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Led By The Spirit Summer Challenge #3 Joy

Happy Memorial Day!

I’d like to first thank those who have served our country either in the past or present! We are forever indebted to you for your service! I simply cannot express in words how appreciative I am to those who have given up so much so I can enjoy the freedoms I have been given. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Week 3 Challenge: Let’s learn together how to get in the habit of praising God! Share at least one praise with your Good Morning Girls group each day this week! What can you praise God about today?

This week we are digging deeper into the Fruit of the Spirit, focusing this time on JOY. One misconception many people have is in order to be joyful, you have to be happy. Being joyful and being happy are not one in the same. Being happy depends on your circumstances. Being joyful is in spite of your circumstances.

1. Being joyful is not a feeling, its an act of obedience
We, as Christians, are called to be joyful and rejoice in our Lord both in Philippians 4:4 and 1 Thessalonians 5:16. But how can we always be joyful? By remembering why we are to be joyful! Despite what’s going on in your life right now, you have your salvation to be joyful about! On those days where being joyful is a struggle, focus your mind on what Christ has already done for you!

2. Praising God through pain fosters joy in your life
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise- the fruit of lips that confess his name.” (Hebrews 13:15) Let’s face it, we all have trials in our lives at one point or another that cause us great pain and can keep us from offering sacrifices of praise to God.  As we learn to praise God in the midst of our heartache, tears and uncertainty, God is able to transform our pain into heartfelt praise.

God’s joy is a gift of grace to us as we encounter the hardship and tribulation and persecution of life in this world, and this supernatural joy, given through God’s Spirit, transcends all conditions of life. – Elizabeth George

In the following clip Beth Moore talks about how God uses pain in your life to produce joy.

3. Realize God is in control
I always marvel at Paul in the book of Philippians. Here he is sitting in jail, his future is uncertain and what is he doing? Writing a book on JOY! Paul learned the key to exhibiting joy in your life is to focus on Christ and obey Him.

Paul’s joy in tribulation was motivated by his knowledge that the “best” of God’s presence, purpose, and power was undoubtedly discovered in the worst of circumstances. – Beth Moore

Do you feel like you are currently in the worst of circumstances? Please take heart and know that God does have a purpose for your heartache! Many times God allows these trails because they bring us closer to Him and in the end we are able to experience His indescribable joy!

4. Look to God’s promises
If you struggle with exhibiting joy in your life, begin to memorize some of the many promises God has given His children. 365 Promises, is a website that lists one promise for each day in the year. Check it out!

Throwing off the misconception of happiness and joy, and getting into the habit of praising God in spite of your circumstances is a great start toward developing greater joy in your life!

Week 3 Challenge: Let’s learn together how to get in the habit of praising God! Share at least one praise with your Good Morning Girls group each day this week! What can you praise God about today?

Feel free to share your praises on the message board this week! I look forward to reading what God is doing in your lives!

Love God Greatly,

Quiet Time Tip #3 – Squeezing It In When You Are Busy!

First, I have to share with you the joy of seeing the Good Morning Girls summer session begin! We are now at over 90 groups, 600+ women, 31 states and 5 countries represented. And I have one word for these groups – PERSEVERANCE!

As we walk with the King it takes perseverance. There will be days you literally cannot find a minute to be alone and just drink a tall glass of God’s living word! Those can be frustrating days when you are honestly longing to sit at the feet of Jesus.
I have a solution for Mommies who are so busy caring for their little ones that they literally do not have the time. First let me share my dreamy ideal quiet time. I rise early and feel well rested and wide awake. I sit alone with a hot drink in my hand and bask in the presence of God. I can linger over his word with no interruptions and remain focused in a long steady prayer time for all my loved ones. I finish by journaling a few bits of what I have learned and then I move on into my day.

Here’s my reality some days. The alarm goes off and I hit the snooze. The alarm goes off again and I drag my sorry self out of bed. I find my way to the kitchen and pull out my Bible and journal. I go to the cupboard to get out a mug and lo and behold a fuzzy haired sweet pea is staring at me. I say – “sweet heart go back to bed, it’s very early and mommy needs her quiet time.” And from behind her is a giggle of my other child – argh! How can you both be up and with so much energy? Please oh please, give mommy just 5 minutes alone with Jesus!

Some days it just can’t happen. And it would be wrong for us to legalistically put pressure on ourselves to always create this dreamy scenario – as we would selfishly have to push our children’s needs aside.
So what’s the solution?
Learn how to meditate on God’s word.
Joshua 1:8 says “Do not let this Book of the law depart from your mouth, meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.”

Meditating goes hand in hand with last week’s tips on memorization. If you are memorizing then most likely you are also meditating. But it is possible to meditate and not memorize. Here’s how a busy mom can meditate on a passage of scripture day and night.

1. Choose a passage of scripture for the week.

2. Write out the passage of scripture on a note card and slip it in your pocket – pull it out periodically and read over it. Keep it in your purse all week long and pull it out at convenient times and read through it.

3. Open your Bible in the kitchen on the counter to the passage you want to meditate on. All day long when you walk through the kitchen, pause, read the passage and then move on.

4. Read the passage out loud to the children during breakfast and lunch time. (This is our regular Bible reading time in our house – along with bedtime.)

5. Read the passage first thing in the morning as soon as you get out of bed.

6. Read the passage again one minute before you go to bed at night.

7. Write out a verse or two at the top of your to-do list so every time you look over it you can read over them.

Squeeze EVERY drip of nourishment out of the passage you have chosen all day long through these short readings of scripture. Meditate on God’s word day and night. And you will soon find a life transformed by the renewing of your mind! (Rom. 12:2) Persevere!

Walk with the King!

works for me wednesday at we are that family

Led By The Spirit Summer Challenge #2 Love

Week 2 Challenge: Look for ways to demonstrate your love for those God has placed in your life. Don’t just tell them you love them, show them! Put your words of love into action!

Okay girls so how did last week’s challenge go? Were you able to memorize Galatians 5:22 and start hiding God’s Word in your heart?

This week we are going to focus on love. No, not the romantic love between a husband and a wife but agape love, the type of love that comes from God. In Galatians 5:22, God lists love as the very first fruit. Why? Because loving others is the key to developing the other Fruit of the Spirit in our lives. Think of agape love as the fuel that gets everything moving. Without love the other Fruit of the Spirit can’t operate effectively.

1. Love is an act of obedience, not a feeling
In John 13:34 Jesus states  “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” Jesus calls us to love others. Loving others is a choice. We may not always feel like loving someone, but when we choose to obey God rather than our feelings, God will bless that and help us turn our act of obedience into feelings of love. It might not happen over night, but God will start working in our hearts to bring the two together.

2. Love is an action
In 1 John 3:18 John states “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” Are your words and actions measuring up? How are you showing those around you that you love them? In Romans 5:8 Johns states that “God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus didn’t just tell us that he loved us, he showed it by dying for us on the cross!

What are some ways you can put your words of love into action? We need to live our faith out by first loving those God has placed in our homes and in our lives. Is there anyone God is bringing to mind that you can show your love to? Don’t delay….do it today!!

3. Love is loving those who don’t love you
I’m going to be real honest with you on this one, I find this hard to do. It hurts and doesn’t always seem fair. But you know what? Jesus did it for us. He loved us before we ever loved him. He went as far as to die for us……because he loved us. “For God so LOVED the world that he GAVE….” In Luke 6:27 Jesus states “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”  Jesus is a beautiful example for us. He did just that, dying on the cross he prayed for those very people who nailed him there. He stayed on that cross, not because of the nails but because he LOVED those who didn’t love him back. If Jesus tells us to love our enemies then Jesus will give us the love we need for them. It’s un-natural to love our enemies, we can only do it with God’s help.

4. Love is expecting nothing in return
What are your motives when you love someone? Are you expecting something back from them in return? In Luke 6:35 Jesus states “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back”.

5. We need God’s help to love others
Does this all sound impossible to do? Take heart my sweet friends its not! In Romans 5:5 we read that “…God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” What wonderful news! As we stay connected to the vine, to Jesus, God pours out his love into where? Into our hearts! God gives us the love we need in order to love those he has placed in our lives. He will give you the love you need! With God’s help we truly can love those in our lives who seem unloveable!!!

If you have someone in your life who you are struggling loving, pray to God about it. Confess your struggles to him. Share with him that you desire to obey and love those who are unloveable in your life but you need his supernatural love……..the agape love that only he can give you!

Week 2 Challenge: Look for ways to demonstrate your love for those God has placed in your life. Don’t just tell them you love them, show them! Put your words of love into action!

Chat with me in the comment section:
How are you demonstrating your love for those in your life this week?

Love God Greatly,

Quiet Time Tip #2 – Memorize Scripture

When I sit down to the piano it just flows. My hands begin to play Pachelbel’s Canon without effort. How does that happen? Memorization and practice – years ago I determined to learn this difficult song and I practiced and practiced until I mastered it. And now, it comes easy, almost naturally.

Think of all the meaningless information you have memorized over the past 20 years – old phone numbers, old addresses where you used to live, or old songs from the radio.

It is incredible the possibilities our mind has, to take information in and retain it. But if we are not practicing this muscle and being intentional about memorizing God’s word we will never have God’s word hidden in our hearts. We must determine to put an effort in to reap the rewards. And so this post is going to be highly practical!

Bible memorization simply put is the repeating of words.
Dallas Willard, professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California, wrote, “Bible memorization is absolutely fundamental to spiritual formation. If I had to choose between all the disciplines of the spiritual life, I would choose Bible memorization, because it is a fundamental way of filling our minds with what it needs. This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth. That’s where you need it! How does it get in your mouth? Memorization” (“Spiritual Formation in Christ for the Whole Life and Whole Person” in Vocatio, Vol. 12, no. 2, Spring, 2001, p. 7).

Keys to Bible Memory:

1. Pick a passage that’s meaningful to you. Be intentional.

2. Meditate on it – dissect it – ingest it! Be intentional.

3. Write it out. Where you might ask? On post-it notes or index cards. Then put them in the bathroom, kitchen, by your computer or in your car. Be intentional.

4. Get the entire family memorizing and chart your progress on the refrigerator! Give out stars for progress – this gives you accountability. Speaking of accountability – you could also do this with your Good Morning Girls Groups! Be intentional.

5. Draw a picture of the verse you are memorizing – this is my favorite technique for the kids! Be intentional.

6. Count how many words there are in the verse - write it out that number of times and you’ll have it! Be intentional.

7. Write it out and put it as lunch notes, letters to a friend or in an email to a friend. The more times you write it, the more it will sink in! Be intentional.

8. Be sure you memorize WHERE it’s found! Be intentional.

9. Here is a place where you can type in a verse and it will convert it to just the first letter of each word. http://www.downes.ca/memorization.htm

10. Here is an on-line site where you can track all of your Bible memory work – I just joined their Facebook page! http://www.memverse.com/tutorial

This Youtube is of John Piper giving us 8 reasons why we should memorize scripture – don’t miss this!

Practice, practice, practice and before you know it the verses will overflow out of your mouth with ease. Be intentional. Arm yourself with the word of God!

Walk with the King!

Led By The Spirit Summer Challenge #1

Week 1 Challenge: Memorize Galatians 5:22,23a “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

Let me first express to you how very excited and humbled I am to be given this opportunity to work along side Courtney with her Good Morning Girls website. Courtney is such an amazing friend and I am honored (and yes still in shock) that she has asked me to join her! Courtney is like a super-woman and I guess with every superhero you need a sidekick…..just think of me as the sidekick!!! :) I don’t have all the bible credentials that Courtney has but I will tell you one thing……I love Jesus with all my heart and if I could, I’d reach out and give you a big welcome hug!

This summer we are going to focus our weekly challenges on developing the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. I will expound upon each one, in the weeks to come. But today let’s start with an overview.

1. All growing fruit is connected to a vine, our vine is Jesus. In John 15:5 Jesus states “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me and you can do nothing.”  In order to do this we must be in God’s Word.  The most important thing that you can do for yourself, your family and your future is to be in God’s Word.

2. The “vine” gives nourishment to the branches, so the branches can produce fruit. In order to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, we must allow Christ to remain in us. One way to do this is by reading our Bibles on a daily basis.

3. Jesus clearly gives us our roles: He is the vine, we are the branches. The “vine” gives nourishment to the branches so that the branches can produce fruit. Without the vine the branches can not produce fruit. Jesus states in John 15:4 “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

4. The result: We find purpose and we bring glory to God! Many people today wonder what their purpose is in life. Many times they’ll ask questions like, “Why did God make me?” or “What am I to do with my life?” In John 15: 8 Jesus states, “This is my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit….”

Our true purpose in life is to bring glory to God! That’s it! In the good times, glorify God. In the bad times, glorify God. When we remain in Jesus by spending time in His Word, God gives us the ability to glorify Him in all our life circumstances.

5. You are chosen to bear fruit! Take heart my dear sisters in Christ, God has chosen you to bear fruit in your lives for Him! It says so in John 15:16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit-fruit that will last.”

God loves you, He has chosen you and He wants to spend time with you daily in His Word nourishing you, loving you and giving you what you need in order to fulfill your true purpose.

Let’s get started! As we begin the summer Good Morning Girls groups – try to be in God’s Word daily. I know for some of us this can be really hard for many reasons so if you don’t, look on the positive side and say to yourself, “I was in the Word of God ___ number of days and that’s better than not being in His Word at all.”

For those of you who are new to this, please don’t allow Satan to beat you up and discourage you. I know from personal experience that the more you beat yourself up over missing a day, the more likely you are to miss another and another. Give yourself grace, shoot for being in God’s Word daily and if you miss a day or so then just shoot for that goal the next week. The most important thing is being in God’s Word, staying connected to “the vine” and growing that good fruit in our lives that will last!

Week 1 Challenge:
Memorize Galatians 5:22,23a “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

Chat with me in the comment section:
Which of these fruit of the Spirit do you struggle with the most and why?

Love God Greatly,

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