Dec 6

Dear Jesus, I Need You

Do you ever feel like you are just exhausted from trying to help, please, encourage, even love on others? You want to please those you love and especially please God…and yet your efforts don’t seem to work out how you intended?  Here’s what I do when this happens and it’s a very mature response. I withdraw and cry.  There I said it.  And sometimes I’ll mope a few days. Some confident heart I have huh?

Although I didn’t write the prayer below, I sure feel like I could have. I received it in my email from the 30 Day Jesus Calling Christmas Devotional.

 

Prayer:

Dearest Jesus, You know I want to do so much for You and for those I love. But things just keep going wrong, and I cannot seem to stem the tide of failure. I am clumsy and slow. My efforts seem to cause damage rather than relieve pain. The words I say in comfort come out flat, lacking consolation. The service I render feels inadequate–a single drop of rain in a desert of need. What I lack in skill, I try to make up for in effort, in the hopes that expending twice as much time and energy will bring many more results. Yet the needs remain and no one is satisfied. It is frustrating to feel so ineffective when my greatest desire is to help others.

When will I see something positive for my efforts, Lord? You know my heart. You know my desire to serve You. And You know how hard it is to see things falling apart around me. I long for my life to be marked by successes rather than by failures.

No Kidding I Could Have Written That Today:

But I didn’t. So that must mean I’m not alone.

Jesus’ Response (from the email Christmas devo):

Devotion:

When things seem to be going all wrong, stop and affirm your trust in Me. Calmly bring these matters to Me, and leave them in My capable hands. Then, simply do the next thing. Stay in touch with Me through thankful, trusting prayers, resting in My sovereign control. Rejoice in Me–exult in the God of your salvation! As you trust in Me, I make your feet like the feet of a deer. I enable you to walk and make progress upon your high places of trouble, suffering, or responsibility.

My Response:

Dear Jesus, I need You.

That is all. I need You.


A Confident Heart:

Isn’t this exactly what we’ve been facing during this entire study? And here we are at the end, our current chapter titled, The Woman I Want to Be. We know what we believe. We know what to do.  Placing our “things” no matter what they are into God’s capable hands. Practicing letting go. Repeating God’s Word. And allowing ourselves the ok to mess up, fail, or fall short. Remembering that we do our best for an Audience of One and to stay in touch with Him. Don’t dwell on us…wah wah wah…but dwell on Him and His Promises.  “Dear Jesus, we need You.”

P. 224

When I say: I just want to quit.

God Says: Be strong and do the work.

Powerful Promise: Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. (1 Chron. 28:20 NLT)

P. 222

When I say: I can’t do it.

God Says: Rely on My strength and you can do all that I’ve called you to do.

Powerful Promise: I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me. (Phil. 4:13 AMP)

 

Chapter 12 is full of “I say, God says…”  Check it out and let me know which one is speaking to you today.  I’m giving away Made to Crave, our next Bible study. If you share in the comment section, you just might win it! Winner will be selected by Wednesday noon EST.

 

With Love and Confidence,

Melissa <3

Melissa
Dec 5

Inhale…Exhale~A Confident Heart~Week 11

Inhale peace and confidence…exhale fear and doubt.

Samantha, my friend here in the office at Proverbs often asks me why I sigh so loudly. So does my husband, Jeff. Both of them usually ask, “What’s wrong?” Funny, I rarely realize that I do it. It’s not a sigh of dread or gloom, it’s more an exhale of the poison inside. The fear. The doubt. The need to be loved. The insecurity. A release and surrender.

All day I’m inhaling poison. A way too busy day. A criticism. A hurt child. A broken down car that I can’t afford to fix. A mess up that’s my fault. Marriage conflicts. Someone I love who is fighting for their life….yea, that one was a doozy. When I inhale deep and exhale hard, it is cleansing for me. And as I do it, I think, inhale Jesus, exhale junk.

The past 2 weeks, I was probably about the scaredest (is that a word…probably not) I’ve been since my mom died. Danielle, who I love like a daughter, spent 10 days in the hospital, literally fighting for her life. She has a heart condition and this isn’t the first time she’s had a hospital stay due to that. But it was the first I’ve been a part of. Watching someone you love so much go on and off the vent and hearing the words “Code Blue” don’t exactly fill you with peace and comfort.

Danielle and I met 7 months ago. We were introduced by Lysa TerKeurst. It wasn’t long at all before we were very good friends. I talked to her everyday, prayed for her, tried to fill her with the encouragement and love that a broken person is in need of. Of course I couldn’t do it all, and Jesus stepped in. It was the highlight of my year when she accepted Christ on June 10th. I knew then that no matter what happened to her, she would indeed be ok. The following day, I received a note from her, one that blessed me and I will treasure for the rest of my life. Much of it is personal, but here’s the big picture.

She thanked me for being there NMW (no matter what) and for being Ohana to her. (Ohana is from the movie Lilo and Stitch. It means “family” and family means no one is forgotten or left behind.) She said I believed in her and that gave her the courage to fight. And then she said something I will never forget. “You may never change the whole entire world (you might), but I want you to know that you changed MY whole entire world!”

 

Seriously y’all, I didn’t do that much. I just loved her like I knew Jesus wanted me to. It wasn’t even hard.  And that’s what I want to stress to you here. We’ve been studying how to have a confident heart. And that through the power of God’s Word, our doubts can be dismissed. We take that in for ourselves. Think about how Renee Swope has changed your life. She is one person who wrote a book that you read. You have the same ability and opportunity to do that for someone else. Look for those opportunities.

Never did I expect to have the amazing pleasure of playing a part in changing someone’s world, yet God gave Danielle and I a divine appointment. That was then. And today, I can honestly say to her, “Danielle, You may never change the whole entire world (you might), but I want you to know that you changed MY whole entire world!” I feel like I was way more blessed by her than she could be by me.

As we go through our last week of A Confident Heart, I want you to focus on how the Lord is working in your life to instill confidence and peace. As a challenge, I also want you to look for ways to give what you’ve taken in to someone else. It doesn’t take much, yet it can make a big difference. For some of you it may be by giving to someone that you see regularly. For others it may be an encouraging word on Facebook or in the comment section of this blog. It feels good to focus on someone besides ourselves occasionally :)

I feel like through the course of this study, you have learned how to read and study on your own. This is your chance to share with me and the rest of us.

If you had to select a word of the week, what would it be?

If you had to select a memory verse of the week, what would it be?

Read Chapter 11. Admittedly I’m partial to this chapter because my son, Dylan, and I are in it.

Read Chapter 12.  It’s not really a chapter, it’s a powerful tool and resource that you will want to refer back to over and over again.

Please comment today. I’ve missed y’all SO MUCH!!! I haven’t been on email or the blog in a while because I was with Danielle in the hospital. I really missed my Bible study gals! And a huge thank you to Stephanie Clayton and all who pitched in to keep this study going. And a super huge thank you to all of you who have been praying for sweet Danielle. I’m happy to report that she came home on Saturday and is doing much better.

Have a super day y’all!  I’ll be checking in all during the week. And we may even have a few give aways…I feel like sharing the love this week!

<3

Melissa
Nov 26

A Confident Heart – Week 10

“Trust in the Lord God will ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

Hey ya’ll…so it’s Stephanie and I’m taking over Melissa’s blog for the week!!! Which I LOVE to do because I LOVE to hang out over here! Even more so after a week like last week when I was reminded of just how nasty life can be.

If you keep up with the Online Bible Studies Facebook page, you know that Melissa has spent the last few days with a friend of ours who has been very ill in the hospital. Being hundreds of miles away in Texas, I have felt helpless as there has been absolutely nothing I can do for that dear friend in the hospital, except pray. Why do I say this, “except pray”, like it is some sort of last resort rather than the best option? If I was there I would sit next to her. If I was there I would bring her coffee and milkshakes and read to her. I would stay with her so that she would not be alone and somehow all of these things seemed better than prayer.

I often question why I have to be so far away from her and other people I care about. I wonder if God doesn’t question the same thing…why am I so far away from Him? The difference is that I couldn’t get to my friend because she lives hundreds of miles away. But God, He is closer than my husband who sits right next to me. He lives inside of me, and yet at times I treat Him like He is somewhere up in the clouds.

How do we get to the point where we begin to treat God as our life breath rather than our final option? How do we learn to follow Him consistently? How do we come to the point where we trust Him with all of our heart and willingly choose to trust Him more than we trust ourselves? When will I get to the point where I don’t want to rescue my friend but rather lay her life in her Father’s hands knowing that is the best place for her to be?

When I think of literally trusting in God with all my heart, I imagine myself in a box surrounded by the walls of trust. There is no way to lean on my own understanding because every wall around is bathed in trusting Him. But some things don’t fit into my box. My friends hurting doesn’t fit into my trust God box because it doesn’t make sense to me. How could a God that loves her allow this to happen? This doesn’t look like love? It looks like hurt and sorrow and pain. I don’t understand. But God does.

What was not thought of, or known by me, is known by God. He knows the “why”, and my job is to trust. Trusting God in this world is like trying to stay dry in the pouring rain…it can only happen under shelter…the shelter of Him…otherwise it is impossible. But when we surround ourselves with Him, and abide in His promises we can see God’s promises beyond the pain. Our circumstances may not make sense, but God’s love is a truth we can trust.

This week as we explore Chapter 10 “I cannot follow God consistently” I hope you will keep two words in mind. The word “walk” and the word “heal”…two words that are essential to our journey with Christ. We must keep walking and He will keep healing…it won’t always be comfortable, but He will not let the pain exceed the purpose.

The week’s assignments are as follows:

Monday: Read Chapter 10…it has been my FAVORITE so far…although I do say this about every Chapter Renee has written!!!
Tuesday: Answer questions 1-2, and stop by Melissa’s blog for a post from me
Wednesday: Answer questions 3-4
Thursday: Answer questions 5-7, and stop by Melissa’s blog for a mystery surprise guest post
Friday: Review the chapter and questions if you would like to, and stop by Melissa’s blog for a vlog
Saturday: Rest!!!

Memory Verse: There are 2 options this week…

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1b

 
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight” Proverbs 3:5-6

 
It would be my honor to pray for you before you leave…
Dear Lord, thank you so much for my sweet, amazing, beautiful, beloved bible study sisters. Each and every day they inspire me and spur me forward to seeking more and more of you. Throughout the week help us to lean harder and harder into you. As we tear down walls made from hurt and shame, help us to build up walls of trust so that we may lean on you in any direction our circumstances take us. Equip us with peace, rest, love, and an understanding of your truth. Remind us that as we seek you more, come to know you more, and allow ourselves to be loved by you…we cannot help but follow you more and more consistently. Thank you for being always amazing. In Jesus Name I Pray, Amen.

Be loved this week dear sister…live loved…because you absolutely totally and perfectly loved by God.

Stephanie Clayton
http://www.stephanieclayton.org

Melissa