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Prepare for the Unexpected

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You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

Struggles-disruptions-setbacks. Not exactly the words we want weaved into our lives. Those major disappointments and seasons of tragedy seem to always show up. Crazy annoying interruptions-revealing true faith and reliance on God. We quickly discover the construction of our foundation: solid or shaky.

The enemy tried hard for almost five solid years to “pop every balloon” in my life. Such a BRAT!

However, each storm in the dark valley allowed me an opportunity to grow. I was determined to take every life circumstance and place it under God’s authority. I began seeking God every second of my life. Honestly, the Lord probably said, “Okay girl, it is time to make a change! Grow up and take your journey to eternity more serious.” I started with living out one scripture a week. Then I began a small ladies’ group on Saturday mornings to hold me accountable to praying, reading and studying. I reexamined my priorities and struggled to find my individualized plan. Then in 2018, God gave me a spiritual growth plan! A chance to rebuild my foundation.

Have you watched the War Room? It became very evident to me in the fall of 2017 that I needed a battle plan. Ed Young, in his book Battle Plan, states that just as God has a plan for your life so does Satan. This was hard to hear–I knew it was time to work on my spiritual maturity and find a better way to stand strong!

Our intentional pursuit needs a growth plan because in this world we will faces battles. Rick Warren says that our growth plan must have incremental steps 

1. First, Know Christ in order to…

2. Love Christ

3. Grow in Christ

4. Serve Christ

5. Share Christ

Chip Ingram, in his book God As He Longs for You to See Him, states five specific actions to take when seeking God.

1. Accept, learn, treasure, and store up His word. (Defense-Sword)

2. Submit to God and have a desire to be taught by God. (Refined)

3. Develop a passionate prayer life.

4. Make your quest for God a priority each day. (Battle plan)

5. Seek God with all our heart. (put on God’s armor)

A battle plan begins with knowing our purpose, establishing our priorities, living out scripture, relying upon the Holy Spirit, surrendering to lifetime refinement from God, and determining personal growth and needs. Also, you have to determine what you are willing to do. My spiritual growth plan began when I made this affirmation:

I am COMMITTED to spiritual maturity.

I am WILLING to learn and apply the knowledge God has in store for me.

I am DEVOTED to living for God.

“Living the rest of your life for the glory of God will require a change in your priorities, your schedule, your relationships, and everything else.” -Rick Warren 

It required a commitment. God revealed to me that this was the only way to real growth and to develop a steadfast faith. I discovered it was part of my calling and my chance to show sincere obedience. God longed to extend strength, hope, love, wisdom, and good battle skills. He deemed me His mighty warrior and now it was up to me to keep my sword sharp and my heart open to His training. Preparing for the unexpected struggles, disruptions, and setbacks. Why? Because they will still come my way.

How are you preparing for the unexpected?

Where do you want to be with God six months from now? What do you want to be able to do when the next storm hits? Remember, we cannot see everything that is happening nor see the future. But God sees everything. Press in, trust Him, learn His attributes, cling to His promises, carry out His commands, and draw close to your eternal Father. He is so good and He will come through.

Scripture reference:

Hebrews 6:1-2

Ephesians 4:15

1 Corinthians 13:11

Colossians 1:9-10

2 Peter 3:17-18

Hebrews 5:14

Crown The Sword: Introduction

What a pleasure to walk with you through Refining’s first book study, Crown The Sword! It is exciting to hear people are engaging through an online group, individual study, face-to-face meetings, and even individual couples journeying together.

This is the first of many blog gatherings focused on this new release. It’s not too late to head over to Amazon where you will find a Kindle edition as well as the paperback. The book encourages interaction, note taking, and personal reflection writings for each chapter so if you are a Kindle lover, grab yourself a small notepad.

In a recent survey I discovered out of 331 million Americans today, only 9% read a Bible daily. Yet, almost one third of the population believe it is a complete guide to living a fulfilled life. It is the one book which has sold more copies and been translated into more languages than any other book in the history of the entire world.

God established His very words as nourishment to sustain every human. Why? Because life can be downright difficult. Think about some of those piercing painful valleys in your personal life. They can drain us to the point of hopelessness and place us in a position of overload before we know what hit us! The introduction to the book addresses this daunting challenge immediately.

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Proverbs 30:5 (ESV)

Let’s reflect on a few encouraging quotes addressing life struggles in the Introduction…

Prepared

“How can anyone ever be fully prepared for a season of tragedy and major disappointments? What about disruptions and setbacks to those well-laid-out plans you made?”

Invited

“God is anxiously awaiting to afford you the supernatural ability to flourish in life by engaging in His good and perfect gift, Scripture.”

Equipped

“…embrace a Word-fed life beyond mere Scripture reading—a lifestyle…for living. My dear warrior, your sword awaits.”

WOW! A treasured gift from the Lord-a sword of defense not only for hard times but for every second of every minute. And-God calls each of us a warrior. What food for thought and an invitation to personally assess the value, love, and use of Scripture.

What is hitting home for you?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

Meet the author: Genna is an outstanding Christian writer of non-fiction works. Her writings encourage others to assess their walk with the Lord and stimulate growth. This native Texan is an educator by trait and author of Refining, a foundational study assessing one’s spiritual maturity which has stimulated many since 2019. She aspires to teach others world-wide how to sanction God’s supremacy and biblical authority as executor over their day-to-day lives.

She evolved into a passionate advocate for God and His Word after enduring half a decade of painful life circumstances. Being transparent with her life journey, Genna strives to instill the importance of surrendering ALL to the Lord. As an everyday woman, her main message to her audience is if God can penetrate her heart, downgrade her controlling human nature, and bring her life under the authoritative counsel of scripture, He can do miraculous things for anyone willing to know Him.

Come follow the Refining team on social media. You will be blessed by the words God has placed on their hearts. They love hearing from readers like you so do not hesitate to email them at refiningjourney@gmail.com.

“I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart”(Jeremiah 24:7 NIV)
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The book, the book!

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)

Many would say 2020 delivered a powerful punch and a year to never forget. Yes, it definitely was not the vision I had thought it might be when I wished you Happy New Year a year ago.

However, God gave me His sight for a future-a future that is so unfamiliar. A time in my life where He decided I should take on a YES posture and not worry about being equipped for the task ahead. I often asked myself last year, “What have I got myself into?”. Yet, I continued to press forward and write a book He laid on my heart.

First of all, I am NOT a writer. I love to read, learn new things, and do anything but write-well that is up until Spring of 2019. God held my feet to the fire and reminded me that I told Him I would do whatever He asked if He would just give me one year to recover from the discipline gorge which lasted half a decade.

So, here I am almost two years later. A changed child of the Lord-crafting His directions into blogs and now a book! He has captured my heart and gave me a direction like none other. He has surrounded me with encouragement and hope. There aren’t enough words to explain the joy and love I have found in God.

I wish someone had given me this book years ago. However, I might not have been ready to be 100% sold out to His leading. But I do know what I am capable of today–handing back any gift He gives to me for His Glory.

This is your book Lord. Do with it what you may-it does not belong to me. I am merely a vessel to ensure it was relayed. May it touch lives for You and encourage others to fall deeply in love with a treasured gift-Your Very Words!

Come learn how to live your life through an Open Bible sweet friend.

He continues to show me the truth in this verse…I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. Jeremiah 24:7 (NIV)

Prayer Life, Part 4

“Faith comes effortlessly to the heart as we elevate our conceptions of God by a prayerful digestion of His Word. And such faith endures, for it is grounded upon the Rock.” -A. W. Tozer

“Such is our dependence upon God that we are obliged not only to do everything for His sake, but also to seek from Him the very power. This happy necessity of having recourse to Him in all our wants, instead of being grievous to us, should be our greatest consolation. What a happiness that we are allowed to speak to Him with confidence, to open our hearts and hold familiar conversation with Him, by prayer! He Himself invites us to it.” -Francois Fenelon 1631-1715

How’s your daily serving of prayer? Spiritual nutrition is rarely on the world’s radar. Yet, it seems every January there is a large emphasis on becoming physically fit and indulging in a better diet. All to often we are unable to hear the small voice within-pleading us to feed our mind and soul proper nutrition-God. However, when weakness and lack of sufficient starts to show up, attention is then paid to dependency on the Lord. No wonder many of us are crippled by a thorn in our side-keeping focus on our need for God.

Prayer creates access to essential nutrients and vitamins we need each day. You know those “flesh blockers” to safeguard our lives from sin and destruction. Paul was well aware of this daily sufficiency when he wrote, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). He knew the fruit of the spirit would not automatically present itself without feasting on prayer time with God. Paul was well aware of how his digestion elements had a way of revealing themselves in his daily actions. Think about the transparency of his heart before meeting Christ!

Paul had spent many years not exercising spiritual healthy choices and indulging on worldly desserts and junk food. The temporary “feel good” substance left him empty after each self-sufficiency meal. His daily diet led to his own personal sickness and destruction. His fast food tasted so good at first, but he continued to have a hunger within which could not be satisfied until he met God.

Prayer, more than just an act of surrendering, worshiping, thanksgiving, confessing, asking, etc., opens the door to a healthy spiritual life. Spending time with God and feasting on His Word daily, allows for a wholesome life to be maintained. It is a time of humbling and letting the Lord’s provisions fortify our hearts, minds, and souls with His great nutritional love and attributes. This daily devotion produces a bowlful of basic essential nutrients for us to be able to carry out His will.

May we cherish and exercise the daily habit of prayer for our total well-being.

John 6:35 – And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

Click to watch a video over the content of this post:

https://fb.watch/32NxB2OjjX/

Jeremiah 15:16
Your words were found, and I ate them,
And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart;
For I am called by Your name,
O LORD God of hosts.

Prayer Life, Part 3



Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 65:4

With a reflection on the events in American this week, all that comes to mind is “What the world needs now is … prayer, sweet prayer.” Prayers for peace, prayers for compassion, prayers for kindness, prayers for self-control, prayers for love, prayers for understanding, prayers of gentleness, prayers of better judgement, prayers for righteousness in God, prayers for a humble nation, prayers for surrender to God’s authority, etc. I am sure your sentiments can complete the list better than I can. However, we can all agree this world is not what God intended.

Each day reveals the apparent need for transformation. A renewal of hearts, minds, and souls to find what we are really seeking-GOD! We have accepted sins and corruption as our daily mantra and become so complacent to a lifestyle filled with unholiness. With our attempts to “sanitize” our lives and make them what we want, somehow, we have created a lifestyle of self-centered living with the goal to satisfy our fleshy desires. Let me be the first to say, “I am guilty!”    

As I have been reflecting upon prayer, the act of exalting God has come to the forefront. Entering into His throne room and worshiping Him has been heavy on my heart. It brings back the memories of Wednesday prayer nights during my upbringing. Men and women of the church would intentionally come together to bow their heads, bend their knees, and physically humble themselves to the will of God. Yet, it was filled with more requests than praise. So, I grew to know a limited prayer pathway.

When studying and reading about incorporating worship into my prayer life, I found an amazing article. Permit me to share a paragraph from it:

The spiritual battle is intensifying daily because the enemy knows that his time is short. He hates prayer because he knows that the power of prayer will overthrow every one of his plans. God inhabits our praise. The word “inhabit” or “enthrone” (yashab) means to judge in ambush. When we praise God, He will seat himself right in the middle of our lives and judge the enemies that are surrounding us. The Japanese translation of Psalm 22:3 is: “When you praise God He brings a big chair and sits there.” Think about that! God is seated in the center of your life. The enemy cannot dethrone you because God cannot be overthrown! God Victoriously Inhabits Our Praise (crosswalk.com)

What? Each and every time I worship Him, He brings His presence closer to sit and listen! He responds to my open heart and willing spirit as I sincerely invite Him to come into my midst. And above all, God wants to complete me, walk with me, and ignite His power in and through me because that is who He is. A giver of love, grace, and mercy. Almighty Lord, God of the universe, King of everything, Ruler over all!!

He said to me through the reading of Walking the Path of Prayer by Jack Hayford, “Move your POSTURE (my God Word!!!) in worship beyond one of passive reflection to one of power-filled potential for transformation.” All I can say is, “How much clearer can God speak to my heart this week about the importance of worship in my prayer life?”

How do you incorporate worship into prayer? Have you read a fabulous article or book about the topic recently? Please take some time to share your thoughts below. I would really love to hear from you. I treasure your insight and input. Remember, we are in this together. Let’s embrace the journey of spiritual growth through sharing!

Looking for a Virtual Small Group?

Are you ready to discover God’s Word differently in 2021?

Is your heart longing for a deep-rooted faith, withstanding all circumstances? Do you desire to experience God and all His power in a fresh approach? Are you seeking a fulfilling way to grow continually in Christ?

Crown the Sword is more than a study. It is a resource to help you encounter the Word of God and implement biblical truth into your everyday life. It is designed to change the trajectory of your life from searching for the power of God’s Word to experiencing it. This resource will give you the foundational steps to rely on Scripture as your primary reading for a lifetime.

Just think. You have God’s very words, written as a daily guide, at your fingertips. It is always sufficient and relevant. Let this year be the time you choose an open Bible approach in your journey with the Lord.

Come join the Crown the Sword virtual group. This process changed my life. I invite you to experience the difference for yourself. Come join in an incredible approach written for you.    

CLASS INFORMATION

Class duration: 12 weeks
Class sessions: 1.0 to 1.5 hours each meeting

Homework: Expect at least 2 hours of reading and reflection on your own each week
Total Cost:  $15.00

Zoom Meeting: Monday nights, 6:15 p.m. (CST) Beginning February 8th

Deadline to register: January 25th  

Register here as a virtual small group participant

You will receive further information via email after the registration deadline.

P.S. Are you hesitant? What’s holding you back? Please leave a comment below and let me know your concerns. I would love to answer any questions you have. I believe this is a worthy study to give you the confidence in choosing God’s Word as your primarily resource for a lifetime.

Prayer Life, Part 2

Hear this, you elders; listen, all who live in the land. Has anything like this ever happened in your days or in the days of your ancestors? Joel 1:2 (NIV)

Happy Sunday friends! How’s your year been so far? Do you set goals and resolutions every January? Are you planning to make some changes in 2021?

This weekend I began studying Joel. As the writer expands upon the locust plague, he speaks of a God of justice as well as a Lord of mercy. Joel clearly denotes the judgment of sin as dreadful and overpowering punishment much like the devastation of wild locust. Yet, the author tells of a mighty God who is willing to forgive and restore anyone who will turn from their disobedience and declare Him as their sovereign Lord.

How often do we catch this vision of God? A father who stands ready to receive us if we will call on Him. The highest of strength and power who is King over all that has, does, and will exist. A Lord who is abounding in grace. A God who is compassionate and relational. Creator of all, who extends salvation through His son in order to call us His sons and daughters.

Since our 2020 experience, how do we see God? If we believe in an omnipotent God, why do we tend to become complacent and take Him for granted? I have asked myself, “Why don’t I pray more than I do?” Have we become blind to the consequences of fleshy living? Are our senses so dull that we have become immune to God’s warnings and pleas? Have we allowed the offerings of this world to dry up our joy as Joel talks about in Joel 1:12?

Joel’s message for me began in Joel 1:2 with the words “Hear this” and “listen”. It captured my attention to exam my reverence to God as my sovereign Lord and to turn away from my self-centeredness and sin. I saw glimpse of my own lukewarm behavior periodically, the kind of thinking and acts far from what God not only requires, but what He truly deserves. And again, I ask “why”?

As my heart cries out to God to restore my emphasis on Him, I feel the Lord asking me, “Who do you say I am?” How well can I accurately describe Him? This indescribable love who has longed for me, shown mercy in so many ways, sanitized my mistakes, transformed my sins for His good, and showered me with blessings beyond my understanding. He has created turning points in my spiritual journey to increase my faith and knowledge of Him and yet again is tugging on my heartstrings to draw closer to Him through a sincere focus on my prayer life.

What about you? Who do you say God is? How is your prayer life?

Please leave your comments, suggestions, and thoughts below. We are all in this together. Lets reach out and help each other in our journey. I look forward to hearing your insight.

To you, Lord, I call, for fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness and flames have burned up all the trees of the field. Even the wild animals pant for you; the streams of water have dried up and fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness. Joel 1:19-20 (NIV)

Happy New Year

Welcome 2021

Happy New Year Friends! We look forward to walking through 2021 with you. As intentional partners, we are here to supply encouragement with your spiritual growth posture. Our main goal is to support your personal relationship with God and strengthen your reliance on Scripture. We are preparing for great times ahead in the upcoming months.

Prayers and best wishes from our ministry team and partners! We love you!!

I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. Jeremiah 24:7 (NIV)

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