Monday, March 29, 2010

When Godly People Do Ungodly Things - Week 2

Yesterday was one of those really special Sundays. First of all, there were 9 in our Young Adult Bible study group, we had our first communion service in our new worship center, we enjoyed a church-wide picnic at the Garrett’s and we had an Easter Egg hunt for the kids. It was a gorgeous day, not too hot outside, and no mosquitoes.  As you can tell, Jack and I had some fun showing off and taking a photo opp on Lonnie Smith's motorcycle!

After the picnic I went home and took my final for the Leadership course and was so happy for it to be over! This course has been an especially challenging one for me and I am ready to move on after a much needed break for the next 2 weeks. Then last night our ladies enjoyed another wonderful time together sharing about how the Lord is working in our lives through the When Godly People … Bible study.

The title of this week’s session was God’s Permissive Will and here are just a few of the things we learned taken from my notes.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Cry Out to Jesus by Third Day

To everyone who's lost someone they love
Long before it was their time
You feel like the days you had were not enough
when you said goodbye

And to all of the people with burdens and pains
Keeping you back from your life
You believe that there's nothing and there is no one
Who can make it right

There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus

For the marriage that's struggling just to hang on
They lost all of their faith and love
They've done all they can to make it right again
Still it's not enough

For the ones who can't break the addictions and chains
You try to give up but you come back again
Just remember that you're not alone in your shame
And your suffering

There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus

When your lonely (when you're lonely)
And it feels like the whole world is falling on you
You just reach out, you just cry out to Jesus
Cry to Jesus

To the widow who suffers from being alone
Wiping the tears from her eyes
For the children around the world without a home
Say a prayer tonight

There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Better than a Hallelujah by Amy Grant

God loves a lullaby
In a mothers tears in the dead of night
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes.
God loves a drunkards cry,
A soldiers plea not to let him die
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes.

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful the mess we are
But honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah.

Woman holding on for life,
A dying man giving up the fight
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes
Tears of shame for whats been done,
A silence when the words wont come
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes.

Better than a church bell ringing,
Better than a choir singing loud, singing out.

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful the mess we are
But honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Accept the Good

"Imagine a woman who has ten coins and loses one. Won't she light a lamp and scour the house, looking in every nook and cranny until she finds it? And when she finds it you can be sure she'll call her friends and neighbors: 'Celebrate with me! I found my lost coin!' Count on it—that's the kind of party God's angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God." Luke 15:8-10

I think I now know how that woman felt who was looking for her lost coin and made a startling discovery. The Amplified version says that she had 10 coins, each one equal to a day's wages.   That means she had plenty of money to last her for 9 days, but yet she was desperately seeking for the one coin which meant so much to her.  It doesn't say if this woman was single or widowed or married, but I imagine that either she depended on the money for her survival or she knew her husband would be really upset over her losing the grocery money.

Have you ever looked for something you thought was lost

Monday, March 22, 2010

When Godly People Do Ungodly Things - Week One

We completed our first week of study in Beth Moore's When Godly People Do Ungodly Things. We had two new ladies join our group last night.  After a time of fellowship and viewing a video by Beth, the women divide up into two groups for a discussion and share time. Our lesson for week one was entitled "The Warning" and I wanted to share with you some of the highlights of our study from my notes:

The purpose of the study is to understand how the people described in 2 Corinthians 11:2-3 as being wholeheartedly, sincerely, and purely devoted to Christ can be beguiled by  Satan and have their minds corruped and seduced. Satan is out to destroy the testimony of those who are influential and who genuinely love God. I Peter 5:3 defines Satan as a roaring lion who is seeking to devour us. Some ways he tries to devour Christians is by insecurity, bitterness, fear, worry and obsessive thoughts.  One of his chief objectives is to make the clean feel unclean.  He desires to stain the bride of Christ by corrupting her thoughts in order to manipulate her feelings.  He knows that the nature of humans is to act out of how we feel rather than what we know.  One of our most important defenses against satanic influence is learning to behave out of what we know is truth rather than what we feel. 

One of his most powerful weapons is sexual seduction.  He wants to make the clean feel unclean in hopes that they will act unclean.  Sexual sin is a perfect choice because it can be highly addictive and breeds shame like nothing else and has terrible ramifications.

Beth shared that she had collected stack of letters containing testimonies of people who had devoted their lives to Christ and who walked with God consistently only to find themselves suddenly seduced into ungodly behavior.  She listed 16 common claims of the seduced:

Beautiful Beautiful by Francesca Battistelli

Dont know how it is,
You looked at me...
And saw the person that I could be.
Awakening my heart,
Breaking through the dark;
Suddenly, Your grace...

Like sunlight burning at midnight,
Making my life something so
Beautiful, beautiful...
Mercy reaching to save me...
All that I need.
You are so
Beautiful, beautiful...

Now theres a joy inside I cant contain...
But even perfect days can end in rain.
And through its pouring down,
I see You through the clouds...
Shining on my face...

Thoughts on Love

"Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being "in love" which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two."
-St. Augustine

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Newborn's Conversation With God

A baby asked God, "They tell me you are sending me to earth tomorrow, but how am I going to live there being so small and helpless?"

God said, "Your angel will be waiting for you and will take care of you."

The child further inquired, "But tell me, here in heaven I don't have to do anything but sing and smile to be happy."

God said, "Your angel will sing for you and will also smile for you.

And you will feel your angel's love and be very happy."

Again the small child asked, "And how am I going to be able to understand when people talk to me if I don't know the language?"

God said, "Your angel will tell you the most beautiful and sweet words you will ever hear, and with much patience and care, your angel will teach you how to speak."

"And what am I going to do when I want to talk to you?"

God said, "Your angel will place your hands together and will teach you how to pray."

"Who will protect me?"

God said, "Your angel will defend you even if it means risking its life."

"But I will always be sad because I will not see you anymore."

God said, "Your angel will always talk to you about Me and will teach you the way to come back to Me, even though I will always be next to you."

At that moment there was much peace in Heaven, but voices from Earth could be heard and the child hurriedly asked,

"God, if I am to leave now, please tell me my angel's name."

God said, "You will simply call her, Mom."

Monday, March 15, 2010

Don't Let it Fool You

Last night I completed chapter 7 of So Long, Insecurity by Beth Moore. The chapter entitled "Don't Let it Fool You" contains the stories of women who have been fooled by insecurity.  I ran across another passage that really hit home with me that I wanted to share with you. 

"God Himself formed human emotions.  He knows how easily the heart can be broken.  The mind can be marred.  He knows life hurts ... because people hurt ... and then hurt people.  He also knows the resilience with which He made us and the innate capacity within each one of us to be restored.  Remade.  He knows we are capable of loving even when we feel unloved because He loves us enough to cover those who don't.  He knows we are not nearly as fragile as we think we are, but we will act like who we believe ourselves to be.  He knows we have the capacity to be astoundingly extraordinary, and not just in spite of where we've been, but because of it.

God knows we're insecure.  But we do not need to be.  And He will not leave well enough alone.  He has enough security for both of us, and for those of us who call Christ Savior, He slipped His own secure Spirit within our simple jars of clay.  It is in you to be secure, dear one.  Do you hear what I'm saying to you?  You have it in you."

Monday, March 8, 2010

Aly Mac

Seeking Satisfaction

A friend recently shared this photo with me.  The quality of it greatly impressed me because it looked like a picture postcard or a photo taken right out of a magazine. 

There is something about such a natural setting that really touches me deeply and this photograph was no exception. It must have been snapped at just the right second to have captured the young fawn looking directly into the camera lens. 

As I spent some time admiring it, I imagined the young deer innocently looking at the photographer and thinking, "You wouldn't want to hurt me, would you?"  But then as it continues to linger, it's as if the deer is saying "No matter how much I may fear you, I want this birdseed a great deal more, and I am willing to risk whatever danger you may present to me, in order to have what I want at this very moment." 

Then I thought about how often we as humans are just like that little deer. We often find something that we think we want, but in reality only compares to birdseed.  We look for fulfillment in so many things, but find that it doesn't last long and certainly doesn't bring real satisfaction. And yet, even in the face of danger, we often ignore the warning signs and continue doing and seeking the things that we think will bring us happiness and fulfillment in life.

That leads me to ask myself these questions ... How many times in my life have I settled for birdseed? and .... How much longer will I continue to settle for things that will never satisfy?

Psalm 145:15- 19 says, "The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. The LORD is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds. The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him."

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Beautiful History by Plumb

I have made mistakes
and I have been afraid
I have felt alone
Then you called my name

Things were crashing loudly
Happening all around me
But you're still small voice
Was all that I could hear

I am here
I'm holding you
You'll make it through this
I am here, I am here

Whenever you run away
whenever you lose you're faith
It's just another stroke of
the pen on the page

A lonely ray of hope
is all that you need
to see
a beautiful history

Well I have been such a fool
when I have known the truth
I've wasted so much time
Doing what I want to do

I've been living solely
for myself and myself only
but your still small voice
is whispering

Whenever you run away
whenever you lose you're faith
It's just another stroke
of the pen on the page

A lonely ray of hope
is all that you need
to see
a beautiful history

I toss and turn and scream
I try to do everything
with two feet on the ground
I just keep falling down again

I feel so far from home
Completely on my own
and then I hear you say
I am here, I am here

Whenever you run away
whenever you lose you're faith
It's just another stroke of
the pen on the page

A lonely ray of hope
is all that you need
to see
a beautiful history
a beautiful history
a beautiful history

Monday, March 1, 2010

So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore

Here is an excerpt from chapter one of Beth Moore's newest book that really hit home with me this week. The first chapter is entitled "Mad Enough to Change".

"Life is too hard and the world too mean for many of us to grasp a lofty sense of acceptance, approval, and affirmation early on and keep hold of it the rest of our lives ... come what may.  Circumstances abruptly change, and setbacks happen.  Relationships unexpectedly end. Or, just as cataclysmically, begin. Schools change. Friends change. Jobs change. Offenses happen. Betrayals happen. Tragedies happen.  Engagements end. Marriages begin. Kids come. Kids go. Health wanes. Seasons change. An old situation creeping up in a new season of our life can be more complicated than ever.  We can think we've murdered that monster once and for all, and then it rises from the dead and it has grown another head.

As if the battle isn't hard enough, we sabotage ourselves, submerging ourselves with self-condemnation like a submarine filling with water.  How often do we think to ourselves, I should be handling this better? So is it okay to ask why we're not?"

"To be honest, I don't know whether you and I are at a common place right now.  I just have a hunch.  See if this sounds like something that could erupt from your own pen: I'm sick to death of insecurity.  It's been a terrible companion.  A very bad friend.  It promised to always think of me first and meticulously look out for my best interests.  It vowed to stay focuses on me and help me not get hurt or forgotten.  Instead, insecurity invaded every part of my life, betrayed me, and sold me out more times than I can count.  It's time I got healthy enough emotionally to choose my lifelong companions better.  This one needs to get dumped."

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control."  2 Timothy 1:7 Amplified Bible