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.

Life’s Healing Choices: Week 4 – Moving Past the Guilt – Part 2

I’ve been to rehab three times.  And the third time was the charm. I would love to tell you that I came home and everything was just perfect and all my relationships were restored and I was forgiven and trusted immediately. NOT!!!!!  I never would admit to anyone all that I had done. I had three different sponsors during early recovery and did steps 4 and 5 at least three times but never the way God intended. I only told what made me sound somewhat sane, which was entirely a lie. I never admitted to God, I figured He knew already and why did I need to tell Him again?

Bottom line: I  wasn’t ready to surrender. I wanted to do things my way, like the lonely soundtrack for misery of the song, “I did it my way.”  My way wasn’t working and had never ever worked and it was time to try something different. I wanted the miracle of freedom, so I finally did what it took and it started with confessing my past and truly leaving all those bags at the doorway of freedom and never looking back. Oh, I pick up a bag every now and then and carry it around. It’s heavy and uncomfortable and I’m supposed to ask Him for help. I wasn’t meant to carry this alone. He created us to need each other, and to need Him in the midst.

We need an accountability partner—we have to tell someone our secrets, for secrets keep us sick and keep us right where we are. We cannot move forward until we let go of our past by confessing our past to someone else and to our Heavenly Father.  We need to have this person pray with us for the forgiveness and freedom that is ours through Jesus. He died so that we may have life free from sin and guilt and shame. Do it now. Don’t wait or procrastinate. I read somewhere that depression isn’t a sign of weakness, but a sign of being strong too long.  Ask for forgiveness and accept it—it is freeing!  If you don’t then you are saying His death was for nothing, and that it wasn’t enough for you. It is for you.

We don’t get to choose our story’s beginning and we don’t get to make our husbands love us perfectly. We don’t get to choose our children’s problems (or lack of) and we don’t get to demand life. We get to accept it. Like a gift. No one ever entered into God’s fullness by giving Him only half of yourself. You may wrestle, but in Him you’ve won. You may suffer, but in Him you’ve got security. You may regret, but in Him you will rise. You may no longer be free to live the easy way, but in Him you will be free.  “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17).  “Outweighs them all”—all the mistakes we have made He uses all for His glory. When you’re tempted to hide under the covers this week because some horrible memories of things you did in the past are bringing back shame and guilt, remember they are just feelings—nothing more. You have been delivered.

Psalms 54:4  “I sought the Lord and He answered me, and He delivered me from my fears.” Delivered !!!

Ephesians 3:20  “He is able to do abundantly beyond anything that we can think or ask.” He is able…to do ANYTHING.

Anything we need-–-we just need to ask…then receive…then move forward. When you are tempted to go back, fall forward. Keep moving forward toward Him. Finish this race strong. Remember, God forgives instantly and freely; now just do it!!!

Do these steps in this chapter, read them carefully, and do them exactly as they are written. God will hold you through this. I’m so proud of you all!  Hang in there and know I’m praying for you.

At last I leave you with God’s word, “Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the Heavenly prize for which God through Christ Jesus is calling us” (Philippian 3:13, 14).

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Your life is worth so much. Please hear me—God’s grace is freely yours, just follow through with choice 4; freedom and joy and so much more are yours!!!

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Let’s Pray:

Dear Heavenly Father, we praise You for Who You are. You are our strength and our fortress. Our stronghold and comforter in sorrow. You are our everything. We cannot thank You enough for Your forgiveness and grace freely given to us. You love us not for what we do but for who You made us to be. You know each of our hearts and You know what we desire and You promise to give them to us. We trust You. We ask for Your help in laying it all down at Your feet and help us not to take it back. Forgive us and keep us safe during this sometimes painful journey.  We love You.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

Your Assignment:

Please read sections 4 and 5 carefully, and pray about when and who and where to do your talking. This a hard one.  Just let us know that you have chosen someone, and the rest can be your choice as to whether you share or not.

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

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

Life’s Healing Choices – Chapter 1 Review

I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable.  “Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor.”

Matthew 5:3

Wow!!   Ouch!!  Yikes!!  Ugh!!  And many other exclamations of dread, fear, sadness, frustration, pain, weak, I can’t.   All of those we have thought of and even said throughout this week.  Having gone through this study before, let me assure you – this is the hardest week.  Actually having to sit back and begin thinking of the hurts, habits or hang-ups we have endured is difficult.  But also, let me say – admitting that we are weak and He is strong will bring a freedom to your life that will be worth every moment of this study.   

Day 1: We talked about our tendency to do wrong – even when we don’t really want to.  What do we do when we realize our lives have become unmanageable? We put on a mask – after all, no one will really know, right? We control our image, others and our problems.  “I can handle it.” Wrong!! That didn’t work so what do we turn to? We become superhuman and believe we can fix it all by ourselves – only to find out that our issues just get worse.  I loved the part in the book that had us visualize God saying, “Hi, I’m God and you’re not.”  We need to get to the point where we realize He is God and we are not.  Say to yourself, I am not God, I need God.  The God that made the universe and everything within it, He sees all, knows all and heals all.  We simply have to admit and ask. 

Day 2: Once we realized our issues were controlling our lives we discussed the consequences to these issues.  Many of us said we identified with more than one of the f’s: fear, frustration, fatigue and failure.  They all really fall one after the other, don’t you think?  We are fearful that someone will find out who we really are which is frustrating. Then I don’t know about you, but all of the games I played and trying to keep my “secret life”  secret was extremely tiring.  Then when I realized I could not control things anymore, I felt as a failure.  It is a vicious cycle.  One we all need to jump off of.  You need to ask yourself are you going to let your past fears, frustrations, fatigue or failures to determine your future?  Or are you going to turn them over to the One who can heal.

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  

Philippians 3:13-14

Day 3:  Wow, I don’t know about you but sometimes when I look at finding the cure for “ME,” it stands right up there with finding a needle in a haystack.  “We have to take that first step to freedom and admit we are powerless over EVERYTHING ……I can’t, He can, I think I’ll let Him.”  Love this saying and have said it since Kim wrote in her blog. Simple, isn’t it?  We make it so hard – He really wants for us to admit our hurt, habit or hang-up, humbly come to Him and allow Him to manage our life.  This week we have learned that we are powerless of our past, we cannot control others and have you really been good at coping with your hurts, habits or hang-ups?  I know I have not. 

When I was in Celebrate Recovery after leaving the gay lifestyle behind, one of the first images I got was that of laying down that life and moving into being recovered by Christ.  Imagine when you have an old couch or chair, you recover it.  The dirty, tattered and torn is gone and replaced by a beautiful, fresh and new piece.  That is what God will do.  When we admit we cannot control our tendency to do the wrong thing and truly ask Him to manage our lives, He will give us that beautiful, fresh and new start.  We no longer have to look in the mirror and see a dirty, tattered and torn image – but we can see the image of Christ in us, a reflection of Him!! We move out of recovery into VICTORY!! What a joy to receive His healing

I hope you will enjoy this song by Michael W. Smith   

 

 

 

 

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Let’s Pray:

Father, I come to You today and stand with every woman who has made the decision to take this study.  Father, we know there are areas in our lives that we need to surrender to You. We have made the decision to lay down our control and ask You to manage our lives. Heal our hurts, help us to walk away from those past issues.  Lord, as we continue this weekend in preparation to learn about Your hope, fill us with Your love, let Your healing rain wash over our lives.  You are an amazing God and we love You.  We give all the glory and honor to You. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Assignment: 

How do you think admitting you are powerless will help you?  Share one of the statements or areas in the book or blog that helped you through this week. 



If you are interested in joining us for this Online Bible Study, and becoming a member of our online discussion group, please click HERE to sign up. Once you are registered, we will email you further details.

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