Ephesians 3:20-21 (New International Version)

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Week 4 Day 3 Having It All Isn't Enough

Gen 30:1 Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she became jealous of her sister; and she said to Jacob, "Give me children, or else I die."

Yesterday, we read how Leah, Rachel's sister, desperately wanted to be loved by Jacob. Yet, Jacob loved Rachel. Rachel has the love of Jacob, yet...

Gen 30: 22 Then God remembered Rachel, and God gave heed to her and opened her womb. So she conceived and bore a son and said, "God has taken away my reproach." She named him Joseph, saying, "May the LORD give me another son."

and still it wasn't enough...she stole idols from her father's house...

Gen 31: 34-35 Now Rachel had taken the household idols and put them in the camel's saddle, and she sat on them. And Laban felt through all the tent but did not find them. She said to her father, "Let not my lord be angry that I cannot rise before you, for the manner of women is upon me " So he searched but did not find the household idols.

When would it ever be enough? Rachel was beautiful, loved by her husband, bore children, ...now stole gods from her father's house. What are the longing of your heart? Do they compare with the greatness that only God can give?

Week 4 Day 2 Desperate to Fill The Void

Genesis 29:30 So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and indeed he loved Rachel more than Leah, and he served with Laban for another seven years. Now the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, and He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. Leah conceived and bore a son and named him Reuben, for she said, "Because the LORD has seen my affliction; surely now my husband will love me."

Desperate for Jacob's love...Leah continued in her quest to please Jacob, desperate to win his love.

Gen 30: 20 Then Leah said, "God has endowed me with a good gift; now my husband will dwell with me, because I have borne him six sons." So she named him Zebulun.

Desperate to offer something to win Jacob's love...I feel her pain. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you desperately wanted to win someone's approval, love, or friendship? This hole, vacuum, or ache deep inside...can be filled in our relationship with God. Opps! Do I really think that someone else can meet my needs better than the God who created me? Better than the Savior that gave His life for me?

Week 4 Day 1 When People Let You Down

James 4:1-10 (NAS) What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: "He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us"? But He gives a greater grace Therefore it says, "GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE." Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.

This lesson...WOW! When you are involved in a quarrel...be it with your spouse, your friend, a family member...; are you asking him/her to read your mind? Are you asking that person to be considerate of your thoughts and feelings? Are you asking that person to love you no matter what you do? Are you asking them to behave in a way that you want them to (controlling their behavior)? Are trying to be God? or... are you wanting them to be God?

These questions penetrate my heart. Have I put my marital relationships, my family relationships, my Christian relationships on a test that can't be passed? There is only one who can meet the test of a perfect soul mate...that's the one who gave His life for my soul! Putting anyone else in that place might be considered idolatry. OUCH!

Earthly relationships can't take the place of our Heavenly relationship! Have you ever considered this? Honestly, until today...I hadn't really put it in perspective!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Beth Moore Tele-Conference

LPL Simulcast Chicago from Rich Kalonick on Vimeo.

Last weekend, a group of women and young girls traveled from our home town to Mt. Home First Baptist Church for the Beth Moore Tele-Conference. This experience, for me, was again life changing.

The topic for the day surrounded the verse ..."she opens her mouth with wisdom and on her tounge is the law of kindness" Prov 31:26.

To end the conference, we shared a commissioning statement. For those who would like a reminder of what was said....

My Dear Sister,

Your God has called you, to use that mouth of yours, for His great glory.

Don’t just add to the noise. Become a real woman who opens her mouth with wisdom.

God wants the Law of Kindness on your tongue and the love of Christ in your heart.

Never forget:

Kindness is not a weakness! When you’re wearing down, head to Christ and His people

And let them build you back up.

Always remember:

His yoke is KIND. Make sure it’s the only yoke you wear.

It’s time to go our separate ways but we’ll all meet up again at the glorious epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Until then, let the One who led you here lead you on with cords of kindness. Now, get out there and build a welcoming fire in a cold world. Live by the Law of Kindness!

I love you guys. I really do.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Week 3 Day 1 God Provides My Needs

2 Chronicles 16:9"For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His...

This week's lesson was a real eye opener.

Genesis 3:4-5 The serpent said to the woman, "You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate." (the bold/italics are mine)

To be honest, have fallen for some of the same lies. For example, visiting the home of friends I may find their home design a "delight to the eyes" and "desirable". Upon arriving home, I am put out with my own home, or the mess at home, or the fact we don't have this or that. The same can happen when going to church. I may see someone that I admire and want to be more like; yet I pick up on the outward things. For example, desiring the same stuff...same Bible translation, type of clothing, style of shoes, etc.

I am not saying that desires are bad. For example, food is good and Eve pointed out that the tree was good for food. It was also a delight to the eyes and desirable. Yet, a good thing can go too far. God told them (Adam and Eve) not to eat of this tree but they could eat of all the other trees. Yet, she found herself desiring the one thing she wasn't suppose to have.

When deciding to do what she wanted to do instead, she walked away from God's plan and developed her own plan. Ouch! Much like Sarah did when she decided to giver Hagar to her husband so she could have a child. Let's stick with the plan! To know the plan is to know God. Sounds good to me!!! After all, He provides all my needs!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Week 2 Day 3 Just Say No to Extra Baggage or Let the Pain Make You Not Break You

1 Samuel 1:27 I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. Running to the one who can truly answer your prayers is a much better choice than taking matters into your own hands. Unlike Sarah, Hannah didn't choose to take matters into her own hands but she cried out to God for answers.

I really believe that God places us in places that he wants us. Hannah had very little choice but to look up or walk defiantly into the face of sin. Unlike Sarah, the choice she made was to wait upon the Lord. Hannah had a child with no baggage to bear; Sarah son also had a half brother, due to Sarah's impatience.

Look to Christ as our protector, our creator, our healer, our peace...our everything. He will make our paths straight.

Week 2 Day 2 Choose Your Own God

Genesis 16:2 "..The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her."

I have read this passage several times...yet today with a new lens. Sarah knew good and well the Lord promised her a child. Sarah also knew that up until this time, God "kept" her from having children. Yet, for some reason, she felt it was OK to go ahead and try to have children in spite of God's plans. She was going to get the child HER own way.

Wanting something so much you willfully scheme to undermine God's will for you...YIKES! and Sarah used an Egyptian girl to do this. The same children that put the Israelites under bondage...the same people God saved the Israelites from...There are so many red flags here. How could Sarah do this?

Who are you trying to build your life through? Sarah tried to do this herself since she felt God wasn't going to give her what she wanted. She even used someone that she came to despise. The plan...well it didn't turn out the way she thought it would. Her dream now comes with a price.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Week 2 Day 1 Who's Your King

(1 Samuel 8:19-20) But the people refused to listen to Samuel. "No!" they said. "We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles."

Have you ever wanted to be like everyone else? Have you ever felt as if you might be different and simply want to fit in? I'm sure our kids feel this on a daily basis as they go to school. As adults, you may feel this way at your job, or maybe even in your church. Yet, God tells us we are going to be different. (1 Peter 2:9) But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Have you ever been in a place where you willfully wanted to walk away from who you are in Christ just to fit in? I know that I have...and thankfully, today, I am forgiven!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Week 1 Day 5 Where Is My Heart?

Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Isn't God's Word amazing!? This scripture reminds me how important the central part of my being actually is. My heart guides my thoughts, my actions, my dreams,...it guides my everything. False idols that I've placed in my life are entangled with my heart and I've allowed that...not only let it happen but helped it to happen. These idols will not be easy to let go of...it's going to take supernatural intervention. I need my Savior to help me let it go.

Letting go of the false gods in our life is only the beginning of what we are to study throughout the next 8 weeks. This means, it's going to take some work...remember that Satan wants to keep that stronghold in our life. He will lie, cheat, steal...whatever it takes to stay there and to keep God from being glorified.

Meanwhile, once those things have been properly placed in our lives (we can't be totally rid of what God created for good but we've made into a god...like food, a job, etc.) we need to need to realize this Spring Cleaning has a reason, a purpose so-to-speak. We are making room for Him to be God in our life! Isn't that what it's all about!

I'm excited about it; aren't you!

Week 1 Day 4 Serving a god I created

Isaiah 44:20 "Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?" Have I created my own god? What am I doing!? This sounds crazy but it happens. People who were skilled professionals didn't do this inadvertently; the Israelites had people among them who did it on purpose. They took pieces of wood or iron and crafted a god to worship. As crazy as it sounds, have we actually taken part of the same mindset?

A good example is social networking. How much time do you spend checking your favorite social network? Does it take time away from your priorities? Has it become your priority? Do you think about it more than you think of the things of God? How much of your time is devoted to "it"?

Of course, nothing is wrong with social networking...I'm not saying that. "It",or whatever else you may be thing of, inadvertently becomes your god when you end up allowing it a place in your life that actually belongs to God. Your time, your money, your shelter...do you rely on these things to bring you what God wants to bring? He is my comforter, not food. God is my provider, not me. God is my strength, not someone else. The list goes on and on.

What is my motive in where I spend my time and resources? Am I spending time/resources for God's glory or my own glory? Do I depend on "it" to bring me happiness and/or comfort? Something to ponder, today. What do you find in your life that you have replaced God with?

What's in your hand?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Week 1 Day 3 Exactly Where He Wants Me!

Have you ever found yourself in a place where you could do nothing else but give it to God? That's where the Israelites found themselves under the power of Pharaoh.

Yet, I wonder if that's exactly where He wants me to be; at the feet of my Savior!

I have taken time to list several times in my life where I felt powerless and could do nothing but cry out for my Savior. There are several that come to mind; one recent experience was when I came home from having hip replacement surgery. I had to have lots of help at home and our eight year old daughter became ill just the day after I got home. Within days, she was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with ecoli/huss. I couldn't be with her, I couldn't take care of her; my husband was there and her aunts were there...yet all I could do was pray. I am certain, that was exactly where He wanted me to be.

I know that there are times we will all find ourselves in similar situations...times when all we can do is cry out to Him. Yet, what better place could we be than at the feet of Jesus!?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject!

Week 1 Day 2 Oppression By a False god

2 Kings 17:7 All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them up out of Egypt from under the power of Pharaoh King of Egypt. They worshiped other gods." (bold and italics are mine)

The Israelites were in Egypt because of the famine...many years prior, Joseph saved his family from the famine while working with the king. Yet, Joseph's legacy was no longer remembered. Pharaoh was intimidated by the increasing Israelite population. Was there something the Israelites did to cause this calamity? No! Not at first! They were under the oppression of Pharaoh due to nothing they did themselves. Yet later, after God brought them out from under the power of Pharaoh, they forgot the Lord their God and worshipped other gods. uggghhhhh

Are you up against something in your own life that has put itself in a position over you...a position it was never meant to hold. I know that this can come in any and all forms. Let's look at "food" for example. In-and-of itself, food is something we all need. Yet, when we look to food to make us happy, cure our depression, provide comfort (you get the idea), we have allowed it a place it should never have taken. God is my comforter, my healer, my all-in-all; not food.

You may find yourself under the power of other things, as well. Maybe you find yourself addicted to alcohol or tv. You may be consumed with anger or jealousy. This may have come on subtly...slowly...under no apparent pressure. Yet, it's really there and has taken over. It dictates your time, your happiness, your peace; you can't find release. It could be your job!

Today is a good day to identify the things (gods) that have power over you and ask God to bring you out from the storm! You can't really do this without Him!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Week 1 Day 1 Who or What Is My God?

This study has already grabbed my attention...look at who you serve. " They feared the LORD and served their own gods... 2 Kings 17:33 NAS . What picture forms in your mind when you read this verse of scripture? I think of the church pews filled with parishioners that leave God in the church and serve their own gods once they leave the parking lot. If the distance from the alter to the door was a measuring tool, a tool that measured how close to God you are or how close to the world you are, where would you be? Where would you place your service to the one true God? Would you be closer to the door or the alter?

Ask yourself:
* What do I have my heart set on?
* What motivates me?
* Who or what masters or rules me?
* Where do I place my trust?
* Who do I fear or serve?
* Where do I spend the majority of my time? (Where is my priority?)

Exodus 20: 1-3...God gives Moses the Ten Commandments:
1Then God spoke all these words, saying,
2"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
3"You shall have no other gods before Me

Wow, why haven't I noticed this before...the first commandment is telling us we are to have no other gods before Him. It seems to me that is must be first because it's important. If we place God as first and only, the rest should simply fall into place.

At this point, I think it would be a great idea to write a letter to God in the front of you study book. Be honest with yourself and God; tell Him what you desire out of this study.

As you begin to grow closer to God through the next eight weeks, it is my earnest prayer that you hear His voice and heed His instructions. Trust Him to walk you through one day at a time. The journey is worth it!

If you were to title what God has laid on your heart today, what would your title say?