Good Dirt

Hello!

This post comes to you from the pages of PROVEN, a study by Jennie Allen. It is our women’s bible study focus this fall, and a GREAT introduction to our Spring Women’s Conference KEYNOTE speaker Jennie Allen:)

I can never share enough about the life that is extended through the Body of Christ. If you are not in a Christian Women’s study group I urge you to look for one! If we do not operate and function the way God designed, we will fall away. He created us to FIRST need (love) HIM, and second…to need (love) one another. Women’s Bible study is my lifeline.

The Chapter in our workbook this past week was GRACE: THE END OF SHAME.

I know ALL about shame. I lived with so many lies that I believed defined me, and in the midst of those beliefs made so many bad decisions. Then, coming to the end of my rope, I fell into a great pit. But the Lord was with me all along, and provided a way out. I just had to look up.

He extended the hands of Sisters like you, that led me to the light. The light of His Word, of truth, of love, of restoration and new life.

The Scripture for this week is John 13. I encourage you to read it!

In John 13, starting with verse 6 it says this:
6 When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
7 Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”
8 “No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!”
Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.

We are ALL Dirty. Yep…even the “BEST” person you can think of.

The great news is…Jesus came to tell us we CANNOT clean ourselves up, and we shouldn’t try.
IF WE TRY, WE ARE GOING TO BE SMELLY.

Ephesians 2:8-9
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Grace is undeserved, unmerited favor from God. There is nothing we can do to EARN grace.

GRACE IS LOVE THAT STOOPS TO RESCUE.

Jesus is clear, if we do not let HIM wash us clean, we DO NOT belong to Him. No soap, no Jesus.

Why is it so hard for us to admit that we need washed? We try to fool God, others and even ourselves into believing we are good and “right.”  If I get enough “likes” I’m in…”accepted” …loved?

The longer we stay in the dark hiding, the bigger the lies get that we believe about ourselves!

When we bring the lies we believe and our sin out into the light, God reveals to us what they really are…He forgives us, shows us a new way, and makes us “right” with Him. (Forgiven, accepted, redeemed, healed, loved, and Holy)

This process of “washing” must happen every day, all day long. I don’t know about you, but as soon as I admit one sin and ask for forgiveness, I’m doing the next.

I dear friend of mine has recently written a book entitled “New Reality (Extraordinary Living In Ordinary Life)” (by Lisa Young)

In it she says this:

”The Spirit’s testimony within our spirit will tell us when we have transgressed. (Sinned) We must step quickly into repentance (with our confession to the Lord-bringing it to THE light) when the Holy Spirit convicts, lest our flesh and the enemy rise to condemn.”

When we go unchecked, the enemy slips in and the lies we believe fester and grow leaving us feeling  “dirty” and shameful.

Lisa goes on to say:

When God is able to interact with us on a personal level, we are consumed by love and forgiveness, so that when our flesh rises (our human mind and tendencies)or the enemy attacks, we (can) dismiss the lies and remain unharmed in our soul. Our heart remains free.”

IF WE DON’T EXPERIENCE HIS FORGIVENESS AND HIS GRACE ON A REGULAR BASIS, THEN HOW COULD WE GIVE THIS AWAY TO ANYONE ELSE?

Not only will we suffer in the dark, but we will bring others with us. If we remain in this place of shame, we reject what Christ has done on our behalf. When you come out into the light, sharing your struggles, your disbelief, your sin with God and in part, with others, you will find that

YOUR GOD SAYS YOU ARE GOOD AND YOU ARE WORTH DYING FOR.

That old DIRT can be used for something good…something NEW!

NEW LIFE CAN SPRING UP FROM YOUR DIRT IF YOU LET THE GARDNER TEND TO YOU.

Get in community. Share your heart in transparency with at least one person who is faithful and seeking God.  Talk with one another, encourage one another, pray for one another and be in communication with your FATHER every day…all day:)

Bring your DIRT to the MASTER GARDNER and see what amazing beauty He grow in YOU!

 

CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE COLORING PAGE:)

Instead of trying to get the “DIRT” on someone else, lets change our focus to using our OWN DIRT to grow something new, through the love and the power of the Cross!

Love to you,

 

Blessings are to be a mechanism of transfer -Tony Evans

Hello Sisters!

Today’s post comes from Dr. Pastor Tony Evans message “Why God Wants to Bless Us” in his series The Key to Spiritual Victory.

I encourage you to listen! I’m ALWAYS inspired and challenged by Tony Evans! I’ve attached the audio below

 

The story comes from Luke 5:1-11.

Jesus Calls the First Disciples
5 On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3 Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” 6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 7 They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” 9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.

 

Jesus’ took the Bible study out on the water. He taught spiritual truth from the boat.
When the sermon is over (vs 4) Jesus has moved from a generic sermon to the multitudes…
from a sermon to everybody … to an instruction for somebody …Peter. (Simon Peter)

It’s One thing to come to church and hear a generic message for everybody…
It’s a another, when you get a message with your name on it. Jesus spoke truth then gave Peter something specific to do. It was a contradiction to everything Peter knew.

He obeyed (though it came from a place of doubt) and a miracle occurred…the greatest catch.

Peter responded by “falling to his knees” in recognition of who HE was, and WHO JESUS IS.

God tells us  “My ways are not your ways” (Isaiah 55:8) He confirms this through His blessing.

God Blesses you

so that you can…

see how much He knows vs what you know
see how Holy He is Vs. how sinful you (we) are
He wants to bless you so that you can be a blessing as you follow Him.” -Tony Evans

Tony describes blessing below:

Blessing: enjoying experiencing and transferring the goodness of God in your life.
If there is no transferring than you have prostituted the blessing.

The Lord desires for us to use His blessing as a mechanism of transfer.
He Blesses you so that you can then follow Him to the next step He has for you…to transfer the blessing to others.

Has God’s blessing caused you to follow Him, or has His blessing caused you to count fish? Are you spending so much time counting fish that you forgot the one who knew where they were located? OR are you so busy looking for what you desire to miss the blessing God has provided?

I love the conclusion of Tony’s talk. He addresses the fish. He asks the question WHAT HAPPENED TO ALL THE FISH? “THEY LEFT EVERYTHING AND FOLLOWED HIM.” (Vs 11)

HINT:  God Funds His purposes through the blessing.

LISTEN to the audio to hear the end of this powerful sermon!

 

May the Lord cause us to recognize His blessing that we might better understand WHO we are, and WHOSE we are. May He cause our hearts to be grateful, so that we can’t help but transfer His blessing to others.

 

Xo,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giants & Game Changers

Happy Thursday!

Coming to you today-straight from the hills of Ephes-dammim. The location of the battle between David and Goliath.

Dr. and Pastor Tony Evans takes us on a journey to this place as he describes 1 Samuel Chapter 17.

You can find this message by clicking the link below.

 

David and Goliath 
1 Samuel 17 Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle. And they were gathered at Socoh, which belongs to Judah, and encamped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. 2 And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered, and encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in line of battle against the Philistines. 3 And the Philistines stood on the mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with a valley between them. 4 And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six[a] cubits[b] and a span. 5 He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels[c] of bronze. 6 And he had bronze armor on his legs, and a javelin of bronze slung between his shoulders. 7 The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron. And his shield-bearer went before him. 8 He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. 9 If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” 10 And the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day. Give me a man, that we may fight together.” 11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.

Well, Saul was the Israelites biggest, baddest dude…their fiercest opponent…yet he paled in comparison to this Philistine GIANT.

The Israelites decided to pack up and retreat. All they could see with their human minds and hearts was defeat.

When David showed up on the scene…He saw beyond their circumstance. He didn’t see HIMSELF fighting this battle, He saw his POWERFUL GOD fighting this battle and claimed what was rightfully his. He acted with authority because he KNEW his God to be faithful…He had experience with this.

37 And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”

45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47 and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hand.”

Tony Evans encourages us in his message to GIVE OUR circumstance, our problem, our enemy…

the name GOLIATH, because “we know how that turns out!”

When we give what we’re “up against” the name Goliath, we can be reminded that our GOD  is BIGGER and MORE POWERFUL than anything we will ever face. Victory is the final WORD. It may not happen as swiftly as a rock sent from a sling shot, but we can have confidence that our God has AUTHORITY OVER ALL…including EVERY GIANT.

“Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker– An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’ Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands’? -Isaiah 45:9

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” -Romans 8:28

Ask the Lord to give you a NEW perspective…to see beyond your present circumstance, beyond your human emotions and fear…

Ask your GREAT God for HIS perspective…to SEE with His eyes, so that you can find the hope that lies beyond the “physical realm.”  Each step you take, however small, will grow your confidence, and your strength, as you TRUST Him through your obedience. God meets us on the other side of obedience with the blessing of His presence and provision.

I highly recommend Dr. Tony Evan’s app! His messages are biblical, powerful, inspiring, and at times humorous:)

Try listening to one while your doing “chores” around the house, driving in your car, or creating an entry in your journal or Bible:)

*speaking of giants…

I have to take this opportunity to share my FAVORITE GIANT MOVIE!  It’s SO under appreciated. It’s even directed by Stephen Spielberg! It’s called THE BFG. It is a BEAUTIFUL story written by Ronald Dahl. If you watch it, make sure you listen to EVERY word. There is so much to “hear.”  I fell in love with this giant:)

 

Curl up and watch this weekend with your kiddos…I watched it without ANY kids the first time…just me:)

AND, don’t forget to…

Name that giant your facing Goliath, then step out in faith, with expectation that your God will meet your needs.

He keeps His promises.

Bless you Sister!

 

With God, there is no RISK

Hello!

As I continue to work through Jennie Allen’s Bible Study PROVEN, it’s hard to believe we are already in week 5…it’s going so fast! I cannot encourage you enough on the importance of intentionally gathering together with other Sisters in Christ to study God’s Word together. We all desperately need this level of connection that provides encouragement and accountability or we will surely “fall away!”

Session 5 / ”RISK: The End of Passivity”

I typically spend time in prayer and in a specific study each morning …then I often listen to podcasts as I work on art projects or chores around the house.

You may have “heard” me mention that I have recently gone back to my “roots” after having loaded Dr. Tony Evans’ podcast app on my iPhone and iPad.

As the Lord often does, He leads me to a deeper understanding through the confirmation of His Word in many forms.

Today, after studying about “risk” in my Bible Study homework, I then landed on a podcast from Dr. Tony Evans that dug into this theme even deeper. From the title of the podcast, I wouldn’t have connected it…but God provided more, as I stepped forward to seek more:)

A link to the podcast is below:

Recovering What the Enemy Has Stolen

Our perception of risk is skewed by our human perspective. If we enlist God’s direction and His power in our steps, there is no risk to what God has promised us.

The story Tony tells comes from 1 Samuel Chapter 30.

David and his men return home to find that the enemy has entered in and stolen their women and children, and burned down their city.

”David was greatly distressed, because the people began to speak of stoning him…they were all suffering greatly”

1 Sam 30:6 And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.

7 And David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelech, “Bring me the ephod.” So Abiathar brought the ephod to David. 8 And David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I pursue after this band? Shall I overtake them?”

David ASKED God for direction, for why waste his time pursuing something apart from the Lord’s will…it will always end badly:(

God gave David direction:

He answered him, “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake and shall surely rescue.”

Dr. Evans explains that the Lord didn’t give David all the details he needed to accomplish the task, but as he MOVED forward with the information he WAS given, God provided all.

Our Father unfolds more information as we MOVE in the direction He calls us to go. If we do not take the first step, He will not show us more.

This is the risk that we perceive with our human reasoning that stops us from obeying. If I go, will God provide?

It is through obedience that God provides what we need. Stepping out in faith…trusting Him…we will reach the other side with the assurance that the risk was worth the cost.

If you read on in 1 Samuel chapter 30, you will find that God honored David’s obedience with MORE than what he was after…abundance beyond his own desires. This is the way our GOOD Father responds to our faith…

Ephesians 3:20-21

20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

I love the quote from John Piper below:

I want to live in a place where I believe there is NO RISK…when I venture out with and eternal, loving and steadfast God and join in the “thousand risks of love.”

What is holding you (& me) back?

Paul encourages us below:

Acts 20:22-24

22 And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. 24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

May we finish the race…the purpose of our calling, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God!

 

Bless you sweet Sister!