Tuesday, April 27, 2010
This morning when I woke up, a song was on my heart: "ALL of my life, IN every season, YOU are still God and I have a reason to sing, I have a reason to worship!....ALL of my life, IN every season, YOU are still God and I have a reason to sing, I have a reason to worship!" This phrase just kept singing over and over again in my heart and mind. I love waking up to a song on my heart. Can we honestly sing the above words sisters? Can we? Oh I pray I can.
I was reading Micah 6:1-8 this morning and was reminded how God didn't want the Israelites animal sacrifices or their rivers of olive oil or their children as sacrifices to prove that they loved Him and were living for Him. He wanted their love and their obedience. In verse 8, God says "I have told you what is good and what is required of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God."
Sister, that is what God requires of us too....do what is right, love mercy and to walk humbly with Him. As I walk with Jesus, it is so extremely vital that nothing else takes top priority over God's expectations for me. But I so often fail in that...but then I am so thankful for His forgiveness and each new day that He gives me afresh to start over again. I stop and ask myself though....what DOES matter to me most? a sports team? fashion? my own time? Facebook? my family? money?.....or loving God in thought, word and action? Oh how I pray that each day the latter matters most to me.
What can direct us in each and every thing that we do? Oh to let nothing, NOTHING at all interfere with our deep love for God!
Here's something to think about. "Beware of spending too much time on things of too little importance." What comes to mind for you when you read that statement?
Another thing I was reminded of this morning is the question....is Jesus my co-pilot or my driver? With me at the wheel I turn on to the streets of self centeredness, greed or lust or I venture off into the swamps and ditches of pride or bitterness. If Jesus is driving, I don't take these turns. If I was crucified with Him as it says in Galatians 2:20, then he is at the wheel - He died so that He alone could live in me, take the wheel, drive and define my life and where I am going - that should be my JOY to let him drive! There may be bumps along the road but I can count on HIM to take me somewhere good.
Doesn't that just give you Jesus bumps sisters?? It does me.
I invite you to share your thoughts below as you read these words today.
Thank you God for each of my sisters in Christ...all at different places in their journey with You. Be with each and every one in a very special way and bless each one. Be real to them Father, touch their lives, move their spirit and speak to them in tangible ways. ALL of our lives, IN every season, YOU are still God and WE have a reason to sing, WE have a reason to worship............
Much love and prayers
your sister in Christ
Please feel free to share your thoughts with me - I'd love to hear from you....just click on 'comments' and share your heart. :-)
Friday, April 09, 2010
What a great study Loved by God was for us ladies. It was such a blessing to receive these teachings from God's Word through Liz Curtis Higgs. Following are what a few of the women have written and want to share with you what God had shown them through this study:
Another Bible Study has come to an end. Liz Curtis Higgs took us on a journey into the lives of Jacob, Esau, Leah and Rachel. Again I was introduced to deeper aspects into the lives of these people that I had never really studied or thought of before. God is amazing. He teaches us so many things in how he reveals himself in the lives of others. We soon got to learn that God can work with flawed people. We all have our faults, but God can still use us despite them. We can trust that God will hold true to his promises, but we can't hold him to answer them in our timing, or the way we want him to. Sometimes he will allow us to go through some devastation in order to bring us closer to Him, but He will never forsake us or give up on us. God's arms are never too short and He will never love us more, if we are good. While we were sinners, Christ died for us, because he loved us so much.
These four characters that we studied often acted on impulse, to get immediate pleasure, forgetting what the long term effects might be and how we can hurt other people, but God still used them to teach us many life lessons. Let's face it. Our Messiah came from the line of Judah, which was the son of Leah, the women that Jacob never really loved. But after giving Jacob four sons and hoping that he would finally love her, she finally realized that God loved her and He was always with her through her difficult times of loneliness. We need to live our lives in truth and honesty and not to deceive others and examine our motives. God can turn our hurts into forgiveness and blessings, so that in the end we can give God all the praise and glory He deserves. God loves to work with "pit people". His grace is big enough. His well of love is deep enough and His vision is eternal. Praise God.
Lisa Braun At some point, I will post more but for now I want to share that it's so amazing how we were reminded this last week that the line of the Messiah started with Leah...a woman who was unloved by her husband. When she had her 4th son and had a change of heart and cried out "This time, I will praise the Lord!" WOW! From Judah, the line of the Messiah came...and he was not perfect by any means either. Christ did not come from the line of the Levites..the ones that were chosen and set aside to serve God in the temple ministry...Christ came from the line of Judah. In that line, are imperfect women like the prostitute Rahab, and Tamar - the daughter-in-law of Judah who deceived her father-in-law and pretended she was a prostitute herself so she could continue Judah's line....to Ruth who was a Moabite. God chose imperfect people/women to be in the family line his son Jesus. WOW! I am imperfect...and He uses me! That is so humbling to me. I am so inadequate at times..but He continues to use me! When we are at our weakest points, that is when God can use us so greatly. But that is so backwards to us humans. We want to be strong and do things right and be independent. But Our Great God wants us to be completely dependent on Him, using our weak points to show others HIS strength. As Liz puts it in her video "a big girl in Jesus needs to say I am so weak and you are so strong enough for both of us." We ARE loved by God ladies! Leah was loved by God and God's love is enough! She was unloved by her husband...but God became her greatest husband and God's love is enough! Lord, give me a garment of praise rather than a spirit of despair. Help me to measure blessings Your way and not my way. I can't change the person next to me God, but I can change myself...with your strength. The greatest blessing I can have is a relationship with you Lord. Ps. 16:11 "In thy presence is fullness of joy, in thy right hand are pleasures forever."
Lydia Eymann I've read the story of this family before, but somehow they never appeared to me the same way as they do now after studying this chapter. Isaac, Jacob, Rachel etc. seemed to me as "good" people because God has chosen them. But now I come to think, they were not as good as I thought . They were just ordinary folks with selfish ambitions, crafty and deceiving. The part that surprised me, is how little Jacob had to do with God, even after he had the encounter with God at the stairway of heaven. And still, God loved him, protected him and kept his promises to bless him greatly and give him and all his descendants the land he was lying on at the moment. It gives me great hope to see that the Lord is with us and cares so much, even if we fail. In the last part of the study I could identify myself more with Leah than with Rachel. To see how much God loved her and saw that she suffered, gives me great comfprt. God blessed this woman, and God blesses still all the women who are looking to Him for comfort, guidance, help and love. We can always trust in His promises. God's timing is perfect, because it is His timing, not ours. Liz Curtis Higgs has a wonderful way to tell the biblical truth and I'm glad I was there to learn. As always I enjoyed the fellowship with all the ladies. Thank you Lisa for leading this study, God bless you♥
Kathy-Kim Dyck "Loved by God" With all the imperfection that I am, I sometimes wonder and am amazed how this Holy God can love me. It's so encouraging to read stories in the Bible of so many people who messed up, did things their own way, disobeyed God, then had to live with the consequences. Yet God is so faithful! Once they turned back to Him, He turned it around and worked His good a perfect plan into the mess. While this is encouraging, I'm reminded of the many times I've jumped ahead of God and done things my way and ended up having to muddle through some tough and ugly stuff. Finally when I've come to the end of myself, I have no where to turn but Him. It's so much easier trusting Him and waiting for His timing in the first place, but it requires more faith. God loves us too much to let us waste ourselves and live carelessly, giving importance to everything and everyone but Him.
Hebrews 13:5 God himself has said "I will not in any way fail you, nor give you up, nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not in any way leave you helpless, nor forsake you, nor let you down.
That was the verse from week 3 and I began to see it in a new way. I believe this verse isn't just for times when I face things that are out of my control, but it's also a promise to me that in times when I allow other people, other things, my own desires, take priority in my life over my relationship with Him. He promises that He will not give up on me. He'll do what it takes to get my attention back on Him. While this is not always pleasant it's such reassurance that He will not, He will not, He will not (it's repeated 3 times!!!) leave me helpless.I love the verse from week six. Psalm 73:25-26 Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart. He is mine forever.
I want to remember that even when I'm busy with the cares of this life,..to give those cares to Him and seek Him first. Not sometimes, or even most of the time, but always and in everything.
Thanks Lisa, for leading us through the "Loved by God" series. You really have been given a gift for leading Bible studies. God bless you and bless you.
MARY Hildebrandt shares this:
We receive blessing after blessing from the Lord. We do not deserve it, but the Lord is so gracious.
We must learn to not just listen to God's word , but we must do the things God asks of us.
Firstly to Love each other with a God kind of Love.
The Lord wants to be in our life if we only allow Him in.
When we are in distress and call on the Lord, He hears us and is always there for us.
The Lord comforts us in time of trouble.
The Lord always hears us when we call on Him.
Each day God carries us in His arms.
I learned over and over again, regardless how many times we mess up , God will always take us in His loving arms and help us.
Even though I had heard this story many times, I learned new things. Isaac & Rebekah were to be used of God, but chose to do their own thing, so much like myself. I remind myself to wait and have patience when the Lord does not seem to hear me, not to make quick decisions without hearing from God. I learned how important “Blessings” are, once spoken cannot be taken back. The Lord will work out His plans, even though I mess up completely, only I will miss out on the blessings. It is good to know God’s word, but to know Him is even better. That outward beauty is fine, but I want to strive for beauty of my soul and heart. Sin will always have its consequences, negative. I long to be more Christ-like, allowing the Holy Spirit to have complete control of me. Once again, I enjoyed these lessons and the fellowship. I thoroughly enjoyed Liz Curtis Higgs’ teaching.
Deanna shares this:
The Lord is our refuge and the rock of our salvation. He is ever faithful. When we stray, He is there waiting for us. As we studied Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Leah, we begin to realize that God has a plan for us. No matter how far we stray from God, He is waiting for us. I sometimes have to wonder why God is so patient with us. We reject Him, we turn from Him and go our own way, we totally disregard Him, but in the end, He is there. He forgives us if we go to Him, if we fall on our knees and bow down to Him. If things go wrong, do we blame Him? When we make the wrong choices, do we put God on the back burner? Do we only call on God when there is no other way? The trials and temptations are out there, but God is stronger than Satan ever will be. When we sin, we sin against God, He alone is there, waiting. Like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, they realized in the end there is only one God, and He is steadfast in His love for us. Great is His faithfulness. All I have needed He has provided. How can we use this in today’s world? By totally relying on God and obeying Him, and to study His word. For He alone gives us our strength, to turn away from the evil of this world. There was sin in Abraham’s time and there is sin today. So we sometimes just have to turn our eyes on Jesus and fall on our knees and ask Him to guide and direct us on the journey of faith, love, and obedience to Him. Not only sometimes, but always, as God loved us so much He sent His only Son to earth to show us the way, to teach us and to lead us. He died on the cross and rose again, so we could have life everlasting. As the song says “Our God is an awesome God.” God’s love spans as far as the heavens are from the earth, and as far as the east is from the west, His love is everlasting. Just think, He is waiting for us.
Joyce shares this from her heart:
Taking this study was really good for me. I learned something new from each lesson. God has touched my heart in so many ways. God has given me so much to think about. Trusting His promises. I like that when Liz says we’re not flat, we’re just fluffy. And all the problems with Jacob had and he knew God still loved him and forgave him. And the Bible verses – every one of them touched my heart. And now we can’t run from God. The miracles of God, His forgiveness and the prayers in each lesson meant so much. I f I hadn’t gotten rid of all the bad garbage I was carrying, this study would have been hard for me. I like the saying in week 4: Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart. Amen. I love this prayer: Loving Father, you have shown overwhelming love for me, especially by sending your Son to die for my sins. And you continue to show your love for me, in providing for my needs, in continually forgiving me, in protecting me from harm. May the love you pour into my life flow over to others. Help me release my impatience, my frustration of others and replace it with your love…. God disciplines us because He loves us. I love Liz’s actions and the way she spoke. We should praise God for the things we have not complain for what we don’t have. God can build His plans without our help. Don’t mess around with God and think we need to help Him. God can work through our faults and failures. Thank you for all the Bible studies you did for me. You are such a blessing and I am very blessed that I got to know you. God put you in the right place. Keep on smiling and thank you for all the Bible verses you sent me. May God bless you. Your sister in Christ, Joyce Mann. Ps. I am praying God will bring you back in the fall to teach for us.
Nobody resents being cheated more than a cheater. It is amazing how the sinful patterns of our parents are often repeated in our own lives. How often family dysfunctions repeat themselves generation after generation. We may feel as if we don’t belong anywhere and that there are enemies all around us. But even when things are at their worst, I need to be aware that God is with us, whispering “Do not be afraid.” Parents should never play favorites with their children. Forgiveness can take place even when deep hurts have been suffered. Even habitually deceitful people can face the past, change and recover their relationships. There are often times when God, through circumstances will change our plans. Through grace, He often delivers me from making bad choices and protects me from the terribly consequences. Time and time again I have chosen to give up the things that are really important in my life for immediate satisfaction or for something that will dull the pain that I hide inside. But even though time has been lost, there is hope for me, if I am willing to take steps forward. God is willing to bless me with healing even when I don’t really deserve it. I need to become more aware of my weaknesses and look to God for his help each step of the way. I must surrender my will to God in the process of recovery.
Summary of trusting his promises and experiencing his blessings: Esau traded his rights as a first born son for a bowl of stew to fill his empty stomach. His concern was to satisfy his immediate needs and didn’t stop to think about his future. As in often times families experience sibling rivalry and these twins took it to a higher level. The parents didn’t help the situation any by playing favorites with their sons. Isaac clearly preferred Esau while Rebekah favored Jacob. It is heartbreaking to watch Rebekah and Isaac conspire to deceive Jacob. They went to great lengths to fool the old man with poor eye sight. Rebekah dresses Jacob in Esau’s finest clothes, she made him a pair of gloves from the hairy skin of a young goat, then she gave him the meat dish and fresh baked bread. Isaac expects his son Esau to return to him, and all the while being fooled by Jacob, Isaac was totally convinced and blesses him. Soon after the blessing after Jacob leaves his father, Esau returns and Isaac realizes that he had blessed Jacob instead of his beloved Esau. Esau hated Jacob for stealing his blessing. Rebekah caught wind of Esau’s plan to kill Jacob, so she tells Jacob to leave and go to her brother Laban in Haran and tells Isaac that she doesn’t want him to marry a local girl. So Isaac tells Jacob to go and marry one of Uncle Laban’s daughters. Then Jacob makes a vow to God, more like trying to con God and give him an offer He can’t refuse saying that “If God will protect me on this journey and give me food and clothing and bring me back safely to my father, then I will make the Lord my God.” When Jacob gets to his uncle Laban’s land, he sees Rebekah and loves her. Jacob spends the next 7 years working for Laban for his daughter’s hand in marriage, but at the wedding night Laban had his oldest daughter Leah dress in fully and because it was dark Jacob didn’t know he had slept with the wrong daughter till morning, then he felt tricked and talks to Laban about it. Then Laban promises to give Rachel to him after the bridal week is over and if he agrees to work for him for another 7 years.
Written by : Mary Hamm
Thanks again for the study and all the work that went in to setting it up. As usual I wish I had time to do the work book and be at every study session but sometimes life is not accommodating.
This study and the study of the lives of Jacob, Rachel and Leah resonated with me and my spiritual journey. When we are immersed in the times of trials, low points and spiritual emptiness in our lives, we are so close to the situation that sometimes it's hard to see where God is in it all. But from a distance, be it at the end of our own tunnel or in viewing another's (such as the people in the study) , we see God much more clearly. God doesn't move from us. If there is a gap, it is ours to remedy as the bridge was permanently placed for us. We must just walk across it. The tragedy is that once we have become freshly aware of Gods closeness it takes very little time to forget again. Quite often, it as though we never really learned. So, our ever patient Father allows us to make our choices and drift again and feel alone in order to enable us to realize anew that He is still here. He allows us the time we need to turn around a see His face again and run into His eternally forgiving arms and yet again grieve at our foolishness, our foolishness which alone put us back in to the place of missing His presence.
I know this wasn't necessarily the gist of the message of the study but some of the things we discussed plus the place I am in my life has recently brought me back many times to dwell on this truth.