Monday, September 26, 2011

31 Days of Change

Starting October first, I'm going to participate in The Nester's 31 Days of Change.

Psalm 143:8
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go,for to you I lift up my soul.

This year I have been following a reading plan in the back of my study Bible. I have been blown away at the ways God has spoken to me in books I knew little about like Amos or Habakkuk.

However, there have been days when I dive in the Bible study I'm involved in and the homework that it requires and before I know it, my daily reading of God's word has been pushed to my bedtime reading.

Thus the reason for the change in how I "do" my personal time in God's word.

Please, Please, PLEASE hear me:

Bible studies are awesome! I love them and God has used so many to speak very direct things to my heart. I cannot emphasize how important a small group Bible study is. If you don't have one, start asking God to direct your steps to one! He will I promise!

God has been reminding me this year that devotional books, Bible studies,and even e-mail type devotions are all great! But, they are NOT God's Word. They are tools given to us to help us in the study of God's Word, but NOTHING can take the place of the inspired Word of God.

As much as I love diving into an indepth Bible study with a group of women, I LOVE the times when God's words speaks directly to me. God has specific things to say to us as individuals and the primary way He speaks is through His word.

So, beginning October 1 I will list the passages I've read and then I'll share what I call my "light bulb" verse or verses from those passages and why. I attempt to do this in my journal each day and it's not always pretty. Sometimes those verses sting a little, other times I find them to bring such comfort. EVERY day, I find that God's Word gives me what I need FOR THAT DAY.

2 Timothy 3:26 says,

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.

I'm praying that you will join me! Maybe you'll start reading those passages and journal on your own what God says to you. If you want to leave a comment and share with us that's great! If not, that is okay!

I will say this. The girls and I are going on a mission trip towards the end of October. We will be gone several days and the area we will be in has limited internet access.


I'm going to attempt to post a shorter version each day from my phone. It may or may not work! If it doesn't, I will play post catch up when we get home. :)

Your prayers for our team and this trip would be SO appreciated!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lessons from my 8th Graders


18 8th grade girls. They are beautiful, funny, loud, tenderhearted, honest, loud, serious, outspoken, silly, and did I mention loud? :)

Two leaders sit with them and we talk about the word beautiful. We ALL share our funny quirks. (Like counting the number of strokes of deodorant we put on) We talk quite frankly about struggles and I am amazed.

Amazed at their honesty. Not many adult women would sit in a room with 18 other ladies and share their personal struggles with the word beautiful.

They remind me of myself at that age. More than ever I feel the urgency to pour truth into them. We want them to not just "know" they are precious, we want them to BELIEVE it and walk in that. We want them to know how valuable they are and that God's plan for their life is so much wilder than anything they can imagine! That His ways are best. They are not always easy, but they are the best.

Last week I asked them to read Psalm 139 and ask God for a "light-bulb" verse. They were to write that verse on a notecard and work on memorizing it. I was blown away at their response. Of those that shared their light bulb verse,(Like 14 of them!) few had the same verse. That group almost memorized all 24 verses!

I fully expected verses 1-4 to be popular and even 13 and 14...but two girls picked the tough ones. Verses 23 and 24.

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

I was a bit shocked that two girls picked these two verses to memorize. They aren't the "feel good" verses. Nope, they are the hard ones.

They are the verses that say, "God, take your flashlight and shine it on my heart. Illuminate my motives, my ambitions, my worries, the junk that needs to go. I give you access to point them out. I am listening. Show me what does not line up with your word and show me the next step to take."

These girls were giving God free reign to point out what needed to be changed.

Brave aren't they?

They totally challenged me this week to pray the same prayer.

I can not wait to see what they teach me next week.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Watching His Hand

Over the last week or so, I've been concentrating on verses like, Psalm 34:5, Psalm 45:11 and one of my all time favorite passages, Psalm 139.

I've been pondering words like beautiful, confidence, security. Comparing my definition to the dictionary, and then lining those up against God's Word.

I've been thinking that sometimes what we feel is REAL is not TRUTH. AND when our actions or reactions are based upon our feelings instead of truth...there is usually trouble.

Here is why I entitled this post watching His hand.

I just put the final touches and e-mailed my middle school Bible study homework to our awesome student ministry assistant. We are adapting a book to group study and writing our own homework each week. Challenging? Yes. A little daunting? You better believe it, but oh my goodness... :) The topic? Well, we are talking about all those words I've been pondering. We will spend 14 weeks looking at what God says about the word beautiful.

In the morning my Bible study group dives into week one of So Long Insecurity. Part of the reason I feel so full tonight is that this study goes hand in hand with what we are doing with our middle school girls on Wednesday evenings. Only God could have orchestrated the timing of this.

In my life, insecurity has been the welcome wagon to places I said I'd never go. I desperately want these young ladies to grasp the importance of placing all their hope, affection, confidence, and security in Jesus Christ.

My heart's desire is that they live Ephesians 3:17-19:

so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 are part of our study in the morning, but I know that I will be sharing it with my girls on Wednesday evening. I pray that this year ALL of our roots, teachers and students, grow deeper and stronger.

But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought,and never fails to bear fruit.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Living Habakkuk 2:3

Everything in me wishes we were sitting across a table from each other. I with my grande white chocolate mocha and you with your favorite coffee or tea.

I would ask you if you were waiting on anything. Specifically, are you waiting on God to complete anything in your life....

Why THAT question? I'm glad you asked. :)

Last week THIS verse popped up in my daily reading and I absolutely loved the timing of it.

For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. Habakkuk 2:3 (ESV)

God is so faithful. This week I will live this verse. A desire and dream has come to its appointed time. It has been four years since this was placed on my heart.

Four years. Not a long time in the big picture, but at times it seemed like it would never happen. It did seem slow, and honestly last fall, I felt like God forgot.

But He didn't. God does not forget anyone and He definitely doesn't forget when He places a calling on your life. He used a difficult time to remind me that when we are completely surrendered to Him, He will use each and every piece of our life for His glory.

So here I sit, a few days from this vision coming to life. And I am in awe of my God. Here are a few things He has put in my face over the last few days.

2 Peter 3:9a says, The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise

When He starts something, He finishes it. (Phil. 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion...)

Finally, this verse. This verse jumped out of my daily reading two weeks ago and I could not get away from it. God kept giving me confirmations, encouragement that YES, this was the time to do this thing..but yet I was still battling some fear about the whole thing. This is what He gave me.

1 Samuel 10:7 Now when these signs meet you, do what your hand finds to do, for God is with you.

God is with you. What else can a girl ask for.

So, I'll ask you...

What are you waiting on? It would be an honor to pray with you during the wait. And an even bigger honor to rejoice with you when the appointed time comes! :)