Search Results for: grace

God’s Designed Path-Stepping into the Role of a Lifetime.

The way my Christian walk has gone over the years, I am blessed to look back and see growth! Real spiritual growth. I like to joke that my spiritual growth is like an onion……you know, layers! I grew up in a home where we went to church every week. We were baptized and completed our first communion and confirmation. I truly believed in God and that Jesus died on the cross. I didn’t think too much about God or how he played any role in my life.

I was around the tender age of 22 when God ( Oh yes, looking back, I can see God blatantly moving people in and out of my life) moved my supervisor into the role of evangelist. That’s right; she went from telling me what tables to clean to sharing Jesus. I can still see us sitting there talking and praying for my salvation in my mind’s eye.

Despite having Jesus in my heart, I didn’t really have him in my life. I didn’t know the bible, and I didn’t understand what a beautiful relationship was waiting for me to dive into. As a result, I basically went on living my life as nothing had changed.

I can’t help but look back at that time with sadness for time lost with Jesus. At the same time, I am extremely grateful for his persistent pursuit of me.

Jesus was just beginning with me.

Thankfully, Jesus had plans and never lost track of me. Life moved on; the next time I gave any thought, real, meaningful thought to Jesus, many things had changed. I had finished school, gotten married, and moved halfway across the country. My husband got a great job he was excited about, and we met new people that we quickly became best friends with. (Looking back, I can see this is the time that my life started to change.)

Remember, I had been saved years ago but had not spent any time developing my relationship with Jesus. I didn’t even know I was supposed to do that. As we got settled in our new home, I spent a lot of time (I’ll call them Doug and Susie) with Susie while the guys were at work. She was very eager to share with me her beliefs and asked me outright if I was saved? You don’t want to miss this part, the long-ago moment of me accepting Jesus as my savior came rushing to my memory. I looked at her and could say I was, and truthfully, I was saved, but I didn’t have a relationship with Jesus.

The decision to change.

As I watched Doug and Susie in their relationship with Jesus and each other, I knew that I wanted what they had. I am not saying their relationship was perfect, for we all know that does not exist. That being said, I was encouraged to seek more of a relationship with Jesus and wanted my husband to want the same. You must be wondering, where did my husband fall in with this change of heart of mine?

You see, I started to think differently. I started to care about things that never hit my radar before. For example, I wanted to start attending church, but not the church I (or my husband) grew up in. No, I wanted to change to a more Bible-based, Jesus teaching church. I can almost hear you thinking, how did that go over with the husband? Like a freight train hitting the town in the dead of night, not very welcome.

For the next few years, all I did was learn from my friends and attend their church, if I was able. Because I could not convince my husband to start going regularly, I would make excuses as often as possible to get us there. Sometimes it worked. Many times it did not. I still don’t know why I did not insist we go or go myself. I laugh now; I was an in-the-closet Christian. Unfortunately, it was not from the world but my husband. So, what’s a girl to do, you ask? I continued praying like never before. That was the first step I took in getting to know Jesus.

Stepping full stride into my faith

Fast forward with me a few years. Our friends, Doug and Susie, had taken a new job and moved to North Carolina. It was not too long after that Doug approached my husband regarding a similar opportunity. It did not take much for us to decide it would be a great career move, so he took it. With much excitement, we sold our house and moved to North Carolina as well.

Life was great. We built a beautiful new home and met our new neighbors. Now, this is important; meeting our new neighbors was 100% God moving in my life. I had continued praying and growing in Jesus as much as I could without having a home church. Our relationship with Doug and Susie started to drift, but not for any particular reason I could see. Now I do know why. God was preparing me for the next step in my journey.

Let me introduce to you two of the most influential people in my walk with Christ, Joe and Mary (at least, that’s what we will call them:)). They were our neighbors to our new home and we instantly connected with them. They also belonged to a church they were very involved with and invited us to attend. I absolutely fell in love with it. The atmosphere was exactly what I was looking for. We worshiped with amazing music and teachings that came right from the bible.

Changes that bring blessings

As things do, time brought about some changes, mostly pregnancy. When I became pregnant, I honestly thought I would return to work; as a matter of fact, we planned on it. Then our son was born. I think you will agree with me when I say everything changed when we held him. You guessed it, we changed our mind, and in the blink of an eye, I became a stay-at-home mom. Best life ever!

It was also when God ramped up His pursuit of me. I was able to attend bible studies during the day at Joe and Mary’s church. It was here that my desire to learn more blossomed. I went from one study to the next, not caring who or what it was on. I wanted to learn it all. Let’s say I was a little greedy with my time with Jesus.

As I grew in my relationship with Jesus, my transformation exploded. Don’t ever doubt as your love for Christ grows that you will stay the same. It is simply impossible. My entire world changed. I became diligent in teaching my son about God, determined he would have what I didn’t have growing up. My heart wanted a relationship with my husband I did not have, and I prayed for the Lord to ‘change’ him.

There was nothing I said or prayed that would soften his heart. There was no way he would humble himself to God, ask for the forgiveness of his sin, and put Jesus first. He was tight with control and needed to have it. I continued to pray earnestly as well as diving deeper into the Word.

When blessings are mixed with incredible loss

We were thrilled to find we were pregnant again. I was convinced I wanted all boys about God (totally knowing what was best for me) to bless us with our daughter. For me, life was at its fullest, unfortunately, not so much for my husband. I didn’t know what was wrong, but I certainly knew there was a problem. It was strictly by chance I discovered he was having an affair. Actually, let me be honest, I didn’t discover it; I was the last to know and had to be told by someone I barely knew, my own husband. That was truly the worst day of my life, but at the same time, it made such sense.

I felt so broken, empty, and at a loss of what to do. Thankfully, I wasn’t alone. I had Jesus. I know that may sound like a cliche, but it is as true as the sky is blue. I became laser-focused on putting the needs of my children first. They would never see an ugly argument, never hear us scream terrible things at each other. I was determined to spare them as much pain as possible and needed the love and guidance that only Jesus could give.

Over those years, it was Jesus who used the bible studies to surround me with some of the fiercest prayer warriors I know. I know my strength came from God and those amazing friends holding me up. Don’t get me wrong, I was lost for a time, but God never left my side.

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you;he will never let the righteous be shaken.Psalm 55:22
Blessings ALWAYS multiply

Slowly as God put my ‘new normal’ back together, he continued to work in me and around me. Finally, I was able to come out of hiding, no more in the closet Christian. Can I hear an Amen?! I cleaved to him in some of the most painful moments of my life, trusting in all that I had learned of him. That I could depend on him, rely on his promises, and faithfully step into this new life.

"God is indeed my salvation; I will trust and won't be afraid." Isaiah 12:2

As time passed, I knew there were a few things I would never go back to. The most important was knowing the grace of God changed me, and I wanted the world to see it. I wanted a husband that showered me with love, but most of all, I wanted a husband that loved Jesus too! My faith was going to be what people saw in me as soon as we met. At least, that is my working goal. To always have a love of Jesus shine through me so others can see Him and all His glory.

I have continued to grow in my faith and am ecstatic to share my life is at its fullest. The Lord has blessed me in marriage with a wonderful man that, along with all our children (yes, he also has 2, ) were baptized at our church. The day is engrained in my head as another blessing passed on by our loving Father.

Follow the path

I am following a dream of writing for Jesus with my blog, trusting He will take it where He wants it. I don’t know his plan for it, or me, really. I do know; I plan on being obedient to his will for my life. Looking back over the years, I can see so many other instances where God was clearly stepping up on my behalf. It is my turn to step up and follow the path I know was created by God’s hand, strictly for me.

Believing Life is Lived Better with the Holy Spirit!

Don’t Miss Out by Jeannie Cunnion-Daring To Believe Life is Better with the Holy Spirit!

Week Three Chapters 11-15

For a recap of Week Two

Read Acts 2

I have to be totally honest with you, as I read this book, I think that “this” week is the best. So much to learn and appreciate. Then, I read the next week’s assignments and think, no, “this is the best week. Jeannie Cunnion really dives into the Holy Spirit and makes it so easy to understand and relate to. I know these are my notes on the study and what I gleaned from them, but if you are curious to know more, I encourage you to read Don’t Miss Out. I can not remember the last time I have been so spelled bond by a book.

He Empowers Jesus!

Let’s jump right in with learning who empowered Jesus. Yup, you guessed it! The Holy Spirit is who empowered Jesus as He started His ministry. We know Jesus was baptized with water by John the Baptist. But what some may have missed is what happened next, two awe-inspiring things.

  • First, the Spirit of God filled Jesus and empowered Him for his ministry.
  • Second, God the Father affirmed Jesus as His Son in whom He was well pleased
And a voice from heaven said, "This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." Matthew 3:17
"I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him." John 1:32

Let’s talk about the significance of the dove. John noted he saw the dove ( the Holy Spirit) come down and remain on Jesus. The fascinating tidbit revolves around the word ‘remains.’ If you know anything about doves (which I really did not, only that they are white), they are very skittish. Suppose they are startled in any way; they tend to fly away quickly. To think that Jesus had such peaceful continence, that the dove felt comfortable enough to stay on him tells us how pure and sinless our Jesus is.

To Wait or Not to Wait?

Jesus told the disciples to wait until the Holy Spirit is sent to them, Luke 24:49. Just as the disciples had to wait for the Holy Spirit, Jesus too had to wait until the Spirit of God indwelled him. It’s clear to see that without the Spirit of God, Jesus could not complete his ministry. It’s wonderful to know that God’s timing is perfect.

He Gave Power to the Disciples!

So the disciples waited for the Spirit to come upon them. Not only did they wait, but they waited with joyful hearts, praising Jesus. I love that image of them waiting for the promised Spirit and had to think about my waiting on the Lord. Though I know His timing is perfect, goodness, it can be hard to wait for his answer. Let’s remember to turn to scripture when we struggle with being patient with God. Here are a few verses to help.

Romans 12:12
"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation,be constant in prayer." 
Psalm 27:14
"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."
2 Peter 3:9
"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."
Exodus 14:14
"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."
Isaiah 30:18 
"Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!"
2 Peter 3:8
"But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day."
He Gave His P0wer to Peter!

Jeannie gave a great example of the power of the Holy Spirit at work, in Peter. It was Peter who struggled with being loyal to Jesus and all that He offered. He was a man who cared very much what his peers thought of him, and he was the one that denied Jesus 3 times. I share this because it is so important when you see Peter after receiving the indwelling of the Spirit. He was bold and confident, speaking with authority on Jesus.

He Gives His Power to Us!

Let’s think about that for a minute. The Spirit of God was sent to Jesus when it was his time to start his ministry. The Holy Spirit was sent to the disciples when it was time to start their ministry after Jesus ascended to heaven. When we believe in faith that Jesus is our Savior, we receive the Spirit as well. Therefore, it’s with a sense of profound peace that I know he gave his power to us as well. Did you catch that? The Spirit of God lives in US! I don’t know about you, but that stops me in my tracks and gives me goosebumps all at the same time.

But wait, there’s more; think about what the power of the Spirit does. It makes us alive with the power of God, it gives us the confidence to share the gospel with others, it has the power to transform hearts for His glory, and the power to live boldly in Jesus. Can you say Amen! I know it would be easy to be intimidated by that, but friends, if the power of the Spirit can do all that is mentioned above, let’s not fear it; let’s rest in faith that He will give us the power to activate him in our lives.

Knowing he lives in us, we must make Him feel welcome in our lives. Just because He lives in us doesn’t mean he is fully at work in us. We need to spend time in prayer with him, asking for his guidance.

He is the Spirit of Truth!

One important role the Holy Spirit plays is to lead us to the truth, Jesus! The Spirit will always lead us back to Jesus. He is our personal guide to know Jesus more intimately. The Spirit will never lie. He is completely trustworthy and faithful. He guides us in the Truth. I have to say; I never again want to walk this world without the best guide, the Holy Spirit.

I pray you will welcome him into your life as your guide for this turbulent world we live in.

"I am the way and the truth and life."John 14:6

Believing life is better lived with the Holy Spirit!

Don’t Miss Out by Jeannie Cunnion-Daring to believe life is better with the Holy Spirit!

Week Two- Chapters 6-10

For a recap of Week One.

Please read Ephesians 1

He is Equal

We continue this week with more insight into who the Holy Spirit is. Not only did we see that He is Equal to God and Jesus, but he is essential. There is no way we can live the life made solely for us without the Holy Spirit. Why do you say, why do I need the Holy Spirit? Is Jesus not enough? I admit I went many years believing I had all I needed because I was saved and Jesus lives in me.

I absolutely love how Jeannie answered those questions. She reminds us that we are trying to be a witness for Jesus, and to do that without the power of Christ–the Holy Spirit–we would be frustrated and discouraged.

Did you catch that? The POWER of Christ, the Holy Spirit, is within us. To try to be as like Jesus as we all strive to be, with his POWER, to do all things for HIS glory, would be impossible without HIS power. The Holy Spirit.

This is why the Holy Spirit is essential. When you put your trust in Jesus, the Spirit of God is fully available to you.

Jeannie uses a quote from Robert Morris.

“Having the Holy Spirit’s power available to us isn’t the same thing as making ourselves available to the Holy Spirit’s life-changing power. We have to yield. Our stubborn, prideful selves have to submit. We have to receive.”

He is Better Than Self-Help

If I were to ask, have you ever read a book meant to change something about yourself, what would your answer be? I’ll be honest and say I wanted to fix myself as much as the next person over the years. A friend would tell me how great a certain book was and how it helped her; of course, I had to run out to get it, hoping it would help me too. It’s no surprise to me that I did not make it through one of those many books. Truthfully, I never read one where I agreed with the concept of the ‘self-help’ that was being given.

The author would say one thing that I could identify with than follow up with many things I disagreed with. Many of these books boast of methods to help people feel better, mainly by concentrating on themselves. Friends, if we put all this effort into fixing our problems, we miss something amazing. We miss that the Almighty God indwells us and is just waiting for us to let him empower us to fight out battles in HIS might for HIS name.

No book is necessary when we have the fixer of all wrongs breathing life into us. Or should I say, breathing HIS life into us?

He Is Our Guarantee

To be given a guarantee on something is to be able to trust. To rely on what has been given to you. The Holy Spirit is our guarantee that we belong to God’s heavenly kingdom. We are daughters of the King. He gave up his life for us, and he will not let us go.

"When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession-to the praise of his glory." Ephisians 1:13-14

We are sealed up with the Holy Spirit, with the promise of eternal life in heaven with our Heavenly Father. This humbles me and fills me with such joy; I weep with gratitude and peace. Peace because I know my future is secure in Him.

Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He annointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22
He Makes Much of Jesus
Jesus said, "He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you. John 16:14-15

I loved how Jeannie wrote that the Holy Spirit is the one who woos us to Jesus. I love that word, woos! That is how I feel when I think of my feelings for Jesus, I am wood by him. I want to be with him. To know him is to love him. And he loves me.

One goal of the Spirit is to put the focus back on Jesus, always leading us back to him. That is an amazing honor to do what the disciples did, to point others to the goodness of our God. With the Holy Spirit guiding us, we will help to lead people to Jesus as well.

He Authored the Bible

If you are like so many of us, you may answer Jesus’s disciples if asked who wrote the Bible. That is technically correct; they are credited with writing it. What most of us have missed is that the Holy Spirit has empowered everything they say. As Jesus intended the Spirit to do, He breathed the words of the Bible into existence.

For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:21

Men communicated the words of the Bible under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I love sitting back and digesting that. Human authors were writing and speaking what was shared with them from God’s Spirit. This makes scripture the faultless Word of God.

Let’s talk about God’s Word and the necessity of having it in our life. God’s Word is like my navigation in a world with so many twists and turns that it is easy to get lost, even when you are in your own neighborhood. The Word for me is a set of instructions that, without nothing, can be built. I need the Word like I need a tall glass of water on a hot August day.

Through God’s Word, he gives understanding. We know God’s Word is alive, but we also know it can be difficult to understand. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to help us understand it AND apply it as we study. I can remember when I would open the bible and read, and unfortunately, closing it up because what I read was not clear to me.

I know many of us have felt that, but I can assure you that by seeking Jesus with a sincere heart, the Holy Spirit will open the bible up to you.

So, I leave you this week with a heartfelt prayer. That the Spirit will open your heart as you read the bible, that a newfound sense of clarity and understanding fill you as you seek Him.

Believing life is better lived with the Holy Spirit!

Don’t Miss Out by Jeannie Cunnion-Daring to believe life is better with the Holy Spirit!

Week One- Introduction thru Chapter 5

Please read John 16

Last week, I finished our study, Truthfilled by Ruth Chou Simons, and I am thrilled to share my new study with you. This one is different for me as it is a book we are reading and discussing. Not my normal study. II am the type that loves a good thick workbook with my study with questions that lead me to dig into my bible.

My passion over the last few years have turned to obedience to my Lord. More recently, I have become fixated on the Holy Spirit. Who is He? What does He do, and how is he meant to work in my life. Therefore, my new study won’t be a big surprise. It’s Don’t Miss Out-Daring to believe life is better with the Holy Spirit by Jeannie Cunnion.

How my walk began

The way my walk has gone over the years, I am blessed to look back and see growth! Real spiritual growth. I like to joke and say my spiritual growth is similar to an onion……you know, layers! I grew up in a home where we went to church every week, were baptized, and had our first communion and confirmation. I truly believed in God and that Jesus died on the cross, but beyond that, there was not a lot of thought. As a result, there was a huge hole in my faith. I realize now I did not have the full picture, or should I say the full Trinity? 🙂

Relationship with Jesus

The one thing I was missing was the personal relationship with Jesus. I was lucky after years of study to correct that, but I will be honest and say I did not know the Holy Spirit. Yes, that’s right, as we will see in a bit, he is a person. That is why over the last few years I have been learning more about Him.

This study is going to help me do with the Holy Spirit what happened with Jesus. I will spend time with him, learn his purpose, and learn to love him for himself. It will be exciting to know his purpose and how it benefits us.

In the first week, we read and discussed who he is.

Who is the Holy Spirit?
  • He is to our advantage
  • He makes his home in us
  • Never leaves us
  • He is God
  • Last but not least, He is a person

One of the things I took away from him being to our advantage was that he is our helper. The Holy Spirit is God in us. Isn’t that the most exhilarating thought you can have? It completely blows my mind that I walk around with a piece of God in me!! Do I hear an Amen!

But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, "Where are you going?" But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. John 16:5-7
How he helps us.

With Jesus leaving, he was able to send us our amazing Helper. Sit back and let that soak in; think about those words. HE LIVES IN US! We must remember He lives in us!

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you John 14:16-17

Did you notice verse 16? That he will be with us forever, he will never leave us. He is in our souls forever. He will be our constant companion.

And teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20
Learning who he is!

I will be bold and say I never did see the significance of the Holy Spirit. I really didn’t know who he was, nor did I give him the acknowledgment he rightly deserves. My heart nearly exploded when all the dot’s connected for me. HE IS GOD! I have known about the holy trinity all my life, but my lack of knowledge robbed him of his holiness.

As Jeannie says in her book, the Holy Spirit is God. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit coexist as the eternal (no beginning and no end), omnipresent (existing everywhere at all times), omniscient (knowing everything), omnipotent (all-powerful), Godhead.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Genesis 1:1-2
He has a purpose to fulfill!

We also discussed his purpose. God, the Holy Spirit, does specific work in us. Jeannie quoted J.I. Packer as saying,

“The Christians life in all its aspects–intellectual and ethical, devotional and relational, upsurging in worship and outgoing in witness, is supernatural; only the Spirit can initiate it and sustain it. So apart from Him, not only will there be no lively believers and no lively congregations, there will be no believers and no congregations at all.”

That is quite a statement that I too, wanted to share, think about it. Jeannie challenged us to look in the mirror every day and remind ourselves that God Almighty is the one who indwells us by HIS HOLY SPIRIT. He is the power of God inside us.

In his image!

I know for many people, the Spirit was seen as a dove, rushing wind, or maybe a burning flame. It is easy to see him as a symbol, but it’s important to know that he is a person like God and Jesus.

Then God said, "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea, and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27

Read the first sentence of the verse. Did you catch the ‘us’ in there? We were created in the image of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit, all of them their own person.

Please read John 16

Last week, I finished our study, Truthfilled by Ruth Chou Simons, and I am thrilled to share my new study with you. This one is different for me as it is a book we are reading and discussing. Not my typical study. I am the type that loves a good thick workbook with questions that lead me to dig into my bible.

My passion over the last few years have turned to obedience to my Lord. More recently, I have become fixated on the Holy Spirit. Who is He? What does He do, and how is he meant to work in my life. Therefore, my new study won’t be a big surprise. It’s Don’t Miss Out-Daring to believe life is better with the Holy Spirit by Jeannie Cunnion.

How my walk began

The way my walk has gone over the years, I am blessed to look back and see growth! Real spiritual growth. I like to joke and say my spiritual growth is similar to an onion……you know, layers! I grew up in a home where we went to church every week, were baptized, and had our first communion and confirmation. I truly believed in God and that Jesus died on the cross, but there was no real commitment beyond that. As a result, there was a huge hole in my faith. I realize now I did not have the full picture, or should I say the full Trinity? 🙂

Relationship with Jesus

The one thing I was missing was the personal relationship with Jesus. I was lucky after years of study to correct that, but I will be honest and say I did not know the Holy Spirit. Yes, that’s right, as we will see in a bit, he is a person. That is why over the last few years I have been learning more about Him.

This study is going to help me do with the Holy Spirit what happened with Jesus. I will spend time with him, learn his purpose, and learn to love him for himself. It will be exciting to know his purpose and how it benefits us.

In the first week, we read and discussed who he is.

Who is the Holy Spirit?
  • He is to our advantage
  • He makes his home in us
  • Never leaves us
  • He is God
  • Last but not least, He is a person

One of the things I took away from him being to our advantage was that he is our helper. The Holy Spirit is God in us. Isn’t that the most exhilarating thought you can have? It completely blows my mind that I walk around with a piece of God in me!! Do I hear an Amen!

But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, "Where are you going?" But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. John 16:5-7
How he helps us.

With Jesus leaving, he was able to send us our amazing Helper. Sit back and let that soak in; think about those words. HE LIVES IN US! We must remember He lives in us!

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you John 14:16-17

Did you notice verse 16? That he will be with us forever, he will never leave us. He is in our souls forever. He will be our constant companion.

And teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20
Learning who he is!

I will be bold and say I never did see the significance of the Holy Spirit. I really didn’t know who he was, nor did I give him the acknowledgment he rightly deserves. My heart nearly exploded when all the dot’s connected for me. HE IS GOD! I have known about the holy trinity all my life, but my lack of knowledge robbed him of his holiness.

As Jeannie says in her book, the Holy Spirit is God. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit coexist as the eternal (no beginning and no end), omnipresent (existing everywhere at all times), omniscient (knowing everything), omnipotent (all-powerful), Godhead.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Genesis 1:1-2
He has a purpose to fulfill!

We also discussed his purpose. God, the Holy Spirit, does specific work in us. Jeannie quoted J.I. Packer as saying,

“The Christians life in all its aspects–intellectual and ethical, devotional and relational, upsurging in worship and outgoing in witness, is supernatural; only the Spirit can initiate it and sustain it. So apart from Him, not only will there be no lively believers and no lively congregations, there will be no believers and no congregations at all.”

That is quite a statement that I, too, wanted to share, think about it. Jeannie challenged us to look in the mirror every day and remind ourselves that God Almighty is the one who indwells us by HIS HOLY SPIRIT. He is the power of God inside us.

In his image!

I know for many people, the Spirit was seen as a dove, rushing wind, or maybe a burning flame. It is easy to see him as a symbol, but it’s important to know that he is a person like God and Jesus.

Then God said, "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea, and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27

Read the first sentence of the verse. Did you catch the ‘us’ in there? We were created in the image of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit, all of them their own person.

Preach God’s Truth to Yourself and Practice what you Preach!

Truthfilled by Ruth Chou Simons

In Conclusion; Week five and week six

Let’s read Colossians 4:2-18

Well, Friends, it’s that time. Time to summarize and conclude our study. This study, in particular, has shown me how much we all need to preach to ourselves. Ruth said it best in that if we don’t preach to ourselves, someone else will. It’s your choice who you want to listen to.

This world can seem like a black hole for many of us. It’s filled with sadness and unhappiness, with unrest and fear. People that do not know the Word, what it says, and how it can save us will preach what they ‘hear.’ They will take for gospel the news or what they see on their computer as the truth.

Is this the person you want preaching to you on how you should be living your life?

Perhaps then, you want to listen to someone that knows and studies the word of God! Someone that knows how much he loves you. Someone that hurts when you hurt and laughs when you laugh. Someone who encourages and promotes instead of discourages and demotes.

Wait! This person sounds a lot like YOU! That’s right, friends; as believers and students of God’s word, we have the love letters from our Source to talk ourselves right into being the people we were made to be. God’s people.

I decided to put week 5 and week 6 together because they go hand and hand, you need to remember what God gives us, and we need to put it into practice. Therefore, let me share what I learned about our mighty God and how he wants us to preach to ourselves.

Ruth talked about growth and what it really looks like.

Growth can…
  • looks messy
  • stretches all our resources
  • takes work
  • makes everything worth it

I chuckled when I saw she used the word messy….can you relate? How often do you feel like your spiritual path is just a collage of disfunction? On my best day, I feel like I am scattered in several different areas. Can I get an Amen? That is why I resonated with how often Ruth says you have to work at knowing the Lord and the provisions he extends to us. If we do not know what He wants to give us, how can we preach it to ourselves?

Read Philippians 1:6 below.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Phillipians 1:6

We must remember his provisions daily.

Here are just a few provisions we discussed, its funny; we know them in our head, but to see them on paper helps you remember them in your heart.

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want"
"He makes me lay down in green pastures"
"He leads me besidw still waters"
"He restores my soul"

Psalm 23 

These are just a few of the beautiful promises He makes to us in Psalm 23. I would encourage you to read it in its entirety. It is well worth it.

Consequently, knowing what the Lord wants us to have and actually taking it and practicing it are, unfortunately, two very different actions.

In conclusion, we must make it a daily practice to preach to ourselves, to fill our own heads and hearts with the desires of our Lord. He wants you to breathe in his words of promise from scripture.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

I wish I could tell you the practice part is easy, but we all know that it’s not. We all know how life is like a rushing river that can sweep you along on a course you did not set. Nevertheless, we must strive toward that goal.

Since we have the source of what to preach, it’s the matter of making ourselves a priority.

To illustrate how easy it is to not focus on yourself, think about where you spend time during your day. Having a few extra minutes to unwind, do you look at Facebook, Instagram, maybe the news channel? Despite believing it is fun and harmless, I will tell you that I sign out of my page many times feeling defeated.

All the perfect pictures leaving me feeling like I am nowhere near as good as the people I see there. The perfect pictures, the success stories of another goal achieved, children, behaving like they actually like their siblings? I mean, come on!! When we shake our heads and clear the muck of deception out there, we know there is no true perfect picture. Equally important is that we know these posts are where some are getting their affirmation.

Dedication and determination are what keeps me preaching to my heart.

PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!

  • I have what I need.
  • I am well care for by God.
  • I am secure in Christ because of the gospel.

Promises from our God, the true resource of our happiness and spiritual growth.

I pray, sisters, take this practice to heart and make it a daily occurrence in your life. One thing I can promise is you will be rewarded with God’s holy presence and abounding love.

Tired of lists? How to overcome the frenzy of to-do lists.

As a mom, I have a love/hate relationship with August. On the one hand, I love it because soon, my four children will be back into the school year routines that everyone has dismissed for the summer. I abhor August because it ends my time with all my kids at home. It’s a bittersweet tug of war for me.

Several weeks ago, I was scurrying around helping my son and daughter get ready to head back to college. It’s mid-August, and the kid’s brains seem to kick back in. They realize they have a long list of things to do before leaving. Of course, many of those things need my help. Suddenly I have a list with tons of things that have to get done. Can you relate?

Shopping for clothes, shopping for food snacks to go back with them, shopping for supplies. There were more things on the list, but I am sure you get my point!:)

There are the lists of items the school needs uploading for admittance. In addition, there is the packing and making sure the kids see as many friends and family members that want to see them before they go. It can be an exhausting process.

On one particular day, I, too, had a list of things I wanted to get done. Such as, I wanted to spend time in my bible study and research verses for my next blog. Ideas were swirling in my head I wanted to get on paper. I really wanted to write! I was even looking forward to grocery shopping and doing some cleaning around the house.

That day was the day before my daughter moved into her dorm for her freshman year at college. Let me share with you, I did not get one thing on my list done, but we completed several items from her list.

That evening as I sat and rested, yes, it was a packed full kind of day. I found myself thinking of the lists we make. All the things we think have to get done. We get ourselves caught up in a cycle of living by what we get done from ‘the list .’ I wondered if we had a list of things that really mattered and if we worked as hard to get those items done.

I thought about my bible study and the list of things Jesus gives us. That’s right, Jesus gave us lists or instructions on how we are to live our lives.

Take, for example, the 10 Commandments:

  • I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery
  • You shall have no other gods before’ me
  • You shall not take the Lords name in vain
  • Honor your father and mother
  • Do not kill
  • Do not commit adultrey
  • You shall not steal
  • Don’t bear false witness againt your neighbor
  • You shall not covet your neighbors wife
  • You shall not covet your neighbors goods

Over the years, I have spoken with several people that thought of the commands as rules we had to follow to please God. I don’t look at them as rules but as guides or instructions on how God wants us to walk our faith.

Another list to consider is the items God tells us to arm ourselves with. I encourage you to read Ephesians 6:10-18, but in short, the list goes something like this. Let’s arm ourselves with:

  • The belt of truth
  • The breast plate of righteousness
  • Feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gosple of peace
  • The shield of faith
  • The helmet of salvation
  • The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

I absolutely love how Jesus tells us how to protect ourselves from the enemy. We are under constant attack from the devil and require God’s divine protection.

Now, if you are still in Ephesians, flip to the left to John 13:31-35. Jesus can whittle down all these commands to the one we should emulate in our everyday life. Take a close look at verse 34.

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another." John 13:34 ESV

Yes, I know for many of us, there are some lists we need to write out. I can tell you, if I didn’t write out my grocery list, I would forget half of what I needed and would buy tons of unneeded stuff.

For me, my passion in life is staying obedient to my God. Therefore, I take this one command deeply to heart. But, it can be very challenging. There are many times I don’t want to love someone. The someone that hurt me or disappointed me. The person who broke promises or lied to me. Truthfully, I know it’s not me loving them.

I believe in my heart that if I am obedient to Jesus’s command, he will pour his love through me to them. I can love them with Jesus’s love. You can read my blog, My Unusual Walk in Obedience to God’s Word, at mygracewalk.com to read more on my perspective of walking in obedience and how fulfilling it is.

Jesus takes us right to the heart of the matter, what’s most important. Love one another as he loved us.

As a believer in Christ, my focus is living how Jesus lived and how he wants us to live. It is my greatest joy to imitate his walk as closely as I can.

There is no way to know why God loved us so much that he sent his only son to save us.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have erternal life. John 3:16 ESV

We have no right or claim to it; it is a gift we can humbly accept, a gift he gave his life for. Jesus loved us so much he called us friends.

"No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing: but I called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you." John 15:15

To thank him, I will strive to be obedient to his command to love one another, to walk my walk as close as I humanly can to his walk.

So, I will ditch the many lists I think are very important to everyday life and concentrate on his lists.

  • The Ten Commandments
  • Wearing the Armor of God
  • Loving my neighbor

My friends, I have four children and know how busy life can be; it can become a frenzy of ‘list-making.’ In the end, if we follow that one command, to love one another, Jesus and the Holy Spirit will guide us to accomplish what he believes are the vital items on our list that need to be accomplished.

I pray the heavenly Father blesses you with the peace of Jesus in your life today.

Christine Williamson is the creator of her blog, mygracewalk.com. Her purpose with mygracewalk blog is to not be a biblical scholar, but a sharer of life! She is a wife, a mom, and, working woman who has transformed into a Jesus Chasing Gal! Her purpose is to share and chat with you, to encourage, to hopefully build a community of sisters traveling this road of life together. Using her experiences to show you how God was with her while she was broken, knowing that while she cleaved to Him, He was building her back into the woman He made her to be.

“Truthfilled-Respond in Faith!

Week Four

By Ruth Chou Simons

Read Colossians 2:4-23

Do you have identity issues? Most of us would say ‘no’ I know exactly who I am if asked that question. But do you? It is so easy in today’s world to get lost in the ‘perfection’ of what others present to us as their normal on whatever social platform they use.

When I spend too much time on Instagram or Facebook, I can really start to feel depressed. I don’t see that the pictures people post may have taken all day for them to capture. All I feel is ineptness. Of course, that leaves me feeling like I should be more like them, wondering why my life is not the perfect ‘show ‘n tell” story they present of theirs.

I have forgotten who I am and WHOSE I am. That is the main lesson in this week’s video with Ruth. I feel that it is one of our biggest pulls away from who we are in Christ.

I have to be so careful that I don’t let someone else tempt me to forget that I belong to Jesus and because I absolutely believe in him and know who he is, I know where I can find my identity.

Ruth said: “Without Christ, we would be trying to define ourselves with degrees, labels, achievements, associations, awards, and appearances. Without Jesus, I would always be trying to define myself through another’s approval.”

Ruth also talks about how practicing something over and over will create a habit. Is there something you do that you do so often, you feel like you can do it in your sleep? Think about what that is. Think about how often you do it. Are the consequences of that action good for you? How often do you do it, so it is a habit?

That is how we need to preach to ourselves the triumphant words of Jesus ourselves. If we don’t habitually tell ourselves who we are and whose we are, the social media of the world will!

Below is a snippet from our study that I really wanted to share. Its Ruths steps on how to preach to your own heart.

Practice Preaching To Your Own Heart

First, read the below scripture.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?

Why so disturbed within me?

Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him,

my Savior and my God.

Psalm 42:5

  1. Identify the care. What’s the issue? Why are yoyu “downcast”?
  2. Tell your sould waht to do. Put your hope in God.
  3. Embrace gospel hope. How does the good news of Christ (the gospel) change your perspective?

These are 3 wonderful steps to start learning how to practice preaching what your heart and mind need to hear.

I encourage you to read Colossians 2:4-23. The best place to start is scripture. Over and over again.

Truthfilled – Rehearse who you are!

By Ruth Chou Simons

Week Three

Colossians 1:15-2:3

This week we study God’s Character and the worthiness of Christ. I have to say. I loved every minute of it. When you take the time to really focused on God’s Character, it is humbling to realize how big our God is really is. Let’s go back and list a few characteristics of our God.

The Colossians knew God, but they did not have it embedded in their hearts, and when negative things were being said about Jesus, they were in danger of slipping away from all they had learned. 

Ruth talks about how we must rest in the character of God but to do this; we must believe what God says is true. We must believe who God is, what he says about himself, so when he talks to us about us, you can rest in that what he says is true. 

Characteristics of God:

He is sovereign, wise, and good

He is trustworthy

Hi is in control 

He is worthy

He loves us 

Preach the Truth of Who He is

When we rest in this information, we make an active choice to follow God and know him intimately. We must continuously speak the truth of God to ourselves, so it is what we fill our heads and heart with. 

It is easy to be pulled away from your focus when you don’t, deep in your soul, trust all that God is. Ruth says, ‘we must preach to ourselves the truth of who Hi is, why His trustworthy and how He is sufficient for our every spiritual and physical need.’

When we study His characteristics and rest in Him, we can find our identity in HIm. Once we rest in who he is, we can believe and rehearse the truth to ourselves, believing it is true.

Knowing His Heart

We must take the time to dig deep in the Word so we can get to know Him, his heart, and how much he loves us. We must fill ourselves up with Jesus and what he did on the cross for us. His death opened the door for us to know God and establish an active relationship with him. If we do not get to know God and Jesus the way they want us to, it lessens the sacrifice He made on the cross.

This week was filled with why we want to be Truthfilled and how we can do that. When we believe what God says about himself, we can rest in the truth of what he says about us. We must spend our time learning about him, trusting him in what he tells us.

Below are some verses we read with this week’s study. I love the one below as it tells us the exact identity of Christ.

Characters of God

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For b him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities- all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him, all things hold together. And his is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that he might be preeminent in everything.

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.  Colossians 1:15-20 ESV

And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, to present you holy ad blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Colossians 1:21-23 ESV

Holy

For our sake, he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians  5:21 ESV

Blameless

How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

Hebrews 9:14 ESV

Beyond Reproach

Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died-more than that, who was raised- who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, persecution, famine or nakedness, danger, or sword? As it is written,

“For your sake, we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us, for I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:33-39

Truthfilled-Rest in God’s Character

Week two

By Ruth Chou Simons

This week’s study was very impactful for me. It tells us how God tells us who we are. Read Psalm 42

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

Psalm 139:14

But to actually believe him, we must first know him. The gospel is God’s invitation that makes the instructions we follow possible. Our obedience must be first and foremost in our lives.

This week Ruth spoke about the imperatives and the indicative of our faith walk.

Imperative-Right conduct or practice. The do’s and don’t

Indicative– This is what we believe. Serving as a sign or indication

We seem to gravitate toward the imperatives and tend to skip the indicative. We want to rush out there and do something. Fortunately, God knows this about us, that we find our hope in doing things rather than learning the character of our amazing Father.

Ruth shares how we must learn who God is, know his character, know that he is truth. Knowing that allows us to rest our weary souls in him.

Being strengthened with all [power according to his glorious might, so that you may have great endurance and patience, joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light. He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son he loves. In him, we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin.

Colossians 1:11-14

Without the indicative, or what’s truer about who God is and what He’s done, the imperatives would be basically impossible. Without knowing our God and resting in the love and care of him, his character, and who he is, our attempt at obedience would more likely lead us to our own pride and self-righteousness.

Everything we have, all that we believe, must rest on the character of our God.

As Paul wrote to the Colossians, he is also talking for us, that God is the one that calls us, God qualifies us, and God delivers us. God alone enables us to walk in a way that is pleasing to Him.

” But now he has reconciled you by His physical body through His death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before him. If indeed you remain grounded and steadfast in the faith and are not shifted away from the hope of the gospel that you heard. This gospel has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and I, Paul, have become a servant of it.”

Colossians 1:22-23

We can not know how to walk our Christ-like walk without first knowing who enables us. That is what we need to learn to preach to ourselves.

Placing our hope and trust in our God, believing he is everything he says he is, is how we can believe what he says about us.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Corinthians 5:17

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

1 Peter 2:9

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10

There is, therefore, now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:1

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

John 1:12

For in Christ Jesus, you are all sons of God through faith.

Galatians 3:26

No longer do I call you servants, for the servant, does not know what his master is doing, but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

John 15:15

If we do not tell our soul what is true, someone else will. That is the most important point I received out of this week’s study. When Ruth said that, everything in me stopped. It is so true but oh so hard to do. The only way we can preach to ourselves is to know and trust our God. If we can believe what he says about us, we should believe it about us too.

Week One-Truthfilled by Ruth Chou Simons-The Practice of Preaching to Yourself Through Every Season

Introduction

This week I started the Bible study Truthfilled by Ruth Chou Simons with my amazing bible study partners.

Do you have a bible study partner?*Do you belong to a bible study group? If you don’t and would like one, please reach out. I would love to get you connected to one.

Truthfilled is a study on the book of Colossians where Paul writes a letter to the Colossians regarding dangerous teachings threatening the church of Colossae. 

Colossians are hearing things being said by nonbelievers that causing doubt of all they have learned about who Jesus is.

Life Runs in Season’s

We see Ruth use the seasons of the year to correlate with the seasons of our lives. 

Winter-Resting in Gods Character

Spring-Rehearsing the Truth

Summer-Responding in Faith

Fall-Remember God’s Provisions

Ruth shared how Paul David Tripp says, “no one is more influential in your life than you are because no one talks to you more than you do.” Is that not the truth or what? 

I can’t tell you how many ‘secrets’ conversations I have had in my mind with myself. I mean, what’s the harm? No one can hear what I am saying, right? Well, my friends, I can tell you it hurts, and it affects many people. 

We have an instinctual urge to tell ourselves just how lacking we think we are. “I don’t know why I started to write. No one wants to read what I have to say. Maybe people will think I am a terrible writer. Who is going to listen to my thoughts? It’s not like I’m smart.” 

We must be cautious with filling our heads because it can pull us away from what we believe is true. We talk to ourselves so much we start to believe it. When we start to believe it, we start to live it. When we start to live it, people start to notice it. That is how it can really hurt the people we care about. 

This study will teach us about the character of God, how we can believe that what he says about himself is true. That we can rest in His character and know that what He says we are is also true. 

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. -Proverbs 23:7 NKJV

Ruth shows us how Paul wanted the believers to follow and serve Jesus fearlessly. He knew they would have to know the truth of who God is, who they were in Him. 

We need to have it ingrained in our souls and not be led astray by what others say. 

Some of the verses we explored in week one are listed below.

There is a wealth of wisdom and knowledge in Psalm 42, and I strongly recommend you read the entire passage. Take a peek at verses 5-11

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me. By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God, my rock: “Why have you forgotten me?” “Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” As with a deadly wound in my bones my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God” Why are you cast dow, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. 
Psalm 42:5-11 ES
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what Gos’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” Romans 12:2 NIV
So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, “fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,  Colossians 1:10-11 ESV
If you have been raised with Christ, Seek the things that are about, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Colossians 3:1-2 ESV
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of out inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:11-14
To an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and undying, kept in heaven for you, 1 Peter 1:4
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits Psalm 103:2

The practice of preaching to yourself