#Empowered by trusting God

Made to Crave CoverI’ve started another Proverbs 31 online Bible study. Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food by Lysa Terkeurst is the book we’re using. One of the questions Lysa asks early on in the book is:

“Is it possible we LOVE and RELY on food more than we love and rely on God?”

One of the things I appreciate about the Proverbs 31 studies is that these women are not afraid to ask tough questions and they expect honest answers – from themselves as well as study participants. It’s refreshing to be part of a community where we are able to be brutally honest and allow God to change us, while being supported and encouraged. I find this very empowering. Excuses don’t cut it. Only the truth.

This study deals with an age-old problem — relying on food; putting our trust in money, or position, or people RATHER THAN GOD. In Jeremiah 2:13, God states it this way:

“My people have sinned twice.
They have deserted me,
even though I am the spring of water that gives life.
And they have dug their own wells.
But those wells are broken.
They can’t hold any water.

Isn’t it ironic that we turn away from the almighty, loving, perfect God who created us and try to fill our emptiness with created things that don’t last, hurt us, and leave us in worse shape than we were before? How can we be so foolish? Thankfully, God understands that we are prone to sin and He waits for us to repent and come back to Him. He is the only one who can truly empower us.

As I begin this study, I choose to turn away from relying on food and people to relying on God. In and of themselves, these things are not bad. It’s my reliance on them that is wrong. I confess my sin of relying on “broken wells” and choose to rely on God today.

I know I face an uphill battle, but that’s okay because I’m empowered by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He stands with me and I can call out to Him. Lysa shares:

“When I started, I knew this battle would be hard — harder than I ever imagined. But through it all I determined to make God, rather than food, my focus. Each time I craved something I knew wasn’t part of my plan, I used that craving as a prompt to pray. I craved a lot. So, I found myself praying a lot. . . It was my way of tearing down the tower of impossibility and building something new. My tower of impossibility was food. Brick by brick, I imagined myself dismantling the food tower and using those same bricks to build a walkway of prayer, paving the way to victory.”

What about you? Are you trusting food, people, money? Or are you choosing to be empowered by God?


Who I Am in Christ

This week in our Proverbs 31 Ministries online Bible study of A Confident Heart, Renee Swope talked to us about dealing with thoughts of “I’m not good enough.”

“It’s easy to think that if we were taller, prettier, skinnier, smarter, younger, or had all that we wanted, we’d be secure. We think all those things could make us feel like we are good enough. But the truth is, even women who ‘have it all’ still struggle with feeling like they aren’t good enough.”   -Renee Swope

We all have “mind tapes” which play over and over in our heads – messages which tell us we’re no good, or we’ll never make it, or we’re stupid, or we’re ugly etc. We need to choose to “record over” these negative messages, replacing them with the truth of God’s word. Dr. Neil Anderson has shared a compilation of Scriptures (see Victory Over the Darkness) to remind us of who we are in Christ. Ginny Blankenship created this visual based on the Scriptures. Every day we need to consciously fill our minds with these truths.Who I am in Jesus Christ

This morning as I sat down to write this post, I was excited to share what I was learning. When I went to sign in to my WordPress account my password wasn’t accepted. I tried several, but none of them worked. Finally I had to request a password reset. Then I logged in and started writing my post. I thought it would be fun to do a Wordle, but when I tried to do that, I found out my Java software was out of date, so the Wordle wouldn’t work. I accepted the fact I wouldn’t get my post written in the time I thought I would, updated my software and then prepared breakfast for my family. While we were getting ready to have breakfast, my husband and son had a confrontation. I thought my husband was being too harsh and voiced my opinion. My husband didn’t appreciate my interference and told me so. We made it through breakfast and then it was time to get our five children out the door for the bus. As they were getting snow pants, jackets, and mitts on, my youngest daughter couldn’t find her mitts. I looked everywhere, but couldn’t find them. I went to a box of old mitts we have and found two the same colour, but for the same hand. No matter how I searched, I couldn’t find any others that were remotely suitable, so out the door she went with mismatched mitts.

At the end of chapter 6, Renee poses this question:

“What area of your life – as a woman, mom, wife, friend, daughter, housekeeper, professional, leader, etc. – do you currently struggle with most in believing you are good enough?”

This morning I was tempted to believe I was NOT good enough in several areas:

  • Computer/technology
  • Marriage
  • Motherhood

Renee says:

“Sometimes it’s not the big things — it’s the smaller, everyday things. How often do you hear doubt whisper, You’re such a failure, when you make a dumb mistake, say something you regret, argue with someone you love, let a friend down, dishonor your husband, or fall into a pattern of sin? How often do you beat yourself up with accusing internal dialogue, saying things like, I always do that. I keep saying I’m sorry, but I’ll never change. I’m constantly disappointing someone. . . we need to remember that accusation doesn’t come from God; it comes from our accuser. . . Accusing is what Satan does best, but instead of believing his accusations, we need to let them lead us straight to Jesus so He can have the final say.”

These are the Scriptures (taken from Neil Anderson’s list) I’m choosing to mediate on this week:

  1. I Corinthians 6:19-20 – I have been bought with a price and I belong to God
  2. Ephesians 1:3-8 – I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child
  3. Hebrews 4:14-16 – I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ
  4. Philippians 1:6 – I am confident God will complete the good work He started in me
  5. 2 Timothy 1:7 – I have been given a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind
  6. 1 John 5:18 – I am born of God, and the evil one cannot touch me
  7. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 – I am a minister of reconciliation for God

Here’s my Wordle

SONY DSC

Today I’m choosing to celebrate who I am in Jesus Christ. Will you join me?

 

 


When – Then: Allowing God to fill our wells

This week in our online Bible study of A Confident Heart by Renee Swope, we are on chapter three, “Finding Love that Won’t Fail Even When I Do”. I highlighted many sections throughout the chapter, but the following quote sums up the chapter for me.

“Our schedules are full, our minds are full, our stomachs are full, our refrigerators are full, our closets are full, our lives are full. Yet we find ourselves with so many empty places. Why? Because the wells of our hearts were created to be filled by God alone. . . By recognizing and replacing our emptiness with the fulness of God’s promises, we drink the gift of living water. We  acknowledge our need, which allows Him to pour His truth into the well of our hearts.”

At the end of the chapter there are questions to help us think through the ideas presented during the chapter. Question 7 says:

“We were made for love that isn’t measured by our last accomplishment but marked by God’s measureless grace (pg. 62). Write a few when-then statements for areas of your life where you can apply this truth.”

ImageHere are my “when-then” statements:

1. When I am tempted to measure my value by how well I am doing as a mother, I will stop. Then, I will thank God that He always sees me as precious and valuable.

2. When I am tempted to fill my emptiness by eating, I will stop. Then, I will celebrate God’s presence and thank Him for his sufficiency to meet all my needs.

3. When I am tempted to look to my husband to meet all my needs, I will stop. Then, I will rejoice that God loves me with a perfect love and He is sufficient for all my needs.

4. When I am tempted to satisfy my needs by being overly busy, I will stop. Then, I will seek God’s wisdom and guidance in my life and trust Him to provide for my needs.

As I read through this chapter, I was reminded of how we get tricked into thinking so many other things will meet our needs, and we switch from relying on God to relying on other things. It’s good to try to be the best mother possible, but I will fail. My husband is a wonderful person, but he is only human and will never satisfy all my desires. Food is necessary for life, but eating doesn’t satisfy emotional needs. Work provides income and a measure of satisfaction, but work was never meant to fill the God-sized hole in my heart.

Renee reminds us:

“A confident heart is found in a woman who knows beyond the shadow of a doubt that she is loved no matter what. Lasting security comes when we bring the empty well of our hearts to Jesus and ask Him to fill and fulfill us with the security of His unfailing love.”

She also says:

“Salvation is a one-time decision, but finding satisfaction in Christ and living in the security of His promises is a daily process.”

I don’t know about you, but I need these reminders. I am saved, and I have found satisfaction in Christ, but I often get derailed in my walk with Him. Today I am choosing to live in the security of God’s promises. Tomorrow, and the next day and each day after that, I will need to “recalibrate” and choose again.

Are you choosing to find satisfaction in Christ so that you can live in the security of His promises?


Arming ourselves with the Word of God

In Ephesians 6, the Apostle Paul urges us to “be strong in the Lord” and “put on the full armor of God”, including “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” This week in our Proverbs 31 online Bible study, we were challenged to do this by “verse mapping” one of the Scriptures mentioned in Chapter 4 of What Happens When Women Say Yes to God.

Heather Blier talks about verse mapping on her blog. These are the steps she suggests going through when you read a verse or passage:

Holy Bible1. Personalize it…cross out words like “you”, “we”, “whoever”, “them” and write your name above it.
2. Highlight parts that jump out at you.
3. Read the verse in context – the whole chapter or passage.
4. Read the verse in at least two other translations. Note on the card words or phrases from other translations that help you understand or apply the verse.  If you don’t have other translations laying around the house a couple of good resources for several translations are BibleGateway and YouVersion.
5. Find cross references and note anything brings new meaning. Cross references are verses that have similar words or phrases. My Bible has them listed in the center column.  Other’s have them in footnotes at the bottom. Bible Gateway and YouVersion both can help you find some.
6. Circle a word or two and do a word study on it.
● Look up the word in your dictionary and see if the definition gives you any insight
● Use a topical index and/or concordance in the back of your Bible to find other verses
where the word appears
● Look up synonyms (same meaning) and antonyms (opposite meaning) in a concordance or online Bible tools site to find other verses.

The passage I picked to take a closer look at is 2 Corinthians 5:14-18:

14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: (NIV)

Here is my paraphrase of the passage after I went through the verse mapping process:

The love of Christ strongly urges, even forces me (see I Corinthians 9:16 and Jude 1:3) to live for Him. You see, I know that Jesus Christ died on the cross for me and rose again. When I chose to follow Him, I died to my old sinful self along with all my selfish desires. I no longer see things the same way. My perspective, goals, and desires are new. Instead of seeking for pleasure and happiness, my ultimate goal is to honour and obey Jesus Christ. This is because Jesus Christ paid the penalty for my sin and made it possible for me to have a restored relationship with God the Father. I’m no longer a prisoner of sin, but a child of the King. It is now my desire and obligation to share the good news of what God has done for me with those around me so that they too repent and choose to have fellowship with God.

Do you have other suggestions on ways to study God’s Word? Which verses or passages have you been studying lately? I look forward to hearing what you’re learning in your walk with God.