Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Brief Explanation

Good Morning.  It's me.  I'm still here. 

Sorry for the sudden departure but things have been really crazy around our house.  Two and a half weeks ago my husband interviewed for a job in Shreveport, Louisiana and last Wednesday he was offered the position.  He has to take a test on April 24 and, if he passes the test, he will have to be in Shreveport by June 1.  Which means we have a short time to pack up and relocate from Michigan to Louisiana.  Crazy, huh?

We are very excited about this move but also a little overwhelmed.  This is a fantastic job offer for my husband and he is certain that this is where the Lord is leading.  We have been in this house for 8 years and I have a lot of cleaning/sorting/purging to do.  Our goal is to have our house on the market on May 1.

So, I am going to be a little random here over the next few weeks.  However, if you stick with me I promise I will be back to a more faithful schedule as soon as I can.

Have a fantastic week!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Finding Confidence, Thursday, April 1, 2010

Confidence comes from knowing who we are in Christ as we live for his purposes.

Apply Your Findings

  1. What judgments do you make about yourself that are, in fact, untrue?  What is something wonderful about you that you tend to undervalue?
  2. How do you typically respond when someone says something flattering about you?  Is it hard for you to receive a compliment?
  3. Do you fail to stick up for yourself when someone challenges what you know to be true?
Optional Activities
  1. Make a list of the talents you believe God has given you.  Be specific and don't leave anything out, no matter how insignificant YOU may think it is.  Ask your husband or a close friend to help if you would like.  Spend some time praying through this list.  Thank God for each talent He has given you and ask Him if there is a way that you can better use this talent for His glory.
  2. Is there an area of your life where you feel the Lord leading and yet you have a lack of confidence about the matter?  Challenge yourself to boldly put absolute trust in the Lord and to follow His guidance.
  3. Make a list of all of the lies or mistruths you believe about yourself.  Add to this list any comparisons to others you may make about yourself.  Pray to the Lord and turn these things over to Him.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Finding Confidence, Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Confidence comes from knowing who we are in Christ as we live for his purposes.

Discover the Eternal Principles

Wednesday:  You have an important role to play in God's kingdom.  1 Corinthians 12:4-26; 2 Corinthians 5:17-19.
  1. In 1 Corinthians, Paul describes the body of the Church and the roles of its members.  When he speaks of gifts he indicates that no one receives all of God's gifts, but everyone receives something.  Do you think God would give you a gift he did not intend for you to use for His glory?
  2. Just as a car will not properly run if all of the parts aren't working, a church or other body of believers will be off if everyone involved is not doing his or her job.  What gifts do you feel that God has given you?  Are you using those gifts in ministry?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Finding Confidence, Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Confidence comes from knowing who we are in Christ as we live for his purposes.

Discover the Eternal Principles

Tuesday:  You are loved.  John 16:27; Romans 8:38-39.
  1. In John, Jesus reminds us in a straightforward manner that God loves us.  Spend a moment reminding yourself of this truth - God loves ME.  When you remember this truth, what does it do for your confidence?  Does this improve your feelings of self-worth?
  2. Read Romans 8:38-39.  What can separate us from God's love?
  3. God loves us, warts and all.  While He doesn't love our sin, He is quick to forgive us when we seek His forgiveness.  God gave us our talents - and our shortcomings - as a part of His eternal plan.  God doesn't make mistakes and He certainly doesn't make junk.  Does this truth make it easier for you to have confidence in yourself and your God-given abilities?
  4. When you need to be reminded of God's love for you, what verses do you turn to for confidence and inspiration?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Finding Confidence, Monday, March 29, 2010

Confidence comes from knowing who we are in Christ as we live for his purposes.

Verla Gillmor writes, "if your raw data is flawed, you end us with a faulty conclusion.  The same is true with how we see ourselves.  If we lack self-confidence, maybe we're working with flawed data."  It's easy to see the evidence of this flawed data:  perpetually worried expressions, stressed-out kids, wasted gifts, credit card bills with too many charges for the clothes and beauty products that promised to make us look perfect.  This can't be the life God created us for.

How can we know and enjoy the special gifts God has given us?  What does it mean to be God's beloved?  How can we cultivate godly confidence?  These are the questions we'll explore in this study.

Based on:

"Need a Confidence Boost?," by Verla Gillmor, TODAY'S CHRISTIAN WOMAN, May/June 2000.


Psalm 71:5-6                     Jeremiah 17:5-7          1 Corinthians 12:4-26
Proverbs 3:25-26              John 16:27                  2 Corinthians 5:17-19
Romans 8:38-39               James 2:14-17

Identify the Current Issue

In hundreds of subtle (and not-so-subtle!) ways, our culture, family, friends - even our thought life - conspire to undermine our confidence.  We grow up in families void of affirmation, encouragement, and respect - the building blocks to self-confidence.  Then we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of a world that lionizes Size Zero Holly wood starlets and Barbie-doll figures.  Our paycheck, our title, our designer labels, or come other artificial yardstick gives us temporary entree into the world of The Accepted.  But in our hearts, we know it isn't real.  How do we find our way to the truth?

To gain confidence in ourselves, we have to lose a few things first.  We have to stop comparing ourselves to the girl (or woman) next door.  We have to give up self-doubt and self-loathing.  We have to recognize the lies we believe about ourselves, turn them over to God and replace them with the truths God knows about us.  Only then can we have to confidence to be all that God has planned for us.

Discover the Eternal Principles

Monday:  Confidence comes from an absolute trust in God.  Psalm 71:5-6; Proverbs 3:25-26.
  1. In the passage from Psalm 71, what words does the psalmist use to express his trust in God?  When you read this passage, do you note any doubt in his trust in God?
  2. Proverbs 3:25-26 instructs us that we should have confidence in the Lord.  Do you believe that you can have true confidence in yourself without first having confidence in God and His absolute sovereignty?
  3. Jeremiah 17:5-7 contrasts the lives of men who put their trust in man versus those who put their trust in the Lord.  What do you think Jeremiah is referring to when he speaks of trust in this passage?  Does this mean that we should doubt everything men say or do, or does he mean something deeper?
  4. Can you honestly say that you have an absolute trust in God?  At all times?  Are there any other verses that you can point to in the Bible that remind you of the need for absolute trust in God?
  5. God never makes mistakes.  Therefore, if God has placed you in a particular circumstance, He must know what He is doing.  Has there ever been a time in your life that you felt you were following the Lord, but you had no idea what the outcome would be?  In these situations, did you draw closer to God and rely on Him more, or did you turn to yourself and/or other people for your needs?
  6. Self-confidence can be a double-edged sword.  We want to celebrate the gifts and talents we have been given, while continuing to remember that it is God and not us who should get the glory.  How do you, or can you, have a Biblical confidence in your abilities and talents?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Harnessing Stress, Friday, March 26, 2010

How Can We Channel Stress to Work for God's Glory and Our Good?

Apply Your Findings - Friday

 Though we often cannot control our circumstances, we can control our responses to them.  If we harness stress through God's power, he will use stress to make us more like Christ.  Stress then becomes an agent to accomplish God's will in our lives.  In the process, God is glorified.
  1. How can our response to stress glorify God?  How can it be dishonoring?
  2. How can stress benefit us practically?
  3. How can we keep stress from affecting us in negative ways?
Optional Activities
  1. Using your calendar as a reference point, prioritize your activities.  Based on this principle of tithing, does at least a tenth of your time belong to God?
  2. Set goals to help you manage your time effectively.  Be sure to include time for solitude with God.  Find a person to hold you accountable.
  3. Make a list of 50 things for which you are thankful, then pray through that list.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Harnessing Stress, Thursday, March 25, 2010

How Can We Channel Stress to Work for God's Glory and Our Good?

Discover the Eternal Principles

Thursday: When we have a heart attitude of thankfulness and trust in God, we will have joy, even in the most difficult situations, and we will bring glory to God.  2 Corinthians 11:22-12:10.
  1. How can you explain Paul's attitude in the midst of so much persecution?  Why was he thankful for difficult circumstances?  What can you be thankful for in difficult circumstances?
  2. Philippians 4 tells us not to worry.  How is stress different from worry?  How do we keep ourselves from worry?  How can stress be good for us spiritually?  In order for stress to benefit us, what must our heart attitude be?
  3. When have you experienced joy in difficult circumstances?  Upon what was your joy based?  How is joy different from happiness?
  4. According to Philippians 4, what brings us the peace of God?  How can peace transcend all understanding?  How do you think peace guards our hearts and minds?  Share a time when you experienced God's peace in a stressful situation.