ACH Prayer and Praise ~ Week 8

When we started this study back in October, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Confidence wasn’t something I really thought about, although I probably should have as it was an area of my life that I really struggled with.  I had just always chalked it up as something I was–not confident that is. I battled it on occasion, but, for the most part, it was just an aspect of myself that lurked in the background, whispering negativity to me.  Someone else would do a better job.  A good mom wouldn’t be late picking up her kids.  She is a better wife than you are – she cooks breakfast for her husband every morning.  The list is endless.

Then we began the study, and I began to realize that those negative thoughts weren’t a part of who I was; they were the enemy’s attempt to keep me from accepting God’s grace.  And it worked.  Oh, I believed He knew me, and even that He loved me, but I also had a mental image of God standing there shaking His head.  You know the one – the “you’ve done it again” head shake.  And then we began this study and I gained a better picture of the truth.  I hope you did, too.

I found myself in a lot of these chapters and, honestly, it was comforting to know that I am not the only one experiencing them.  We so often tend to put a label on others and forget that they have things going on we don’t see.  The person that might “do a better job” is more often than not struggling with her own doubts and fears.  The moms who never seem to be late (bless your hearts!) may feel like they are letting their kids down in another area.  The wife who cooks breakfast for her husband every morning may not be giving him a home cooked meal every night (which is something I do).  It’s easy to look at others and see them as a role model when we don’t understand all of their life.  Satan is really good at showing us their shining moments and glossing over the flaws.

As we close this study, I want to remind you that it is only when we choose to listen to those doubts that they can harm us.  Instead, cling to God’s promises: He loves you despite your transgressions (Romans 5:8)–He loves you as one of His own children (John 1:12)–He will never turn His back on you as long as you desire a relationship with Him (Hebrews 13:5 and John 10:29).  Allow the things God has shown you through this study to sink in, to find fertile ground and grow.  This may be the end of our time together studying this book, but it is not the end of your journey with God towards a confident heart.  It is only the beginning–He will walk with you on this journey as far as you are willing to go.  For me, I am pressing on, letting go of the past, and focusing on my goal: a deeper relationship with Christ, a truer relationship with Him.  I am going to finish the race.

Father God, I can’t begin to thank You for all that You have done.  You surround us in beauty. You provide for all our needs. You love us, comfort us, heal us, and You made a way for us to have a real, direct relationship with You.  Father, don’t let our growth end with this study.  Help us to stay focused on You and on Your truths.  May we each become the women you have called us to be, and to overcome our feelings of doubt so that we can fully serve You in love.   Amen.

1 john 3:1, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, psalm 30:2, John 6:40

 

I pray you have a very Merry Christmas, and I look forward to learning how to overcome our cravings in the next study, Made to Crave.  Please share your own prayer requests and praises with us in the comment section and/or take a minute to pray for the others too.

Blessings,
Ginny Blankenship

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Thanks For A Great Study

It’s hard to believe, but here we are at the end of another study. And, actually, instead of looking at it that way, I’d like to think we are at the beginning of having a confident heart! We certainly have the tools under our belt, and I pray we will let nothing get in the way of living this message out!

Thank you so much for the time you spent in this Bible study. Any time you commit to something, there is also sacrifice involved. Thank you for joining me and the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies team as we journeyed through A Confident Heart together. This was a fantastic study and that’s because of you!

I got to spend some time with Renee Swope just last week. In our time together we shared stories of how Proverbs 31 Ministries has impacted our lives personally.

If you are receiving this in your email, click here to see my conversation with Renee Swope.

 

I hope Proverbs 31 Ministries has impacted your life for the better, as well. I truly don’t know where I’d be today if I hadn’t found Proverbs 31, and I’m so thankful that because of Proverbs 31 we get to do Bible study together. And isn’t PJ doggie just too darn cute?!

Coming up next:

Made to Crave, by Lysa TerKeurst
January 19-March 1, 2014
Sign up on the P31 OBS Study Blog today!
#CraveGod

Keep in touch with us:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/P31OBS
Twitter: https://twitter.com/P31OBS
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/proverbs31obs/
Instagram: http://instagram.com/p31obs

Thanks again awesome OBS group! I love you, and will continue to lift you up in prayer, asking God to keep filling your heart with confidence. It’s been another great study, and I hope you will join me again in the future!

Much Love! xoxo

~Melissa

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A Confident Heart Blog Hop ~ Week 8

I can’t believe it’s our last Blog Hop for A Confident Heart!

I will not cry. I will not cry. I will not cry.

Really, I’m not going to cry. Lol. I will, however, miss y’all until the next study! 🙂

I am going to enjoy the break and holidays with my family, and I hope you will do the same.

I was meditating on everything we’ve learned during this study and all the other studies this year and…WOW.  Even if this is the only one you participated in, you were handed some powerful truths, loaded up with armor and ammo for any battles current or in your future, and gifted some practical ways to apply it all in your day to day journey.

But you know what?

It’s easy to sit in my big comfy chair while the rest of my house sleeps and gaze at the soft Christmas lights dancing across the walls of my living room – and feel peace. I can be confident and courageous and full of joy in this little bubble where the presence of God covers me like a warm blanket while I write and do my Online Bible Studies.

But life outside my bubble can sometimes threaten to steal those very things God has gifted me in my secret place (or Bible study) – peace, courage, joy, confidence. It’s what we do next that makes all the difference.

On yesterday’s post Melissa reminded us that God is #enough and then commented that “getting our attitudes and actions to live like it is not as easy as speaking the words.”

This is so true.

The battle comes in getting our attitudes, actions, words, and faith to line up with all the powerful truths we’ve been learning here. God’s truth revealed in our life – without preaching.

Letting our lives be the sermon.

Displaying Jesus in our responses and reactions and yes…even our attitudes… AND even outside of our comfy place.

When we are intentional about living our faith out loud (and not just reading about it or writing it in our journal) we will find that it really is possible.

Is it easy? I won’t lie to you and say I get up every day passing out flowers or bouncing darts from the enemy off of my perfectly applied armor or walking confidently and boldly toward the dreams God has placed on the inside of me.

But the good news is, some days I do!

We can be all those things God said we can be!

We can do all things God said we can do!

And we can take God’s presence with us into every moment of every day. He desires that we not just experience His presence but that we abide there.

This Bible study isn’t just something to help occupy your time, make new friends, or memorize scripture. It is all that but it’s so much more, too.

It is to prepare you (and me) for what happens next. We don’t close the Bible when our study ends, we keep reading! We don’t stop growing, we keep pressing into God. We don’t lay it all down and leave it in our folder until the next study, we use it now. And tomorrow. And the next day.

So I’m excited about next week! For me and for you.

I’m excited to see and hear all the amazing things God is still doing in you and all the incredible things He is going to do through you.

Will you take all these things we’ve studied and tuck them away?

Or will you live them…even out there?

Ok, friends…this is me, signing off the Blog Hop until Made to Crave, but keeping myself wrapped in the sweet presence of God and continuing to feast on the Word that satisfies my soul like nothing on earth can!

Peace, Love, & OBS,
Shelly

(Don’t forget to connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or my blog! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!)

********************************************************

Now let’s get to hoppin’! 
(And remember, if you don’t have a blog, that’s ok! Just post a comment in the comment section below.)

New to the blog hop or a regular around here? Here are the details!
 Before posting your blog to the blog hop, please read The Skinny on Blog Hopping  created by Heather Bleier. The blog hop may seem scary at first, but our team is here to guide you through the process. To ensure your correct post is linked to our Blog Hop and is not deleted from the Blog Hop, watch the following 3:00 min tutorial and refer to those instructions. Click here to view directly on YouTube or copy the following link into your browserhttp://bit.ly/X8UX0u.

We can’t wait to read your blogs, but remember, you must blog about one of the Blog Hop topics. If your blog does not fit within the guidelines (the specified topics), it will be removed. If there is a question about your blog, someone from our Blog Hop Team will contact you. And if you post a blog here, make sure to grab our Blog Hop Button (right column) for your own blog!

Here are this week’s topics: {The names in BOLD are suggested titles.}
NOTE: Please specify which topic you chose by either using the suggested title OR adding the Topic # somewhere in your post. 

1. #Enough ~ Is God #enough?  Explain.

2. Hebrews 10:35-36 ~ Unpack our scripture for the week and share with us what you learned. Use verse mapping as an optional study tool. (Click here to learn more about verse mapping from our awesome friend Heather Bleier or copy the following into your browser: http://bit.ly/11j4zW2)

3. His Grace Covers ~ Share a time you blew it (like Renee in Chapter 9) and God poured out His grace and mercy in your time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

4. Dear Renee Swope ~ Write a letter to Renee describing who you were when you started this study and compare her to the woman you are becoming as a result of learning and living in the power of God’s promises.

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#Enough

I have to confess, out of every chapter of A Confident Heart, Chapter 11 is my favorite. If you’ve already read it, then you know why.

Renee used a devotion of mine in this chapter. It’s titled Is God Enough?  It’s really a good question. Most of us would say, “Yes, of course, God is enough.”  But getting our attitudes and actions to live like it is not as easy as speaking the words.

Read Chapter 11, The Woman I Want to Be.

As you read through the “Is God Enough” questions on p. 211-212, can you reply, “Yes” for each one?  Is there any one area that is harder for you than another?

This is something I’m so passionate about. I guess because I’ve learned the hard way that nothing else and no one else is enough. Everyone of those “Is God Enough” questions were real in my life at some point. I can fall in a pit of despair about my trials and hard times, or I can thank God for them. They are the very reasons I finally learned that God is #enough.  Why do we try to satisfy with anything else?

Your Turn~

Using #enough, write 4 statements about yourself that reveal some of the struggles you’ve experienced and how God is #enough for you. Share them with us in the comment section please. (As I wrote out mine, I seriously felt a release in my spirit. I knew God had me safe and secure in each doubt.) Go ahead and try it.

I’ll get us started:

I am a woman who has been hurt by the words of another, but God’s Words about me are #enough to show me I am valued.

I’ve been let down and disappointed, but God is #enough to see me through.

I’m worried about my friend, but God is #enough for her and me both. He will be with her every step of the way and so I can be confident in that.

I don’t have a mother on earth anymore and I miss her terribly, but God is #enough and will provide everything I need, including the unconditional love like my mom had for me. He also will listen to me and sit with me during my times of sadness, catching all of my tears and putting them in a bottle. (Psalm 56:8, You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.)

If you’ve been a little hesitant about participating and commenting, I hope today you will take a few moments to share. This is your Bible study and what you are feeling and what you think matters a lot! So, share with us ok?

I can’t wait to read your #enough statements!

Love you my OBS sisters! Make it a great Wednesday where God is indeed #enough!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gideon: Diary of a Wimpy Kid-Turned-Warrior

 

Renee Swope week 8 pg 193

Last summer as I was in the initial preparation stages to teach on A Confident Heart, I began to notice a pattern where Gideon kept re-surfacing.  Margaret Feinberg calls them sacred echoes, and this fall, Gideon has been quite an echo for me.

We studied Gideon via my church message series on Judges, in a women’s bible study by Priscilla Schirer, and here again in our P31 OBS.  Apparently, my heart needed this lesson each time, as I can definitely relate to Gideon.  I thank God our buddy Gideon is here to encourage us.  As Renee Swope points out in Chapter 10, he certainly was a Wimpy-Kid-Turned-Warrior!

My husband and I sometimes joke whenever I feel like a spiritual wimp that I’m actually a Proverbs 32 woman.  (No, there is no such chapter — though some days, I wish there were!)  Have you ever felt like that?  Like you just didn’t have the courage to do what God was asking you to do?  I sure have!  It especially hits me during relationship conflicts where I am dreading an encounter, or in a crisis where I completely fear the unknown.

I love how Renee describes this.  She writes that we need to get to know God more deeply, in order to discover how dependable he truly is.  She reminds us in A Confident Heart:

“We will only overcome our fears by walking through them, holding God’s hand and trusting His heart to lead, protect and preserve us.”  (p. 197)

Isn’t that soo true?!  She also writes on p. 199:

“By seeking to know and choosing to trust God, a wimp became a warrior.  Gideon learned to follow God more consistently by depending on God’s strength instead of his own.  He shifted his focus from doubting himself to believing his God.  More than just helping him conquer the (enemy), God also helped Gideon conquer his personal enemies of doubt and fear.  And he wants to do the same things in our lives.  Oftentimes God will use our doubts to build our confidence by calling us to face our fears and do something we would never choose to do on our own.”

One of the ways we get to personally encounter Who God Is would be in learning God’s names.  (See below, and p. 194).  It’s one thing to know about someone.  It’s another thing entirely to get to know their personality and nicknames!  The same is true for God.  As Renee explains, Gideon “would learn that it’s much easier to trust someone you know — someone you have experienced life with in a personal way… Our depth of knowing God comes when we depend on Him and discover that He is dependable.”

As we near the end of this OBS, my hope and prayer for each of us is that we would know God deeply.  That we would fully encounter God’s names and write them on our hearts, so we might be encouraged by intimately knowing the God of the Universe.

As the old Christmas hymn goes, we pray O Come, O Come, Emanuel.

Emanuel means “God With Us” so we pray, Lord God, that You would come anew this Christmas.  Ransom the captivity that lies not just in Israel, but in each of our hearts, and set us free until the day Christ appears.  Help us to rejoice and to discover all the reasons why You are fully trustworthy.  In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

YOUR TURN: Share your thoughts below and be entered for a chance to win a copy of A Confident Heart Devotional this week!

  •  What were the highlights for you from Chapter 10?
  • Have you ever felt like a “Proverbs 32 woman” 😉 or a spiritual wimp? How did you handle that?
  • As we are nearing the final days of this study, what were the highlights for you from this book?
  • Lastly, since Renee Swope is hosting our FB & Twitter parties tonight, what questions do you want to ask her?  (Maybe she can include ’em!?)

~ ~ ~

Finally, we’ve got some awesome goodies for you this week! Try all three of ’em!

1. FREE STUFF.  Check out this FREE printable of God’s names from Renee Swope.  (I think it would even make a great Christmas gift in a cute frame!)  Who in your life needs this reminder?  Tell us below!

2. PARTY TIME!  The Fun never stops!   We’ve got back-to-back parties tonight, hosted by Renee Swope herself!   Pick your favorite social medium, then join us for prizes & fun — each one is an “open house” style, so it’s okay even if you can’t be there the whole hour.

Twitter PARTY – TONIGHT, 12/10 @ 8-9 p.m. ET
#AConfidentHeart
Follow: @reneeswope and @P31OBS

Facebook Party  – TONIGHT, 12/10 @ 9-10 p.m. ET
#AConfidentHeart
Find the party when you click HERE.

3. JUST FOR FUN!  You, too, can go from wimp-to-warrior!  This time-saving recipe has been a God-send for me, on more than one occasion.  Just be forewarned: If you’re using it for a birthday cake and you don’t allow enough time for it to cool, the candles might melt.  Just sayin’!!  (Not that I’ve ever had that happen or anything…)  🙂

9-Minute Cake

Ingredients:
Box Cake Mix (whatever you choose — include the eggs, oil, etc.)
Frosting Tub

DirectionsPrepare a box cake mix as directed in a microwaveable, fluted bunt pan. (Either stoneware or silicone.)  Spoon about half of the frosting tub in large dollops onto top of the batter. Microwave 9-11 minutes, checking after 9 minutes. Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes. Using a knife, gently remove the edges from the pan. Flip the cake upside down onto a cake plate or platter. The cake will be cooked all the way through, and the frosting sinks to the bottom of the pan, creating a delicious glaze.  Enjoy!

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