Thirsty Thursdays – Why?

Since retiring from public education in 2007 I have had several different part time jobs to keep me occupied and supplement our income. A little over a year ago, I was working two different jobs and each gave me flexibility with my schedule. What a blessing. As it always happens, circumstances changed and I was asked to work more hours at one of these jobs but in a different capacity. It seemed to be a great fit for me. I prayed about it and it became clear that God wanted me to follow this path.  It was even confirmed to me a few weeks later when things changed dramatically at that other job and it would have been a situation that would not have been good. Everything seemed to be great.  I was following where God wanted me to go, I would be working directly with people, and I would have a steady work week with 25 hours that would give me flexibility and extra income. Soon, however, I began to realize that the situation was not going to be great after all. Tension in the office, processes put in place which made the job difficult, promised resources not coming through and monotonous procedures.

I began asking God what was going on. I knew He had placed me there but only to be disappointed? (by the way, this was the second time in my life I was keenly aware that God placed me in an unpleasant work setting) One day as I pondered and prayed about it, God gently reminded me that being in His will is not always comfortable. He let me know that Rachel may not like it but He knows what He is doing. Perhaps it wasn’t about me liking what I am doing but there are people He was putting in my path that need something. I think this is definitely one of those times that God is asking me to be content in unpleasant circumstances. Paul writes about this very thing from his prison cell in Philippians 4:11-13

We need to remember though that God does not want us to be discouraged or unhappy. That is one of Satan’s biggest lies. God is not punishing me but has a greater purpose than what I can see. I trust that. He says so. Instead of asking WHY, I am asking WHAT. WHAT does God want to teach me? WHAT is He trying to do in me? WHAT is He trying to do through me?

As I pray Psalm 51:10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me, I am sure of this: either my circumstance will change or my heart toward it will.

Thank you God for your unwavering truth.

Letting It Go

Prayer Monday

Please keep Deanna in your prayers!  Many of you have been praying and I ask that you continue to pray. Deanna had to rush up to Pennsylvania last week because her mother had a heart attack and then emergency open heart surgery.  Please pray for healing for her mother.  She is expected to go home from the hospital Tuesday. Deanna plans to stay until her mother is settled at home.  I also ask that you pray for Deanna’s car.  It is going into the shop there today because it is making loud noises.  Pray this is a quick and inexpensive fix so she can return home safety.

A Prayer for Strength is often needed during difficult times. God is always here for us, to give us strength and lift our hearts.  We pray for Deanna to have strength during this difficult time for her family.  We pray for her parents as they go through this health crisis.  I pray for healing and physical strength.  I pray for support to be given as needed from the family.  I pray for Deanna’s father as he will be the caretaker.  I pray for Deanna’s car to be fixed promptly. I pray for safe travels for Deanna when she returns home!!

“I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me.” Phil. 4:13

Thirsty Thursdays – Living out faith

Life is often hard. I know in my own life, there have been many times when things were running smoothly but just as many times when I thought I couldn’t take another disappointment, burden, problem, set back or tragedy.

We need to remember that not everything that happens on this earth is the will of God. God did not bring sickness, disease, oppression and bondage into the world. The devil did – the thief who comes only “to steal and to kill and to destroy” (John 10:10). If anything steals from you, kills you or destroys your life, it did not come from God. “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:16-17).  But when bad things happen to us, God can and does allow them to be used for good. They are opportunities to live out our faith.

Over the last two years, it seems I have been given a good many opportunities to live out my faith. Just recently, I received some good news from a biopsy.  For eight days, however, I had to live in a state of uncertainty. I don’t like this state very much but there was nothing at all I could do about it.  Fear of the unknown can be paralyzing – been there, done that, and honestly, there were few moments I felt like I was hanging on by a thread. But God.  Nothing in this world has ever been as true or faithful as my God.  How can I not believe Him when he says He knows what is best for me even when I don’t feel like it in my circumstances?

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

Waiting for the results of the biopsy was out of my control. What was in my control was my state of mind.  Every time a “what if” or a smidge of fear cropped into my mind or my soul, I prayed and repeated scripture, often out loud.

Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything but by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God.

1 Peter 4:5  Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.

Psalm 56:3  When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.

Especially toward the end of this period of waiting, I found myself almost laughing out loud at the anxious thoughts.  The god of this world cannot defeat me because I have a God that has an eternal plan of good for me.   Praising Him today for my good news, for my precious family and a great group of brothers and sisters in Christ who prayed for me and for His faithfulness so that I can believe what He says. It is only in His strength that I can live out my faith.

Prayer Monday

57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Cor. 15:57

Lord we thank you that You have given us everything we need to stand strong against the enemy! It is You Lord who gives us victory through Jesus Christ.  We acknowledge You as commander and we submit to You Lord.  Lord help us to serve you in prayer as you have asked us to do.  Whenever the enemy tries to cause disarray in our lives we pray you overcome the enemy in our behalf.  Keep us from all deception.  In Jesus powerful name we pray, amen!

Please be in prayer for Deborah Berg as she travels to Romania this week on a mission trip with her church.  Pray for many to come to know Christ and for traveling mercies.

Pray for Deanna to continue to have a hearts desire for ministry, as we know ministry can often be overwhelming. Pray for her to continue to have a burden for the lost, the weary, those gone astray and those just in need of spiritual renewal.

Pray for continued financial support and new ministry support.  Pray for specific support of new supplies needed and upcoming events that require finances to take place.

Remember our life guides as they pour into lives of women in our community.  Remember our mentors as they provide support for the women after their counseling.

Thanks for taking time to pray for Women’s Life Fellowship !!!

 

What’s Trending

Thirsty Thursdays – Rest

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Exodus 20:8

As promised, I am spending a little more time on this commandment this week. Silly me, I thought this would be an easy one. Little did I know that as I researched what this means to us today I would come across so many different interpretations.  As I mentioned in last week’s blog, this commandment has divided people and churches and I see why.  To be honest with you, I seriously thought about canning this topic because the information about it is extensive and I don’t think I can sufficiently nor succinctly explain it or express what I would like. But it’s an important one.  Here’s my best shot.

The Hebrew word for sabbath is shabat “to cease or stop.” In Genesis 2:2 God “stopped” His work; He “ceased” creating on the seventh day. All that He had created was good, and His work was finished. According to Jewish law, Shabbat is observed from a few minutes before sunset on Friday evening until the appearance of three stars in the sky on Saturday night. Christians are not bound by Jewish law, though, and now it gets a little fuzzy. Some Christians believe the early church began meeting on Sundays soon after Christ rose from the dead, in honor of the Lord’s resurrection which took place on a Sunday, or the first day of the week. So Christian churches set aside Sundays to worship corporately and many consider this the new sabbath. Jesus observed the Sabbath and never suggested a change to Sunday. He did, however, reject a strict legalistic interpretation of the Old Testament commandment. He said Sabbath observance was not a duty that mankind owed to God. Rather, God made the Sabbath as a day of rest for mankind’s benefit (Mark 2:27). Jesus and His disciples did not observe the strict Jewish rules against doing any work on the Sabbath.

On one end of the spectrum there are people that say there is absolutely no working on Sundays because it violates the fourth commandment. But Jesus freed us from legalism. On the other end are those who say that the Sabbath was the sign to Israel of the Mosaic Covenant and since we are now under the New Covenant we are no longer required to observe the sign of the Mosaic Covenant.  Somehow, though, I can’t imagine that we need to just follow nine of the Ten Commandments. Besides, God has given us New Testament references to sabbath rest.  Mark 2:27-28, Hebrews 4:9, Colossians 2:16, Luke 13:10-17

And here’s a commentary from Bible Gateway on Hebrews 4 (The Voice translation) https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+4&version=VOICE

“There is much discussion of “rest” in what we are calling the First Testament of Scripture. God rests on the seventh day after creation. In the Ten Commandments God commands His people to remember the Sabbath day, keep it holy, and do no work. By letting go of daily work, they declared their absolute dependence on God to meet their needs. We do not live by the work of our hands, but by the bread and Word that God supplies. But a greater rest is yet to come when we will be released from all suffering, and when we will inherit the earth. Jesus embodies this greater rest that still awaits the people of God, a people fashioned through obedience and faith. If some of us fail to enter that rest, it is because we fail to answer the call.”

So what do we do with this commandment?  I’m sure we aren’t to ignore it but neither are we to be bound by law to follow a ritual.  This is something that each person has to work out with God.  The command says to not only remember the sabbath but also keep it holy, set aside for sacred purposes.  Our days of “rest” tend to be spent on entertainment or secular pursuits rather than the intended purpose to focus on our Creator.  He knows that our minds and bodies need regular rest in order to operate at peak efficiency. Our physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual welfare depend on periods of refreshment which God has commanded us to take. I think I need to take this commandment more seriously.

 

WLF Discipleship . . . And What It Looks Like

Soul Control

This week in our Let It Go study, we discuss the art of soul control.

I often had conversations where someone tells me they’re depressed. Me: “Why?” Them: “I don’t know”

I used to be the same way. I don’t know why I feel the way I do, I just do. Then I learned that my feelings most always come from thoughts.

So, as you practice soul control, here’s a few questions to ask yourself when you find yourself struggling with an unwanted emotion:

1. What have I been thinking about? Make sure you’re really honest with yourself. Not what do you think about the situation, but what exact thoughts have been running through your mind.

2. Evaluate those thoughts. Are they true? Are they honest? Are they pure? Are they lovely, etc. (Phil. 4:8)

3. Correct and/or repent of the lies or sinful thoughts you were thinking.

4. Practice soul control by choosing a portion of Scripture to say over and over.

Have you experienced the peace of practicing soul control? Share some steps how you have done so.

Prayer Monday

I read this earlier this week and thought it would be good to share!!

Pray in the name El Bethel
VERSE: He built an altar there, and called the place El-bethel (El Bethel), because there God had revealed Himself to him when he fled from his brother. Genesis 35:7

MEANING: The God of the House of God

PRAYER:

ADORATION: El Bethel I know that you can do all things and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You have revealed your power and your strength in numerous ways. The heavens tell of your glory. The skies display your marvelous craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak and at night, they make you known. They speak without a sound or a word – and their voice is silent in the skies, yet their message goes out to all of us on the earth. For since the creation of the world, your invisible attributes, eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen – being understood through what has been made. You have revealed yourself to all of us, El Bethel, and I give you praise for who you are.

CONFESSION: El Bethel I confess that I don’t always see you when you reveal yourself to me. I don’t always stand in amazement at the intricacy of your creation. I fail to marvel at the depth of your wisdom. Forgive me for those times when you have revealed yourself to me and yet I chose to view you with earthly eyes rather than through spiritual discernment. Let my love abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight so that I may be able to discern what is best and may be pure in my recognition of you.

THANKSGIVING: El Bethel thank you for making yourself known to me. Thank you for taking up residence within me through the death, burial and resurrection of your son Jesus Christ which enabled your Holy Spirit to make my spirit your house. My body is the temple of the living God. My life is El Bethel, where you dwell, and yet I still strive to make my own decisions in spite of your desires. Thank you for your patience and longsuffering as you dwell in and with me.

SUPPLICATION: El Bethel abide in me. Set up your home in the very depths of my soul. Let your words dwell in me that I may know and live by them and for you. Reveal to me the sin I must confess and turn from that I may be pure and blameless in your sight. Show me how to best honor you through this temple which you have set up within me. Guide me in my eating habits, in my entertainment choices and even in what I wear so that your house – El Bethel – that is in me may glorify you in all that I do. Grant me the discernment to know how to reflect you well.
For His Kingdom,
VERSE: He built an altar there, and called the place El-bethel (El Bethel), because there God had revealed Himself to him when he fled from his brother. Genesis 35:7

MEANING: The God of the House of God

PRAYER:

ADORATION: El Bethel I know that you can do all things and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You have revealed your power and your strength in numerous ways. The heavens tell of your glory. The skies display your marvelous craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak and at night, they make you known. They speak without a sound or a word – and their voice is silent in the skies, yet their message goes out to all of us on the earth. For since the creation of the world, your invisible attributes, eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen – being understood through what has been made. You have revealed yourself to all of us, El Bethel, and I give you praise for who you are.

CONFESSION: El Bethel I confess that I don’t always see you when you reveal yourself to me. I don’t always stand in amazement at the intricacy of your creation. I fail to marvel at the depth of your wisdom. Forgive me for those times when you have revealed yourself to me and yet I chose to view you with earthly eyes rather than through spiritual discernment. Let my love abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight so that I may be able to discern what is best and may be pure in my recognition of you.

THANKSGIVING: El Bethel thank you for making yourself known to me. Thank you for taking up residence within me through the death, burial and resurrection of your son Jesus Christ which enabled your Holy Spirit to make my spirit your house. My body is the temple of the living God. My life is El Bethel, where you dwell, and yet I still strive to make my own decisions in spite of your desires. Thank you for your patience and longsuffering as you dwell in and with me.

SUPPLICATION: El Bethel abide in me. Set up your home in the very depths of my soul. Let your words dwell in me that I may know and live by them and for you. Reveal to me the sin I must confess and turn from that I may be pure and blameless in your sight. Show me how to best honor you through this temple which you have set up within me. Guide me in my eating habits, in my entertainment choices and even in what I wear so that your house – El Bethel – that is in me may glorify you in all that I do. Grant me the discernment to know how to reflect you well.
For His Kingdom,  Dr. Tony Evans