Friday, November 20, 2009

Time of Refocusing and Renewing


For those of you who are reading the book, Becoming More by Lysa TerKeurst and wanted to participate in the study I'm so sorry I have been behind.

Instead of trying to catch up, I am going to take a little break from blogging and really focus on the Lord. I can't share my heart with you here in my blog if He doesn't have my heart completely.

A lot of things have been going on in my life and instead of drawing near to God, I have been stepping away. I feel it best for me to really REALLY fix my eyes on my King. Everything else has to be put aside for now and He has to be given my full attention. I miss Him so much and can't believe how quickly Satan will move into a heart not filled up with Jesus. I'm just really tired sweet friends and feel so defeated which is crazy because I have a King that has already won.

So, my sweet friend Paula, author of the blog, His Ways will be graciously hosting YES to GOD Tuesday's for me until God lets me return. Paula has participated in all but one of the studies since starting them in March '08 and always has wonderful insight to each chapter. Plus she has a love for the Lord that is just so evident.

So, if you are reading the book, please click on the link above and go to Paula's blog each Tuesday, until she lets you know differently. I will be stopping over and reading your thoughts when I can and I know I'll learn much from you. I always do.

Thank you all so much for your love, prayers and support.
You are some incredible women.
Please keep me and my family in your prayers.

Life is so tough and I have lived a life without having Christ #1 in my life and it is a miserable way to spend time on this earth.
So when I see myself slipping back to that type of life, I recognize my need for Him and I just have to put everything down and just run to Him.
I must sprint to Him and know that I will be falling into arms that don't want to let me go. And this tired soul just wants to collapse in His presence and allow Him to lead my life.
This enemy we have is relentless and wants to destroy, so I'm off and running to my Savior, Girls.

This song called Strong Enough by Stacie Orrico is the song running through my heart right now.

Love to you...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

YES to GOD study: CH. 5: Devotion Time Blues

So glad you have come by for the
where we are discussing the newest book by Lysa TerKeurst


Anything in blue is a quote from the book.

Lysa opened this chapter in typical Lysa fashion, with a funny and true story.
I remember when she first shared on her blog about trying to prepare for her sister's visit and how she had to deal with the the floating in the pond mattress.
So funny!

Lysa just wanted everything to look nice for her sister.
I wanted to prove that I'd long since outgrown those nasty teenager housekeeping habits I was famous for when we both lived at home.
Unfortunately, Lysa's kids had other plans when they took the mattress from their neighbor's trash pile and made it into their very own floating device.
In their pond.
The pond that's in the front of their house.
The pond that welcomes you to the TerKeurst home.
The pond with a mattress in it.
A whole new twist on the saying: one man's trash, another man's treasure.

So Lysa who usually sees the humor in stuff, didn't laugh.
Not when the kids jumped on it.
Not when the frogs jumped on it.
She thought nothing of this situation was funny.
Normally, I would have. But it had been a week in which everything else had crowded out my time with the Lord, and it took quite a toll on my peace of mind. The longer I went without meeting with God, the more desperate, cloudy and starved my soul became.

Ugggh....ever been there before?
Me too.
Running on empty eventually causes things to break down and stall out.
That's quite honestly where I was.
As if my life wasn't already sounding like a bad country song, now I was also singing the devotion time blues.

Lysa goes on to explain the importance of spending quiet time alone with Jesus.
He will give us the exact instruction and comfort we need to handle all He sees coming our way---how to act and, even more challenging, how to react in every situation.

Okay, I cannot even go on and I have so much more from her book that I wanted to share.
BUT I have to confess that I have been going through this very thing. My name is Lelia and I am suffering from

Yes, I have Devotional Time Blues as we speak.
I'm not trying to have a pity party instead of a quiet time, but I'm just really overwhelmed with some stuff right now.
My life is nothing like it was 18 months ago, which in many ways I am grateful for.
I never saw how life is today coming our way.

Husband having 3 surgeries in 18 months.
Husband becoming jobless and put on disability.
Two grandbaby-blessings born from our gorgeous teen daughter.
Me working my normal day shift job plus an overnight job.
So many medical bills that if you send me yours, I probably wouldn't stop to think that Gene can't have an annual pap smear....I'd just pay the thing!
Trying to balance not working so much that I rob God the opportunity to provide.
Since Gene can't drive, I find myself in my car a lot running from here to there and back again.
Cooking, cleaning, caring and just trying to not lose my cluttered mind.

So how am I supposed to fit Jesus into all of this?
I mean, c'mon Lord, what time of my busy day should belong to You?
Gene needs me. Aaron and Alivia need me.
Shoot, even the dog Kane is needy.
We adore and love our grandgirls and we want to spend time them and our oldest girl.
And they all want to be fed at supper time for some reason, seven days a week.

Please believe me, I am not trying to whine here.
It all looks so pathetic when it's in writing, but
I'm rather confessing that your hostess of this study is currently have the
Devotion Time Blues and some days I just don't care anymore.

That's not true.
I do care.
I really care, because like Lysa said,
When I take the time to meet with Jesus each morning, I am prepared to face life with much more peace than if I just rush into my day without Him.
Because God is able to stand in my yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
He knows things and sees things for which I need to be prepared.

WHY is it so easy to let go of the Scarred hand that gave His life for me while I search for my tattered Super Woman cape and try to dolife on my own strength?
The kind of strength that crashes midday and needs a can of Red Bull to give her false energy.

What is it that makes me think Jesus isn't enough?
That He's not capable of handling all that is before me and my family?

The good Bible study girl in me just gasped at those last two questions.
Because see, she can confess with the best of them that God is the great I AM.
He is the Rock on which she stands.
God is her Provider and the Lover of her soul.
She knows how to raise and praise.
And she can certainly say all the right things at all the right moments.
But God knows the truth of her.

He sees her when she cries herself to sleep from being overwhelmed.
When she gets angry and ugly all in the same breath.
When she feels like all the many hours she is working isn't enough.
When the caregiver in her gets frustrated because she can't ease her husband's pain.
When she earns the Worlds Worst Wife/Mother/Daughter/Sister/Friend award. Daily.
When she allows Satan to beat the crud out of her and believes his lies.

And while she is limping through life in her own weak strength,
her Creator sees it all,
for nothing about her escapes Him.
He hears her cries and her sighs.
He hears her whispered praises, her attempt at trying to get back into His arms.
And He waits.
Waits for her to return completely as He lovingly looks upon her.
Flaws and all.

I'm in that place friends.
So desperate for Him it makes my breath quicken.
The lump in my throat appear.
And the tears fill my eyes so full that I can't see what I'm typing right now.

I so need Him.
And I feel blessed beyond words that I'm reading an book by an author who has been in the same place I am in right now.
Not someone who has just researched life in a pit, but a woman who has lived life in a pit.

There are many ways I can choose to react when things happen each day.
I can choose the way of "It's my right to be frustrated."
I can choose the way of "Doesn't anyone listen to me around here?"
I can choose the way of "Do you know how this makes me feel?"

Or, I can choose to let God teach me His way.
My way leads to all kinds of runaway feelings that pull me away from the truth and into an absolute pit of yuck.
His way leads to calmly finding a solution without all the anger and frustration.
His way leads to me being able to extend grace----the same grace I so desperately need myself.
And His way leads me to the truth.

I love Him so much.
I love His timing of this book and His faithfulness to such an unfaithful heart.
And so I dive into my quiet time slowly.
Feeling encouraged and not pressured, thanks to Lysa.
Remember, we aren't after accomplishing our quiet time routine.
Mercy, don't we already have too many things pulling at us?
No, I'm talking about seeing our time with God as the most precious and valuable minutes of our day.

One verse she shared on page 68, I wrote down on an index card to help me with memorizing it this week so I can keep it in my heart forever.

Psalm 86:11
"Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name."

An undivided heart.
That hit me so hard.
He wants all of us.
Wants our undivided attention, love and life.
Nothing half way with Him.
No lukewarm devotion.
All or nothing.

And I want to give it all to Him and become more than just a good Bible study girl.
Because what I've found out over these last 18 months,
is that the good Bible study girl in me just doesn't cut it when the going gets tough.
And on the good days, she can't even connect the bat with the ball on the slow pitches.

There are other things I didn't even mention in this chapter.
Great stuff.
I had planned on sharing them, but surprisingly was taken on a different route.

If you've shared your thoughts on this chapter please leave your link in the comments so we can visit your blog.

Oh, this is tough Ladies, but let's keep moving forward.
Chapter by chapter.
I'll post my thoughts on chapter 6 tomorrow.

I just opened back up my book just to see if there was anything else I wanted to add from the heart of Lysa. This is what caught my eye:

Oh, how we underestimate the power made available to us when we spend time with God.
Our earthly eyes are so limited because they don't allow us to see what is happening in the heavenly realm.
A daily battle is being fought for our attention and our devotion.
Satan would love nothing more than to keep us separated from the power God gives us during our time with Him.
It's time to stop feeling guilty and ill-equipped and start embracing the incredible privilege to meet with Jesus every day.


~Many Blessings~

Sunday, November 8, 2009

YES to GOD study: CH. 4: Beyond Sunday Morning

where we meet every week (Lord willing) to discuss this book by Lysa

Life has been getting in the way, but I am trying my best to get chapters 5 & 6 up by Wednesday, November 11th.
Thank you for your sweet patience and I hope this doesn't discourage your participation. Unless something major happens next week and I mean it has to be huge, I will post chapter 7 ON Tuesday, November 17th!

Anything in blue is a quote from the book

I loved how Lysa shared with us her church experience as a child. One thing you will consistently hear me say about this author is that she is so real. The way she describes how going to church seemed like a colossal waste of time until she visited her friends church. That is where Lysa first felt like going home after church and digging into her Bible for herself.

Lysa brings the food to the table when she explains how important it is to read and study the Bible on our own so we don't starve...we'll never grow to our full potential unless we jump in and get serious about studying Scripture.
She took a term from Pastor Bill Hybel who referred to this as being a "Self-Feeder".

She doesn't leave us alone to figure out the how to's of becoming a self-feeder.
Lysa goes on to explain the 3 important things we need to do when we read and study God's Word on our own.

Let's take a look at each one.

1.) PRAY
Becoming a self-feeder requires that we pray first and ask God to open our spiritual eyes like never before.

The context is found by asking basic who, what, when, where, and why questions.
~Use commentaries and ask God for help.
~Read the Scriptures before and after your targeted verse(s) as to not take anything out of context.

Because every word and phrase within the Bible has been intentionally and divinely placed, much discovery and revelation awaits us whenever we study.

This is such great advice from Lysa. Sometimes I just read through something and I totally miss what God had for me. I need to study His Word like this more consistently.

My favorite part of this chapter was how she took Ephesians 1:17 and broke it down for us.
"I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better."

I keep asking=constant prayer

the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father=We aren't asking a remote, distant, angry, rule-thumping, finger-wagging deity.
We are asking God, the God of our Lord Jesus.

may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation=I don't just want to be a woman who has wisdom and revelation; I want to be a woman who has the Spirit of wisdom and revelation working around me, in me, through me, ahead of me.

so that you may know him better=Having the Spirit of wisdom and revelation is purely "so that" I can know God better. Really know Him. Not just know facts about Him. But know Him in deeper ways than I ever thought possible.

So let's say we become "self-feeders" this week.
I know I need and want to learn more about my Savior.

I can't help but picture my son's dog Kane when I think of a self-feeder.
Every morning, Aaron sets out a bowl of food and a fresh bowl of water for Kane.
Then Aaron leaves for school.
Now, the food and water are both there, but Aaron doesn't stick around and throw Purina into Kane's mouth and make sure he gets plenty to drink. That part is on Kane. He has a choice, he can either starve and get dehydrated or he can eat and give his body the nourishment it needs.

Most of the time when Aaron returns from school the food bowl is empty and the water in his bowl has decreased.
And he needs more of both.

Let's stop taking everyone else's research and claiming it as our own.
Let's get our hands a little dirty ourselves and find out what God has to say to us.

Please put a link in the comments if you shared on your own blog regarding this chapter.

~Many Blessings~