Hi everyone! Thank you for joining us on our journey at Women at the Well. On December 15, we will be moving to a new location. You can find our new blog, REVEALED, at revealedfbcocala.org. See you there!
God really did make women special, didn’t He? He carefully designed us to be very feeling creatures and then gave us hearts for unbelievable depth of emotion. We have “feelings” about everything we say, think, or do; and if you ask us, we probably have “feelings” about everything YOU say, think, or do, as well.
This morning I was overwhelmed with how many of my girlfriends are engaging in intense Spritual battle with unseen enemies that threaten to steal from them at every turn. I just scrolled through my text and inbox for the past nine days this is what I have seen and heard:
I feel more alone when I’m with him than when I’m by myself.
Pray for me. I’m freakin’ terrified.
Please pray hard for strength for me.
I didn’t get the best news at the doctor today.
I thought my husband was going to have to admit me to the ER the other day… I was so emotional and stressed.
I need a break from the world… kinda in a funk so I’m letting some things go.
I am so overwhelmed that I can’t move. I feel major stress… weights of the enemy.
I just want out.
I was up all night crying about this.
Yep. Nine day time span. Every quote from a different friend. This doesn’t even include the more public information I’ve seen my girlfriends share on Social Media or the stories I see on their faces in pictures. Nor does it include my own self talk or conversation I may have shared with you about my own heavy heart! Ya’ll, this is overwhelming, all out, full scale attack. I know from experience and if you think this is the worst it can get then you are deceived. The early parts of enemy attack are a systematic defense test. The enemy finds our weaknesses and concentrates his weapons of fear and doubt where you are most vulnerable. Where are you weakest? Is it your marriage? Your children? Finances? Self Image? Job? Find it and give it to Jesus. Time is of the essence becuase for every moment you allow vulnerability you allow a fiery dart to penetrate your defenses…
If the deceiver can keep you in a pit of doubt, fear, and overwhelming stress he will most certainly take delight in throwing a lid on top of that pit and calling it a day! But I love the way our Father has given us counsel on this and our “feelings”.
*”The heart deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9
* “For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.” 1 John 3:20
So take this as a word of encouragement sweet ladies. There will be days when you need to withdraw and seek the solace and care of a single word: The Word of our Father. Retreat into His permeating promises and carve yourself out of the noise that seeks to drown out that word. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing from the word of God.” Romans 10:17 Scripture gives pointed focus, widdling down the confusion of our emotions to the one, remaining, cord of truth that binds all of our doubts, blurred vision, and weary hearts to Him.
Speak the Truth
Matthew 4: 19-20 “And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ Immediately, they left their nets and followed him.”
Talk the Talk
For the last month and a half, I have been teaching lessons on Peter to a Good News Club once a week. We have been studying the period of time from Peter’s first encounter with Jesus, through his denial of knowing Jesus, and Peter experiencing the appearance of the Risen Lord. My mind keeps going back to our first lesson “Follow Me”. Peter was a fisherman in the family business. This was his livelihood, his career. But, when Jesus said, “Follow Me”, he left it all and followed. Peter did not say, “Wait, let me get my things in order, let me talk it over with my family, let me weigh the pros and cons.” No, he followed! In a few days, I will be leaving for a mission trip to Uganda. I have been busy planning, organizing, making sure I am prepared for Christmas on my return, and the check-off list goes on and on. What if Jesus had just said “Follow Me”? No planning, no organizing, no ”let me do it my way” scenario. Scary, yet Peter did it. Recently, a family in our church listened to this command and “followed” to an unknown future. They left all that was familiar, safe, and comfortable to trust and obey the “calling” they were hearing and feeling. God doesn’t call all of us into full time mission work, or even participating on a temporary mission trip, but He does call us to follow Him in the way we live and treat others. He calls us to be His “Followers” to this lost and fallen world.
Walk the Walk
The group Third Day has a song titled “Follow Me There”. Here are the lyrics:
“You need a place where you can find some shelter. Follow Me there.
You want a hand to hold someone to help you. Follow Me there.
You need a place to be your sanctuary. Follow Me there.
Where you can lay down those burdens you carry. Follow Me there.
Where the the lost can find salvation. Follow Me there.
The lonely finds a friend. Follow Me there.
Where the sinner finds forgiveness. Follow Me there.
Where love like a river flows, peace like you’ve never known, joy never ending lives, a place where faith can find, hope that will never die. Follow Me there.”
Speak the Truth:
Deuteronomy 16:17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you.
Proverbs 22:7 The Rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
Talk the Talk:
If you have read any of my blogs before, chances are you have heard that my family lives on a very tight budget. I have always loved numbers and math. Yes I know, I am a geek; however, God knew exactly what He was doing when he sent me to school to study finance. He also knew what He was doing as I watched my mom raise 2 kids on her own without going into great debt. We learned that some things just aren’t necessary, that its okay to buy second hand (if it’s in good condition), and it’s okay to save and splurge every once in a blue moon. Basically, we learned how to stretch a dollar. At a time when MILLIONS of Americans will spend way more than they should, max out credit cards and overindulge, I felt that it might be appropriate to put things in perspective.
Walk the Walk:
1. Teach your children they don’t need EVERYTHING. I love buying for my girls, especially getting them that one gift they really wanted. However, we do not need to buy our children everything on their lists. One of the best things about not having cable is my children no longer see the endless number of commercials telling them they need all of these toys to fit in or have fun. If something on their list is too expensive, and your budget does not fit, then think outside the box. It is okay to tell them No, or maybe you could get them a piggy bank with some money and help them save for the item. There are lots of ways to get creative. It’s also okay (especially when they are older) to give them a $$$ limit on gifts. We have got to teach our children the importance of living on a budget. (Proverbs 22:7)
2.Teach your children to GIVE. Teach them to love giving more than receiving. More than likely, there is a child out there that has way less than your kids. (I heard on the news the other morning there are millions of children living on the street in the United States.) When we teach our kids to love on others, and to give to others, they will also learn to be more appreciative. It kind of goes hand in hand. One way to give is to clean our their toys to donate, find time to volunteer at a food shelter, fill operation shoe boxes, or buy gifts for a family in need. Either way, find ways to take the attention off of themselves and turn it towards others. (Deuteronomy 16:17)
3.I saved the best for Last…Teach them CHRISTMAS is about JESUS. Plain and simple, the best gift came years ago when Jesus came to the Earth to be our Savior. Let’s not get so caught up in our toy list, shopping, eating, parties, etc. that we take our attention away from the main reason we celebrate Christmas. Read the Christmas story, bake a birthday cake for Jesus, and sing songs.
My girls and I love watching Charlie Brown Christmas, my favorite part is when Linus tells Charlie Brown the true meaning of Christmas.
Written by guest blogger: Beth Fannin
Speak the Truth:
James 1:2-3 “ Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Talk the Talk:
Last spring, I lead a Bible study on the book of James. I didn’t understand then why I was so drawn to this study, but I think it may have been God’s preparation for my journey. August was quite simply the hardest month of my life. Each week brought on a new and more breathtaking disaster in my immediate family. First our youngest daughter’s husband was abducted in a gang-related initiation and held for six hours, beaten, robbed and finally set free; then a brother-in-law’s apparent suicide; then a brother’s heart attack and then a catastrophic stroke followed a few days later by a craniotomy. Each incident was breathtaking and heartbreaking but in the aftermath – the suffering was almost more than we could bear.
Walk the Walk:
Some say God never gives you more than you can handle, but I am learning that when life throws more at you than you can bear, that’s when you need to trust in the one who loves you best. Proverbs 3:25a-26a “Don’t be afraid of sudden disasters…for the Lord will be your confidence.” Through it all, every message, text, or phone call contained the same word – PRAY! Our only option in each of these overwhelming situations was to ask God for His mercy and grace. We were powerless and our only hope was in the Lord. We prayed for many things; healing, salvation, forgiveness, understanding and yes, perseverance. The journey ahead will not be easy, particularly when those I love are hurting physically and emotionally. I am learning more each day about perseverance. Every day I say “I trust God” and I do. I am not sure yet, that I am at the point where I can say, “I consider it pure joy”, but I’m willing to trust God for that too.
Speak the Truth
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:2-3
Talk the Talk
The adult Mayfly lives for a few hours – close to 1 whole day. It must accomplish quite a task in that time period – reproduction. It spends its childhood swimming around in water preparing for its brief adult life. I am guessing that in those hours it’s a pretty focused insect because it only has one job. It’s digestive system is filled with air so it doesn’t have to think about that. My point? I’m guessing it’s memory is pretty short but it’s focus must be on point.
In Exodus 20, God gives Moses the list of commandments that the Israelites are to keep as God’s chosen people, whom He rescued out of Egypt. Rescued out of Egypt… just a few chapters prior, God pulled off some major supernatural plagues and signs that the people of Israel saw firsthand. Imagine standing on the shore of the Red Sea as the dry land you just walked on was swallowed up by the waters that had been piled high in preparation for the climax of the Exodus: the drowning of Pharaoh’s army and the ultimate escape of the Israeli slaves to the Promised Land.
Exodus 20 opens with the first commandment: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.” Do you find it interesting that the very first commandment is prefaced by God reminding them who He is and what He did for them? This is the God of the Universe who had just blown their minds with what He chose to do through Moses in Egypt. God could have simply said “You shall have no other gods before me.” In His infinite wisdom, God knew the Israelites would need to be reminded of who He is and what He had done in order to justify the command that no god come before Him. God does not need to justify himself, but our human, addled, mayfly minds like to put reasons and justifications and checklists in place.
Walk the Walk
As we enter December and the celebration of Christ’s birth, let’s put the first thing first.
- Let us this day pause to complete the sentence: The Lord is my God and He has done _____________________ for me.
- Next, assess a few recent conversations you have had. Are you telling others what Jesus has done for you?
- Finally: consider the commandment part. This is crucial: are you putting any other “gods” before the one true God?
May this Christmas season be centered on the birth of precious Jesus – the intersection of God, time and humanity – as just one of the many, many things He has done for us.
Give thanks to the Lord, our God and King, His love endures forever. For He is good, He is above all things, His love endures forever. Sing praise! Sing praise! With a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, His love endures forever. For the life that’s been reborn, His love endures forever. Sing praise! Sing praise! Sing praise! Sing praise!
What makes you thankful? What causes you to praise God with a thankful heart?
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of the year. Family and friends gather to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal at a table filled with the bounty that the Lord has blessed you with. Summer is gone and the temperatures are a lot cooler. Refreshing weather marks the beginning of the holiday stretch that brings us to the New Year. Just the word ‘Thanksgiving’ conjures up thoughts of thankfulness. How could it not? Many circumstances and situations in our daily lives surprisingly turn out in ways we could not have predicted but they often turn out in wonderful ways. Who do we thank? Who deserves our thanks?
God. Period. He is the only God and He deserves our thanks and our praise.
- Psalm 72:18-19 – Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things. Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen!
- Psalm 69:30 – I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
- Psalm 66:5 – Come and see what God has done; he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
Here is an awesome reason to thank the Lord…
- Isaiah 40:28-31 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Thank you, Lord!
Here is another awesome verse. Just reading this verse should bring about a thankful heart. It reads,
- Isaiah 41:13 – “For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”
Thank you, Lord!
As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, be mindful of your blessings and take the time to sincerely say, “Thank you, Lord!”
- Revelation 7:12 – “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”