Captivating Study

Just last night yours truly kicked off the summer with a new young women’s bible study. We are studying the book Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge. This book has been such an incredible influence on my life! Last year i picked it up and started from the beginning. It didn’t hold my interest for very long at the time so i put it down. A couple weeks ago i found it and picked it up again, this time i started right in the middle, well that sure did the trick! Now i almost can’t put it down!!! I am so excited for the beautiful women who are going to be joining me in this study! It means so much to me that God is ready and willing to use this vessel to serve a group of beautiful girls! He is worthy to be praised isn’t He? 🙂

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Anger and Pride…

“As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” -Romans 12:18

“A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.” -Proverbs 29:11

“An angry man stirs up dissension.” -Proverbs 29:22.

It makes me sad when people rob themselves of the love and joy Christ is able to pour in and through our lives. Often people talk about the “green” movement and making our world a better place, when really all it would take is for people to give a caring, loving, or encouraging word to one another and place someone else’s needs before their own, and with that there is nothing better than prayer.

I am currently on vacation right now, which has been lovely and i’ve been truly blessed! I look around me and see people spending money and enjoying themselves (much like i’m doing), and it almost makes me feel guilty and sad. Last night my parents and i watched a re-cap of the damage and devastation Japan is experiencing right now and it makes me absolutely sick, and yet i am still able to eat good food and drink pure water and i can actually WALK OUTSIDE.I am so thankful that God has given me this opportunity and i am determined to not let it go with an ungrateful heart.

Just a thought:
For anyone who wants to join me next week, i will be having a time of prayer and fasting on behalf of Japan and those affected by it. It will start on Monday and end on Friday. I personally am not planning a full fast for all of those days, i will most likely be giving up a meal or two a day, as well as most media (except for my blog, email, and checking up on a friend who is living in Tokyo right now). But please, do whatever you feel led to do. If you would like to join me, email me at strawbearygurl5@hotmail.com. I intend on sending out daily (thats the goal) updates, insights, and encouragements throughout the week for anyone who is willing to take part in this with me. I pray many of you will. God bless you all!

 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” -Philippians 4:6

Some days are just like that…

I have to be honest, i’m having an off day today. I hit the snooze button at least a dozen times this morning, begrudgingly pulled myself out of bed and walked around like a zombie. I’m not necessarily saying that this is abnormal for me, i’m saying i felt like a ton of bricks. I always feel bad for my parents when i wake up that way, especially my mom, who is always so chipper and cheerful (most mornings). Half of the time when i’m feeling like that in the mornings i don’t even make any effort to talk unless one hundred percent necessary. Sorry mommy! :/

Can i just say i can NOT wait until we leave for Texas on friday?! Seriously, i don’t think i’ve ever needed a vacation more than i need this one! Sixteen credit hours at school is nearly killing me! I know, i know, i say that every semester. But this homeschool chick is still not one hundred percent used to all this madness! I’ll use that as my excuse anyways. The good part about this school week is that i only have one more actual assignment to go (on Thursday) and i’m free!!! FINALLY!

I was feeling a little frustrated earlier today and randomly put on one of Beth Moore’s weekly videos from the study Esther. I haven’t heard it or even glanced at that study for a long time now and surprisingly (or not so surprisingly, really) it was just what i needed. It was a discussion on meanness. It really made me stop and think about why i was feeling frustrated. Sometimes when i get frustrated i just can’t for the life of me keep my big mouth shut, but i’d hate to see what i would have been like today if i hadn’t of listened to that message today! I would be a sight to behold to say the least!

So, right now i am at my favorite coffee shop, drinking a minty shamrock blender, listening to some lovely classical piano music by George Winston, and trying my best to “chill out!” I hope everyone is having a good Tuesday! Comment if you love me! 🙂

Lessons from a man named Job… pt.1

A couple of weeks ago i was studying God’s word and reading the story of His loved servant, Job. Typically, when I hear the name “Job” i’m most often reminded of his hardships and how bad he had it that i never stop to think of all the rewards that came from his trials. I wrote out a little mini-study and shared a little bit of it tonight with my new Bible study group (we’ll be meeting on the first Friday of every month for any woman that wants to join us!).I thought i would share part of my Bible study with you who read my blog in case you were bored and looking for something to do 😉

 

Lessons to Learn from Job:

-Read through Job 1:1-5

Let’s face it guys (and gals), Job’s life in the beginning looks pretty desirable,  he’s got the big family, 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 donkeys, not to mention a HUGE number of servants and not only was he wealthy in all these aspects, he was blameless and upright. I don’t know about you, but his life looks pretty great to me. That brings me to my first point:

-Job’s life was desireable.

Not only did Job have it all, he had it all together! Now, obviously because he is only man he was a sinner and as imperfect as the rest of us, but sometimes there are those that just are so much more Godly than us… it just makes us sick almost. Do you know the kind i’m talking about? Think of a Godly person whom you just esteem so much! The Godly role-models in my life are usually the kind that have most of the things i desire and on top of that, they just seem to have it all together. Not only do they have the beautiful family, but they’ve got that great relationship with the Lord as well. Maybe it’s just me. (By no means do i hold this against them, it just makes me love them all the more!!!)

Lesson to be learned #1:

Notice at the end of verse 5 when it says that Job would “sacrifice a burnt offering for each of [his children], thinking, ‘perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.’ This was Job’s regular custom.” It is clear that Job was concerned over his sons and daughters spiritual welfare, so early in the morning he would give of his time to offer a sacrifice to the Lord for their sins. When i first saw this i thought how we too can make sacrifices for those we love and are close to, who may not know the Lord, by giving of our time to pray for them and earnestly seek God on their behalf. I just love how beautiful a picture this is of such a loving father.

CHALLENGE #1: Think of a person whom you would like to see God’s redemption in their life and commit to praying for them every day for the next seven days. If it means rising early just as Job did for his children than so be it. Let’s make an attempt to give of our time for that one person, even if for only 5 minutes, let’s make it routine.

-Read Job 1:6

Okay, i just loved this part. I think it’s so cool how we can connect one verse of the bible to something VERY different and be lead into a completely different story. I will try to stay on topic as much as i know how.

In this particular passage, the idea of these heavenly councils where God meets with the angels to plan out their activities and “missions” on earth is so neat to me! There is another verse in 1 Kings 22:19-23 that also talks about this kind of heavenly council. It seriously is so fascinating to me! This brings us to our first picture in the book of Job.

Picture #1:

I realize that we cannot even fathom what on earth this would look like, but just try to come up with some image in your head of the angels, come to present themselves before the Lord, ready and willing to do what He commands. Beautiful!

Okay guys, I think that’s about enough for tonight. I hope to give you part 2 sometime in the near future, so check back!!! Let me know of any opinions, thoughts or comments you may have to add! 😀

 

Humility

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Surely after posting this I will be tested in a huge way on humility, thus is the way the Lord seems to work. However, do not worry, I shall “count it all joy” when I go through these trials. They honestly do make me put my “money where my mouth is” so to speak. This past week has been so crazy, wild, and busy. I have had more homework assignments than is humanly possible to get done in one week’s time with the business of everyday life and while attempting to live in a way pleasing to the Lord. I decided that instead of taking away my much-needed sleep in order to viciously work on my assignments, I would just go with the flow in hopes that it all got around to getting done at some point. Which it did. If there is one lesson I learned this week (trust me, there was more than just one), it would be maybe just an ounce of humility. God has such an interesting way of working things out. Sometimes it is hard for me to even understand how He really does EXACTLY what He says He will do. I am learning now to be content with myself and being by myself, sometimes it is easier said than done, but at the same time, it really isn’t that easy to say either is it? I don’t know about you, but I sure have a hard time admitting to the fact that I don’t have it all together and I hate being lonely. Honestly, I am sure everyone around me sees right through my supposed “façade” and realizes that I am lonely at times. Over Christmas break I was home by myself a lot, it sure did give me some time to think! Yet, somehow, whilst being severely heart broken and unsure of whether or not I would ever recover, God taught me to get comfortable being home alone and on top of that He showed me that I don’t need to be with people, talking, hanging out, or just simply around people, in order to be happy with myself. The only thing THAT was accomplishing was covering my inability to be content with myself. I was just forcing those thoughts out of my mind at the time and shoving it down where I could “deal with it later.” Let me tell you, I wound up lonelier than I was to begin with. So, He dealt with me on that. Today at church, I was seriously contemplating what it really means to serve others and humble myself in order to do so and then I came to the conclusion that it is this: recognizing that I came from nowhere, and God wants to use me to get others somewhere. I look back to the last year, the sins I have committed, the people I have hurt, the wrong things I’ve done, and I am ashamed. Praise God He is full of love and mercy, and forgiveness above all! But I do not deserve to be anything to anyone, and yet He has put people in my life for me to SERVE. ME. It is more than I can fathom. I recently have had the opportunity to disciple a few girls, and every time I have thought to myself, “why would God use this broken heart?” Then today I heard it so clearly, “I use you BECAUSE you’re broken.” God can only use His good and perfect power, full in me, when I am completely empty of my own desires and strength. It is not until I hand over to him full reign over my life, my vessel, my thoughts and my will, that He will make himself strong in my weakness. I love Him so much. He is my savior who has rescued me from the pit of despair, and is using me to further His kingdom, not for my benefit, but for His.



You stay the same, You never change, Your love never fails.

Nothing can separate
Even if I ran away
Your love never fails

I know I still make mistakes
But You have new mercies for me everyday
Your love never fails

You stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
There may be pain in the night but joy comes in the morning

And when the oceans rage
I don’t have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
Your love never fails

The wind is strong and the water’s deep
But I’m not alone in these open seas
Cause Your love never fails

The chasm was far too wide
I never thought I’d reach the other side
But Your love never fails

You make all things work together for my good

A Quote…

Shame on his coward soul! He knelt to her, wooed her, vowed eternal love, honor and truth; won her, –and then cast her, like a loathsome weed away!

-The Village Coquette, 1822 (anonymous)

Simplicity

I had a christmas party for work tonight. I work in one of the best nursing home’s there is. This november marked my fourth year working for the home, it has been a good last four years. It is such a blessing to have a fairly secure job when i look around and see the struggle for some to even get a callback for an interview after having applied at various places.

While i was at my work party, the head of the nursing home shared some inspirational words with us. One word from what he shared really hit home for me… simplicity. It really made me think of how much better off we all would be if we really worked at making our lives just a tad bit simpler. In literature a couple of weeks ago my teacher was talking about early drama, and how people in the earlier centuries did not rely on sight and stimulation as much as we do now, they mainly relied on hearing, and the words people were saying. How much more beneficial would it be for us if we took even one-fourth of the amount of stimulation of sight out of our lives and forced it into the hearing portion? If we, instead of sitting in front of a tv, letting stimulation of all sorts hit our eyes, called a friend to see how they are getting along this christmas season? Or, how about this one (and believe me, i struggle with this A LOT), how about instead of rushing off to our next big check mark on our to-do list barely paying attention to the fact that there are others around, let someone else take a turn before us. Fair or not.

Could we, even for just a day, drive the speed limit? Let someone else go before us in the checkout lane at walmart? Stop to have a pleasant conversation with a complete stranger?

Think on this: we are all so visually stimulated these days right? And yet, we pay absolutely no attention to the fact that our children, friends, siblings, parents, coworkers, all these people and more are visually watching us. Seeing our every move, and we often don’t even take the time to stop and realize how our impatient actions are viewed in another’s eyes.

Simplicity. Yes, i agree Mr. Hoffman. This christmas season i want to make my life just a little more simple. No rushing out to the store to buy the next biggest brightest and best visually stimulating toy for the special people in my life. I’m going to make it simple.

This year i have made the decision that i will give no christmas gift that has not been made by my hands. Every gift i give this year will be a product of my own hard work. I feel that people appreciate it far more when they realize that something was hand-made just for them. As soon as school gets out for the semester you will know where to find me, down in my room crafting away at all the treasures i will be handing out this christmas season.

Before i say goodbye to this heartfelt post, i want to leave you (if anyone actually reads my blog) with a bible verse that is widely spoken, but not truly heard often enough.

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” -James 1:19-20

 

Merry Christmas everyone! I pray that you all are blessed greatly this Christmas season!

How will we ever win…?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about missions, and outreach. This previous sunday at church we had a guest speaker. Her name was Cindy and she and her family have been missionaries for almost 20 years. I loved the sermon she gave to us. She talked a lot about how people are always saying that your biggest mission field is right next door or something like that, when the truth of the matter is, your neighbor already has access to the truth. If they wanted to they could call a friend who they know is a christian and ask questions. They could go buy a bible for a pretty decent price if they were curious. All of this made me think, why aren’t more people becoming hungry for the truth? Then i had a thought… maybe the reason why so many people we know aren’t finding the truth is because our tactics aren’t working. I mean, think about it… what is the most common way we as christians reach out to people? A little pat on the back saying “Jesus loves you!” or something cliché like that will do absolutely nothing for those who haven’t found Him yet. Jesus himself didn’t walk around saying “God loves you!” all cheesy like. He went to the people, he took care of their needs, he wasn’t afraid of offending people. Would it kill us to just strike up a conversation with someone, asking them what their views on Jesus Christ are? Would it absolutely ruin us to talk about God and our Bible around those we know are non-christians. We aren’t going to reach those that are of the world by using tactics that would make a christian feel good. It just simply won’t work.

Honestly, one of the reasons i think we don’t do any of these things is because we don’t know how to defend our faith. We are so scared that someone is going to whip out an answer to one of our cliché, memorized, “found it in an inspirational novel” that we don’t have a returning argument against it. Christians are literally shaking in their boots at the thought of confronting a non-christian about the truth. Could we just try it for a change though? Could we just walk up to that family member that we know doesn’t go to church, doesn’t believe in God, and ask why?

The Amplified Bible says in Mark 16:15 “And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach and publish openly the good news (the Gospel) to every creature [of the whole human race].”

Key words there guys… do you see them? Preach and publish. and Openly i might add. Maybe we would be more successful in reaching others and leading others if we weren’t afraid to preach and publish and for crying out loud! Do it openly!