Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday




God’s love is not static or self-centered, it reaches out and draws others in. In John 3:16, God sets the pattern of true love, which is the basis for all love relationships – when you love someone dearly, you are willing to give freely to the point of self-sacrifice. God paid dearly with the life of His Son, the highest price He could pay. Jesus accepted our punishment, paid the price for our sins, and the offered us the new life that He had bought for us. When we share the Good New (the gospel) with others, our love must be like Jesus’ – willingly giving up our own comfort and security so that others might join us in receiving God’s love.

Let’s put our trust and confidence in Him, only He can save us.

Be blessed and be a blessing!





Monday, February 27, 2017

Brokenhearted




How Do We Get Beyond to Brokenhearted



In Chapter 11 of the Uninvited Book, Lysa Terkeurst tells us, “We must praise God, seek God, look to God, call to God, experience God, fear God, learn from God, honor God, draw near to God, and take refuge in God.” To help us practice this, she gives us “ten things to remember and proclaim.” Which of these do you need most to help YOU get beyond brokenhearted? With God, in your journal or notebook, work through the list of applications for what you need to remember and proclaim most.

    1.  One rejection is not a projection of future failures (pp. 130-131)
What rejection is causing you to project future failures? On page 130 of the uninvited book, Lysa shares four “No, but…” statements. Write out your own “No, but…” statements for each of you rejections. “No, ________________. But that doesn’t mean ____________________.”

    2.  Rejection doesn’t label you; it enables you to adjust and move on (pp. 131-132)
What label(s) has rejection given you? Write this out, filing in the blanks: “This rejection doesn’t mean I’m _____________ [whatever negative label or shame-filled feeling you are having]. It makes this _______________________ [opportunity, person, desire] a wrong fit for me right now.”

    3.  This could be an invitation to live in expectation of something else (pp.132-133)
Let’s live in expectation of God’s invitation! Journal a prayer, asking God to show you the plans HE has for you and what HE would have you spend your time on. Then listen and watch, with great intentionality, for those good things to be revealed to you!

    4.  There is usually some element of protection wrapped in every rejection (pp.133-34)
Past rejections are a great learning tool and motivator to help us get through current and future rejections! Reflect and journal on your past rejections, looking for possible protections from God. How does realizing God’s past protections help you face rejection today?

    5.  It’s good to ask the “what” questions but less helpful to ask “why” (p 135-136)
Are you stuck in the “whys” from your rejection? Like Lysa says, “What questions increase our ability to become more self-aware, while “why” questions only focus on things out of our control.” Work through the helpful “what” questions Lysa provides in this section.

    6.  Don’t hash, bash or trash on the internet. Remember, the internet never forgets (pp. 136-137)
Do you have past “venting” on the internet you regret? Like Lysa writes, “Don’t let today’s reaction become tomorrow’s regret.” What action/step can you take to prevent venting you’ll regret?

    7.  There’s much more to you than the part that was rejected (pp. 137-139)
Rejection have you feeling less than? Take some time to discover new things about yourself. List the things you’ve tried that didn’t work out. Then pray for God to reveal common threads you can learn them. Like Lysa, you might find clues of what you were made to do instead!

    8.  What one person sees as your liability, another might see as a wonderful asset (pp. 139-140)
Did someone point out a perceived “liability” in you? What can you learn from their opinion by putting yourself in their shoes? How can you make sure you extend grace and honor God in your reaction?

    9.  This is a short-term setback, not a permanent condition (pp. 140-141)
Has your rejection tried to take up permanent residence in your heart? Are there “triggers” that cause negative thoughts, words and actions in you as a result? Take some time to identify and eliminate any reminders that are triggers for you.

    10.             Don’t let this heartbreak destroy you. Let this breaking actually be the making of you. Let God use it in good ways to make you stronger and take you further. (pp. 141-145)
Is rejection causing you to feel brokenhearted? Like Lysa says, “Don’t let what breaks your heart destroy your life. Hold fast to Jesus and remember: This breaking of you will be the making of you. A new you. A stronger you.” Take some time to reflect on past and current rejections. Where can you see how God has used the “breaking of you” to be the “making of you?”




Be blessed and be a blessing!





Taken from the Uninvited Book by Lysa TerKeurst



Monday, February 20, 2017

Uninvited Online Bible Study




The enemy wants us to feel rejected . . . left out, lonely, and less than. When we allow him to speak lies through our rejection, he pickpockets our purpose. Cripples our courage. Dismantles our dreams. And blinds us to the beauty of Christ’s powerful love. 

Uninvited will help you:

  • Stop feeling left out by believing that even when you are overlooked by others you are handpicked by God.
  • Change your tendency to either fall apart or control the actions of others by embracing God-honoring ways to process your hurt.
  • Know exactly what to pray for to steady your soul and restore your confidence in the midst of rejection.
  • Overcome the two core fears that feed your insecurities by understanding the secret of belonging.

Through the pages of Uninvited, you will be taken on a journey of finding the acceptance and love you’ve always longed for and start to pick up the pieces that maybe you’ve been trying to put back together for years. You’ll laugh, cry, and best of all discover that with Jesus you are safe, forever accepted, forever held, completely loved, and always invited in.

Join me right here as we take this life-changing journey!

Blessings!



Week One - Living Loved


Week Two - Empty or Full


Week Three - The Yoke of God is Freedom



Week Four - Set Apart



Week Five - Remembering God's Presence


Week Six - Lessons from the Olive



Week Seven - The Wrap-Up



Everything has it beauty, but not everyone sees it. — Andy Warhol



Be blessed and be a blessing!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Forgiveness





Choosing to forgive is hard, but the truth is it's good (and biblical) to extend forgiveness to those who have hurt us. Even when those roots go so deep, especially if the hurt is from someone we love or close to us, or you feel has treated you unfairly.

When we release the offense into the hands of God, we can begin to make room for healing in our hearts.
Forgiving someone is making the decision to choose mercy and grace over bitterness and resentment. To love God is to cooperate with His grace. Luke 6:36 says,



Here are 3 things to remember when forgiving others is the last thing we want to do:

We have an enemy, but it’s not each other.

Truth proclaimed and lived out is a fiercely accurate weapon against evil.

Forgiveness doesn’t justify them, it frees YOU!

...do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. — Luke 6:27b–Luke 6:28

Giving grace helps me. It sets me free.


Today I will:

Speak with honor in the midst of being dishonored.

Speak with peace in the midst of being threatened.

Speak of good things in the midst of a bad situation.


Forgiveness releases an offense into the hands of God so that you can heal.


Lift up your hurt and honest feelings to the Lord through prayer, whether it’s written or verbal.

Love & blessings!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Hope



We have hope, we can know God’s fullness – 

A Prayer for the Ephesians

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Paul prays that you will be strengthened with power through the Holy Spirit in your inner being (v. 16). What will this accomplish (v. 17a). Why is this important?
We have the power to grasp the fullness of the love of Christ…for we then we be filled with the fullness of God. It is impossible to grasp the fullness of God without grasping the fullness of the love of Christ.

Paul prays for power again in verse 18. What power does he ask for this time?
What will that power accomplish (v. 19)?
We have the power through Christ, who is over every power, including the pull of the flesh. When we have Christ, we are full – fully loved and accepted and empowered.

If we live rooted and established in His love, we don’t just have knowledge of His love in our minds, but it become a reality that anchors us. God’s love holds us and His love grounds us.

Each day is a new day, deciding not to live uninvited but to live in God’s fullness.



Be blessed and be a blessing!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Gifts...We All Have Them!





Carry on…in unity

The Sharing of Gifts

Pray that the body of Christ would be built up and unified




Read Ephesians 4:7-16

Paul continues with the theme of unity (see 4:3-6) by discussing the different gifts given to believers. While there is one body, Spirit, hope and Lord, each believer receives a different measure of grace. In the context, “grace” refers to spiritual gifts or ministry roles (see 3:2, 7-8).

In 4:8, Paul quotes Psalm 68:18 – a psalm celebrating God’s victory over His enemies (see Psalm 68:1-3, 11-14, 19-23) and the resulting victory procession (see Psalm 68:17-18, 24-27). He employs this psalm to illustrate Christ’s victory over sin and death (see also 1 Cor 15:54-57).

God gives each of us spiritual gifts, but He doesn’t give us these gifts for our own personal pleasure. His gifts are meant to be shared with others. Spiritual gifts are the means by which we serve others and build up the body of Christ.


Diving Deeper

Paul lists several gifts – types of God-given abilities, titles or church offices – in Ephesians 4:11. What is the purpose of these roles (see 4:12-14)? Make a list of your gifts and how you could use them for building up the body of Christ. Read Romans 12:3-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:4-14, and compare these passages with Ephesians 4:7-16. How are these passages similar? How are they different? What does Paul focus on in Romans and Corinthians?



Paul stresses that these offices and/or gifts are intended to help believers grow in maturity – a theme he emphasizes in Ephesians 4:13-14. How does he characterize immaturity? Earlier he emphasized knowledge of the love of Christ (see 3:18-19). Here he stresses that knowledge of Christ Himself is a means to gaining maturity. How does knowing Christ bring maturity? What are some ways you have matured as you have grown in your relationship with Christ?




In concluding this section, Paul again draws on the description of believers as a body, with Christ as the head (4:15-16; compare 1:22-23). How does the body grow? How can you, as a “single part,” make sure you are working for the growth of the whole body?




God not only gives us a purpose, but He also give us the gifts we need to fulfill our purpose! God gives us gifts so we can give to others. Our spiritual gifts are never meant to draw attention to ourselves, either. Gifts are never a means for self-glorification. All gifts are from God and for other and God gets all the glory.


Write it out – While writing Ephesians 4:7-16 today, give thanks for the gifts God has given you.


Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, for giving me specific gifts that I can use to build up others. Help me to grow in these gifts. Help me to understand how to share my gifts with others in fruitful ways. Forgive me when I’m tempted to draw attention to myself through my gifts. Help me to remember that all gifts come from You. All glory is Yours. Forever and ever. Amen.

May God give you the Spirit of wisdom & revelation so that you may know Him better. Have an awesome day in the Lord!! Ephesians 1:17


Be Blessed and Be a Blessing!






.

Denise J. Hughes, “Word Writes: Ephesians”




Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Unity




Carry on…in unity

From Principles to Practices

Read Ephesians 4:1-6

Pray that God would help you live in a manner worthy of your calling.



In chapter 4 Paul’s letter shifts from principles to practices. Paul has discussed the truth of our unity in Christ – the Jews and Gentiles have become one body – and now he discusses the practical ways believers can walk in this spiritual unity. He then reminds the church of the specific gifts they’ve been given to nurture and protect the unity they share in Christ.

The word apologetics comes from the Greek word apologia, which means “speech of defense.”  In the context of faith, apologetics is less about arguing and more about articulating. To engage in apologetics is to be inquisitive, not argumentative.

Apologists pursue a deeper knowledge of God by asking questions and studying Scripture. They’re modern-day Bereans (see Acts 17:11), and they’re being obedient to Peter’s command, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15 NIV). With so much war and poverty and disease, the existence of hope seems to defy logic, so nonbelievers will oftentimes watch from a distance to see if this hope thing is for real. And when they’re ready, they’ll approach their believing friends to ask, How can you have hope in this world? Where does this hope come from? How did you find it? Can I know this same hope?

The reason for apologetics is to know and be able to articulate the reason for the hope we have in Christ. It doesn’t require a post-graduate degree, either. Peter was a trained fisherman, not an apologist. Yet he’s the one instruction every believer to be prepared to share their faith, but to do so with gentleness and respect. That’s my deepest heart’s desire. To live my faith in word and deed. With gentleness and respect. Always.

The second half of Ephesians begins with instructions as Paul exhorts the Ephesian believers to “live in a manner worthy” of their calling (4:1). He begins with the transition “therefore,” which means he is drawing on the ideas of the previous verses. The word therefore is significant because it tell us to carry on while keeping everything we’ve just read still in mind. He could be referring back to his prayer and the surpassing love of Christ (3:14-21), the inclusion of Gentiles among the people of God (2:11-22), or the changed state believers enjoy in Christ (2:1-10).

Paul was a supreme example of an apologist. He underscored everything he taught with a foundation of scriptural truth. The word worthy means “equal weight.” In other words, our conduct should match our calling. He goes on to list three virtues of Christ-like character: humility, gentleness, and patience, His peace binds us in unity.



Diving Deeper

Which of these do you think Paul had in mind? What does it mean to “live in manner worthy of the calling” (4:1)? How can each declaration encourage you to carry out this instruction?



What binds us in unity?



Paul goes on to list behaviors in 4:2 that believers should embrace. Make a list of these actions and attitudes. How do they compare to the behaviors valued by Western culture? Which of these characteristics do you particularly struggle with?


The behaviors Paul lists in 4:2 are designed to promote unity. Name specific ways these behaviors create unity. Note how often Paul repeats the word “one” to emphasize that we all share the same faith. How does this encourage you to display the characteristics from 4:2? How can you show more humility, gentleness, patience and love in your interactions with others?



Write it out – As you write Ephesians 4:1-6 today, ask God to grow a heart of gentleness in you, so that you will always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks you the reason for the hope you have.



Prayer: Thank You, God, for giving me the inspired Word I can study to learn more about You. Help me to understand the truths communicated in Your Word, and help me to live out these truths in my everyday life. Amen.



May God give you the Spirit of wisdom & revelation so that you may know Him better. Have an awesome day in the Lord!! Ephesians 1:17



Be Blessed and Be a Blessing!







Denise J. Hughes, “Word Writes: Ephesians”


Good Friday

God’s love is not static or self-centered, it reaches out and draws others in. In John 3:16, God sets the pattern of true love, wh...