September 27, 2018

Yes, No and Maybe {a giveaway}

Today, I’m welcoming one of my dearest Proverbs 31 sisters, Wendy Pope. She’s that friend I can call any time, and she’ll stop whatever she’s doing to pray a prayer that reigns down power from heaven!! We met many years ago when we shared a desk at our original Proverbs 31 Ministries office. We both had little children at the time, and now we’re empty nesters. We raised our babies together and prayed each other through some difficult times. I adore her and you will as well.

Without further ado, read on as Wendy gives you a sneak peek into her new book, Yes, No & Maybe: Living with the God of Immeasurably More. If you want an Ephesians 3:20 life, where you see God at work in intimate, amazing and mighty ways, this book is for you!

Be sure to enter her giveaway at the end of the post!

Yes, No and Maybe, by Wendy Pope.

I’ll be the first to admit, trusting God through obedience can be fearsome because we don’t know what He will ask us to do. Building trust works like receiving money. Each time we are given funds, we deposit the money in our bank account, where it remains until we need it. Our Memory Bank of Faith works the same way. As we obey, we experience God’s faithfulness. We deposit His acts of faithfulness in our bank; then, when He asks us to do something we don’t understand, or maybe don’t want to do, we can make a withdrawal from our Memory Bank and confidently adjust our want to. We have experienced His faithfulness and know that what He has asked us to do is completely trustworthy—even if it involves something unexpected.

Sometimes God asks something big of us when we least expect it. Sometimes even in the middle of Sunday worship.

My normal Sunday seat faced the congregation from the choir loft. I was minding my own business, praising my Jesus, when the unexpected happened. No, Lord. I can’t. No one else is walking to the altar to bow. What will people think of me? This isn’t the time in the service we go to the altar; that’s at the end of the service. The songs ended. The choir left the loft. I did not say yes.

The next Sunday was a repeat. Same scenario. Same assignment. Same response. As the week went on, my weight of disappointment was heavy. Oh, how my spirit grieved that my answer to God was no. In my conviction, I confessed my sin and received forgiveness.

The following Sunday was a repeat. Same scenario. Same assignment. Different response. Yes, God. I will NOT follow the schedule in the bulletin and the expectation of others. I will leave the safety of this choir loft and bow before You in praise. I will sing praises to You, my audience of one, in a sanctuary full of people who might think I’m weird. Yes! Yes! Yes!

I sensed eyes staring at me as I left my place of comfort. When I kneeled to worship, I was alone. When I stood to return to my place, others stood with me. While I had been kneeling, many others had joined me at the altar to share their praise to God and to pray. This beautiful moment was a deposit in my bank. The pleasure of God is greater than the fear of man’s reactions. Tears are puddling in my eyes as I relive this moment with you. Even now, years later, the act of obedience, even if delayed, is palatable. There are times when obedience makes His Spirit almost touchable.

It’s critical to remember that obedience without a pause is a process—a process full of mistakes, regrets, and misgivings. Even with banks full of His faithfulness, there will be times we will want to obey, but we will not. Don’t be discouraged. Lavish yourself in His endless grace that forgives, and intently listen to His Spirit as He continues to beckon you. Then, when the next assignment comes, your response will be yes! The more you say yes, the more you will want to say yes. Fill your bank!

Preorder Bonuses

Preorder your copy of Yes, No & Maybe by Sunday, September 30 and receive these beautiful bonuses from Wendy Pope.

Yes, No & Maybe by Wendy Pope

Giveaway Now Closed – congrats Bonnie Chaltry!

Wendy Pope is giving away a copy of her new book to one of ya’ll. SO, please leave a comment below sharing a time YOU struggled with obedience. The winner will be announced here and notified by email on Wednesday, October 3. U.S. Addresses only please.

Yes, No and Maybe, by Wendy Pope.

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Wendy is a wife, mom,  author, speaker, and Bible study teacher. Wendy writes devotions for Proverbs 31 Ministries Encouragement for Today devotions, is a content provider for the First 5 app, as well as member of the Proverbs 31 Ministries Speaker Team. She loves lazy Sundays watching golf with her husband, thrift store shopping with her daughter, and watching building shows with her son.

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September 18, 2018

What it Means to Be a Child of God

YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD!

What a precious gift to be called a child of God.

A blood bought daughter.

Fully seen. Fully known. Fully loved by the One True God.

With that title comes amazing promises, one being found in 1 John.

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4 NIV)

For those who call themselves children of God (those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior), Jesus promises:

We are overcomers … overcoming the false teachings and teachers in our culture. Overcoming the trials, struggles and hardships we encounter in this world. Overcoming the schemes, trials, temptations, and lies of the evil one.

What it Means to Be a Child of God by Wendy Blight. #1John #IAmLoved

Greater is the One who lives in us than the one who lives in the world … we overcome because God’s very presence … His Holy Spirit … lives, breathes and is at work in us.

But, none of this would be possible without the Lamb of God shedding His blood for us.

John’s promises in 1 John are made possible because Jesus POURED OUT HIS BLOOD FOR US.

Take a few minutes, sweet friend, to sit and soak in these truths. These promises. These gifts from our Abba Father.

Through the blood of Jesus, you are redeemed out of the hand of the devil.

Through the blood of Jesus, your sins are forgiven, washed white as snow.

Through the blood of Jesus, you are justified, made righteous, just-as-if-you never sinned.

Through the blood of Jesus, you are made holy in God’s sight, set apart for His purposes.

Through the blood of Jesus, you receive the gift of and are sealed by the Holy Spirit, making your body a living, breathing temple of God’s Holy Spirit.

Through the blood of Jesus and the indwelling power of His Holy Spirit, you are an overcomer. Satan has NO hold on you. He has NO power over you. He MUST FLEE at the name of Jesus.

These are God’s truths.

KNOW THEM! BELIEVE THEM! LIVE THEM!

They will change everything.

If you have a moment, please leave a comment today sharing what God spoke to YOUR heart as ponder the wonder of what it means to be called a child of God and the promises and gifts that are ours simply because we carry that beautiful name.

My study on 1 John, I Am Loved, is for every woman who craves to truly understand, walk confidently in, and live out God’s unconditional, extravagant, lavish love because His love truly changes everything!

August 30, 2018

Time to Cultivate {guest post & giveaway}

Happy Thursday! I’m excited to introduce you to my friend, Jill Beran. She has poured many prayers and words of encouragement into my life through the years, for which I’m so grateful. Jill is a mom and wife and lives on a farm in Iowa. One of my favorite things about Jill are the Bible teachings she shares from life on their farm. Her stories bring God’s Word alive for me in fresh ways.

It’s been a joy to watch Jill grow and develop her gift as a Bible teacher. Today, I’m delighted to share one of her lessons from the farm and share her new Bible study, ReNEWal Road – The Journey of Becoming More Like Jesus.

Jill is giving away a copy of her study so be sure to enter to win below!

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ReNEWal Road – The Journey of Becoming More Like Jesus. A Bible study by Jill Beran.

It’s cultivating time here on the farm. If you were to stop by, you’d find my husband busily cultivating the beans we’ve planted in the field. It’s a task I associate with Iowa soil, and one I know involves work and takes time. Though you may not live on a farm, cultivating is something we all should do! Yours just might not be in a field in Iowa!

Because of the easy access to chemicals and fertilizers, many farmers find they don’t need to cultivate their fields. They take the easier and faster route. But, since we’re raising organic crops, chemicals aren’t an option. My husband must engage in the tedious task of cultivating 12 rows at a time, using equipment that churns up the dirt and removes the weeds, so the crop can grow.

While I watch my husband cultivate our crops, I picture God doing the same with my heart. Cultivating my heart takes time. It involves work and requires effort on my part. It isn’t something that happens with the flip of a switch; it’s hard work, but it brings results!

Cultivating the soil removes weeds from our fields just as cultivating our hearts removes lies, bad attitudes and wrong thoughts from our minds.

Cultivating also tills up the soil, so new growth can occur. Just as at times it would be easier for my husband to use chemicals and raise our crops conventionally, it’s tempting for us to pursue an easier way to connect with God. But, God desires a personal relationship with us. A deep and abiding relationship. There’s no quick way to make that happen, and no one else can do it for us.

In order to do his cultivating, my husband needs a tractor and a cultivator. We need two things as well … quiet time and God’s Word. Our Bible is the main piece of equipment we need – it’s our most powerful tool. Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” God’s Word can do more work than my husband’s John Deere will ever do, but we have to open it and be receptive to what He has to say!!

Finally, God also brought to mind that my husband cultivated the same field last year, and his dad did the same many years ago. Each new year, the work had to be done again. Cultivating isn’t a task we do once and consider it done, and the same is true for our hearts. Each season, actually every day of every season, we need to cultivate the soil of our hearts. Only then will new growth take place.

Every year my husband’s goal is to produce a better yield than he did the year before. Shouldn’t we do the same as disciples of Christ? If we want to grow closer to Christ and do more to glorify our Abba Father, our hearts must grow closer to His, and that won’t happen unless we get the cultivating done!

The Giveaway

Giveaway now closed. Jill was so blessed by all of your comments that she is giving away two copies of her book! Congrats Vonnie Kronk and Heidi (hamoth). Please check your email for more information from my assistant, Kim Stewart.

Are you looking for a study that will get you into God’s Word and allow Him to do some cultivating? We’re giving away a copy of Jill’s study, ReNEWal Road – The Journey of Becoming More Like Jesus. Leave a comment with a verse that God has used to change your heart or simply say, “I’m in!” and we’ll enter you in the drawing! U.S. Addresses only please. Winner will be announced here on Friday, September 7.

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Jill Beran is a farmer’s wife, homeschooling mom to 5, and Bible teacher. When she’s not picking rocks or pulling weeds, she enjoys coaching basketball, serving in women’s ministry and writing. You can connect with Jill at Titus24U.