Sunday, January 30, 2011


The remainder of chapter 8 focuses on Joseph and his life. I have heard many teachings about Joseph and how he didn't become bitter with all that he went through. Actually the reading last week was about Joseph.

With all that happened to Joseph there is no record of him ever getting bitter. There is no record of him getting angry. I know he wasn't perfect, he did brag a bit and spy on his brothers for his father, but to go through all he did and not become bitter! That amazes me!

Interestingly his brothers were envious of him and bitter of how much their father loved him. This bitterness lead them to throw Joseph in a pit, plot to kill him, and actually sell him into slavery. I mean take a minute and think about that for a minute. I have 2 brothers and I can honestly say I have plotted against them, when we were kids of course, but I never plotted to kill them or sell them. I can't even wrap my brain around that. How much bitterness must have been entrenched in their hearts to do this. Then they returned home and lied to their father and lived with the secret for years. I am sure that they were torn apart on the inside by all they had done, but it doesn't seem as if they ever tried to make it right either.

"He could have let bitterness wrap his heart in a web of anger, anxiety, and revenge, but he didn't. He chose not to. He made a conscious choice to honor God with his actions and his attitudes, and God honored him." Lysa.

He chose not to! Since he wasn't perfect and it didn't come natural to not be bitter, he had to chose to not be bitter. There are a lot of hard choices in my life but for me, this is a hard one to make. I have felt the ugliness and ache of bitterness creep over me. It actually makes me ache. I don't want that, I mean who would!

Lysa also writes about how God didn't immediately remove Joseph from his situations and place him as second to only Pharaoh. Even though he made the choice to not be bitter, to not sleep with Potiphar's wife, and to not scream at the bars of the prison to the cupbearer about how he didn't keep his promise to him, God kept him in the situation. Ummm, not sure about anyone else, but that would have, actually has, made me be bitter. He did what he should do, some may even say beyond what he should do, and God still kept him there. Of course, God had a plan, a reason, a salvation of nations, and a reunion and healing of a family.

I have no idea what God has planned. I know, like Joseph, He has given me a dream. Years after Joseph's dreams God brought them to pass, and although it may be years, well it has been years, maybe more years before God brings my dream to pass. But I know that He will, because it was the dream He gave me!

Next, I enter the phase of Believing Phase!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Refusing to Get Bogged Down in Bitterness

"I must caution you not to get bogged down in bitterness during this famine phase. This is a season of learning to depend on God. As a result, things will be stripped from you that hinder the relationship He wants to have with you." Lysa

This chapter 8 of What Happens When Women Walk in Faith. It is the final chapter in the famine phase.

When I think about the above quote I think of the times when God took away the old things, some good and some not so good. I can remember a time when I cried out to God that I didn't think I could stand having one for things stripped from me. It was right after my Fluffy had to be put to sleep. I had my not-so-sweet kitty for 16 years and without her I was living all alone in a state far from any family or friends. I was lonely and couldn't imagine why God was taking things from me.

I'd like that every time He strips away I handled it well. I can say that recently I noticed some small, really small, things being taken away. I actually smiled with the thought of "out with the old and in with the new". I so much desire what God has to do with me, through me, for me. I realize that means letting go of the things that can't go into a new phases with me. It's easy to let go of the little things, the stuff, not so sure I'll feel say easy about giving away the big, important, special things.

When it isn't as easy to give something or even someone up bitterness is waiting for the opening. The opening in my mind so it can take over my thoughts. The opening in my heart so it can taint everything with it's ugliness and just take hold. I can remember my Mom telling me not to get bitter years ago. Funny, I have no idea what the situation was but I do remember her telling me. At the time it bugged me, but I soon realized I was letting bitterness take hold.

God does everything for our good, even if it's years before we see the good. If I am trusting in Him then there is no room for the bitterness. It will still look for the opening but I want the door to shut, tight, on it. The next section of the book discusses Joseph and how he could have been bitter with all the happened to him, all that was stripped from him. I'll write about that next time, but he is the one I think about when bitterness tries to invade. I think if he could suffer all he did and not become bitter then I should be able to with the not nearly so bad things that happen to me.

I want to finish this post with this from the book, "This time of loss will lead to a time of great celebration one day." Oh, how I look forward to that great celebration!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

New Wineskins and Moving Mountains

"We must expand our vision." Lysa

My vision is limited only to what I know or what I think I know. I only see what is right in front of me, which sometimes is a huge mountain with no apparent path around it. Interestingly at these times I also seem to fail to have hindsight. I seem to forget about the Lord has already brought me around mountains before, out of pits, and around stumbling blocks. But He has! And He will! I need to continue to stop seeing with my limited sight and trust in the Lord. I need to give myself to Him and let Him lead.

But regardless of how He has brought me through before or what I thought worked. I can't rely on the old. God wants to do something new. Lysa writes about the difference between old and new wineskins. Old wineskins become hard and set and if you pour new wine into them they would break. I can't hold on to the old. I mean it's hard and will crumble. Why would I want that? Yet, I hold on because it is what I am used to. But I don't want same old same old. I want more of God! I want the new He has in store for me. I need to change my old ways of thinking. I want to continue on the adventure with God!

As for those mountains, the Word tells us that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed we can tell a mountain to move and it will. Lysa writes that sometimes the mountain doesn't move all at once. She writes that sometimes it takes greater faith to move it bit by bit. Sometimes God's miracles seem instant and sometimes they are part of a process. Either way is still a miracle, but it takes increasing faith to wait as the mountain moves a piece at a time.

I know that the times when the mountain is moved piece by piece the doubt can be strong. It may take a long time to even see a dent in that mountain. We are too close to it, we spend too much time just looking at it. God wants our eyes on Him. We can pick up a rock and turn our eyes on Jesus as He helps us move it out of the way. Lysa says to ask God, daily, "what is my assignment today?" I need to trust Him and know that He is taking me through the famine stage and deeper in Him. I know that each rock moved, each step taken, brings me closer to God and all His promises, even the dream that He birthed in me.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

God Is With You!

Chapter 7 of What Happens When Women Walk in Faith. There is no exclamation point in the title, but I needed to put it there.

I am glad to be blogging about chapter 7 because I decided to stop reading until I caught the blog up. With school as busy as it has been this last week it hasn't been easy. I am currently stopped at chapter 9 so I'll be able to start reading again soon.

"I was smack-dab in the middle of a famine, and though I knew the purpose was to learn to depend on God like never before, it was hard. The more I prayed about and pondered trying to make everything fit, the more I kept saying, 'There's no way..there's just no way'." Lysa

Ever been there? Yes! Just last week actually, I was telling God for the millionth time. Of course, I know that with Him all things are possible. Knowing something doesn't always mean that I don't doubt. When I look at the situation that is all I can say,"there's no way!"  I felt myself getting agitated and knew that it was either going to overwhelm me or I had to do what I should have done all along, give it to God. I chose the later. I've chosen the former enough times to know how that would turn out. Me in a puddle of tears and thinking that God doesn't care about me or His promises. Turning it to Him was so sweet. I felt His peace the moment I did and the "there's no way" moment turned into an opportunity to focus on His faithfulness.

Lysa mentioned that when she was thinking "there's no way" that she had to continue to pray and watch for God's answers. She stopped trying to figure it out and simply waited on God. Exactly! Not only am I watching for His answer, I am anticipating His working in the time before it comes. Each day is a chance to see Him move in my life. I know that He is working on the inside of me and it's can be painful, but it is so amazing to experience the change. Everyday is a chance to see Him at work in ways that I never expected. Everyday is a chance to see His work in the situation.

Maybe "see" isn't the right word, because sometimes I don't see anything changing in the situation, or what I see seems to that the situation is worse. Yet, I know that He is at work, and maybe the lack of seeing it is actually the proof that He is. I believe that satan wants to destroy all the is good. John 10:10 tells us that he does. He comes to kill and destroy. If he didn't see it as something good, as a promise of God, would he bother to spend the time to make it look as if nothing is happening, or to make it look worse? I don't think so. I think the more he tries to destroy it the more likely it is the God is working. I visualize satan straining as he is trying to tear down and destroy but there's God doing His work and satan is making no progress. Satan thought what he tore down destroyed the promise, but then he has to stand there and see how God use the tore down to carry out his plan.

I want to finish this blog with a word from Lysa that I know I need to remember everyday, "He was reminding me that there is always a way with Him."

Sunday, January 16, 2011

God's Extraordinary Invitation

This is chapter 6 of What Happens When Women Walk in Faith. Throughout the chapter Lysa tells the story of how God brought her adopted sons from Liberia. She writes, "...just going about my ordinary life when God's extraordinary invitation burst forth."

I try to figure things out. I'm a thinker. I will think a thing to death, but my thoughts aren't God's thoughts. His ways are not anything that I can figure out. So why do I keep trying. I need to just stop all the thinking, the trying to figure things out, the trying to control. I need to embrace His ways and just go about my ordinary day.

That doesn't mean it will be easy. It doesn't mean I would try to think about it, figure it out. It doesn't mean that the unknown won't bring out the fear. But the fear can be given over to God and I can seek the joy. There is joy in every situation, but sometimes it takes looking to see it. When I stop and pray at the end of the day, even on a horrible, heart wrenching day, I can find joy. It might be a small one or it may be a big one that causes what feels like a permanent smile to spread across my face. Lysa writes that depending on God brings the joy. That is why we are able to find it.

Lysa also writes that she believes that breakthrough comes during the famine. She says we have to stop striving, and honor God in each moment, each step, each day by what we do, and how we think. I really do not want to be an over thinker and I truly want the joy of trusting in Jesus...especially in the famine!

Lysa ends this chapter with, "May your ordinary be invaded with His extraordinary invitation to press through the famine phase and to live life His way!" May it be so!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Life that Requires Faith

"A life that requires very little faith is not a life that God will use." Lysa

Well, I want God and I want Him to use me so I guess I want a life that requires faith. But I can honestly say it isn't easy! It seems that a life that requires faith is one that has twists and turns and a lot of unknowns. I guess if it was a straight path with complete clarity it wouldn't require any faith at all!

"Through the messy and unpredictable everyday events that often stumble us, we become aware of our desperate need for God." Lysa

I am so glad that God is there in the mess. I am so glad He is in the everyday events whether predictable or not. Honestly it doesn't always feel like He is. Some of those messes that I make for myself, I can't believe that He is there with me. Doesn't He shake His head and say, "she's never going to get it. Why am I wasting my time on her?" I am so glad that isn't God at all. But it is satan. He has no problem telling me that God wants nothing to do with me. That I brought this upon myself and I have to suffer because of it. But of course, God is there and satan is a liar.

I think that satan loves the famine stage. I think he thinks that maybe I will give up in the famine. That I will not be able to have the faith to focus on what is ahead, the promises of God. I am sure that many a person has done that. They have stopped in the famine and satan rejoices. I do not want to stop in the famine. I want to move closer to God, to become more like Him, to live the abundant life He promises. I want to see my God-given dream fulfilled. And I do not want satan to have any sense of victory from my life.

I can't get through the famine just because I want to. I can't get through because of willpower or strength of my own. The only way through is to surrender my heart to God, pray for His plans to be revealed, and continue to walk in the path He has set before me.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Faith in the Famine

Last night I went to bed to tears, had a bad dream, and woke up drained and teary. Did anything happen? No! Nothing, but sometimes the waiting, wondering, and other people good news can wear on me. I want to be genuinely happy when I hear those good news, but they just seem to be reminders that I am still waiting! I thought maybe I could blog about a section of the book and it would help. So I'm going to try.

"An Adventure Our Souls Were Made For" is the first chapter in the famine section. Lysa writes that the more we believe in the truths God calls us to believe....okay stopping right there and admitting that right now I am having trouble believing those truths. She continues with we will take chances and press through the pain of the famine. That I totally get! The pain! I am trying to keep God in mind and find comfort in Him. "Yet most of us sit in the dust of famine and cry out for comfort and security." That I really get!

But the next thing she writes I definitely do not want to do. She write that sometimes we go back to the mud puddles we left behind rather than move forward to the sweet water ahead. I so do not want to do that. I know it's okay to have feelings and to cry out to God. I think of the Psalms when I start to think otherwise. But I do NOT want to turn back to mud puddles! I want to push through. I want to experience God and all He has promised. I might have to go through the famine times, but I want the deep desire for God that dwells in me to continue to call and to keep moving towards Him.

Lysa ends this section with, "Sadly, I think about the multitude of Christians who have decided they'd rather be comfortable and play games than get on with the adventure our souls were made for- living a life that requires faith." I want to be the Christian who gets on with that faith adventure!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Believing ~ Death ~ Resurrection

The last three sections of What Happens When Women Walk in Faith are Believing, Death, and Resurrection. Lysa briefly previews each of these in chapter 4.

Believing involves watching for His confirmation and divine appointments. She says that we need to make sure not to get so distracted by the famine that we miss them. Believing will assure us, comfort us and motivate us to trust God in every circumstances.

Death is difficult to think about. Who wants death? But death is necessary. Lysa mentions the story of Abraham taking Issac to be sacrificed. (Interestingly that was part of the Scripture I listened to yesterday on God had finally after 20 some years, to give Abraham and Sarah their son, and now He was asking Abraham to give him back to God. As we know, God stopped him, and provided a ram to be the sacrifice. Ultimately God gave us His Son as the sacrifice. Christ's death, although unthinkable (at least for me) was necessary for His resurrection so we can have a new life in Him.

In the death phase we want so badly to hold on tight to that dream, that promise of God, but we need to continually go to Him and hand back that dream. I am confident God will provide the ram for us, even if it doesn't look anything like we thought it would.

Resurrection is simply the fulfillment of what God promised and bringing us closer to Him. It will be amazing and I am looking forward to the fulfillment of the dream, but much more importantly I am excited about becoming more like Him.

I am very excited to start the second section of this book: the famine!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Previewing 1

So I was playing around on this site and clicked the "stats" button and found out that my little blog has gotten a lot of views. 186 views from the United States, 2 from Croatia, and 1 from Slovenia! That is so cool! Also a site has a link to my blog! I don't even know what that is but that is cool! Oh, and I have 2 followers! I really pray that God uses this blog. I am simply someone who loves to read, loves God, and hopes that the insights I gain will be of use to Him.

What happens When Women Walk in Faith is a book written by Lysa TerKeurst. The title is one of the things that grabbed my attention. The other is the author. I attend the same church as Lysa and have heard her speak on occasion. I have always loved that she is a real woman who speaks from her heart and doesn't mind letting us know she is real. The best part is God uses that realness for His glory!

I have already written about the first section of this book: the Leaving Phase. Although I am still writing about chapter 4 which is in this section, Lysa has gone ahead and previewed the next 4 phases: famine, believing, death, and resurrection. Famine gets the most preview with 2 pages about it. So today famine! Just the word makes me want to rethink this whole journey.

"A Famine in the Land" Lysa writes about how Abram went to live in Egypt because a famine was in the land. God told him to leave his home go to this land and he would have it and become the father of many nations. And a famine hits the land so severely that he has to leave it! That doesn't make sense to my brain, but God knows exactly what He is doing.

Lysa writes, "Don't second-guess what God is doing. Rather, look for ways to dig deeper into His Word, His character, and His faithfulness in this time. Growing deep roots isn't easy." If there is a famine we have to search for food, a place to grow food, and place to get sustenance. In a the spiritual famine phase the only true place to get that sustenance sis from God and from His Word.

It makes me think about the parable of the seed. The seeds that didn't grow deep roots all were ruined in the end. I want to grow deep roots. I want to long for God more. I think that longing comes from spending more time with Him, for sitting in His presence, from praying, from listening to others teach from the Word, from discussing God with others, and from reading His Word. I am seeing God open me up to want all of these things more.

Each and ever Sunday for the last month or so I have woken up not feeling well. Twice I chose not to go to church. One time I was truly sick and the other time I felt much better around 11:00. That just so happens to be when church starts. So this morning, Sunday morning, I woke up with a sinus headache. The first thought was "you can't go to church?" Yup, it was "you" not "I". So I smiled, told satan to "shut up" and I got out of bed and got ready for church.

Satan wants nothing more than for us to enter a famine period and not grow deeper in Christ. He would  love for me to not get the nourishment I need, wither, and blow away. I am not sure if God has such a great plan, in people eye's at least, that satan should worry about me. But he seems to so I know that God has something He wants to accomplish through my life.

"God is Faithful in the Famine" Abram goes to Egypt and leaves his promised land. He must have worried, wondered at least. What could God be doing. When the time comes for Abram to leave Egypt he left with much because he had become very rich. It seemed as if he was outside of his dream and God had changed His mind, and he had to physically get up a go to Egypt and he ends up leaving richer than when he went in. If we spend the time with God's Word to get the spiritual replenishing we need then we will walk back to our promised dream richer then when the famine struck! Not monetarily richer, but spiritually richer! That kind of richness I want!

Lysa points out that back in the promised land God tells Abram again of His plan for him. She also points out that this is the first time that Abraham, his name is changed now, proclaims that he believes God's dream for him. That spiritual growth, deepness, that he experiences because of his time of famine resulted in true belief in God and His promises.

I didn't believe the dream God gave me for much of the last 25 years or so. I wanted to tweak it, ignore it, and even forget it. I actually did forget part of it. Only a few years ago did God remind me of key words for His Word to me. Words I once hated, and now I embrace. Recently God revealed even more another part that I had forgotten about. I was another part that I had completely rejected at times. I do not know how God will accomplish it, but I believe it to be true.

I actually look forward to reading about the famine phase! Next time I'll write about the preview of believing, death, and resurrection. they are all short so I'll do them together.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Loving God More than My Dream

First off, yesterday I blogged about all of chapter 3, and I don't think I did it justice. So back to blogging about sections of the chapters.

Second, last night I was feeling sad and wanted to just curl up in bed and go to sleep, but I decided that would read another chapter of this book and do the personal Bible study section. It was exactly what I needed to do. The chapter was "God Is with You". I so needed it! I am always amazed at the timing of the Lord! Instead of going to bed sad I went to bed thankful and praying.

Okay, now on the first section of chapter 4 Loving God More than My Dream. This chapter wraps up the leaving section of this book and gives a preview of the other sections: famine, believing, death, and resurrection.

Leaving. The Hebrews had to learn over and over again to leave things behind. I know sometimes we look down on the Israelites and think they just didn't get it. Ummm, not sure about you but I know that I've gone around the same mountain time and time again, so I must be as thickheaded as they were. God calls us to leave and we must choose to leave. But we don't always choose to do that quickly, sadly sometimes never at all.

Lysa writes, "Our thoughts about how God wants to use us are much too small. That is why we hesitate to leave our old ways behind." Once again, we have to choose to leave. I don't know about you,  but I want to enter into the promised land God has been calling me to. I know that means leaving behind the old, fighting some giants, and possessing the land. I also know it flows with milk and honey. I once heard that meant that it was a prosperous land, natural prosperous. A place where livestock would have plenty of grass for grazing and plants would grow. Sounds like a nice place to me.

Lysa also mentions 3 questions to ask to see if what you believe you are being called truly is from God:
*does it line up with the Word?
* will it cause me to be more like Christ?
* do I have a peace in my heart when I pray about it?

So, it's time to leave the leaving section of this book. On to learning about the preview of the other sections of this book. The first being famine. Sounds like fun doesn't it?!