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.

January 17, 2017

Remember Who and Whose You Are

I love the story of David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17). The story of the little shepherd boy who defeated a 9 foot giant with only a sling and a stone. This past year, I felt as if I was against a giant. A giant so big, I felt helpless to battle it.

God took me back to this familiar story. What could I learn from this little shepherd boy He tapped to become the King of Israel?

The words I heard: Wendy, through this story, I am reminding you of who and Whose you are.

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Before David ever stepped foot on that battle field to fight Goliath, he knew who and Whose he was. We see this first through the words David spoke to King Saul when he volunteered to fight Goliath.

“Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:34-37).

The shepherd boy remained undaunted because he remembered his personal experiences with God. How God faithfully provided for him as he watched over his sheep. David refused to allow the words of his brothers, King Saul or anyone else to define and direct him. Instead, he went back to the last place God had been faithful. The last time God provided for his every need.

As children of the Living God, we too should never allow someone else’s words or opinions define and direct us. We must STOP listening to the words of man and return to the last time God was faithful. Recall His faithfulness. The times we remember Him acting, moving, and providing on our behalf.

We again see how David remembered who and Whose he was through the words he spoke to Goliath:

You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands” (1 Samuel 17:45-47).

David measured Goliath not against his own strength but against the strength of his God. In the physical realm, the 9 foot giant should have won the battle. But he didn’t. David won and won big! He won big because the Commander of Heaven’s Armies was on his side. And He’s on our side too, my friend! Sometimes I forget this.

Whatever our obstacle … fear anxiety, sickness, financial struggles, marriage, rebellious children, depression … we do not fight alone. The Commander of Heaven’s Armies is on our side. He is for us and with us. His very Spirit indwells us to equip and empower us. He promises that we can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens us.

The key is remembering who and Whose we are.

We have a cloud of witnesses behind us who knew this same truth. When Abraham acknowledged and depended on God, God made him the father of many nations. When Moses acknowledged and depended on God, He parted the Red Sea. When Joshua acknowledged and depended on God, the walls came tumbling down. When Daniel acknowledged and depended on God, the angel of the Lord shut the mouths of lions.

Is there something in your life over which the Lord wants to give you victory? Do you believe it’s too big for God? Reread the story of David and Goliath with fresh eyes and an open heart.

And then pray David’s prayer with me:

Father, today I come to you feeling overwhelmed. Powerless. Weak, feeling as if I can’t breathe. Like I can’t take that next step. I want to curl up and hide from the world. But, Father, I know those are lies. So, in full confidence, I come to You, the Commander of Heaven’s Armies, knowing who and Whose I am. In my weakness, You are strong. In my fear, You are brave. In my anxiety, You are peace. In my sadness, You are joy. In my despair, You are hope.

Today, I remember your faithfulness …  the last time You walked me through a hard place. You used it to mold, prune and train me. Through it You ensured I depended upon You and Your alone. You used it for my good and Your glory. Keep that memory ever before me. I want to trust You here again because I know You are for me.

This is YOUR battle. I know You are on my side. I trust You for victory. Empower me to walk through this in Your strength and power. I ask this in Jesus’ mighty and powerful Name. Amen.

If you prayed this prayer with me today, please let me know.

December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve Prayer

Sweet Friends,

I have been away for many months and have missed being here with you. God laid a Christmas Eve prayer on my heart, and I felt led to share it here with you on this glorious eve of our Savior’s birth. I pray it blesses you.

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“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  –John 1:14 NIV

“Jesus, today we remember the manger. The day You left the perfection of heaven to come and live among us. You came wrapped in flesh. Fully God and fully man. Acquainted with all our sorrows. Familiar with all our ways. Knowing what would come in the end. Yet, You still came. You didn’t have to come. But You did. You dwelt with Your people 2,000 years ago, and You still live among us today. What leaves me in awe is that not only do you live among us, You live in us. Broken vessels that we are. You choose to live in us! Thank You, Jesus, for this gift of Your presence.

Open our eyes, ears, hearts and spirits to experience anew Your birth this season. May we see You in every twinkling light, every evergreen tree, every beautifully wrapped gift, and every nativity. We love you, Jesus, and pray this in Your powerful and magnificent Name.”

Christmas Blessings to you,