January 23, 2018

I Know He Lives

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I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end He will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;

I, myself, will see Him with my own eyes.
Job 19:25-27

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This has been a hard week. Tears have been shed by all of us as our family has had to say goodbye to our sweet cats that have been with us for almost twelve years.  And it has me thinking of the awesome place that we will go when we leave this earth…Heaven.

Every one of the characters in the Bible couldn’t wait to see God and Job was no different.  He was in such anguish when He said those words in the verse above.  He knew that one day his body would grow old and die but that He would see God face to face.  And so will we.

As human beings, we will be resurrected, standing, kneeling, walking and talking people. Doesn’t that bring you hope? God is our greatest gift and His presence brings satisfaction.

As a deer pants for water, so my soul pants for You, o God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
Psalms 42:1-2

What do you long for when you have a hard week?  When you think that you cannot do this one more day, what keeps you going? Here’s a story you might relate to….

In 1952, Florence Chadwick stepped into the waters of the Pacific Ocean off Catalina Island, California. She wanted to swim to the mainland. She was an experienced swimmer and had already swam the English Channel. The weather that day was foggy and chilly, and she could hardly see the boats that were along side of her. Still, she continued to swim for 15 hours. When she began to beg to be taken out, her mother encouraged her and told her that she was close and that she could make it. Finally, physically and emotionally exhausted, Florence stopped swimming and was pulled out. It wasn’t until she was aboard the boat that she discovered the shore was less than half a mile away. The next day, at a news conference, she said, “All I could see was the fog…I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.”

What if you could ‘see the shore’ on your hard days? What if you could take your eyes off the fog in front of you and strain to see the place where God is. I am pretty sure that we could make it a bit longer, right? We have God cheering us on, all the way, He is in the boat alongside you, telling you that you are almost there. And one day, He will say “Well done!”.  And we will be with Him for all eternity!

I end with an amazing verse…

One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind
and straining toward what is ahead,
I press on toward the goal to win the prize
for which God has called me Heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-14

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Let us pray: Dear God, thank You for giving us the hope of being in Heaven with You.  And for all the promises in Your Word that daily get us through the hard stuff.  Lord, sometimes we get our eyes stuck on the fog that is ahead and take our eyes off of You.  Please guide us back to the path that leads to You.  Remind us that there is a beautiful prize at the end of this hard life—and it is You.  We love You and praise You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Where I Belong

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Sometimes it feels like I’m watching from the outside
Sometimes it feels like I’m breathing but am I alive
I won’t keep searching for answers that aren’t here to find

All I know is I’m not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

So when the walls come falling down on me
And when I’m lost in the current of a raging sea
I have this blessed assurance holding me

When the earth shakes I wanna be found in You
When the lights fade I wanna be found in You

Building 429
writer(s): Jason Ingram, Jason Roy

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For this world is not our permanent home;
we are looking forward to a home yet to come.
Hebrews 13:14

Picture this…you and your family are staying in a condo on the beach.  You love the view so much but the condo not so much.  You don’t like the paint or the window treatments.  You really would want to replace the rugs and the bathroom tile.  Are you going to go to Home Depot and start a remodeling project?  Remember, you’re only there for a week.  Your home is actually somewhere else…this is just a temporary place for a vacation.

This world, though we may like parts of it, is just our “vacation condo” and Heaven is our home.  We are here only for a bit; and, while we are here, our job is to lead others to Jesus and to invest in our Heavenly home.  We all find ourselves longing for the Home that He has promised when this world is so hard and comes at us from all directions.  What joy that can bring us as His children!

But our citizenship is in heaven,
and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body,
by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself.
Philippians 3:20-21

God created us to live here in this world that He created.  He gave us beautiful scenery that we can enjoy, sunsets and sunrises, mountains covered in snow and the white beaches with blue oceans crashing onto them.  That’s how much He loves us.  We don’t deserve any of it; yet He gave it to us.  He also gives us grace to cling to when we have done so much that we wish we could take back.

I have seen this past week a teen lose her life to a horrible disease that she had been battling since the age of 14.  She left a legacy like you wouldn’t believe.  She made the most of this temporary home and she never took any of it for granted.  And now she is in her Home with Jesus.  But those left here are truly hurting and longing for the day that they will meet up with her again.  And I am sure they have many questions….

God made us a promise that this world would be hard but that He would help us overcome it.  He sent Jesus as an example of how to do it and He gave us the Holy Spirit to help us.  So when it feels like you can’t go on one more minute, please remember that He is coming again and that we should finish this life strong and help others to do the same. Oh…and that condo that you’re thinking of remodeling while on vacation?  I wouldn’t spend too much on getting it perfect.  You can’t take it with you!

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Let’s pray: Dear Jesus, thank You for going to prepare a place for us beside You in heaven!  Sometimes this world gets to be too much for us.  We stress and give up, forgetting that in a blink of an eye, You will be coming to get us.  Lord, we are so ready…but please help us while we are here waiting.  Help us to invest in those things that are going to benefit our Home with You one day.  Keep us from harm and thank You for loving us so much!  And for that family that lost so much this past week…we lift them up and all the others that have lost loved ones too soon.  Please give them comfort and somehow let them know that their “babies” are okay with You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Heaven is Home

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But our citizenship is in Heaven,
and we eagerly await a Savior from there,
the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 3:20

Days are long here and sometimes so hard to bear.  As His children, on those hard days, we think and dream of another place.  We long for our other home, with Him. Jesus is our real desire, to just stand at His feet and worship Him.  Can you imagine? I’ve known Him for a long time, and dreamed since I was a little girl, about what my home would look like. Are there streets of real gold and pearls…and is Peter really standing at the gate? And then there’s Andrew, James, and John!

But what about the things we have grown to love here on earth?  I do love a walk on the beach, to feel the breeze and smell the ocean.  I love when my husband holds my hand and tells me he loves me; and when my sweet children sit close and watch a movie with me.  All those things are dear to me!  I am sure you have some things, too, that you want to hold on to.  Do you picture trading this familiar setting for the unknown Paradise?  Are you riding in chariots?

In Heaven, we will feel ground beneath our feet and we will have touchable bodies. However, we will not have wings and become angels.  In Heaven, we will finally be complete.  We will be perfected and we will be truly His and in His Home.  Heaven is a place where everything becomes clear—no more trials and tribulations and no more confusion between what is right and wrong.  W will fellowship together and  worship together like never before. I don’t think we can even fathom just how joyful it will be. And those things that we do love about our earthly homes will be way better in Heaven.  We aren’t giving up anything!  Well…except sickness, sadness, hard seasons, and stress, that is!

In John 14:2. Jesus said,”I am going to prepare a  place for you.”   He is preparing a home for you and me.  A place where we all belong and feel good enough.  We will sit at the feet of Jesus and, because of His death and resurrection, we will be worthy.

Do you know about this place?
Do you know about Jesus Who died so that you could go there when you die?
Do you know that God loves you enough that He wants you there with Him?

Oh, He does love you!   He wants all to know Him and to love Him and worship Him. He wants to bless you beyond measure.  Your real home is with Him.  If you are ready to know Him then I urge you to pray this sinners prayer with me:

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Dear God, I know I am a sinner.  I know I need forgiveness.  I believe that You love me and You sent Jesus, Your Son, to die for my sins.   Because of this, I will spend eternity with You in Heaven.  Fill me with Your Spirit.  I don’t know everything there is to know about You…but I trust You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Crazy Love: Chapter 5 – “Serving Leftovers to a Holy God” (pp 95-98)

We all have a tendency to drift… away from God. It is just part of our sinful nature. Take the Israelites for example. They pleaded for God to rescue them over and over again. God heard them and He did rescue them; but then they grew restless and focused their eyes away from Him. They drifted. They looked only at the needs in front of them and not at the Promised Land to come. They even complained that they would have preferred to go back to slavery in Egypt rather than struggle through the desert period while getting to the coveted Promised Land! Can you imagine?! They witnessed numerous miracles with their own eyes, yet they still begged and asked for more.

(The Holy Spirit is screaming in my ear right now about the correlation between the Israelites and our present day lives.)

We do the same things that the Israelites did, don’t we? Our view is so limited that we can only see our present needs. It is so difficult for us to see beyond our difficulties sometimes, to know that this life is only temporary and we have our own “Promised Land” (Heaven) waiting for us. We just have to walk through these desert periods and fix our eyes on the Author and Perfector of our faith. And He promises we do not have to walk these desert times alone. He is with us through His Spirit. He will guide us and direct us. He will show us the path to take.

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With that said, it is so important to stress what our author talks about in the concluding pages of our chapter. Our faith must be intentional. Without daily, focused effort we will slowly drift away from our Lord. He is the only One who can help us through every trial we face, every fear we encounter, and each obstacle in our path. Chan suggests that spiritual drift is not a conscious choice, but it is happening because nothing else is propelling people toward Christ. If we do not make our faith intentional; if it is not a priority above everything else in our lives, then we should not be surprised when we wake up one morning and wonder, “where is God?”

God never moves. He never changes. He is always there. It is us that move and change and shift.

Does God take priority over everything else in your life? Does any earthly thing matter as much as your relationship with the Lord?

These are some tough questions. Many things in this chapter are convicting my heart and igniting a passion in me to dig deeper. How about you? Write out your thoughts. Journal what the Lord is speaking to you about. Answer these questions as the Holy Spirit moves you. Take the time to truly explore yourself, your time commitments, and your relationship with the Lord. If you want something to change, how can you be proactive and change it? Remember, with GOD all things are possible. Pray and commit your changes to Him and let Him have all the glory!

 

Have a blessed day!

Jennifer

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Let’s Pray:

Father, this book is opening up deep cuts and wounds that we have only covered with flimsy band aids. Help us to fully heal those wounds and to come to You in repentance for anything that we are discovering that is not pleasing to You. We all desire a full, rich, deep, abiding love relationship with You, Lord. Please reveal to each one of us the next step of faith we can take in pursuit of that relationship. We love You so much, Lord, and our heart’s desire is to please You always. Rid us of anything that is interfering with our time with You. Invigorate our quiet times with You. Renew a passion in us for Your Word and for living the full Christian life that Jesus speaks of in the Gospels. It is in HIS Holy, Precious, Matchless Name that we pray, AMEN!

Your Assignment:

What earthly things are currently taking precedence over God in your life?

 



If you are interested in joining this amazing online Bible study for Crazy Love, click HERE to sign up. Once you are registered, you will receive an email with further details.

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

A Daughter’s Worth: Week 12 – Living with Optimism

This is our last week with “A Daughter’s Worth” bible study.  I hope you have enjoyed this study, as much as we have!  Sometimes online Bible studies can be kind of pressing, especially when you have such a busy schedule.  But, one thing that I have learned is that putting God first and foremost, in all things, is an absolute necessity in order for everything else in my life to run smoothly.

The Word tells us to seek Him first and all things will be added unto us.  That means first thing every day, we should be making time for God.  We should be seeking God in our daily schedules, tests, extra-curricular activities, church functions, sports, and more.  If God hasn’t called us to it, we cannot expect Him to bless it.

This week, in Week 12 of A Daughter’s Worth, we will discuss “Living with Optimism” and what that means.  This may be the end of this study, but it’s a very important part of this book!  I hope you will take the time to read it, meditate on what you’ve read, and spend time with God.

Here is your schedule for the week:  

On Monday, Diane will discuss giving honor to God.

On Tuesday, Teresa will discuss recognizing the holiness of God.

On Wednesday, Jordan will discuss receiving happiness from God.

On Thursday, Tonya will discuss resting in the hope of God.

On Friday, Edwina  will discuss looking forward to Heaven with God.

And then to close the week off, Coleen will have a special message for us.  So be sure to stay tuned!

Be sure to check back soon because we will be announcing what’s next for GCH:decaf SOON!!!

Now a word from Miss Morgan:

Hey girls this is our last week, which is crazy; but this week we will be talking about how we should give God glory and that we should know the holiness that God has. God also will give us happiness, which we should learn to accept, and to always have the Joy of the Lord with us.

Lastly we will also be talking about resting in the hope of the Lord, and that we should always look forward to Heaven and living with God forever. It’s weird thinking this life will end, but we will live FOREVER in Heaven with God, which is amazing. I love you girls!!



Before Morgan and I close for today, I want to ask you if you know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?  If not, we invite you today to ask Him into your heart.  Please pray with us:

Lord Jesus, I come to You today and ask You to be my Lord and Savior.  I have learned who You are through this bible study Lord, and I want to know You personally.  So today, Lord, I confess the sins that I have in my heart, and I ask You to forgive me and cleanse me of all unrighteousness.  I ask You now to come into my life, as my personal Lord and Savior.  AMEN!

If you prayed this prayer with Morgan and I, would you send us an email?  We’d like to pray with you.  You can reach us at GCH_decaf@girlfriendscoffeehour.com.  

We love you, so does He!

Have a GREAT week everyone!

Morgan & Christi

 

A Daughter’s Worth: Week 11/ Day 1 – Be Ready to Hear God’s Voice

Phil 1_9_10

The first question Ava asks us this week is have you ever heard the voice of God.  When I was your age I don’t think I ever thought God had a voice.  I surely never heard Him talk to me.  For as much as I prayed to God I never thought of it as a communication; one in which God would actually talk back to me!  As I grow in my relationship with God my favorite moments with Him are when He is talking to me.  Do you believe God talks to us?  Have you ever thought what His voice sounds like?

I have come to find out that His voice sounds like a powerful song full of God’s truths.  His voice sounds like scripture found in God’s living Word.  His voice sounds like my mother, sister, or godly friend who speaks God’s truth and encouragement to me from time to time.  His voice sounds like my grandmother’s letters to me.  All of the ways he talks to me have one thing in common.  God’s voice is found in His truth.  There are lots of things in this world that are filled with God’s truth we just have to open our eyes, ears, and hearts to them.  God’s voice is found differently to everyone, but when you find it you will hear the same thing, His truth!

How do we go about opening up to hear from God?  I just recently have figured this one out, and I continue to learn as I spend time with God.  It is all about the relationship that we have with God.  When I was your age I did not understand what having a relationship with God was.  When I found out that God desired to have a relationship with me, it changed my life!  When I started embracing the relationship I could have with God, I started to open my heart, eyes, and ears to what the Bible had to say about this relationship.  I started knowing God as my God and not just as a God.  I also found the truth of what this relationship is like through lyrics in a Christmas song by Amy Grant.

Fragile finger
Sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart
Whose blood will save us
Unto us is born
Unto us is born

I have heard this song over and over again for the last 10+ years, never feeling my heart ever so gently touched by the sound of these words. Last year when I heard these lyrics for the first time in the Christmas season I actually shed a tear knowing the Lord was speaking to me through these words. How beautiful, how precious is our Savior. Tiny heart whose blood will save us and it has, and it will forevermore. How blessed I am to have accepted such a sacrifice. I thank the Lord for bringing me to the point where I am today; as hard as it was. I am to the point where I understand that I will never fully understand the depth of those words, the pain and love behind every one of them.  Have you accepted the beautiful sacrifice of Jesus’ blood?  Are you living in a personal relationship with God?

Are you wondering what a relationship with God looks like?  The relationship itself is different for everyone but there is one factor that is the same with everyone-God.  The only places we can go to find out who He is and what He is like is in the Bible or in praying to Him.  The more time we spend with Him the more we are ready to hear from Him.  When we believe who God is, when we are confident in His truths that is when we are ready to hear from Him!

Really think about how amazing it would be if you could hear from God all of the time.  Wondering what you should do about a situation in your life?  Wondering what is right and what is wrong?  Wondering who you should talk to about this or that?  God has all of the answers for you.  He is willing to tell you what to do, what is right, and is the one we should be talking to about everything in our lives.  It may seem too good to be true.  Do we really have access to a perfect best friend?  One who will always be there for us, and always lead us towards Heaven.  It is true, we do have access daily to our perfect best friend, Jesus.

It is my prayer that you find your relationship with God.  It is my prayer that you desire to hear God’s voice in your life, daily.

Philippians 1:9-10 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,  so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.

Think about where you need to hear God’s voice in your life.  What are you unsure of or needing answers for?  Do what the Bible tells us to do, grow in Christ’s love gaining HIS knowledge and HIS depth of insight so that you may be able to hear HIS voice in your life!

Let’s Pray:  Lord, I thank you for the privilege we have in prayer.  We get to communicate with the creator of the Heavens and the Earth.  Even better, we get to hear back from you!  Thank you for guiding us and speaking to us exactly what we need to hear.  I ask that the hearts of these girls are open to accepting your love and voice in their life.  We thank you for the relationship we have with you!  We love you so much, Amen!

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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 1 – Have a Story to Tell

When I was younger I was never certain I was going to Heaven.  I asked Jesus into my heart when I was five, but I could not say without a shadow of doubt that I would go to Heaven one day.  I was not ready for what that simple prayer I prayed at the wee age of five would do for me.  Though, I soon found out what I was not doing for that prayer.  There were days I would pray that prayer over and over, worrying that I said it wrong or didn’t mean it and had to keep saying it to make sure that there was no chance I was missing out on Heaven.  I spent a decent amount of time praying that God would save me, but from what I was not sure, and from where I was praying-no clue, all I was sure of was it was not coming from the sincerity of my heart.

Today, I can confidently say that I belong to God, and that I will be in Heaven one day.  It took me a long time to believe those words in my heart.  What about you?  Do you believe that you will be in Heaven one day?  Do you belong to God’s family?  If there is even a hint of doubt in your answer to those questions will you please reach out to a leader or pastor!  I cannot begin to explain to you the importance of praying with your heart the prayer of Salvation.  Simply believing that God sent HIS ONLY Son to DIE on a CROSS for YOU AND ME and then ROSE from the DEAD three days later; asking for forgiveness of your many sins and accepting JESUS into your HEART to help guide you and follow HIM, will not only guarantee your entrance to the gates of Heaven one day BUT it is also the start of the perfect story you have with the GOD of the UNIVERSE!

Have you ever thought about your story?  God already has a beautiful story written for you and Him to share together.  In this story you will grow closer to Him, learning to depend on Him for all of your needs.  Everyone’s story is different.  Everyone’s story has potential.  We are the ones that have to choose to embrace the pages of our stories.  It is not enough to just sit back and watch the pages turn.  We must act out on what we feel in our hearts.  We were told to read Acts 22:15-16 today.  Let’s take a look at it.

You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard.  And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.

Do not get discouraged if you have not seen or heard from God lately or ever!  It is never too late to change your path and go another way…leading to Jesus.  The more time you spend with Him in prayer, reading the Bible, getting involved in church, etc. the more you will see Him and hear His gentle whispers in your life.  This life is short.  Those of us who know Jesus and call on His name, we are all saved by the blood of Jesus.  We will all get to live the life we were intended for in Heaven with Jesus one day!  Until then, we MUST flee sin and run into the Lord’s arms!  We must take advantage of this life as short as it is and use it as an opportunity to share our stories with others.

I know for certain God did not save me from a life of complete misery just to leave my story on a pretty shelf.  He saved me so that I may share my story; being a light to others and helping others find Jesus as they hear each chapter.  Today, I leave you with a piece of my story; I pray that you share pieces of yours in our discussion group!  One thing I know is that when we let God into our hearts, he transforms our stories into something amazingly beautiful!  I cannot wait to hear what God has done and will do in each and every one of your lives!

Little Tid-Bit of my Love Story with God

I am so thankful that I asked the Lord into my heart when I was 5.  Even though I was not certain what that meant, the Lord heard my words and he never ever left my heart especially when I turned from Him.  When I turned from Him it was the worst time in my life.  One night after too much heartbreak, I cried out to Him and asked Him to help me.  I was not expecting anything but to my surprise, God heard my cry, and helped me.  He protected me and saved me from a life of misery.  He is faithful!  I rededicated my life to the Lord. He is the love story I was always searching for.  I always thought I needed a man, but they all left me feeling empty inside.  When I embraced God, I found His love that fills every possible crevice in my heart and overflows into the lives of so many others that need so desperately to find HIS love.

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Let’s Pray:  Dear Heavenly Father, thank You honestly does not seem like enough to show the gratitude I have in my heart for what You alone have done for each and every one of us.  I ask that any girl who is reading this post and does not know You as her personal Savior, will find You and start embracing Your story for herself.  I ask that each one of these girls feels confident in the salvation You have given them, freely.  I pray that these girls truly live out the story You have prepared for them.  Bring opportunities into their precious lives to share their stories with others.  We love You Lord, oh so much and we cannot wait to see You in Heaven one day!!  Amen.

Love to my dear sisters in Christ,

Diane

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 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.