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Not like I planned–part 2

Can I just tell you that I LOVE this study?! I’m probably gonna get through it pretty quickly from now on because I am giving up at least 10 minutes of things I otherwise enjoy (sleep or internet time) to spend in Bible study and prayer.

So here are some quotes that really hit me with today’s study:

“So in essence, when the Israelites rejected Moses, he then rejected his own self and calling. Is this ringing a bell with anybody!!?”

“The Israelites did not trust this prince of Egypt and they sure did not elect him to act on their behalf. Praise the Lord, man’s rejection will never trump God’s acceptance! A naysayer in your midst will not thwart God’s good intentions in your life to act on His behalf!”

“Can I encourage you in the fact if God can accomplish the cross-country relocation of 2 million people by the obedience of one man, then He is SO ABLE to work out the details of your calling to a good end! The most important thing to remember is even if it is Not Like We Planned, there is never to be a doubt that our outcomes are exactly Like He Planned. We can rest knowing that our God has it covered. ”

“Hebrews 11 is perhaps the most inspiring chapter of the Bible. It beautifully recounts the stories of many men and women to whom God made promises yet they never saw them realized on earth.”

“let it sink in deeply that, just like Christ Jesus, Moses’ ransom was the sacrifice of his very life.”

And now for the discussion questions!

1. I am going to present to you a little acrostic to begin our discussion today. What is your latest NLIP? (Not Like I Planned?)

Our finances are our latest NLIP. I tried to sell Avon to help us out with our bills, but it ended up costing us more. We have gotten ourselves in some credit card debt AGAIN. Despite our best intentions, we HAVE to tighten our belts and get this stuff paid off.

2. How did you react to your NLIP? Are you still upset about it? Happy about it? Baffled by it? Explain.

I’m frustrated by it, but I know how it happened. It is something that we are going to have to make a conscious effort to guard against, but I do believe that with temperance and dedication to the goal of being free(er) from debt, we can do it.

3. Have you ever attempted to step into an area of ministry and found your desire rejected? Did this cause you to question God and yourself? Perhaps distrust what you perceived to be your calling?

Oh YES! I was a summer youth intern for 2 summers and really thought that it was my calling to go into full-time youth ministry. After two bad experiences, I fell into a depression and reconsidered whether or not God wanted me to sacrifice my mental health to please MEN. I was mad at God for letting it happen for some time. I then realized that I could serve just as well in a volunteer capacity, and now God is actually leading me in a different direction.

4. Do you harbor any bitterness towards any individual or situation which you believe waylaid your best laid plans?

Yes, and no. I certainly won’t ever trust those people again, but I can be friendly to them and not get as angry as I used to every time I saw them.

5. Have you had a life experience or trial that left you with a shaken faith because it ended in an NLIP? Please share if you feel free.

Yes, what was stated above, and then it was followed about a year later with a painful breakup of a relationship that I naively thought was ‘the one’. I knew that God was holding me up through it, and even have some very specific times that God had me rely on Him and Him alone, but man….it was hard while I was going through it. It took me several years to get over those blows. Tears well up even now when I think about how hard those life lessons were!

5. Based on Moses’ response of faith to his own rejection, how will you re-evaluate your own experiences or look at future ones differently if a NLIP presents itself?

I need to trust in God’s plan for my life, and for our lives as a family. I need to remind myself that I am not in control, but at the same time, I do need to exercise restraint financially and spend wisely.

Check out the site where I found this!

When life doesn’t work out like you had planned, part 1

1. It was stated in the Lesson that God has made you “once, twice, three times a lady.” Where are you in this progression? Obviously we have all been physically born, but are you ‘twice a lady’? Have you been born again spiritually? This may be a private matter you’d like to discuss confidentially. If so, email me. If you have already received this gift, write a brief prayer of thanksgiving or testimony.

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for Your grace! You have not only saved me for Your purpose but You also saved me from myself. I thank You for loving me in spite of my imperfections, in spite of my shortcomings, in spite of my selfishness.  You are so much greater than I can even begin to imagine, and I thank You for savi
ng ME!

2. Are you three times a lady? Has God given you a stirring deep within your Spirit to be a ‘deliverer’? Do you have a desire or are you already meeting a need in the life of the church, a particular ministry (such as jail ministry, food ministry, etc.) or perhaps individuals who share common issues?

I have recently felt stirrings to lead in our children’s ministries in a different capacity.  Before I had both boys, I served as one of our Youth counselors, and really felt that it was an area of God’s calling me.  But then as my family life changed, I felt God telling me to step back and trust in Him to lead them without my help. I had a hard time following God in this.  I didn’t want to let go.  I thought surely He doesn’t’ mean it, my sister needs me, these kids need me…but God kept persisting until I let go and let Him show me the way.  For a few years, my ministry focused around being the best Mommy to my sons that I could be. But now, God is leading me to focus more on other children in our church who are currently being underserved.  I am excited about this, and we’ll be starting this up soon!

3. Do you ever get tired of waiting for that opportunity to do something
worthwhile for God? Do you ever feel God is using someone else instead of you?

Yes, in the past year or so, I’ve had that feeling.  I have wondered where God wanted me….I felt as though I was just sitting on the sidelines and not really serving Him.  But since then, He has revealed the way that He wishes me to be involved!

4. What do you consider ‘worthwhile ministry’? Are you like me and sometimes find yourself mistakenly thinking it has to be Big to be Important?

As a preacher’s kid, I have always known that the small jobs are just as important, so I knew that worthwhile ministry didn’t have to be big.  Even so, I felt like I needed to do SOMETHING! The key was waiting for God to reveal it to me!

5. Have you ever taken a spiritual gifts test? If yes, what are yours? If no, here’s a good one from Ephesians 4 Ministry. Will you take it and come back with a response? Knowing some of you like I already do, I can almost pick out what your gift is before you say it. I can’t wait to see if I’m right!

Yes, I’ve taken that before! My gifts are in music, children, empathy, and prayer.

“I am…so you don’t have to be” study lesson 2

This quote really hit me, and is something I wish to remember….“Practically speaking, we are still ‘esteeming Him not’ today by continuing the beating that He has already taken. Some examples of how we do this are: Negative self-talk when we look in the mirror or step on the scale, mentally abusing our own intelligence, nurturing toxic relationships, and engaging in self-destructive behavior are but a few. Remember, thinking lowly of ones self is still thinking of oneself more than God. Reverse pride is still pride and the most dangerous form of idolatry. Ask God to reveal areas in your thought life where He is not being esteemed. If you do not esteem yourself, you are not esteeming Him.”

What is your initial response when anyone suggests you are beautiful?
I scoff.  All I see is the fat, and think of how I looked way back when. I see the scars, I see the cellulite.  I can’t see what they see as attractive, or else I just WON’T look!

Do you find you engage in a lot of negative ‘self-talk’? How much of your thought life does this form of thinking consume?

Somewhat, especially when I am down.  I am bad to have negative self talk when I am upset over something. If I make a mistake, I’m bad to act toward myself as though I am the worst person ever and to continue to beat myself up over it.
I’m not as bad about it as I have been in times past, but it is helped a lot by medication, honestly!

What is the most radical transformation you’ve witnessed in an individual after they were born again? It’s okay to tell about your own!

I was thinking about this just the other day….I haven’t seen it personally, as much as I have seen it in this person’s spouse as she described him.  A little over a year ago, she described him as never spending time with her or their daughter. She didn’t have any desire to have another child with him, because she wasn’t sure that the marriage was even worth staying in.  And then he started opening up and coming to church and Bible studies with her.  He even started attending a Bible study at his work! How their lives have changed….he has asked Christ into his heart, he has shared his faith with others including his own family who have a tendency to be scoffers, and they are now expecting their second child.  Their marriage is stronger than ever! His faith has helped her through having a harder time than expected conceiving and the unexpected death of her step-father, whom she dearly loved.  He has become as much a rock for her as she has been for him!

The imagery of being a City Girl has absolutely changed the way I perceive my worth before God. Does it yours? Will you receive this truth and let it boost your righteous confidence?

It certainly does make you think about yourself differently, doesn’t it? I remember how it felt to be the new girl in a small town and have people pay attention to me, and man, did that feel good! And to think that if I show His spirit in all that I do, others may see me in that light….not because of physical beauty, but because of the peace I convey…yes, I will definitely receive this and let it boost my confidence! As another Bible study I read today said, I am a Masterpiece of God!

I am a masterpiece!

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I’ve started a new Bible study from Mel’s World.

When you start to paint your canvas you need to sit, think, pray and ask God for His help as you seek the answers to these questions,
“What do I value?”

I value my faith and relationship with God first and foremost, as He is the reason that I have been so blessed! I value my family–not only my husband and sons, but also my parents, sisters, inlaws, etc. I value my friends and church family, as they make up a big part of my life as well. I value my job and the children that I teach. I value my health, not only my physical health, but also my emotional and mental well-being.

“What’s important to me?”

The above is what is important to me. Being the best Christian, wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, and teacher that I can be is important. Fulfilling the plan that God has placed before me is important. This may mean that I need to put others’ needs before my own, and may have to step out in faith when I’m not sure where God is leading me. This may mean that I have to Bear My Cross and share my testimony with others, even the painful parts.

“What are my priorities?”

My priorities. Well, I honestly haven’t been giving God top priority in my life, and I need to do better at that. My family, church, and job are important priorities. I need to make ME more of a priority, and take the time to exercise and spend time with my husband alone.

“What/Where do I see God taking me?”

I see that God wants me to work with children/youth in the church again. I see that He has been cultivating some organizational skills in me, and I need to continue to look and listen for ways to put this to use. I see that He has given me some skills in my job that I can share with lesser experienced teachers to help them set up their classroom and such so that things will run smoothly. I need to continue to look for where He wishes for me to serve. I have taken on a role in the Worship Committee in our church, and I know that this is an area I can serve well.

A masterpiece…that is a different way to look at myself! That means that not only am I made by God, but he VALUES me! He created me and enjoys looking upon his creation. That means that other people may marvel at His work in me, and find different values and things speaking to them than what He thought while creating me, and what I think that I convey. I think about how much we read into great literature, and how sometimes the author didn’t even realize the symbolism that was conveyed, but then does agree with it once it is there! Wow, to think that others might see that in me….is humbling, and shows how important it is that I show myself as His child at all times. I am being watched. I am being observed. I am affecting people I may not even really know. And they may remember me for years to come…..Wow.

Thank you, Lord!

Oh Lord,

Thank you so much for answering this prayer. It has plagued me for over a year. It has bothered me, and bothered my family, and festered. The Devil has used this in so many ways to further his plans. I have such relief, Lord, and I lay before you prostrate in thanksgiving for giving me an answer. I am continuing to come to you, Lord, for guidance in how best to handle this. Thank you, Lord! Thank you so much! I give YOU all the praise and glory, and I truly want to use this to better your kingdom and to improve things that can be improved!