what truly matters

whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

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A Heart at rest

This has been an amazing journey through the pages of What happens when women say Yes to God by Lysa Terkeurst. It was not only my first Online Bible Study, but also the first book that I have read by this author.

Saying “Yes” to returning to our weekly Bible study and prayer meeting at church, was the first of a number of notable events over the past six weeks, leading up to the point where I am blogging for the last of the blog hops of the current study. I have chosen to write about a heart at rest, because I cherish the first verse in Romans 5: Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” I need not really say any more: once you receive grace to be saved, through faith alone, it is said and done. Your heart may rest.Image

I am convinced, however, that I have not quite completed the challenge of saying Yes to God. I still struggle with discipline as far as my Bible reading and quite time with the Lord goes. I still have not established a solid routine and managed to stick to it despite distractions. I am encouraged when I read Lysa’s words that we don’t have to seek to create opportunities to say yes to God. “God has already gone before us and established them. We simply have to respond.”

My heart is at rest as I read this and believe it to be true.

Breaking chains of doubt

Confession time: just like so many of the Yes Girls, I am battling at the moment to keep up. As a direct result of saying #YestoGod in week one, I have returned to our weekly Bible study and prayer meeting at church, and we are also attending a course at church on another evening.

Last week I did not manage to blog, and I still have to do the Bible study on both Chapters 5 and 6, but I am still in #stickwithit mode. Having said that, I hasten to add that I have recommitted to spend more time in the Word of God, and I am so excited about a book that I purchased this week, by Erwin & Rebecca Lutzer, Life-changing Bible Verses you should know.Image

I need to make a further confession: I have been struggling with a nagging doubt: what if I did not “do it right” when I confessed my sins and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour? Reading through the Book of Romans at the moment, I came to Chapter 10:9-10 :

 

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Turning to the chapter on Grace, the Lutzers quotes Ephesians 2:8-9: It is by grace your have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.

What a relief to read the simple truth once again that God did it all; the only requirement is that we should believe it! I quote: “When you come to Christ you do not come to give, but to receive … Nor do we make a promise; we come to believe His promise.”

How great is our God and how powerful His Word, to break chains of doubt.

 

Yes God, I will change my habits

Reaching the end of chapter three, a couple of thoughts regarding my habits, have settled in my mind, and I am pretty convinced that it is indeed the Lord speaking into my heart. Testing against the five key questions, it definately measures up.

If I am going to be radically obedient, the first habit to go, has to be my complaining about time.

Ephesians 5:15-17 says: “Look therefore carefully how ye walk, not as unwise, but as wise;
redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (ASV) The NIV translates it as “making the most of each opportunity.”

I am convImageinced that the Lord would not expect us never to relax and have fun, but the habit that I need to give up, is wasting time with frivolous activity, such as addictive games on the computer. It is one thing to open a game of Mahjong Titans or Combine, while holding on to be connected to a call centre agent, but quite another if you spend the next thirty minutes or longer with that fruitless activity.  Closing the game calls for radical obedience.

Another habit weighs heavily on my mind since reading about the radical obedience. To quote Lysa: “He wanted me to make a choice between my desire and His.” At this point in time, there are a couple of aspects of our lives, that we are praying about. Things that we would very much like to see changed. I have fallen into the habit of almost dictating to God what needs to happen, instead of trusting the many promises in the Word, like the well-loved Jer 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Letting go of the habit of fretting, sulking and impatience with things that I do not particularly like, would be a further act of radical obedience.

I am so grateful for this OBS, because I have learnt so much in less than two weeks. I am excited to see what else the Lord has in store for me. I am turning #PalmsUp.

 

 

 

Joy is a Choice–so why is it such a battle?

I am sure many of us can identify with this blog entry. I mope and frown because I am unhappy, instead of finding joy in the Lord.

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joycomesinthemorning

A couple weeks ago my kids went to Vacation Bible School. I walk into the church to greet my kids after their first day of VBS, and I can immediately tell they have had the time of their lives. We go home, but they can’t stop talking about it so they decide to invite some neighborhood friends to come to VBS with them for the rest of the week.

The next morning we arrive, friends in tow. My son’s heart is bursting with delight and expectation.

We sign up our little friends, but they get put in a different group than my kids. I knew this would be disappointing, but with over 500 kids in attendance, I had a hunch it would be tough to fit our friends into the same group.

I look at my son. His heart once swollen with joy is now deflated with disappointment. With tears…

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#YestoGod Week 2: Hearing God’s voice

Lysa Terkeurst lists five key questions which helps her to determine whether what she hears is from God, and not an impression on her heart that is actually her own ideas.

Group leader Jenny Armstrong did such a beautiful job of visually capturing the questions, and I hope she would not mind if I share it here:

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The questions got me thinking, which led to an unsettling conclusion: I would already fumble on question 1, if I have to be honest. It is not a question of being unfamiliar with scripture. Rather, it is a matter of allowing myself to be distracted when I should be spending meaningful quite time with God. The result being that I do not have “fresh” experiences with the Lord and with Scripture. No good trying to measure against historical insight. It has to be new and relevant.

I have done numerous studies on prayer, Bible Study, quite time “suggestions”, and I can safely say that I know the drill. However, having the knowledge and not applying it, is probably worse than having no knowledge at all.

In week 1 of this study, I was convicted because I neglect the weekly study meetings at church.  On the very day that I understood that saying “Yes” to God, simply means to follow all of His instructions, I failed dismally by something as simply as not having dinner ready in time! Which again goes to show how conniving Satan is. He can be trusted to launch an attack the minute one takes a stand, takes a step closer to God.

I pray that this Online Bible study will be a tool to improve my discipline when I sit down to spend time with the Word of God, and that I will have the privilege of discerning God’s voice amidst all that vies for attention.

#YestoGod: The penny dropped

I have to admit that on the first reading of chapter 1 of What happens when women say Yes to God, I felt somewhat intimidated. There I was, obviously searching for a deeper relationship with the Lord, or else a study of this nature would not catch my attention.

Somehow, I got sidetracked by the wonderful testimony of the Bible that Lysa gave to the stranger on the plane. In my mind, obedience suddenly equaled doing something physical that the Lord would instruct, the moment I say Yes to God.

Three days into the OBS, the ah-ha moment happened. The penny dropped. Every word, every story, every miracle, every command in the Bible, from page one of the Old Testament, right through to the last page of the New Testament: that is what I will be saying Yes to. Lysa calls it “so simple and yet so profound.”

Mere seconds later, I received a clear conviction when the Holy Spirit whispered the words of Hebrews 10:25 into my heart. I have neglected the mid-week prayer meetings at our church for a long time. This would be my first command after saying Yes to God.

I am so excited to see what else the Lord has in store for me!

The Word of God

 

John 1: 1-5
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2 He was with God in the beginning.

3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

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