April 29, 2017

CHRISTLife – Ten: A Self-Opinion Too High

Christlife graphic wk2 5

Have you ever said to yourself, either verbally or mentally:

In light of a problem:   “I’ve got this. I can handle it by myself.

Or after an accomplishment:  “I did it myself with no help from anyone!

Those statements may indicate a self-opinion that is too high. The truth is we can’t—don’t—do anything without the help of God. He is our breath and life.

God who gives you the breath of life and controls your destiny!
Daniel 5:23 NLT

And He (God) is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything.
Rather, He Himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else…
For in Him we live and move and have our being.
Acts 17:25 and 28 NIV

The ‘puffed up’ attitude can become a habitual part of our lives. The way to counter a self-opinion that is too high is to compare ourselves with God as His Word describes Him, and us. The benefit to this for me (and hopefully for you) is that it reminds me (us) of how great God is and still how loving He is toward us. It is humbling to realize that:

All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the Word of the Lord endures forever.
I Peter 1:24,25

Let’s look at just a few other Scriptures that will help us balance our self-image with His Truth:

I am — “a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”
James 4:14 ESV

God is  “from everlasting to everlasting You are God.”
Psalm 90:2

–*–*–*–

I am accountable — “So then each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
Romans 14:12

God is — “…the great God, the great King above all gods.”
Psalm 95:3

God is our Creator; we are His creation. Do you see in just these few verses what a vast difference there is? We can’t be God, but that is the lie which an inflated self-opinion would lead us to believe, whether we are aware of it or not. (Remember Satan’s fall as told in Isaiah 14:12-15.) Instead the truth is that we need God. We need His guidance. Without Him, our life and our accomplishments don’t amount “to a hill of beans” (a trifling value).

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.
Galatians 6:7

Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.
Jeremiah 10:23

An inflated self-image is a dangerous trap. Look at some of the verses from the end of the chapter that point this out:

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 16:18

The Lord Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty…they will be humbled.
Isaiah 2:12

‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’
Submit yourselves, then to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
James 4:6,7 ESV

Hmmm, if I’m correct, that last Scripture (in James chapter 4) is saying that pride, arrogance, too-high a self-image are each sin that we should run from. Ouch! Okay I get it. This is not just some little hiccup in our personality. This is a sin, a wedge that will separate us from God. I want to get rid of that, how about you!? This next Scripture is our guide to help us correct our self-image to line up with God’s image of and plan for us:

Come near to God, and He will come near to you.
Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts…
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.
James 4:8-10

Praise God, He loves us enough to point out the areas we need to change, and then shows us exactly how to do it.

We are, after all, fallen and flawed. We are like the sheep in Isaiah 53:6, we “…have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way….” But the Good News is that God is the Giver of life! (Psalm 36:9, NCV). Jesus knows His sheep, and as we humble ourselves more and more to Him we hear and know His voice and we follow Him.

The One who enters by the gate is the Shepherd of the sheep…
and the sheep listen to His voice.
He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out…
and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice.
John 10:2-4

So instead of being in the dangerous position of a self-opinion that is too high, and will surely cause us to wander “off the cliff of pride,” let’s humble ourselves before our God Almighty. Let’s continue to listen to His voice, to follow Him, and get rid of the high self-opinions He sees as sin. He is Our Good Shepherd who wants only the best for us, His sheep.

*  ~  * ~  * ~ * ~ *  

Dear Lord God Almighty, we humble ourselves before You today. We ask You, Lord, to show us any sin of a “self-opinion too high.” Thank You for Your Word that not only reveals our sins, but also reveals Who You are, who we are in Your sight, and just how much You love us. We want to repent of pride today and receive Your forgiveness. We want to know Your voice and follow You because You are our Good Shepherd Who loves us and wants only the best for us, Your sheep. Thank You. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Who Am I? I Am Yours!

Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name, would care to feel my hurt
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star, would choose to light the way
For my ever-wandering heart

I am a flower quickly fading, here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean…a vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I’m calling
Lord, You catch me when I’m falling
And You’ve told me who I am—I am Yours, I am Yours

Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love and watch me rise again
Who am I, that the Voice that calmed the sea would call out through the rain
And calm the storm in me

Not because of who I am…but because of what You’ve done
Not because of what I’ve done…but because of who You are

I am a flower quickly fading, here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean…a vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I’m calling
Lord, You catch me when I’m falling
And You’ve told me who I am—I am Yours, I am Yours

I am Yours! Whom shall I fear
Whom shall I fear ’cause I am Yours, I am Yours

~  written by Mark Hall; performed by Casting Crowns  ~

~~~   ~~~   ~~~   ~~~   ~~~   ~~~   ~~~

“WHO AM I?” have we not asked ourselves this question time upon time upon time? We, of ourselves,…we are not much. But, for those who have accepted Jesus as Redeemer and Savior…and made Him to be Lord of their lives, we are MUCH in and through Him! God’s eternal plan of redemption was to rescue back for Himself those He had created for fellowship! He tells us ‘You are Mine!’

But now, this is what the Lord says—
He who created you, Jacob,
He who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are Mine.”
Isaiah 43:1

“You!”  Yes, you.  And me, too.  Go back for a moment, please…everywhere in that verse, where it reads “you” place your own name…say it out loud. “I have summoned you, Coleen, by name; you, Coleen, are Mine.”

Almighty God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth tells me, ‘You are Mine!” Not due to anything I might have accomplished, or any accolade I may have received. Not because of any credential I might have, or even any good and righteous act.  Just because I am who God says I am!

Not because of who I am…but because of what <He’s> done
Not because of what I’ve done…but because of who <He is>!

Tomorrow we begin this journey through Ruth Myers’ book, CHRIST|Life, Embracing Your True and Deepest Identity.  Listen to how she encourages:

  • “In this book, we’ll see how He expands our self-image as we allow Him to. This will broaden our view of what is really possible for us. He superimposes a glorious, positive self-image over our false and negative views of ourselves. This helps to make triumphant living possible”  (page 7).
  • And, “The closer we walk with the Lord, the more vividly we’ll learn to recognize both the negatives and the positive about ourselves” (page 8).

We will come to recognize just who we are in Christ!  Oh, to trust and believe it—I am who God says I am.  I am His!

Lord, Teach Us to Pray – Week 12

Today we are finishing the series entitled Lord, teach us to pray!

Do you ever cry out with that same desire as Jesus’ disciples did — ”Teach {me} to pray”?

Each Saturday over the last few months, we have been intentionally pursuing asking the Lord to do just that—teach us to pray. I believe that, as we have looked at learning how to pray through the Scriptures, we have developed the heart of daughters who delight, yearn, love to pray to their Father!!!

Jesus was asked this important question by His disciples. One of the places that it is recorded is in Luke 11, verse 1: “Then He was praying in a certain place; and when He stopped, one of His disciples said to Him, Lord, teach us to pray….”

Listen to the words that He spoke to them when they asked:
Pray, therefore, like this:
Our Father
Who is in heaven,
hallowed (kept holy) be Your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven (left, remitted, and let go of the debts,
and have given up resentment against) our debtors.
And lead (bring) us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
Amen.
Matthew 6:9-13

The first week, in this series, we focused on the very first, and most important aspect, of Jesus’ instruction—addressing God Almighty as “Our Father….” We found that He wants to be our Father…our Abba Father!

The second week, we looked at the very next aspect of prayer that Jesus deemed of importance—“Who is in heaven.” This attribute tells of the utmost importance of God Who is in heaven. And we also were reminded of an awesome promise from God, that we will dwell for all eternity with Jesus and our Father, Who is in heaven.

Then we came to the third aspect, as we followed Jesus’ instruction,— “hallowed (kept holy) be Your name.” And we looked at five examples in the Scriptures where Almighty God is described as holy: we saw the Psalmist proclaim that ‘You are holy’…that the prophet Habakkuk called Him ‘my Holy One’…that Isaiah saw in a vision God seated on His throne with the seraphim proclaiming ‘holy, holy, holy’…that Jesus our Lord prayed ‘Holy Father’…that one of the seven angels praise Almighty God saying ‘You Who are and were ‘O Holy One.’ What a privilege that our Father…Who is in heaven…would allow us to come before Him and call Him ‘holy!’

After that we looked at the next aspect of prayer that Jesus deemed important—‘Your Kingdom come.’ We considered the question, “What is the Kingdom?” by focusing on just two ways to understand what Jesus meant. The first connotation that “Kingdom” has refers to the eternal Kingdom. And then to understand “Kingdom” in another way, we looked specifically at Matthew chapter 13 where Jesus spoke in parables and used tangible examples to help His disciples (and us!) to understand the importance of having the Kingdom established in our hearts. He wants you and me to be in that Kingdom along with Him.

Then the following week we focused on another aspect of Jesus’ instruction: ‘Your will be done.’ It is Almighty God’s will that we are to be concerned about…not our own. We considered scripture after scripture and saw our Lord’s constant example of desiring not His will but His Father’s. If it were ever possible for anyone to justifiably state and act on their own will, it would have been Jesus; true? Jesus always desired His Father’s will, always sought His Father’s will, always purposed to know His Father’s will so that He always did His Father’s will. And what did we find was His Father’s will?—salvation and redemption through Jesus Christ.

And the next week we studied the phrase ‘Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ from the perspective of our Lord’s life and ministry. We read that Jesus came down from heaven not to do His own will but to do the will of His Father on the earth. Jesus was always the perfect example to His disciples. He simply and clearly taught His disciples (and us!) to do always seek to do the same.

The following week we considered the phrase, “Give us this day our daily bread.” We recognized that Jesus IS the ‘bread of life.” We clearly saw Jesus’ heart of compassion, wanting His disciples (and us!) to live forever by partaking of the Bread of Life. We also looked at Jesus’ instruction that if they would pray, “give us this day our daily bread…” they would be humbly acknowledging that their heavenly Father already KNEW what their needs would be that day.

Then we focused on the next direction Jesus gave as He taught His disciples (and us!) to pray. It is the request to “…forgive us our debts.” We looked first at the record where Peter asked Jesus how many times did he need to forgive? Jesus answered him, ‘I tell you, not up to seven times, but seventy times seven!” Nothing has changed. We, too, are to forgive “…seventy times seven…” (In other words, just keep on forgiving!) Then Jesus gave further clarification and direction to Peter and the other disciples. He held nothing back in communicating that forgiveness, or the refusal to forgive, is an issue of the heart. God through Christ has forgiven us for SO much! And He compassionately, mercifully, and lovingly, continues to forgive us as we repent and ask.

We looked next at His direction to His disciples (and us!) to ask our Father to “lead us not into temptation…” Of great importance is to remember that God does not “tempt” anyone (James 1:13, 14). And in Matthew 4:3 we clearly saw that THE tempter is satan, our enemy. We are not alone in handling temptation. He understands and has shown us how to handle satan’s tempting. We saw Jesus’ great example in Matthew 4:1-11. His response—the very thing that kept Him from being tempted—was the truth of the Scriptures. Jesus replied to satan each time with “…it is written….” We, too, can have the assurance of the truth of the Scriptures when our enemy tries to tempt us.

And then we focused on the final instruction Jesus gave to His disciples (and us!) as He taught them how to pray–“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” These two phrases are to be understood together in their context. Jesus clearly stated that not only did they need to recognize temptation but also recognize that they could not ‘handle’ it on their own—they needed to pray for God’s deliverance. One portion of Jesus’ prayer (in John 17) includes asking God “keep and protect them from the evil one,” and also Jesus praying for “…all those who will ever come to believe in (trust in, cling to, rely on) Me.” THAT IS US! You and me…mentioned in Jesus’ precious prayer to God! Our reliance on our heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus (seated at His right hand) gives us the ability, the strength to be delivered from evil.

Now, the phrase we studied last week was ‘for Yours is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.’ In Jesus’ teaching His disciples (and us!) to pray, He began and ended with praise. Praising God should be a part of all of our communication with our heavenly Father but especially in our prayers. Jesus made sure that His disciples (and us!) knew that God was to be glorified and praised! His final point to them (and us!) when they asked Him to teach them to pray was the importance of praising and glorifying God.

_____

And, finally, we come to Jesus’ very last word as He taught His disciples (and us!) to pray—“amen.’ In the Hebrew language, ‘amen’ simply is an affirmation, a recognition of truth, “so be it.’

I read a quote that impacted me greatly, and I would like to share it with you.  “The word “amen” is a most remarkable word. It was transliterated directly from the Hebrew into the Greek of the New Testament, then into Latin and into English and many other languages, so that it is practically a universal word. It has been called the best known word in human speech. The word is directly related—in fact, almost identical— to the Hebrew word for “believe”  (amam), or faithful.  Thus, it came to mean “sure” or “truly,” an expression of absolute trust and confidence.”*

But equally important, I think, is to put yourself in the sandals of the disciples. Think about it for a moment…. Here they are with their Master. Throughout the months that they have spent with Him, they have seen Him pray all along. And finally, one of them blurts out, “Lord, teach us to pray!” And so, as we have seen, He takes them step-by-step through a series of instructions; helping them to have the right heart attitude towards God when they pray.

That, truly, is what this instruction of our Lord’s is all about—having the right heart…not the perfect words…not a ‘method’ of praying. But rather to approach our Father God with humility and to…

Acknowledge that He is our Father,
and that He dwells in heaven,
and that He IS Holy, Holy, Holy.
Recognize that His Kingdom will come
and that His Will will be done on earth
just as it is in heaven.
Ask for our daily bread, every day.
Deal with forgiveness,
and to give up resentment against others.
Acknowledge where temptation truly comes from,
and our need to be delivered from the evil one.
Praise Him…giving Him the honor and the glory forever!

Jesus had so much compassion towards His disciples (and us!), knowing of their need to be led in such a way that they then could pray after He left them and returned to His Father in heaven. His instruction gave them (and us!) the ability to pray on their own.

Oh. How. He. Loves. Us. So. <3
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In our study A Daughter’s Worth, we have focused this week on being ready to hear God’s voice..being sensitive to leading of the holy spirit…being prepared to wait on God…being willing to accept His answer…being confident in Who God is and His perfect provision for us. Perhaps could we say that we have been working on preparing our hearts to say ‘amen.’ Or ‘so be it!’

This week instead of a question, I believe we can confidently make the statement, ‘I, ______, (insert your precious name here) am a daughter of the Most High God, and to Him I am of SUCH worth!

 “Amen!”

* I found this quote in a number of sources (the Online Bible, Bible.org, etc.) and have quoted from the ‘The Blue Letter Bible.org;’ source unknown.



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: 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.

A Daughter’s Worth: Week 10 / Day 2 – Keep Your Life Clean

 

I talked to my girls about some of the names girls get called when they try to live out their life for God.  I added a few ‘old school’ words I heard when I was in school, too.  Things haven’t changed so much.  See if these look familiar:

Teacher’s Pet                                       Party Pooper                                        Weak

Goodie 2 Shoes                                   Kill Joy                                                  Stuck Up

Know It All                                           Buzz Kill                                                Goody Goody

Nerd                                                      Lame                                                  Add Yours Here

When people think about you, what kind of words come to mind?  I look over this list of words meant to hurt and cause peer pressure.  They say these words to make themselves feel okay about the way they are choosing to live their lives, not so much about the way a “good girl” lives hers.  So look back over that list again.  Is there really anything bad on that list?  Is there anything there that would cause God to be ashamed of your behavior?  Can you bring glory to God as you live your life…even if people call you names like that?   I know you have heard the words that “Bad Girls” get called.  Think about that list.  Is God glorified if you are living a “bad girl” kind of lifestyle?

At this point in our study, we have learned what God expects of us as a Daughter of the King.  We know how to bring our earthly parents joy and we know how to make our Heavenly Father happy.  It’s time to live out our faith in God.  There may still be some bad habits we have, or some areas in our lives we need to turn away from.  Look how easy it is to change:

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.  Psalms 51:10

When your heart is clean, your thoughts will change, your actions will change, people will notice.  In today’s lesson of A Daughter’s Worth, Ava Sturgeon says, “After accepting Christ, you begin to desire the clean heart that He provides. “  Then Ava encourages us:  “Sharing Christ is so much easier when you become a living testimony.” 

For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.  Luke 6:45b

Live YOUR Faith.  It’s impossible to give away something you don’t have.  Make sure the people in your life can see the change Jesus has made.  You won’t be perfect, but you will be forgiven and can begin each day fresh and new.  Show love, kindness, compassion and generosity.  There will be a different list of words people will say about you.  Words that truly do bring glory to God, the Father and words that you WILL NOT be embarrassed by.

Before we go, I want to remind you of ways to Keep Your Life Clean:

Put God first. This means making the commitment to seek God.

Finding ways to be a blessing. “Being a Blessing” means taking the focus off yourself and placing it onto someone else.

Acting right on purpose. This means treating people with kindness, respect, and patience, even those that are hard to love.  Right behavior is Christianity in action.

Let’s Pray:

Heavenly Father,  We want to bring glory to You.  We want others to see Your life shining through us.  Create in us a clean heart.  Give us the desire to remove those bad habits from our lives and live for You.  Help us to treat others with kindness, respect and patience.  Help us as we walk out our faith, especially on the hard days.  We love You Lord.  AMEN

Be A Blessing,

Mama T <3

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For the A Daughter’s Worth Online Bible Study, you will need the book, your Bible, pen or pencil, a highlighter and a quiet place. You can order the book right through our website from clicking the sign-up form button located at the top of our webpage.

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.

Winning Him Without Words: Learn When to Pray The Most Dangerous Prayer – John the Baptist

John The Baptist

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.

ISAIAH 26:3

Lately I’ve caught myself saying “How GREAT is our God!” a lot. It seems like every time I open a book or read something on Facebook, God has left a personal message just for me to read. Last week my co-leader, Jennifer asked me if I could write today’s post because our sweet Beverly couldn’t. So of course I said I could write it. But then once I read it, I knew the real reason I was asked. It was because God had to reinforce a lesson in me. Yes, I would’ve read this section anyway and probably gathered some great information, but when I have to write about God’s word, I am forced (in a good way!) to slow down, take apart what I’ve just read and really understand it.

Today Dineen talks about John The Baptist and wonders if he ever felt left out, dissed, short changed. Did he feel like he should be part of the Twelve men chosen to walk with Jesus? He certainly had a right to feel that way. If he chose to Compare himself to the other Twelve, he was just as able to follow and spread Christ’s word, but he didn’t. He never questioned or bemoaned his role in life. He was satisfied to do what was predestined for him and he did it with honor and grace.

Sadly, I cannot say the same for myself. I have compared myself to others my entire life. In junior high a list went around our school where you rated the girls in our class based on looks and popularity. I was rated #2. Not too shabby, but to my 12 year old brain, it was devastating. All I could do was think of myself as #2. From that point on, it was my number on all my sports jerseys. I owned the number 2. It was my mind set.  I will always be second best to anyone that stands beside me.

As an adult, I still compare myself to others. And recently I’ve amped up my comparing.  Am I as creative as that mom? No. Am I as wealthy as that person? Certainly not. Will I ever be? No, because I have to be the #2. But I learned something in this chapter about being #2, or what I perceive as #2…it’s my role in life and it’s a GOOD role. I don’t have to be the prettiest wife on the block or the Martha Stewart mom or even the Beth Moore or Joyce Meyer of women’s ministry! I can be ME. Sarah Jane Boyer. And that is a great thing to be because He created ME and He has me on the path He predestined for me. First, He gave me the ability to work with words. Then later on down the path, He urged me to start writing about His words. For the first time in my life I am doing something I really enjoy and know that it is my gift from God, which makes it all the more sweeter. And ya know what? I’m not going to think of myself as #2 anymore. I know I am first and foremost with God because I have begun to make Him first and foremost with me. I don’t need to compare myself to others because there is no comparison. We are all #1 to God and all for different reasons.

What a freeing thing this is to not have to feel like I need to mold myself into something I’m not just to fit into one group/category or another. As long as I am pleasing God, I am in the right group/category. Like John The Baptist, I am content to fulfill the role God has chosen for me and I will do it with grace and honor to Him.

So how GREAT is our God, huh? He took this lesson and brought it to me to write on so that I would slow down, listen to Him and KNOW that I am right where I am suppose to be and there is no need to compare myself with others like I have been doing.  Thank you, God for the reinforcement!

Lets Pray:

Dear Lord, You knew I was struggling with comparison issues again and You brought this message right to me so that I would really sit up and listen. I pray that what I wrote will resonate with other ladies who read this post. Comparing ourselves with others is so harmful to our self esteem. Please show each and every one of our readers how important they are to You. Speak to them like You did to me and show them their special gifts that set them apart and make them #1 in Your eyes…the ONLY eyes that matter.  In your son’s precious name, Amen.

Your Assignment:

Today, please share with us what your special gift from God is. Let’s praise God for the gifts He has put in us to share with the world!

Godspeed,

Sarah

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Our next Women’s Online Bible Study “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan, begins January 6, 2013. To sign up for this Online Bible Study, click HERE and follow the instructions. You will also be given a link to where you can purchase this bible study. We’re looking forward to learning about this “Crazy Love” with you!!  

We would LOVE to have your feedback on this study! Will you take a few minutes to complete the following survey? Your responses will help us create the best online bible study experience for you! CLICK THIS LINK to fill out the short 10 question form. Your responses are completely anonymous, I promise!! Thank you so much!

A Daughter’s Worth: Week 8 / Day 4 – You Can Handle a Difficult Break Up

I can remember when I was in Middle and High school… I never really dated until I officially got into high school. My dad was not really big on his daughters dating too much into our younger years in school. It was all girls in my family, so my dad tended to be a little sterner with us. He always said that he was a boy once, and he knew how they thought :). It did make it a little difficult for my sisters and me although, I will have to admit that yes, my dad was right: he knew how they thought.

As teenagers we all seem to think that our parents don’t know what they are talking about, we are quick to think that they are trying to make our lives difficult and hard, when all they are really trying to do is make it easier for us. They don’t want to see us hurt. They want to see us happy at all cost. Nine times out of ten, they have experienced heartbreak before and they desire to keep us from having to go through that type of pain.

Let me get to my story. I was in the 11th grade and I can remember my first real boyfriend. I was so in love with him. There was nothing that my wonderful dad could have done to help prevent that heartbreak from happening, although I am sure that he knew it was coming, because I was so head over hills for this guy. He was the perfect gentleman. We had dates to the movies, out to eat, long talks on the phone, good face to face conversations, etc… Then one day, he decided that he no longer wanted to date me. I was so heartbroken. I tried to figure out what I had done wrong, was it something that I had said, or did or didn’t do? It didn’t seem to matter because he just didn’t want to date me anymore. I was HEARTBROKEN!

My dad tried to comfort me, but it just didn’t seem to work. Honestly girls, I had to let God work His wonderful healing powers. I had to lean on Him to heal and mend my broken heart completely. Do I still feel that hurt sometimes? Yes I do, but I also remember how God sent people my way, who loved me dearly to help me work through that painful process. There were loved ones who baked me cookies, friends who sat and listened to me talk and held me when I cried. I can look back over that time and see how much God loved me that He desired to see me whole again. It was hard girls, it really was, but God got me through that painful process and He will do the same for you!!

There are two certain scriptures that are dear to my heart that show me that God is so concerned about us when our hearts are broken.

The Lord is near to the broken hearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

Psalms 34:18

AND

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Psalms 147: 3

God never wants to see His children hurt and heartbroken. He definitely KNOWS how it feels, just think about how He felt when He had to watch His only begotten son on the cross, bearing all of our sins and He couldn’t help Him because that was the decision that His son made, just for us, so that we could all be united with Him again. He also had His heart broken when Adam and Eve sinned for the first time by taking a bite out of the fruit when they were told not to. Wow! Yes He does know how it feels to have your heart broken!

So when you are experiencing heartbreak, yes you can go to God! He knows what it feels like. Take your broken hearts to Him, because He KNOWS exactly how to heal and mend them back together again 🙂

Let’s Pray: Dear heavenly Father please help us to remember that we can bring our broken hearts to you because you do know how to fix them. When the pain may feel like it is unbearable, please take that pain and help us to use it for good. Remind us that you love us so much that you don’t want to see us in pain and that you want us to be happy. We love you Lord and it is in your darling son’s Jesus Christ name we pray. Amen

Love Tonya 🙂

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For the A Daughter’s Worth Bible Study, you will need the book, your Bible, pen or pencil, a highlighter and a quiet place. You can order the book right through our website from clicking the sign-up form button at the top of our webpage.

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! Our new study is A Daughter’s Worth! Please email megan@girlfriendscoffeehour.com for more information

 

A Daughter’s Worth: Week 8 / Day 3 – You Can Go Too Far

I don’t think I could even begin to count how many times I have heard the question, “How far is too far?” And if I never have to hear that question again, it’ll be too soon. With that being said, that question has come out of my mouth. I have such a problem with this question because it is basically asking how much we can get away with. And how many times have we asked or heard someone say, “…well, the Bible only says that sex itself is wrong before marriage… It doesn’t say anything about the other stuff.” WRONG-O. Ephesians 5:3 says that the Lord wants there to be “not even a HINT of sexual immorality” in our lives.

I will be the first to admit that I did not value or protect my purity when I was in my teens. Did I have sex? No. Did I make allowances for the “other stuff”? Yes. I am being honest with you girls because I do not want you to be deceived like I was! I do not want you to think, “Well, it isn’t sex so it’s okay.” This is SO not true! It is NOT okay. Here’s why… When you start to bring the physical stuff into a relationship outside of marriage it BLINDS you and prevents you from seeing the reality of your relationship. That means that you can’t even tell if you really even like this guy! Another reason it’s not okay- The world tells you that only sex forms an attachment to a man. I can tell you first hand, that is false. You also, at some point, deal with shame and guilt.

If you’re like me and have had that “How did I get here?” moment, you know how disappointed you were. Disappointed in the boy for not stepping up and protecting your purity, but more often than not, you’re disappointed in yourself. The enemy LOVES when we have messed up and are grieving over our sin. He loves to come in and make us feel so much worse. Conviction and guilt are NOT the same thing. Conviction is from the Lord. When you are convicted about sexual purity, you know that God’s Word says to stay away from sexual immorality. And if you have taken part in sexual activity, you can repent, turn away from that sin, and run to the Lord. Guilt, on the other hand, makes you hyper-aware of your sin. You sit and you wallow in self-hatred for hours on end. And forgiving yourself? Ha! Yeah right. That never happens when we allow the enemy to make us feel guilty.

So where do we go from here if we have messed up? Or how do we prevent that from ever happening? We trust that God knows what’s best for us. He knows that it is not good for our hearts for us to take part in sexual activity outside of marriage. He knows that it will only end in heartbreak. If you’re currently having sex outside of marriage, please, please, please stop. Your Father in Heaven is not One to make rules to make us miserable. The guidelines He puts in place are to protect us, because He loves us, and He wants our future marriages to be AMAZING!! Girls, you HAVE to be intentional about setting boundaries in your dating relationships. Here are my new boundaries~ I am not going to kiss another guy until the day of my wedding. I can hear your gasps all the way from over here. I just know that I do not want the enemy to have ANY stronghold over my life, and I am not about to give him any opportunity. Set your boundaries TODAY, BEFORE you get in a relationship. Write them down. Tell them to the Lord. Tell them to a friend to hold you accountable. If a boy is pressuring you to do anything physical, I HIGHLY encourage you to get out of that relationship. You deserve to date guys who HONOR your boundaries and who have made decisions and set boundaries themselves.

Let’s pray~

Lord, Thank You for setting boundaries for us! We know that those boundaries are to protect us from heartbreak. Lord, set girls FREE who are reading this- free from sexual sin, free from the lies of the enemy! Give these girls the strength to make boundaries and stick to them. Give them armor around their hearts, that they would be guarded from any deception. Thank You for Your grace when we mess up. Thank You for freedom from sin! We praise You, Lord, for the GIFT of sex… A precious thing that is a gift if kept within the context of marriage. Give us discernment to know what is right and wrong, and give us discernment to know WHO is right and wrong for us. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

~Jordan

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For the A Daughter’s Worth Bible Study, you will need the book, your Bible, pen or pencil, a highlighter and a quiet place. You can order the book right through our website from clicking the sign-up form button at the top of our webpage.

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! Our new study is A Daughter’s Worth! Please email megan@girlfriendscoffeehour.com for more information

GCH:POTs (Parents of Teens)- Love God by Belonging to Christ

Hello POTs!

It has been 3 days now since I posted about God having 3 purposes for your teen’s life… Do you remember what they are?

  1. To love God by belonging to Christ
  2. To love God by loving others
  3. To glorify God by fulfilling your “This I must do” dream

Today, we will dive into the first purpose mentioned: “Loving God by belonging to Christ.” I pray that you were able to go to the Lord in prayer about this very purpose over your own life. . Really, if you are able to articulate about how God has impacted your life in this way, it will be much easier to relate it to your teen! If you found it challenging to get started digging deeper about this on your own, that’s okay…. You can work through it with me today and I pray this lesson will help encourage some awesome conversation between you and your teen!

Matthew 22:37-38

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul

 and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.

As a Christ follower, it is our purpose to love God by choosing (yes, intentionally making a choice…) to be transformed into a new person in the image of Christ. How do we go about doing this in real life? Well, it begins by reading God’s Word and allowing the Holy Spirit to teach to you fully surrender to Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

It is critical that you have help from people around you here on earth to walk this out. I’m specifically talking about your church family (including prayer partners, accountability partners, and mentors). In belonging to Christ, you have chosen to commit to a life of holiness, integrity, right motives, peace, and worshipping your Creator…… as well as helping others to do the same.

Romans 12:2

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.

As adults…. This is HARD to do, right? Can you imagine how much harder it is for teens? Typically, their biggest fear is not fitting in with their peers. I know this has been tough for many of my kids, especially in middle school through 9th grade. If we can pinpoint and put names to our struggles with this very idea, then it will be much easier to relate to our teens about it. Do you struggle with this in your workplace? Maybe with friends you still have from before you were a believer? Maybe it’s your extended family that makes it challenging for you to live not of this world?

I urge you to spend some time with the Lord on this in prayer before you start the conversation with your teen. Let Him guide you in opening up with them about what this looks like in your life.

John 14:6

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.

No one comes to the Father except through me.

Do you believe this? In your heart and soul, do you believe this? If so, how does this impact YOUR life? Explore that a bit before talking to your teen about it. I truly wish I could be a fly on the wall and hear every conversation each of you have with your teens about this divine purpose God has for their life! Read this scripture with your teen and help them unpack it. You know, they might just teach you a thing or two about your walk with God!

I would love to hear about how this is going in your home. Please share with me in a comment on this blog or by email how it is going working through this with your teen. After all, we are all in this together!

I will be back tomorrow to explore the second purpose God has for your teen:

To Love God by Loving Others!

 

Blessings to you and yours,

Megan

megan@girlfriendscoffeehour.com

https://www.facebook.com/megan.smidt

Sign up for one of our Online Bible Study or Fellowship Groups for Women and Teen Girls here:

http://girlfriendscoffeehour.com/sign-up-for-girlfriends-coffee-hour-online-bible-studies/

The Resolution for Women: I’d Like a Word with You

Our Memory Verse

We’ve talked a lot about Quiet Time this week, and being faithful to that time with God.  We’ve talked about Divine Appointments and being Faithfully His.  We were asked in one of our blogs this week to define what faith and faithfulness means to us.  Were you able to really sit down and think that through?

What does being “Faithfully His” really mean to you?  I’d like to start by seeing what it means to God, first.

In order to find out what being faithful means to God, we have to start by looking at His Word.  His Word….the infallible Truth.  He has given us His Word to teach us; mold us; refresh us; revive us; save us; teach us obedience; to draw us closer to Him; to show us how much He loves us; and to transform us.

He is faithful in His Word.  His Word is truth.  His Word is alive and sharper than any two-edged sword.  His Word is active in our lives, every single day.  His Word is living, and never returns void.  His Word is unchanging.  He Word is eternal.  His word is an historical account of where we come from, and where we are going.  His Word is love.

His Word defines who we are in Christ.  It lifts us up, and encourages us.  It speaks intimately and personally to reveal His purpose for our life!

There is so much to be seen in God’s Word!  It is up to us, though, to be faithful in reading His Word every day.

It is up to us to open this beautiful book of LIFE, and allow God to speak to us; to pour out His amazing Spirit upon us.

It is up to us to be consistent and intentional about allowing God to speak to us through His Word … in our Quiet Time.

It is up to us to choose to shut down the outside noise of life, and to just sit quietly with Him, allowing His Word to permeate our souls and our minds; to allow Him to reach us deep down inside.  That is the only way we will hear the voice of the Shepherd.

It is up to us to CHOOSE to spend this time with Him; to be faithful to Him through this time each day.

__________________

What if God suddenly decided one day not to be faithful to us anymore?  What would our world look like?  What would our marriage be like?  What would our kids be like?  That, my friends, to me, is a scary thought!!  I thank God every day for His faithfulness to me; for always being there, no matter what the circumstances, or time of day; and for always providing for me.

I see many prayer requests every day.  I see us all reaching out to Him, asking prayer for this or that.  Are we faithful to really seek Him for those answers?  Or is it easier to just put the request out there, and ask others to do the work for us?  I don’t mean that in a hateful way, either.  What I mean to say here is this, is it easier for someone else to pray for you, instead of you spending that time with God one on one?

Are you as faithful to Him, as He is to you?  Are you available to Him, when He needs to speak to you?  To be honest, I haven’t always been that faithful to Him.  Even today, I can see areas of my life that I need to resolve to become even more faithful to Him.

What about you?  Can you see areas of your life that you have chosen to let the world, or your circumstances, rob your time with Him?  Can you see areas of your own life where you haven’t been as faithful to Him, as you could be?  What can you do TODAY to change that??

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In this chapter, Priscilla has shared five pages of scriptures with us.  She has suggested that we use these scriptures as affirmations over our lives, and the lives of our loved ones.  She has referenced not only the scripture, but the verse it comes from, as well.

I would encourage you to go through this list of scriptures and highlight the ones that speak to you; and then go to your bible, His Word, and find them there, and highlight them.  Date the scriptures in your bible, as the day that God spoke to you in His Word!  Speak these scriptures out loud, so you can audibly hear them with your own ears.  Faith comes by hearing the Word.  Speak these scriptures out over yourself and your loved ones each day during the quiet time that you are now going to choose to set aside for Him; and then just watch God’s word come alive!!! 

His Word will help renew your mind and your faith; and even your actions and attitudes toward Him will be changed!  Praise God!!

__________________

I will close today with our latest resolution:

 

 

I, __________________, will live as a woman answerable to God and faithfully committed to His Word.

Signed:  Christi Wilson

 

Will you join me in this resolution, as well?

______________________

Let’s Pray:

Father, we come before You today Lord, and ask for Your forgiveness for the times that we have not been as faithful to You as we could have been.  Forgive us Lord for the times that we have chosen worldly distractions over our time with You.  Forgive us for not being there when You needed us, Lord.  Father, we thank You for that forgiveness right now, and from this day forward we resolve to be more committed to Your Word, and more faithful to You.  In Jesus’ Name, the Name above All Names, Amen! 

Your Assignment:

Set aside some time today to spend with the Lord.  Ask His forgiveness for the times that you have chosen other things over Him.  Repent and receive His forgiveness, and then resolve to make better choices where He is concerned in your life.  Do whatever it takes to make time for Him, each and every day!

Don’t forget to head back over to your Facebook OBS Group and see what we have in store for you today!!  If you don’t yet belong to a Facebook OBS (Online Bible Study) Group, and would like to, please send us an email at GirlfriendsCoffeeHour@gmail.com, and we’ll be happy to add you!! 

Living Intentionally to Become More Faithful to My Lord and Savior,