRUST
  • V
  • E
  • R
  • Y

 

Matthew5_8

Wow, ladies, after this week I am so glad for that verse – “Happy are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”   The thought that as my heart continues to be refined and purified, I will see God.  As I look around I see Him daily, in the clouds, the flowers, my sons, my work, songs, and in each post and response from all of you amazing women.  God is so good, isn’t He?

The first part of the week we talked about what guilt can do to us:  destroy our confidence, damage our relationships, and keep us stuck in the past.  But through all the guilt, shame, and regrets we may have from our past sins, as we cry out (like David) for God to create that clean and pure heart within us, He is always faithful to forgive and cast our sins as far as the east is from the west.  We begin to chip away at the junk that the past has built up within that heart.

I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden.  I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. (Psalm 32:5)

And they shall rebuild the old ruins; they shall raise up the former desolations and repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations. (Isaiah 61:4)

Tuesday, Leslie made this challenge: Are you ready to take this step and transform your life?  Are you ready to Make time to begin your inventory? Are you ready to Open your heart and mind to allow the feelings that have blocked your healing and recovery then Rely on God’s grace to complete that healing He has for you?  Are you ready to Analyze your past, step out of your denial of the past and step into the truth of the present? Finally, are you ready to List the events of your past?  Please, please, please make sure you list both the good and the bad choices of your past.  We caution you to not just list the bad; there are good choices you have made that you need to list and praise God for those choices, too.

If we freely admit that we have sinned, we find God utterly reliable and straightforward. He forgives our sin and makes us thoroughly clean from all that is evil. (1 John 1:9) 

“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18) 

Wednesday, Kim shared how “more, much more than this” she did it her way, as many of us have and may still be trying.  However, there is a time to realize we cannot move forward until we let go of our past by confessing our past to someone else and to our Heavenly Father.  We need to have an accountability partner, someone you can trust and who understands what you are saying is valuable, as a treasure to be handled with care.  Someone who will not sit with their jaw dropped as you speak or gasp when you bear your heart.  And finally someone who knows the Lord, who will be your friend, as well as accountability and prayer partner.

I sought the Lord and He answered me, and He delivered me from my fears. (Psalm 54:4)

Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the Heavenly prize for which God through Christ Jesus is calling us. (Philippians 3:13, 14)

Amy closed us out with praying for God’s help through this.  We need to armor up and tap into His power in order to “examine our ways and test them.”  When you begin to write your inventory remember five areas: the person whom you resent or fear; the specific actions that was related to that person; what cause – action effected your life both in past and present; the damage done to your basic needs (social, security or sexual); then honestly determine what part you are responsible for.  Ask God to show you your part.  We want to make a strong point in those areas of abuse – when you come to the area of what part did you have responsibility for –write NONE or NOT GUILTY – begin feeling freedom from the shame and guilt you have been carrying around with you. Finally, share those areas you wrote with someone you trust, that accountability partner or trusted friend.  This road is not to be traveled alone.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. (Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10)

They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony….  (Revelation 12:11)

He is able to do abundantly beyond anything that we can think or ask. (Ephesians 3:20)

Ladies, as you are writing your inventory, this is an amazing journey to healing and freedom.  Our Heavenly Father wants to give you anything you can ask for and more.  This is not to be taken lightly as you have carried around these hurts, habits, or hang-ups for some time now.  It may not go away overnight; however know that He has already overcome the world (John 16:33).

I want to circle back around to “create in me a clean heart.”  Read on in Psalm 51, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.  T

hen I will teach transgressors your ways,

so that sinners will turn back to you

” (verses 12, 13).  Your journey of confessing your faults, taking time with the Lord, writing your inventory, and sharing with your accountability partner will restore your joy. And it could be such an encouragement for someone God may place in your path that needs to hear your story (His story) at just the right place and just the right time! You will forget the past and look forward to the finish line He has prepared for you.  As Leslie challenged us on Tuesday: Are you ready to take this step and transform your life?

 

 

__________________

Let’s Pray:

Oh, Father, we come and sit at Your feet with humbled hearts.  You know we have made both good and bad choices.  Your word says be strong and courageous that You will never leave us nor forsake us.  Father, that is what we are asking, that You give us the strength and courage to follow through this step in chipping away at our past hurts or habits and sharing with a trusted person – one You have placed in our path. Thank You for each woman You have placed in this study; bless them Father.  Take away any guilt or shame they have or are feeling and replace that with the joy and peace that only You can give. We thank You for taking us on this journey and showing us Your incomparable grace.  We love You Lord.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Your Assignment:

Pray first then begin writing and sharing your inventory.  Take quiet time with the Lord this weekend.  As you begin writing, go to our Facebook group and share with us a scripture God has shown you this week through this step.

_______________________

If you are interested in joining us for the online Bible study, click HERE.

Once we receive your registration, we will email you further details.

If you would like to send a private message to Laurie in regards to this blog,

please email her at Laurie@girlfriendscoffeehour.com

 

 

Life’s Healing Choices – Weekly Review Chapter 3

Weekly Review

 

Realize I am not God

Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him, that He has the power to

help me recover

CONSCIOUSLY SCHOOSE TO COMMIT ALL MY LIFE AND WILL TO CHRIST’S
CARE AND CONROL

O

V

E

R

Y

Happy are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Matthew 5: 5

Wow—what a week!!  I have to admit, I was trying to review the week, got through the Scripture and got stuck.  First, I was dealing with my 11 year old all week—if there are any of you with 12 year old’s, please explain to me how you survived. 🙂

Then I was sitting down to write my blog and couldn’t get the computer to work.  Went through all the motions and commotions to reset, restart, and reboot—only to find out my 11 year old had been in the closet moving things in his “hideaway” and unplugged the internet.  Well, I asked God – “Really? What now? I haven’t a clue.”  His answer – GUESS what He said!!  You’re right, He said ‘Give him to Me.’ Hmmm.  Okay, lesson learned.

Here I was in the middle of week three, committing ALL my life and will to Christ and was still hanging on to the control.  So, as I saw the picture of the rope over the water and was reminded of the saying not to just tie a knot, but to tie a knot, hang on and swing—I was also reminded of John 7:38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.

Imagine, swinging on this rope, LETTING GO, and dropping into the river of living water.  As you are immersed in this water, imagine the overflowing love and care He has for us.

This week, Leslie talked with us and asked the question: What is holding you back from surrendering your problems and your life to the care of God?  Is it pride, guilt, fear, worry or doubt?   She opened her heart to us in how she was able to give her hurts and resentments to the Lord for His care.  “In the beginning, I did not think He could change me, but God did. He was going to set me free!”  Her faith in God, no matter how big or small, was setting her free. She was plunging into the river of living waters.

 “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

Then Kim then took us on a walk, and cheered us on as we contemplated some tough questions. Kim’s poem reminded me of the definition of insanity—doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. Isn’t that what we are doing when we walk the same road, expecting to find a different destination?  We must first believe in Him and His will for us, that His word is true in every sense and understand that He has given us the power to change our direction to the path He has chosen for us. Don’t you love the Scripture of Jesus standing at the door knocking?  All we have to do is open the door and He steps into our lives.  Look at the end of that scripture—we will share a meal as friends.   Ponder on that for awhile; truly amazing.

 “Look. Here I stand at the door and knock. If you hear me calling and open the door, I will come in and we will share a meal as friends. 

Revelation 3:20

Yesterday, Amy opened up her heart and described how she stepped out of her comfort zone and through the encouragement of others, her letting go of doubt and relying on His strength and by letting go and taking the plunge, she was able to finish the race that was set before her.  Her experience gives us encouragement that no matter what challenge we may face, “God may not be physically visible & touchable in our lives.  But He is still there giving us the encouragement, the strength, and the ‘YOU CAN DO IT’ that we need.”

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30

This scripture is a promise that, when we do totally surrender and allow Him to take the care and control of our lives, He will give us rest.  We serve a King who stepped out of heaven for us.  Who because of His unfathomable love for us, came to earth and suffered, so we would not have to.  Sure, we will have trials, troubles and fall, but we can get back up every time just as Proverbs 24:16 says “For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again. 

It is not an easy task to turn over ALL care and control.  In our human nature we want to make sure things are done right.  Remember the saying, ‘if you want something done right, do it yourself?’  But aren’t you tired of being tired all the time?  Being that Little Engine That Could and having to chug all the way up the hill time and time again?  Are you ready to tie the knot, swing, and plunge into the rivers of living water?

***************

Let’s Pray:

Father, we come to You today with humble hearts.  We have tried for so long to do things on our own and are asking now for Your help.  Guide us and direct us down the path that You have chosen for us; help us not to stray or fall.  If we should fall, Lord, we know that Your word says that a righteous man may fall but will rise each time.  We thank You for that, Father, that we can rise each time with Your power that is within us.  Father, we do commit our lives to You, we lay our burdens at Your feet.  Father, I thank You for each one that has opened her heart to You; protect us, teach us and I ask that each one feel Your unfailing love as they step out of their comfort zone and plunge into Your living waters.  In Jesus’ Precious Name, Amen!!

Your Assignment:

After reading this blog, hop over to our Facebook page and let us know if, after week 3, you have been able to admit, believe and commit.  Each one of us is at a different step; and part of this study is to share how God is working in your life and what is difficult for you.  We are here to encourage each other! Remember, comments made here are public. You do have the option of commenting anonymously.

***************

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

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

 

Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 3 – “Letting Go” – The Commitment Choice

Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.

Matthew5_5

Good morning ladies, we have admitted we are powerless to control our lives and that we are not God.  We also acknowledged God exists, we matter to Him and that He has the power to help us recover.  His word says, “ Come to Me, ALL who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me.  I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30.

So, WHAT’S HOLDING US BACK?  What is keeping us from letting go and letting God? What is stopping us from receiving that peace that surpasses ALL understanding?  His Word says that even the winds and the sea obey Him.  He healed lepers, caused the blind to see and the lame to walk. When His beloved Peter kept his eyes on Him, he walked upon the water.  The grass grows, trees sway in the wind, waves hit the shore and mountains reach into the clouds.  So – again, WHAT’S HOLDING US BACK?

In Life’s Healing Choices, John Baker talks of five things that keep us from making the choice to surrender total care and control to the One True God:

  •       Pride
  •       Guilt
  •       Fear
  •       Worry
  •       Doubt

Let’s take one at a time:

Pride, what a powerful word.  When  I see the word pride, the scripture that comes to mind is Proverbs 16:18 – “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”  It is often times we think we can do things on our own, we don’t need help.  I know because I continued thinking I could walk away from the lifestyle I chose on my own, only to fall within a few days – sometimes hours.  When I surrendered completely to Him, humbled myself and realized without God I could do nothing, He took the desires away.  He restored relationships I had destroyed and showed me His unfailing love.  I would like to share a song He used to bring me into the reality of how awesome He is – that as we turn to Him, he runs to us – still amazes me today!! http://youtu.be/NBzcOGydUaA    – we only need to seek Him.

Guilt and shame can break our spirits.  John Baker asks the question – have you tried to make deals with God?  Have you asked for His help so many times, you may be embarrassed to ask again.  Maybe you think if you don’t ask for help, He won’t know you need it.  I have done all the above – actually tried to hide things out of guilt.  Like He didn’t know what was going on.  He knows ALL!!  He wants to forgive us and take away the shame – His desire is for us to live a life of abundance.  “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 – we only need to seek Him.

How many of us have stood in paralyzing fear?  Fear that our children would not recover? Fear that we could lose our job? Fear that we didn’t know where our next dollars would come from? Fear of someone coming into our home that was not invited? Fear of finding our way home safely? Fear, fear, fear!!!  We live in a world of fear – economy, safety and health.  I know in my life, I feared that people would ‘find me out.’  That they would see who I really was.  I thought I had control, yet lived in fear every day.  When we place our belief in the One True God, He promises to take those fears. “I sought the Lord and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4 – we only need to seek Him.

Worry is a word that was often used within my family.  I grew up with a mom, grandmothers and sisters who all worried from one day to the next what was going to happen.  As I sit here and think of that, I look at a sign my mom had in her living room for years – “One day at a time.”  Oh, I know that is a popular saying, but how many of us actually do live one day at a time.  Again I will take you to His word, in Matthew 6, Jesus was speaking to the multitudes about worry.  He tells of how God takes care of the birds of the air, the lilies of the field – that we should not worry of what we eat, drink or wear.  “For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow…” (Matthew 6: 32-34)  He is willing and DOES care for us and provides all that is necessary – we only need to  seek Him.

Is my faith too small?  I have asked myself that question.  Do you doubt why God would help you?  Why would the Most High, Omnipotent God look at me and say – “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move: and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)  Jairus went to Jesus with a request that any one of us as mothers would ask…”Please heal my child”.  Jairus had doubts, he asked for help with his unbelief.  What was Jesus’ response? “Do not be afraid; only believe” (Mark 5:36) and the girl was restored to life.  We only need to seek Him and believe.  Lord, help us believe!!

______________________

Let’s Pray:

Most gracious Father, You have given us so many promises to grab hold of.  Oh that we would believe whole-heartedly.  That we would be able to go through each day knowing You will care for every little thing in our lives.  Your Word says You do, it is us that falls short.  Father, I ask that each one in this study would seek You and feel Your presence, that we would all lay down the pride, guilt, fear, worry or doubt that we have throughout our lives.  Let us make the decision to open our lives to Your total care and control.  Although we don’t see where You will take us, we know this is the right thing.  Give us the strength and faith, even as tiny as a mustard seed, to take one day at a time with You, knowing we matter so much to You and that Your love for us is unfailing.  We give You all the glory and honor – In Jesus’ Name, Amen!!

Your Assignment:

Let us know what is keeping you from turning total care and control over to Him?  What does living one day at a time mean to you? Remember, all comments on this blog are public.  You have the option of signing in anonymously.

___________________________

If you are interested in joining us for the Life’s Healing Choices online Bible study, click HERE.  Once we receive your registration, we will email you further details.

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