May 28, 2012

Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner: Week Eight with a Giveaway

First, Happy Memorial Day!  I grew up an Army brat, so this day always holds a special place in my heart.  If you serve in the military, are married to someone in the military, or have lost a loved one through military service, we offer prayers on your behalf today.  We are so thankful for the men and women who selflessly serve our country so that we may enjoy the freedom we have in America.  Praying you experience an extra measure of God’s love, mercy and grace today.

It’s hard to believe Week Eight has arrived.  My heart always feels a heavy sadness when an on-line study ends.  Thank you for your faithfulness to read, study, and pray each and every week.  How I will miss meeting with you each Monday, so please continue to stop by and visit.

Thank you again to Noelle and her boot camp team for Hidden Joy books.  I will sign each of your books.  I told Noelle I would go into the office tomorrow (Tuesday) to sign them but forgot that I am flying to Nashville, Tennessee tomorrow.  So I hope you girls are fine with waiting a few extra days for your books.  I will sign them upon my return, and we will get them in the mail to you.

This week we spend time in Chapters Ten and Eleven, and the word for the week is ABIDING.  Spend time this week doing just that…abiding in Christ.  Find time to sit with Jesus and soak up all that He has for you.  Give Him a part of each day and listen for His voice.  Bring Him your questions, your doubts, your hurts…your deepest desires.  As you do, know I will be praying for the Lord to minister to each of you personally through His Word and His Holy Spirit.

I also invite you this week to leave a comment and/or prayer for my dear friend, Bobbie, who you will read about in Chapter Eleven.  I share her story on my video message. She and her husband, Robert, are the reason you hold Hidden Joy in your hands today.  Bobbie learned just a few months ago that she had cancer.  Below is a picture of Bobbie not long after her diagnosis.  Notice her hands lifted, eyes gazing toward heaven, praising her Father in heaven.  Her words to her husband were “You know, nothing has changed.  Our calling is still the same…To trust God, to love people and to grow in godliness.”  Her love for Jesus truly inspires me each and every day.

 

Thank you for blessing Bobbie this week with messages of affirmation and encouragement.  Also, as always, please continue to share your thoughts on your homework and your abiding time experiences.  From your comments this week, I will choose one name to win a signed copy of Marilynn Chadwick’s book, Sometimes He Whispers, Sometimes He Roars. 

Below please find this week’s video lesson, assignment, and prayer.

Assignment: Read Chapters Ten and Eleven in Hidden Joy, “Abiding in Christ” and “A New Song.”  Complete the Guide for Reflection and Study questions for Chapters Ten and Eleven located in the back of the book.

Memory Verse: “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear and put the trust in the Lord.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the words of Truth You have revealed to me over these last several weeks. Take them, plant them deep within my heart, let them take root and flourish within me.  Bring Your transforming power into my life.  Heal me.  Restore me.   From this day forward, give me eyes and ears to see and hear all that You desire to teach me. Give me an understanding heart.   Help me to trust You in all your ways.  I give You total access to my heart, the heart You created and specially formed within me.  Bring the fullness of Your Spirit into my life; shine the Light of Your Word into my darkness.  Come and meet me each and ever day as I commit to spend more time with You.  I love You, Lord and ask all this in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, my Lord.  Amen.

Please know I will be praying for you throughout the week, and I look forward to hearing from you!!

Blessings,

May 21, 2012

Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner: Week Seven

Our theme for the week is PRAYER!  Noelle set the foundation for this week’s chapter as she so graciously offered up beautiful prayers for many of you throughout last week’s comments.

Before we begin today, we want to announce the winners of Noelle’s Giveaway.  She has written a note regarding the giveaway.  PLEASE READ CAREFULLY AS YOU WILL BE AMAZED AT HOW THIS GIVEAWAY HAS TRANSFORMED!!  Please find her note below:

Isn’t it amazing how we can have a spark of desire in our hearts, and when we lift it to God, He can create a wildfire? I have the distinct privilege of working out with an amazing boot camp team at o’dark thirty each weekday morning. We believe in striving for our own goals and at the same time, fighting the good fight for others. On Wednesday, I shared the idea of randomly choosing three ladies to receive copies of Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner.

My team took that vision and multiplied it. As a team, we would like to offer a copy of Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner to every lady who posted a comment this past week. If you don’t already have a copy, we know that this book will bless you beyond measure. If you do have a copy, we would love for you to give the gift of hope and healing that you have received and pay it forward.

We believe that God can work miracles in and through your hearts.

With love and support,

Transformation by Truth boot camp team in Aliso Viejo, California
  Noelle, Molly, Amy, Jill, Ed, Greg, Juan, Jen, Holly, Bill, Shelley, Denise, Rekha, Sagar, Nora, Tami, Dianne, Colleen, Margarita, Jamie, Ron, Gisselle, Mary, Sarah, Christine, Dayna, “Hollywood” Audry, Gina, Freya

 

Noelle's Boot Camp

 

When I received this e-mail from her, I was truly blown away.  Their generosity truly brought tears to my eyes because, other than Noelle, I have never met a single one of them.  But God ordained it.  He moved their hearts to give in this way.  Why?  Because God is omnipotent.  He knew there was a need for  you or someone in your circle of friends and family to truly know His Hope as told through Hidden Joy.  He knew the goodness in Noelle and in the hearts of her boot camp friends.   And God made a way to meet your needs through their generosity.

As for this week, I am  excited about spending a week on prayer.  In the video, you will find an invitation to write a prayer.  You may write a few sentence prayer or a paragraph.  My heart’s desire is that we put into practice what we learn.  Please share your prayer with us!!!

You will also find a book recommendation.  My dear friend (and wife of my pastor), Marilynn Chadwick, has written a book on prayer entitled Sometimes He Whispers, Sometimes He Roars.  It is her first book and one of my favorite books on prayer.  If you would like to meet Marilynn, click here to see an interview she and I did a few months ago.  Also, feel free to stop by her web site and say hello.  She would love to hear from you.  Marilynn gave me one of my first opportunities to share my testimony.  Because of her invitation and encouragement, I felt confident to step out and share it more and more.

Below please find this week’s video lesson, assignment, and prayer.

Assignment: Read Chapter Nine in Hidden Joy, “Prayer.” Complete the Guide for Reflection and Study questions for Chapter Nine located in the back of the book.

Memory Verse: “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Colossians 4:2

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, I praise You as the source of all Truth, as the Author and Perfector of my faith.  Thank You for creating me to be in relationship with You. Thank You that You desire for me to come before You in prayer.  I commit to deepen my times of prayer with You.  Please meet me every time I open my heart to receive all You have to offer.  Bring the fullness of Your Spirit into my prayer time with You.  Let me sense the power of Your presence.  Show me that You are active and listening.  I claim Your promise that when I draw near to You, You will draw near to me.  May I be different because of the time I spend in prayer with You.  Change me as a woman, as a wife, as a mother, as a friend, and as Your servant.  Make me a blessing to all those for whom I pray.  May I draw others to You because of what You are going to do through me.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Please know I will be praying for you thorughout the week, and I look forward to reading your prayers!!

Blessings,

May 14, 2012

Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner: Week Six w/ a Giveaway!

Welcome to Week Six of our Hidden Joy on-line study. This week we study Chapter Eight, “Quiet Time.”

***** Remember  the Prayer of Forgiveness is now available under the “Free Resources” link located in the top bar of this web site. Click here if you would like a copy of the Prayer. This takes you directly to my free resources. Click on the link that says “Prayer of Forgiveness.” If you have any trouble, just let me know. *****

This week we have another special guest post written by my dear friend and sister in Christ, Noelle.  Noelle and I met through my on-line studies.  She has been one of our greatest encouragers, supporters, and prayer warriors.  I asked her what she would like for me to share about her and have copied her words below.  These few sentences reveal the passion of her heart more than any introduction I could ever write.

God has taken me down some crazy paths in my life, including surviving heart failure when I was 28 and losing both of my parents in the span of 62 days. Through the twists and turns, God has completely transformed my heart, mind and body by His truth. My heart’s desire is to walk alongside others as they uncover their own heart, mind and body transformations. 

Noelle has journeyed through very difficult trials in her life, and God has brought her through them in some powerful ways.   I invited her to share bits and pieces of her journey with you today.  She has written a beautiful message straight from her heart.. I am praying that her words encourage you and motivate you to go deeper still in your personal time with God.

If her words speak to you today, please leave her a comment in the comment section of my web site.  Noelle has graciously offered to do a giveaway with her guest post.  She will give away three copies of Hidden Joy and will select  the winners from the comments you leave this week.  If you already have a copy, we would love for you to give the copy you win away.

At the end of Noelle’s message you will find the video for the week as well as this week’s memory verse and homework assignment. The prayer for the week is Noelle’s prayer.

I asked my doctor what went through his mind 13 years ago when he was called into the emergency room.  His eyes filled with tears as he explained, “I couldn’t sleep a wink that night because I knew you would be dead by the morning.”  We had a special patient-physician bond since I was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease in my early twenties.  Knowing my kidneys were my weakness, we were both completely blindsided when the fight for my life ended up being unexpected heart failure when I was 28 years old.

It was nearly impossible to reconcile.  Within the span of hours, I went from being an athlete to needing emergency open heart surgery.   After my operation, I was on life support.  The physical pain was excruciating.   Fear and anxiety filled my days.  Oddly enough, though, I grew accustomed to this new way of life.  I’m not saying any of it was enjoyable… or even tolerable… but I got used to it.  There was only one thing I couldn’t endure.  My thirst.  All of the adjectives in our language cannot begin to describe how thirsty I was.

When I came out of my coma-like state, I used my best sign language to ask for a glass of water.  I was still in critical condition, so my fluids had to be significantly limited.  Instead of water, my nurse would put a couple of ice chips in my mouth.  Those ice chips did nothing for me, so I’d try to sleep as much as possible to escape my torment.  In my dreams, I’d fantasize about drinking glass after glass of pure water until my thirst was quenched.   It was heaven… until I woke up to… another ice chip.  As you can imagine, when I graduated from life support in the ICU to a regular hospital room and the nurse brought me a pitcher of water, I almost broke down in tears. 

Did you know that we are all born with that same kind of thirst? 

As the deer longs for streams of water,
so I long for you, O God.
I thirst for God, the living God.
When can I go and stand before him? (Psalm 42:1-2 NLT)

This psalmist knows his deep thirst and he knows that only time with God can satisfy his need.  Your soul is thirsty.  Are you quenching your thirst with springs of “Living Water” (Jeremiah 2:13; 17:13) by having a daily quiet time?

What does your quiet time look like?  If you asked me ten years ago, I would have answered you this way (use your best robotic voice as you read), “First I go to my kitchen table, then I read one chapter from the Old Testament, one chapter from the New Testament, one Psalm, one Proverb and then I pray for ten minutes.”  Now, I know God honored my discipline, but I was trying to quench my thirst with ice chips.  I was still thirsty for more! 

How about you?  Do you have your quiet times scheduled in your calendar as irrevocable appointments?  Think of it this way.  If Wendy Blight said she was coming to your town and really wanted to meet you (probably at Chick-fil-A for some sweet tea), you know darn well that you would be there with bells on!  You would want to know all about her and you would be so excited to share what’s on your heart.  Admittedly, it can be hard to have that same excitement with God since He’s invisible to our eyes.  But Jesus said, “…Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”  (John 20:29 NLT)

Once you have your Father-daughter date scheduled in your calendar, what are you going to do?  Consider the newfound victory you are living in: you are finding forgiveness and releasing strongholds.  You have the freedom of a new life!  God is holding your face in His hands and He excitedly says, “See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19 NIV84)  He is making a way in the desert!  Streams in the wasteland!  In other words, He is offering Living Water, not ice chips!

There are two tactics that have helped me transition from ice chips to water.  I have personalized my quiet times with God, and I have personalized His tone of voice so I can hear Him deep in my heart. 

I’ve traded my robotic quiet times for tailor made dates with my Heavenly Father.  Before I begin my quiet time, I take a moment to see where my heart pulls me.  Most early mornings I spend my time in my home office with a cup of coffee.  But there are instances when I feel drawn to get cozy on the couch, or maybe the kitchen table seems more fitting.  On the weekends, I drive out to my favorite bench which overlooks the beach.  Sometimes I let God lead me through the Bible.  Other mornings, I might be in the mood to sing praise music (I’m convinced my parrot-squawking voice sounds more like Carrie Underwood to God’s ears).  There are times when I’m involved in Bible studies and other times when I just want to write God a love letter or a thank you note. 

I’ve also learned to personalize God’s voice.  Matthew 11:28 is Jesus’ call to us when we are tired and burned out, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”  I’ll tell you… when I was drinking ice chips, I couldn’t relate to that verse since I heard a Harlequin-romance-meets-Old-English voice in my mind.  But just as we use different tones of voices when we speak to different people, God’s voice is personalized to each of us.  I’m a playful and quirky girl.  In faith, I picture Jesus running a few strides in front of me turning to me with a big smile and calling me with a strong voice, “Come to me Noelle!”  Now, I can relate to that.  I have a friend who is more of a romantic, and she hears that verse whispered in her ear.  That resonates in her heart.

What about you?  How can you go from ice chips to Living Water?  Are your daily Father-daughter dates scheduled in your calendar?  What can you do to personalize them?  Do you hear God’s voice in a tone that touches your heart?  Drink up girlfriends!  God is pouring out Living Water for you and me…  Cheers!

 

Noelle, thank you for sharing this beautiful message with us! And, yes, I do LOVE me some sweet tea.

 

Below is this week’s video lesson, assignment, and prayer.

Assignment: Read Chapter Eight in Hidden Joy, “Quiet Time.” Complete the Guide for Reflection and Study questions for Chapter 8 located in the back of the book.

Memory Verse: “Be still and know that I am God..” Psalm 46:10

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for this amazing “small” group. You perfectly called each one here because Jesus has set her free… free indeed! As the heavy chains of unforgiveness are broken and as each stronghold is rendered powerless, You are calling us to an exciting new life! Give us ears to hear You as You call us to our special Father-daughter date each day. Help us to personalize our quiet times so we can fall madly in love with You. Help us to recognize that our thirst can be quenched by You alone. In our lives today, we can get deceived and think that busyness is a badge of honor. Our cell phones buzz, Facebook draws us in, even serving at church can take us away from the intimate times You want to have with us. Let us not be conformed to the patterns of this world, but let us be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Our quiet times help us to renew our minds. Abba, bring us from ice chips to Living Water. We love You so much. We lift our prayers and sing Your praises in Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Noelle and I will be praying for God to speak personally and powerfully to each one of you as you become intentional in your time alone with God.  Please share with us what you experience throughout the week in your quiet time.  And don’t forget when you leave a comment, your name will be included  for a chance to win a copy of Hidden Joy.

Blessings,