January 23, 2018

Truth We Can Depend On

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Every word of God proves true.
    He is a shield to all who come to Him for protection.
Proverbs 30:5  NLT

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 And The Message version reads,

Every promise of God proves true;
He protects everyone who runs to Him for help.

Does it boggle your mind to try to understand that every (all possible) word of God proves (shows beyond doubt) that it is true (accurate, faithful)?  In our human experience, with ourselves and with those around us, we know that kind of perfection and faithfulness doesn’t exist 100% of the time.

Thankfully, it is true for God’s Word.  In the Amplified, it says His words are “…tested and refined like silver.”  And Psalm 12:6 states, “The Lord’s promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over.”  That leaves absolutely no imperfections.

Your promises have been thoroughly tested;
that is why I love them so much.
Psalm 119:140

Because of this purity, God’s Word is sure and we can trust it.  God is one with His Word.  God promises to protect all who come to Him, and we can be sure He will.

God is our Refuge and Strength [mighty and impenetrable],
A very present and well-proved help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1 AMP

In the midst of life’s conflicts and disappointments, God is our Shield. Shields come in many different shapes and sizes. Some are tall to cover the warrior from head to toe. Some other shapes are made to protect the most vital organs, and to deflect the enemy’s weapons from harming the warrior. Spiritually speaking, God does exactly that.  When we come (run) to Him, He is there to protect us from the “fiery darts” of the enemy.  In Ephesians 6:16, God says, “…in all circumstances take up the shield of faith.”  God is there for us, but in faith we must come to Him and accept (take up) His protection.

  • The more we know Jesus, the more we will know God’s Word:

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,
and we have seen His glory,
glory as of the only Son from the Father,
full of grace and truth.
John 1:1, 14

  •  The more we know Jesus, the more we know the Father:

I and the Father are one.
John 10:30

  • The more we know Jesus, the more we know the Father’s Truth:

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.
No one can come to the Father except through Me.”
John 14:6

 

  • The more we know Jesus, the more we will be sanctified and protected by God’s Truth.

Sanctify them in the truth; Your Word is truth.
John 17:17

If we will study Jesus—His life, His words, His relationships with others, and His relationship with God the Father—we will know that God’s Word is truth and we can trust it.  We will have the assurance that we can run to God and find the protection we need.  We will walk in faith, and be shielded by Him.

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Dear God, we are so grateful that we have Your Word to turn to.  Life is not easy, and, we need Your protection even when we don’t realize it.  Help us, Lord, not to just “pick up” Your shield in times of imminent danger…but to live our lives getting to know Jesus, Your Word, so we can be in Your protection at all times.  Thank You for the promise that “Every word of God proves true.”  In Jesus’ Precious Name we pray, Amen.

CHRISTLife — Week Five

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As we move into Week Five, we are more than halfway through our study of CHRISTLife: Embracing Your True and Deepest Identity.  Here are a few highlights of our week to come:

Dead To Sin

But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Galatians 6:14

Mrs. Myers makes such the good point: “It is not simply gritting our teeth, and repeating, ‘I’m dead to sin..I’m dead to sin…I insist I am dead to sin!’ (page 89)”  Now the Truth is—we ARE dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus!  It’s a fact.

A Liberating Separation

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 6:11

 Our new nature, given to us at our new birth, reflects Jesus’ accomplishments on the Cross and afford us the reality of this new nature. The real y.o.u., Christ in you, yearns to be conformed to His image. It’s available…so step up, embrace all you are in Christ!

United With Christ

For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin,
so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21

How equally humbling and exhilarating is it to proclaim, “My life IS Christ!” (If it wasn’t the Truth…we’d be foolish to think it; but IT IS!)

One With Him In Spirit

If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you,
He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life
to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
Romans 8:11

With this new life in us, all the attributes and qualities that are true of Christ are equally true of you (and me, too!)  What He could do and did…I can also because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Filled

So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—
that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
may have strength to comprehend with all the saints
what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,
that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:17-19

What more could we need? In the fullness of God we have everything that is needed given to us by grace and due to mercy and in love!

Here we are right smack dab in the middle of our study, isn’t that amazing?!!?  As we move forward, ladies, let’s not loosen our grasp on the Truth we have received.  We have learned of–and BELIEVE—the images of ourselves that are communicated to us throughout the Scriptures.  We are learning to replace the negative lies we have held onto with the positive images—the Truth—of how God sees us. “I am who God says I am’ is not simply a cute expression…it is the absolute Truth!

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:8 and 9

CHRISTLife – Six: Choosing New Images

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How is your inner identity album coming along? I’ve talked with a few ladies and there seems to be lots of different ways of crafting them. Some are putting collages together with words and pictures cut-out from magazines and other publications. Some are journaling their thoughts and prayers. Some are making actual pages for a scrapbook. Some are sketching. But one thing that is consistent from each who have shared with me is that they are amazed at what they are finding in their heart! Mrs. Myers poses some very pointed questions, doesn’t she? Don’t shy away from them…I do understand that they are difficult, at times, to honestly answer. But if we want to deal, once and for all, with the negative ‘self-talk’ and the lies that we have come to believe, well, no one can stop that for us…just you (and me!).

David wrote in Psalm 139 that God knew everything about him.

  • God formed and made him
  • God knew him before he was born
  • God was aware of everything he did
  • God knew what he would say, and think

God was fully acquainted with the whole makeup of David—his abilities and talents, his temptations and weaknesses, his doubts, his sins, everything. And God still saw him as “… a man after His own heart,” (1 Samuel 13:14).

David knew the Truth…and believed it. He choose to think what God knew about him. And, yes, there were times he faltered; so he sought God’s help. And so should we.

Can you say, as David did:

Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
Psalm 139: 23

There is no one—never will be—who cares more for you than your heavenly Father! His heart is for His children! He loves you with an unconditional love and He is “…your Refuge and dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27). God is the very best One to run to when we need to deal with our hearts!

  • He formed and made you
  • He knew you before you were born
  • He is aware of everything you have done (and will do)
  • He knows what you have said (and will say)
  • He knows your innermost thoughts…and He loves you!

Now HERE is true perspective:

My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts, says the LORD.
And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8 and 9 NLT

God Almighty—the Creator of the heavens and everything upon the Earth, the Sovereign God with an eternal plan of redemption for all mankind—His thoughts are the ones that are True, right, and should matter. When we are doubting, we can turn to the Scriptures and be reassured of just how God thinks of us. When we are shaken by hurtful words and accusations from others, God’s Word can be the soothing balm for our souls. When the enemy attempts to dissuade us from believing the Truth, we have the Scriptures to stand upon and say, as Jesus, did, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written…” (Matthew 4:3-11). We have the choice, moment by moment, to choose what we believe. And as we make the choice that lines up with God’s thoughts we will strengthen our hearts to make that good and right and positive choice the next time. When David cried out to God to ‘search’ his heart and ‘know’ his thoughts…

Will you draw near to your Father and ask Him, as David did…
Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!

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Dear Father, You know us…inside and out. And You love us—You really, really love us! Help us, Lord, to allow You to show us what is truly in our hearts as well as the way to deal with it. Help us to seek Your guidance and admonishment so that we can live in the freedom and the Truth that You have for us. Help us to ask You to search us, try us, and know us! WE need Your help, dear Lord! We pray and ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Fixing Your Eyes on Him

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Psalms 141:8-9
But mine eyes are unto thee, O God the Lord; in thee is my trust; leave not my soul destitute. Keep me from the snares which they have laid for me and the gins of the workers of iniquity.

Our God is a Sovereign God who by His mercies offer His divine protection to His very own. If you are born of Christ you are called His sons. We can ask God anything at anytime as long as we are able to realize who He is and how great He is. If we make God too small in our lives He will be as such; but if we live with faith and trust in Him we can pray and He will answer us and deliver us from workers of iniquity.

We have all experienced situations that seemed impossible to handle at the time. When things seem hopeless and you feel you are at your worst, that is the time to turn to God and seek Him with everything you have. You may feel you are alone in your circumstances but God is a ‘very present help in times of trouble’. While the facts of your situation may look bleak, the truth of God’s Word brings light, hope and deliverance. As long as we fix our eyes on Him…as long as we depend on Him. You can’t handle life’s challenges alone, and God doesn’t want you to. He loves you and as long as you believe this in your heart, you have access to His Divine intervention.

Let us pray to this faithful God. When we pray it is like we are calling Him to intervene in our situations the way David prayed. Don’t allow the devil to deceive you that God won’t help you. The enemy wants to steal your confidence in God.

I want to encourage you today, that no matter what you’re going through or facing, God knows your situation. He is willing and able to provide for you, protect you, and bring you to an expected end.  All you have to do is take refuge in Him and trust Him. Ask God today to help you and fix your eyes on Him. Look away from everything that distracts and focus on God. Never give up! Never throw in the towel! Never surrender! God will help you. God will see you through and you CAN live and walk in victory.  You can avoid and overcome the snares and gins of the workers of iniquity.

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your loving kindness. May You help us today to fix our eyes on You for You are the solid ground. In Jesus name I pray… Amen.

“I AM” Chapter 4 – Day 3: I AM The Way

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“I AM THE WAY”  is a bold statement.  It’s an exclusive statement and an inclusive statement.

 These three words have powerful meanings:

Bold ~  assured, confident

Exclusive ~ the only one

Inclusive ~ covers all cost

 The definition of “The Way” ~ “an opening for passage”

Do you see it?

We have a definite and planned path to get to the “I AM.”

John 14:6  Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

The Bible does not teach, “For God so loved the world that He gave the world many ways to himself.”  What does John 3:16 say?

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever (that’s the INCLUSIVE PART)  believes in Him (that’s the EXCLUSIVE part) should not perish but have everlasting life.

When Jesus uses the phrase, “I AM,” in Exodus 3:14 He is claiming the name for Himself. He is announcing Himself to us as the One who has come to fulfill His covenant and keep His promise.

When Jesus uses the word “I” in John 14:6,  He declares Himself to be the embodiment of “The Way.”  His planned path is wrapped up in a person.

Without the way there is no going

Without the truth there is no knowing

Without the life there is no living

People are always challenging this verse from the Bible, but this verse will help us to see God has bridged the gap between man and God and Jesus is the one who succeeded in making this bridge the reality for each of us.   Let’s look a little carefully at the statements in this verse:

  •  I Am The Way ~ this statement is not saying He is showing us the way, but that He is the way, He is the journey, He is the opening of the passage, He is the way for us to God, He spans the distance between sinners and God.  When we are all alone, or lost in our daily path we walk, we must remember Jesus is the path. Jesus spells it out so that there can be no mistake of how we get to Him. No one comes to the Father except through Him. No matter how important we think we are. No matter how religious or spiritual we are. No matter how many followers or friends we have, or how many people we have influenced. No matter how good or kind we are.  No matter how devoted we are. No matter how genuine we are.  Everyone who rejects Jesus Christ cannot come to God.
  • I Am The Truth ~ the Bible teaches that truth is not just something that is simply intellectual; it also has a moral dimension to it. John 3:21a refers to doing the truth: “But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light…” Jesus reveals God and exposes guilty people. Hebrews 13:8 states: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever”.

Do you remember that scene from “A Few Good Men” when Jack Nicholson said to Tom Cruise, “You can’t handle the truth?” Well what about it? Can we handle the truth?  Let’s not run away from what is right in front of us!

Pilate voiced the question on many minds today. Even though Jesus was standing right in front of Him, he asked in John 18:38: “What is truth?” He didn’t take the time to find out.  We will find what we are looking for in Christ as John 8:32 declares: “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

  • I Am The Life ~ the Bible describes life in Genesis 2:7 as “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.”  God Himself gave life when He formed man and breathed life into him and He gave us life again when He gave us His Son to die for our sins.   In simple words God gave us His Life, then and today. We would be dead without His Life. We become alive when we surrender ourselves to Him. John 5:24 says : “I tell you the truth, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”  Since Jesus is life, we will only find meaning when we commit to His Lordship. John 1:4 says: “In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.”

BOLD ~ Acts 4:12: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

Jesus is bold all throughout Scripture that He is the only way to the Father, to heaven.  Are we being bold enough with others in our daily walk to teach them the same, or are we holding back from telling others of this truth and giving them the same opportunity to knowing who “The Way” is?

EXCLUSIVE ~ 1 Timothy 2:5-6: “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all to be testified in due time”

Jesus is exclusive all throughout Scripture sharing truths of Him being the only One, the only Way to Him.  He is the only God who is not still in a tomb! He arose and is waiting for us.  Have we shared these truths with others or are we allowing them to somehow think there are other ways to heaven?

INCLUSIVE ~ John 6:37 states: “All those the Father gives me, will come to me and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.”

Jesus is inclusive all throughout Scripture describing to us that He covered the cost of salvation for us and all we have to do is say “yes”.

Dr. David Jeremiah stated in one of his devotions: How did Jesus provide the way, truth, and life? Did He just say the words and walk away to do something else? No. He backed up what He said, He made good on His words by acting on them. He gave His own life on the Cross.  He died on Calvary’s tree to provide us the way, the truth, and the life. To not accept Jesus on this very point is to declare (I’m afraid), “Jesus, you can’t be trusted,” or even worse, “Jesus, you’re not telling the truth.” By God’s grace and goodness, we know better than that.

With the answer to this verse now explained you may be asking “How do I get to “the way, the truth and the life?”   It’s simple:  Romans 10:9-10 says, “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. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.  So confess, believe and receive today!

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Let’s Pray:

Dear Lord, I pray for every person who has read Your Word and this lesson and I lift them to You right now asking You to speak boldly to the hearts of the ones who may have never received You as Savior and open their eyes to this new truth they just learned today; that You are “The Way, The Truth and The Life” and the only way to You is through You.   Help them to say yes to You today, Lord, and receive the best gift ever given.  Help the ones who are already believers in You to share this same truth with the world and bring new souls to Your kingdom.  We know better —so let’s show it better, in Your name I pray.

AMEN!

My Name is ‘Worthy’

It has been quite a week—the horrific tornado in Oklahoma and the tragic loss of so many lives…stuff and nonsense happening in my own life…hearing of sadness and grief experienced by dear friends.  All this wears on my heart; have you found this to be so?  Sometimes our hearts and minds get distracted by the things of this world and we forget to believe the Truth that we know.  And, sometimes, it causes us to wonder, ‘Why?’

Why?  The truth is we have an enemy.  One who loathes…no…truly hates God and His children.  He is determined to take what our Lord came to make available to us.  Jesus said,

A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
I have come so that they may have life, and have it in abundance.
John 10:10

The evil that we experience is meant to draw us away from dwelling in God’s presence—to steal.  It is designed to dampen and diminish our love for our Lord—to kill.  And, ultimately, to cause us to turn away from God and His Word—to destroy.  This is what the enemy of our souls attempts to do.  However, Jesus has made it available for us to have LIFE full of grace and mercy, free, in abundance, joyous, peace-filled, and blessed!  Amen?

So much that God has intended for us is ours to simply receive—by His grace!  But we do have a  part to play in enjoying this life that Jesus has made available—we need to hold the Truth of God’s Word in our hearts and minds.

Your Word I have treasured in my heart,
That I may not sin against You.
Psalms 119:11

Treasured is also translated in other versions as ‘hid…hidden…stored…laid up.’  God’s Word(s) hidden in our hearts keeps us from sinning.  When the treasure of His Word is stored up in our hearts we remember what is written in the Scriptures and not only do we believe His promises but we trust in them, we act on them, we obey…all very pleasing to our Father God!

In my own heart, I can be distracted by words (from the past as well as the present) that are NOT the Truth.  These lies are the enemy’s attempts to steal, kill, and destroy my relationship with the One Who loves me so.  I must take His Word that I have treasured in my heart and remember it, believe it, trust in it, act on it, and obey!  When I do…oh, the abundant, joyous, free, grace and mercy-filled life I enjoy!  His Word tells me the TRUTH of who I am!!!

See what great love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God!
And that is what we are!
1 John 3:1

Hello, child of God!  What is your ‘name’?  I would love it if you would share it with us in the comments below!  My name is ‘worthy!’

Praying for each of you!  ♥ 

♥  coleen

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If you would like to send a personal message to Coleen concerning this blog post, you may email her at: Coleen@girlfriendscoffeehour.com

Girls with Swords: Chapter 3 – “Heroes Have Something More to Them” (pgs 49-51)

When I read this part of the chapter, I wrote down five words and put them next to my bed.  Each night before I close my eyes for the day I am reminded of these words:

TRUTH, RIGHTEOUSNESS, PEACE, FAITH, and SALVATION…

…with the words, “live by these, apply these” underneath.  As I was reading The Message version of The Full Armor of God found in Ephesians 6:10-20, these words stuck out the most.  I love how this version tells us that these five words are more than words.  We must learn to apply them.  I have been thinking each night as I fall asleep, “What does it look like to apply these words to my life?”  Each morning as I awake, God shows me exactly what it looks like to use these words in my life by helping me put on His full armor.

Has God ever placed something in your life at just the right time?  This study has come into my life at just the right time.  I had been feeling this nudging to put on the Armor of God daily, but I was not sure what to do with this nudging.  Thanks to Lisa’s book, God is showing me what to do!  God is showing me how to be a hero.  No joke, some days I sit in my apartment and imagine myself with the prettiest pink, bedazzled sword you could ever imagine.  I picture my perfectly pink armor filled with sparkles, and I get this joy deep down in my heart because I imagine so clearly God’s words and actions of truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation covering every inch of that bedazzling pink armor and weaponry He has handpicked for me to use.  The Armor of God is out there, ladies, just for you!  What does yours look like?  Take the time to find out.  Take the time to use and apply God’s truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation to your life.  If you find yourself becoming more aware of Satan’s attacks and less aware of how to defend yourself against them: you must spend some much needed time learning what the Armor of God looks like in your life.

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I love so much when Lisa says, “As the daughters of God draw their swords, the enemy draws back.”  Do you know where your sword is, what it looks like, how to use it?  There is no time for guessing; we MUST be quick to pull out all of God’s truth against Satan.  The last thing the enemy wants to see is the person God created you to be standing firm against him each morning.  Satan will do anything and everything in his awful power to keep you from seeing who God sees when He looks down at His precious hero.  However, God is doing everything in His mighty power, even at this very moment, to show you the something more you have been in search of: Himself.  If your whole heart desires to meet with God, think about how much more God’s heart desires to meet with you!  Don’t let Satan get in the way of meeting with the One Who loves you and created you to be His hero.

As impossible as this task may seem, with God we know all things are possible (Philippians 4:13).  Lisa tells us that prayer is not optional.  I believe prayer is what ties this all together and makes this all possible.  When you are finding yourself in that nearly impossible task, pray and ask God to show you His possible way.

Our prayers are our life-line to God: this is how we can keep in constant contact with Him.  I am learning that prayers are powerful and they are to be used constantly for all kinds of things.  Prayers are one of the best gifts we can give to our brothers and sisters in Christ.  When we pray for them, we are giving them Jesus’ aid, not ours.  Can you think of anything better that anyone would ever need?  Prayers keep God in the loop.  Prayers help us all get out of the prison Satan tries to keep us in daily.

I picture all of us: swords in hand, shields in place, bedazzled in GOD’S TRUTH, RIGHTEOUSNESS, PEACE, FAITH, AND SALVATION; standing tall, shouting prayers of all kinds to our Holy God in Heaven, as we leave behind all of Satan’s lies that fall in crumbles with the chains that kept us tied down from the something more we have been craving: God Himself.  Can you picture it?

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Let’s Pray:

Lord Almighty, thank You for the armor that You have prepared for each and every one of us.  Thank You for the privilege we have to come to You in prayer.  I ask that You help each and every one of us stand firm with our feet fitted with Your peace to crumble Satan’s evil’s schemes.  Lord, we need You every moment of every day for this battle.  Thank You for being there for us each and every moment.  We love You so much and desire Your truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation to be displayed in our lives for others to see, so that they will be drawn to You alone.  Please help us.  Thank You, Lord, that You are always there for us.

In Your Precious and Powerful Name, we pray,  Amen.

Girls with Swords: Chapter Two – “A Sword Reforged” (pgs 29-33)

Here I am trying to write a blog, not just any blog, but a blog that God has already prepared for you to hear.  One that I need to focus on and discern His words from mine in order to deliver exactly what God wants ( and not what I want to say).  I believe with all of my heart that Satan will do all that he can in order to distract me, make me doubt, confuse me, and make it seem impossible to write something for you.  I have never struggled with writing before. My times of writing have easily become my favorite, because each time I write, I feel so close to God.  I can feel Him guiding my fingertips across the keyboard.  I feel His wisdom touching the screen.  I re-read what I just wrote and sit back in amazement that those words were not mine; they were the words of my God.

Why now I wonder am I finding it so hard to write?  It is no coincidence that since I have started blogging about a book that encourages women of all ages, pasts, and futures to take up God’s sword against Satan that I am sitting in front of my computer wordless.  Satan does not want me to find God’s words.  He does not want me to write them down.  He does not want anyone else to see them.

In this moment, I asked my mother to pray for me.  She spoke these words to my heart, “Hold onto God’s word.  Remember that the cross is where Satan was defeated.  He will continue to roam around, but the work has already been done on the cross.  Carry scripture around with you and as you feel these attacks, pull out that scripture, and use GOD’S WORD against those attacks.”  And, of course, she told me she would be praying for me.

These confirming words from my mother brought me to this “a-ha” moment.  This moment of writing the words that I know God wants YOU to hear.

“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” Matthew 28:20.

Do you believe these words spoken by Jesus in God’s Living Word?  No matter how badly Satan attempts to discourage us, these words will always remain true.  It took me awhile to understand the comfort and truth behind these words.  I have found the more time I spend in God’s Word; the more I feel the truth of these words.  The more I learn the power of the “sword” God has given me to deter Satan’s attacks, the more thankful I become that God has already fought my battles for me.  He is victorious and, through me accepting the gift of His perfect Son dying for me, I am victorious too.  When the battles seem to carry on and you are feeling weary, confused, distressed, uncertain, and alone; REMEMBER THESE WORDS, “I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS” and let your heart be content with this promise from God. 

I love many things about Jesus.  One of my favorites being that He can relate with us and in return offer us the best comfort and advice we could ever imagine.  When you are tempted beyond what you believe you can bear, Jesus has been there.  Call out to Him for help; He knows just how you feel.  Jesus was tempted and His faith was tested by Satan.  Each time Jesus pulled out His sword against Satan.  He knew God’s truth and He used it when it mattered the most.  Let us follow Jesus’ example.  Take up your sword which is the Living Word of God and use His truths against Satan’s many lies.

I desire so strongly to be able to not only know the many truths in God’s word, but to use them too.  We have been given the most powerful weapon—the Bible—and we must decide to put off everything that hinders and distracts us, to take up the “sword” and learn how to use this truth against Satan in our weakest moments.

PathHeHasChosenForUs_Meyers

 

Let’s Pray:

Lord, thank You for coming through always.  Thank You for being with us even in the moments when we do not feel You.  In those moments Lord let us not forget Your truths.  Let us learn Your truths so that in our weak moments, we can feel Your strength through Your Word.  I pray that You set a desire in each and every one of us to learn Your truth daily so that when the time comes to use Your truth, we can do so with confidence.  Lord, we love You so much and know that we need You every moment of every day.  Thank You that we can count on You and feel the comfort and peace this truth brings!  Amen.

 

Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 5 – Why Does It Take So Long to Get Rid of Our Character Defects?

There are four main reasons why it’s hard to change the defects in our lives:

1. Because we’ve had them for so long.
2. Because we confuse our defects with our identity.
3. Because every defect has a payoff.
4. Because Satan discourages our efforts to change.

All my life I have been a very anxious person. I have always felt I did not belong or fit in. I always felt disconnected and unloved by my father. I have felt like a burden to my husband and all of our family. I have felt like I’m not good enough, or smart enough, to hang out with or be accepted by my husband’s friends or around those he worked with because they were so smart and had much more education than me. I have felt shameful for things I have done out of my addictions. I have felt unworthy as a person and that I don’t deserve to be happy or to be loved. I have felt afraid to love, trust, and have intimacy with my husband because I did not feel this growing up from any male figure. I have even gone so far as feeling embarrassed at Bible study when asked to turn to a certain book because I had no idea if it was in the front, middle, or back; and therefore I felt I was ignorant.

So now you understand why I am the way I am. Of course, I needed to take Xanax and drink, because of my horrible anxiety. Of course, I needed to hide and avoid everyone, because I don’t fit in. Of course, I had to distance my heart and stay as far away from intimacy with my husband, because he might abandon me like my dad had done. Of course, I’m afraid to trust because of all the bad relationships that have disappointed me and hurt me. Surely you understand, too, right?

Now you can see why it’s been so hard for me to let go; because if I did, then who am I? Who will Leslie be without anxiety, depression, shame, guilt, fear, jealousy, envy, hatred, loneliness, bitterness, and unworthiness? I had no clue what it would feel like to want to live…to feel like a good mom and wife—or, especially, God’s child? Do you see where I am going with this? I honestly had lived my 38 years believing all of these defects are who I am and that I will always be this person who would always be depressed, a worthless person, and bound to be ill and miserable for the rest of my life or until I would finally take it. My life was hopeless and that’s who I was—just a miserable hopeless person. And, although life was excruciating, I couldn’t imagine things differently.

I remember just how frightened I was when I became sober. I was so fearful to face things without using something to get me through it. Emotions were almost unbearable to feel without that Benzo or glass of wine. It was so hard being alone in the house because the voices that I hid from were much louder and frequent in a quiet house. I was so afraid to be in certain rooms of my home because I remembered withdrawals and hallucinations that I experienced there. It was so hard to come home from outpatient program and do my assignment of looking in the mirror and telling that image looking back at me that I love me and I am a good person.

Letting go of these defects was not easy. I actually enjoyed the attention I got because of my illness. I felt wanted and loved when family members called and checked on me. I liked receiving cards and seeing my name on prayer lists. I actually liked being able to not speak to my dad because I wanted to have power over him feeling sad and abandoned because of all the years I felt that hurt. I liked being constantly pitied when I would do destructive things to myself because that not only got me much more attention from my family, but attention from doctors, also. For me, a life I was miserably comfortable in at least had a payoff. How about you? What payoff do you get by not letting go of your defects?

John Baker says in this chapter, “Satan constantly tries to fill our minds with negative thoughts. He is the accuser. He whispers in our ear, ‘This will never work; you can’t do it, you’ll never change.‘” Have you been hearing this alot?

When I started seeking Christ these whispers were constant, loud, almost paralyzing at times. I learned to rebuke Satan, and almost every 5 seconds I was doing so in the name of Jesus. Satan would stop for a few moments and start right back up. Being fragile and not trusting in God very much, I spent my days feeling weak and tired. Satan told me I would never be well, I would not stay sober, I was a loser, I had no real friends, that my husband pitied me and that he had lost hope in me. I had thoughts that my kids might be scared from seeing my actions and addictions. And that I did not have a real relationship with God because He did not love me enough to save me and take me out of that hell I lived. Why did I have to hurt so badly for so long? Does God not love me?

John8_32Please listen very carefully, ladies…SATAN IS A LIAR!!! There is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he shows what he really is like. The devil was a murderer from the beginning. He has never been truthful. He doesn’t know what the truth is. Whenever he tells a lie, he’s doing what comes naturally to him. He’s a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44 God’s Word Translation). Baker states, “But counteracting Satan’s lies is the truth that sets us free.” Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). As we begin to grow in God’s truth and voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in our life and allow Him to remove our character defects, we will discover the happiness of doing what God requires. So what are you waiting for?

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LETS PRAY
Father, we come to You today ready to submit to all the changes You want to make in each of our lives and remove our character defects. We ask that You reveal to us defects that we have lived with for so long and have become part of who we are. Help us to let go of these things. Lord, help us when Satan tries to discourage our efforts to change by trying to fill our minds with negative thoughts, and instead focus on the truth, Lord. For we know the devil is a liar and the father of all lies. Lord, we ask for Your help; and we thank You for Your forgiveness and love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Your Assignment:

Find a quiet place and ask God to reveal to you your biggest character defect. What has been the payoff keeping it and not letting it go?

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Leslie@GirlfriendsCoffeeHour.com

Lord, Teach Us to Pray – Week 9

Today we continue a series entitled Lord, teach us to pray!  Do you ever cry out with that same desire as Jesus’ disciples did — “Teach {me} to pray”?

Each Saturday over the next couple of months, we will intentionally pursue asking the Lord to do just that—teach us to pray.  I believe that, as we continue to look at learning how to pray through the Scriptures, we will develop into daughters who delight, yearn, love to pray to their Father!!!  This is my heart’s desire.

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

Listen to the words that He spoke to them when they asked:

Pray, therefore, like this:

Our Father

Who is in heaven,

hallowed (kept holy) be Your name.

Your kingdom come,

Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven (left, remitted, and let go of the debts,

and have given up resentment against) our debtors.

And lead (bring) us not into temptation,

but deliver us from the evil one.

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.

Amen.

Matthew 6:9-13

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

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

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

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

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

And the next week we studied the phrase ‘Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ from the perspective of our Lord’s life and ministry.  In John 6:38 we read that Jesus came down from heaven not to do His own will but to do the will of His Father on the earth.  Jesus was always the perfect example to His disciples, and of course, to us.  We, too, can live with that same heart as Jesus did.  God has promised to lead us, to guide us, to show us His Will.  We looked at a number of promises that God has given us regarding our knowing His will.  Jesus, Who knew His heavenly Father like no one else did, desired to do God’s will.  God’s perfect will.  He simply and clearly taught His disciples AND US to do the same.

The following week we considered the phrase, “Give us this day our daily bread.”  We recognized that Jesus IS the ‘bread of life.”  We looked at John chapter 6 where Jesus spoke repeatedly about this.  We clearly saw Jesus’ heart of compassion, wanting them (and us!) to live forever by partaking of the Bread of Life—Himself—and receiving that blessing.  We also looked at  Jesus’ instruction that if they would pray, “give us this day our daily bread…” they would be humbly acknowledging that their heavenly Father already KNEW what their needs would be that day.  For us, just like Jesus’ disciples, it is when we recognize our immense need for God’s provision that we step back from trying to accomplish it (whatever ‘it’ may be for that day) and let the One Who has so much to give to us provide so perfectly for us!  Let’s remember: Jesus answered their plea to teach them to pray, and in the midst of that instruction, He directed them to pray, “give us this day our daily bread.”  Then, He gently reminded them that God already provided that daily bread for them!  (AND for us!)

Then last week we focused on the next direction Jesus gave as He taught His disciples (and now us!) to pray.  It is the request to “…forgive us our debts.”  In Matthew chapter 18, Jesus addressed the issue of forgiveness in two different ways.  We looked first at the record where Peter asked Jesus how many times did he need  to forgive him and let it go? Jesus answered him, ‘I tell you, not up to seven times, but seventy times seven!” Nothing has changed.  We, too, are to forgive “…seventy times seven…”  (In other words, just keep on forgiving!)  Then Jesus gave further clarification and direction to Peter and the other disciples about this important issue of forgiveness by teaching them through a parable (verses 21-35). He held nothing back in communicating that forgiveness, or the refusal to forgive, is an issue of the heart.  We saw a righteous example of compassionate forgiveness (the king forgiving the servant his debt of 10,000 talents).  And, in comparison, the depiction of the forgiven servant having a hardened, merciless heart that refused to forgive  his fellow attendant’s small debt.  In the completion of this parable, the king then does have him thrown in jail because of his lack of forgiveness.  Jesus tells His disciples (and us!) in verse 35, “So also My heavenly Father will deal with every one of you if you do not freely forgive your brother from your heart his offenses.”  God through Christ has forgiven us for so, SO much!  And He compassionately, mercifully, and lovingly, continues to forgive us as we repent and ask.

Here in the ninth week of studying our Lord’s instruction, His next direction to His disciples (and us!) is to ask our Father to “lead us not into temptation…”  This phrase must be kept in its context which attaches it firmly to the next phrase, “but deliver us from the evil one.”  (We will look at this second half next week.)

Of great importance is to remember that God does not “tempt” anyone.

James 1:13,14

Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted from God; for God is incapable of being tempted by [what is] evil and He Himself tempts no one.

But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions).

Clearly, THE tempter is satan, our enemy.

Matthew 4:3

And the tempter came and said to Him, If You are God’s Son, command these stones to be made [loaves of] bread.

So if satan was Jesus’ tempter, he would also attempt to do the same thing to us.

Hebrews 4:15

For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning.

So thankful to know, are we not, that Jesus, our High Priest, our Intercessor, our Mediator, our Redeemer, our Savior, our Lord, is right there to help us.  We are not alone in handling temptation.  He understands and has shown us how to handle satan’s tempting.  The following record clearly shows that as Jesus was tempted by satan His response—the very thing that kept Him from being tempted—was the truth of the Scriptures.  Jesus replied to satan each time, “…it is written….”

Matthew 4:1-11

Then Jesus was led (guided) by the [Holy] Spirit into the wilderness (desert) to be tempted (tested and tried) by the devil.

And He went without food for forty days and forty nights, and later He was hungry.

And the tempter came and said to Him, If You are God’s Son, command these stones to be made [loaves of] bread.

But He replied, It has been written, Man shall not live and be upheld and sustained by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.

Then the devil took Him into the holy city and placed Him on a turret (pinnacle, gable) of the temple sanctuary.

And he said to Him, If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, He will give His angels charge over you, and they will bear you up on their hands, lest you strike your foot against a stone.

Jesus said to him, On the other hand, it is written also, You shall not tempt, test thoroughly, or try exceedingly the Lord your God.

Again, the devil took Him up on a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory (the splendor, magnificence, preeminence, and excellence) of them.

And he said to Him, These things, all taken together, I will give You, if You will prostrate Yourself before me and do homage and worship me.

Then Jesus said to him, Begone, Satan! For it has been written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him alone shall you serve.

Then the devil departed from Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

We, too, can have the assurance of the truth of the Scriptures when our enemy tries to tempt us.  The psalmist, David, had such a confidence in his heart.

Psalm 119:11

Your word have I laid up in my heart, that I might not sin against You.

Verses 97, 98

Oh, how love I Your law! It is my meditation all the day.

You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies, for [Your words] are ever before me.

Verse 101

I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep Your word [hearing, receiving, loving, and obeying it].

Being encouraged by David’s heart for His God and by following the perfect example of our Lord, we can resist the temptations of the enemy by refuting him with confident, bold communication of Truth—the Truth contained in the Bible.  Be encouraged!

“For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning.

Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it] ” (Hebrews 4;15,16).

Oh. How. He. Loves. Us. So.  <3

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This week, in our study A Daughter’s Worth, we have been focusing on dating with discretion, having Godly boundaries, retaining a heart of purity—not being tempted.

Ask yourself:  ______ (insert your name here), how much worth do I have if my Lord Jesus understands and sympathizes with my being tempted?  How much worth do I have knowing that my heavenly Father has enabled me to resist temptation through the Truth contained in the Bible—”it is written”?   <3

“…Lead us not into temptation….”

Love, Coleen

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

If you are interested in joining us in our GCH:decaf Teen Girls Ministry, please click the sign-up form button at the top of our webpage. Just follow the instructions on the form and hit submit. We’ll be happy to add you to one of our Online Bible Study Groups! Our new study is A Daughter’s Worth! Please email megan@girlfriendscoffeehour.com for more information