Tag Archives: Priscilla Shirer

Every. Single. Day…(Savor by Shaunna Niequist is a must-read.)

Brush your teeth.

Floss.

Wash your hands.

Woman Washing Hand Under RunningTake your vitamins.

Don’t forget your meds…

Especially if some of the above phrases come from your doctor, we’d all be wise to heed his or her advice. Every day. Right?

Every. Single. Day.

What if we added one more daily activity, guaranteed to help us and all those who cross our path?

I ran across this idea in a new devotional I’m crazy about. (One can never have too many devotionals, right?) You may want to consider this for a Christmas gift for your friends or family members. Little fun fact: in addition to three hundred and sixty-five devotions, about every ten to fifteen pages, Shauna includes fun recipes!

It’s called Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are by Shauna Niequist. (www.shaunaniequist.com ) Shauna is a beautiful young wife to Aaron and Mom of two boys, Henry and Mac. She also happens to be the daughter of well-known preacher, teacher and writer, Bill Hybels and his sweet wife, Lynne. (www.billhybels.org and www.lynnehybels.com )

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Shauna wrote this devotional to teach us readers ways to savor our lives. This encompasses our children, friends and family, our community, God’s creation, etc. She says, “This is my attempt to clear away space and noise, inviting you to hear the ‘drumbeat’. God’s always speaking, always.

He’s always moving,

Always present,

Always creating,

Always healing.

The trick, at least for me, is paying attention.

The trick is savoring.

As God would orchestrate, my Wednesday Bible study group just finished Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer. We declared it’s a manual for the Christian Life. Priscilla says we must put on the Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) daily…and, in a gazillion other ways, she says we must have our faces planted in His Word every day.

Every. Single. Day.

I just so happened to bring Shauna’s devotional with me to Bible study for Show and Tell.  Don’t you know that day’s devotion was right out of Psalm 1:1-3

“Blessed is the one…whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on His law day and night. That person is a like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.” (Note we’ll be blessed when we delight in His Word, when we meditate on it day and night.)

Eugene Peterson’s wording from the same passage above in The Message is simultaneously amusing (“Smart-Mouth College!!!”) and to the point:

“How well God must like you—

You don’t hang out at Sin Saloon,

You don’t sling along Dead-End Road,

You don’t go to Smart-Mouth College.

Instead you thrill to God’s Word,

You chew on Scripture day and night.

You’re a tree replanted in Eden,

Bearing fresh fruit every month,

Never dropping a leaf,

Always in blossom.”

You know the saying, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Same can be said for our Christian walk. The more we study the Bible, the more we become Christ-like, yielding fruit for Him, bearing “fresh fruit.”

Apples On Tree

Joshua 1:8 tell us, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

psalm 119-97

Psalm 119:97 simply says, “Oh, how I love your law!   I meditate on it all day long.

Friends, these are just three of seventy-one verses in the Bible on Meditation. (Check out www.openbible.info to see more.) My Life Application Bible says, “Meditating means spending time reading and thinking about what you’ve read—asking yourself how you can change so you will live as God wants you to.” As my friend Caroline says, “That’s where the rubber meets the road.”

Shauna says her Dad suggests:

“… every Christian needs to spend time alone with God every day, praying, listening, reading the Bible, letting ourselves be reminded that we are God’s creation, God’s children.”

Every. Single. Day.

Shauna adds, “God wants his people to trust Him daily, to need Him and follow Him every morning with new faith.”

coffeeandBible

She confesses, “I couldn’t live well without regularly reading God’s Word.

Every. Single. Day.

Should you find yourself saying, “Yeah, that’s all well and good, but I don’t have time for that.” I challenge you to simply give it a try. You’ll be surprised when you give God your first few minutes of the day, somehow your minutes and hours are more plentiful. Just try it. (You can also get some more ideas from this: “BUT I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR A BIBLE STUDY”)

Every. Single. Day.

‘Til next time!

 

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When “Helmet Hair” Can Be a Good Thing…

If you’ve ever been in Louisville, Kentucky the first weekend in May, you know we Louisvillians go CRAZY over the Kentucky Derby. If you’re not one of the one hundred thousand plus people to go to Churchill Downs, then you’re part of the rest of the city going to or hosting a Derby party.

(If you don’t believe me, go to www.kentuckyderby.com and see the countdown to 5/7/16…it’s in days, hours, minutes and seconds…Seriously.)

Following this progression, if you’re female, hat attire is a prerequisite. Many of us have been known to find a hat first, and then a dress, while others march into local stores with dress in hand, hoping to find that perfect match. (Lots of guys wear hats as well. Hats in a mock up of Churchill Downs always make the news!)

kentucky-derby-hats-12

One of my dear friends, Gwen Paten, is hat decorator extraordinaire. She’s now working at Two Chicks, so keep that in mind when Springtime rolls around. What she can do with a hat is nothing short of remarkable. (www.twochicksandcompany.com ) With the holidays nearing, keep in mind she can whip up a fabulous wreath for your door too!

The first time John and I were invited to go to the Derby, our boys were quite young, just 3, 5, and 8. Biggest challenge was finding a babysitter which finally happened at the eleventh hour.

John was handsomely clad in a coat and an equestrianesque tie, while yours truly found a fun, festive dress and the obligatory hat. Finally ready, we walked out into the hall to greet our sitter who was already entertaining the boys. Woody took one look at me and burst into tears. Now there’s a confidence builder!!!

Obviously I never wear hats and this frilly, feathered fedora was too much for a wee one to see his Mother in…I think the older boys just laughed. Surely this was Halloween and Mother was trick or treating???

sb-fall-events-horse-belt

Guys can even accessorize with needlepoint belts!

Tradition usually entails the marathon Derby day morph into a marathon night as our guests also suggested dinner out. After wearing a hat all day long??? Can you fathom one’s hairdo??? You’re either married to the hat for the day and night, or sportin’ some sad kind of coiffure come dinner time.

Enough said for “hat head”. Our topic today, is something a little more interesting: “helmet hair”….

Hubster is now quite the cyclist. A recent article in his Bicycling magazine caught my eye. A woman cyclist asked about how to avoid “postride frizz”, twin sister to “helmet hair”

The answer suggested spritzing your hair with argan oil, or bringing a bandana or a baseball hat (!!!), in addition to a pomade (!!!) such as Aveda Men Pure-formance and Got2bGlued. Tres amusmant if you ask me.

So, while “helmet hair” can be challenging, in the physical realm, helmets are the safe route to take. Stats prove you are much safer wearing a helmet than going unprotected.

Group Of Cyclists On Cycle Ride Through Park

Likewise in the spiritual realm, we must protect ourselves daily with the helmet of salvation, another piece of the Full Armor of God. (Remember last week we talked about the belt of truth.)

The Armor of God

Each piece of the armor is equally necessary for us to put on The Full Armor of God daily. (The Belt of Truth, the Breastplate of Righteousness, Feet fitted with the readiness that come from the Gospel of Peace, the Shield of Faith with which to extinguish the fiery arrows of the evil one, the Helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God and finally, prayer.) My prayer is you’ll do this study so as to learn about all of the armor!

The Full Armor of God

My favorite point Priscilla makes about the helmet of salvation are the benefits we can receive by simply putting it on.

Would athletes enter the field of their sport unprotected? I don’t think so! Priscilla adds, “Choosing not to wear a helmet means leaving our mind exposed, unprotected.”

Priscilla says a helmet offers “comprehensive coverage”. This phrase reminds me of an insurance commercial years ago that had a ginormous umbrella covering an entire family. Full coverage.

Businessman hand drawing an umbrella above a family concept for

Additionally, Priscilla has us look up several Scriptures which illustrate the “importance of the mind to the believer’s ability to function in health and victory.”

Two verses in particular are excellent to fill our minds.  First, Isaiah 26:3-4…

Isaiah 26 3-6

(NIV) The New Living Translation says, “all whose thoughts are fixed on you.” (the Lord)

The Message helps further: “People with their minds set on you, you keep completely whole, steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don’t quit.”

Romans 8:6-7 is black and white:

Romans 8 6-7

Priscilla warns, “If your brain is impaired, your body will also be impaired, no matter how healthy the individual parts of your body may be.

And what the brain is to the body, your mind is to your soul….which is why the enemy works so diligently to cripple you thru’ negative thoughts and unhealthy patterns of imagination.” YIKES!!!

We must keep pouring Scripture into our minds,

wearing the Helmet of Salvation,

savoring our salvation,

claiming our salvation,

daily.

TAKE.

EVERY.

THOUGHT.

CAPTIVE…(2 Cor. 10:4-5)

Each day of Week Six builds on the other and you will be thrilled, assured and equipped to learn many new fun facts. (Praying you’ll take the time to do that!)

Finally, a thought to leave you with….When you do have a troublesome thought which keeps recurring (oh yes, this happens to us all), or encounter a person with whom you perhaps don’t agree with, and, if you keep stewing over what they may be thinking, please listen to what my dearly departed brother-in-law used to say:

“When you’re trying to figure out what they are thinking, you are literally out of your mind.” In other words, no one but our Lord can read our minds.   We certainly cannot read someone else’s mind. It’s a waste of time and a trick the devil loves to entice us with.

Be more concerned about filling your mind with something good. A Scripture or two (or ten) a day will keep the devil away!

Run everything thru’ the Philippians 4:8 Filter:

“Finally brothers and sisters,

whatever is true,

whatever is noble,

whatever is right,

whatever is pure,

whatever is lovely,

whatever is admirable

if anything is excellent or praiseworthy

think about such things.”

Next week we’ll learn more about filling our minds with good things.

‘Til next time!

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No Wonder “CORE” is a Four-Letter Word…

You can run, but you cannot hide” haunts me on occasion. You?

I was minding my own business, readying to start Week Two of Priscilla Shirer’s most recent Bible study, Armor of God, when I opened the workbook and nearly fell out of my chair.

The Armor of God

Priscilla had the audacity to entitle Day One of Week Two, “Strengthen Your Core”. Yep, as in the core of your body.

As in folks working out at their nearby gym.

As in folks lifting weights.

Doing sit-ups.

Doing planks.

Living room fitness workout - girl doing plank exercises to exer

In a recent conversation with my Dear Hubster, I confessed that all of our walking wasn’t doing a thing for my ever- expanding core. No wonder it’s called one’s girth. No wonder the charming item called a “girdle” reigns in one’s core. (Kudos to those Spanx inventors.)

Let’s be honest. Even attempting to strengthen one’s core is arduous and requires discipline…two non-fun facts which derail yours truly on a daily, fleeting basis.

First, allow me to share some highlights from Priscilla’s study.

Secondly, I’ll show you the spiritual parallel she draws for our lives to be strengthened spiritually at their core.

This is complete and total proof the Lord has a colossal sense of humor to ever-so-gently remind me and the rest of us we do need to take care of our bodies, especially our core. He knows this is one of my many weaknesses.

Further funny, my lovely leader of our Wednesday Bible study group, Jane Chilton, for the first time in the twenty-plus years I’ve known her, emailed our group two links to sets of exercises specifically for your core. Can’t remember when I’ve howled so loud!

Here they are if you’ve “caught” my excitement about this:

www.realsimple.com/health/fitness-exercise/core-strengthening-exercises

www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/multimedia/core-strength/sis-20076575

Being one of Jane’s devoted students, I rebelled and gave her a card with some advice: “Exercising is good…Accessorizing is Better!” No, didn’t get a gold star for that one!

Stylish Set Of Clothing And Accessories For The Fall

Priscilla reports, “…even with all the equipment, classes, and memberships, most workout programs neglect a key part of the body: the core. A person can exercise zealously yet not be actively growing stronger in the one place where they need it most.” Oh yeah, I get this….

She adds, The core is “the central link in the chain that connects the lower and upper parts of your body, enabling all your limbs and movements to work together in harmony.” I s’pose groaning up the stairs isn’t so harmonious…

Finally, she gives us the benefits of a strong core:

“A strong core helps with:

Your balance 

Your stability 

Your resistance to injury

Your stamina over time and under pressure.” 

Likewise, a weak core can wreak havoc in your life. Here are three “main indicators of a weak core” which can be hazardous to our spiritual life as well:

1 – Poor posture—but, armed with the belt of truth allows our “spiritual posture” to be upright…

2 – Injury prone—but, armed with the belt of truth enables us to choose forgiveness over bitterness, extending grace rather than feeling wounded.

3 – Body fatigue—but, “when His truth is at the core of your existence—strength flows into every other area of your life. All your movements and activities (work, school, ministry, relationships) bear witness to the power of God at work in you…”

Sidebar:  while we are talking about the belt of truth, we are talking about God’s truth, Biblical truth.  Priscilla reminds us, “…with the standard of truth in place, you can adjust everything else in your life–your ambitions, choices, and feelings; your mind, will, and emotions–until all of it is ‘tuned’ correctly.”

Dont miss this precious pearl: “…when you have a strong, stable, well-supported core, you cannot easily be led astray by the enemy’s clever lies. Gird yourself with truth, and you’re on guard from the word ‘go’.”

She adds, “Your firm confidence in His promises gives you not only a holy courage, but also the spiritual muscle to carry out whatever He calls you to do.” Friends, let’s exercise our holy courage!

The entire study revolves around the passage in Ephesians, Chapter Six, on the Armor of God. Today we’re only talking about the belt of truth, but every single piece is necessary and important for our faith walk. (Belt of Truth, Breastplate of Righteousness, Feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace, Shield of Faith, Helmet of Salvation, Sword of the Spirit and Prayer.)

The Full Armor of God

These marvelous morsels are a mere taste of the enormous wealth of equipping information Priscilla gives us students in The Armor of God. And, these pearls are only a handful of what fill Week Two of Seven weeks in the study!

My prayer is you will desire to do this study yourself. Grab some friends and begin!

Finally, let me leave you with two of Priscilla’s heart-stopping questions. I suggest asking these of yourself every day:

“Have I made a commitment to God’s truth as the guiding directive for my life?” and

“What is God asking me to do as a result of the truth I know?”

So, while “core” is a four-letter word, and is an uber challenging part of our body to strengthen, you can see why it is important to care for it not only physically, but spiritually as well.

If you’ve not seen the movie, “War Room”, do so at your earliest convenience. Priscilla is amazing in this movie and the power of specific, strategic prayer is your take-home lesson. Lifeway has come out with an abundance of products, this Bible study included which goes along with the movie while armoring you up. www.lifeway.org

warroommovie

Priscilla’s book, Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan to Serious, Specific and Strategic Prayer is another one of the many excellent resources from the movie.

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Just wait till we talk about “helmet hair” next week…..oh dear….

‘Til next time!

 

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Back-to-School Survival Tips Part 1 of 4 (Help from A Busy Woman’s Guide to Prayer by Cheri Fuller)

Come on, now….September already???

Bright yellow school buses enhancing traffic and mothers dancing in Target’s aisles are telltale signs we’re in Back-to-School Season.  Even if you aren’t directly involved with children in school (we aren’t any longer), Back-to-School Season ushers in the Fall, along with many more activities.

We adults desperately need some survival skills. Precisely what we’ll focus on this month, including wisdom from some guest authors you’ll love in parts three and four.

We’ll look at four tips, a different one each week, for back-to-school survival, guaranteed to help all of us, wherever we are this season.  Good news is these four tips will help us every single day, regardless of what time of the year it is.

John and I’ve been blessed to discover a new view of back-to-school thru’ our two daughters-in-loves’ eyes.  They’re both teachers.  Who knew such preparation would be required? I’m talking hours, upon hours, upon hours.

Back to school supplies and board.

Slap my hand with a ruler for not being more appreciative of our boys’ teachers all these years!  God bless ‘em.

I remember when Woody, our third son, entered Middle School.  One teacher who later became a good friend, came up to me during Open House, already having taught two of our boys and said, “Just exactly how many Hoaglands are there????” God bless Kay Snider.

Students In Class Volunteering For Teacher

After learning the hard way to not blow thru’ a School Zone (click on WHEN BLUE LIGHTS BEDAZZLE YOUR REARVIEW MIRROR), I have loved learning a super survival tip from Cheri Fuller in her book, A Busy Woman’s Guide to Prayer.  Don’t miss that subtitle:

FORGET the Guilt and FIND the Gift….

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Cheri suggests we look for “prayer cues”.  Even if you don’t have a child in school, Cheri reminds us, “somebody’s child goes there and they all need prayer.  Teachers also desperately need wisdom today to deal with the many problems they face.”

May we remember to pray for students, teachers, and staff.

I LOVE this:  “Ask God to bring every person in that school out of darkness and into His light.”

Cheri adds, “You have to slow down anyway, so when you see a SCHOOL ZONE sign, think PRAYER ZONE and put some energy into those brief moments of caring as you drive through it.”  What a great reminder!

School Zone

(Remember this as your cue to slow down and pray!)

Cheri also makes a list of her family members.  I love the prayer she prays for her husband, based on Psalm 67:1.  She says, “It reminds me to ask God to bless him and that God would make ‘his face shine with favor’ upon him at his work.”

May we remember to pray for our husbands, sons, grandsons, nephews, and neighbors at work.

For her daughter and her husband and their marriage, she prays Romans 12:10, reminding her to “remember to ask God that they would love each other ‘with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other.’”

Just-married couple standing by blue lagoon

May we remember to pray for our own marriages, plus marriages of our children, grandchildren, friends and neighbors.

**If you want some good, solid, specific prayer strategies for your marriage, run don’t walk to your nearest movie theater and watch War RoomIt is a must-see movie!

http://www.warroomthemovie.com

warroommovie

Additionally, Life Way is offering several books and Bible studies related to the movie.  My Wednesday group will be starting the Armor of God  Bible study by Priscilla Shirer  next week.  It is filled with excellent, equipping strategies, straight out of Scripture. I can’t wait to see the videos!

The Armor of God

Back to our Busy Woman’s Guide to Prayer author:  Cheri’s a big advocate of journaling as the REAL plus is being able to SEE answered prayer.  Cheri says, “Remember the word P-U-S-H:  Pray Until Something Happens.”   

Translation:  Never give up….

Never Give Up written on rural road

Let’s not forget about dear Epaphras in Colossians 4:12.  He was always “wrestling in prayer”…

Cheri says, “The saints before us understood the truth this verse expresses—prayer is work, but it’s the most important work of all and worthy of our effort, time, and passion.”

Cheri poses several killer questions.  This one nailed me:  “What does your use of time say about your priorities?”  Ouch…

This is my daily challenge….If I’m so concerned about so-and-so, why in the world don’t I just sit down and pray for them?

Pray.

STOP and pray.

Right now.

Prayer is our FIRST of FOUR Back-to-School Survival tips.  Ready for you not just this Fall, but every single day.  Stick with me this month…you WILL survive!!!

‘Til next time!

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Let’s Wrap Up Women of Faith’s UNWRAP THE BIBLE Conference with More Great Bible Teaching…

How do you unwrap a gift? Do you rip the paper to shreds, hurriedly, to find out what’s inside?

Or, like my sweet husband….

Do you shake it,

feel it,

barely, barely sever the tape,

slowly, ever-so-slowly, painstakingly remove the paper…

until we’re all about to pull our hair out??? (You’d think he’d never opened a gift before in his life, poor baby.)

Or, if you wrap like I do, that translates into stuffing the gift in a gift bag, fluffing up some terribly tired tissue, and zip! Out the door you go in sixty seconds or less…Thence unwrapping this kind of gift takes no time at all.

Gift Bag

What we’re about to discover, thanks to some fantastic Bible teachers, is:

To unwrap the Word of God, we must…

Savor

every single word,

every single phrase,

every single paragraph,

very slowly, akin to how my husband slowly unwraps gifts.

Women of Faith’s (WOF) Unwrap the Bible Conference, held in Houston, TX February 21-22, gifted each attendee with five gifts from the Bible to unwrap from five fabulous teachers. Beth Moore and Lisa Harper got us started. (See Part 1…). Then all five of them spoke together on a panel to help us with reading, studying, and quiet times, plus we got to hear a separate talk by Priscilla Shirer. (See Part 2…)

Unwrap the bible

This week, we’ll finish up with the last two gifts coming from Sheila Walsh and Christine Caine. All five of these gals equipped us with Scripture and lessons to keep us standing firm as we walked back out into the wild world in which we live.

Sheila Walsh is what I call the “Steady Eddy” of Women of Faith. Speaking with them from the beginning, more than seventeen years ago, you can count on Sheila to pick you up where you are, no matter the circumstances, and give you the Godly boost you need.

Sheila pointed us to John 15, showing us we must remain in Christ from the Vine and the Branches passages. She said, “Our source of strength comes from God’s Word.” She assured us, “You have not been forgotten. God is bigger than your circumstances.” 

She also warned us: “Beware of compromise…”

Her first lesson was: “We have an enemy hell bent on destroying us, but we have a Savior who became earth bound to deliver us.”  Significant to call upon our Savior.

Sheila walked us thru’ the Book of Esther, pointing us to Esther’s bravery shown in Esther 4:15-16: “Esther sent back her answer to Mordecai: ‘Go and get all the Jews living in Susa together. Fast for me. Don’t eat or drink for three days, either day or night. I and my maids will fast with you. If you will do this, I’ll go to the king, even tho’ it’s forbidden. If I die, I die.’” (MSG) Gulp…would you do this??? Esther’s complete trust in God is inspiring.

Sheila followed up with this lesson: “When you’ve done everything you know to do, then stand and watch the deliverance of the Lord.” 

Storm Inside

Next up, and brace yourselves, was Christine Caine. This was my first time to experience Christine’s teaching. I think my hair is still standing straight up on the back of my neck. My toes are still bruised. My ears are still ringing. This girl packs a punch. Oh, and it’s a Heavenly one at that…

Christine chose Sarah, specifically from Genesis 18:10-14 where God hears her laughing at the thought of becoming pregnant at her very old age. Never mind she “laughed to herself”, but God heard her anyway!

The key Scripture we focused on came from verse 14, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”  She cited case, after case, after case, where God showed up in uncanny situations to care for impossible situations.

After showing a hilarious clip of a boy going thru’ his parents’ pantry and frig, discovering numerous items more than expired, Christine pointed out: “The Promises of God do not have an expiration date.“ 

Then Christine looked out at all eleven thousand of us and asked, “So how’s your posture? How’s your belief? We must strengthen our womb of faith. Because….if it’s not strong enough, you’ll abort and miscarry.” 

Baby

Let’s just stop and think about this for a second. What a beautiful picture of our faith. Our “womb of faith” constructs a growing process for us to faithfully feed from this day on into eternity.

Christine further encouraged us to “be intentional about being in God’s Word, knowing God’s Word.” She said, “We’ve become blind to God’s ability to do the impossible…Remember, “Is ANYTHING too hard for the Lord???” 

She frequently adds, “Keep it fresh and keep it real.”

Undaunted

My most amazing discovery happened after the conference when Liz Curtis Higgs and I were asked to join the speakers and some WOF staffers for lunch. How fun is that?

WOF2014 Group

Here we are right before we left for the airport, after lunch. From left to right: Beth Moore, Liz Curtis Higgs, Priscilla Shirer, Lisa Harper, Michelle Parrozo (she’s on staff with WOF), Lisa Bevere, Melissa Moore (Beth’s daughter who writes brilliant additions to Beth’s Bible studies), and Christine Caine. (Priscilla’s cousin and I were the photogs!)

It was fascinating…and while I would have thought the girls would totally kick back, be wiped out from being “on” for eleven thousand attendees…certain they’d talk about food or shopping or when they’d be getting home …Not so…

They all talked about books and resources that help them when writing, whether writing for a book, or Bible study, or for a talk to teach, as well as future writing projects! I just sat back in awe.

One gal, who also speaks for WOF, did like Liz did which was to attend the conference purely to soak in these girls’ teaching. She sat next to me at our luncheon and was the most precious thing. I had no idea who she was.  She was so interested in how Liz and I’d become friends, what I did, etc.

I was so stunned at her interest,  I didn’t think to ask about her ministry!!! This same girl, who knows no strangers, wound up on our flight from Houston to Atlanta, and in similar fashion, became acquainted with half the plane’s passengers. Not kidding.

Who was this? None other than Lisa Bevere. Bet some of y’all know of her husband, John, too. They have written several books and have an awesome ministry. Checkout their website:

Alas, Liz and I landed in Louisville, back into the Real World. Hey, but we were still STANDING….and equipped with anointed teaching from gifted teachers.

As God would orchestrate, my small group recently began Priscilla’s Gideon: Your weakness. God’s strength. Bible study. IT IS POWERFUL!!! Let’s close with her prayer from Week Two, Day One:

“Today, Gideon’s story encourages us to seek the Almighty in the midst of normalcy. Ask the Lord to make Himself visible to you just as He did to Gideon. Pray that He will open your spiritual eyes over the next twenty-four hours so you can see Him more clearly than ever before.” And may I add, all the while standing firm in Him.

Gideon

Finally, you must know the good news that WOF has already booked an Unwrap the Bible Conference for February 20-21, 2015, back in Houston, at Lakewood Church! Make plans to attend now!!! (Go to: www.womenoffaith.com )

‘Til next time!!!

(This post is dedicated to all five Bible teachers from Unwrap the Bible: Beth Moore, Lisa Harper, Priscilla Shirer, Sheila Walsh and Christine Caine.   You enlightened, taught, and empowered Liz and me and 10,998 others to stand firm in our faith and to take our stand daily. May God Bless you and your families and your ministries abundantly!!! Plus let’s not forget my dear friend, Liz Curtis Higgs, who extended this most gracious invitation to attend in the first place!!!  Hugs across town, Lizzie!!! ‘Twas a blessed BLAST!!!)

 

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Inspirational Book Recommendations You’ll Love! (Part 2 of 3 on Women of Faith’s Unwrap the Bible Conference)

“I thought two books arrived yesterday.” Hubster John commented while nearly wiping out on two more packages that arrived today.

“Yes, well, …I ordered used books thru’ Amazon and they’ve shipped from all over the place. They are much cheaper as some of these books look like they’d be textbooks for Seminary.” I pleaded my case.

“And we know for sure,…” John teased, “YOU, of all people, need more books…”

Oops.

Library

Book addiction noted, I’m delighted to report in on one of many favorite parts of Women of Faith’s  “Unwrap the Bible” Conference from February 21-22.  Last week we unpacked Beth Moore’s and Lisa Harper’s  talks.  (For more information, please see Houston We Have an Answer….. )

This week we’ll hit highlights from the Panel Discussion with all five speakers:  Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, Lisa Harper, Christine Caine and Sheila Walsh.  We’ll also discuss points from Priscilla’s talk.

Sheila facilitated the Panel by asking the girls what their favorite, most helpful books were, as well as what their daily time with the Lord looks like.  (This was rapid-fire-away-time bustin’ with resourceful  information!!!)

Priscilla Shirer mentioned two books she’s very fond of.  One is The Epic of Eden: A Christian Entry into the Old Testament by Sandra L. Richter and the other is The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbathby Mark Buchanan.  She says both of these made huge impacts on her.

Epic of Eden

Rest of God

(I’m currently reading The Rest of God and am highlighting paragraphs on every page as well as consulting an on-line dictionary…quite the vocab Mark has!  I’ll be writing about this eye-opening book soon.)

Regarding her quiet times, Priscilla said, “We must be in God’s Word even if we don’t understand it!  Continually search it out.  Keep placing your face before Him. Pray for understanding.”

Baby Holding Dad's Finger On Bible

Sheila said one of her all-time favorite books is by Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew. Haven’t met a book by him yet that hasn’t been well worth your time.

Jesus I Never Knew

Sheila emphasized, “Daily quiet times are so essential because one of the greatest lies the enemy spews is that God doesn’t love us, leaving us with the wound of abandonment. “

While she didn’t brag on her newest book, my buddy Liz Curtis Higgs, whom I was with at the conference, said The Storm Inside: Trade the Chaos of How You Feel for the Truth of Who You Are is Sheila’s best writing yet.

Storm Inside

Sheila also armed us with:  Psalm 143:8 –  “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” (NIV)

I love the wording in the ESV:  Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust.  Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.”  The study notes say, “The reminder of God’s steadfast love enables him (David and us!) to endure….The expression lift up my soul is one of deep dependence and allegiance.”

What an endearing verse to start your morning.  Thanks, Sheila!

Christine Caine mentioned two favorite books:  The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative and The Mission of God’s People: A Biblical Theology of the Church’s Mission (Biblical Theology for Life) both by Christopher J.H. Wright.  (These are the seminary-like-textbook ones I spoke of earlier!  True tomes.)

The Mission of God

The Message of God's People

Christine said of her daily quiet time:  “Reading the Gospel transforms us to transform others.  Getting in the Word produces fresh truths and understanding. “  She added, “We’ve got to keep it fresh and keep it real.”

Beth Moore chimed in with a great suggestion:  “Ask God to do the supernatural like He did in Luke 24, where Jesus opened the peoples’ eyes to recognize Him and to Scripture. “ (v. 31)

Beth said she frequently uses Bible software such as www.biblegateway.com , concordances and commentaries, and the book, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem.

Systematic Theology

Lisa Harper also mentioned Wayne’s book as well as books by Craig Blomberg, two of which are on my radar (loads to choose from if you checkout www.Amazon.com  or www.Christianbook.com ):

The Historical Reliability of the Gospels and Preaching the Parables: From Responsible Interpretation to Powerful Proclamation.

Historical reliability

Preaching the Parables

 Beth and Christine also mentioned www.biblehub.com and the NET Bible Reader’s Edition.  Go to:  www.bible.org to see the wealth of information you can access, which is the ministry that created the NET.

NET Bible

Praying this plethora of resources hasn’t fried your brain yet, let’s close out with pearls from Priscilla:

I’ve been blessed over the years to hear Priscilla’s Daddy, Tony Evans, speak as well as her sweet Mother, Lois Evans.  Once in Nashville, other buddies in Women’s Ministry and myself heard Priscilla and her Mother speak.  What a blessed family.  I must say, Priscilla preaches like her Daddy.  Powerful.  Very Powerful.

Priscilla Shirer

For her talk, Priscilla chose Jesus’ Mother, Mary, to teach us a few principles.  She said, “God wars for your soul.  We must stand guard against the enemy. We must not be just believers, but total trusters in Jesus Christ. We must believe He’ll be for us and will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.”

Priscilla took us to the book of John, chapter 2 where Jesus and His disciples and His Mother, Mary, attended a wedding in Cana.  True to a Mother’s ways, Mary pointed out to Jesus they were out of wine.

Bread And Wine For Jesus

Priscilla enlightened, “Running out is the prefix to running into Jesus.  The primary way to see Jesus is to pay attention to where He leaves us:

If we don’t move,

If we don’t run, and

If we don’t try to circumvent our circumstances.”

Big lesson for those of us “fixers” out there to be patient….Sigh…

Priscilla added, “We don’t always have to try to make sense of Jesus, much less the season we’re in.”  Isaiah 55:8 reminds us, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord.”

Before she closed, Priscilla gave the most powerful case for believing and trusting in God. As if in a chess match,  she began with Genesis and ended with Revelation pointing out Satan’s attacks…But with each one, she beautifully reminded us that “God had another move”…and what He did to counter Satan’s attacks, culminates in His ultimate victory in Revelation.  We all wanted to jump to our feet!

John 20:30-31 says, “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.  But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (NIV)  We must believe…

Priscilla’s pep talk nearly over, she said, “Don’t allow the Cross to lose its’ power.  Redemption is yours.”  Lord, please help us remember this.

Don’t miss Priscilla’s newest book, God is Able. She takes you thru’ Ephesians 3:20-21 in the most fun and gutsy way.  You’ll shake your head and say, “Now why haven’t I seen it that way before?”  You’ll come to believe “HE. IS. ABLE.”

God is Able

Please join me next week as we wrap up Part 3 of 3 of  “Unwrap the Bible” with morsels from Christine Caine, the most enthusiastic fireball I’ve heard recently, plus Sheila Walsh, the “Steady Eddy” of Women of Faith.  You’ll be blessed by their messages.

‘Til next time!

 

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Houston, We Have an Answer…Women of Faith’s Unwrap the Bible Conference Equips, Empowers and Encourages 11,000 Women!!! (Part One of Three)

“Ladies and Gentleman, this is your captain from the flight deck.  We’ve been cleared for landing in Houston.  Skies are fair, winds are light, and the local temperature is seventytwo degrees.”

Dashing off the plane, straight to our rental car, printed MapQuest in hand, (Lord have mercy on my co-piloting skills), my very brave friend hopped in the driver’s seat.  Deep breath and a sincere prayer to get us to our hotel, we were off.

Fearful Freeway Fretter that I am, you’ll be relieved to know my friend navigated those roads, dodging daredevil drivers, getting us to our hotel in no time. At one point, two lanes exited left, two lanes exited right and our one middle lane was exactly, and miraculously (!!!) where we needed to be.

Traffic jam in Los Angeles

You may be wondering how this all transpired:  My dear friend, mentor, and therapist (!!!), Liz Curtis Higgs, rang me up recently to tell me about a new, never-before-offered Women of Faith (WOF) conference.  WOF would be having five fabulous Bible teachers equip attendees to “Unwrap the Bible”.

Checkout the line-up:  Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, Sheila Walsh, Lisa Harper and Christine Caine.  Worship would be led by beautiful and super uber-talented Kari Jobe.

Liz, who is also a speaker for Women of Faith, wanted to go and support her Christian sisters and soak in the teaching for a change, being poured into, in lieu of also being on the line-up, pouring out.  After filling me in on the details, Liz said, “Would you like to go with me?”  My goodness gracious, would I ever!!!  (That was the invite of all invites, huh?!!!)

On Saturday, Liz and I found a great backdrop for a pic:

Eliz and Liz 2014

We flew down on Friday, February 21st, and back home late Saturday night the 22nd.  Our hotel was close to Lakewood Church, where the conference was held.  Eleven thousand women, plus a few brave men (including our pastor, Dave Stone and his wife, Beth) attended.

Arena

Parking was interesting.  Friday night, we wound up underground in one of the many garages.  I had to write down the color code, floor number, garage name, etc. just so we could find our way back.  Leaving a trail of bread crumbs, had we had a spare loaf (!!!) did cross our minds.

Being in the church/arena was wild.  I bet many of you have seen it on TV before.  It didn’t seem as big in real-life, altho’ eleven thousand women can make some noise!  Stop and think about 11,000 women opening God’s Word together.  Slice of Heaven…

Pictured left to right:    Victoria Osteen, Beth Moore, Liz Curtis Higgs, & Priscilla Shirer

Pictured left to right: Victoria Osteen, Beth Moore, Liz Curtis Higgs, & Priscilla Shirer

This picture was taken backstage Friday night.  Victoria opened the conference with a prayer and Beth was the first to teach.

You gotta know the bathrooms quit working Friday night due to a water main break in that area of Houston.  A  wee challenge.  (Pitiful pun intended.) Liz and I were beyond relieved to discover our hotel’s water was on and working upon our arrival that night!

Let’s get to the Bible teaching…

First up:  Beth Moore.  Each of the five teachers chose a woman from the Bible to teach on. Beth chose Hagar.  She was convinced Abraham’s wife, Sarai, must have had a case of spiritual amnesia since she orchestrated his having a child with Hagar.

Beth Moore Teaching

Beth walked us thru’ Genesis, Chapter 16, where Hagar flees after having had enough flack from Sarai, whom Beth dubs “Miss Mess”.  Hagar flees into the wilderness with her son and the Angel of the Lord finds them.  He asks her two questions we must ask ourselves in verse 8:  “Where have you come from and where are you going?”  Excellent points to ponder.

Strategic Journey

Beth further encouraged us by pointing out Hagar’s response to the Angel of the Lord.  In vs. 13, “She called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; Yes!  He saw me; and then I saw him!”  (ESV and MSG) No matter what season we’re in, God sees and hears each and every one of us.

Beth added, “There’s new grace in a new place for each and every one of us.”  Next time you wonder where you’re going, marinate on new grace in a new place…Isn’t that comforting?

One of Beth’s sweet staffers wrote an excellent post about this conference on the Living Proof blog, from February 26th.  Go to www.lproof.org and checkout the post as well as a cool pic of the church.

Next up was Lisa Harper.  She taught on “A Woman with a Disabling Spirit”, found in Luke 13: 10-17.  The woman was “so twisted and bent over with arthritis that she couldn’t even look up.  She had been afflicted with this for eighteen years.”  (MSG)

Lisa pointed out that while this woman had a physical disability, many times we are crippled or bent over with a mental one, or two, or twelve. She said, “Our view, when bent, is very limited.  We must be careful to not swallow the lies of the enemy.”

believing,trust in God, belief in the power of the lord and Jesu

Lisa pleaded with us, “Girls, Jesus does not want us to live a bent-over life.  He calls us to Him, as He did to this woman in Scripture, calling us to stand. “ We must make up our minds to stand tall and to stand firm.

Equipping us with numerous Scriptures, little did Lisa know three of them are my jump-off-the-page favorites:

2 Corinthians 1:24 – “Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm.” (NIV)

Ephesians 6:13-15 – “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to standStand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”  (NIV)

1 Peter 5:8-10 – “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.  And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. “ (NIV)

Lisa’s empowering lesson reminds me of a book  which could apply to all of these teachers and to all of us. (A must-read for surviving the Christian life.) When the five teachers were brought together in a panel discussion led by Sheila Walsh, they were all asked how they have their quiet time as well as which book or books have helped them along the way.  I couldn’t write fast enough.  (I’ll share their answers with you in next week’s post.)

The book which they could deftly add a sequel to, is also from a panel discussion with six courageous contributors, each with decades of experience in walking with Jesus.  The book?   Stand: A Call for the Endurance of the Saints by John Piper and Justin Taylor.

501142_w185

The contributors?  Randy Alcorn, Jerry Bridges, John McArthur, John Piper, Helen Roseveare and Justin Taylor.  Each wrote a chapter in the book and their two-cents’ worth will blow you away.

All eleven of these great Bible teachers and writers say the same thing:  “The Lord is more precious to me the older I get.”   This was a quote from John Piper’s eighty-six year old Father.  Justin Taylor says, “One of the purposes of this book is to encourage you and equip you to truthfully write such a sentence—and mean it—in the final season of your life.”

Helen Roseveare admitted she’d like to change the subtitle of the book from “A Call for the Endurance of the Saints” to “A Call for the Perseverance of the Saints” creating the mental picture to “steadily go on, refusing to give up, no matter what comes.”

Each of the women in the Bible the WOF speakers chose do exactly this, all the while standing firm.  Join me next week  in Part 2, when we pick up with invaluable information from the girls’ panel discussion as well as pearls from Priscilla.  Part 3 will conclude with favorite quotes from Sheila and Christine, as well as tidbits from our lunch with an amazing bunch of women.  Tuck your toes under the table, as all these gals pack a punch!

Friday night’s farewell, led by Kari’s worship, had us using the flashlight app on our phones:

Arena with flashlights

Meanwhile, enjoy some fabulous music– from worship leader, Kari Jobe!  (www.karijobe.com )

‘Til next time!

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Filed under Conferences, Friends, Travel