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Chapter 8: Lord, Take Me Deeper in Your Word

“There is no way to draw closer to God, to have a clean and right heart before Him, or be a forgiving person, or walk in obedience to His ways, or take control of your mind, or stand against the enemy, or make Jesus Lord of your life unless you are in the Word of God every day.  It’s your compass.  Your guide.  You can’t get where you need to go without it”. ~ Stormie Omartian, Power of a Praying Woman.

This chapter came in the nick of time.   It’s the best chapter for me by far in this book.  It’s the one that God knew I needed to hear the most.   He knew that I would have an “a ha” moment this week when I read this chapter.   He’s right.

I am the world’s worst at reading my bible.  Well, that’s not an entirely  true statement.  I do read it in church, at bible study or Sunday school.   But on my own, I don’t make the time to read it.   I guess that makes me a really sad, pathetic example of a Christian.  I have good intentions.  Really I do.  I just don’t follow through.

I think that the biggest message I pulled from this chapter was in the last paragraphs of the chapter before the prayer.    She talks about in her early days as a Christian, how she suffered from depression and anxiety.   That’s me.   There are some things about life that are so overwhelming to me right now.  But I read these words from Stormie… “All it took was reading the Bible for a few minutes, and I would feel calm and hopeful again…. It leads us away from self-destructive thoughts and enables us to enjoy a sense of well being.  It gives us hope and keeps us on course.”  As soon as I read that, I LONGED for that.  I longed for peace.   I longed to not be anxious anymore.  I longed for the symptoms of depression to GO AWAY.  It’s incredible for me to find out that she experienced that once and the Word of God made it go away.   I definitely need that.

I have decided that I need to print out and post in my office at work her “Ten Good Reasons to Read God’s Word.”  Right now #1, #3, #6, #7 and #9 sound good to me.   I am sure I need all of them, but I am willing to start these one at a time.

Great chapter!  What did you glean from it?  How does the Word of God help you?  Are you faithful in your reading?

Chapter 7: Lord, Rule Me in Every Area of My Life

The key word in this very short chapter was surrender.   I looked up the word surrender.  Merriam-Webster had four definitions for the word.

1. to yield to the power, control, or possession of another upon compulsion or demand

2. to give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another

3. to give (oneself) up into the power of another especially as a prisoner

4. to give (oneself) over to something (as an influence)

What I found more compelling about the word surrender was the synonyms for it…. cede, cough up, deliver, give up, hand over, lay down, relinquish, render, turn in, turn over, yield.

Jesus laid down his life for me.  And I cannot seem to let go of what I want for what he wants.   It’s crazy, isn’t it?  That we think we know what’s best…what we need to do…. never considering that God knows better than us.   I think about this actually quite often.   What if God called my family to be missionaries?  Could we drop everything and go?  What if God told us that we needed to tithe the full 10% on a month that we know we are going to be short?  Can we step out in faith and trust that God knows what he is doing?  Or do we say no, I can’t do that.   I know I am guilty of the latter.   And you know, it’s not that I don’t trust God….it’s that I am scared.   I listen to the serpent from the Garden of Eden…. he tells things that scare me.   And so I “feel better”, I don’t do what God asks of me.

I will be reading and rereading this chapter and hope that the Lord helps me to understand what I am to do for him.  Help me, Lord, to surrender to you.

Chapter 6: Lord, Show Me How to Take Control of My Mind

I could so relate to Stormie’s opening vignette in this chapter…. there have been times where I could not understand why I was so down.  There was absolutely no reason for me to be down, and I seriously thought I needed to call my doctor to see if my antidepressant needed to be increased.   It wasn’t until I was on Facebook, and I just all of the sudden  got into one of my Youtube kicks…. I started posting praise songs left and right.   Praise You in this Storm, Who Am I, East to West , Grace Like Rain, Lead Me to the Cross… one after another, these songs came to mind.  I sang them as a posted them on Facebook, all of the sudden my mood changed.   I was praising God and it chased Satan away.   He had stolen God’s word away from me, and all these praise songs brought them right back.

I play in a classic rock band.  There are times when I get so involved in listening to those songs on Pandora, I find that I have more troubles in my life when I completely move away from worship music.  We started off doing Classic Rock/Modern Worship performances, but soon, demand was asking more for our classic rock side…. The words in some of those songs can really lead your mind down the wrong road…. and I find myself being so stuck on listening to that kind of music… but last night, God reminded me on my 4 hour + drive from my parents house to home, that I needed to spend that time with him…. so on Pandora, I plugged into my Christian contemporary station and listened to that most of the way home.   It really lifted me up after the reason I went to see my parents…. both are having health issues and I feel so far away from them.   But I refused to entertain the vision Satan was trying to give me… “what a bad daughter you are for not being there for your parents….”,  “why aren’t you doing anything to help them.”  “You are too involved in your own life to even care about theirs…”     I choose to focus on the reason for this season in my life…. God has a plan for every one of us.  His will be done, not mine.

When Satan camps out in your mind, what do you do to keep him at bay and run him off?

Chapter 5: Lord, Strengthen Me to Stand Against the Enemy

This chapter is one I needed to read badly.   There are times in my life when I leave the door open just a crack, and Satan comes meandering right into my life again…because I let him in.

We have an enemy who is like a terrorist to our soul.”  I never heard this put this way, and it really stood out to me as I began the chapter this week.   Of course, I knew that Satan was the enemy, but I never thought about him as a terrorist…but he really is!  I know the feelings that I get when I let him get his foot in the door.   Lately, he has gotten in somehow, and I need to use the power Jesus gave me when he died on the cross for me to rid my life of Satan.  I know he is in my life right now because there is a lot of anxiety…forgetfulness…confusion…. It’s like my mind is a great big black kettle, and Satan is just stirring things up, throwing things in that just muddle me even more.   It’s times like these when I throw on some worship music.  Pandora has become my friend… I love to sing worship music.  I find that when I listen or sing along, Satan isn’t present anymore.  Cause he hates worship music!  He hates me praising God.   So he disappears.

I didn’t grow up in the church.  I didn’t memorize a lot of verses in my youth…it just wasn’t done in my household.   I didn’t have much to go on, except two grandmothers who showed me the love of God through themselves.    My Dad’s mother used to play organ, and she taught me from the beginning of my being “Jesus Loves Me”  She would play it and we would sing it and I would feel so free!  My Mom’s mother influenced me so much that on my 16th birthday all she could afford was to give me $5.  I used that $5 and some money I earned and bought my first bible.   That’s where my life started changing, a little at a time.  So worship music is my thing.   I love it when I find the words of a Paul Baloche song in Psalms.  It’s like finding something new that I didn’t know about God’s word.   (Yeah, it’s weird…I know!  LOL)

I love Stormie’s 5 weapons against Satan.   They are really good tools to have in our arsenal.  God’s word…Praise….Obedience….Faith….Prayer and fasting.   All wonderful weapons that every Christian has at his/her disposal.

My mom’s been battling with cancer.  She was in remission, but we recently found out that it may be back.  There are still tests to be done to see if it is or not.   But Mom commented to my sister at the last procedure… “why me?”  It’s because she’s a child of God.  It’s because she is obedient to God.   Those are the exact people that Satan tries to break down.  I told my sister to tell Mom that God won’t let her go through anything that she can’t handle, and he will always provide a way out.   I hope that I am blessed with the same faith that she has.   Her strength comes from the Lord.  “Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord” – Everlasting God by Brenton Brown.

Which weapon do you find that is the most effective way of keeping Satan out of your life?   What left an impression on you as you read through this chapter?

Chapter 4: Lord, Teach Me to Walk in Obedience to Your Ways

This was a very intriguing chapter for me.   I like to think that I walk in God’s ways, but I realize that I don’t always do it.  This past week has been excruciatingly hard on me, and I realize that if I had stopped to ask God’s help or for God to help me to do his will in all the situations I faced, it might have been a better, more organized week.

Here are some of the things that stood out to me that I underlined from my reading…

“We (women) know a lot about what we’re supposed to be doing, but we often have a hard time doing it.”  Why is this so?   I find, in my own life, that it probably is that I am just not walking in God’s will…listening to what he is telling me, and just trusting him that if I do it,  I will be blessed.   Omartian says, “I asked God to help me be disciplined enough to be daily in his Word, to pray faithfully, and to take the steps of obedience that I need to take.”   This is exactly what I need to do.  I need to start praying that God would help me with this area of my life.

“We get into trouble with we think we know what to do and we stop asking God if we’re doing it.”  I know that I am guilty, very guilty of doing this until I get so overwhelmed that I cry out to the Lord for help.  If I had spoken to the Lord for wisdom about a situation instead of jumping in head first, it probably would have worked out so much better and easier then how I thought I could do it.

“It is important that you keep asking God to show you what He wants you to do.” I think, for me, this goes along with the last point.   I worked for many years teaching private music lessons.  Came a point when I put all my eggs in one basket, teaching lessons for one school….and I lost my job at the end of that school year.   I tried all summer to find other schools to teach at, but could not.  So as a last resort because I REALLY needed to work, I went to a friend who was the director of a business that I never thought I would work in… child care.   She hired me and I started there part time….6 years later, I am still there and I am the director.   Never would I have thought that I would be where I am today, but I know it is what God wants ME to do at this time in my life.  So I will stay here as long as God wants me to be.

“When we do things we don’t like simply because we know we need to do them, it builds character in us.  It makes us disciplined.  It forms us into a leader God can trust.”  I can tell you in my current field of work, 90% of it is SO much fun.  I love it.  It’s the 10% that I so dread that I rely on the Lord.  Do I WANT to press parents for timely payments…NO, but if I don’t, how do I pay my bills and my employees.  Do I WANT to call a parent to tell them they need to take their sick child home after they left them there one hour ago… No, but I have to to follow state guidelines and rules.   Do I like conflict of ANY KIND in the workplace…an issue with a child, an issue with a parent, an issue with an employee… no.  Do I like calling Child Protective Services and deal with the aftermath when a family guesses it comes from me?   NO.  But it is the law and I have to do it if I have suspicions.     The biggest thing… I have to “trust that He knows the way and won’t hurt (me) in the process.” (parenthesis mine)

What insights did you pull from this week’s lesson?   What is keeping you from walking in obedience with the Lord?

Chapter 3: Lord, Help Me to Be a Forgiving Person

This is a chapter that not only we women need, but I think men need as well. Forgiveness sometimes can be hard to completely comprehend. If you forgive someone, do they need to apologize first? Do they need to accept that they were wrong? If they don’t, do we still need to forgive? What about forgetting? Does forgiving someone mean that we have to forget what happened to us?

I tell my children never to use the word “hate”. It is a very strong word, and I just don’t like to hear it used. God does not want us to hate, but to love. It was interesting to read though, that even though I don’t like the use of the word “hate”, that if I don’t forgive them, it is the root of hate.

I learned all about this before I was 19 from two family members. I grew up in a family filled with love. We would do anything for each other. Give the shirt off our back. But I had two relatives that did not “fit“ the family mold. I had one relative that I was afraid that if I was ever in a situation where he and I were alone, that I might get sexually abused. I tried to avoid him at all cost. The other family member was so self centered in his own immediate family that he really strained my relationship with his wife for a whole year. Instead of coming to me with issues he had with me when I lived with them for a year, he went through his wife, which ended up straining our relationship that year. I held on to those feelings of unforgiveness even after I became a Christian, and it wasn’t until I was convicted by God, that even though they never apologized and probably never will, it wasn’t up to me. I needed to forgive them. And I did.

You see I didn’t need to wait for them to apologize. It didn’t justify what they had done. I gave it over to God to let him handle and He will handle it. To this day, I feel SO much better knowing that I don’t have to deal with it anymore. I have a God who deals justly with all people.

If you have read any of my early blog entries, you will see that I went through a period of sexual refusal toward my husband. When my eyes were finally opened, when I was truly ready to hear the truth, God revealed to me that while my husband had forgiven me for my past, and God forgave me when I confessed my sin, that I hadn’t forgiven myself, and that gave Satan a foothold into my marriage bed. Since I finally forgave myself, I have been able to heal, and my past is just there… in the past.

I have found lately that Jesus verse about forgiveness 70×7 times is on my mind a lot. (Matthew 18-21-22) I realized something… there is no way I could keep count of forgiving someone 490 times. I would so lose count and have to start over again. I think that is God’s point on forgiveness.

For anyone who has a hard time with forgiveness, remember this. You, yourself, have had a LARGE debt forgiven if you are a Christian. Jesus died for ALL of your sins, not just the ones he chooses to forgive you for. We have no right to be unforgiving for any reason.

Please feel free to post anything that really stood out to you. I think the biggest thing I need to remember where forgiveness is concerned, is to remember Jesus sacrifice to forgive me when I find myself feeling unforgiving toward someone else.

Chapter 2: Lord, Cleanse me and make my heart right before you.

This chapter is going to be very useful to me as I apply it in my life.   As I read through this chapter several times, I realize that I think of myself as a good person.   My faith in the Lord is strong.  I have been told that I am “spiritually mature” in my outlook on life.   I know of one BIG sin in my life that I am confessing of and repenting of during this chapter, too.  It’s going to take some time talking to the Lord about it to get it taken care of.   But as Stormie mentioned in the chapter, I am one of those people that have a hard time seeing the small, hidden sins, and I am in great need of God bringing those forth so I can confess.

I can be very black and white at times, so I like to think that I have a good grasp on right and wrong.  With that in mind, here are some things that I picked up on in this week’s chapter…. First thing that I highlighted in my book “It’s realizing that you can’t make anything happen, but you can surrender your life to God and let Him make things happen.”   Try as I might in my daily life, I find that things usually work best when I include God in the plans.  His plans usually work much better than the things that I try to do on my own.   I am a type A, administrative type.   I am a doer.   I don’t like to sit back and wait for someone else to do it, especially at work.  I do it myself.   I need to spend some time with God, listening to His plan for my life, His plan for my work, His plans for me.    I need to stop doing and start being still and listening.

This makes me squirm… “In order to see positive changes happen in your life, you have to be open to the cleansing and stretching work of the Holy Spirit.”   Am I being deceived about myself and my life?  I think so.   I just can’t see it, but I can feel it…. that nagging sensation that there is something that I am just not seeing…. I guess that is the feeling I have been having lately…. the Spirit trying to stretch me and mold me.   Nudging me toward God to the next step….confessing.    I have no clue what sins are buried deep within me sometimes.  I feel the Spirit trying to flesh them out though.

But I finally realized that all sin is sin, so I confessed my resentment to God as sin – and the moment I did, the feeling of sickness in my body left. ”  I have a feeling that will be my testimony soon.

The concepts of confessing and repenting are lessons that I am working on with my daughter.   She can be one of those people who are “professional apologizers” and I am trying to work with her on her level of understanding about that repenting means intending to never do it again.   Not just saying sorry to be forgiven if you truly don’t feel sorry.   I liked when she said, “Repentance means being so deeply sorry for what you have done that you will do whatever it takes to keep it from happening again.”   When I confess, I truly feel that way.  I don’t want to do it again, and I try my hardest not to do it… my black and white kicks in.  When I know it is truly wrong, I know it and don’t want to do it again.

So, I am off to do some serious discussion with the Lord about what I need to know is in my heart that needs confessing.    What are your thoughts on this chapter?  What does it bring out for you?