June 26, 2017

Looking back and Looking Forward

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.     Romans 12:2

A verse for the new year, don’t you think? As I look back on 2013, I see God’s hand in all of it. I cannot imagine a day without Him, really, and I don’t want to. This year has been challenging for sure, yet my faith has grown by leaps and bounds. There have been times of scarce resources yet God has provided loaves and fishes. My children have not gone hungry and there has always been a roof over our heads. The Lord is so good.

Kyle started a new job this time last year. He has been on the road for most of 2013 and had a lot of time with His Creator. I have had the privilege of watching God grow and mold him into the husband and father that He intended him to be. The marriage that almost ended has been completely renewed  and restored to an even more magical and Spirit-filled marriage, and love for each other is greater than ever. We found a church home and a group of wonderful godly people who love us for us and accept us just the way we are, but love us too much to let us stay content. How amazing when God puts people in your path that actually speak truth to you and help you grow spiritually.

I’ve watched my children grow spiritually through some pretty hard things. But, isn’t that how God works? It’s through the tests and trials that our faith grows and we realize that with God we can do anything. They have seen God do the impossible, too. As much as I would love for their lives to be easy, without hardships and heartaches, their character and faith and relationship with Him grows out of the dark murky soil. I wouldn’t change anything. God is good and all He gives is good. We cannot see the big picture so we don’t see how all these pieces fit together. But God does—and He puts the tapestry of our lives together. I love that I can look back with a smile knowing that He WAS  in control; I love that I can step into next year knowing that He IS in control. What would I do differently? Nothing!

So what are my hopes for the new year? For starters, I don’t want to take one step that He does not ordain. And what is the best way to hear what He says about our future? We go to His Word. His promises always come true and His word is more valuable than any amount of money.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect,
but I press on to make it my own,
because Christ Jesus has made me His own.
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own.
But one thing I do; forgetting what lies behind
and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward
the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3, verses 12-14

‘Forgetting the past,’  ‘pressing on toward the goal,’  ‘for the prize,’  amazing words! And the prize is the the call on your life—an anointing on your life from your Father.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17

You are a new creation, the old has passed! 2013 has passed, there is nothing that can be done about it now. If wrong has been done, then we repent, ask forgiveness and move forward, right? And that is all that is required. We are forgiven. Grace is ours for free! And there’s more…

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
Behold I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and (spring) rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:18-19

This is actually our family life verse. He does make a way in the desert—He always has and He always will. When there seems to be no way, He makes a way. He is the way. John 14:6 says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Friends, if you don’t know Jesus and you don’t know the way to the Father, please read these Scriptures and pray them back to Him. All you have to do is ask Him to come in to your heart and live forever. Then read His Word and begin the most important and amazing walk of your life.

Last is Isaiah 43:1-28, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name and you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you.” (Verses 2-5)

 He has called you by name and you are His!! Praise the Lord, He will walk in to 2014 with you and you will start fresh. You have an empty slate, a fresh start, a do over, if you will. All your steps are ordained and He will go before you and make a way for you! Oh…how He loves you and can’t wait to do life with you this year. So let’s take a deep breath, and take His hand and step on into the new year….

Let us pray: Dear God, our Father, thank You so much for this past year, for our successes and failures, for our victories and for trials, for keeping us safe and for loving us always. You are an amazing God, and even the rocks cry out to You. You are our Abba Father, our Daddy, we can crawl up in Your lap and forget the world. Thank You for going before us and making a way for us in the wilderness. Thank You for the fresh springs in the desert and for giving us the victory before the trial. Lord, as we walk in to this new year, I pray Your hedge of protection be around us and our families. Provide all we need, Dear Jesus, and keep us close to Your heart. I’m excited to see what;s in store for us this year! For it’s in Your name we pray, amen!

Take My Life and Let It Be

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love;
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee,
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice, and let me sing
Always, only, for my King;
Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee,
Filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold;
Not a mite would I withhold;
Take my intellect, and use
Every power as Thou shalt choose,
Every power as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will, and make it Thine;
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart; it is Thine own;
It shall be Thy royal throne,
It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love; my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure-store.
Take myself, and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee,
Ever, only, all for Thee.
  ~Frances Havergal-lyrics; Henri Malan-music; Kari Jobe-arrangement, vocals~

  • My life
  • My moments
  • My days
  • My hands
  • My feet
  • My voice
  • My lips
  • My silver and gold
  • My intellect
  • My will
  • My heart
  • My love
  • Myself

Quite the list, hmmm?  May I challenge you (oh, don’t worry—me, too!): don’t wait for the new year, 2014, to begin. Today, right now even, make a conscious choice to dedicate all that you are to Him. We have just come through the season of Advent along with the celebration of the birth of the Messiah.  During this season where we have considered God’s great love for mankind, we have been reminded of the vastness and enormity of God’s love for us!   God deserves our all, every bit of what makes you…you; and what makes me…me. Anything that is in us that is good and righteous and pure and holy He has given to us…none of it is of our own making.

Which verse is the one that resonates within your heart? Would you leave a comment below and share that with us…and why? I love ‘em all…but I think my favorite is “Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine. Take my heart; it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne, it shall be Thy royal throne.”

If I surrender my will to God’s will (and so no longer my own!) then all the rest—my life, my moments, my days, my hands, my feet, my voice, my lips, my silver and gold, my intellect, my love—will also be offered to Him for His will to be dominant.

Consider these passages from the Scriptures in light of the gist of this song. Perhaps one or more of them might be just the impetus you need to make the decision to ‘take your life and let it be….”

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg you in view of [all] the mercies of God,
to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God,
which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.
Romans 12:1 (Amplified)

I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.
Leviticus 11:44

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19:14

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5 and 6

* * * * * 

Dear Lord, we do SO want to dedicate ourselves—every part of us—to You, our Maker!  Please help us to recognize areas in our hearts that get in the way of this…and please help us change our hearts, Lord!  May we choose to offer ourselves, all we are and all we have, to You!  You deserve the best, the most.  You deserve our ALL! We ask these things in Jesus Name.  Amen.

Esther – Chapter 4:8-11

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

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

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

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

Psalm34_18

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

Let’s pray:

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

Amen.

LOVE One Another

Last week, I brought up a simple fact: loving God = obedience to Him.  After delving into the Scriptures, we were convinced that there is no way around it: if we want to love God we must obey His commands.

For this is what LOVE for God is: to keep His commands.
1 John 5:3

This week, we will look at one very specific area in which our obedience (or disobedience) clearly shows our LOVE for Him—our LOVE for one another.

1 John 4:21
And we have this command from Him:
The one who LOVES God must also LOVE his brother.

God specifically communicates, just as distinctly as in 1 John 5:3, that LOVE for Him requires obedience.  If we LOVE God, we keep His commands—we obey Him.  His command in this area is that we must also LOVE our brother (and sister).  And we are encouraged that ‘yes! I CAN do this!’ because we know that His commands are not too hard for us “…His commands are not a burden…” (1 John 5:3b).

Jesus was preparing His disciples for His soon-coming death, resurrection and departure.  One of the very important things that He spoke to them about was this very thing—LOVE—when He told them,

This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples,
if you have LOVE for one another.
John 13:35

Think about that for a moment, please.  Was there ever anyone who loved more, or better, or more completely, or selflessly than our Lord?  No…not ever.  But, we understand from His communication with His disciples that they would be recognized as His by their LOVE for one another.  Just amazing, isn’t it?  Truly, I believe, we also are recognized as His by our LOVE for one another.  How blessed are we!!!

We all know the ‘LOVE’ chapter of the Bible…that’s right, 1 Corinthians 13.  Contained in that portion of the Scriptures is God’s definition of what LOVE is.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Love is patient,
Love is kind and is not jealous;
Love does not brag and is not arrogant,
does not act unbecomingly;
It does not seek its own, is not provoked,
does not take into account a wrong suffered,
does not rejoice in unrighteousness,
but rejoices with the truth;
bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails;

Dear children, let us not LOVE with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:18

The actions  are clearly defined for us in 1 Corinthians chapter 13:

  • being patient
  • kind
  • displaying no jealousy
  • or bragging
  • not being arrogant
  • acting becomingly (appropriately)
  • being selfless
  • not being provoked
  • not worrying about wrongs done to us
  • not rejoicing in unrighteousness
  • rejoicing in truth
  • bearing and believing and hoping and enduring all things

These are the actions—the attitudes of our hearts—that show, or prove, or display our LOVE.  Words are easy to say…but actions show the truth.  Amen?

Praying for you each (please pray for me, too!) as you endeavor to be obedient and to treasure the commands of our God.  Remember, loving God = obedience to His commands.  He has commanded that we LOVE one another and to LOVE with actions, not just idle words.

Let all that you do be done in LOVE.
1 Corinthians 16:14

Praying for each of you!

♥  coleen

LOVE God, LOVE People (lyrics)

how can i thank You for the way that you freely gave
LOVE so beautiful, unconditionally
had to stop, take a break, feelin’ good today
everything’s wonderful…You didn’t have to do this for me
but then i look and see all of the suffering, i wanna do something
but something’s gotta start with me

i can’t give it ‘til i live it
now that my eyes are open, teach me how to LOVE

LOVE God…LOVE people!  LOVE my neighbor as myself
my brother, my sister; everybody LOVE somebody

and now it’s time to make a change—revolution day
put it into action…live compassionately
you take the black and the white…red, yellow, brown
life gets better, it just gets better when we
we look around and see all of humanity
waiting on someone—someone is you and me

you can’t give it ‘til you live it
now that your heart is open, just reach out and LOVE

you can’t give it ‘til you live it
you can’t live it until you give it away
you can’t give it ‘til you live it
now that your heart is wide open, you gotta give all of your LOVE

you can’t live without giving LOVE
so let your heart be open; just reach out and, just reach out and LOVE <3

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If you would like to send a personal message to Coleen, you may email her at:

Coleen@girlfriendscoffeehour.com, or leave a comment below.

Resolution for Women: Sabbath Spaces

Today’s blog is brought to you by Donna Day.  Donna is new to our Women’s Ministry Blogging Team, and will become a full-time blogger when our next study “Winning Him Without Words” begins on October 1st.  I hope you enjoy her post today, as much I do!! <3 Christi  

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I remember as a little girl growing up in Wisconsin, the snow days like the one Priscilla talked about in this part of our study today. Of course we had a lot more snow days than Dallas would have had. We wished for them so we could get out of school and go sledding or ice skating. Snow days here were not a day of being stuck in the house with nothing to do. All the kids in the neighborhood would gather and have a great time in the snow.

Our dilemma would have been the stormy days when the electricity would go off and we were forced to a day of solitude indoors with no radio or TV. I hated those days then, but now I love them! A chance to get caught up on reading a good book or just meeting with God for some quiet time.

Isn’t it humbling to know that we have a God who wants to meet with us? The God of the universe, the creator of everything desires my presence with Him! Out of the hustle and bustle of our world our Father wants us to know that he desires to be with us and spend time together.

That’s why I love this “14 challenge” that Priscilla has given us. Our world today is so pushy and intrusive. With all the internet, cell phones and television we can’t live without, sometimes it’s overwhelming. Society tells us that we have to constantly be busy achieving and going to the next level to accomplish all-even if it takes 7 days a week! To teach our children that we need this 14 minutes of carved out, purposely planned time with God is a gift to them. Teaching them how to listen and pray and hear from God helps them know how to plan for the day and for life.

My husband recently remodeled our bedroom and added a balcony on to the back. I have always tried to find a quiet place and time everyday to meet with God and during nice weather days, that balcony is where I meet with God. It’s a tangible place I can go to and know it will be quiet and peaceful.

My children have always known that Mom has a quiet time everyday. They are grown and gone and have their own lives now but I pray that I have instilled in them the pursuant of peace, a sabbath rest from which to draw on for the day.
May I suggest some  practical tips you could use to make your “Sabbath Rest” a success?

* Decide during the day what time can be easily set aside for this. Whether it’s morning, nap time, or evening when everyone is quiet. Whether you have to get up earlier or stay up a little later.

* Find a peaceful spot so that you are not distracted by anything around you.

* Turn off all phones, TV and radio, so you are not distracted by them. It won’t hurt for this small amount of time and it says you’re serious about taking the time to meet with God.

* Set everything out the night before, if possible, so that when you are ready it’s all there and you don’t have to go hunting for it.

* Go in with an attitude of prayer and be ready to let God speak to you.

Now that you have done all this in preparedness, purpose to take time everyday-it will change your life!!! If it’s 14 minutes or half an hour, you will not regret it. In fact you will look forward to it and God will meet with you. You will find that “Sabbath Rest” we all need on a daily basis!

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Let’s pray: God we want to meet with you. Help us make it a priority in our lives. Help us carve out time to make this happen-even if it’s only a few minutes a day. so that we can teach our children and be an example to them of this important time. teaching them that it is necessary to be able to live grounded in You. Thank you so much  that you desire time with us. In Jesus name Amen
Your assignment:Share in the comment section below, how you do or will carve out that necessary Sabbath rest time with God. Be honest and share and be creative too, sometimes we need to be creative to make it happen!

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Donna lives in Southeast WI, with her awesome husband Ronald.  Together they have 3 children and 2 grandchildren.  She went to school in the Brodhead WI area, and met her husband in the 5th grade!  He told her years later that when he first met her, he knew he was going to marry her!!  How sweet!!

Donna attends Rock Assembly of God, where she is active in coffee ministry, Worship team and heads up their Women’s Ministry, as well.

She loves to read, sing and listen to some talk radio.

She became a born again Christian when she was 12, but didn’t really get discipled until she had been married for 2 years. Then she and her husband both gave their lives to Christ and they’ve never looked back.

We are so blessed to have Donna on our Leadership Team.  She is such an encourager, and a joy to be around!

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Reminder… on October 1st, we will begin our brand new Online Bible Study, entitled “Winning Him Without Words” by Lynn Donovan and Dineen Miller.  If you are in an unequally spiritual marriage, you won’t want to miss this study!!

To sign up for this study, please send an email to: Womens@GirlfriendsCoffeeHour.com and we will send you all the details you need to get started!

Now jump on over to our Facebook Group for the daily activity!! If you do not yet belong to this group, and would like to, send us an email atGirlfriendsCoffeeHour@gmail.com with FB GROUP in the subject line, and we’ll be glad to add you!