January 22, 2018

CHRISTLife — TwentyEight: Empowered

cl empoweredMost times it’s through weakness that we experience God’s strength. He uses our weaknesses and the areas that we feel less strong to open a divine door. Without weakness we would rarely experience His strength. My mind goes back to Gideon and his army of 300, yet he was equipped to do exactly as God intended and defeat an army that worshipped idols.  He started out with 3000 men, and God reduced the army to 300.  Another example of less is more is the feeding of the masses with just loaves and fishes.  Doesn’t our God just have a way?  When we trust Him with our life, can’t He equip us and empower us for exactly what He has for us to do?   You already have access to the strength the Spirit gives, simply because He lives in you!

He has called you for supernatural acts, my friend, which require supernatural equipping.  We must be charged up in order to do the will of God.  Like your cell phone, it will do you no good if it is not charged.  Same with us as believers, if we do not stay connected to His Word, and in tune with His Spirit, how will we know what  God has in mind for us?  He speaks to us through His Words in the Bible. And at the end of this chapter, there are a few verses that were recommended for deeper study and I thought we could go through them together…

Your right hand, O Lord, is majestic in power; Your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy.
Exodus 15:6

God saved the Israelites by parting the Red Sea.  It is an almighty symbol of God’s saving work on behalf of His people.  This event is a reminder of the salvation of our God.  How do you remind yourself of His great saving work in your life? What “red sea” do you need Him to part in your life today?

I love You Lord, You are my strength.
Psalm 46:1

This was written toward the end of David’s life when there was peace.  God is praised for His works and blessings thoughout the years.  What blessings has He done in your life, and have you praised Him for it?  What if are you struggling with right now?  Even if… He is worthy to be praised.  What is your “if?”  Even if the world around you is crumbling, we don’t need to fear.  In the face of utter destruction, the writer expressed a quiet confidence in God’s ability to save him. No matter what, God is our refuge.  Even if there’s turmoil and trials, He’s not just a retreat—He is our Eternal Refuge and strength in every circumstance.  He is always providing, always there to help.  His power is complete and He gives us victory over all!  He will never fail you, He will always rescue you.

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord Himself is my Strength and my Defense; He has become my Salvation.
Isaiah 12:2

God is never too tired or too busy to help and listen to His children.  His strength is ours and—if we stay close and engaged in His Word—we will always have His strength at our disposal. All you have to do is say His name and seas calm, problems fade, and you are restored.  Even if a whisper is all you can muster, Yahweh is listening and ready to intervene.

Friends, you may feel like you don’t have what it takes to do battle for God, but He sees it differently.  He sees you as equipped, empowered, full of strength and ready for any task laid before you.  1 Corinthians 1:27 says,”But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”  If this is you, you are exactly where God wants you. You are in a position to listen and accept what He has for your life and you are humble enough to know that you cannot do anything on your own.  For He has promised that when we are weakest,  He is strongest.  And when we are at our lowest, His strength carries us.  It is such a precious time of communion that we don’t ever want to forget and we will always cherish such times.  I encourage you to journal and keep a list of when you and God are more in union and you couldn’t make it another minute without His strength.  Then you have a battle plan to share with others and a faith that can move mountains!

Let us pray: Dearest Lord, thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit in me.  Help me to never get in the way of Your perfect plan.  I pray for a fresh filling every morning, oh God.  I thank You for Your power in me, for Your patience in my weakness and for Your strength when I need it most.  Lord, keep me humble. Keep me teachable and positioned to hear You only.  Silence the voices of the world that can be so loud and can drown You out sometimes.  Help me to remember that the only way to hear You is to be still and listen and to read Your word and pray. Thank You for parting our “Red Seas” and for taking care of our “if’s.”  Forgive us when we forget that You are enough.  We love You and praise You and sit at Your feet.  Precious Lord, thank You for hearing us. It’s in Jesus name we pray, amen.

 

CHRISTLife – Week Three

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A recurring theme this upcoming week in our study CHRISTLife: Embracing Your True and Deepest Identity will be the incomparable, unconditional, amazing LOVE that God has for us! Our author reminds us over and over of God’s love for us!

In Jeremiah 31:3 we hear God tell us of His love.

I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore with lovingingkindness I have drawn you.

We also are reminded of God’s love in Psalm 36.

How precious is Your steadfast love, O God!
The children of men take refuge
and put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.

As well as in 1 John 4:9-10.

In this the love of God was made manifest among us,
that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us
and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Along with this, Mrs. Myers puts in front of us the Truth that, in spite of our actions at times, God is always faithful and keeps His promises. Whether we ever believe them or not. Think about the children of Israel. They knew of God’s promise to lead them, protect them, guide them, feed them, guard them. But they were often disobedient to His simple commands. As such, because of His love for them, God had to help them to learn…as He will with us, too.

You must carefully follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase, and may enter and take possession of the land the Lord swore to your fathers. Remember that the Lord your God led you on the entire journey these 40 years in the wilderness, so that He might humble you and test you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands.

Deuteronomy 8:1 and 2

During this week, we also make the transition from ‘Part 1: Who You Really Are…At First’ TO ‘Part 2: Your Life IS Christ.’ Listen to the following statement Mrs. Myers makes.

“As we hear and believe all that God tells us—as we intentionally think these truths and begin to act accordingly—He unfolds the true personality He designed us to be” page 60. (Oh! Don’t you just love that!)

And so we learn more of the Truth as we begin to believe what God says about us. And as we trust Him and take Him at His Word, we will begin to be freed from lies and misconceptions we have held in our hearts.

As we continue our study, the fact remains that we need to be diligent in reminding ourselves constantly of these Truths. One would think that, with all the many many many examples and proofs that God so graciously shows us about how very much He loves us, we would be convinced. However God is equally as patient with us as He loves us. The negative images that we have allowed into our hearts can be replaced by the Truth of just “Who we ARE” in Christ. But it takes work and effort on our part. Thankfully, we are not left to do this on our own. God can and will help us through His Holy Spirit! Remember to pray, pray, pray!

Friends, I hope that the beautiful lyrics of this song can be a tool for you to use to pray and sing your heart out to God. Your heavenly Father has MUCH to say to you…MUCH to remind you of…MUCH healing and deliverance and blessing to give to you as you seek Him!

*  ~  * ~  * ~ * ~ *

Over time You’ve healed so much in me, and I am living proof
That although my darkest hour had come, Your light could still shine through
Though at times it’s just enough to cast a shadow on the wall
I am grateful that You’ve shined Your light on me at all

Who am I, that You would love me so gently?
Who am I, that You would recognize my name?
Who am I, that You would speak to me so softly?
Conversation with the Lord Most High…who am I?

Oh, “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind, but now I see”
And the more I sing that sweet old song, the more I understand
That I do not comprehend this love that’s coming from Your hand.

Grace, grace; God’s grace
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within
Grace, grace; God’s great grace
Grace that is greater than all my sin

Lord, Who am I? Who am I?
Lord Who am I? Who am I?

 

How Suddenly a Baby Cried

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“How suddenly a baby cried and all forever changed.
Through history soul by soul have come to find His healing grace.
He filled my troubled heart with peace, with hope of endless worth.
My voice will join the song of praise that tells Messiah’s birth.”

How Suddenly a Baby Cried ~ Keith and Kristyn Getty

A baby’s first cry gets the attention of everyone around, yes? At the very moment of birth, all in attendance pause to hear a baby’s first cry—expectant parents, other relatives and loved ones, the nurses, doctors, and other caregivers—and then sigh with joy, with relief and with thankfulness at that wonderful sound! When the baby Jesus was born, His cry, too, brought great joy to his parents, Joseph and Mary. Think of the setting:

And while they were there, the time came for her delivery,
And she gave birth to her Son, her Firstborn;
and she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger,
because there was no room or place for them in the inn.
Luke 2:6 and 7

Joseph and Mary had traveled many, many miles to come to Bethlehem to register in the census. Upon their arrival, there was nowhere for them to stay but in a stable…and this is where Mary birthed her firstborn, Jesus, God’s Son. Not the best surroundings! So I would think baby Jesus’ first cry meant oh-so-very much to them!

But, remember, both Joseph and Mary were fully aware of just Who this tiny Baby was! Both had been told of the significance of this Baby’s life by angels. (Read the records here: Luke 1:26-38;  Matthew 1:18-25). They each had contemplated, wouldn’t you think, for the entire duration of Mary’s pregnancy the magnitude and the awesome, eternal implications of just Who their Son would be! Think for a moment…place yourself in their sandals…when the baby was birthed and took His first breath and released a cry, can you only imagine the praises that must have welled up out of their hearts? Can you imagine the look they must have exchanged as they realized that the promises that the angel had made to each of them came forth into fruition? That initial cry of baby Jesus truly changed the world! Perhaps Mary remembered the words she spoke when she was visiting her cousin Elizabeth:

Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
…because the Mighty One has done great things for me, and His name is holy.
His mercy is from generation to generation on those who fear Him.
Luke 1: 46-47 and 49-50

And so we do also exclaim and praise! Even now, don’t we love to sing these beautiful carols and anthems and songs that tell of Jesus’ coming and His birth. We are reminded of all that first little cry meant as it sounded out that the Savior was born! He had come…just as promised throughout the ages!

As the words of this beautiful song say,
“How suddenly a baby cried and all forever changed.
Through history soul by soul have come to find His healing grace.
He filled my troubled heart with peace, with hope of endless worth.
My voice will join the song of praise that tells Messiah’s birth.”

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

May your voice rise up in praise and thankfulness to your heavenly Father!  Because of His great love for you, He sent His Son to redeem and save you; to rescue you and make available to you a relationship with Him for all eternity.  Never—don’t ever—doubt His love!

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38 and 39

God bless you!    ♥    Merry Christmas!

“Esther” Chapter 1:10-15

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“But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come” (Esther 1:12, NIV).  Here we see the pivotal action that paved the way for Esther to come onto the scene in the next chapter.  Disobedience or a refusal to submit.

I’ll have to admit…for a long time I’ve sided with Queen Vashti!  What was so wrong??  I wouldn’t want to be the only woman in a room full of men that have been drinking for seven days (really, seven days??), would you?  According to some Jewish historians, Vashti was to appear wearing only her crown.  To me, her refusal seemed appropriate, if not a way to protect herself.  I would bet that for any number of women that have read this story, each one would have thought of a reason that the Queen’s actions were justified.  However, Darlene makes a great point, and this is the kicker: “…the scripture doesn’t give us any valid reason she didn’t.  So making excuses for her would be speculation at best” (page 13).  So there it is.  If the Bible wanted the Queen’s actions to be justified, then a valid reason would have been given for her refusal, but we don’t have one.  The simple truth is: Vashti was given a command which she refused.  We see later in the chapter that she is punished – stripped of her role and privileges.

This made me wonder.  How often does God give us a command that we don’t want to obey?  Just like reading about Queen Vashti, we want to justify her disobedience and ours through the filter of our own wishes.  God commands us to submit – to our husbands, to the will of Jesus – and we give reasons (excuses, really) of why we shouldn’t.  I know many of us have difficult husbands! Some of us have husbands that are abusive, indifferent, not in line with the will of God.  Many of us see God as a difficult taskmaster, a commander, one who is angry with us.  It’s hard to willingly allow ourselves to submit to the will of someone who may not have our best interests at heart, isn’t it?  On the other hand, some of us are simply not interested in being submissive!  It feels “archaic,” as if we are supposed to be weak doormats to be walked on, when we are strong, liberated, independent women – right?  I’m my husband’s partner, not his slave.   All justifiable feelings, ladies, but let’s look at the Scripture again.

“But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come.”  The King commanded.  She refused.  We really do treat God the same way.  He gives us commandments.  Some we obey…some we flat out refuse.  Can we be honest with ourselves?   If we don’t want to do what God commands, then we don’t do it.  I’m not trying to be harsh, it’s just the truth!   If we want to improve, if we want to become less so that God can become more within us, then we have to start thinking about submission from God’s perspective, and not from the world’s perspective.  Here’s more truth for you – GOD LOVES YOU!!!  All day, every day.  He wants what is best for you. He wants you to have a beautiful, joyful, powerful, abundant life. When you can really wrap your head around the fact that God loves you, then it makes it much easier to submit to His commands – because they are not burdensome (I John 5:3); they are in your best interest!

Consider the ultimate example of submission, Jesus.  He obeyed, even to the point of death (Philippians 2:8)! Would you consider Him a doormat?  Weak?  A slave?  I would think not. Was His life free from conflict?  No.  Did he have to do things He would have preferred not to do?  Yes.  Jesus lived His life as an example for ALL of us – so that we can pattern our lives after His. Submitting our lives to the will of God does not make us weak, mindless puppets – it’s an act of courage and strength!  In fact, when we submit to God, our submission brings us rewards – here and in heaven!  In James 4:6 and 7; James writes: “‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves, then, to God.”  (He also says in verse 7 to resist the devil and he will flee from you, further proof that in submission to God you have the power and authority of God residing in you – I’d say that’s a reward, wouldn’t you?)  A heart obedient to the will of God is beautiful!

Let’s vow today to live lives of daily submission.  In areas where it seems difficult (if not impossible!), let’s ask God for strength, courage, and a willingness to do as He asks. Let’s not sit in the seat of the skeptic.  Let’s not view submission like the world does.  Vashti’s disobedience knocked her out of a place of privilege – let’s not follow her example!  We’ll see in the days and weeks to follow how submission to the King brought honor and reward to Esther and how submission to our King (God) will bring honor and reward to us!  Let’s try it today – when the King summons us, let’s throw on our crown and run to His presence – “Here I am!”

May God reward you for your obedience today!

Let’s Pray:

Holy God, thank You for Your abundant love and provision for us.  Thank You for wanting to have a relationship with us, and that You give us direction out of a desire for our well-being.   Holy Spirit, help us to live our lives in submission.  Help us where we are reluctant to obey.  Help us to love, respect, and follow our husbands – and You even more so.

Lord, open our hearts and our minds to a deeper understanding of You.  Help us to receive the teachings and blessings that You want to bountifully bestow upon us.  Guard our minds, protect our families, heal what is broken, and lift us up when we fall.  I thank You, Lord, for every woman taking part in our study – may she feel Your arms wrapped firmly around her today.

Fill us with Your Spirit, Lord; help us to be salt and light.  In the blessed name of Your Son Jesus.

Amen.

Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 3 — Make the Choice

MAKE THE CHOICE

Choice 3: Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.

Over the past two weeks we’ve been reading and sharing a lot about the issue of control.  It seems to be a common thread in our lives – control the world around us in our way and hope it all works out as we planned.  But as we’ve seen we don’t have the power to control our lives, despite what we may think.  It is only through surrendering to His control that we truly find life.

As I went back through my book for today’s blog, I was struck again by John Baker’s personal story on page 81.  I  felt as if I was reading my own story.  I was saved at 14, and did all that I thought I was supposed to do – Sunday School, youth groups, retreats, even Christian college.  But something was still missing.  In my youth, I surrendered all I thought I should surrender, but it wasn’t truly ALL of my life.  From college I made wrong choices with relationships, hurt people closest to me, and kept running from the one person who could truly set me free from my fears and worries.  God.  And, just like John Baker, no matter how bad my choices were, God was still waiting for me with outstretched arms.  I can think back to times He was trying to get my attention and pull me back, but I brushed it off and kept going “my way.”

When I ended an engagement at a young age, I heard God questioning my decision.  But He just didn’t understand.  When my husband said we were moving out of state, against my wishes, I heard God telling me to speak up.  But He just didn’t understand.  When I battled infertility, I cried out to God begging to know what I did wrong to deserve this trial.  I didn’t hear Him respond.  When I was starting an affair, God was calling me out.  But He just didn’t understand.  When my marriage fell apart and I was moving the next guy in, God tried to get my attention again.  But He just didn’t understand.  Do you see a pattern here?  Me, a little speck on this earth, telling the God of the Universe that He doesn’t understand!  Wow, talk about pride!

On May 11, 2001 the world came crashing down around me in ways that no one could have ever seen coming.  People I thought were friends left me.  Family no longer supported me because it was too difficult a reminder of what my ex had become.  There was no greater example in my life of how little control I really have over anything than at this time of my life.  But, I also heard God very clearly that night, “Do I have your attention THIS time?”  He wasn’t judging me, or giving me any “I told you so” type lectures.  He greeted me with open arms and the patient love only the Father can give.

God reminded me that He had been with me all the way, through every poor decision, every time I pushed Him aside because He didn’t understand my plans and way of doing life.  He also reminded me of one precious gift He had given to me, a little ray of sunshine I called my daughter.  She was the inspiration I needed to get out of bed and keep moving until I could think clearly during these rough days.  She had no one but me, so I had to keep going.  I realized that while He didn’t bring the chaos and pain to my life, He allowed it to happen for my good.    We are reminded of this in Romans 8:28: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (NLT)

Two years later, I heard a song on the radio that brought instant tears to my eyes … another God-message for me.  Martina McBride released a song called “In My Daughter’s Eyes” and sings, “She was sent to rescue me”.  (http://youtu.be/eLS0Y40WwlA)   I truly believe that God sent my daughter to rescue me, and to return me to His fold.  You see, by medical standards she should not be here.  Doctors cannot explain how I was able to get pregnant and managed to carry a child to term with the health issues I experienced.  Seven years of infertility and suddenly, this miracle.  The last time my doctor said this to me was after my hysterectomy in 2010.  We were discussing the pathology report and his surgical findings, and he said, “I just don’t know how your daughter is here.”  I just smiled and said, “That’s because you didn’t create her.”  I knew she was fully and entirely God’s plan for my life.   But through her life, God gave me the wake-up call I needed to throw up my hands in surrender, and return to His open arms.

PRAY –

This week, we focused on committing ALL of our lives to Christ, not just the areas we think He should have, but ALL areas.  As I read Chapter 3, I was reminded of a song from my early church days, “I Surrender All.”  This clip is one of my favorite versions by Jaden Lavik.

http://youtu.be/uaTXNxUXcn4

Now is the time to ask Christ in to your heart if you have not already done so.  Admit you are powerless without Him, acknowledge His death on the cross for your sins, and the power of His resurrection for your eternal salvation.  Are you ready to make this decision for Christ?

If you are part of this study and do know Christ, use this time to rededicate your whole life to Him, asking Him to take full care and control over the areas of your life you’ve previously guarded.  As the song says, “All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give.”  He won’t bully His way in and take over.  It’s a choice you must make to freely turn over your life.

WRITE –

1 Corinthians 5:17 tells us “this means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

What does this verse mean to you?

Go back to your notes from Chapter 1, how do you feel today compared to when you first made those notes?

What are you having a difficult time surrendering to God?

What are some things you will ask God to do in your “new life”?

 

SHARE –

 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Making a decision to commit your life to Christ is the most important decision you will make in your life.  Yes, more important than your choice of spouse, career, or home.  This decision remains with you for eternity, and what an awesome promise that is for us!

Take time this week to let others know about the reason for the changes in your life.  Share with them about the freedom, joy and hope you are learning to experience.  Encourage them to surrender to His care and control and allow Him to change their lives, too.

 ___________________

Power Verses:

Ephesians 1:13 NIV

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.

Acts 16:31 NLT

Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.

2 Timothy 3:16 NLT

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.

 Phil 4:13 CEV

Christ gives me the strength to face anything.

 

Lord, what a precious gift You have offered to each of us!  You said in Your Holy Word, Romans 10:9 that if we confess the Lord our God and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, we shall be saved.  We admit that our choices haven’t followed Your plans for us, but we seek to follow You more closely.  We surrender our lives to You, placing ourselves fully in Your care and control.  We know that You desire the best for us, and we need to learn to trust this truth on a daily basis.  Thank You for Your awesome gift and the blessings You have given to each of us.  Amen.

___________________

If you would like to send a private email to Amy in regards to this blog, please email her at:

Amy@GirlfriendsCoffeeHour.com

Crazy Love – Week 2 / Chapter 2: “You Might Not Finish This Chapter” pgs. 40-45

It is Tuesday, and my day to blog.  Please don’t tell Christi, our Administrator,  but I don’t have a blog ready to post.  Absolutely nothing would come to my mind to write.  Well, nothing that was creative, descriptive, fun, exciting – – something that I thought would impress you and keep you leaning on your seats for more of my writing.

So, for the past week, I have gone to bed every night, shall we say, a little bit – – STRESSED.

I so related to Chan’s thoughts on worry and stress as it pertained to the ministry God has called him into on pages 40-41.  For the past few years, God has opened up doors of opportunities for me to write and teach that I never dreamed would be a part of my life.

“Hey, God,” I want to shout:  “You have opened up doors for me, but it is killing me at times trying to meet all these deadlines.  I don’t mean to complain, but I thought I had retired.  Talk about justified stress!  I think I fit the bill!  Just take a look at the things You are asking me to be responsible for.  For starters  – – – –

“Whoa, whoa,  whoa,” I suddenly heard God shouting back at me. “Go back and read Chan’s words on page 44:  “You need to get over yourself!”

As that phrase zoomed out in front of me, my thoughts turned back to writing this blog.  Perhaps that is why I couldn’t think of anything to write this week – – God was trying to teach me a lesson. Did He really need me?  After all, where was I when He created the world?

At that point, a song kept going over and over in my mind, and that is what I want to leave you with today.  Perhaps it will minister to you more than any words I could pin at this time.

Let’s listen to it together.

************  

 

Be blessed,

Martha


Let’s Pray

Father God, help us to remember that life is like a vapor.  May we relax and enter into Your presence, rejoicing always and not be anxious for anything.  May we roll all our cares on You, knowing that You are in control.   In Jesus name I pray, Amen

 

Your Assignment

Be honest.  Tell how those words “You need to get over yourselves”  relate to you?”



If you would like more information about Crazy Love Bible study, please email us at: GCH_Womens@girlfriendscoffeehour.comOR click HERE to be taken to the sign-up page.

If you would like to send Martha a personal message in regards to this blog, you may email her at: Martha@girlfriendscoffeehour.com.

GCH_VH “Life’s Healing Choices” Gear Up!

Goodbye, 2012!

Hello, 2013!

We, at GCH, are so excited about our new online Bible study ministry – GCH:Victorious Healing! Our first online study begins with “Life’s Healing Choices” by John Baker. We will take a close look at our hurts, habits or hang ups (HHH) and realize that God wants us to turn them over to Him – no matter how BIG they may see to us.

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Between the four of us bloggers here at GCH:VH, we have seen marriages & divorces, welcomed children, shared recovery stories, laughed at the personality quirks, and planned great things for each of you. We know what it’s like to raise children, care for family members, struggle with finances, and argue with anxiety. We come from different parts of our country: Florida, Georgia, Tennessee & Ohio. Our stories are varied, but one thing is consistent … we wouldn’t be where we are today with our God’s divine work in our lives.

Each of us brings our own level of enthusiasm & excitement for this study. Here’s what your some of the team has to say about the “Life’s Healing Choices” study.

I am so excited that you have decided to join us on the journey. God is so ready to heal our brokenness and give us the freedom to praise and worship Him – then take this news and testimony to others. But first we have to come together, lay down those hurts and habits and encourage one another. Through this study we will pray together, write about our HHH and share what God is doing in our lives. This awesome group of women will become your encourage, accountability and sisters. Welcome to each one of you. (Laurie)

Once out of rehab while in outpatient hospitalization, I went to AA for 8 months. It was good for me to go to a meeting everyday to keep my mind off of myself and out of the house. However, I had a very bad experience there. Also, it didn’t help matters I wasn’t ready to accept it was my life choices that brought me to where I was in my life. It was so much easier to blame others in life who had hurt me and using my mental illness as an excuse for my behavior. My pastor suggested Celebrate Recovery and by this time I was determined to work on myself and accept responsibility. I went there for a few months, went to therapy once a week, got involved in serving and in my small group, and dove into my Bible. About 6 months later a spot opened up at C.R. to begin the Life’s Healing Choices study. It would be a commitment 1x week for 2 hrs on Wed nights. Honestly I was doing so well, but I was afraid to reveal those hurts again. When I received my book and study guide I would feel so anxious trying to read. The book brought up hurtful emotions and also memories associated with AA. I hid those books for about 1 1/2 years. Through a friend, God told her to tell me about GCH. After the decision was made to add me to the blogging team, I learned what book we’d be studying. Who knew it would be the one I have been running from! I think God is telling me I can do this, I’m stronger and ready! So here I am. I am ready because I know God wants me to and He has confidence in me that I can and this time I’m not afraid because I know He is with me. I love how He does cool stuff like this! (Leslie)

When I first spoke with Laurie & Christi about this study, I questioned “why me?” My story & life experiences didn’t stack up to those I felt were more qualified to lead this study. I have never done drugs, or abused alcohol. So why did I need “recovery”? Through prayer, reading and pondering, I realized that God could still use me. He also revealed that I did have hurts, addictions, and so much baggage to overcome. It may not have looked like what other’s carried with them, but it was still mine and no amount of pushing it aside would make it go away. I am thrilled beyond words to be standing with Laurie, Kim & Leslie for this study. I’m excited about what God has in store for each of us. I know that my life has a purpose, all the good, bad and ugly of it. (Amy)

This study is going to be amazing; to continue the healing He started a few years back. Celebrate recovery will now be a part of my everyday quiet time with Him and His Spirit will permeate every fiber of my being. And to join each one of you is the icing on the cake!!!! This is where it all begins! (Kim)

Things you will need for the study:
The book, “Life’s Healing Choices” by John Baker (click HERE to purchase,  Your purchase here, helps our ministry financially.)

Highlighter

Journal or notebook

On Sunday, January 6, we will post our outline for the week. You can also find the study schedule under the “Schedule” tab at the top of this page. Each day, you will have the opportunity to be encouraged by one of our team bloggers, share your own thoughts, and grow closer to God. If you are not comfortable sharing your thoughts here in this OPEN FORUM, we do have a Secret Facebook set up to help you dig deeper into this study.  If you would like to join that Facebook Group, please click HERE to sign up.  You will be given further details, once your register.

We’re so happy to have you with us and look forward to the journey He has planned for each of us!

God bless you!

The GCH:VH Ministry Team

Life's Healing Choices<br />
by John Baker

What’s New with the GCH Online Women’s Bible Study?

We have just two more weeks left for the Winning Him Without Words online bible study, and then we will take a short break in order to spend time with our families during the Christmas season.  I hope you have all enjoyed this study as much as I have!  I know for me personally, it has really enlightened so many things for me, and in my marriage!  Lynn Donovan and Dineen Miller did an amazing job putting this book together!  If you haven’t already, you should check out their website for continued encouragement!  That website is: www.SpirituallyUnequalMarriage.com.  Drop by and tell them what this study has done for you!  Be sure to tell them Girlfriends Coffee Hour sent 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!

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This week, our reading assignment is as follows:

Dec 3 – When to Pray the Most Dangerous Prayer / John the Baptist

Dec 4 – Agape Love / Crossing Threshold

Dec 5 – Prepared for God / Unanswered Prayers

Dec 6 – Perpetual State of Waiting

Dec 7 – Discovery / Prayer

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And now for our BIG Announcement!!

Our next bible study is going to be another one of those “Life-Changing” studies!  My church did this study a few years ago, and it was AMAZING, to say the least!!

Here is a video by author Francis Chan, about “Crazy Love“.

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Our Next Online Bible Study

“Crazy Love”

Begins January 6, 2013!

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Crazy Love

Overwhelmed by a Relentless God

By Francis Chan

With Danae Yankoski

Crazy Love

Crazy Love

God is LOVE! Crazy, relentless, all-powerful love. Have you ever wondered if we’re missing it? It’s crazy, if you think about it. The God of the universe–the Creator of nitrogen and pine needles, galaxies and E-minor–loves us with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love. And what is our typical response? We go to church, sing songs, and try not to cuss. Whether you’ve verbalized it yet or not…we all know something is wrong.

Does something deep inside your heart long to break free from the status quo?

Are you hungry for an authentic faith that addresses the problems of our world with tangible, even radical, solutions?

God is calling you to a passionate love relationship with Himself. Because the answer to religious complacency isn’t working harder at a list of do’s and don’ts–it’s falling in love with God. And once you encounter His love, as Francis Chan describes it, you will never be the same. Because when you’re wildly in love with someone, it changes everything.

Girlfriends Coffee Hour is so excited to host this next Online Bible Study beginning January 6, 2013.  What an amazing way to start the New Year off, right?  We hope you will join us!!

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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!!