#YesToGod study

Online Bible Study of book What Happens When Women Say Yes to God

#FreshVision #FreshPassion

you are close

The topic in this week’s reading in What Happens When Women Say Yes to God was about getting #FreshVision.

The verses that were our focus were James 4:4-7 (NLT)

You adulterers!  Don’t you realize that friendship with this world makes you an enemy of God?

I say it again, that if your aim is to enjoy this world, you can’t be a friend of God.  

What do you think the Scriptures mean when they say that the Holy Spirit,

whom God has placed within us, jealously longs for us to be faithful? 

He gives us more and more strength to stand against such evil desires. 

As the Scripture says, “God sets himself against the proud, but he shows favor to the humble.” 

So humble yourselves before God.  Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.”

I also like verse 8, “Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.  Wash your hands, you sinnners; purify your hearts, you hypocrites.”

A challenge this week was to find your ‘white space’ which I did.   After spending some quiet time away from all distractions and really reflecting on the above verses and the whole concept of getting a fresh vision.   Since starting this study I have really felt that God is speaking to me to make some changes.   I have been struggling with delegating some of my work related tasks.   For me it’s not just a matter of handing over  duties, what I do is part of who I am.   I felt as I continue to delegate that I am loosing part of my identity.     I realize that this is not true, but it’s how I felt.

The parts of the above verses that really stuck with me are:

‘friendship with this world makes you an enemy of God’  and ‘draw close to God and God will draw close to you’  

Is my aim to be friends with this world?   This really made me stop and think about my actions, my priorities and my focus.    Is my priorities based on what will make me popular in this world and please those around me?   Or is my focus and priorities on following God and doing what he needs me to do?     I honestly struggled with trying to determine who was in control of my focus, my priorities.    I wanted to say right away that God was definitely in control.

But, if God is in complete control, why am I having such struggles in giving up some of my responsibilities?   I have spent alot of time over these last few weeks in my ‘white space’ and really trying to figure this out.   I know that God does not want me to be constantly overwhelmed to the point where relationships are suffering.   I have made progress in the last year, but as soon as something is taken off my plate, it seems like two more are added.

This week it seemed that the light finally went on.   I need to be completely focused on God through it all.   I can’t just drop everything that I am currently working on, but am trying to not take anything new on.

And this is where the second phrase really comes into play.  ‘draw close to God and God will draw close to you’    So in my ‘white space’ I have been working on being still in his presence to clearly hear his voice.   It is only when I can clearly hear his voice that I will get a #freshvision for what his plans are for me.   As I am drawing closer to God, my passion for him is becoming new and fresh!  I love it!!

As I work through this I am continuing to reduce the amount of my responsibilities and making room for God’s directions.   I have found that being overcommitted is a major road block for following God’s direction.     I am excited for what God has in story for my future and will continue to work with him (instead of against him) and make myself open to say #YesToGod!

God is calling

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#YesToGod

This week in my online Bible Study, What Happens when Women Say Yes to God, we were challenged to read chapters 5 and 6. I say challenged, as I had very little time to devote to reading and reflecting. But was determined to #stickwithit!

I was also challenged to start every day with a prayer to say Yes to God. No matter what he asks me to do, no matter what task lies before me. I will be obedient and say Yes to God.

As I reflect on this challenge, I am reminded of a couple verses in Isaiah.

“Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people?

Who will go for us?”

I said, “Here I am. Send me.” (6:7-9, NIV)

This verse has special meaning for me as when I went to training college to become a Salvation Army Officer (pastor), this was our verse.    “Here I am, send me.”

While  these verses are powerful on it’s on.  They are really powerful when I think of the commitment and willingness to go where the Lord needs me to go.   There is no hesitation or pause to think of the consequences, but just ‘here I am’.    Do you remember when you were a child and the teacher needed a volunteer and most of the kids would raise their hand and say ‘pick me, pick me!’.

When I think of my obedience to God, it needs to like these children.   I need to answer him with a quick yes without considering what the costs may be.

But can I do that?   Yes, I can.   But will I?    I need to be more willing every moment of every day to just say Yes.

I like how Lysa says in Chapter 6 that radical obedience is born out of delight, not duty.   I love this!   I should be delighted to be radically obedient to God.  Not fearful as to what he may ask me to do.

As I think about these chapters and the previous week’s, I think that the reason that I am hesitant to say yes to God is that I am very afraid of what God will ask me to do.     I pray every day that this fear will decrease.   I know that this is the devil working on my insecurities by planting ideas into my head that I can’t do what God needs me to do.

But I need to be strong that no matter what God calls me to do he will prepare the way and equip me to do the task.   I only have to look back over the last ten years to know that God is faithful.  He has equipped me and carried me through so much that I never thought I would be able to do.

Daily I pray that God will continue to show me how I can reduce the fear that is rooted in my heart.   I pray that I will be radically obedient in all I do.   As I grow, I pray that I am an example to my son so that he will grow into a strong man of faith.

As I wrote this blog, the song by Brian Doerksen, “Faithful One

Faithful one, so unchanging
Ageless one, you’re my rock of peace
Lord of all I depend on you
I call out to you, again and again
I call out to you, again and again

You are my rock in times of trouble
You lift me up when I fall down
All through the storm
Your love is, the anchor
My hope is in You alone

God is unchanging, it is me that changes.   I pray that as I continue to listen to God’s prompting, I will be more willing to say, #YesToGod.    When God calls to me, I want to jump up and say “Here I am, God, what do you have for me today?”

Praying for courage to say #YesToGodmother teresa quote

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Wholly Committed

i have a planLast week I read the 4th chapter of What Happens When Women Say Yes to God for the online Bible Study that I am doing through Proverbs31 and was once again aware of God’s presence.   The chapter is entitled “You never know how God will use you until you let him.”     As you can see the title alone is enough to scare a person, especially one that has been clearly feeling a nudge or two from God over that last couple of weeks.

Great chapter, but there was one quote that caught my attention.

“Will the next page in your life be filled with doubts and distractions? Or will it be filled with discovering the blessing of answering God’s call on your life?” (page63 Kindle version)

The words seem to leap off the page to me.   Will I continue to doubt and be distracted by things of this world?  Or will I be filled with the overwhelming sense that I am following God’s will?  These questions stayed with me for several days as I went through a very busy week.

I went to write this blog a week ago and looked at the question that was posed after the title Wholly Committed — Is God calling you to a deeper level of commitment?   Has God been nudging me to deepen my commitment to him?   I am not sure.

So in looking at my commitment to God, I considered a couple of documents that I have signed.   A couple of covenants that I have made with God in the last 20 years.    In The Salvation Army there are soldiers which sign a covenant committing to several promises.   While this is through The Salvation Army, it is made with God.    It is not a decision that is made lightly, but done after classes are attended and much prayers.    I signed my in 1994.   I spend some time in reading the covenant that hangs in my office and praying about these promises.   God highlighted one in particular for me.

“I will be responsive to the Holy Spirit’s work and obedient to His leading in my life, growing in grace through worship, prayer, service and the reading of the Bible.  I will make the values of the Kingdom of God and not the values of the world the standard for my life.”

I will be responsive and obedient.    A big commitment that was freely made.   Part of the responsive and obedient part lead to the second covenant.  Have I been fulfilling this promise.  I think I have.  BUT, I have not been going deep enough.  After so many conversations with God over the last few weeks, I realize that this is what he is calling me to — to go deeper.   What that means I am not sure.

On Thursday of last week I attended the installation service for our new divisional leaders.  (For those non-Army people, this happens when officers (pastors) get transferred to a new appointment).   It is a great service of reflection and recommitment as many officers (pastors) gather to support their leaders.   As I sat there, I thought of the second covenant that I signed in June 2006 — My Officer’s Covenant.   Signing this covenant was done after much prayer, reflection, prayer, studies, prayer and probably some ‘discussions’ with God.    It was during the signing of this covenant that ‘I bind myself to him in this solemn covenant.’   I am bound to God.

Covenants made with God are never taken lightly — nor should they be.   We could look into the covenants made in the Old Testament.    God calls his people to do things, but most of all he calls us to commit fully to him.   I think of one of my favourite verses from Jeremiah.

“For I know the plans for you”, says the Lord.  “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” In those days when you pray, I will listen.  If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me.” (29:11-13, NLT)

I love the hope that this verses include.   God’s plans for me (and you) are good.   But, we have to seek him in earnest.   To me when I read this version, I love the use of the word ‘earnest’.   Which I did look up and it states ‘intense conviction’.   What a great way to refer to how I should be seeking God!    Seeking him with an intense conviction.   That is my new goal.    I need to be bold when I seek him and not be so fearful of what he may ask me to do.

It is easy for me to just get busy doing things that I ignore God’s prompting in my life.   I guess I could say that I tend to have the selective hearing when it comes to God.   I am praying for clarity and obedience as he continues to speak to me daily.

God is commited to me, now I have to show my commitment by being responsive and obedient.

Look out world, another woman is saying Yes to God!!!

fully committed

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Radical Obedience

This week in the study, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God, I was challenged in a way that I have not been in a long time.    Our assignment this week was to read chapters 2 and 3 of the book.    Chapter 2 was about hearing God’s voice and Chapter 3 was about when obedience becomes radical.

radical

Well, God was so ready for this week.   Me, not so much!    I started to read Chapter two and after a few pages decided to pick up my journal to make note of some of the scripture passages so that I could look them up earlier.   After grabbing my journal, I opened it to find two seed packages.   To most people that would not be a big deal.   However, in chapter 1, Lysa used the illustration of us being a seed in our comfortable little package and how we needed to get into the dirt in order to bloom (I have paraphrased the illustration).   So, I was a little freaked out when these packages which I don’t recall buying fell out of this journal.    Okay, God you have my attention.

I finished the chapter and then decided that I was still a little unnerved by what happened that I would spend rest of the evening watching mindless TV.   I know that God was trying to get my attention, but I was so afraid of what he might ask me that I choose to ignore him for the rest of the night.

A couple days later I decided to read the 3rd chapter.   In this chapter, Lysa mentions about being empty and tired at the end of the day and watching mindless tv.  (don’t know if she called it mindless).   It was about filling ourselves up with stuff that was no good.   When we are empty we should be going to God to be filled, not the world’s latest idea of entertainment.

After reading this, I just wanted to throw the book across the room.   Twice in one week I felt like God was demanding that I listen to him.

The last two weeks have been difficult & challenging as I have been away from home taking some courses to finish my degree.   So I have had a lot more quiet time than normal.   Needless to say, this week there has not been a lot of sleep as I struggle with God and what he wants me to do.

One of the questions asked this week was, “Is there something God is asking you to give up?”    This question has been going around and around in my head.   I keep trying to figure out what God is asking and honestly do not feel like I have a clear answer.   I have spent some time over the last day trying to open myself to his leading, but honestly, it is scary.

“One thing you can be assured of is that God has already worked out all the details of what your obedience will accomplish — and it is good.  We need not fear what our obedience will cause to happen in our life.   We should only fear what our dis-obedience will cause us to miss.” (page 45)

WOW!  God is urging me towards something that is unknown, but he has prepared the way and everything is good.   I pray for obedience as I strive to follow him.

I have been reading the verses of scriptures that were in the questions for chapter 3 and have been reflecting on what God is saying to me.   They are found in book of Titus

“For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people.   And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures.  We should live in this evil world with self-control, right conduct, and devotion to God, while we look forward to that wonderful event when the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. “ (2:11-13)

I have really felt the pull to these verses and to examine every area of my life to see if there is something that is not as it should be.   I think it is safe to say that on top of the list is facebook and the amount of time that I spend on it and on the computer in general.   TV is another issue.  And I sure there are more, but awaiting God to reveal them to me.

Praying that as I continue in this study, the fear of saying Yes to God will diminish and that I will not be so hesitant to answer him when he speaks.walking in his will

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Saying Yes to God

This past week I have started an online bible study with a few thousand women from around the world.   It is on the book ‘What Happens When Women Say Yes to God” by Lysa TerKeurst.     Wow!    It is amazing what God has said this week to me.

At first I was not going to do this study as I am currently doing a couple of courses through Booth University College and had to go to Winnipeg for a couple of weeks.   I was trying to use all the skills learned in the last study and say no to some things so that my life was not so hectic.   However,  I really felt that God was pushing me to do this study…so I said yes.

just say yesOn a normal day, saying yes is not that hard and I tend to do it too much.  Hence my hectic and chaotic life.   But I am working on saying no more often.

In the first chapter, Lysa tells us the six most important words.  “Whatever God says do, do it.”   This is not something to just quickly read over.   I read it several times and have been thinking about what it means to do whatever God asks.  Let’s be real, it’s not easy to say yes to God because he asks us to do things that we don’t necessary want to do.  At least that is true for me.

Looking back at a life changing moment that I said Yes to God, I am reminded of the decision to let Him lead me into full time ministry as a pastor in The Salvation Army.    I will honest say that I did not immediately say yes.   Actually my first, second, third…and so on, was actually a very clear and definite NO!    There was no way that I could preach, teach and minister to people.   This was so far out of my comfort zone that it might have been on the other side of the planet or another planet entirely!!    I was an accountant/administrator.   I was good with numbers and facts….not people.  And definitely not in sharing my faith and being completely transparent.

Finally, I decided to say yes.   And my life has never been the same.  As I reflect back over the last ten years, I can see how God has been doing amazing things in my life and allowing me to be part of his plan.   I am actually overwhelmed by the priviledge that I have to care and minister to his people.

So in reading this chapter, I was thinking that I had said yes to God and completely turned my life and family’s lives upside down.  So I’m good.  I’ve met my quotas of yes’ and I can just coast through the days before me.   WRONG!!    It hit me like a brick that I am very quick to say no to God.   Yes, I am serving him in full-time ministry, but how many times has he asked me to go beyond my area of comfort and I have made excuses.  How many times have I said to God that I can’t possibly take on anything else.   Life is too busy, my schedule is full.

I did not want to answer these questions.   I was reading this chapter and working on the questions as I flew to Winnipeg on Sunday and it was very hard not to throw the book across the airport.   I think there was a moment when I wanted to pull a 2-year temper tantrum.   Let me tell you, it’s very hard to control ones outward reaction when this internal battle is going on.

So I need to say Yes to God first.    I need to have perfect surrender and be radically obedient to God.

Lysa ends the chapter with a piece of advice.   “We have to set our rules and agendas aside — our dos and don’ts, our social graces and proper places — and follow God’s command.” (page 20).

So, here I go to be radically obedient to God.   I’m thinking there might be some changes that need to be made.   But I rest in the full assurance that God will equip me and strength me.   And he has already sent over 20,000 women to do this study with me…so what more do I need.   Oh yeah, I need to say YES!

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