February 27, 2017

Walk Step by Step in the Light, Part 1 (Winner announced)

It’s hard to come face to face with our sin. The sin that comes because of our fallen nature (because of what happened in the Garden when Eve ate the fruit). It’s especially hard with those sins we commit over and over again. We speak a harsh word. We engage in gossip. We lose our temper. We succumb to fear instead of trusting God. Each time, we tell God we’re sorry and promise we will do better next time.

And we don’t.

It’s a vicious cycle.

On the other side, God’s Word calls us to live in the light.

What does that mean? It requires that our hearts, our actions our words, our thoughts, our values, and even our schedules align with His heart and His character, not with our sinful nature and fallen character.

So much harder said than done.

The good news I celebrate today is that living in the light doesn’t require perfection! Let me repeat those words.

Living in the light does not require perfection.

God does not require perfection.

Let those words sink deep.

Only Jesus is perfect.

God requires repentant hearts. When we sin, He asks that we immediately bring that sin before Him and confess it. When we follow this formula, He forgives us fully and completely.

In 1 John 1:7, John teaches his audience to “walk in the light.” The Voice translation says, “walk step by step in the light.” Jesus is the Light of the World, so walking in the light means walking step by step with Jesus, letting Him lead, direct, and guide us.

It’s a daily walk. And we don’t walk alone. We walk with a loving, forgiving Father who empowers us to do better each and every day through the indwelling presence of His Holy Spirit.

At times, we will take a wrong step … away from the light and toward darkness. And this step may interrupt our fellowship with God. But the good news is, we need only turn our hearts back toward our heavenly Father and ask forgiveness. He waits for us to come to Him with open arms. He longs to forgive and restore our fellowship with Him.

The key is agreeing with God about our sinful thoughts! Because agreeing with God about them brings them into to the light.

What happens in the light is glorious! We don’t find shame or condemnation, we find love and forgiveness. It is the place where God will work in our hearts not only to correct us but also train us to think, speak and act in new ways.

When we don’t take immediate action to walk back into the light, we leave the door wide open for the enemy to take full control of the reins of our heart and lead us deeper into darkness and further into sin.

I have lots more to share on this topic! In fact, it’s a bit of a foreshadow of things to come. Will you come back next week and join me for Part 2? I will have a script we can follow when we find ourselves in a cycle of sin. And I can’t wait to share it with you. Please come back next week!

Let me close with a prayer.

Thank you, Jesus, for leaving the glory of heaven to enter into the grit and grime of this dark world. Thank you that You are the Light of the World. The One who can shine light into the darkness lurking in our own hearts. And when You shine that light, it is free of shame and condemnation. Your light brings with it mercy, grace and conviction. We confess that we have dark places in our hearts. I agree with You in this moment, they interrupt our fellowship with You. We ask You to shine the lamp of Your light into the deepest crevices in our hearts. Forgive us. Renew our thoughts. Renew our hearts. Make it so we honor you in all we say and do. We ask this in Jesus’ precious name. Amen.

And I would love to hear your thoughts on what I shared today from 1 John and how sin interrupts our fellowship with God. If you have a few minutes, please leave a comment.

*****WINNER OF SHARON JAYNES’ BOOK*****

Susan who posted on February 20 at 11:03 pm.

Congratulations! Susan, please e-mail me at deuteronomysix@aol.com with your full name and mailing address so we can get you your book.

Blessings,

January 30, 2017

Live Full, Walk Free with Giveaway!

Happy Monday, friends! If you love our Inscribed Bible Studies, you will be excited to meet today’s guest. I’m thrilled to welcome our newest Inscribed Bible study teacher, and my friend, Cindy Bultema.

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God has given Cindy a beautiful story of redemption that will touch you like no other. She lived for years a lonely, rejected, cocaine-addicted single mom, living an empty, self-defeating, rebellious lifestyle, until the amazing day she met the One who set her free.

Her newly released Bible study, Live Full Walk Free: Set Apart in a Sin-Soaked World, celebrates her NEW life in Christ. She is now a married mother of 4, and this summer marked her 20th anniversary of being cocaine-free. Hallelujah! Only God!!

I know you have a deep love for Bible Study so that is why I’m extra excited to share this book with you. Cindy teaches from 1 Corinthians. Chapter by chapter, she will take you through Paul’s teachings and equip you to live a set-apart life for Christ in today’s sin-soaked culture.

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Enough of my words, let’s hear from Cindy:

Overcoming Addiction

Life wasn’t supposed to turn out this way.

As a red-haired, freckle-faced little girl, my childhood dreams included being a cheerleader, driving a fancy car, wearing sparkly things.

However, my story did not progress as I had planned. My young adult reality would have made for a depressing TV movie: bullying, betrayal, and rejection.  As I sought to fill my emptiness and loneliness, I sampled everything I could from the “smorgasbord of life.”

Food.  Shopping.  Alcohol.  Men.  Drugs.

Nothing worked.

Before long, I found myself as a single mom. Used.  Abused.  Alone.

Not knowing how to calm the caverns inside of me, I turned to outside remedies again. The bar became my nightly hang-out, and alcohol and cocaine use quickly consumed my life.

On the outside, everything looked fine. I worked hard and loved my 2-year-old son. But on the inside, I was still empty and hurting.

In the midst of my mess, I reached out to a friend’s mom and shared the web of deception I had created, and an intervention was arranged. Compassionate Christian women held yellow pads filled with strategies. Go to AA. Pursue inpatient therapy. Tell my parents.

None of the proposals appealed to me. I left the gathering with a fresh sense of self-confidence. “I can do this. I don’t need their help. Everything is under control.”

I discovered willpower alone is not enough to overcome the allure of addiction.

Soon the cravings were overwhelming, and I caved in to my temptations. Before long I was back in the bar making the same self-defeating choices.  “I’ll try again tomorrow” became my evening tune.

Two weeks later, I accidentally overdosed on cocaine.

After driving myself to a med center, my parents were quickly notified.  One concerned nurse informed my mom she should say her goodbyes to me, her only daughter.  The doctor’s prediction as they rushed me by ambulance to a local hospital: I would be dead on arrival.

Thankfully, I didn’t die like they expected (whew!), and the cocaine overdose became my “bottom.”  Out of desperation and a determination to survive, once again, I asked my friend’s mom for help.  This patient woman shared with me four simple words that have changed my life— 

“Cindy, you need Jesus.”

And on that day, freshly discharged from the hospital, I cried out to Jesus and asked Him to enter into my life and save me.

Can I just say – best decision ever?  Life has never been the same.

Willpower alone is not enough to overcome the allure of addiction – but Jesus is.

Jesus alone can rescue, redeem, deliver, restore, and open up prison gates and set any captive free. There is no one too far gone from His redemptive reach.

Now I wish I could share it’s been an easy, carefree journey of sobriety and freedom.   Not so much.

Although Jesus delivered me from my pit of despair, I’ve also had to do my part, including:

  • Pursuing a daily relationship with Jesus Christ through His Word and prayer.
  • Renewing my mind with Truth. 
  • Leaving behind the “old” life, involving: letting go of any alcohol/drug related friendships, and avoiding tempting environments.
  • Stopping secrets and lies, exposing all areas of my life to His Light.
  • Getting to the “root” of the problem through Godly counseling.
  • Asking for ongoing accountability.
  • Discovering and practicing healthy new habits.
  • Praying!  I ask God daily to protect me from temptation, replace my cravings with His satisfaction, surround me with women to build me up, and fill my heart and mind with Truth.   

The good news? This year I celebrated 20 years of sobriety. Yay, God!

Please know I’m not a trained therapist, just an ordinary girl transformed by an extraordinary God.  There isn’t a day I don’t invite Jesus to do His powerful work in my life. I’m desperate for Him. But I must show up to do my part as well. Life’s worth it.  Jesus is worth it!

How about you?

If you’ve been searching for something to fill the emptiness and find yourself ensnared by the lure of addiction, please remember, willpower alone is not enough to set you free. 

Sweet friend, you need Jesus.  Please don’t wait another day.

Giveaway

Leave a comment before 5:00 pm Friday (2/3) sharing a specific verse God spoke into your heart during a dark time to redeem or deliver you. We will choose one name to win a copy of Cindy’s study and the accompanying DVD. I will announce the winner Tuesday, February 7th.

More about the book:

Live Full Walk Free: Set Apart in a Sin-Soaked World is a six-chapter journey through 1 Corinthians. A six-session DVD is also available providing additional teaching from Cindy to enhance your study. For a FREE chapter of Live Full Walk Free, a set of A-Z scripture cards, and other resources, visit Cindy’s blog here: http://www.cindybultema.com/live-full-walk-free/.

More about Cindy

With nearly 20 years of ministry experience, Cindy is a popular women’s speaker, author, and Bible teacher. But don’t let her cheerful smile fool you—Cindy has endured single parenting, overcome bondage to addiction, and survived tragic loss. Cindy lives in Michigan with her husband and their four kids. Most days you can find Cindy walking her beagle Rocky, attending one of her boys’ hockey games, or serving hot lunch at her kids’ school.

April 7, 2016

First 5: Fix Your Eyes on Jesus w/Giveaway

“We must exchange whispers with God before shouts with the world.” Lysa TerKeurst, First 5 App.

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How do you begin your day?

Eyes fixed on Jesus

OR

Eyes fixed on your “to do” list

Option 2 was me a few days ago. So much to do today, Lord. I’ll feel much better if I just get these  three e-mails sent, my son’s lunch made and a few texts out of the way. Then I’ll meet with You.

That choice affected my perspective for the remainder of my morning. It started with a few choice words to my dog for throwing up under my desk. And next my son for failing to awaken early to do the chores I had asked him to do the night before. And finally my husband. I’ll leave that left unsaid. But you get the picture.

I wish this was a one time occurrence, but I confess there are days I jump out of bed and head into my day with the best of intentions to meet with Jesus later. But later never seems to come … until the next morning.

When the hard stuff hits that particular day, I have nothing. I’m empty. Without whispers from God, my emotions take the lead. Depending on the circumstances that arise, it might be impatience, anger, or unforgiveness. None of them productive or good. And most lead to shouts with the world.

The reason the Lord invites us to meet with Him in the morning is to shift our perspective off that “to do” list and onto Him.

In that quiet, focused place, we create space for Jesus to nourish our souls. When we open His living and active Word, it comes alive in our hearts. It takes root. The longer we linger, the more it remains. Over time it fills our hearts and saturates our minds.

If we begin our day with our eyes FIXED on Jesus,

when our circumstances seem impossible, we remember all things are possible! (Luke 18:27).

when we feel over committed and exhausted, we remember come to Me, and I will give you rest! (Matthew 11:28-30).

when we feel unloved and unworthy, we remember I love you with an everlasting love, and you are the apple of my eye. (Jeremiah 31:3, Zechariah 2:8).

when we feel lost and confused, we remember you will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart; I know the plans I have for you … plans for good and not disaster, to give you a future and a hope; I will direct your steps. (Jeremiah 29:11, 13; Proverbs 3:5-6).

when we have tasks that seem too great or beyond our strength, we remember you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you! (Philippians 4:13).

when we’re worried and anxious about many things, we remember do not be anxious for anything and cast all your cares upon me! (Philippians 4:6, 1 Peter 5:7).

when we feel alone, we remember I will never leave you or forsake you! (Hebrews 13:5).

If you struggle with fixing your eyes in Jesus, especially first thing in the morning, accept my invitation to meet us each morning for a short Bible teaching on our Proverbs 31 First 5 App.

First5.Logo.150[2][2]I have the privilege of serving on the writing team, along with 5 other amazingly gifted women. We are journeying through the Bible, one book at time. We have studied John, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Hebrews and soon we will jump into the book of Acts. Over 800,000 have signed up to fix their eyes on Jesus, and we would LOVE to have you! If you want to learn more, click here.

Leave a comment today and let me know if you have signed up for First 5 or if you are planning to sign up today! I will choose one winner from the comments to receive a copy of my new book, I Know His Name, and the accompanying teaching DVD. If you want to know more about my new book, click here.

A prayer for you …

Heavenly Father, forgive us for not inviting You into our lives each and every day. For every woman You have brought here, help her FIX her eyes on Jesus. As she commits to meet with You, show up in very personal ways, ways that she will KNOW that it is You. Big ways and small show up. Help her to know down to the depths of her soul how much You love and care about her. Help her to trust You in her circumstances. Give her a word, a touch, a whisper, anything she needs to hear Your voice. Thank You for Your promise that when we seek You with all our hearts, we will find You. Today we claim that promise and invite You to show up BIG as we fix our eyes on You. Thank You that You will do great and mighty works in our midst. I ask all this in Jesus’ powerful Name. AMEN

Blessings,