How many of you loved diagramming sentences in school? I wasn’t an enormous fan but I did not mind doing it when necessary. It did give me a better insight to sentence structure.
Recently, I came across a picture of a very small verse diagrammed. It was broken into parts and each area was addressed by writing meaning, thoughts, and reflections on each section.
I have been putting this method into practice and shared it with the ladies attending Refining. I encourage you to give it a whirl. Reflect, ponder, study, pray, and diagram a sentence for a week. Come away with a deeper meaning and understanding while drawing closer to knowing God.
If you haven’t tried AMPS (posted previously) as a scripture study method, give it a try as well. Share your experience and thoughts. Lets encourage one another to grow in Christ and remain in His Word.
The world serves heaping portions of suffering, anguish, and
misery. We have all experienced the ups and downs of life. Heartbreaking news,
loss, addictions, health issues, overwhelming life circumstances, and many
others chip away at our ability to be a warrior of God.
During my darkness, I desperately craved effective ways to keep my eyes on God. I wasn’t prepared for the despair. There were days when I questioned if I would fully recover from it all. Yet somehow God found methods to give me strength and endurance when I really wanted to end it all.
I love worship and praise music. It speaks deeply to my soul
and has a way of expressing my thoughts and feelings when I fall short on
words. Toby Mac is one artist who brought light into my pit for those five
years. Songs like: Lights Shine Bright, Til the Day I Die, Love Broke Thru,
Backseat Driver, and Feel It. Over and over the lyrics would ring through my
mind along with scripture to help me fight against the enemy.
This week has brought tragedy to the McKeehan family. Toby
Mac lost his oldest son Truett. My heart goes out to family as they walk
through this time. Please pray for their healing. May they feel the love of God
surrounding them during their grief.
God has us all on a journey and we must not forget that no
one is exempt from difficulty in life. Our Father can repair our despair. He is
still in the miracle business creating goodness from our deepest pain. Embrace
your journey and allow God to refine you. Know what keeps you connected to Him:
scripture, prayer, music, etc…
Welcome! Nothing says, “Come on in” like a beautiful entrance. Many of you probably have a plethora of decorations for each season and holiday. Several of my friends are supremely talented. The front entrance to their homes is always dressed for the occasion. On my weekly adventures, I get to admire numerous embellishments outside of homes. There are some extravagant adornments even in the tiny town of Nazareth, Texas.
Today we received our first snow. The scenery is breathtaking.
As I traveled throughout the southwest area of the Panhandle, I enjoyed seeing the
land covered in snow. My favorite view happened when I drove down our street
and saw our home trimmed with glorious snow! I could almost hear the words, “Welcome
home my child. Come on in”. God’s pure white decorations covered the yard.
Our sweet Lord welcomes us 24/7 with arms opened wide. It
does not matter how we feel, what we have done, or where we have fallen short.
He desires a relationship with us. More than anything, He wants us to share our
lives with Him and walk alongside Him. Isaiah 40:31 says that “those who hope in the LORD will renew
their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.” Our
relationship with Him gives us the ability to endure beyond our human means.
When I ponder the words found in scripture commanding us to Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength, I question my own ability. (Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27, Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 22:37) Do I really welcome my Lord into all the areas of my life? Am I fully surrendering my eyes, mouth, heart, soul, ears, feet, hands, mind, soul and strength each moment to the authority of the Lord?
I know I often find myself stopping and asking for the authority of the Lord to take over my thoughts, actions, and words. My prayer is for the evidence of God to be fully visible in all I do so others see the miraculous power of the trinity alive in me. What about you?
As I continue to welcome the winter scene, my thoughts are on the words “WITH ALL”. God loves us WITH ALL that he has. May we strive to love and serve Him WITH ALL of our heart, soul, mind, and strength in order to serve and love others. Whatever your scene might be today, welcome the Lord fully into your world. Father, come on in and make every part of me your home. You are welcome here!
is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8
you ever had your DNA tested? There are numerous reasons our genetic code is
beneficial. Establishing paternity, researching health risks, and exploring ancestry
are a handful of reasons DNA inquiries occur. For me, DNA testing produced exposure
and clarity about my true family history plus an abnormality which awarded me a
high-risk badge. It may sound barmy but finding my relatives through my mother’s
paternal tree has given me a sense of belonging. The family has made me feel
included as a member.
Galatians 4, Paul reminds us that we can be a part of the family of God through
the saving grace of Christ Jesus. Verse 3 shows us we are subject to the authority
of worldly and fleshy desires without the redemption of Jesus. “A child under
bondage” cannot escape the power of sin and is only promised death and
destruction. Christ, the Son of God, who is our source and spiritual rock, is
our direct line to obtaining adoption into the family of God.
deliverance, salvation, … (you can continue the list) it is simply spiritual
adoption. Romans 8:15 states that once we accept Christ’s grace through our
full faith in Him, the Spirit is received and we are now sons and daughter to “Abba,
Father”. We are redeemed by the blood of
Christ and our Savior is the key to God’s adoption.
love Galatians 4:6 because it speaks about the gift of the Holy Spirit. One of
the main topics within the Refining study focuses on the “Spirit of his Son” as
a living source with abilities no human can ever equal. The Spirit teaches, prompts,
assures, and reveals only what the Father directs. It is a reminder that we are
now heir to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. We are no longer
left out or excluded from the kingdom.
gift in God’s family comes with dedication to bring Him glory as we draw closer
to our “Daddy” through the outpouring of our love and worship. He has given us
an inheritance unlike any other and blessed us with the equipment to honor Him
in all we do. May our adoption be reflective through the inward and outward changes
we embrace as God refines us.
But the one who
does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few
blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from
the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke
just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written:
“Be holy, because I am holy.” I Peter 1:15-16
Are you grateful to be an heir too? Here
is my prayer based on Galatians 4:1-7:
Thank you, Father, for the sacrifice of Christ. You made a way for us to escape our sinfulness and opened the door for us to escape the slavery of sin. You, oh Lord, are worthy of the highest of praise and honor for the abundant grace and love you have extended. There are no words to fully express the gratitude for paying our debt on the cross. Christ, we are overwhelmingly appreciative for the invitation of adoption and thankful for the opportunity to be called sons and daughters to the King of Kings. Father, it is comforting to know your Spirit lives within our heart to leads us. Help us each second of our time on the earth to glorify you, oh Lord. Forgive us when we fall short of fully living out the purpose you gave us. We love you Abba, Father.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:23
Have you ever felt
powerless? I have. There have been situations or events way out of my control.
I felt trapped in a downward spiral because of the inability to determine the
outcome. This is true of numerous matters life will dispense: illness, death,
job loss, tragedy, . . . In some of my life experiences, I longed for
superpowers! (Yes, I am a Marvel fan.) I’ll admit, there were times that an
“incredible Genna” would have come in handy although bright green is not in my
God’s refinement has supplied
the realization that I don’t have to be Wonder Woman to exhibit supernatural capabilities.
I only need to TRUST in Him. The world may see it as denial of a psychological
need, but strength comes when I impart control to God. Faith, trust, and belief
in the Lord releases a heavenly force capable of doing much more than humanly
possible. For me, it is a life process of walking alongside the trinity in full
surrender and allowing the outcome to fulfill God’s plan. It is never effortless
for me and I often find myself in the driver’s seat again.
Trust turns powerless
into supernatural strength where miracles happen and outcomes glorify the
Father. Surprisingly, it turns my fear into confidence, hate into love, failure
into success, misery into joy, and the list continues. One example is when
someone suggested I ask the Lord to give me His love for someone who I had
little compassion for at the time. It was a choice to deny my human thoughts
and unforgiveness. After I finally took the advice, I cannot express the
overwhelming love I had for this person. There was total grace and supernatural
love flowing from a source I could not explain. Power to love when the world
said hate. My vision of the person was transformed. My Wonderful Super God was
at work in me and through me. The Holy Spirit was leading me to fully extend
God’s grace and goodness to His child who He loved dearly.
Tap into the almighty
power of God. Trust in Him. Find a sufficient amount of power by having faith
in Jesus Christ. In all of our ways, may we glorify the Father.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear;
but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
And God is able to
make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in
everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; 2 Corinthians 9:8
Now to Him who is able
to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the
power that works within us, Ephesians
temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful,
who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the
temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to
endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever
serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so
that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs
the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. I Peter 4:11
Casting is defined as a process where a substance is placed in a mold until it solidifies. Once the method is complete, the “casting” is removed. When the final product is too complex to perform by hand, casting is ideal.
Although we often tease about the mold being broken once we were born, it was almighty God who created our complex body by hand. Psalm 139:13 reminds us that God created our inner parts and formed us. This is only the beginning! Jeremiah 29:11 declares the Lord has plans for our welfare and future. He even assures us a supply of hope. His word is full of promises!
We must not forget the enemy has plans for our lives too. He does everything he can to liquefy what God has formed. Depression, anxiety, fear, heartache, sorrow, addiction. . . It is all a crafty attempt to pour all you are into the enemies mold and solidify your life around his sinful lies.
I Peter 5: 7 Advises us to cast all our anxiety on God because He cares about us. However, the advice continues in verses 8 and 9.
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
You are NOT ALONE! We all wrestle with something.
I developed situational anxiety during my deep, dark pit. When anxiety would attack, I felt like someone was stealing the air God placed in my lungs. Immediately, I was frozen yet my body wanted to frantically run. I tried self-centered talk…”you are okay…this will pass…take a deep breath”. Over time, I changed my help method and began quoting I Peter 5:7 when it occurred. “This is yours Lord. I cast every ounce of it over to you. Remove the lie of anxiety. I know You ARE in control and I am your child. In You, I have hope and a amazing future.”
Somehow I had forgotten how to use the sword to fight whatever came my way. I was out of practice. Today, the situation has changed by the grace of God and I am very humbled by the experience. To God be the glory for His beautiful healing.
Needy is a term usually associated with a negative connotation. Dictionaries may define it as being deprived, disadvantaged, or even destitute. Most people would agree they do not want to be a burden nor be dependent on others. Neediness is usually an undesirable trait in our society. Being self-reliant and self-sufficient is highly regarded and preferred by most.
In an article by Steven J. Cole entitled Needy People, Mighty God, he maintains all people fall into the category of “desperately needy”. In his writing, he supports his stance through the simple fact that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of the Lord. (Romans 3:23) Cole goes even further to describe the human race as “fragile” individuals who could expire at a moment’s notice. We are desolate without His almighty grace.
Our dependence on God goes much deeper than salvation. In John 15:5 the Father reminds us “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” Discipleship requires total reliance on the Lord for “the whole ball of wax”. I don’t know about you but I fail greatly at being Christ-sufficient. It is a continual struggle to humbly submit all control to the Lord although I truly know I am incapable of anything without Him.
My heart’s aspiration is to abide in the Lord 24/7. Actually, I prefer the thought of being immensely inundated by God so there is no room for human desires and selfishness. I long for my life to be overflowing with the Lord.
John 15 places great emphasis on the word abide. If we look further into John 15, verses 4 through 10 use the term nine times. We have all heard John 15:7 quoted and possibly misused. Yet verses 8 and 9 gently remind us when we stand firm in the Father’s love, our only wish will be to glorify Him in all we do. Over and over the Lord reminds us to “abide in” Him and His perfect love allowing His words to live in us and through us.
Lord, I need you. What about you?
Father, help me trust in you with all my heart, and let me fully rely on your perspective as your word states in Proverbs 3:5. May I abide in you and your ways to prevent me from becoming less of who you made me to be. (1 John 2:28). I do believe I cannot accomplish anything fruitful apart from you (John 15:5) and I declare Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. (1 Corinthians 12:3) Let me treasure your Holy Word and live it daily. (2 Timothy 3:15-17) Father, I humbly submit to the guidance of the Holy Spirit as your obedient child. Lead me in sanctification and let me be ever-mindful of the gift of eternal life. (Romans 6:22) Lord, I need you and only you.
Truth told…Have you ever prefaced what you say with this statement? Mark Twain once said, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything”. It was Emily Dickinson who made the statement, “Truth is such a rare thing, it is delighted to tell it”. We often find ourselves defending what we say as absolute honesty to assure people believe us. Why are we skeptical? – The world’s vast deception-white lies, news, advertisements, publications, etc. Need I say more?
An elementary educator once told me truth would always be revealed. Of course it was after she inquired about my “bandaged” lie. I couldn’t really conceal the extremely swollen hand wrapped in an ace bandage. Truth told…the day before was a school holiday and my mother had dictated to stay home. Surely that did not include a visit to my grandparent’s house three blocks away!
As I took off early in the morning, the walk was pleasant, and the spring weather placed a pep in my stride. I eagerly anticipated picking a few peaches and enjoying breakfast with my Granny. The morning menu was consistent-one farm fresh scrambled egg and a single piece of bread toasted in a cast iron skillet topped with butter and homemade wild plum jam. This was going to be an amazing day. Besides, what a wonderful surprise it would be for my grandmother.
Once I arrived, I immediately reached for a large, luscious peach. Pain shot up my arm and out came a deafening scream. Needless to say, the yellow jacket was the culprit who blew my cover. I quickly noted that my grandmother was excellent at scrambling more than just eggs. She scurried around to find medicine, tweezers, gauze, bandage, ice pack, and my mother’s work phone number. Why? I had an allergic reaction. BUSTED! Oh yeah, and no breakfast after all.
In Galatians 3, Paul insists on revealing the truth. He was on a
mission to blow the cover of the Judaizer’s checklist of regulations for the
new Gentile converts. They were led astray from the true gospel and began
believing on fleshy means to solidify their salvation because of false
teachings. Paul was determined to convey the real meaning of grace-a free gift
received through faith in Jesus Christ. He probably said, “Truth told…the
gospel is not earned based on our merit”.
God’s promise is honest and true. Paul is clear in his message that the promise of God is trustworthy and eternal because it is directly from God. Our Father extends the invitation to be part of His family through genuine faith in Jesus Christ. We are unable to earn grace through mere obedience. Our efforts are fruitless! (So was my morning in my grandparent’s yard!)
You, my friend, are a child of God. Don’t be tempted to succumb to
the lies of the enemy. Trust in the truth and cling to Galatians 3:25-29-Now that this faith has come, we are no
longer under a guardian. So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God
through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed
yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave
nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If
you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the
Allen Parr is dynamic in his delivery of various topics regarding God. I love his enthusiasm.
Although there are numerous resources to assist you in discovering your purpose, remember it will always bring glory to God. We are created by and for the Lord. Look to your creator to discover your purpose.
Remember…“The way you SEE your life SHAPES your life. How you define life determines your destiny. Your perspective will influence how you invest your time, spend your money, use your talents, and value your relationships.” ― Rick Warren