Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer

PPM-3.jpg

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:12

I am reading Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer by Priscilla Shirer. If you follow my Proven Path FB Page then you have probably already noticed several postings that are excerpts from this book.

In her research to write this book, Priscilla polled a large section of women asking them where the enemy seemed to attack them the most. After she interviewed these women she sat down and came up with a top ten list of what she believes is Satan’s favorite strategies against us. As I give you this list, read through them and see if you recognize any of them as direct attacks that you have personally experienced.

Have you experienced him strategically attacking:

  1. Your passion for prayer and spiritual things
  2. Your focus of who’s the real enemy
  3. Your identity in Christ
  4. Your family
  5. Your confidence
  6. Your calling
  7. Your purity
  8. Your schedule
  9. Your heart
  10. Your relationships

Priscilla begins chapter one with these words…

If I were your enemy, I’d seek to dim your passion, dull your interest in spiritual things, dampen your belief in God’s ability and His personal concern for you, and convince you that the hope you’ve lost is never coming back– and was probably just a lie to begin with.

Each chapter begins with an “If I were your enemy…” and the rest of the chapter is written to help you see how the enemy has possibly snuck in and deceived and discouraged you. Then the chapter closes with Scripture references that are directly related to fight that attack. Beloved, we are given an amazing weapon by our God. We are given His Word. The Sword of the Spirit, is sharper than a double edged sword. This Sword is best wielded as an upward thrust from our knees.

When you don’t feel like praying is when you most need to pray. When you can’t pray is when you most need to get in fighting position… on your knees. Prayer has been a struggle for me for over a year now.  Staying focused. Staying “fervent”.

Staying… just staying has been so very hard.

I have never before in over thirteen years ever just rolled over and tried to sleep through my meeting time with the Lord… yet here in these past several months that’s where I have found myself… just wanting to “oversleep”. Yet, I have discovered that attempt after attempt, that even if at the last minute, my feet have hit the floor and I have come to our place even if it’s just to sit and stare and wait. Romans 8:26 has been my lifesaver.

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;

Praying has been a struggle, but I just keep showing up, everyday, at the same time, in the same place, that I have met God every day since we became so acquainted.

Priscilla made a statement in this book that truly resonated within me. She said, “whenever your passion in prayer is weak or missing, realize that it is God’s work both to give it and then to fan it into a flame inside you. Which means you cannot manufacture it on your own. Your enemy, however- coy as he is- wants to burden you with a blame for not having something that didn’t originate with you in the first place.” Then she goes on to say, “So go to Him to get it back. Don’t try to regain it yourself. Don’t set your hopes on other people or circumstances to fuse it back into the fiber of your being. Trust God’s care. Only His miraculous work can make it bubble back up to the surface where it belongs. And He is more than willing to do it.”

So I’ll just keep showing up and wait on Him to restore what the enemy has stolen.

In the mean time, Priscilla’s book has came just in time as my eyes and heart have been reminded of what the enemy had been able to distract me from in these past many months… my Heavenly Father’s love for me.

In the back of the book there are pages made available for notes and also for preparing your own strategic attack against that slimy serpent of old. Our prayers are our strategies and the weapon of our warfare is His Word.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.

2 Corinthians 10:3-4

So my friend, if one of those top ten up there in that list is a place of struggle in your life… it’s not a freak accident… and it’s not the fault of flesh of blood. It’s your enemy. Make no mistake, he’s after you and he’s after those you love and he’s after your testimony for the Lord. He wants to see your witness and legacy destroyed. He’s not playing games. So we can’t either.

If you need help becoming fervent again or becoming fervent for the first time… then I recommend this book and the Scriptures that she pulls out for you.

But God, You Gave A Snake

PPM-3.jpg

The definition of righteousness in the book of Matthew within the context of the Sermon on the Mount is the Greek word dikaiosuné and it means to have the approval of God, deemed right after being examined, it is demanded by God, it is correctness in thinking, feeling, and acting. That my friends is a pretty tall order. As I read this definition of righteousness I was hit with the correctness in thinking and feeling…

I am leading a Precept Upon Precept study on the Sermon on the Mount so I have been reading through Matthew 5 – 7 over and over the past several weeks. I am coming at the study seeking the kingdom of my God and His righteousness and I am coming as one who is mourning and needed to be comforted. My thinking and feeling is not all that correct right now and the enemy of my soul knows very well that I am vulnerable. That slimy serpent is even using the Word of my God as weapon against me.

As I read though the Words of my Savior in Matthew 7, I found myself questioning my God.

Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he?

Matthew 7:9-10

I read these words and my heart said, But God You gave me a snake. Then His Spirit said to me, That’s not true to My Word.

You see my struggle is not so much that my Daddy went home to be with his Lord. My struggle is how he went home. He went home in what feels like chaos or in a whirlwind. With Phillis we had time to prepare. We had time to tell her things. It doesn’t make missing her easier or less, but I don’t have the nightmares with her that I do with my Daddy. I don’t wake up crying in the middle of the night because we didn’t get to tell my Daddy what the doctor said and I didn’t get my last Monday. With daddy we had JUST been given permission to let go and stop fighting and prepare to say good-bye. We had JUST been given the peace to talk about the step into eternity instead of the next step in the battle for life.

Monday was my day with my Daddy. I was supposed to have Monday. Just me and him. The Lord took him home on Saturday. So it feels like I asked for a fish and my God gave me a snake.

I don’t think I have ever felt the fangs of the serpent digging into my heart and my mind as painfully as I have these past several months. I have lost count of the Scriptures that he has spit at me and said, See I told you He was the liar. You have believed in vain and you cannot trust Him. There is nothing and you are nothing. 

Then I hear him mock me, What? This has shook you? There are people being sawed in half and watching their children being raped and beaten just because they follow Jesus and you are questioning Him over this? Really? You are quite pathetic aren’t you. You know you are going to stand before Him ashamed don’t you?

His hissing is like a fly that keeps buzzing around my head and trying to land on my food. The kind that is so persistent that you cannot even eat the food because you can’t stop shooing the fly away long enough to get a bite. Of course, that’s his goal. He wants to exhaust me with his hissing and buzzing so that I never actually get a taste of the Bread of Life that I have sat down to partake of so that I might find nourishment in my time of need.

Do you know what I mean?

Is this flying serpent buzzing around your head?

The lie is that He gave a snake. The truth is that He gave a fish. Walking by faith and not by sight is not always easy. It’s actually quite impossible apart from God. I am looking forward to the day that I see…

Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.

1 John 3:2

Walking by faith is trusting that God gave you a fish especially when it feels like He gave you a snake. Remembering that He loves His own with an everlasting love. Remembering that His character is one of compassion and lovingkindness. Remembering that He is just in all His ways. Remembering that His purpose is the glory of Christ and His Kingdom.

I can do this because I know that even Jesus felt forsaken. The Only Begotten of the Father experienced doubt in His hurt and groanings in this world. Even He cried out to God in prayer and felt as though His prayers hit the ceiling.

My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?
Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.
O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer;
And by night, but I have no rest.
Yet You are holy,
O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel.
In You our fathers trusted;
They trusted and You delivered them.
To You they cried out and were delivered;
In You they trusted and were not disappointed.

Psalm 22:1-5

I often read this Psalm and find myself unworthy to apply any of it to my suffering. Jesus quoted these words when on the cross dying for me. I almost feel ashamed to claim them as my own… yet I suppose in claiming them I am lifting up my cross as His.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”

Matthew 16:24

So as I dig into this Sermon on the Mount I am seeking my Lord and asking Him to work on my heart. I am hungry and thirsty for His righteousness and I am weary from shooing this flying serpent away from my face and plate. I need the wind of His Spirit to blow him away so that I can rest and eat. Remembering that He is holy.

I might feel He is silent. I might be weary. Yet He is holy. And those who trust in Him are never disappointed.

So here is my heart Lord. Speak what is true.

We Don’t Outrage When It Helps Us Hide Our Sin

PPM-3.jpg

I began this post back in the end of June/first of July. I have a draft folder fuller of titles or of titleless starter posts. Some I hang on to, some I end up deleting, because the reason for beginning the post has calmed or changed or the Lord has simply said, “Nicole, let it go.”

Our nation is in turmoil as are many around the world. The turmoil all boils down to one word, sin. However, much of our modern day has thrown that word out of their vocabulary and replaced it with words and phrases like karma, love wins, whatever, and if it’s what makes them happy.

I always find it interesting what stirs up a “christian”.

The confederate flag and gay marriage has really stirred up the world of social media here in my southern newsfeed. I haven’t jumped on this train of indignation because personally I find them both  almost silly to debate. It’s not that I do not have strong opinions on the matter. It’s not that I have not discussed my strong opinions with my husband and family. I am not the least bit concerned that anyone who really knows me is at all confused over where I would stand on these issues. I find the social media indignant train silly because many will rant and rave and argue behind a computer screen, but few actually will make the sacrifice it takes to act on what they claim to believe. Few will really do something… and that makes me sad.

For example, many are upset that Bruce (Caitlyn) Jenner won the ESPN Espy award for “courage” but how many of those ranting will refuse to support ESPN even if that means forsaking the viewing of their favorite college football team?

Many times these issues are simply smoke screens and opportunities designed by Satan to expose the immaturity, carnality, and pride of many who profess the name of Jesus. If Satan and the powers of darkness can make those who claim to be christians look like a bunch of idiots, hypocrites, or ranting jackasses he most certainly will jump on the opportunity. Sadly, in our abundantly supplied day of christian resources the fact that so many who claim Christ are still Biblically illiterate makes his job at doing so quite easy. To have this much supply and yet still be ignorant simply makes the church appear ever so much more backwards and backwoods.

I have also come to notice that many will not get so upset at a movement or a ruling that helps them hide their sin. Why all the outrage on gay marriage? Is it really because of the redefinition and destruction of the family? No, I don’t think so…

If that was the case we would not be so quick to divorce. We would not be so quick to have that affair. We would not be so quick to be promiscuous. We would not be so quick to work twelve hours a day and leave our child in day care all day and just pick them up in enough time to run them through a drive thru on our way to drop them off with the ball coach. Gay marriage has not redefined marriage and family. We did that a long time ago when we, who claim the name of Christ, began to ignore Deuteronomy 6:4-9. If you are a professing Christian parent and you don’t know this passage by heart, then you have just proved my point.

Ravi Zacharias writes, “I think we as Christians need to awaken to the unpleasant reality that we have not taught and proclaimed God’s Word faithfully and demonstrated true holiness.

Where is the outrage over abortion? Why are we so upset over a gay marriage ruling and a confederate flag removal, yet we said nothing when our President stood before Planned Parenthood and praised them? Why have we decided to just accept that and move on? Today in the news there is a news story about a video of Planned Parenthood selling body parts… and we act as though we are shocked… for now anyway.

By the way that’s how the Supreme Court was able to boldly make that ruling. They know that the majority of us will rant and rave for a month or two, but then there will be a new story and we will all just accept it and move on. In other words the sky is not going to fall and people will still vote democrat in 2016 even though they rage against the machine.

What’s the difference between abortion and gay marriage and the outrage or the lack there of… one helps you hide your sin and the sin of loved ones and the other exposes it.

It appears to me that it comes down to that age old belief, just do whatever you want as long as you don’t tell me about it. Let me play the I-didn’t-know card, that way I don’t actually have to DO anything. However, if you do push me into the light of revelation I plan to loudly (from afar) proclaim my outrage so that hopefully you will never notice that I really don’t care enough to actually put deeds behind my mouth, or in this day, my fingers.

Ravi Zacharias reminds us that, “As Christians, we often look outside of ourselves and wonder why the world is so different from us. We seldom pause and ask how the Church of today has become so different from what it was and so indifferent to the world around us. Liberalism is not just a political term. What has happened in our world was foreseen a few decades ago. Changes were underway then and we were taken by a storm from within. Culture at large moved unabashedly towards the mockery of the Christian worldview; Eastern religions were spared that, either because of the cowardice of the Western critic or simply to not be seen as attacking another ethnic group. But the Church is really where the titanic shifts in the culture started. As the liberal church swung to the extreme of religion without absolutes, the evangelical church flirted with emotionalism without intellect, while some of the mass distributors of spirituality peddled a cosmetic version of truth that was hollow and hairstyles became more important than what was going on in the head itself.

It’s a whole lot harder to love in grace and truth than it is to tell others what is right and wrong. The Pharisees had that down pat. They could drag the woman out and point their fingers and loudly proclaim their outrage (John 8:1-11), but when it came to bending down and picking a man up who was beaten down, robbed, and left for dead they just walked on by on the other side (Luke 10:30-37).

One would bring them praise and respect from those they surrounded themselves with and cost them nothing. The other would cause those they surrounded themselves with to snarl their nose and would cost them abundantly.

When the choices of those who refuse truth cause their world to come crashing down around them, I want to be the one who is there to offer them a drink of the Living Water. I want to be the one to pick them up and offer them a bite of the Bread of Life. I want to be the one to tell them that their Redeemer lives. I want to be a branch connected to the Vine that is able to provide them a place of shade and protection from that one who comes to kill, steal, and destroy. I want my actions and my words to prove that I am His because in my words and in my actions people see Him… the One who has come not to judge the world, but to save it… Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God.

Ravi Zacharias also writes, “The third and final bridge of the gospel is that of community: the love of God working through us as a Church where worship brings together all our inclinations, surrendered to God’s sacred call for all of us. That is worked out in love and grace. Our worship will have to have theological integrity, not just in form but in substance; worship that is not just moments of exhilaration but is co-extensive with life itself and sermons that are not merely heard but are also seen. The outreach of love will then be embodied and not be mere talk. The Church must not be a fortress guarded by a constabulary but a home where the Father ever awaits the return of each of us who is in the far country.

for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.

1 Thessalonians 1:5

 

Don’t Tell Me It Doesn’t Matter

PPM-3.jpg

Oh, when we are standing with Jesus you won’t even care why.

After the judgment He’ll wipe all our tears aways and what happened here on earth will all be forgotten.

Oh, when we get to glory that won’t even matter.

Don’t tell me it doesn’t matter. If what happens here on this earth doesn’t matter then what are we doing? I don’t buy it.

I don’t know what we will do for all eternity, but there is more to what we do here on this earth with the life that we have been given than just what we will leave behind us when we are gone.

It matters.

When my sister-in-law was in her last days, I was sitting with her and we were talking and she was telling me about all the people who were coming to see her, and how far they were driving to do it… and she looked at me and smiled and said, “It matters. It matters.”

It matters when we make excuses instead of making moments.

It matters.

The  choices we make matter. The people we choose to invest in matter. The Lord knows when we are loving people and when we are using people to love ourselves. He can tell the difference.

He knows when you do what you do because You love Him and love others and when it’s because it benefits you. He knows.

He knows what is a real sacrifice and what we have made to look like a sacrifice or worse have convinced ourselves is a sacrifice so that we can pat our self-declared selfless selves on the back.

He knows when what we promote is His will or our own idea with a generic Jesus sticker on it.

I don’t want to be fake. I don’t want to DO church. I don’t want to do my vision and call it evangelism. I want to be real. I want to BE church. I want to be the body of my Jesus and continue His mission. I do not want to be guilty of USING His mission to be the provision and promotion of my own.

One thing I do not want to hear from my Lord on that day that I stand before Him, is I hope you enjoyed your earthly applause because you have received your reward in full (Matthew 6).

I’m not yet sure how God wants me to BE church. I’m not sure how He wants me to continue His mission. I just grab every opportunity that He gives me to teach and proclaim His truth. He said follow Me (John 21:22) and I am trying to do just that.

In the everyday and the mundane. In the work of the church and the heart of the home. In the joys and in the sorrows. In social media and in silent meditation.

I just don’t buy that it doesn’t matter. It matters. It ALL matters. What we do here on this earth matters… and I think it matters for more than just that crown we will lay at Jesus’ feet. There is more. I just don’t know what that more will be.

I just know that it matters when we stay silent and it matters when we speak.

It matters when we forgive and it matters when we think we have no reason to need to ask for forgiveness.

It matters when people are second and agendas are first.

It matters when we manipulate instead of communicate.

It matters that there are those I will never see the same again because of what I know.

God has gifted us with the command and ability to forgive by and through His grace not because we need nor have to forget, but because He knows that we never will.

I wish I could forget.

I was reminded Sunday through our Pastor’s message that God has the end. As much as my flesh would like to stand in what I would determine as righteous indignation I can’t trust myself. I can however trust Him. I either believe that He is indeed working all things together for good for those who love Him and are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28) or I don’t… and I choose to believe.

The enemy has stolen much from my family… but our Redeemer lives.

As I told a dear friend, I just pray that it isn’t wasted. I’ll keep breathing in His grace and breathing out His praise knowing that He was present for it all. His eyes saw what mine saw and what mine did not. I’ll leave it to Him to figure out all the rights and the wrongs and I’ll trust Him to do the healing in my heart and my memories. I’ll trust Him to take me deeper into Him as I walk through this place of hurt and unrest, this fissures of dissonance.

In the mean time I will follow Him.

Even if ,and especially when, I find myself in the valley of the gap…

Yet, what was expected was not experienced. John experienced the terrifying and abysmal emptiness that came in a Jesus who was free from his expectations and of his own assumptions.

Jesus acknowledged that his ministry would be disruptive, and even be misunderstood. In responding to John’s doubts, Jesus said, “Blessed is the one who keeps from stumbling over me” (Matthew 11:6). Like John before us, those who seek to follow Jesus often stumble over him. The gaps between what we believe and what we experience create fissures in faith into which many fall. Yet, as Cairns suggests, might mining those gaps uncover the treasure of encountering Jesus in new ways? Might mining the gaps we experience hold the treasure of new insight and the beauty of a more faithful devotion if we are willing to let go of “comfortable assumptions” and cherished expectations? If so, then might all the faithful dig deep and find that what is precious and most valuable is often found in the fissures of dissonance.

Margaret Manning Shull

Motivate Your Child Action Plan

PPM-3.jpg

At the first of this year I participated in the book launch of Motivate Your Child for the National Center of Biblical Parenting.  The book is another wonderful tool made available for parents who are willing to get down and real to see serious and lasting changes take place in their lives and in the lives of their kids.

The National Center of Biblical Parenting took it a step further and created a companion guide to go along with the book. They call it the Action Plan

Action!

Learn how to develop a parenting plan that takes your child’s unique needs into account. Use the outline of firmness, visioning, teaching, prayer, and coaching to flesh out a strategy to move your child from where he is today, to where he needs to go. The Motivate Your Child ACTION PLAN walks you through the process of identifying an area of weakness and then naming the character quality that needs to grow in your child’s heart. Read about the value relationship and learn the building blocks to make relationships strong in your home. From there you’ll have the framework to move through each day with greater direction and confidence.

The Motivate Your Child ACTION PLAN will give you the tools to address sibling conflict, poor school performance, disrespect, laziness, procrastination, sloppy work, emotional outbursts, self-centeredness, and so much more.

This approach will equip and empower you to parent any age child, from toddlers to teenagers, and beyond. If you have a problem to address in your child, this book can help you envision the solution and then lay out the steps to get there.

Motivate Your Child AP

I can’t say enough about how much I love the materials that Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller make available to us. God has truly gifted them both with insight and wisdom into todays parenting challenges along with the ability to help anyone who is willing to learn to walk through the process of conquering those challenges.

Click the photo or here to purchase: Action Plan

Click here for more parenting tools: Biblical Parenting

To hear interviews and samples of the audio lessons click here: Learn More

Click the picture below if you would like to purchase the book that goes along with the action plan.

Motivate Book

I Called God A Liar

PPM-3.jpg

There are days that I think I am good. I am ready to accept that God chose to heal my Daddy and Sister-in-Law fully in and for all eternity and I know, that I know, that I know that they are with our Lord and I am going to smile in my heart and once again lift my face to my Heavenly Father in reckless abandon with arms outstretched and I am going to show the world my faith through my ability to not be rocked by their absence in our life… but then something happens and the pain hits like a brick in my chest.

I miss them.

I never saw my Daddy that I did not hug him. I miss his hugs. I miss feeling him hold me tight while having my head buried in his arms and hearing him talk and laugh through his chest. His words came from his heart always.

This morning I got up after a sleepless night and walked downstairs to the coffee pot and flipped my little Scripture calendar while I waited for my cup to fill and that’s when I did it. I read the verse of the day and then I called God a liar.

The verse:

I, the Lord, am your healer.

Exodus 15:26

I grabbed my cup and like a stubborn child I muttered, “I’m not saying I’m sorry” even though I knew I was… and then immediately the Holy Spirit said to me… “it is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18)”

I found a book by Charles Stanley in my pool bag that my Daddy had given me to read after he had finished it. He began reading it during his chemo treatments. As I picked it up to read as I waited in the doctors office for tests I read,

“You may have spent the last year wondering  if you will ever  be able to live a normal  life again. The answer is yes and also no. If we allow God to carry us through times of adversity, we will be changed in ways we never thought possible. A new depth and dimension will be added to our lives. What we once viewed as being normal will be replaced by something that bears a greater value because it comes to us in the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. This changes us and makes us more sensitive to God and to those around us who are hurting… While it is hard to leave the memory of a loved one behind, we realize that life is worth living, and we must live so that Christ can live through us. 

No one who has ever loved deeply and then lost that love wants to move on immediately.  But in time, and with God’s help, that person understands that God’s plan for his or her life is not over; it is just taking a different path than the one he or she thought would be traveled. When we realize that God is healing and restoring our hearts, we want to move on and even farther than we have gone before.

There is no need to doubt the goodness of God. He is ever faithful, and we can trust Him…”

Sometimes I just want God to let me throw a tantrum, but He just simply won’t. He keeps supplying my every need… even when that need is my sanity or a gentle rebuke that He is NOT a liar. I know He is not. I know. He knows that I know. He also knows I am hurting. I am thankful that the GOD who lovingly handled the accusations from frustrations of Elijah and Job also lovingly handles mine.

As I was cleaning out my office last week I came across my journal that I filled with the account of my trip to the concentration camps in Poland. In 2006 I spent a week with men and women who had been prisoners in Auschwitz, Majdanek, and others.  I spent a week with a man who had watched his father, mother, and sister be turned to a gas chamber while he and his brother were turned to work. I couldn’t feel so sorry for myself after re-reading the account of this experience.

This life is hard. This world is dying. Sin is having its effect. If not for the grace and mercy of God restraining the evil that He does we would all be destroyed. And we wouldn’t need His wrath to do it. Our own choices and being the victims of others choices would be completely sufficient for cataclysmic world decimation.

In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

That statement of fact from the mouth of our Lord and Savior is just as true today as it was two thousand years ago.

You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father…

John 14:28

These were the words that my Jesus spoke to His disciples right before he would suffer death… and I know that one day God will heal my heart and I will be able rest in the rejoicing because I know that my Daddy and Phillis have gone to the Father and because I love my Jesus, my Heavenly Father, my Daddy and Phillis… I WILL ONE DAY ONCE AGAIN really rejoice.

I have faith that it will come.

My God IS NOT a liar.

A believers grief is a funny thing… joy and sadness all at the same time. This afternoon as I sat outside for a few minutes before I began supper I decided to have another cup of coffee as I read through my Sunday school lesson… this is where the Lord met me once again,

“If we do not grieve when tragedy comes, we become less like God.
Grief is not sin. It is not wrong to feel pain, and it is not wrong to feel grief when we experience pain.

When grief pressed Job to the ground he turned the ground into a shrine and worshiped there. When tragedy strikes us, we can turn our circumstances into a shrine and worship God in them. We can make a shrine in the depths of our darkness and worship God there. We can fall on our faces in submission and adoration. We can adore Him wherever we are and in whatever emotional state we find ourselves. That is the lesson we learn from Job in this scene (Job 1:20-22).

When our hearts are pressed down, we can cry out to God in our pain and He will hear us.

Job 1:21 is one of the most meaningful expressions found anywhere in literature. Spoken from the depths of a broken heart, it reveals one man’s ready acceptance of the will of God.”
~ James T Draper Jr

No. He simply will not ever leave us and He simply will not ever forsake us… even when we call Him a liar.

His love is loyal.

The Quiet Fight Between Women

PPM-3.jpg

So what is this post about?

This post is about Angie Tolpin’s new course that is entitled The Quiet Fight Between Women, which exposes the problem we have today. And the heading, Redeeming the Division reveals the solution. Jesus Christ is our Redeemer. The definition of redeem is powerful: to reclaim and to take back.

I have personally worked through the first three units and am already trying to figure out how I could lead this study in my own church. So far Angie’s material is biblically sound and calls for those who are participating within the study to go deeper and seek true healing and spiritual growth.

Angie writes, “I truly believe that God is broken hearted over the division among women in His family. It breaks His fatherly heart just as it would break your heart or mine if our children were divided. And the Redeemer I know and love, would deeply desire to redeem your relationships, too.

It is Jesus who heals relationships. It is in Him that we should find our identity and, it is by the power of His Holy Spirit that hearts are transformed and relationships can grow. But we have a responsibility to partner with Him. To recognize our sin, our nature, and how we have contributed to this division among women and partner with Him through repentance and cultivating unity, love, and acceptance.”

Quiet Fight

About the Course

Most women live in a bondage that is culturally and self-imposed due to entrapment in a comparison game. Redeeming the Division, the ecourse, seeks to begin the process of restoring a sisterhood that is currently scarred with judgmentalism, competition, and division, by bringing into light the “pink elephant” topics which create division, and exhorting both spiritual growth as well as maturity past this high school drama that distracts us from our greatest call, The Great Commission.

This is for women who want to be set free.

Click here for a free preview: FREE PREVIEW

This would be a really good small group women’s ministry study. It would also be great for a home study course. I would especially recommend it for any church that is trying to start a women’s ministry or heal a broken one.

The journal entry pages are filled with pointed questions that will require the one answering to really examine themselves. They would also be great for opening up the floor for group discussion opportunities.

In celebration of the launch of this course we are hosting a giveaway of one course AND AN Apple iWatch!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other posts related to the quiet fight among women: AccountabilitySignificant In ChristSecure In ChristAccepted In ChristWoman to Woman

Jesus Grew Weary Too

PPM-3.jpg

As I was preparing to teach from John 4 our VBS at Central Baptist Church I saw something in this chapter that somehow I had seemed to miss all the other times I had read this chapter… and I have read John 4 more times than I can count. It’s amazing really how the Word of God works… we see what He allows us to see when He allows us to see it. Jesus meets us always right were we are and true to the story of John 4 His living water is a well within those who ask Him for a drink.

What the Lord caused to jump out to me this past week was John 4:6,

So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well…

What? Jesus grew weary from the journey?

Yes, He did.

The word wearied in this verse is kopiaó and it means to labor until worn-out, depleted (exhausted). He was not just a little tired He was kaput. He was exhausted, and He was hungry, and He was thirsty. When the Samaritan woman came to the well and He asked her for a drink… He really needed a drink.

But the Redeemer must participate in that from which He redeems; and the condition of His strength being ‘made perfect in our weakness’ is that our weakness shall have cast a shadow upon the glory of His strength.

The measure of His love is seen in that, long before Calvary, He entered into the humiliation and sufferings and sorrows of humanity; a condition of His power is seen in that, forasmuch as the ‘children were partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same,’ not only that ‘through death He might deliver’ from death, but that in life He might redeem from the ills and sorrows of life.

Nor does that exhausted Figure, reclining on Jacob’s Well, preach to us only what He was. It proclaims to us likewise what we should be. For if His work was carried on to the edge of His capacity, and if He shrank not from service because it involved toil, what about the professing followers of Jesus Christ, who think that they are exempted from any form of service because they can plead that it will weary them?

What about those who say that they tread in His footsteps, and have never known what it was to yield up one comfort, one moment of leisure, one thrill of enjoyment, or to encounter one sacrifice, one act of self-denial, one aching of weariness for the sake of the Lord who bore all for them?

The wearied Christ proclaims His manhood, proclaims His divinity and His love, and rebukes us who consent to ‘walk in the way of His commandments’ only on condition that it can be done without dust or heat; and who are ready to run the race that is set before us, only if we can come to the goal without perspiration or turning a hair. ‘Jesus, being wearied with His journey, sat thus on the well.’

MacLaren Expositions of Holy Scripture

As exhausted as He was, when an opportunity to give a drink of the Living Water to another thirsty soul walked up He didn’t say, not now, not today, I’m too tired. No, He seized the moment and took full advantage. He preached the gospel. He was revived and strengthened through the will of the Father that this woman and those whom she would run to and share her testimony with might be saved…

From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.” So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of His word; and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.”

John 4:39-42

When Jesus was weary from His journey His Father gave Him more than a drink. The Father gave Him a reminder of why He was on the journey to begin with…

Walking in the Valley of the Shadow of Death

PPM-3.jpg

On April 13th our entire family along with our church began a forty day fast. That fast has now ended. I have been quite upset with my God. Yesterday morning as I wrote in my old spiral notebook journal and I made my complaint to my God. Forty days of fasting and You take… 

As I attempted to prepare myself for my sister-in-law’s life celebration service I knew it was the 23rd of the month and I turned to Psalm 23 and I read,

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 23:4-6

but I was not comforted I was hurt.

As the tears fell and I once again asked God Why?, to my heart He said, What day did you receive her news? On the 27th… so I turned to Psalm 27 and I read.

One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord
And to meditate in His temple.

Psalm 27:4

In the margin of my Bible beside this verse I now have written, Daddy and Phillis have received their “one thing”. They now have received the greatest gift that any believer can hope for… they both dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

However, we who loved them so very much are left here on earth. We are troubled in our hearts and in our souls, but in our trouble He will conceal us in His tabernacle.

For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle;
In the secret place of His tent He will hide me;
He will lift me up on a rock.
And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me,
And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice,
And be gracious to me and answer me.
When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You,
“Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.”
Do not hide Your face from me,
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not abandon me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation!

Psalm 27:5-9

In His tent we will worship Him and offer sacrifices with shouts of joy. Our sacrifice being our broken contrite hearts that cause our insides to churn within us but our lips to still sing His praise as we surrender to this new reality and wait with even more eager anticipation for the day of His coming. Oh come quickly Lord Jesus, come quickly.

As I cried out for the coming of our Lord, as I wrote in my journal His words to Seek Him and reminded Him that I was seeking Him, but He seemed to be hiding from me still. As I cried out for Him to help me, to not abandon me, to not forsake me, to help me understand, He sent me to seek Him in His Word and He landed me here…

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
(1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

Therefore comfort one another with these words…

Last night as I did devotions with our girls Bekah’s devotion was based on John 14:1 on the importance of believing and trusting in the Lord in all things and at all times and then Shelby’s was based on Job 1:21 and suffering and God’s sovereignty…

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. He said,

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked I shall return there.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.

Job 1:20-22

So today… this Pentecost Sunday… we are going to try to arise and worship in this tent as those we love so very much worship in His temple. We are going to try and arise and walk in this new season of life, with hearts that feel empty from this new reality that is absent of two of the people that filled them with their smiles, laughter, and constant encouragement… and trust that His Holy Spirit is enough and He will fill our empty hearts with more of Himself.

A Good Name

PPM-3.jpg

A good name is better than a good ointment,
And the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth.
It is better to go to a house of mourning
Than to go to a house of feasting,
Because that is the end of every man,
And the living takes it to heart.

Ecclesiastes 7:1-2

On this day two weeks ago I was praying for my Daddy and Momma and the radiologist that they would be meeting with concerning the beginning of radiation treatments on a tumor on my Daddy’s adrenal gland. A tumor that had somehow managed to evade the chemotherapy that was actually shrinking the tumors in his lung and lymph nodes. Shrinking them to the point that his CEA markers were dropping abundantly every week, giving us the appearance that we were headed in a positive direction.

At least at the discovery of this tumor things finally made sense. My Daddy was getting weaker and weaker, but we couldn’t understand why. We wondered if he was just hitting the point of depression in the process, so we surrounded him with posters and encouragement and schedules and exercises trying to keep his spirits up. We spoke of light things and made plans for the future… you know, for when he was feeling better.

He was not depressed. He was not giving up. He had kept his word to us and to the doctors to the best of his ability just as he always had his whole life. He was, as a matter of fact, fighting so hard for us that his white blood cell count had risen to over 114,000 by that Saturday, and it was for us he was fighting. My Daddy was ready and willing to go home to be with his Lord, but he fought the good fight (1 Timothy 6:12), knowing that to live was Christ and to die was gain (Philippians 1:21). My Daddy kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7).

The appointment on Tuesday, in our minds, was to remove the drain tube. We just knew that since we had not been able to drain any fluid for several weeks now that the reason he still felt like he couldn’t breathe was due to the catheter in his chest cavity. However, that would not be the case. Although the tumor in his lung and lymph node was smaller… there was another issue that had been hiding. The drain tube would stay.

We knew it was bad.

Thursday’s appointment confirmed it.

However we never expected that Saturday would be the last day that we shared together. It’s crazy how quickly life can change and throw you.

Tonight I told his story for the first time without crying. I left some things out. Like how very hard it was to let him go. How very hard it was to make that call… to honor Daddy and to honor God.

On the way home tonight as I listened to a song on the radio I couldn’t help but begin to once again ask God why… Why now?

As crazy as it may sound while sitting at a red light, at that moment, God gave me the vision and the feeling of my Daddy’s spirit being finally freed from this body of death. It was just a moment. I wanted to hang on to it and go further, but God took it as quickly as He gave it.

Here’s the thing, the same Holy Spirit that raised my Jesus, that raised my Daddy, lives in me. We are eternally woven together by the Grand Weaver by grace though faith in the Christ and not even death can change that truth. We did not believe the gospel in vain. We still serve and worship the same God, the One True Living God.

…then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.

Ecclesiastes 12:7

Oh my I miss him. I just want to hug him. I want to bury my head in his chest and see his eyes light up when I tell him what God is doing in the life of his grandkids. I want to talk with him about the church and about the things we could do to reach more people for the Kingdom of Light.

My Daddy left this earth with a good name. His good name is a testimony to his Good God.

Some people he knew through work, a group of people who only saw him when he came though town to deliver items to them came to his funeral. They sent flowers. The florist asked what Daddy was “in to” in order to personalize the flowers. They asked if he was a huge Bama fan, or NASCAR fan, or something of that nature. One of the co-workers said no, all Daddy ever talked about was Jesus and his family. So she told the florist he was a super Christian and that was the best way to describe him. So she told the florist to use the biggest cross she had to represent him in that arrangement.

A good name points others to the gospel and to the only name that saves, the name of Jesus, for there is no other name under heaven that has been given to man by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

If it takes my Daddy’s death, my sister-in-law Phillis’ death, or my own to get the living to take this truth to heart… then my Daddy and my Phillis, would willingly accept that cost and so will I.

What I know, that I know, I know, is that God doesn’t waste anything. He will not waste my Daddy’s sufferings and He will not waste my sister-in-law’s sufferings either,  just like He did not waste His Son’s

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Romans 8:18

As my husband reminded us tonight. There are others who have it worse. There are those who do not have the hope and assurance that we have. We know exactly where our loved ones are at and will be and with Who… and we know one day we will be reunited.

My husband also shared how we have to remember that the devil wants us to feel sorry for ourselves. He wants us to sit around and say “woe is me” instead of “glory to God” and well we just are not going to give him what he wants.

We will indeed continue to praise the name of Jesus and give glory to our God.