Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Gems from the Book of Thessalonians

I just realized I had written this back in 2014 and hadn't published it so that's why it's going up today :) Enjoy these gems! ♡

This first week after gathering about 100 ladies together through 4 Bible study groups, my challenge to them was to read through the book of Thessalonians for their homework and to choose a verse or two or a number of them, that spoke to them. I've been thinking about the verses that jump out at me and that have come to mean a lot to me from journeying through this study over the summer. I've often listened to this book over CD while driving in my car and of course every time a different verse speaks to me. That's what I love about God's Word...it's alive and active and no matter how many times you hear the same verse, it can speak to you differently each time, depending on the circumstances of your life/day at that moment you're hearing or reading it. :) So I'd like to share with you a few of the different verses/passages that have jumped out at, grabbed me, spoken to me at different times.

"We are writing to the church in Thessalonica, to you who belong to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."  1 Thess. 1:1
I imagine writing this to all the women who've been in Bible study with me over the years, who I've spoken to at different ladies retreats and conferences, who have attended church with me...and this is how I want to be addressed as well....to you who belong to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

"2 We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly. As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ." 
AMEN! This is how I feel towards women who've been a part of my life through Bible study, etc. and also some men who are passionate followers of God too...and this is also how I want to be known as. ♥

"We know, dear brothers and sisters,[b] that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people."
I'm not getting very far yet :)  but I LOVE the fact that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people!! That's me! That's you! As followers of Christ, you have been chosen and are loved greatly!!

"6 So you received the message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the severe suffering it brought you."
No matter what our circumstances are, to receive the message of the Gospel with JOY in spite of the suffering it may bring us....THAT is the place I want to be at! I pray you do too!!

"You yourselves know, dear brothers and sisters,[a] that our visit to you was not a failure. You know how badly we had been treated at Philippi just before we came to you and how much we suffered there. Yet our God gave us the courage to declare his Good News to you boldly, in spite of great opposition."  1 Thess 2:1-2
When we speak to others about Christ, it's such a blessing to know that our visit with them was not a failure! Even though Paul and Silas were treated badly at Philippi and suffered there, they still had courage from God to declare His Good News to the Thessalonians boldy in spite of the opposition. Oh Lord that's the courage I so desire....no matter how critical people are, please give me boldness and courage to share Your Word no matter what!  Such an encouraging passage of Scripture!

"For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts."  chapter 2
I too am a messenger approved by God, entrusted by God, called by God, equipped by God. My purpose is to please God not people. That's often easier said than done. Knowing that it's Him who examines the motives of my heart keeps me from staying on a deceitful or manipulative path for too long and I love how His Spirit nudges me to repentance from a wrong attitude or motive and bring me back to the right path with Him. ♥

"We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too."
I love you too much to not share the Gospel with you! ♥ I heard it said just the other day that friends don't let friends go to Hell. Some may see it as a drastic statement but it's true. How much do we care? So often we're/I'm too afraid of offending someone so I don't say anything, but is that the right thing to do? Paul loved others so much that he was constantly bold in sharing God's Good News with others, and sharing his own life with them too. That's again how I want to be. :)

"11 And you know that we treated each of you as a father treats his own children. 12 We pleaded with you, encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy. For he called you to share in his Kingdom and glory."
There are times when my children and even my hubby, or other people around me, feel I'm being to forceful or pressuring too much. I try not to but the thought of them not being passionate for living for God frightens me to no end. And when I meet women/people everyday, I feel the same way. Oh how I desire every person I meet to be in a passionate committed relationship with Jesus Christ! 

"19 After all, what gives us hope and joy, and what will be our proud reward and crown as we stand before our Lord Jesus when he returns? It is you! 20 Yes, you are our pride and joy."
Again, it gives me such joy to share with others about the reward it gives me to journey through a Bible study with others and to see the growth and passion in them in following the Lord. To tell God what joy your desire to follow Him brings to me and the prayers that are answered...well there's just nothing like it! I love Bible study and I love every woman who God brings to me through it! ♥

"12 And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows."
Love is what conquers all things, does it not? I've been on a journey to love in a greater way and when I've reached the point where I don't think I can love anymore, God gives me more love. I could not do it on my own. With His love flowing into me, I can't help but pour it out to others. But there's definitely times when the enemy tries to hinder that and pushes my all too human tendencies to quench that love and to keep me from loving others by showing me all their faults and flaws and wanting me to focus on those instead of on God's love. God forgive me. Oh He is so gracious and forgiving and merciful and loving! ♥

"13 May he, as a result, make your hearts strong, blameless, and holy as you stand before God our Father when our Lord Jesus comes again with all his holy people. Amen."   1 Thess 3:13
This is my prayer for every woman that crosses my path through Bible study or retreats or conferences...and for my children too. ♥

"Finally, dear brothers and sisters,[a] we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God..."  1 Thess 4:1
This is the only way to live and I wish more people got it!! At times I feel such an urgency in my heart/mind to try to make people get it...but I know I can't. I have to rely on the Holy Spirit to change people's hearts. I am simply a tool to plant the seeds and to pray for people. God knows where a person's heart is at and what it will take for them to change, I don't. But living in a way that pleases God is the most fulfilling life to live.

"God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body[b] and live in holiness and honor— not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways."  chapter 4
Our world is running rampant with sexual sin in every conceivable way possible. With social media, TV, movies, videos...our minds are becoming more and more desensitized and more acceptable. Lord PLEASE help us to see the error of all these ways and to seek purity in every aspect of our sexual lives. Protect our children! May we seek purity with everything we've got! How things were in Paul's day with all the sexual immorality, it is no different today...the only difference is we have far more access to it through social media than we ever have before.

"13 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died[f] so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.
15 We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died.[g] 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died[h] will rise from their graves.17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 18 So encourage each other with these words."   chapter 4
I think these are some of my favorite verses in the whole Bible! What HOPE! The most ultimate hope that we could ever have! Oh thank You Jesus!!  Some day I'M GONNA FLYYYYYY!! Whoohoo! ♥

Doing Some More Catch Up on Scripture Memory ♥

I'm not sure what's happened here on my blog but I found another post that hadn't been published. So sorry. Here's another one that's been written a while back that I'm just posting now :) It's time to do some catchup! ♡

Hey friends, I hope your summer has been wonderful! And I hope you've still been staying in the Word of God and hiding Scriptures in your heart through memorization. I've been doing some but not nearly as much as I should be....but I've still been writing them down on my recipe cue cards and keeping them in my Bible. Through Bible studies, the tours I've been on recently, devotions, sermons I hear and other things, God always gives me verses to hang on to and I love to write them down and keep them in my Bible.    It's been June since my last post on Scripture memory so I'd like to share my July, August, and September verses on here and I pray they will speak to you as much or even more than they spoke to me :) 

July 1
"Give fair judgement to the poor and the orphan; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute. Rescue the poor and the helpless; deliver them from the grasp of evil people. But these oppressors know nothing; they are so ignorant! And because they are in darkness, the whole world is shaken to the core." - Psalm 82:3-5 NLT
I chose this verse because being in Ecuador with my daughter with Compassion, I saw lots of poor and also knowing how many young girls are trapped in the sex trade breaks my heart...so these verses are very encouraging.
July 15
"God is working in you giving you the desire to obey Him and the power to do what pleases Him." - Philippians 2:13 NLT
There's a lot of stuff that I do and a friend had once asked me, Lisa are you Lisa 'being' or Lisa 'doing"? I do lots and I thrive on it but I also know that I couldn't do any of it if it weren't for the Lord giving me the strength to do it and the power to do it and the desire to do it. To HIM be the glory for all that He accomplishes through my life. 
Aug 1
"Your decrees are wonderful. No wonder I obey them. As your words are taught, they give light; even the simple can understand them. I open my mouth, panting expectantly, longing for your commands. Come and show me your mercy, as you do for all who love your name." - Psalm 119:129-132
I LOVE these verses and can't quite remember how I came across them. I think it was in the Children of the Day study actually. God's word is so alive and active and life-changing. They change us from the inside out and make us beautiful from the inside. Stay in the Word my friends...it what makes you shine and be beautiful when you're spending time in them every day. 

My verse for August 15

"All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable 
for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for 
training in righteousness, so that the 
man of God may be complete, 
equipped for every good work." 

2 Timothy 3:16-17 HCSB

I've read these verses a number of times over my life of Bible study but OH WOW! They struck me anew today with the depth of meaning that was behind these verses. What amazing verses!! I am/you are NOT complete or able to rightly teach or correct or rebuke or are trained in righteousness or equipped for good works if I am/you are NOT in the Word of God! Plain and simple! Being in the Word is extremely important in our daily life and it teaches us ALL we need to know in order to life a full and complete life. 
When I came upon this verse again, and wrote out it out, I was journeying through the Children of the Day Bible study by Beth Moore and I was going through it with thousands of other women across the globe through her Living Proof Ministries blog. In it, I had just read how William Tyndale had died by being strangled and then burned at the stake and the bishops of the church committed his soul to the devil because he translated the Holy Scriptures into English in 1526. My tears were constant as I wrote these verses out, knowing that I wouldn't be reading my Bible today had it not been for this man sacrificing his. You can read some of his story here William Tyndale and the Birth of the English Bible or from Wikipedia William Tyndale but the best version of his story is in Christianity Today Tyndale's Betrayal and Death 

Sept 1
"....the one who maintains his faith will not panic." - Isaiah 28:16 NET
"....the one who believes will be unshakable." - Isaiah 28:16 HCSB
This verse came up in the Beth Moore simulcast on Saturday and I LOVED it. Earlier in the verse it talks about Jesus the Messiah being the cornerstone, the sure foundation, the rock and then ends with this part that I want engrained into my soul....the one who maintains his (her) faith will not panic...will be unshakable! That's how I want my faith to be....
Sept 15
"Don't gloat when your enemy falls, and don't let your heart rejoice when he stumbles." - Proverbs 24:17 HCSB
During the Beth Moore Simulcast on Saturday, she was talking about how women treat women and how many times it does not honor God when our attitudes and actions are more human than godly. This verse was a great reminder that I need to rejoice with women when they succeed and have wonderful things happen in their lives and I need to be careful with my heart attitude if I see someone else struggling with things that I struggle with too. The devil likes to come into our thoughts or attitudes in very sneaky ways and loves to plant certain things in our minds at times...we gotta know what to do with them...give them to Jesus and not let any of it take root. 
SOOOOOO, there ya have it!!! I'd love to see some of yours that you've been recording and memorizing the past couple of months. Let's get this group back up to speed with Scriptures!! 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Day 6...the End of our Time here in Ecuador <3

As I've been writing these last couple of blog posts of our amazing trip to Ecuador, the clouds and sky have hovered around me in the most majestic way as I often gaze out the airplane window while listening to Hillsong music on my ipod...praise the name of The Lord oh my soul, sing his words, full of  life join the song, come and lift up our King...Christ is enough for me, Christ is enough for me, Christ is enough for me....worthy are You Lord, all the glory belongs to you forever....I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back....listening to the wonderful heart lifting praise songs while up in the never ending sky is the closest that I often feel physically to God....Holy Holy are you Lord, oh my soul, sing His word, come and lift up our King.....The way my heart always feels after ending a life changing trip is truly indescribable and to listen to praise music on the whole flight back is a great way to express all that is in my heart and mind through song and worship as the words express so much and more than how I am feeling at the moment....His Hope is an anchor for my soul and with God I will stand unshakable.....unchanging word, You was, You are and is to come....there is Hope in the promise of our God....our God will stand unchangable.....Your Name is high, Your Name is great, all my hope is in You, Your Word won't fail, Your cross unchanged, all my hope is in You.....amazing!!!!...I best not lift up my hands high in the air, as much as I want to....it may raise concern :) and embarassment. :)

Our 6th and last day was so full that it needs to be shared in two blog posts. Meeting our Compassion children was a great highlight, a super highlight of the trip, but the day didn't end when we waved goodbye to our children at 4 pm.  

We arrived back at the hotel just before 5 pm and a few of us who missed out on shopping in the little market yesterday...me and Kyrstin... :) wanted to go for a bit now. So our translator David took us together with Roxanne and Karen from the group. What a sweet little market it was. Such dear Spanish women selling their stuff with beautiful smiles and joy on their faces that we came to shop at their stall. :) I found a few items that I've been wanting to purchase before leaving Ecuador...a blanket, a pair of fun pants and scarves, another thick wool poncho and a colorful hammock. I still have my orange hammock from Bolivia but this beautiful colorful one with be a great addition for us at the lake. :) I also found a couple of items for my family and we walked away from the little market pleased with our purchases where the prices were very affordable. Now it was time to freshen up and get ready for our final supper together as a group to end our very very special day.

What a lovely room that was set up for us in the banquet room for our supper and there were even orange and brown colors in the decor. How much better could it be? :) As we prayed, much emotion was on our hearts thanking God for this amazing day and for the food set before us and for the fantastic week that we've all experienced. The food was wonderful as usual. Kyrstin was pleasantly surprised this week because the food was much better than what she imagined and that is a good thing to hear because she is quite particular with what she eats :) We had packed many granola bars and snacks for her because we thought that is what she'd be eating but to her surprise, she ate hardly any of it but God had another reason why we had packed so much of it....we had left it with Liliana's family <3 Oh how good that felt to leave a small blessing like that for them!

You have to remember I'm writing this all on the plane and when we flew away from Ecuador and watched the mountains fade behind us, the stewardess brought our breakfast. I took a few bites but it didn't taste very good. Instantly tears came to my eyes and I felt deeply convicted. I began to weep as I watched the scenery around me out the airplane window. The tears wouldn't stop. I have food at my disposal, I can climb into my car and drive, I am in an airplane flying for goodness sake!! There's so many great things about my life and I have all I want ....and my first thought is I don't like the taste of this food....while everyone who I just visited up in those mountains barely had enough food to eat everyday. So many questions ran through my head...why was I born where I was and not where they were, why them and not me, why me and not them, change my heart God and help me to be more grateful and help me to appreciate everything about my life more.

                         View from our hotel room on our last night in Quito, Ecuador

But back to our final supper together....As we were finishing up our meal, a group of 5 brothers entered the room with their instruments and began singing and playing for us. Wow! (yes I got a CD :) What voices and talent they have! The most amazing part is that they are all a direct result of Compassion! Yes!! 4 of the 5 brothers went through the complete sponsor program but the 5th brother was always there with them.  Compassion has a policy that no more than 3 family members, possibly 4 in extreme poverty situations, can be registered in a project. But that is enough as the help for those children extends to the family. The youngest brother is currently a Leadership Development Student (LDP) as well. Their testimony and enthusiasm for Jesus was astounding. It was soooo wonderful to have them end this time with us! They have had opportunity to do a bit of travelling with their testimony and music but have dreams of going more places. Each of them has a career and are strong leaders in their area of influence, one of the brothers is now a Compassion Project Director as well. Amazing to see and hear how all through their lives, Compassion was there, from young on, helping them with their education, believing in them and their dreams, providing doctor and dentist checkups and food, giving them the hope in Jesus..and now their are a true testimony of what God has done in and through their lives because of Him and the work of Compassion. WOW WOW WOW is all we can say! We had not imagined the day would get any better but it just did! I think every single one of us in the group bought one of their CD's. :) We celebrated together with them through song and dance...so wonderful!!

Then it was time for goodbyes.... :( oh goodbyes are hard. Lots of goodbyes in the room after supper and some stayed up visiting in the lobby. I needed to go pack up and shower. At 3:30 am we woke up and were on the bus by 5 am after some coffee and croisants in the hotel lobby followed by more goodbyes. The bus ride would be an hour to the airport and our plane would be leaving at 8:30 am. We flew up into the air watching the incredible beauty of the Andes Mountains fading beneath us, leaving a part of our hearts behind in Ecuador. But we've made life-long friendships that will last into eternity! Can anything get better than that??!! No it can't! Being part of the family of God is a HUGE adventure and so amazing!! He is so faithful and gracious and loving and has wonderful wonderful wonderful surprises for us continually in our journey here on earth. This week has been filled with many of them. Thank You God for all of this! May we have the joy that many of the beautiful people we met on this trip have. I pray that Jesus is enough for all of us!

    Giving a gift to our translators whom we all loved dearly

         Our bus driver Jose and our Compassion Ecuador Tour Leader Anita

        In Miami and we couldn't wait to get fast food from Wendy's :)

          Flying out of Miami :)

        Whoohoo!!! Tim's in Calgary!!! :)

     Whahoooo! The prairies of SK <3

        Robyn trying to sleep on the plane but I was wide awake, excited and blogging! :)

    Apparently Kyrstin feels I take horrible selfies and she had to show me how to do it right :)

     Flying into Saskatoon......yaaaaaaayyyyyy......

Gracie is soooo happy to have me home, she stays by my feet :) love my doggie and my family too :)

   We have a content doggy in our home now :) mammas home <3

  A happy place to be with my hubby and with my doggies...in warm sunshine in our backyard :)

My friends, I have brought home 3 sponsor packs back home with me of beautiful young girls that need a loving sponsor. Here are their pictures. They would be friends of Liliana's :) and if you would like to sponsor them, please connect with me by email.

So that's all for now folks, until we meet again on another grand journey. :) Keep looking to Jesus and may He be enough <3

......well....actually here's a few snapshots from my other camera which I noticed just now.... :)