Archives for May 2011

May 31

Our “Hidden Joy” Community :)

I just love our little Bible study community we have here!  You are amazing!  Thank you so much for being a part of this group!

If you are visiting for the first time and are looking for the Week 1 assignments for the Hidden Joy Bible study, they can be found HERE.

I was touched that so many of you commented and shared so openly and honestly in the first two days of our study. I was blessed by your encouragement for one another and moved by your prayers.  We are a little community here, population 3000.

Two weeks ago in church, my pastor taught about 3 excuses we often give instead of trusting God and being obedient to Him. I’m not going to go into details about the whole message, but these excuses are the same ones I used for years instead of moving forward.

“I’m not worthy.”

“It’s too hard.”

“Not now.”

Some of you may be feeling this way about this study.  You think that hope and healing aren’t for you.  Here’s what my pastor had to say about that:

“Holiness is not what God wants from me, it is what He wants for me.”  Worthiness not required. We don’t have it and God doesn’t need it.  It’s only because of Him in us that we can be called worthy in the first place.

“We go to the wrong sources to find fulfillment”   and when we get there we are still empty!  Sure it’s hard, but until we finally give into God, it’s never going to get easier or better.  We will be missing something.

“God doesn’t want to change you in the future, He wants to change you NOW.”  Like in today.

This community is here for you.  This community cannot save you, heal you, or fix your problems.  This community can encourage you, love you, support you, and pray for you.  As a part of this community, I ask you to take ownership of this Bible study.  Make friends, be real, and open your heart to God.

Monday, you were asked to write a prayer for yourself.  I hope you will make it a habit to prayer for yourself.  It’s important.  (Gotta put your oxygen mask on first before you can be of help to anyone else!)

Today I’d like for you to write/say a prayer for your sisters here in this community and in our Bible study group.  I encourage you to share your prayer with us in the comment section of this blog.  It will be such an encouragement to read how we are all lifting each other up.  Doesn’t it make you feel fantastic to know that someone is praying for you???  Imagine how you will feel to know that 3000 are praying for you???  Wow!

Here’s my prayer for you:

To My Loving Father,

I am overwhelmed and in awe of this group that you have brought together.  I celebrate the work You will do in their lives through the transforming power of Your Word.

Lord, for each and every person in this study, I pray:

*for hope to become real

*for her to believe that healing is possible for her

*for her to give You the control over her life

*that she know she is loved

*that she know she is valued

*that she open her heart, let You in

*that the walls of shame, fear, rejection, and unworthiness are broken down and remain down

*that she would turn to You for shelter and refuge and she will find You at every turn in her life

*that she feels Your love, acceptance, and sweet desire for her to have a full life

*that she finds her joy and will proceed through her life depending on You and living free.

In Jesus’ Sweet Precious Name, I pray, Amen.

 

You are a blessing to this group!   I am so thankful to be on this journey with EACH of you.  <3

 

Melissa
May 28

Hidden Joy~Week 1

Here is where our journey begins.  If you do not have your book yet, do not be discouraged. You can easily catch up. We are taking this study at a doable pace.

The assignments given each week (posted on Sundays) are suggestions. You can, of course, alter them to better suit your schedule and need. That’s the beauty of an online study.

I want to acknowledge that I know for many of you this will be the most difficult thing you’ve done. Participating in this study seems risky. Why go there?  Why revisit the painful events of the past?  Let me assure you that author, Wendy Blight, our team at Proverbs 31 Ministries, our conference call guests, and I all know this won’t be easy. But, hear me on this. You deserve the best. You can have a life filled with hope.  You are not supposed to be a victim forever. You can be free.

I used to think when people said they had found Jesus and now their life was soooo awesome and free, that it was simple. Just ask Christ into your life, spend some time  with God, go to church, maybe even get involved in a Bible study to stay on track and the rewards would come.  I found out it wasn’t so easy. I couldn’t just go down a checklist to assure my security in life. So what was missing and why was it so hard?  How come others had their freedom in Christ, but I couldn’t have mine?  I was trying hard. I was being just as good as they were.

What I discovered is exactly what the Bible tells us. Make note that the Bible never says life will be easy. In fact, Jesus tells us just the opposite.

John 16:33-“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

We are clearly told by Jesus, we will have trouble.  But he doesn’t want us to stay there.  In another passage, He says this:

John 14:1-Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.” (believe=trust)

John 14:27- “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Yes, we will have trouble, but our hearts don’t have to stay there. God is the answer. Jesus is the answer.  We have peace through Jesus.  He offers it, but we have to take it. We have to believe it’s true. We have to DECIDE that it’s possible.  It’s a daily choice. We can’t just say, “Oh I decide”  and then skip along our merry way. The hauntings will come back. Nightmares. Triggers of the past. People who remind us. We have to decide that we believe with God it’s possible. Not easy, but possible.

Matthew 19:26- Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Decide to believe that Isaiah 43:18-19 is for you:

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

God is doing a new thing in your life, starting now. Don’t look back with doubt and fear. Look  ahead with hope, believing and deciding this is for you.  You are worth it. You are.

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1b)

God is calling you, summoning you by name. I imagine, this is what He’s saying to you.

“_____________(fill in your name here) do not fear. It’s time to let go of fear. You belong to Me. I will keep you safe. I will be your shelter. I have taken care of it. Trust Me and let Me lead you.  Joy, hope and healing are waiting for you, but I need you to commit to Me. I need you to trust Me. I will meet You where you are, but I need you to meet Me too. Are you ready? Let’s go.”

Let’s Go.

(You may want to print the rest of this post. Many hang it on their fridge, place it in their study book or Bible, or keep it at their workspace. It contains the entire first week of assignments.)

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Words of the week:

Fear

Decide

 

Many of us are ruled by fear. It paralyzes us. It keeps us from moving forward. We are scared and afraid. And we have good reason!  Take a deep breath my sweet friend.  Let’s all hold hands in cyber space.  Join together.  Eyes up. Lift them up to the Lord. If our eyes are on Jesus, then they aren’t on our fear. Let’s decide to trust.  Let’s decide to believe.  We can do it. We have God. We have each other. Let’s encourage and pray for one another.  Here we go.

Sunday– Read this post of assignments.  Make sure you have a place to read and study. Have your supplies ready. A few suggestions: pen, highlighters, journal or notebook, Bible, and of course your copy of Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner.  Read back over the verses in this post.  Record at the front of your journal/notebook these verses. Read them often to remind yourself of what God’s Word says. Use these verses to combat any negative or defeating thoughts in your head.

Monday– Read the sections of Hidden Joy, titled “With Gratitude…” and “Our Journey BEGINS.” After reading, record in your journal your thoughts about proceeding through this study. What do you hope to gain through this study?  What are your doubts about going through this study?  Fears?  What is your goal?  Record a prayer for yourself. Write honestly to God. Be real, no masks, no hiding.  If you are willing, share your prayer for yourself on Melissa’s blog today, but if you want to keep it between you and God, that’s totally fine too!  It’s good to pray for yourself. Don’t ever feel selfish about doing that.  In John17, Jesus prays for himself, His disciples, then for future believers.  He begins with Himself. If it’s good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for us!

Tuesday– Read chapter 1 which, honestly, is hard to read.  Wendy tells the story of her rape. She doesn’t hold back, she shares this for what it was. And she shares her doubts and fears. She shares the ugliness and loss of  life as she knows it in her experience.  As you read, use your highlighter to highlight things that stick out in your mind or you may want to return to later.  Write a prayer for your sisters who are also in this study with you.  Share the prayer on Melissa’s blog if you wish. It sure will be encouraging to read all those prayers for each other!

Wednesday– After reading chapter 1 yesterday, we are still left with Wendy hopeless.  Can you relate to that?  Still feeling hopeless?  Well, this is where the study gets good!  Turn to “Reflection and Study” section of your book on p. 177.  Today, complete the questions for chapter 1 on p. 178-179.  Record your answers in your journal.  Read Wendy’s prayer for our journey together on p. 179. Read it aloud. Decide to believe this prayer for you…for all of us.

Thursday and Friday– Catch up days.  Check Melissa’s blog for a new post or maybe a Vlog. (Video blog)

Saturday– This is Melissa’s day of rest.  There will be no post on this day.  She is somewhere having a fun day doing something she enjoys :)  She’s not working today.  Make sure you do this at least once a week too!

If you are on Facebook, make sure to check out my Online Bible Studies Facebook Page.  Here’s the link:   http://www.facebook.com/MelissaTaylorsOnlineBibleStudies

There is information, encouragement, Scripture, and discussion about this study going on 24/7!   Please join us!

Check this blog Sunday, June 5th for the next week’s assignments!

Much Love and Loads of Prayers and Blessings to Each of You <3

Melissa
May 27

Get Ready!

Hey HJ Gals!

How are you doing? With the start date quickly approaching, I hope you are as ready as I am to get this party started!!! Are you? We have more signed up for this online study than any study we’ve done so far! We have surpassed the 2500 mark! How huge! How epic! We have a group with over 2500 women who are ready for change, ready to live life to the fullest! And it is possible!

I’m going to repeat some information here, but since we have so many that have recently signed up and not received an email before, I feel like I need to. Plus there are some of you who need to hear it again, because according to your emails you didn’t get it the first time (not mentioning any names…) haha, I hope you know I’m joking!
Seriously, this may be your last email before the study begins, so read carefully. I’m going to try to answer many of the questions I’ve received right now!

If you still want to sign up or know someone who wants to sign up for the study or the Conference Call Series, it’s not too late. Go ahead and sign up, order a book, and get in on the empowering conference calls. Information can be found here: http://melissataylor.org/and-more/

If you haven’t received your book yet, don’t worry! Yes, we are beginning this Sunday, but we are moving at a slow pace. You will be able to catch up. I’ll begin posting about the study on Sunday, May 29th, but the posts will always be online for you to access. Personally, I think as long as you have your book by the 3rd week in June, you could easily catch up. Keep checking my blog, http://melissataylor.org/ .

Stephanie Clayton is a licensed counselor who will be featured on 2 of our conference calls and present on all 4. She has been praying for you. She is dedicated to you. She cares and has a heart of gold! She is also giving away 5 books on her blog!!!! For a chance to win, visit http://myloveletter2god.blogspot.com/2011/05/twenty-five-hundred.html and leave a comment! She will announce the winners next Tuesday, Wendy Blight will sign the books next Wednesday, and the Proverbs 31 Office will mail them out Wednesday afternoon! Don’t miss this opportunity to possibly win and more importantly get to know Stephanie. She has quickly become one of my favorite people in the world! And we are so blessed to have her in this study! Even if you don’t need to win a book, still go read her post. Such a blessing.

Many of you have asked about the schedule. Specific assignments will be posted each Sunday, but here is our timeline:
Week 1- Chapter 1 (begin May 29)
Week 2- Chapter 2 (begin June 5)
Week 3- Chapter 3, Conf Call 1 (begin June 12)
Week 4- Chapter 4 (begin June 19)
Week 5- Chapter 5, Conf Call 2 (begin June 26)
Week 6- Chapter 6 (begin July 3)
Week 7- Chapter 7, Conf Call 3 (begin July 10)
Week 8- Chapter 8 (begin July 17)….She Speaks Conference Meet Up, Concord, NC
Week 9- Chapters 9-10 (begin July 24)
Week 10- Chapter 11, Conf Call 4 (begin July 31)

There are many praying for you. Praying that Isaiah 43:19 is becoming real to you and that you are believing that God is doing a new thing in you. Earlier in this same chapter, He says, “Fear not, I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Try to grasp that. It is time to kiss fear good-bye. He knows your name and calls you. Answer Him! We have to begin by CHOOSING (we may not feel it, but it’s a choice…CHOOSE IT) to believe God has great Isaiah 43:19 and 43:1b plans for us. It’s our time. Time to move ahead with hope. Please join me in taking the responsibility to pray for other group members and to pray for yourself. We are a group, brought together by divine appointment. It’s no accident. I’m glad we are in this together. It makes me feel better to not be in this alone. I’m honored to have you join me.

If you have any questions, email MelissaTaylorQuestions@gmail.com. Either Angie or I will get back in touch with you.

Much Love to this awesome Bible study group!!!! I love you and can’t wait to get started! Check my blog Sunday, May 29th for Week 1 Assignments!

Blessings,
Melissa

*Don’t forget to check out Stephanie Clayton’s blog today!!!! We are so blessed to have her on our side in this study! http://myloveletter2god.blogspot.com/2011/05/twenty-five-hundred.html

Melissa