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As I’ve mentioned before, the church my family and I attend are between Pastors. We’ve had the pleasure of listening to a different person preach each week. Some are Pastors, and some are not. The most important thing to me in a sermon is that it’s the word of God. I think everyone who’s preached has done a good job at writing their sermon based on the Bible. I’ve enjoyed having a variety of speakers, but have to say, I am looking forward to consistency in the way the message is delivered.
I’m thankful for the ability to go to church every Sunday morning and be taught the word of God. I’m thankful for the pastor who not only teaches the word of God, but also helps those listening know how the message from long ago applies to our lives today. I’m thankful for the Pastor who paints a vivid picture in my head of the scripture being taught. I’m thankful for the Pastor who includes me in this picture and then helps me see how God is speaking to me through it. I’m thankful for those who answer the call to shepherd His people.
Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. ~ Acts 20:28
Today’s sermon was about the birth of John the Baptist, Luke 1:57-80. The point of today’s sermon that I took home was when the mouth of Zechariah was opened he began to praise God. Zechariah’s mouth was closed because He didn’t believe the angel Gabriel when he told him his wife would have a son. It was to remain closed until the birth of his son took place. We were pointed to the fact that Zechariah didn’t complain or whine about what he just went through, no, he praised God. It made me think of the times I’ve failed to praise God when He’s delivered me from difficult situations. When was the last time you praised God for the miracles He provides? What was your ‘take away’ from the last sermon you heard?
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for those You call to shepherd Your people. I pray we would be open to how You are using them to speak to us, Amen.
A few years ago, when I first became an Elder at the church we attend, I went to a seminar offered to those in our church who were in leadership. I thought it would give me a clue as to what was expected of me. Toward the beginning, the speaker asked us to close our eyes, and then to raise our hand if we had read the entire Bible. I didn’t raise my hand. After opening our eyes, we were told only three people did, and there were about twenty of us in the room, all in leadership or about to step into a leadership role.
The majority of the seminar was about the importance of knowing Gods word, especially leaders within the church. God’s Word is our shield and our sword. We use it to protect us as well as fight our battles, but we can’t use it for either if we don’t know it.
I left this seminar feeling convicted. I decided to jump into action and start reading the Bible. I didn’t like the idea of possibly being the only one who had not read it and certainly didn’t want anyone to know I hadn’t read it. I spoke with the Pastor to let him know what I was doing, but he encouraged me not to read it from cover to cover. He suggested doing a chronological reading or to follow a planned study to read the Bible over a year. That sounded to complicated and would take way to long. I thought ‘it’s just a book filled with stories, how difficult can it be?’
I think I made it to somewhere in 2 Kings. Trying to read it like a book, a chapter at time, was insanity! Some of the chapters are short, so reading one or two wasn’t good enough. I felt like a wimp, so I pushed through three to four chapters at a time. My brain was on overload. There was too much going on with to many people. I couldn’t keep up with who did what to who. Once when the Pastor asked how it was going, I said, “It’s like reading a soap opera”. I wasn’t getting anything out of it except the feeling of inadequacy, so I stopped.
I believe God spoke to me through the speaker at the seminar that He wanted me to know His word. My problem however, was jumping into action to make this happen, instead of waiting on Him. I wanted to accomplish the task He had put before me, the quickest most efficient way possible.
It’s been four years since that seminar and I still can not say I’ve read the entire Bible. I’ve discovered it’s not ‘just a book’ and have learned to let God guide me through it as He sees fit.
I’m thankful for God’s Word. I’m thankful it’s alive and active and meant for us today, just as much as it was meant for the people who lived thousands of years ago. I’m thankful for the way God speaks to me when I read and study His word. I’m thankful for the hope, encouragement and love I find when reading God’s Word. What do you find when reading the Word of God?
My prayer for us ~ Father God, thank you for the encouragement and hope you poured out in Your Word for us. I pray we would each be filled with a deep desire to know You through Your Word, Amen.
This has been a very emotional week for me. One minute I’m celebrating how God has enabled me to serve, and then the next minute I’m crying because this chapter of serving is over. Yes, I’m a crier and always need tissue on hand, but usually fail to have it.
A year ago God called me to be a BSF leader at the end of my first year participating. To be completely honest, I was excited to see what God would do with me, through me and for me as a BSF leader. I was also terrified. Terrified I would fail God and not meet the expectations of others around me.
As I sat with my group for the first time back in September, I found myself feeling unprepared to teach this wonderful group of ladies. During my freak-out moment I told God (quietly in my head) He had made a mistake. I told him I didn’t know enough. To calm me down and help me focus on the ladies in front of me, God whispered “Shhhhhh. Rebecca. I will teach, you will lead. Now pay attention.” Or something like that.
The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:24
I had forgotten that God promises to enable us for all He calls us to. God knows me better than I know myself. He knows what I am capable of. All He needs from me is a willing heart to follow His lead. From the moment God calmed me during that first day as a BSF leader I have listened to my ladies and guided them through the lessons while relying on God’s prompting. This has been an amazing year full of growth and blessings. I’m sad it’s now over. This time is truly bittersweet.
Today was my last day as a Group Leader with this particular group of ladies. Over the course of the last 9 months I have grown to love each of them. I have learned a lot from each of them. They each shared their trials and triumphant moments with me. We prayed together and for each other. We studied God’s Word and grew closer to God, together. Each of the beautiful ladies in this group helped me see and appreciate life in a new and magnificent way.
The extra bonus to being a BSF leader is the remarkable women that lead alongside me. They each have such a heart for God. They help me remember, every week, that we don’t do this alone. God is there for us and will guide us through it. We are there to encourage one another. We share our struggles with being a leader and life. We also praise God together as He answers our prayers and reveals Himself to us. We study the Word of God together and share what we have learned.
I am incredibly thankful for BSF (Bible Study Fellowship). If it wasn’t for this program I probably never would have meet all of these warm hearted women. They have each helped me be a better me. I will miss each of them over the next few months. I believe God will give me another amazing group of women in the fall and we too will grow together as we study God’s Word. I’m looking forward to the next chapter of this journey.
My prayer for us today ~ Lord, thank you for the people you place in our lives that draw us closer to You. I pray we show our gratitude and thankful heart to encourage those who help us in our time of need, Amen
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
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. ~ Ephesians 3:16-21
When it rains it certainly can pour. I’m not talking about the weather. I have been under attack, spiritually. The past few weeks I feel like I have been on an emotional roller coaster. At the end of each day I am exhausted and feel like I have nothing left to give. Thankfully this happens at the end of the day, not somewhere in the middle, and I have the night to sleep it off and the morning is a brand new day.
The most difficult thing recently is being the encouragement my husband needs me to be for him. As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, he has been experiencing some ongoing health issues. My husband has been under spiritual attack through this as well. My first reaction when my husband starts talking about his circumstances in a negative way it to yell at him to get a grip and get over himself. I want to tell him he needs to cry out to God and listen for His direction.
Then in His gentle whisper, God reminds me, I am his wife, his helper. I am to help him. That’s when I cry out to God. I ask God for the strength to face Roberts’s demons with him. The words to speak to Robert, as well as prepare his heart to receive them. Words that will remind Robert of the love grace and compassion God has for him. Remind him of the many blessings he has received from God.
At times I feel like I have too much on my plate. Like I’m trying to take care of too many things. Maybe I need to walk away from everything and wait for a better time. Dealing with Robert and his medical stuff is so emotionally draining, how am I supposed to get anything else done?
Then in His gentle whisper, God reminds me He is there for me. He has it all taken care of and planned. All I must do is look to Him so I will know which way to go. Seek Him through prayer and His word and He will fill me with all I need to get through the day and accomplish all He wishes for me to do.
This week I’ve been asking God what the point of Lent was. I understand what it is and why we are to do it, but how is it going to help me and what I’m going through? I think it would make things so much easier for me if I just didn’t participate this year. Only drinking water and no sweets, what was I thinking?! No coffee or extra sugar?! How will I make it through until Easter?! Seriously, what is the point?
Even my son knows how I get without coffee and sweets. When he realized it was Lent and what I was giving up he said “Lord help us!”
While I was looking for scripture to go with this post, something about light in the morning. I found Isaiah 58:8, ‘Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.’ I thought it sounded wonderful but wanted to understand what this phrase was talking about, so I pulled up all of Isaiah 58 and read it. It’s titled ‘True Fasting’.
“Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the descendants of Jacob their sins. For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’
“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk,and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
“If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. ~ Isaiah 58
God spoke to me as I read it. My mouth hit the floor and tears filled my eyes. This time of fasting is to draw me closer to Him, not push me away or make my life more difficult or exhausting. I will make it through each day as it comes focusing on the light at the end. Easter, the day we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I love how when we cry out to God, He points us to what we need right when we need it.
My prayer for us today ~ Lord, thank you for your gentle whisper and your Word which guides us through each day. I pray we each spend more time daily, quietly listening, so we may hear your gentle whisper, Amen.