Blog

General

I am looking forward to having more joy this year. How about you? I don't want my feelings to be solely controlled by what's going on around me anymore. Why? Because things are always changing and there is always something going on. There is always something to complain about but I have found that there are even more things to be thankful for.

By Ann

Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare. Psalm 40:5 (NIV)

I am looking forward to having more joy this year. How about you? I don't want my feelings to be solely controlled by what's going on around me anymore. Why? Because things are always changing and there is always something going on. There is always something to complain about but I have found that there are even more things to be thankful for.

I have found that one of the things that inspire consistent joy is when I go over my thankful list. I jot down a list of things that I am thankful for and just the thought of these things start to make me feel a special joy.  I try to make thankfulness a part of my life throughout the entire year because I don't like to wait until a certain day to thank God for all that He has done.

It can be easy to just have a heart of thankfulness more so on special occasions such as New Year's Day, Christmas or Thanksgiving Day probably because there is more talk about being thankful everywhere you look.

I came across a devotional that I had read and printed out not long ago by Lysa TerKeurst entitled, The Treasure of Thrown-Away Food. She talked about a paper written by her adopted son Jackson that spoke about his life in a forgotten orphanage in the third world country of Liberia, Africa. In one part of his paper he described what it felt like to be naked digging through the trash looking for the treasure of thrown-away food.

 I have four children and the thought of any of them or any other child hungry is heartbreaking. It brought tears to my eyes just reading the words as I'm sure it did to Lysa as his mother. As holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas have passed many of us can barely remember all of the food that covered our tables. We sat around tables loaded with turkeys, hams and all the trimmings that go with this type of feast.

 But somewhere there are children that consider food from the trash a treasure. Other than crying these words inspired feelings of gratefulness that Lysa's son is now safe and away from that former way of living. I also felt an extra special thankfulness to God for provision and safety for my own children. I also said a prayer for the hungry, homeless, abandoned and abused children all over the world.

Then I began to think about how much I complain sometimes about issues in my own life instead of putting more emphasis on how blessed I really am. As the psalmist stated, were I to speak and tell of the Lord's deeds, they would be too many to declare. We are so blessed and God has given us so much.

Listen, I know that we all go through things in life. I have things going on right this very minute that keep me constantly on my knees before God. But I have found that when I am intentional in finding things in my life to praise God for I feel better.

I am not dismissing the hard stuff but I am saying that I am making a choice to not put all of my energy into these things. After all God has been faithful to us regardless of our present circumstances right?

So what are you thankful for? Think about it. It could be something you consider a big or small thing in your life. Maybe it's something that the Lord has done in the past for you or a loved one. I am going to write these things in my journal  I would also like to share some of the things that I am thankful for with you.  Believe me the list is much longer than I can write here but these are just some of the things.

 Ann's Thankful List.

I am truly thankful for my relationship with Christ as my Father and Lord.

 I am thankful for my wonderful husband and children.

I am thankful for my friends and family.  

I am grateful to God for his provision for me and my family.

I am thankful to Him for making a way for my son to stay in college even though I lost my job and all of our bills were based on two incomes.

I am thankful to God for good health (especially since I don't always take care of myself the way that I should).

I am thankful that the Lord is revealing to me my purpose and allowing me to walk in it.

 I am thankful for God's unfailing love, faithfulness and His grace, mercy and favor.

 I am also very thankful to God that He knows everything about me and He loves me anyway.

Prayer

Father, we thank You so much for all of the things that you have done. You are always there for us regardless of the situations we face in life. You have been better to us than we have been to ourselves. Thank you for keeping our families safe from harm. Thank you for providing for us regardless of the economy or any other circumstances beyond our control.  Please help us to be more intentional in having a heart of thankfulness not just during the holiday season but all throughout the year. We love you always. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Reflection

Take some time to write down the things that you are thankful for. Write these things in your journal and refer back to them daily but especially on days where it seems like you don't have anything to be thankful for. I would love to hear about your thankful list. Join the conversation on Facebook.

Scripture

 
 
 
 
 
 

 2 Corinthians 7:4 (NIV)

I have great confidence in you; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.

post a comment

General

What I love about this book, You're Going To Be Okay, and the author, Holley Gerth, is that it speaks life into the reader and any situation the reader may be going through. Holley is an encourager and her gift of encouragement pours out onto the pages of this book.

 


 

There is so much negative information readily available everywhere.  We consistently hear about the decline of the economy, job loss, foreclosures, school shootings and the list goes on and on. The news tells us that all over the world hurting people are hurting people.

What I love about this book, You're Going To Be Okay, is that it speaks life into the reader and any situation the reader may be going through. Holley is an encourager and her gift of encouragement pours out onto the pages of this book.

Books like this one give us hope that although terrible things are happening in the world and at times terrible things are happening to us, sometimes we just need to hear that in the midst of it all we are going to be okay.

This book says this to its reader using scripture references along with inspiring wisdom from Holley. Then along with the positive messages there are questions that offer self-reflection.

You get the feeling that you are sitting with a friend that is reminding you that there is always hope.

The book is offered in paperback format and on Amazon Kindle.

You can also find out more information and connect with Holley at HolleyGerth.com.


Other books by Holley include:

 

You're Already Amazing: Embracing Who You Are, Becoming All God Created You to Be


 

Have you read books by this author? Leave a comment below or on our Facebook page. 

post a comment

Marriage

Marriage operates best when God's blueprint is followed.

 

 

 

Marriage operates best when God's blueprint is followed.         

 

  1. Marriage is God's idea-Genesis 2:18-24 

 

  1. Commitment is essential to a successful marriage-Genesis 24: 58-60 

 

  1. Romance is important- Song of Songs 4: 9-10 

 

  1. Marriage holds times of great joy- Jeremiah 7:34 

 

  1. Marriage creates the best environment for raising children- Malachi 2:14, 15 

 

  1. Unfaithfulness breaks the bond of trust, the foundation of all relationships-Matthew 5:32 

 

  1. Marriage is permanent- Matthew 19:6 

 

  1. Ideally, only death should dissolve marriage -Romans 7: 2, 3 

 

  1. Marriage is based on the principled practice of love, not on feelings- Ephesians 5: 21-33 

 

  1. Marriage is a living symbol of Christ and the church- Ephesians 5:23-32 

 

(Partially adapted from the Life Application Study Bible, New Living Translation}

 

 

 

post a comment

Bible Study

We can come to our father and say I don't have it all together Lord but I know that you can help me. You can still heal me. You can still use me. You can add to what little I have.

The father instantly cried out, "I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief" (Mark 9:24, NLT). 

In this passage a father comes to the disciples of Jesus asking for healing for his demon-possessed son. The disciples could not heal the boy. Why? They had done it before in 6:13. They cast out demons on their mission trip to the villages.  

Maybe the authority was just for that trip. Maybe their faith was faltering.  

Mark's story shows us that the battle with the enemy of our souls is an ongoing struggle. Our power can become depleted when we do not allow the Lord to fill us back up again.  

After the disciples efforts to heal the demon-possessed child failed the man took the boy to Jesus. The New Living Translation records the father saying to Jesus, "have mercy on us and help us if you can" (vs 22b). I love the way Jesus asks, "What do you mean if I can? Anything is possible if a person believes." 

The fathers reply has baffled me for many years. He cried out, "I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief." 

How is it that the child's father believed but needed help with unbelief? 

The father had been previously disappointed by the disciples attempt to heal his son so much that he even questioned if the Lord could do it.  

Haven't you been there? I have. The circumstances that have surrounded situations that I have found myself in have snatched much of my faith and hope. I have struggled with my faith because of the size of the battle or how close I was to it like if it involved one of my babies.  

I've been left sometimes with barely a mustard seed worth of faith. Just enough maybe to believe one more time.  

But this father gives us the right idea. He confessed to God that he was having trouble believing the way he should. Then he asked the Lord to help him with that unbelief.  

That is so beautiful and powerful.  

I believe the Lord was touched by the father's honesty and vulnerability.  

We can do this same thing you know. We can come to our father and say I don't have it all together Lord but I know that you can help me. You can still heal me. You can still use me. You can add to what little I have.  

Jesus is the ultimate helper and He can help you if you struggle with unbelief.  

Prayer 

Father, we struggle sometimes with our faith. Sometimes we have just been through so much that it can be hard to believe one more time. But now through your Word we know that You are not mad at us if when our faith is weak but more than anything you want us to come to you. Give us the mind and heart to come to you honest and vulnerably asking, "help my unbelief".  

post a comment

Bible Study

Last week in our featured book, Live Your Calling, the authors Kevin and Kay Marie Brennfleck defined Personal Mission Statements. Your personal mission statements, priority goals and action plans build a bridge between the vision of your calling in the future and your reality today.

Last week in our featured book, Live Your Calling, the authors Kevin and Kay Marie Brennfleck defined Personal Mission Statements.  

Personal Mission Statements 

Mission statements include word pictures,or descriptions of your God-sized visions in your life.  

Mission statements help you get what you really want in life. They are designed to help you think through what you are aiming for in each of your callings.  

Mission statements help you focus your energy.  

Priority Goals  

Identifying your priority goals is the next key step for incorporating your mission  statements into your day-to-day life.  

A goal is a clear, specific objective. Goals personalize and particularize your mission statements. Setting goals is the catalyst for bringing your God-inspired visions to life.  

Action Plans 

Your action plan is a tool for translating your mission statement into priority goals and action steps. 

 

Action Strategies for Living Your Calling 

         1.Develop Personal Mission Statements 

  -Mission Statement for your primary calling. 

  -Mission Statement for your secondary calling.  

         2.Set priority goals. 

         3.Create your action plan. 

 

Your personal mission statements, priority goals and action plans build a bridge between the vision of your calling in the future and your reality today.

post a comment

General

Hard days, we all have them. Because every one of us is different we all need different things that help us get through tough days.
Some people need quiet time while others may need to feed off the energy of a crowd. Some of us may rely on food or shopping to try and preoccupy us from whatever has happened.
Ultimately, most of us hope that at some point we will talk to someone that cares enough about us to encourage or comfort us through their words.


 Coffee for Your Heart 150

Happily linking up today with  http://holleygerth.com/coffee-for-your-heart-love/} for Coffee For Your Heart.

 

What My Heart Needs to Hear on the Hard Days

By: Ann

Hard days, we all have them. Because every one of us is different we all need different things that help us get through tough days.

Some people need quiet time while others may need to feed off the energy of a crowd. Some of us may rely on food or shopping to try and preoccupy us from whatever has happened.

Ultimately, most of us hope that at some point we will talk to someone that cares enough about us to encourage or comfort us through their words.

As an encourager it brings me great joy to make people smile or feel better if they are feeling down. Ironically, I found that when I had hard days myself instead of being understanding or encouraging I use to belittle myself in my own mind. Furthermore, I had trouble believing and receiving compliments or uplifting words from other people.

What was this? I could believe great things about other people but not believe great things about myself? How could this be?

I poured my heart out to the Lord about this issue and He revealed to me that I somehow thought that as an encourager I should be able to handle hard days better than others which unknowingly unsurfaced the sin of pride and a weak self-worth.

So now on the hard days I need to hear that …….

I don't have to compare myself by what I think I should be, by what I think I should feel or how I compare to other people.

2 Corinthians 10:12, "We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise". (NIV)

I need to hear that…

I am not a mistake. God made me and loves me just the way I am.

Psalm 139:14, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful and I know that full well." (NIV)

I need to hear that…

Regardless of how I may feel that I have messed up or failed badly, and maybe sometimes I have, God's love for me is still and will always be unfailing.

Proverbs 19:22a, "What a person desires is unfailing love." (NIV)

What about you? What do you need to hear most on the hard days? Remember, God is waiting to uplift your heart. Nobody knows what you need better than him. Not even you.

Prayer

Father, thank you for your comfort and love on hard days. Thank you that we do not have to be overtaken by difficult circumstances or difficult days because we have you. You are our ultimate comforter in any and all situations.  We love you always. In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

Related Resources

Happily linking up today with  http://holleygerth.com/coffee-for-your-heart-love/} for Coffee For Your Heart.

****PLEASE LOOK IN OUR BOOKSTORE TO PICK UP A COPY OF THE NEW BOOK BY HOLLEY GERTH, "YOU'RE GOING TO BE OKAY"



Getting it in Your Spirit

Look for scriptures that encourage your heart and write them in your journal or on an index card. Keep this with you where you can easily access them on rough days.

What do you desire to hear on hard days? Share your comments here on post them on Facebook.

 

post a comment

Bible Study

This certainly was not the first time that Abigail had to think fast to cover her husband's bad behavior. Nabal was a fool. Even his name meant "fool." But whatever he was, he was her husband.

"David replied to Abigail, "Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you to meet me today! Thank God for your good sense! Bless you for keeping me from murder and from carrying out vengeance with my own hands" (1 Samuel 25:32, 33, NLT).

If someone that were close to you were interviewed how would they say you handle heated or rough situations? Are you wise and level headed or are you the one that get things started?

Adverse situations can often tell a lot about where we are in our Christian walk. We all fall short sometimes according to the situation. But what does our Christian behavior say about us to the world the majority of the time?

Are we different? Do we inspire people to want to know more about Christ so they can learn how to handle life better? Let's look at Abigail.

David and his army of two hundred men marched toward Abigail. They were probably filthy and hungry from being in the desert. They were probably also pretty angry.  Abigail was very courageous to come out to meet them and beg David for forgiveness. Nabal, her husband, was the cause of a terrifying threat of revenge against her entire household.

This certainly was not the first time that Abigail had to think fast to cover her husband's bad behavior. Nabal was a fool. Even his name meant "fool." But whatever he was, he was her husband.

Some men don't deserve their wives. Abigail was probably the best woman Nabal could afford and he got more than he bargained for when he arranged to marry her. She was beautiful and more suited than he was to manage his wealth. But Nabal took his wife for granted.

In spite of his shortcomings, Nabal's household did what they could to keep him out of trouble. This loyalty must have been inspired by Abigail. Although her culture and her husband placed a low value on her, she made the most of her skills and opportunities. David was impressed with her abilities, and when Nabal died, he married her.

Abigail was an effective counselor to both of the men in her life, working hard to prevent them from making rash moves. By her swift action and skillful negotiation, she kept David from taking revenge upon Nabal. She saw the big picture and left plenty of room for God to get involved.

Whether in favorable circumstances or in harsh ones, the challenge is the same: to use our wisdom and abilities in the service of the will of God.

Do you, like Abigail, look beyond the present crisis to the big picture? Do you use your skills to promote peace? Are you loyal without being blind? What challenge or responsibility do you face today that needs a person under God's control?

Abigail's strengths and accomplishments

  • Sensible and capable

  • A persuasive speaker, able to see beyond herself

Lessons from her life

  • Life's tough situations can bring out the best in people

  • One does not need a prestigious title to play a significant role


 

(Partially adapted from Women of Faith Study Bible, NIV and Life Application Study Bible, NLT)

Prayer

Father please help us to be the kind of people that use our gifts and influence for good. No matter what situations we face in life help us to bring out the best in people and direct people to You by our behavior and the way we live our lives.

post a comment

General

In order to release the hold that fear has on us we have to saturate ourselves in God's love. Here are scriptures for you to meditate on when fear tries to overtake you. I have also included books on fear. I pray that these resources will help you to conquer fear in any and all areas of your life. I also pray that you will be filled with Godly courage to fulfill your dreams.

By: Ann 

In order to release the hold that fear has on us we have to saturate ourselves in God's love.  Here are scriptures for you to meditate on when fear tries to overtake you. I have also included books on fear. I pray that these resources will help you to conquer fear in any and all areas of your life. I also pray that you will be filled with Godly courage to fulfill your dreams.  

The Lord is the remedy for a fearful heart.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all of my fears (Psalm 34:4).

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you (I Peter 5:7).

Focus on what is real and true, not the fear.

Finally, brothers, 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 ( Philippians 4:8).

The Lord is with us in every situation we face.

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).

If there is a problem with fear, there is a love problem as well.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love (I John 4:18).

For when there is a fear of the future.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:34).

When you fear the past.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland (Isaiah 43:18-19).

When you fear that there will be no protection.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart (Psalm 91:4).

 

References

Patricia Miller (2002), Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling Women, Baker Books: Grand Rapids, MI

(Scripture taken from the New International Version, 1984)

 

 

 

 

post a comment

Bible Study

This past week we discussed making decisions within the will of God. But how do we know exactly what God wants us to do?

Last week we discussed making decisions within the will of God. But how do we know exactly what God wants us to do. The answer is sometimes He will not be specific.  

The authors, Kevin and Kay Marie Brennfleck explained that the Bible does not always give us definitive instructions about our secondary calling to work. It does not give us specific answers about which career path we should choose or volunteer opportunities we should undertake.  

Instead, the Bible gives us principles for making decisions within God's will.  

This was a great conformation to me because I was one of those Christians that thought I should be hearing from God or seeing some sign that told me specifically what I should do. I was always running into fellow Christians that seemed to be constantly hearing from God in an audible voice. It's not that I do not believe that God speaks to people; I just believe that God guides and does not speak audibly on every matter.  

The Brennflecks further stated that in the absence of direct supernatural guidance, we need to assume that God wants us to decide prayerfully and thoughtfully which work or volunteer alternative is the best choice. According to Bruce Walke, It is possible to pray, read God's Word, seek counsel, and still not feel led by God. That's the time to rely on sound judgment.  

What will make your judgment sound? Reading the word of God.  

Toolbox of Strategies for Making Life Calling Decisions 

  1. Comparing options with your design-This strategy allows you to compare each of your career or volunteer ministry/service possibilities with your core work values, transferable skills and compelling interests (See Options Comparison 8.1 Grid in your book) 

 

  1. Assessing pros and cons: Writing down pros and cons for a particular decision enables us to identify what our most important criteria really are so that we can rationally evaluate them (See the pros and cons grid Table 8.3) 

 

  1. Evaluating Career Options in light of Biblical principles-the third strategy give you the opportunity to apply the life calling compass principles (keeping your primary calling primary, using your gifts to meet needs in the world, and being a proactive steward of your gifts) to career and volunteer options you are considering (See Evaluating options in light of Biblical principles, Table 8.5). 

 

  1. Defending your decision- in this exercise, you will develop a defense for each of your career or volunteer options. In this mental role play you create a defense for each, seeking to persuade someone who is not convinced it is a wise choice. This strategy helps you in critically examining your possible alternatives.  

 

As we use sound decision-making strategies and seek God's guidance through His Word, prayer, the Holy Spirit, and wise counsel, we position ourselves to partner effectively with Him in discerning and living our callings.

So what do you think? Is it okay to use Biblical principles to make decisions or should we wait to hear from God specifically?

post a comment

Music

I listened to SADA K.'S NEW ALBUM "LONG STORY SHORT" this past week. Her voice is beautiful and the songs promote an uplifting message rooted in perseverance through Christ.

 

I listened to SADA K.'S NEW ALBUM "LONG STORY SHORT" this past week.  Her voice is beautiful and the songs promote an uplifting message rooted in perseverance through Christ.

Sada K. was the female lead vocalist with the band Press Play and she recorded 2 albums with them under Dream Records/Universal Music Group.

She is creating a sound all her own by writing songs that spread the message of the love of God, her faith in His majestic power, and the beauty and strength that awaits all of us within the lessons of life.

It is Sada K.'s heart's desire to create music that guides people to hope and provokes her listeners to be encouraged & persevere, no matter what they face in life (www.sadakmusic.com)

I have already picked out a few of my favorite songs to share with you.

My favorites are:

Live Love Laugh

All About Love

Stand Up

Check out the video for "Stand Up" and let me know what you think.    

More information about Sada K. and the album can be found on her official website, www.sadakmusic.com

Sada K.'s New Album is now available on iTunes, Amazon , Google Play and all other major digital distribution outlets.

post a comment

SIGN UP TO RECIEVE OUR LATEST NEWS AND UPDATES

© 2013 - 2018 Ann Gant Finding Ourselves In Christ - All Rights Reserved.