July 24, 2016

Come With Me Bible Study

I am thrilled to be sharing on Suzie's blog today! You can find it here! http://wp.me/p4jbdw-3jf


I am so excited to be co-leading a group of women with my partner Beth Almeida, in an amazing Bible Study called Come With Me, written by Suzie Eller.


I was privileged and honored to be a member of the launch team for Come With Me. I knew from the moment I opened this book, that I was in for something great! Suzie has such a way of making you feel like she is sitting right across from you, talking like she is your best friend. So you can imagine my excitement when Suzie announced there would be a Bible Study this Summer, and she was asking for volunteers to lead small groups on Facebook.

When I read this book, it made me realize that in order to grow closer to Jesus, I needed to be willing to answer His call, and Follow Him. I must be willing to step out in my faith, and step into His lead. I must be willing to learn how to love people who are hard to love, and to whisper Yes where No wants to take root. Wherever He leads, whatever the price, I will say Yes!

Suzie takes us on a journey through the Gospels as the 13th disciple. It was so easy for me to get lost, and to sit back, read the words in the book, read the scripture, and imagine myself just following Jesus! I had never thought of the Gospels in this perspective. But in placing yourself right there, being willing as they were, laying down their nets, walking away from their loved ones, walking away from everything, and walking into uncertainty could be hard, not to mention very scary. But when we have the One who overcame the world as our Savior leading us, I most definitely, 100%, say YES!!!!!

As Suzie says, "Imagine that your yes moves you from faith as usual to faith that changes every aspect of who you are, including how you live, the choices you make, how you think, and even how you approach life. Imagine a faith that spills out into your relationships and impacts the world, especially those within your reach." That, my friends, is the kind of faith I want, and that is the kind of faith we all can have just by saying YES! Imagine how much of an impact we could make on our own people who don't know Him, on the people in our own home towns, our States, and even on the world.


People truly are watching our lives and asking if Jesus is worth following. Let's all rally together, and show them that YES, He is worth it! Let's show them by our actions, our re-actions, our service, our love, and by applying His word in our daily lives, He is the only way! Let's show them that by following Him they can have a beautiful life filled with hope, peace, joy, love, mercy, grace, and so much more!

Friends, I promise you, this book is amazing and will truly bless you. At the end of each chapter you will find, reflection questions, "Taking It Deeper," Scripture, Prayer, and application steps for "Living As A Disciple." You will also find so many inspirational quotes by beloved christian people. One of my favorite quotes in this book is:
"Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible. - Corrie ten Boom There are also so many encouraging and sweet sayings by Suzie herself. My book is filled with highlights and notes. 

This is more than a book, this is more than a Bible Study, this is a movement! #COMEWITHME!

You can purchase your own copy of Come With Me at Amazon by clicking here:

You can purchase your own copy from Barnes and Noble by clicking here:

You can purchase your own copy from Suzie's website by clicking here:

 

Please join us! Jesus is calling, will you join us in this amazing 6 week study? Just say YES! 
For more information and to sign up click here to visit Suzie's website! While you're there, you can download free resources such as a free study journal, book of prayers, and the first chapter of Come With Me.
Beth and I would love to have you in our group! You can request to join our Facebook group by clicking here!

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fisherman. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will send you out to fish for people." At once they left their nets and followed him. 
Matthew 4:18-20



July 3, 2016

Protect

I am so glad that we have a God who loves us and protects us. I remember a time when I had no clue of His love. I didn't know Him. I didn't know that He was pursuing me, and how many times He protected me from danger. How scary is that in today's world? In this world today we hear of so much evil, so much darkness, so much hate, so much violence! It is scary, but it is how our world is today. I can't imagine living out there in the world, and not knowing God. I can't imagine not knowing that I have a place in eternity when the time comes. I can't imagine not knowing to go to God for help, comfort, peace, forgiveness, grace, love, mercy, protection, and every other need imaginable. 

I am a property manager, and I have been in a couple of intimidating situations recently with some tenants who are what you might call "less than desirable." When they moved into the apartment several months ago, they passed my vetting process, they had excellent references, they had jobs, they were polite and respectful. They seemed like 2 great young men who just needed someone to give them a chance. Last month I seen the truth. They quit paying rent, and became very hateful towards me. I had to go put a 30 day notice on their door last week, and when I walked into the common area, I seen burn marks on the ceiling and all the way up the stairway. I took pictures, and I went straight to the Police and Fire Department. To make a long story short, the police obtained a search warrant for the entire apartment building, and when they arrived to question these young men they were hiding in the downstairs neighbors apartment in the shower. They both were arrested for obstructing justice, but released within a few days. Now I have to deal with them for another couple of weeks. Come to find out, one of them is being indicted on kidnapping charges. He held another man captive in the apartment and beat him up.

This is small town America friends, and I am in the midst of what I consider dangerous people. Here's the thing, I admit that once I saw the burn marks and still had to climb 2 stories of stairs to put an eviction notice on the door, I was scared! I wasn't sure what I was up against. But here's the other thing, on my way up the stairs, I asked God to protect me, and I felt immediate peace. I knew I would be safe right then. I knew that my Protector was with me. I knew that my help comes from the Lord!


Isn't it so awesome to know that we are never alone, and God is always with us? He is our protector! He is our strength! As we look to Him to pull us out of the mess we have gotten ourselves into, we find comfort, strength, grace, and a loving Father who will guide us and protect us! No! Matter! What! 


Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.
One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. 
For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Psalm 27: 3-5

I am joining Kate Motaung at Five Minute Friday where we write for 5 minutes on the prompt of the week. 
This weeks prompt is: 







June 5, 2016

My Heart Is Healed and My Voice is Heard!

I will never forget the day. I was 15 years old and had a disagreement with my dad. Disagreements with dad were unusual for me, because I was what you would call a "Daddy's Girl."

I was the typical "know it all" 15 year old girl, and for the first time in my life, for some reason, I felt like I was allowed to disrespect my dad that day. He and my mom had separated a couple of months before, and he had been living with my sister. It was the summer of 1978. I was getting ready to leave on a 2 week vacation with my friend and her parents. I went to stay with my dad the night before, and he had found out about something I had done that was not good. He asked me about it, and I didn't confirm or deny. I just rolled my eyes and told him he was being a little petty and over protective. About that time my friend and her mom came to get me and I left for vacation, not really giving what my dad and I had just talked about any more thought. If he had any more to say about it I knew he would do so when I returned home. 

Vacation happened. 2 weeks of camping and fun. Back then there were no cell phones, and calling long distance and reversing the charges was expensive, so my mom said there would be no need to call unless I had an emergency. There was an emergency! It wasn't with me, it was with my dad!

The day I came home, my friend and her mom helped me bring my stuff in the house. I walked in to an empty house and found a note on the table from my grandma. The note said that my dad was in the hospital, he had brain surgery, and wasn't expected to live, and I was to go to my sister's house. I was devastated, and in shock! I went to my sister's house and she immediately took me to the hospital. On the drive to the hospital my sister tried to cautiously and lovingly prepare me for what I was about to see, but I couldn't understand a word she was saying. Her words were like tidal waves of emotion crashing around my heart! We walked in, and there he laid, with his eyes closed and a big white bandage wrapped around his head. He was in a coma. He had a brain aneurysm, and there was little hope for his survival. I walked to his bedside and he sort of opened his eyes, but they closed again immediately. Understanding suddenly wrapped itself around me like a blanket. Oh how I ached for the chance to tell him I was sorry for being disrespectful to him. I wanted to tell him how much I loved him, and for him to understand my words. I had so much to say to him, but I couldn't. Why was this happening to my dad? Why did I assume he would be there when I came home from vacation? My heart was breaking into a million pieces, and my mind was spinning out of control. I felt like I was in the middle of a terrible nightmare, and I just wanted to wake up! 

My dad passed away 2 days later, on July 15, 1978. He was only 41 years old. I felt so lost, so hopeless, so guilty! You see, I didn't know the Lord then. I knew there was a God, and I thought He only listened to people who went to church. I didn't know how to pray, or anything about the Bible. The only thing I knew was that my dad was gone, and this must be my punishment for leaving for vacation and disrespecting him. I lived with believing this lie for many years. The enemy had his way with me, filling my head with negative thoughts, and endless guilt.



For the next 25 years I carried that guilt around. I made one bad choice after another. I got myself into a couple of abusive relationships, and I thought I deserved the abuse, and anything else bad that came my way. 

I believed these lies until I came to know Jesus, and I started intense counseling sessions with a Christian counselor. I learned that God is not a God who punishes, but He is a loving God who covers us in His amazing love, mercy, and grace, He is a God who is slow to anger, and abounding in love. I learned that He is always with me, and He will give me strength. Most importantly, I learned that He loves me so much more than I can even imagine, let alone deserve.


So do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. 
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

I learned that His promises are true, and His word never changes. I learned that He hears my prayers and will heal me. 


I learned that even when I didn't know Him, He was right there with me, and he carried me when I couldn't walk on my own. He was waiting for me to seek Him out. I learned that all I have to do is call His name, and He is always right here with me. Guiding me, loving me, forgiving me, waiting for me. 


Through the years since coming to know Jesus, I have learned to use my voice. To express out loud to loved ones each and every time I see them, how much I love them, and even more, how much God loves them. I have learned to never be afraid to say "I'm sorry."  I have learned to use my voice, to share my testimony, to show others the hope and love we find in Jesus Christ. I am learning to use my voice whenever needed, if it means bringing one more person closer to the Lord. Without our willingness to use our voices, the world may never know! 
Even now, almost 38 years later, I still miss my dad dearly, but I hold no guilt, I listen to no lies from the enemy! I listen to the Voice of Jesus, and that is the Voice I want to share with the world! 


 I am linking up with Karen Beth at Finding the Grace Within/Tuesday at Ten
The prompt this week is VOICE!
http://www.findingthegracewithin.com/tuesday-at-ten-voice/

May 22, 2016

Salt and Light Sunday

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that way they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. - Matthew 5:13-16

We are called to be the Salt and the Light! The salt speaks of our character, and the light speaks of our testimonies of followers of Christ, revealing and illuminating the truth. 

The world doesn't understand! The world looks at Christians and thinks, "They don't count!" God takes us, ordinary people, and uses us to share His message to people who need Him! When we share our faith, we spread His light! 

Jesus describes what we are in this passage. The light of the World, not the light of the Church. We have to get out from beyond the Church walls and shine the light to where it's dark. We were saved to shine! We are to shine in such a way that the world will see our good works and glorify God! 


Our Church has a special way of sharing and showing our faith to our neighborhood. Today our Church held our annual Salt and Light Sunday. On one Sunday morning every year we go out into the neighborhood and the City, and we serve others. Before we go out to serve, we start our morning with worship and a pep rally. 




My husband and I love to be on the Neighborhood Team. We have about 5 teams of 3 to 4 people who walk different areas of the neighborhood within a 5 mile radius of the Church. We knock on doors, we offer to mow, pull weeds, clean, or serve our neighbors in any ways that they may need. We also ask if there is anything the person needs or wants us to pray about with them, and we take prayer requests back to the Church so that our Pastor and staff members can follow up with these people. We also hand out potted flowers to some of the houses. By knocking on neighborhood doors, we hope to let our lights shine, to share our faith, and to show the love of Jesus! 

There are several other teams that serve as well. We have teams for just about everything! We have a Prayer Team that walks the 5 mile radius and prays over the neighborhoods that we serve. 


We have a team that goes to the neighborhood Elementary School and cleans and paints the playground. 


 We have a team that takes the children's choir to our neighborhood retirement/nursing home to brighten the Senior Citizens day.


We have children who write get well cards to neighborhood people who are not able to get out and about. 



We even have little ones who work faithfully by cleaning the Edu-Care and Sunday School classes. 



There are teams who go buy and deliver groceries to under privileged people in the neighborhood.


There are so many other teams as well. We have people who go to the local jail to worship and speak to the inmates. We have teams that go to the Safe Harbor House (A house our Church has ownership in that harbors women from abuse and prostitution). We have teams for the local Pregnancy Resource Center, several different Parks and Recreation Centers around the City, Golf Courses, the local Drug and Alcohol Counseling Center, the Marriage Resource Center, and teams who stay at the Church to prepare lunch, watch the children who are too young to go out and serve, and we even have a Logistical Support Team. 

When we come back from serving the neighborhood, we have lunch and fellowship. 



This Salt and Light Sunday is our way of sharing our faith with those who may otherwise not get the chance to see love in action! We want our neighbors to know who we are, what we do, that we serve faithfully, and that we love and care about them and expect nothing in return. 

This is how we show our faith! We cannot do it alone. We shine the brightest when we shine together. We want to shine our lights brightly for the Lord! 


Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest 
if we do not give up. 
Galatians 6:9


The prompt this week is FAITH! 

And linking up with Suzie Eller for #livefreeThursday