Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sin's Demise is Bondage & Brokenness. Freedom's Keys are Confession & Repentance

Welcome to an overview of our first week of Jennie Allen's Bible study called STUCK! If you were one who joined us today, THANK YOU for coming and for your insight! What a beautiful group of women! I can't wait to get to know you more as we get to know God more. 

I must admit (and I did at the Cafe today) that having the first chapter talk about sin felt like it could be a bit awkward considering we would be diving in with several women who don't know one another. But I reminded myself that we all have it, this sin problem, and so we all share the need to get unstuck.

"We are never as sweet as we appear." ~Jennie Allen~ referring to her sweet and well-behaved daughter suddenly yelling at geese at the beach out of frustration with their noise. :)
As human beings and maybe even more as women, we tend to live with this tension in our souls between what we know we should do (love, forgive, be patient) and how we really act in the heat of the moment. We long to live free from the stuck places and so often they are emotions we need to deal with aren't they?

The aim of STUCK is to enable us to experience and know God more, and trust Him more readily and therefore gain His power at work in our lives. It is in knowing God and His love that will enable us to live in His grace and respond to life with His grace. God is the only answer to our stuck places. Since Christ shed his blood to cover our sin, we no longer need to use the masks we tend to use to cover up. We can live progressively differently as He transforms us. 

I'm going to highlight a few of our discussion questions here to enable you to join in with us. Please leave your comments here or on our Facebook page.

 * We want freedom! We hope to get free from things like fearing what people think (who is not with us there?), and manipulating people to get our way. Free from avoiding uncomfortable situations and freedom from being self-focused. Free from the stuck places that keep us from having a healthy view of God. And free from stuck places that keep us from having healthy relationships~even with ourself!

* We want to have our emotional needs met by God.
We often pray for our physical needs, or families' needs and most every other thing, but this thought hit me when it was brought up. This is the core of our need, to be fulfilled in our hearts, to feel valued, cherished and fully accepted...and only God truly can.

* We feel drained, unable to manage the things on our plate, perhaps inadequate. Our relationships can be strained. We can cause wounds with our reactions. We can blame others without acknowledging our own wrongs leaving barriers. 

*  Things that have hurt us in the past make trusting people in the now difficult. This is challenging if one has had a break-up, and then moves on to a new relationship. I talked about a time when I reacted to my husband negatively because he did something that reminded me of my dad being mad at my mom and that wasn't at all what he was doing. {fortunately when he looked at me with a 'what-planet-are -you-from?' look, I knew in an instant what had just happened and took note for the future!}

It goes against our nature to admit we are wrong. Totally hard, but when we realize we are all stuck in places, somehow it becomes easier. Just having spent a little time together today talking about our struggles brought light into our lives. There is something about getting it out there that frees us. Admitting our weakness makes us more free.

I am so glad to have you coming along on this journey to freedom with us! 

For this week, do chapter 1 homework {Broken on Page 19} and please share your insights!!!

Remember this: He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Issues Anyone?

Perhaps like me, you find yourself often in a position where there is only one place to land. In the heart of Jesus... 

Remembering He promises to work all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Remembering to crawl back up there and be transformed. Romans 12:1-2

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you will overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Sunday, February 24, 2013

When You Hope For Relief & Instead Hard Gets Harder

I was telling him, "You are making bricks with no straw!" Like Israel when their breakthrough was so near, their deliverance from slavery was just days away...but it felt so far...

After two years on the market and two years on-the-road-working for my husband, in June we had buyers for our farm. We built a relationship with them over the next few months hearing about their dreams for here. Meeting, praying, texting and emailing. They planned to have a retreat center here for families who lost babies. How cool is that? We waited for them to try to acquire non-profit status so they could avoid capital gains on cashing in their 401k. It was such a thrill to us to have our farm, where we raised our family, used for blessing people who were hurting. 

In August he (my guy-D) took a de-motion so he could come home and work...after three years working away from home, we looked forward to 'starting over' and being together full time. Finding a house closer to work for a shorter-than-1.5 hour commute one-way.

He started his job from home August 20 with that commute. {that is our anniversary, that's why I remember} And then...our buyers backed out Labor Day weekend.

Back to square-ONE.

The job here at home has been his hardest ever

With challenges above with architectural messes, and below with men who lacked passion and drive. Daily I heard stories of frustration and I reminded him several times, "Bricks without straw, Honey. Your deliverance is near" 

He is a natural-born, Big-Picture guy. A natural-born {if you know the personality types, D. As in driven, decisive, directive, etc...} Though he was assistant to the Superintendant, he was the one the men came to for answers. He had the skills without the authority. Without the positon. This has happened several times over the years. He has continued to say, "I am just there to do a good job." And he did...he kept integrity. 

After two years of looking for jobs, applying for jobs and looking into getting a degree for a better chance at a new job-but no time to do school, he got an interview last week!. The company looking to hire someone soon for a job that is floundering.

Perfect. D's specialty. Overseeing and orchestrating successful operation of a construction site. But now he would have authority.

While he was in interview #1, he received a message from another company that wants to do a phone interview. Two in ONE DAY???

He is giddy with excitement. After these long years of hope with no rope, he has not one, but TWO interested in him-who-has-no-degree but the school of life experience has taught him well... The phone interview goes well too. Which one would we take???

At Walmart this past Friday afternoon we met on his way home.  He gets a call. We want you. {!!!!!} He came skipping (he REALLY DID!!! And, yes he is going on 50!) down the chip isle like a five year old. ......I kid you not-it was quite the sight!!!

During dinner we discuss it. The job looks perfectly fitting but for one thing: our need to be paying $350. or more for my insurance. That would be a step backward...but he is tempted to take it. I told him to email interview #2 and ask if they are interested since he has this offer. 

In the morning he finds out that they are interested. So he lets #1-job offer know. Friday night another call came in from them (#1), "We want to sweeten your offer." And they offer to add the insurance cost-per-month plus a wee bit of a signing bonus! {Just what we need to catch up from falling behind from the de-motion he took voluntarily}

And true to His promises. God...
Had a plan all along.

We couldn't see it. But {mostly} trusted Him to make it known in His time.

And here we are on the brink of more new adventures. D {is for Dale} will be traveling again, which we have decided over those three years prior, that we love to do...and the next mountain we need moved is the selling of our no-longer-needed little hobby farm. Since he is not here to share the responsibilities of it, and I will be making a few trips out until it sells...we have one more faith-stretching, mountain to be moved.

And we have no doubt God will do it in His perfect timing for His perfect purpose. He is busy making all things ready as we wait and watch for Him knowing He is preparing the next owners of our farm for their next destination!

For When You Feel Broken In A Million Pieces...

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me 
{JESUS your Redeemer},
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
     and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.
  Isaiah 61:1-3

Monday, February 18, 2013

Thoughts on the Power of Words

"Nothing is more powerful than God getting bigger in our lives. 
He has the power to heal with a word." 
~Jennie Allen "STUCK" study

God's word is powerful.

The words we speak have power too...

So powerful that they move us!

Knock it off you dummy! You'll never amount to anything!!!
You are such a blessing to me! I love when you sing, your voice is beautiful!!

Have you had words spoken to you that have had a strong impact on your life? Perhaps you are thinking of a cutting word? Or hopefully the first thing that comes to mind is a life-building word.

Words have the power to move us forward in life and they have the power to hold us back.
Words can build us. Or they can break us.

I tend to think of things more black and white than grey. Though I acknowledge that there are grey areas in life…certain mysteries, I think the black and white of life serves us well in viewing life in general and acting as a guide.

We might ask why do words have power? What is the source of power? 

There are basically two power-sources that I know of in our universe that can affect our hearts, God and the devil-and their intent, power and purposes of good or evil. Good builds up or imparts life and forward movement, and evil tears down or destroys and hinders growth. I believe these are the two sources of power behind words-good and evil. It's and white...

Look! If you add {+} an 'o' to God you have good! {build}
If you take away {-} the 'd' from devil you have evil! {destroy}

Every tool (think: 'mouth') you and I have, and every choice we make can be used to move our lives and the lives of those around us either to greater heights or lower depths.

So what comes to mind when you think of the power of words in your life?

Words you have spoken? Or words you have had build you up? Or tear you down? A parent, coach, teacher or peer? Have they encouraged you and you credit them with where you are today? Or have they laid words on you and you fight to this day to overcome believing they are true?

I imagine most of us have a little of both. If we have been so blessed to only have had the positive things stick over the years at least we all know of someone who has not. We all know someone who is fighting battles today that we might help them overcome with having an understanding heart. Speaking positive words over them...

Wherever you resonate with this reality of the power of words, the Word of God has the power to overcome any words spoken by people that have penetrated our hearts. That have cut our hearts. That have broken our hearts... {The power for us to heal from lies is found in having the faith to believe and receive the words of God. Truth}

Romans 12:2 says, ...and be transformed by the renewing of your minds...
John 8:32 says, ...and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free... {Jesus' words}
John 1:1-5 tells us that Jesus is the essence of the Word of God. So when we know Jesus, HE sets us free.

This is why we study the Bible. To know Jesus and His word and to be transformed by it, by Him. We are transformed by the renewing of our minds. By knowing the truth that sets us free. I will be co-leading the study: STUCK by Jennie Allen and blogging about it here over the next nine weeks. If you would like to keep up to date with posts you can put your email address in the box on the top right side-bar and my posts will come directly into your inbox. I'd also love to hear your comments along the journey! ....looking forward to becoming free....

Sunday, February 17, 2013

It's An Epidemic He Said

Our culture has a severe problem.

This epidemic, it is a rebellion. It is like a life-eating fungus (my words). This spirit of complaining.

We complain about the weather.
     We complain about the price of gas.
          We complain about the government.
               We complain about our employment.
                    We complain about the perceived lack of funds.

Should I go on? He did. The Bread-bearer this morning bringing us our food from God.
He had a list a mile long...or so it seemed. 

They headed toward death as a society because ~what did they fail at first? Giving glory and thanks to God. Romans 1:21

Then the Bread-bearer gave us the Always. Everything. Nothing verses: Philippians 2:13-14 * Colossians 1:3 * Colossians 1:12 * Colossians 2:6-7 * Colossians 3:15-17 * Colossians 4:2 * (Do you see a Colossians Theme?)

And look at this!!! Ephesians 5:20

And this one: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Be joyful ALWAYS. Pray CONTINUALLY. Give thanks in ALL circumstances.

And I thought, "I know all this!" I grumbled about the cold and the length of winter far too often in the last week. Instead I should have given thanks for my warm home, clothing, bed, car... Then I grumbled about having too much to do when I should have given thanks for my ability to do the things on my agenda. The time, the inclination! 

What can we do about all the negatives around us? Look up. Look out. Look beyond. We need God.

We need to acknowledge Him in all things. Trust Him with everything. Proverbs 3:5-6 He, the I AM.

The problem is that when we respond to difficult circumstances we tend to see the negatives because we know we are weak creatures limited in power. 

The solution is acknowledging that. And more: Acknowledging that we need God.

And then leaning into the Power Source (the Holy Spirit of God) to enable us to rise above the harsh realities of this world in to the Glorious realities of the one to come. and me...walk by faith and not by sight.

Join me in staking a flag in the ground now and determine by the grace of God to turn every complaint into voicing thanks! Tomorrow is a new day! A new week! A clean slate to bring joy instead of heaviness into life. Lets live it!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

If We Dry Up We Don't Grow

I love listening to Pandora Radio at my desk while I apply my make-up in the morning. 

Today while I was brushing my mascara on my 
otherwise-minuscule eye lashes
 I heard this song called:


The real application of the song-title is to our relationship with God
{and the resulting condition of our hearts}

so I saw my eyelashes
as the object lesson of the day.

Don't you love how God's timing is so sweet?

(Click to listen on MySpace)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

New Ladies Bible Study in Amery: Feeling Stuck In A Rut?

If you are in the Amery, WI area...
Join us At DICK's CAFE on Wednesday, February 20th at 12:30 pm
Right after lunch we will meet for two hours.
~Just enough time to linger before picking up kids from school~

The first meeting will be an introduction,
a chance to look at the material,
to become acquainted with those you will be 
connecting with over the course of the following eight weeks...

This is an opportunity to connect with other women who want to 
move forward in their relationship with God.
Women who want to live above the status-quo.
Women who are interested in being who God created them to be.
Positive Influencers.
Promoters of True Beauty.
Lovers of Life.

Join Heather Eggert and I (Kathy) as we lead through Jennie Allen's study:
(on how not to be)

Monday, February 11, 2013

When Worlds Collide And We Cannot Hide~His Love Compels Us

As I approached the house, the dense stench of cigarette smoke hit me like that gust of wind on the forefront of a storm that has more-than-once turned my patio umbrella{s} inside out. The smell nearly gagged me- it was so potent.

I was on a mission. Our church had a call from a woman who was cut off from her home, renting a place of her own, she had nothing but discount beds with no bedding. And her clothes.

Her heart and head and body plagued with brokenness, 42 years old with a collection of bad choices by herself and others in her past. Unable to work.

We had gathered love-gifts, and I was delivering.

A man helped me carry the things in, about the same age as the woman, he was well-built and had a certain tenderness in his eyes. Boyfriend of a friend...I found out another day he was not tender as he appeared. Two days after I met him, he was in jail. {I trust as an answer to prayer and I pray he will meet the One who loves his soul while he is detained}

I leaned in to listen with questions, and concern. She was obviously desiring her home to be 'better looking' in apologizing for the state of the carpet, but was grateful and hopeful in sharing what she would like to do there. Her voice- twenty years older than her age, her body was gaunt; frail-looking. She told me her best friend, she found homeless, was now living there too. So she called her name, but no answer. Several times. Still no answer. Peeked inside her bedroom door and it was empty. Walked to the back of the house and came back, "She will be out soon".

Ten years younger, her friend's story is even more painful to hear. Her life riddled with death of loved ones to suicide and disease and laden with abuse and mental illness in her family of origin. And she herself-struggling with a backlash of agoraphobia from her losses. One story after another created a knot deep in my gut. My heart was heavy as I sat on the arm of the sofa with my hand on her shoulder. Tears stifled.

I embraced her with both arms and prayed for Jesus to make Himself known, to restore to her what the enemy-thief has stolen. Tears flowed. {John 10:10}

I prayed for protection, for healing and for transformation. I prayed for hope. I prayed for salvation.

She told me she had prayed the day before. She didn't know how to pray but she just said something like, "Help me Jesus." And here I was. Jesus with skin on. {But Jesus, please show me HOW to help her! ~and~ I can do all things through You.}

"How do you know Jesus?" I asked.
"He was with me when I was a little girl taking care of my mom and sister. He never once left me."


She wants her own children back. All three in the care of others since the suicide of her boyfriend two and a half years ago.

I left that day with that smoke-smell in my hair...wondering 'how many?' How many people are living underneath real living~not really living? And right under our noses? The USA is a mission field. I don't need to go to Haiti. {something I have wanted to do} Here are needs as deep and disturbing as any across the sea. Here we need Jesus to do His mighty miracles of delivering, healing, restoring and binding up wounds. I trust the fragrance of the Christ that I brought to their house remained with them...

As I think over the tangled messes that sin has left in their life-and restoration? It feels impossible. But God. I know Him. I know what He has done in my life. In others' lives. With God all things are possible. Please pray for God's grace to pour out, for the resurrection power of Jesus to break the chains of deception and destruction and to lift these ladies to their feet from ashes. And all the others from broken homes. All the school children who go home every day not to a place of refuge, but of pain and disfunction. We know they are there. They need us who know the source of Life. Let's intercede for them, pray and ask for opportunities to sow blessings into their lives. Offer hope. Offer grace.  Our land needs Jesus! Please have hope for your community to experience transformation!

Jesus, please rescue and heal them! The power of your beautiful truth will set them free as it has for me. You are amazing... Show your power Lord! 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10