I was speaking with a friend last night about all the great things that God has been doing all around us lately. It has just been amazing to see Him at work through our Prayer Study Group over the past seven weeks. During our lessons we have witnessed God save souls, heal sicknesses, and reveal scriptures in perfect timing. We have learned how to pray more strategically, specifically, and scripturally. We have discussed how to approach the throne of God with confidence, humbleness, and stronger faith. I personally continue to witness growth in others through these studies and to experience it myself.
However, the friend I was speaking to last night pointed out to me that this is what it is all about. She shared a verse with me, Jeremiah 29:13 that explains it all. It reads, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” That’s it. That’s the key to experiencing God. It’s right there is black and white. If you pursue Him, you will find Him.
Oh we spend so much time running around in this world and complaining that we are so busy and we don’t have time for anything. Yet, we all have the same 24 hours in a day that the disciples had many years ago. We have the same 24 hours in a day that a dear prayer warrior in our church has. We choose to spend our time the way we spend it. I’m not saying to stop everything you are doing. I’m saying to find a balance but make sure you find time to pursue God.
“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” – Matthew 6:33
Believe me. I know how hard you try to make time for everything. I have lived life with a full time demanding job, three children involved in everything possible, cooked meals, washed numerous loads of clothes, went to church every time I could, volunteered for things I didn't really have time for and then some - just like you. I have always tried to be very organized and get everything done in a day to my standards and my expectations. I’ve learned most recently that my prayer life was suffering. I was going through the motions or more of a ritual of empty prayers. “Bless this one and that one Lord. Thank you Lord for your many blessings. Amen.” I was basically saying the same thing every night before I would go to bed with the occasional specific prayer for someone or something. That's not enough.
I can look back now and understand why I wasn’t seeing the movement that I am seeing now. 1.) I was too busy and didn’t take time to be sincere in my prayers. 2.) I wasn’t praying properly and although I’m doing better after going through this study, I still need practice. 3.) I was not doing God’s will. I was doing my will.
I encourage you to seek out and pursue God FIRST in your daily lives. Make time for Him and He will make time for you regardless of what time it is. He’s waiting to hear from you. He’s available 24 hours a day.
If you haven’t been through the Battle Plan for Prayer study, I highly recommend it with a group and using the videos. It’s one eye-opening, heart-opening study. Lastly, the only way we will see anything change in our world is if we begin to change. It starts with us.
Proverbs reads in Chapter 19, Verse 21, "There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand. (KJV) God knows what we need and when we need it. We try to take control of our situations and hover over them, especially our children. When in reality, what we need to do is let go and let God.
I want to share a funny story with you that happened to me about two years ago. I starting feeling the urge to work in ministry and at the time I had been working closely with FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) but it was through a partnership with the bank I was at. I expressed a desire to FCA's leader, Ken Burnett, to go to work for FCA full-time. We had been exchanging phone calls and on this one particular day that we were on a call I had all three of my children with me. Two of my children, Owen and Emma, needed something from a store nearby so I pulled into the parking lot to let them go in and get what they needed and told them I would wait in the car with my then 3 year-old, Kanin, all while I was on the phone with Ken.
While waiting, Kanin begins asking me to go to the bathroom. I'm half listening to Ken as I begin to think of what to do with Kanin. To me this was an important call because Ken was potentially my next boss so I didn't want to hang up with him plus keep in mind I'm a mom and in control of everything, right? Are you with me? So, I get Kanin out of the car to take him over to the grass to "let him go". Then, he tells me he has to "go #2" so of course this plan had to change. I head toward the store and Owen and Emma are coming out. I hand them the keys and tell them to get in, lock the door, and I'll be right back.
I proceed into the store, still on the phone with Ken but with Kanin by the hand saying "Mom, I've got to go bad". I place Ken on mute (so I thought) and get the key from the register to take Kanin to the bathroom. As we walk toward the bathroom, I didn't notice that Kanin had grabbed a bag of animal crackers. I unlock the door to the bathroom, pull Kanin in and see the bag of cookies in his hand and say "Son, you can't have food in the bathroom". It was then discover Ken is not on mute after all. Ken says, "are you eating in the bathroom". Totally embarrassed, I respond. "No, just taking Kanin to the bathroom in a store and he grabbed a bag of cookies on the way in." To which Ken replies with a song, "Come out, come out Mr. Doodie" and he is laughing hysterically.
So, I'm helping Kanin get on the toilet while Ken is singing in my ear about going to the bathroom. Yes, this did really happen. And, I hope you can visualize this because there is a point.
We as mothers try to do EVERYTHING for EVERYBODY sometimes all at once and we miss God speaking to us. I can't even remember what Ken and I were talking about up until hearing the song. Wow, what a loser I am. Why didn't I just ask Ken if I could call him back? Because I thought I had it all under control!
Let's apply this spiritually. We can't do everything. We can't! When God needs us to listen we need to take time to listen. We are going to miss our calling if we don't. Yes, some things have to be taken care of right away like Kanin needing to go to the bathroom. But if we don't carve out time for Him, we are going to miss the message.
God showed me this lesson through looking back at what a mess I was making in this moment. I was distracted and wasn't taking the time to listen and I could not admit that I did not have control of this situation. Listen to me now, put God at the top of your To Do list. Not to check Him off but instead to let Him trickle down and cover the rest of it with His great blessings.
May God richly bless you is my humble prayer today.
I haven’t done a specific book review in a couple of weeks although I have mentioned books in my posts. But this book has been weighing on my heart to share with you so I hope it helps someone. Do Hard Things written by Alex & Brett Harris is a book about rising above teenage rebellion. Yes, it is written by teenagers for teenagers but it is an excellent book for adults to read too and here’s why.
Now are you with me? You see where this is going?
Yes, this is a great book for teenagers who are trying to challenge themselves but Do Hard Things is a great motivator for adults, too. It also provides some great online resources and shares real life stories. We read this book in our Adult Sunday School class.
Did you know that the word “teenager” has been around for less than 70 years? Used to, you were either a child or an adult. The Bible never mentions the word either. The world has created this word for this awkward stage in life where used to children were becoming adults. This process now doesn't typically take place until they are out of college.
Check this excerpt out from the book. “George was born in northern Virginia in 1732 to a middle-class family. When he was eleven years old, he lost his father. Even though his peers never considered him very bright, he applied himself to his studies and mastered geometry, trigonometry, and surveying by the time he was sixteen. At seventeen years old, George had the chance to put his studies to use at his first job. Official surveyor of Culpeper County, Virginia…George endured the hardships of frontier life as he measured and recorded previously unmapped territories. His measuring tools were heavy logs and chains. George was a man at seventeen.” This George the authors refer to is George Washington, who as you know, goes on to be our first President of the United States of America.
At an early age, George was given increasing levels of responsibility and he rose to the occasion. And at that time in history, it wasn’t unusual to see this age group accept the challenges of this world. Nowadays, we are lucky to get our teenagers to make their bed, clean their room, or take out the trash.
Furthermore, we have the irresponsible adults we have today because of the low standards and expectations that were set for them as children. And so a cycle has been put into place the same as abuse, addiction or any other cycle. It is learned behavior.
I challenge you to get this book and read it as an adult and raise the standard for your children, grandchildren, students, or whomever God has placed in your path.
Let me close with a verse from 1 Corinthians 14:20, “Brethren, be not children in understanding; howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.” Our culture today encourages just the opposite. It says be childish in your thinking and behavior and yet makes available adult sins to our children.
Think about it. Choose to do hard things.
It seems everywhere I look this week there is a message telling for people to accept their spiritual calling. And, by the way, I love it when that happens. You know, when God layers events, bible studies, sermons, conversations, etc. together where they just compliment each other. Isn't that amazing and mysterious? That's God at work! He weaves things together and people together where we can't escape what He is trying to show us because it's everywhere we turn.
If you are not following what I'm saying and you haven't experienced this in your life, let me give you some details.
This week, we had Pastor Greg Locke (yes the social media preacher) at our church and through him God revealed a message that challenged us to think outside the box. He spoke directly to the congregation to get involved and surrender to God's Will and Purpose for our lives.
Secondly, I have been trying to watch a 6 hour Beth Moore simulcast since Tuesday of this week. I'm having to watch it in bits and pieces but it is spectacular. The theme is "The Symphony". She has been sharing how we are all instruments in God's symphony. We all play a different instrument but when we play together (each accepting her own calling) under His leadership we are making a beautiful sound.
Next, in one of the Bible study groups I meet with, the chapters we reviewed this week were about wanting God. Desiring to do His Will. Being compelled to do His Will. Not just saying I really need to do this or that and never doing it.
Then, while preparing for another Bible study group, the next video we will review also touches on music and sounding like a symphony and playing as one. Listen, I know these authors and speakers do not know that I'm watching and working on these studies simultaneously. That's God working this out.
Finally, I've had multiple conversations this week with people about God urging them to do something.
Now do you see what I mean? I don't know about you but God is trying to do a work through us all if we will simply surrender to Him. If we will just get on our knees and get our faces humbled in prayer and give Him everything we have, He will take over from here. He will open doors that we cannot open. He will provide opportunities that we would otherwise not have. He will provide the talent, the people, the finances to carry out His Plan. God is calling you to get the message of the Gospel into your home, your circle of friends and your community.
Acts 28:23 - 28 says, "And when they had appointed him a day, there came man to him into his lodging to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not. And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it."
Many are hearing the Word in this day and are not understanding it because their hearts are not right with God. God is calling His people to go to work and reach these people - people that have grown up in the church and have turned from it. These people may be your friends or your family and God is calling you to talk to them, worship with them, teach them.
God is also calling for us to think outside of the box to reach others. There are lost and hurting people all around us. We can't wait for them to come to us on Sunday morning and Wednesday night. We will have to go to them.
I do not know who you are; I do not know what God is asking you to do; but I do know that all you have to do is surrender.
During our Bible Study class this Tuesday, a very interesting question came up. Are we too timid in prayer? I think we all had an AHA moment. The initial question was "What does faith of a child look like in prayer?" from the Bible Study The Battle Plan for Prayer by Stephen and Alex Kendrick. But this question quickly had us discussing our lack of boldness in prayer.
The Bible says in Hebrews 4:16 "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Come boldly to the throne and confidently in our request with much faith that the Lord will supply our needs and answer our prayers. So why do we approach the throne with an attitude of "well, if you don't mind"? As we discussed in our study group, one reason may be that we are just trying to be respectful. We are taught to be polite and not ask for much. But, if we are sincerely praying with the right motives and attitude we are to beg the Lord for healing, forgiveness, or whatever our request may be. We must be persistent as a child when making a request. God is still God. If it is not His will, it will not be done but it shouldn't be for a lack of an earnest prayer.
Think about when a child wants a piece of candy or a toy. They are persistent in asking and as a parent we usually give in to the request if it is not harmful to the child. Our Father is the same way, if we are persistent in our request and it is what is best for us He may just give us what we are asking for because we are persistent.
Think about this the next time you are approaching the throne of grace.
God may answer you with a yes, no or He may simply say not right now. But if you are persistent like many of the prayer warriors in the Bible, you will get through. Here are just a few examples of successful people of the Bible that had a persistent, bold prayer life (from the book The Battle Plan for Prayer).
Pray often. Pray sincerely. Pray boldly. May God richly bless you this week!
Have you ever noticed when things start coming together that people tend to say “oh what a coincidence”? We’ve probably all said it before. But you know it’s not at all coincidence. God’s mighty hand is at work. It’s a divine intervention!
All month it seems that everywhere I turn there is something about prayer. Someone is talking about it, preaching about it, teaching about it and it’s on bulletins, on brochures in the mail, I mean it is everywhere! This has all occurred since the announcement of our next Women’s Bible Study which starts today! It’s called The Battle Plan for Prayer and it is a study inspired by the movie The War Room.
I’m very excited to begin this study although once again I had my own pick of a study to use and it just wasn’t what God wanted me to do. This study will bring to life strategic prayer and I believe will enhance anyone’s prayer life that is faithful to attend. You will also learn that things are not by coincidence.
We will dig in deep through this study and grow our prayer life and our personal relationship with God. It is such an important part of our daily lives that we take too lightly. Do you realize what kind of power you are promised through prayer? What kind of life you could be living with a more effective prayer life? Ask yourself, what do you spend 5 -10 minutes doing each day that you could easily replace with prayer. How much time do you spend on social media each day? 30 minutes? An hour?
“Answered prayers aren’t merely highly unlikely coincidences. They are fingerprints of a living, loving God who invites all of us to draw close to Him”. I love to think about that line from The Battle Plan for Prayer Book. Answered prayers are fingerprints of God! Let that sink in folks. We have a direct line of communication with the almighty God and we don’t use it correctly or effectively!
Did you know that you can pray for something other than submitting a request? If you don’t have anything you need to ask for you can simply pray and tell God how much you love Him and how much you appreciate Him. Just spending quiet time with Him in His love is enough sometimes. You can pray and thank God for him rescuing you, blessing you and loving you. Pray is not only for you to ask for something. Prayer is how we communicate with God. It’s how we talk to Him.
Next time you pray, spend some time simply thanking and praising Him. He is not a coincidental God. He makes things happen for us and we should recognize it and appreciate it through prayer to Him!
James 5:16 "...The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
A dear friend recently suggested that I start doing book reviews on this blog. I thought that was an excellent idea because I have read many books and often times I am asked is there a book for that. "That" being a situation someone is going through. I normally have a book come to mind right away but I do not recommend simply living on words of others. My first suggestion to anyone would be to first go to the Bible and if you are not sure where to begin go to www.biblegateway.com. It is a great website that allows you to search for specific scriptures or specific topics.
Today, I've chosen a book to share with you called So Long, Insecurity by Beth Moore. If you don't know already, Beth Moore is one of my favorite authors. I read this book because a friend recommended it to me simply as a good book to read. At that time in my life was traveling for my job a good bit and I always kept something to read while sitting and waiting in the airport or on the plane.
I purchased this book because of the author, not because of the title. I say that because I didn't give the title a second thought until I started reading it in public and was insecure about people looking at what I was reading. I would find myself with the book opened flat on my lap because I was so insecure about someone thinking that I was insecure that I didn't want anyone to see the title, So Long, Insecurity. (LOL! Yes, I really did that.) I can tell you by the time I was finished reading it, I didn't care what anyone thought about the title of the book I was holding. I wanted to go tell every woman to go read this book because women can be fierce...to each other.
As women, we are insecure creatures. Even the most confident person you know has something she is insecure about and our actions or reactions are a result of our insecurity. How we treat others and how we are allowed ourselves to be treated are a result of our insecurity. This book is filled with real-life stories from anonymous women that you can relate to. At least one of the stories, will make you gasp in a revelation saying "That's me!" or "I didn't realize why I felt that way!". Here are just a few of the items the author lists that insecurity can make us do:
So why are we insecure? There are number of contributors some of which include instability in the home, rejection, a significant loss, and pride. But the biggest one, in my opinion, is our culture. Wouldn't you agree? We use the wrong measuring stick for ourselves. Romans 12:2 says, "And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
We need proof that who we are is who were are supposed to be. When we find that proof, then we find confidence and acceptance. Once you accept who you are through God's eyes, it can be the most peaceful feeling in the world. You prove God, yourself and others by accepting who you are. You discard the insecurity in what the world thinks of you. When you find peace with God and yourself, your humble confidence will allow others to be at peace with you as well.
I recommend this book to ALL women, regardless of where you are in your life right now. If you have already read this book, please comment on this post and share the difference it made in your life.
This past Sunday was a very special Sunday for our church. It was the first ever Youth Sunday that I had been a part of at Mt. Pleasant. This event came together completely on Faith. We had a vision for the speaker, former NFL player, Devin Wyman to come and share his testimony with the youth of our church. But as we prayed for this event to come together, God sent resources from all over and of all kinds to make this event bigger and better than we could have hoped.
We had private individual sponsors as well as Liberty Bank of Snead to donate money to help with the event. We had youth directors, Tiffany Ponder, TC Williams and Maranda Williams step up and organize the youth to sing. Susan Moore football coach, Ken Adams allowed us to use the football field for the afternoon service. But, one young man really stood out to me on this Sunday. Will Perry stood up and spoke from his heart. For the short period of time I’ve known Will, he has seemed to me to be very shy and not very talkative but there is nothing wrong with that. (I used to be the same way.)
Will has really started to come out of his shell. Will shared with us a passage of scripture that was most fitting for a youth Sunday with a building full of potential workers for the Lord. 1 Timothy 4:12 reads “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” Will said, “Don’t let anyone tell you that you are too young to do anything.” He added, “You’ve heard it said that the young people are the future of the church, but we are the church.”
Young people are very much a part of our churches and should be allowed and encouraged to be more involved. We discredit them because of their age simply because the expectations of the world. Nowadays, we don’t expect anything productive out of our children until they are finished with college. But, if we haven’t allowed them to mature spiritually it will not matter what kind of education they have had. They will not be know what to do next when they graduate. A textbook cannot “train up a child in the way he should go’” (Proverbs 22:6). Their parents, their church leaders, their godly teachers and coaches are can and should. If you are around children everyday, you are being an example for them whether you know it or now. You should be a Godly example.
It is our job as a church family to lead our children in the right direction and encourage them to do good, live godly and be leaders. It doesn’t matter where they go to school, college or church as long as they are there and getting the Christian discipleship needed.
I encourage you to evaluate what you are teaching your child and take a look at which leaders they are following. And, if you are looking for a place of discipleship for them, try our youth group on Wednesday nights at 7:00pm or find one in your local community. Get them plugged in, they’re never too young to start.
You’ve all heard about and probably read the “Love Chapter” in the Bible – 1 Corinthians chapter 13. It’s often read at weddings during the ceremony and shared, as a guideline of what love should be to our spouse. Let's look at this chapter in a different light. In verses 1-3 Paul tells us that we can have all the talents and all the abilities in the world, but without charity or love we are nothing. Verses 4-10 go on to describe what love is. These are beautiful verses and when you read them you may think of the love of your life. But, have you ever read them and thought about Jesus? This is how he feels about you because He Is Love. He not only feels this way about you but HE IS the way for you. Go to 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 right now. Stop whatever you are doing and go there now. Read verses 4-10 and insert Jesus for every time you read the description of the word Love. You are reading about the ultimate symbol of Love Himself.
Do you see it? Jesus is all these things that we try to make someone be on this Earth. For example, I love my husband and I tell him I love him every day. But I can't be everything in these verses to him because I am human. For example, according to 1 Corinthians 13:8, Love never fails, right? As humans, we do fail. The love that we have will never be enough to keep us from our flaws and failures.
My husband often uses the phrase “Love has no boundaries”. I know you would do anything for your spouse, your family and your friends. You want to protect them, serve them, and love them beyond measure. Even that amount of love is not as much as Jesus loves us. His love truly has no boundaries. It is infinite, indescribable, and incomprehensible.
We strive to love people on this earth and we genuinely do love them by our standards but remember this, only Jesus can provide the love we all need. He has to be a part of our lives and relationships in order for us to even come close to true love.
My prayer today is that you come to know Jesus and feel the Love that only He can offer you so that you may be able to share His love with others.
God places people in our paths for growth, support, consolation and celebration for you and for them. You may be the receiver or the giver. Those relationships can lead to friendships but sometimes they result in trials. Always remember that the life you live as a result of these acquaintances can always be seen by others. And let me tell you, people are curious to see how you handle them.
Others will be curious about why you walk and talk the way you do, why you have the faith and hope through the hard times and unspeakable joy through the good times. Curiosity may be all it takes for someone to ask questions, want to learn more, or want some of what you have. Always be ready to answer that question - Why are you the way you are?.
1 Peter 3:15-16 says "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ."
Live up to what you believe and be prepared to answer to those who may not understand. Be respectful and humble in your response. Every question like this can be opportunity to share God's Plan of Salvation. How you respond and how you live will have an impact on someone's life. Ask yourself this questions - How did I react or respond to the last conflict in my life? Was it the way God would have me handle that situation?
God is giving you an opportunity to witness to someone through the good and the bad. Your witnessing may not be you speaking to that person, it may just be someone witnessing your actions. Keep a clear conscience - know what you say and do is right and honest and those you speak against you will be ashamed for slandering you.
We need people and relationships on this Earth. God fashioned us for fellowship. Use them for His good and He will bless you for it.
Matthew 22:37-40 – “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
I've heard it said that these two commandments were condensed versions of the ten original commandments given in the Old Testament. Because five of the commandments were regarding sin against God and five were regarding sin against man. These two commandments given in the New Testament simply sum up those original ten - Love God and Love Man.
Our fleshly bodies cause us to get these two backwards because we want to love something we can see first and then give God what is left. This results in us lifting people above God. However, our first duty above everything else is to love God with everything in us - our heart, mind and our soul. All of it belongs to God whether we surrender our lives to Him or not. We are His creation.
Isaiah 43:7 reads “Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea I have made him.” We were made to glorify Him."
Do you ever wonder what you are supposed to be doing here on Earth? Do you ever feel like you are just going through the motions? Stop and ask God what He would have you do. Surrender to Him completely and you will find your purpose.
Have you ever had that experience when God placed a bible study in your hands just at the right time? Our pastor was preaching a sermon at a revival and mentioned a book that was at the top of his reading list called Radical by David Platt. I am somewhat of a book nerd so I jumped all over the chance to read this book. It was a good book and as I neared the end, as I do with most books, I was thinking about what am I going to read next. I was in the last chapter of the book and read a list of things that the author suggested that I, the reader, do in the next year. I thought that the list was pretty good and so I wrote it down in my journal. I remember thinking that it probably wasn't possible for me to do some of those things because at the time I worked a full time job about 30 miles from home. Most of my time was spent at work or running my three children around to different sporting events, music lessons, or church clubs. But, maybe I could try it, eventually.
Then, suddenly, the list started unfolding without my trying to do anything on the list. God had taken over. Here's the list and what happened in the past 11 months:
I am very excited to begin this blog and to share with you what the Lord has done for me and what He will do for you. Please be patient as I get this started and be much in prayer for what the Lord desires for me to share with you. I hope this blog will be a help to you and a blessing.
Rebecca Debter is the Ministries Coordinator at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church.
Women's Bible Study beginning November 5, 2017, Sunday Mornings at 9:30am at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church. "We Saved You a Seat" what are you waiting for.