Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Re-learned Lesson

I hope you have been blessed this week through your Bible study. God has reminded me of the value of His presence. I am blessed to walk right in and sit with Him. He invites me to bring my deepest hurts and fears and my most casual conversation. He desires relationship. He welcomes wherever we are, broken and weak, strong and joyful, calm and quiet, loud and laughing. He delights in the presence of His people and longs for His people to delight in His presence. 

 Here’s what I re-learned this week: His presence = fullness of Joy

 Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the lesson I am writing or teaching that I forget to sit and bask in His presence. I get to the end and see what He has taught me and what He wants me to teach others and find I missed the greatest treasure. I struggle to discern the relational aspect of being in His word to know Him and being in His word to know about Him and what He is like. We definitely want to know about Him and what He is like, but if it is not for relationship sake, we miss the whole point.

I truly do find my greatest time and place of joy is in His presence. Studying His word is one way He intended for me and you to relate to Him and bask in His presence. 

Why  do we study His word?

·         To know who He is for relationship sake

·         To know His heart and desires for relationship sake

·         To know what He says about me and His expectations for relationship sake

Why is relationship so important? For me, I am not a rule follower by nature. Apart from relationship with Jesus, I saw the Bible as a book of rules. I now see the Bible as a book of vibrant life that delights my soul!

Thank you for joining the journey through His word! Now It’s your turn.
What lesson did you learn or re-learn that was most significant to you and why?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Week 1 - Forget the Past & Link to God's Word

Well Ladies, So glad you joined me on this journey, this Quest for Wholeness! Just like Paul and Joshua, we all have things in our life we need to forget.
  • Forget doesn't mean that our past never comes in our mind again, but that we stop acting on the memory of it.
If not, we might stay linked to a past that hinders us from the future, the Promised Land, or the Wholeness that God intends. Our pasts and futures all look different, but wholeness is a part of every believer’s future who links to the truth of God’s word rather than the reality of their past. Linked to our past keeps us connected to who we were. 

  •  Remember, through His word we walk in wisdom, power, and victory on a successful path to wholeness. Linked to God’s word keeps us connected to our God and what He can do. 
Joshua could have easily stayed linked to Moses’ memory and missed the Promised Land. But Joshua listened and responded to God in obedience. Joshua learned to trust in God’s love. He learned that God’s word and direction for His life was good, right, and true. Paul learned the same lesson. Paul said, “what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. (Phil. 3:7) Therefore, Paul said he forgot those things which were behind and reached forward to those things which were ahead. (Phil. 3:13)

I always think about the way God’s spiritual healing in my life affected my children’s life. I remember the day my daughter (10 at the time) heard my testimony of my ugly sinful past. Wise for her age she said, “Mom, do you realize how different my life would be if Jesus had not changed your life?” WOW! Girl, do I ever!

 Are there things in your life that you have been able to forget, to leave behind, or let God bury and therefore, experienced His healing and wholeness in your life? What areas of your life have been affected because of that healing?



Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I am so excited to teach Quest For Wholeness again! This study is personal because it has so much of my own journey from a pit of sin to freedom in Christ. I do not teach as if I am a person who has arrived but one still on a journey to wholeness. I don’t believe that in our flesh, blood, and bones body we reach the ultimate place of wholeness, but we continue to press towards that perfected state. Paul said in Phil.1:6 that we can be “confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.
Yesterday a friend and mentor shared a Scripture she felt God had laid on her heart to speak to me. I knew that God was giving me a word of encouragement because the Scripture she spoke was one I have treasured and prayed so many times throughout my journey. It was a personal word to me from God. That is what God does in a daily walk with Him, He leads, guides, encourages, and speaks personal words to us that affect our daily life.

While our wholeness is completed in the heavenly realm, Scripture pictures an earthly progressive transformation taking place that continues throughout our earthly existence. I guess that’s why we can’t say we walked an aisle once or once said a prayer and now we are fixed.

We who are in Jesus Christ are called to a daily life with Christ.
  • Jesus taught daily in the temple. (Matt. 26:55; Luke 19:47
  • Jesus taught His disciples how to pray saying, “Give us this day, our daily bread.” (Matt. 6:11; Luke 11:3)
  • The early church in its infancy - “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. .And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”( Acts 2:46-47) 

            The early church pictured authentic faith. What makes faith authentic is the daily-ness of our faith. Daily living with Christ means our daily lives are affected by Christ and we are truly living what we believe. Why was the Lord daily adding to the church those being saved? Because they lived daily in Christ, for Christ, and through Christ, and people could see the authenticity of that faith in daily lives.

Quest For Wholeness is about being on a daily journey walking with Jesus throughout life until we step from dirt to gold and are transformed into the perfected state of His image. What a glorious day that will be! But until then, the most glorious day we can have every day is in His presence.

 In what ways does Jesus daily affect your life?



Upcoming Bible Study 

Quest for Wholeness - Healing the Broken

Starting on September 17th. 

Go  to our website for more information and to sign up.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Linking Arms - Pat

While reading the description (pg. 183-84) of the biennial International AIDS Conference Kay Warren attended in Bangkok in 2004, I remembered a time when Paul had a similar experience. Acts 17:16 - While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. In a place where God was numbered among many gods, Paul fulfilled his calling in that place by exalting the one true God and making Him known to those who had not know Him. I have a sentence underlined in my Bible that is in the middle of Paul’s teaching that day. He said, “For in him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28) Kay Warren mentioned another teaching by Paul that led her to understand her God given call to be His hands and feet in the world of HIV/AIDS. This is her passion because this is her call by God.

God established His church to be His body – His hands and feet, but as Scripture teaches, each one is gifted to do that in a unique way. This would be a good time to read 1 Corinthians 12.

So many times we struggle with our purpose or our calling. We wrestle with we aren’t that gifted; we aren’t that special; we aren’t that able, and the truth is, we aren’t. Jesus said, “Without me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) But as Paul said in Acts 17:28, “In Him we live and move and have our being.” I wondered if you had discovered how He has gifted you to be His hands and feet because He has gifted you to do that. It won’t look just like Kay Warren’s or Paul’s or Pat’s or your best friend’s or your spouse’s but in some magnificent way we are gifted to be His hands and feet, a light in the darkness.

Many times we can discover our calling seeking God and merging our answers of questions like:
· What are you passionate about?
· What burdens your heart?
· What charges your battery and gives you energy?
· What are you most motivated by?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

An Unexpected Bond - Pat

Dear Ladies,

I have always been told that you never begin a letter with an apology. I wonder if the same rules apply with a blog… If so, sorry to break the rules and I am sorry that I fell behind in blogging. Life took a turn for the overwhelming this past 2 weeks and I am hanging on with the hope that this too shall pass.

However, I did read chapter 9 last week and was struck by the perspective that Kay Warren gave me about the prostitutes. I never really thought about them from the perspective of what was behind their occupation may have been suffering and even no choice in the matter. It always was just a bad girl occupation not an evil forced on a young girl or woman to kill, steal, and destroy her life. The good news is that Jesus came to give abundant life. He also said in Mark 9:42, “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.” Evil may be free to do evil today but there will come a day when evil has to pay!

The other half of the chapter focused on taking “communion” or the “Lord’s Supper.” I could not help but wonder how we have missed the true purpose and intent of remembering the great gift of His broken body and His precious blood which gave us a new and living way to enter into His presence, both now and forever, and with boldness.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Gift of Presence - Ashley

As followers of Jesus, you and I are containers of God.” (Pg.137)

I love this statement, and it speaks masses to my heart. We tend to focus on the action steps and the list of activities while hurrying past hurting people. We are not just called to be His hands and feet, but also to allow Him to take up residence within us and behold His light, love, and power so that others can experience Jesus when they experience us. In 2 Corinthians 4:7 He calls this gift a “precious treasure”. He does not need us, but He chooses to use us to shine His glory because He knows we need Him. He desires to be seen and known—not us.

It says: “But this precious treasure—this light and power that now shines within us – is held in perishable containers, that is, in our weak bodies. So everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and is not our own.”

We do not have to go to Africa to have the opportunity to make an invisible God visible (although some may be called there). He sets before His children opportunities everyday to “just be” with hurting people. We must make room for Jesus in our hearts and become His containers of light, love, and power. Many times the greatest gift we can offer someone is not an "action step" but simply the giving of ourselves!

What is your container filled with?

Is there “VACANCY” inside your heart for Him?