Monday, February 6, 2017

Finding I AM Week2: From Why? to SO THAT!

Hey Blog Friends!

Last week I mentioned that in August 2016 my husband lost his job. I remember that day. My husband called, and told me he was coming home. My automatic thought was “Why?”

There have been other times in my life that I’ve asked God “Why?” The day I lost a job that I had worked at for 10 years. When my dad unexpectedly passed away the day before his 64th birthday. For the past 8 years I’ve been wondering why God has given me a chronic invisible illness that practically keeps me homebound. Over and over I ask why He takes our loved ones home to heaven when we are not ready. Have you had times like these that you have asked “Why?”

I’ve listened to many teachers, preachers, psychologists and the like, who have tried to give reasons why we endure these things. Well, I refuse to speculate as to why these things happen; instead I want to see what Jesus has to say.

In John 9:1-5 the disciples had a situation where they wanted to know “Why?” Please take a look at those verses. Jesus and His disciples came upon a man who had been blind since birth. The disciples wanted to know, “Why is he blind? Did he sin or did his parents sin?” Be honest. How often do you hear of someone who gets cancer or another awful disease, gets in a car wreck, loses their job, etc. and you think “They must be a baaaad sinner!” We all do it. At least I know I do. In the Jewish culture it was very prevalent. That was their belief. If you sinned you were punished by God with an ailment or something worse. However, that is NOT what Jesus says in verse 3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (Emphasis added) Wow! Wow! Wow!

Does that make you step back and re-evaluate some of the things you’ve gone through in your life? It does me!

Let’s look at one of my “why” moments. How about my chronic illness? I deal with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I hoped that after losing my job and the initial “resting period”, I would begin to improve, and eventually return to a “normal” life. That has not happened. As I stated, it has been 8 years and I am extremely fatigued and in pain everyday. Four years ago, after feeling very lonely and isolated, God directed me to Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies. I had been receiving Proverbs 31 daily devotions in my email for a long time prior to that. However connecting with thousands of women online studying the Bible together through P31OBS, refreshed my soul. Soon I became part of a small group and I got to know other women personally as we studied and discovered God’s truths together. Finally in October 2015 I began to volunteer. It’s just one more way to connect with other women. All of this I can do from the comfort of my home, on my schedule! I believe God has taken my frustrating illness and shown me that part of the reason for it is…”so that the works of God might be displayed in Angie.”

I would love for you to share a “Why” that God is changing, or has changed into something “SO THAT the works of God might be displayed in YOU.”


Living in Grace,

Angie

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Finding I AM Week1: Don’t Miss God’s Goodness!

Hello all!

So last week I told you I’d see you on Thursday. Well, plans changed. I started the #FindingIAM study and realized that there are 4 days of study, Monday thru Thursday, with bonus study on Friday. So I got to thinking that it would be better to complete the week of study on Thursday, then share with you on Friday or even Saturday, depending on how God leads. Let's get started.

It was 2 weeks before my son’s wedding and I “needed” a pedicure. My husband had recently lost his job, so a pedicure was NOT in the budget. A do it yourself pedi would have to do. If you know me, I was not thrilled.

Right around this same time, I spent one afternoon babysitting my neighbor’s 3-year-old daughter. She is an absolute delight! We played with Petey, my Chihuahua, watched Curious George and played with Cecil’s foam golf balls. She loves those golf balls they are bright neon colors! Anyway, babysitting is more play than work for me. I’m just practicing for when my grandson, Titus is with me!!! Anyway, a few days later, Nikki brought me a Thank You card for taking care of her daughter. Inside I found a gift certificate for a pedicure. What a sweet gesture! She knew our situation so she took care of me! Have you ever had someone unexpectedly take care of your needs? Let’s take a look at some needs being met in today’s scriptures.

I imagine we are all familiar with the miracle of Jesus feeding the 5,000. You can read about it in any of the four Gospels: Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17, and John 6:1-13. We are going to take a look at 2 perspectives of this miracle, John and Mark’s. I’d like you to read them for yourself. Then I’m going to highlight some things that God has taught me this week.

Let’s take a look at Mark 6:30 [NIV]
"The apostles returned to Jesus and told Him all that they had done and taught."
As I was going through my #FindingIAM Study I found it very eye opening when Lysa TerKeurst asked what the disciples were talking about with Jesus. Here are these 12 guys, following Jesus, who is healing the sick all around Him, and all they are interested in talking about is what they have been doing. Interesting.

Now we have this huge crowd that’s been following Jesus, and we further see this selfish and prideful attitude of the disciples by the following verses in Mark 6:35-37 and John 6:5-7. Jesus knows that the crowd needs to be fed both physically and spiritually. Many in this crowd are ready to hear His spiritual message, so He feeds them with the young boy’s loaves and fishes. Jesus then has the disciples pick up the 12 baskets full of leftovers, Mark 6:43 and John 6:13.
This is where it gets really interesting. Let’s continue reading in Mark, and see what happens after the feeding of the 5,000. Read Mark 6:45-52.
Let’s take a closer look at verse 49 and 50.
"but when they saw Him walking on the lake, they thought He was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw Him and were terrified. Immediately He spoke to them and said, "'Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.'" [NIV]
This is Jesus, whom they have been traveling and teaching with. They have been watching Him heal people! They just watched Him feed 5,000 people! What is wrong with them? Why didn’t they recognize Him? Take a look at the next 2 verses, 51 and 52.
"Then He climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened." [NIV] (Emphasis added)
Let’s read it from The Message.
"They didn’t understand what He had done at the supper. None of this had yet penetrated their hearts." [MSG]

Wow! They didn’t get it! Their hearts were hardened because of the pride that was in them. They still didn’t see Jesus as the Son of God. Has God ever done something for you, right in front of your eyes, and yet you didn’t see it, at least not at first? Remember I was telling you about Nikki giving me that gift certificate for a pedicure? Yes, that was a neighbor being kind and paying me back for a service, but that’s not really what it was. No! That was God taking care of me through someone else! Just like the disciples, I was blinded at first, but I did eventually recognize His goodness towards me!

If you’ve had an experience like this share with me in the comments, I’d love to hear about God’s goodness to you!!!

Living in Grace,
Angie


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Let's Study Together!

Hello Friends,

As many of you know, I have been a part of the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies since March 2013. Those Bible Studies have changed my life. They have drawn me closer to Jesus and have given me friends I never would have found. I am so thankful for all aspects of Proverb 31 Ministries.

Today I sit in my living room excited, yet apprehensive as I make a new plan and a new commitment to Jesus and to you. I believe it is time for me to begin sharing what God is teaching me through the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies (P31OBS) here on my blog. This Monday, January 23, 2017 P31OBS begins a new study, Finding I AM by Lysa TerKeurst. My hope is to post my insights of each week’s study on Thursday, starting January 26, 2017. I would love for you to join me as we journey through #FindingIAM!

Not only can you find out what I am learning during the #FindingIAM study, but you can join in the study for yourself. Just click here to sign up! You can find the book, Finding I AM by Lysa TerKeurst at the Proverbs 31 Bookstore, Lifeway, and on Amazon.

I know I said we would get started Monday, but I have a little surprise for you. Take a look at the P31OBS blog, you will find a bonus post there! This post is a little intro to the study. There you will find the first video from Lysa TerKeurst. You don’t want to miss this one! By the way, the videos will only be available to the public through March 10. In this video Lysa gives us some background into the 7 I AM’s in the Gospel of John. Many of us know the origin of I AM in Exodus 3, but Lysa gives us some historical and practical information on what is going with Moses during this time. One thing I learned was that Mount Horeb is also called Mount Sinai. Wow! So take a look at this:
Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God (Emphasis added)
Exodus 3:1 [NIV]
Then check this out:
And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.” (Emphasis added)
Exodus 3:12 [NIV]
That means Moses was hanging out, taking care of the sheep by Mt. Horeb. He talks to the burning bush, and God says, (paraphrasing) "Hey Moses, go get the people out of Egypt, then bring them back here to THIS mountain to worship Me!" Then later on He gives Moses the 10 Commandments right there on that same mountain! Did you realize God brought Moses and the Israelites right back to the same mountain where the burning bush had been? I didn't. Cool Stuff!!!

Lysa then goes on to talk about the 7 I AM’s that we will be studying. I can’t wait to get started! Again I hope you will join me!

See you Thursday!

Living in Grace,
Angie