Hope, Trust, Go…

Words resonating deep…hope…trust…go…

Hope…

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Romans 12:12 NIV

Trust…Trust in the ONE whose promises never fail. Trust because He makes my paths straight…

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

Go… Go because the ONE who carries you is faithful. NO. MATTER WHAT.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10:23 NIV

What are you dreaming to accomplish? What holds you back? My dream is writing…all kinds of things hold me back. Starting now, let’s HOPE, TRUST, and GO together…

12735630_962419140519121_358209645_n - 2-29-16 Post ImagePhoto credit: My awesome friend, Maria Noriega.

A Conversation with Wendy Blight

My friend, Wendy Blight, just released a new Bible Study, I Know His Name: Discovering Power in the Names of God. Wendy teaches how the very names of God reveal His character and heart.

Wendy is a member of the Proverbs 31 Ministries’ First 5 Writing Team and serves as the Proverbs 31 On-Line Bible Study Small Group Ministry Training and Development Coordinator. She is the author of 3 books and most enjoys helping women, through Bible study, gain confidence so that they can tackle life’s problems through God’s Word.

I’d love to share with you A Conversation with Wendy Blight about her passion for Bible Study:

What led you to be so passionate about teaching God’s Word?

At age 21, just days after my college graduation, I survived an attack by an armed masked man hiding in my apartment. The acts committed against me that day spiraled me into a place of fear and despair I lived in for years. I tried so many avenues for healing. It wasn’t until I began reading, believing and praying God’s Word that freedom, wholeness and healing came. God’s work in my life, through His living and active Word, ignited a passion to help other women do the same. I’ve been teaching and writing ever since.

What ideas do you have for women to find time for Bible study in their busy days?

Discipline. That’s what it takes. It’s hard to carve out the time. But we must. God breathed every word of this beautiful love letter for us. Every word, from beginning to end, comes directly from His heart with the desire it land in ours. Bible study is simply setting time apart each day to be with God in His Word … early morning, carpool line, lunch behind closed doors in our office, bedtime. We can do it alone or walk alongside a group of friends. What matters is that we set aside time to meet with God in His Word because it changes, rearranges and renews us in unimaginable ways!!

As a part of Proverbs 31 Ministries’ First 5 App writing team, what is your hope for the over 500,000 worldwide that spend their #First5 with you each morning?

To fall in love with God’s Word and to understand how every word of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation is God-breathed and points to Jesus. Every story, every person, every chapter and verse reveals God overseeing His plan of salvation for His people … to regain what was lost that day in the Garden.

Do you have a favorite Bible verse or Life Verse?

I have a few. Psalm 40:1-3. Romans 8:28, 37-39. Isaiah 26:3.

You have such a heart for prayer. What is one suggestion you would offer women who struggle to spend time with God in prayer?

Understand prayer is simply talking to God. It’s sweet time with the One who created us, who loves us and understands us more than anyone else. And He WANTS to talk with us. He is waiting.

Because prayer made me uncomfortable at first, I started by writing my prayers in a journal, writing my thoughts to God. That got me more comfortable with praying. And then as I grew in my faith, I learned about praying God’s Word. And I began to take God’s Word and pray it back to Him.

For example Romans 8:37 says, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” We can pray, “Thank You, God that no matter what I am walking through right now, because You love me and live inside of me, empowering and equipping me, I will be more than a conqueror!

Just for fun: Salty or Sweet?

Oh, so hard. I’ll combine both. Dark chocolate with sea salt.

 Tell us one thing about you that would surprise your readers.

I’m a lawyer by trade. When I practiced law in Dallas, Texas, a group of women in our firm asked me to join in, for the first time, to buy lottery tickets. The jackpot was 33 million dollars. I didn’t have any money in my wallet. So I said ask me next time. The next morning, I was out of the office and called in for my messages. It was hard to hear the receptionist through all the commotion. The 12 women who banded together to buy the tickets had the winning numbers! They won $33,000,000!!! There is no way to put into words the feelings that overcame me that day. But what I can say is if I had won, I never would have moved to Charlotte, NC. I never would have been part of Proverbs 31 Ministries, and I most certainly would not be celebrating the release of I Know His Name. What seemed such a great loss at the time, God has worked together for such great good in my life! He has done exceedingly, abundantly above all I could ever ask or imagine.


 

I invite you to check out Wendy’s newest Bible study, I Know His Name. Visit her blog to get a sneak peek of I Know His Name.  While you are there,  you can also sign up for her FREE Bible study class and companion devotional, “5 Days to Knowing God More Intimately.”

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I Know His Name: El Roi

Do you have a desire to move beyond simply knowing about God to really knowing God in a very personal way? Then you are in for a treat today!
I Know His Name: Discovering Power in the Names of God is a new Bible study written by my friend Wendy Blight. Wendy teaches how the very names of God reveal His character and heart.
I’ve invited Wendy to share with you today about El Roi : The God Who Sees You.

El-Roi-drip

She awakened with a quick trip to the grocery store in mind. She pulled her hair back in a ponytail, slipped on her flip-flops, grabbed her keys and ran out the door.

My girlfriend, Karen, and I also planned a trip to the local market that day. As we approached the check-out lines, we found ourselves behind an older woman waiting on someone to arrive. She impatiently motioned for us to go ahead. Before I had a chance to move my cart forward, a young woman scooted past me to join her.

Immediately my heart beat erratically; my hands trembled uncontrollable, and I felt a leading from the Lord … buy her groceries.

What?

It overcame me again … the racing heart rate … the trembling, this time accompanied by a sweet whisper, “Love her. Buy her groceries.”

I hesitated. Such a strange request.

She doesn’t look poor. It appears she’s with her mother. She can help her if she needs money, Lord.

Instead of dissipating, my symptoms increased.

Okay, Lord, I hear you.

I reached out, tapped the young woman on the shoulder and spoke the words God put in my mouth: “I know it sounds strange, but God told me that we are to buy your groceries.”

She looked at me quizzically and then graciously accepted, tears filling her eyes.

A few moments later, they walked out the door.

Not long thereafter, as Karen and I were checking out, the older woman returned. She identified the young woman as her daughter, Micah. She shared how Micah suffered at the hands of an abusive husband who had recently walked out on her, leaving her alone with a young son, feeling unloved and unworthy of love.

She could barely make ends meet and felt abandoned by everyone, but most especially God. In fact, her mother told us that just a few days before our God appointment in the grocery store, Micah and her mother had prayed. Her mother prayed: “Lord, draw Micah back to You.”

But Micah’s prayer is what astounded us. She had prayed, “God if You are real, if You love me, show me that You have not forgotten me!”

As her mother shared these words, the reason for God’s urging in the checkout line became so clear. God wanted to extend unconditional love to Micah … to offer something to her for which we expected nothing in return.

In the midst of Micah’s deepest sorrow and desperate cries for love, God saw her. God responded intimately and personally.

This, my friend, is the magnificent, intimate work of El Roi. The God Who Sees. He sees us in our place of pain. Need. Hurt. Betrayal. Doubt. Confusion. And He comes.

Micah’s mother left us with these words, “Micah now knows that God has not forgotten her!”

God saw His child in need, and He came to her. He provided for her needs. He loved her unconditionally. He answered the cry of her heart.

And He used us! On an ordinary day, in an ordinary store, performing an ordinary chore, God called my friend and me to an extraordinary task. He crossed our paths with one of His girls who needed to experience His extraordinary love.

Yes, it was a great day for Micah! But what a day it was for Karen and me. Our obedience to the Lord’s prompting touched Micah’s life in such a powerful way that she knew God was real. God loved her. And He had not abandoned her.

As we close our time together today, never forget these truths. God hears our cries. He intervenes. He answers prayer. He orchestrates divine appointments … anywhere … everywhere … anytime … even in a grocery store.

God met Micah, and He met me, in the grocery store that day.

Want to learn more about El Roi: The God Who Sees You? Wendy teaches about this Name of God in Chapter 2 of her newest Bible study, I Know His Name: Discovering Power in the Names of God. I invite you to visit Wendy’s blog to get a sneak peek of I Know His Name and also sign up for her FREE companion devotional, “5 Days to Knowing God More Intimately.”

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Discovering God’s Truth – Part 4

My Identity
In Christ my identity is certain. In Part 3 I mentioned how knowing my identity in Christ helps me live without self-imposed condemnation. This was made clear over the summer as I studied Limitless Life by Derwin L. Gray via an online bible study offered by Proverbs 31 Ministries. During the study we were challenged to replace our self-imposed labels with the truth of who we are in Christ. I cannot express the FREEDOM I gained as I went through this process! Here’s my list…

Created for God’s glory with a specific purpose! (Jeremiah 29:11)

Loved by God and bought by His blood to live FREE! (1 Corinthians 6:20, Ephesians 1:7)

A winner because Jesus lives in me and He “defeated sin, death, and Satan”!                (1 Samuel 17:47, Romans 4:25, Revelation 20:10)

More than a conqueror! (Romans 8:37)

Chosen before creation! (Ephesians 1:4)

His Masterpiece! (Ephesians 2:10)

Alive! (Romans 6:11)

Beloved! (Ephesians 5:1)

Temple of God! (Galatians 2:20)

Do you know your identity as a child of God? The Bible is clear and you can trust what it says to be truth. (John 17:17, 2 Timothy 3:16) It’s up to us to take the time to read, discover, and develop a relationship with Christ. I challenge you to define your identity as a child of Christ using God’s Word. Ask God to show you who you are in Him. Make a list and keep it handy. This process is life changing!

Here are a few additional resources I have found helpful in discovering my identity in Christ:

Online Resources

Finding My Identity in Christ by Joyce Meyer
Discovering Your Identity in Christ by Dr. Charles Stanley
What’s Really True About You? Part 1 of 2 by Focus on the Family Daily – International
What’s Really True About You? Part 2 of 2 by Focus on the Family Daily – International
Proverbs 31 Ministries

Books



Discovering God’s Truth – Part 3

Ephesians 2:8-9

Saved by grace…gift from God…Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done…” Wow! As I read these words my heart is filled to bursting with JOY. What a wonderful truth to lean on!
I became a Christian as a young teen, but truly started following and pursuing Christ over a year ago. Let’s just say I’m just shy of “that” hill so it’s taken me a good while! I think one reason it took me so long to build a close relationship with Jesus is because I never really understood what all this “relationship with Christ” stuff meant. I mean I did to the extent I asked Jesus to come into my heart and change me, but to say I truly knew my identity in Christ…well…this simply was not the case. Without knowing my identity I was stuck in thought patterns that were “man” created and not based on biblical truth. “Why would God extend grace to me especially after all the mistakes I’ve made? Why would God save me—what’s so special about me? Don’t I have to do all kinds of stuff to truly be saved?” This is the type of erroneous thinking that would snare my thoughts. These thoughts kept me in a perpetual state of self-condemnation. Thankfully, with God’s help and time in the Bible, the truth of Ephesians 2:8-9 (and many other verses) finally sunk in my human brain, smacked my thoughts around a bit, and released me from my self-imposed ideas about God’s grace and my salvation. Today, I can say without a doubt YES! God loves me and I don’t have to live in a prison of self-condemnation! (Romans 8:1, 35-39) YES! I am saved by grace that is not dependent on works to gain salvation. (Ephesians 1:7, Romans 3:27-28) YES! I believe in Jesus and my salvation is secure! (John 3:16, Romans 3:22-26) What are your thoughts about salvation?

Romans 3:22

Are you a follower of Christ? It’s a FREE gift. Don’t pass it up another day. To read more about becoming a Christian, please Click Here to be directed to an article from Focus on the Family detailing how to join God’s family.

Discovering God’s Truth – Part 2

Psalms 34:8As the end of the year approaches it’s easy to get sidetracked by the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. Thoughts and feelings derailed by despair when we dwell on the goals and dreams we desperately want to accomplish. Our true source of joy easily forgotten. I’ll admit, it can be easy to forget just how blessed I truly am when the daily demands of life weigh me down. I imagine you can relate. What should we do when feelings of isolation and pain start to crowd our thoughts and smother our joy? Can I propose something simple? Talk to God. Read His Word. Go to Him with your feelings, dreams, and desires. Trust Him to fulfill all that is lacking in your life. Taste His goodness like the psalmist suggests in Psalm 34:8. Don’t gulp. Actually, slow down for a taste. Savor the richness of God’s goodness in your life – protection, blessings, family – the list is endless. His goodness is not limited! What will it take for you to stop and taste God’s goodness?
Psalms 119:103

Discovering God’s Truth – Part 1

Psalm 42:11

It was a grey day when I woke up. Four hours of sleep. It was going to be a long day… I was feeling the grey from outside as I sat down on the couch. My intention was to lean over and fall asleep, but I picked up my Bible instead. Psalm 42:11 were the first words I read this morning. “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad?” These two questions weighed heavy on my heart. Not because I was feeling discouraged or because my heart was sad, although, I’ve been there all to often. As I sat in the glow of the Christmas tree, my thoughts drifted to others—those missing a loved one, those struggling with unspoken pain, those who feel discouraged—where are they putting their hope?

Will you add a few moments to your day to discover God’s Word with me? Precious moments to discover the truth Christ offers in His Word for renewal of our lives? “…your Word is truth” (John 17:17 ESV)  Let’s discover together.

Colossians 3:10

A Reason to Be Thankful

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Just recently I read some verses and they reminded me of some key truths to help navigate the challenges we face. Hopefully, as you read this post you will find a reason to be thankful, a reason to keep waiting on God, and a hope that can only be found in Him.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

One truth is to thank God for everything because He cares about you and everything you face. And I mean everything…you know that little struggle you may think you’re blowing out of proportion? The little spark of a dream you have in your heart? The kid who is challenging you at every turn causing you to question your parenting skills? The racing thoughts and internal dialogue banging you up daily? YES, He cares! What a wonderful thing to be thankful for – God cares about every situation, feeling, and moment we face. We are His children! Start living on this truth: as a believer in Christ you are now God’s child. YOU are a child who is constantly lavished with God’s extravagant love! Awesome right? His unfailing love is reason enough to be thankful in all circumstances.

Consider the kind of extravagant love the Father has lavished on us—He calls us children of God! It’s true; we are His beloved children. And in the same way the world didn’t recognize Him, the world does not recognize us either.
John 3:1 (VOICE)

Take heart. The hard season you are in now will pass and through Christ you will come out on the other side victorious. (Ecclesiastes 3:1, Philippians 4:13, 1 Corinthians 15:57, Deuteronomy 20:4) There have been many seasons in my life where I faced difficult and sorrowful circumstances. A recent hard time was when my youngest daughter suffered a severe stroke. The uncertainty of the effects my daughter was facing was a heavy weight and it threatened my very sanity. Thankfully, God brought us through this situation and truly worked a miracle in her life. He will bring you through whatever situation you are facing. For this reason we can be thankful in all circumstances.

That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NLT)

I don’t fear; I’m confident that help will come to the one anointed by the Eternal:
heaven will respond to his plea;
His mighty right hand will win the battle.
Psalms 20:6 (VOICE)

In Colossians 4:2, we are commanded to “devote” ourselves to prayer with an “alert mind” and “thankful heart”.

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Devote as defined in the dictionary means “to give up or appropriate to or concentrate on a particular pursuit, occupation, purpose, cause. Alert is defined as being “fully aware and attentive; wide-awake; keen”. Do you feel your prayer life reflects these qualities? If yes, what does this look like in our life? If no, what steps can you take to devote yourself to prayer with an alert mind? For me, prayer and giving thanks has been critical as I face each day and honestly, it has been a slow process forged by many challenges.

Another important truth to remember is to ALWAYS wait on God.

They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31

Yes, this one can be a great challenge!! It is easier to read this than to implement in our lives. Yet, we can have hope! Look at the promises offered to those who wait on the Lord – renewed strength, rest, we will not faint…I can attest to this truth! The first few days after my daughter’s stroke were so uncertain. The doctors could not give us a reason why she even suffered the stroke in the first place. The only certainty was short of a miracle she would always have a large blood clot blocking part of her brain stem, she would not walk or use her left arm again, and there was no guarantee she would not have another stroke. Talk about a time when this momma’s heart was breaking. When waiting on a miracle seemed impossible. Had it not been for God’s hand working in her life, in my life, the uncertainty would have kept me buried. I am thankful to say that after 21 days in the hospital and many months of therapy she has been able to walk and use her left arm again. She has not had another stroke. She still has a blood clot, but it has shrunk in size. I can say without a doubt, I trust God with her life and I am continually thankful for the healing he provided. I can put my hope in Him.

Never forget as believers we have powerful and tangible tools to get us through the waiting—God’s Word and the Holy Spirit living inside us!

All of Scripture is God-breathed; in its inspired voice, we hear useful teaching, rebuke, correction, instruction, and training for a life that is right so that God’s people may be up to the task ahead and have all they need to accomplish every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (VOICE)

The Spirit of truth will come and guide you in all truth. He will not speak His own words to you; He will speak what He hears, revealing to you the things to come and bringing glory to Me. The Spirit has unlimited access to Me, to all that I possess and know, just as everything the Father has is Mine. That is the reason I am confident He will care for My own and reveal the path to you.
John 16:13 (VOICE)

What great promises! Unfortunately, because of sin there are some things we just will not have the answers to while here on this earth. Other times we will wait and wait and wait for an answer to a constant prayer and it will take a long time to receive an answer. Then there are times the answers are given to us quickly. We always need to have an alert mind looking and listening for God’s answers. (Speak, Lord, your servant is listening. 1 Samuel 3:9) We need to be devoted to prayer with complete trust God will answer. It is also important to be alert to the times when our faith is lacking in the areas we are praying over. Is it easy all the time? No. Always remember, God is with us through EVERYTHING we face in life! His Word can be counted on at all times and in all circumstances. Pray for the strength to get through whatever season of life you are in now. God is just a prayer away. He will answer. This you can count on!

For I am God, and there is no other; I am God there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.”
Isaiah 46: 9-10

We have a God who is close to us and answers our prayers.
Deuteronomy 4:8

And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us.
1 John 5:14 (AMP)