Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Best Yes– Online Bible Study

I have heard such great things about this book, & I am so excited to be participating in the online study with some of my favorite ladies!! I have no doubt this is going to challenge us & help us grow in so many ways. If you want to join us, it’s totally free (other than purchasing the book so you can follow along). I found it cheapest on Amazon Prime. Starts Sept 22nd! Would love for you to be part of this with us!! (Just to clarify: I’m not leading/hosting…only participating.)

Here is the link to join! Gives you all the details and everything you need to know here.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Living Free (Beth Moore): Experiencing God’s Peace…

“May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” – 2 Thess 3:16

This study is designed to help you become a person whose first instinct in any situation is to believe God, a person who thinks first of His glory rather than worrying what others think about you, and a person who finds such satisfaction in Him that false gods lose their attraction. It is also designed to help you in your efforts of praying God’s Word. This is a process, but as you continue to pursue the Lord, study His Word, and keep talking to Him about it, you will look back in amazement at the growth God has produced in your life.

This week we are talking about experiencing God’s peace. We cannot overemphasize the importance of God’s peace as a real and practical benefit of our relationship with God. He does not intend for His peace to be an infrequent surprise; God wants to provide peace as an ongoing rule in our lives. Peace CAN be possible “at all times” and “in every way,” but we cannot simply produce it on demand. In fact, we cannot produce it at all. It is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22).

We have Christ’s peace. It has already been given to us if we have received Christ. We just don’t always know how to activate it. Prayer is essential to experiencing the practical reality of God’s peace. Isaish uses the word “peace” 26 times. God continually promised peace when His captives wholeheartedly returned to the Lord. Many of us have memorized the words of Isaiah 26:3…”You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”

Isaiah 32:17, 53:5, and 9:6-7 use words like “reign, government, and trusts.” The key to peace is authority. When we allow the Prince of Peace to govern our lives, peace will result. Sometimes it’s easier to trust God in our most difficult trials because we feel we have no other choice. We may find it tougher to trust God for that peace when we’re not desperate for God to intervene.

Time to Reflect

  • What do you need to turn over to God’s sovereign authority?
  • Is something from your past holding you back from experiencing God’s true peace?? Bitterness, unforgiveness, insecurity, addiction, unbelief, doubt, fear, guilt?
  • Ask God to reveal to you the obstacle in your way of His peace & pray for Him to remove that stronghold.

Bending a knee to God’s authority is ultimately a matter of obedience. You may not feel like giving your hurt, circumstance, or loss to him; but you can choose to submit to Hus authority from belief and obedience rather than out of emotion. Obedience is always the mark of authentic surrender to God’s authority. What do you think would happen if we paid attention to God’s commands and live totally under God’s authority? He tells us clearly.

“If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” – Isaiah 48:18

Like a River

  1. A river is a moving stream of water. A peaceful life does not mean boring! To have peace like a river is to have security and tranquility while meeting the many unexpected turns on life’s journey.
  2. A river is a body of fresh water fed by springs or tributary streams. We cannot have peace in the present while relying on a relationship from the past. Peace comes from an active, ongoing, and obedient relationship with the Prince of Peace.
  3. A river begins and ends with a body of water. Every river has an upland source and an ultimate outlet or mouth. Rivers are fully dependent because they are always connected to other bodies of water. Likewise, peace like a river flows from a continuous connection with the upland source (Jesus Christ), and is a timely reminder that this life will ultimately spill out into a glorious eternal life. The present life is not our final destination- hallelujah!! We who know Christ travel over rocks and cliffs, through narrow places and wide valleys to a heavenly destination. Until then, abiding in Christ (John 15:4) is the key to staying connected to the upland source.

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Take pleasure in knowing that God inspired His Word with great care and immaculate precision. He chose every word purposefully. When he said peace like a river in Isaiah 48:18, He wasn’t drawing a loose analogy. He meant it. What does it take? Attention to God’s commands by obedience through the power of the Holy Spirit. Obedience to God’s authority brings not only peace like a river.

God’s way is the ONLY peaceful way in a chaotic world.

This is not a “one day” goal. It can start RIGHT NOW. The path to peace is paved with knee-prints. Bend the knee to His trustworthy authority. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” (Col 3:15).

How Prayerlessness Affects Peace

Phil 4:6-7 (Read alternative from book on p. 83)

Without a doubt, avoiding prayer is a sure prescription for anxiety and a certain way to avoid peace. To experience the kind of peace that covers all circumstances, the Bible challenges us to develop active, authentic (”meaty”) prayer lives. Prayer lives with real substance to them- personal and intimate. Often, we do everything BUT pray because other things (meeting with a counselor, seeking godly wisdom, studying the Bible, etc.) seem more tangible. The enemy has such victory in our prayerlessness! He’d rather see us ‘serve ourselves into the ground’ because he knows we’ll eventually grow resentful without prayer. He’d rather see us study the Bible into the wee hours of the morning because he knows we’ll never have a deep understanding and power to live what we’ve learned without prayer. He knows prayerless lives are powerless lives, while prayerful lives are powerful lives!!

Worldly philosophy is forced to minimize difficulty because it has no real answers. (The“Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s all small stuff” mentality.) We face a lot of big stuff, and only through prayer are we washed in peace! It’s time to roll away the stone of prayerlessness.

The Bible is a book of prayer. From Genesis to Revelation, there are hundreds of references to prayer.

Abraham prayed…Isaac prayed…Jacob prayed…Moses left Pharoah and prayed…so Moses prayed for the people…Manoah prayed to the Lord...Samson prayed…Hannah wept much and prayed…So David prayed…Elijah stepped forward and prayed…And Elisha prayed, “O Lord:…After Job had prayed for his friends…And Hezekiah prayed…From inside the fish Jonah prayed…Very early in the morning while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed…Going a little farther, He fell with His face to the ground and prayed.

When our lives are complete, may the words be written of us, “Then she prayed.”

**Pray Psalm 86


Source:
Moore, Beth. Living Free. Lifeway Christian Resources; 2002/Christian Growth Study Plan edition (December 31, 2001)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Who do we know near Evansville, Indiana?

This is going to be an INCREDIBLE event! We had the privilege of hearing Mike & his precious little gem of a wife (Dr. Deb) speak this past weekend, and we just love them!! They are so full of integrity, class, and wisdom.  Don’t worry, post coming soon on Dr. Deb’s awesome training!!

Honestly, it’s not a business opportunity meeting as much as Coach Wade teaching how to financially protect your family. Check out this bio! He’s a big dog in the area of life.

  • AdvoCare Sales Vice President
  • Coached major college football at University of Missouri and Southern Methodist University
  • Built multi-million dollar AdvoCare Distributorship
  • First man to earn Spirit of AdvoCare Award
  • Integral in forming the successful endorsement team of champion athletes in place at AdvoCare

Shoot me an e-mail if you’re anywhere near there & want to check it out. We would love for you to see “what we are about.” Plus, you’ll get to meet some of my beautiful friends & hear their inspiring stories. Going to be an awesome night!!

Monday, September 15, 2014

All Pro Dad

A few weeks ago, Jonathan went with some of his best buds to an event in Atlanta called “All-Pro Dad.” These are guys we met through AdvoCare, but they have become some of our best friends & we love doing life with them and their families.

Nerd alert: I have always been a ‘learner.“ I really enjoyed school, I like to research topics I’m passionate about, I love to read, & I enjoy being in lecture settings (conferences, retreats, etc) where I have an opportunity to take notes. I like to a challenge, and the personal growth journey is like a never-ending challenge that reaps immense rewards along the way. AdvoCare has been a great fit  in that aspect and taught us the importance of self-improvement and personal growth. Now we are BOTH all about ‘seeking wisdom’ and learning how to improve ourselves, especially in the relationships & roles that matter most (our marriage & parenting). I am truly thankful for a husband (who is already an incredible daddy) that realizes there is ALWAYS room for improvement and who truly has a desire to invest in himself, our family, and to learn from others. He had an absolute blast hanging with his friends & I loved hearing all of his takeaways from the event. He took some awesome notes too…and although his handwriting looks really cool, it’s definitely a secret language that only he can understand. Ha!

How awesome is it that we are surrounded by men who CHOOSE (none of these guys wives nagged them into going) & are hungry to be the best men they can be?? I LOVE it.

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All of the wives and kiddos met up after the event for dinner & fellowship. We LOVE these people!! It was an awesome Saturday.

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Jonathan has always hated to write (he cannot fathom that I actually enjoy writing) but I really wanted to share some of the notes from the weekend. I couldn’t really read his notes and didn’t think I would do an effective job conveying what he learned anyway. One of our friends (Brandon) is a great writer, so I asked him if he would mind putting together a little something for me to post. This is Brandon & Kathy with their precious son Grafton & sweet little Samson in mom’s tummy. They are truly servant leaders in their business, church, and community. We are so thankful for their friendship & how they always encourage and challenge us to be BETTER! Love this sweet family, & here is what Brandon had to say about the weekend.

Disclaimer: By no means do I consider myself the authority of fatherhood. I am simply a son of an all- loving God and a father to a 4 year who brought me to Christ. In this relationship with my eternal father I have learned many things that have enabled me to be the father I need to be to the son God has given me for his Glory to change the world in some small way.

I was fortunate to be able to attend The All Pro Dad seminar in Atlanta, Georgia with a group of fathers that made me hopeful for the future of our country and our world. Fatherhood has become a misguided right of passage into mainstream society. We get married, get a good job that pays us what someone else thinks we are worth, have a child, sit on the couch for our time, and wonder after 18 years why our child turned out the way he or she did.

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When we had our first son Grafton, my life was forever changed and I am sure that every father says that. However, that single act of God’s providence saved me from a life of selfish destitute, only focusing on myself and believing that I am all that dictates my place in this world. Then God decided to humble me with a baby boy who suffered through his first six months of life. He cried every day and every night, because he was hurting and I, the man, the arrogant sin- filled being could not solve the problem. Humility was not my strong suit, but anger and aggression were. The only thing I could do was get angry….with my 1 month old son. Why was he crying, why would he not eat, why won’t he let me sleep? One night when I was holding him and rocking him to sleep (or trying to) I was at my wits end and I looked up and asked a God I did not know to please take this suffering away from my child and place it on me. I said I would give anything for him to stop crying and to stop hurting, even my life. Looking back on that moment I realized what my father did for me and in turn what he allowed me to do for Grafton.

Jesus loves me and you so much that he does not want to see you hurt, but he knows we all have to go through some pain to be closer to him; to experience his unending perfect love. He allowed me to comfort Grafton and he stopped crying and his illness went away in time, and my illness of sin was washed as well.

Being a father is the most rewarding responsibility I am allowed to have on this earth and I take it more serious than anything. I constantly crave the moments I spend with my son and it is my belief that he is happiest just being with me. As a father we have the responsibility to raise the next generation that will shape and mold this earth and if you are unhappy with the way the world is today then take a good look at yourself and then at your child and ask yourself will they be different? Or more importantly ask yourself, do I love them enough to speak to them differently, show them love differently, and teach them the ways of the world differently than what society has dictated to be “normal”. Normal today is anger, hostility, entitlement, greed, lust, legalism, and selfishness. I don’t want my sons to be raised that way and the only true way that I have to influence them every day is through the time that God has granted me. We as fathers have to be stewards and keepers of the time we are allowed with our family. When I became a father, golf and 4 hour workouts went out the window because those are all about me and it took me away from my family. I became very aware that everyday Grafton was getting older and I would never have that day back, so I wanted to make the most of the time I had with him. And, if I did not have the time I wanted with him I had to seek out something that would give me that time.

I had to become the leader my family needed me to be, no longer would I allow others around me to talk negatively about their wives, children or others. If they did, I removed myself from them. We have to be a role model for the children we are raising to be men and women in this world. How I treated my wife would shape how my son treated women and in todays world the statistics bear that we have to many so-called men mistreating women because of their lack of humility….if you need an example look at major American sports today. My son had to see the love I had for my wife but first he had to see the love I had for Christ. He had to understand that he and Kathy were a gift for me and because of those gifts I had to honor them. But most importantly, I have to show him I love him every day, and tell him I love him everyday. Words have power and can shape the outcome of a child at any given time. Everyday I tell Grafton I love him multiple times and I hope someday he gets tired of it, but in return at this moment he tells me the same thing. That will make your heart full. Your love should never be a conditional thing, your children should know that you love them unconditionally.

My son does not care about the quality of the time we spend together, in fact many times we sit on the floor of his room and build legos the wrong way. He wants my TIME simply stated and if we are not giving them our TIME they will get it from someone or something else.

I quickly had to realize that I am not perfect and to be quite frank no one is. But my son does not need me to be perfect, he needs me to be his father. He needs me to be present, to be the example, and to give my best effort and live with the results. If you are a real man you have no problem apologizing to your children for doing the wrong thing, speaker out of anger and reacting our of fear. I am here to tell you, they will forgive you…if you ask. If you don’t ask, someone else will tell them it’s ok who that person is is a mystery.

Speak life into your children every day. My son is a Champion and he knows it. Why? Because we tell him every day that he is a Champion. We tell him everyday that God created him for a special purpose and when the time comes he will impact the world. We don’t tell him he can’t or that’s not possible and he knows “that through Christ all things are possible”-Philippians 4:13. Your children will only change the world if they are told they can, if not they will believe what the television tells them, or what the teacher tells them or what their friends tell them.

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Always tell your children the truth because the world is lying to them and trying to move them into a position that best suites their needs and their position. So again, look at the worldly view and ask yourself “is that ok”.

Give more to your family than you do to your profession and career. Where are you giving your best self? Is it in your career or your home? Are you giving the best of you to your family or everyone else? If you are giving the best of yourself to others than it is hard to be upset when our child gives his best efforts to Playstation. Lay your heart on the line for your kids, invest in them, play with them and show a genuine heartfelt interest in what they are interested in. I love Lego’s and so does my son, but I am the guy from the Lego movie who wants everything perfect according to the instructions. My son is 4 and he would rather creatively build something that to me makes no sense. But my best is not in the instruction book, it’s in the smile on his face and the joy in his voice when I tell him how awesome his creation is.

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Involve your children in the process of your life. Do you every ask your kids what they think about the decisions you are going to make that will positively or negatively impact their lives? Yes, I am the adult and in the end will make the decision that I feel will best suite our family but when making those decisions I talk to my son about them. Recently, I have had to do more things to advance our business while also working a full time job because my wife is pregnant and cannot travel so I do. I talk with Grafton about why I am doing this now and I ask him what he thinks. If you involve them and explain to them why they will become leaders in this world who seek to understand others and involve them in the process.

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Lastly, I was impacted by every speaker who spoke at the All Pro Dad seminar and the major points of what I have said all come from them but I was left most moved by Georgia coach Mark Richt. He was not the most polished of all the speakers but what he did was speak from the heart and was un-phased by societal norms and influences. His influence in shaping his children’s future comes from God. In our life Gods way is the way and it shapes everything that we do including raising our children. Coach Richt had a very simple plan for fatherhood:

1. Love God: If your heart truly belongs to God and you are constantly seeking his guidance through his word you will see the love you your children deserve and need.

2. Love your wife: Never lose sight of the path you have forged together. Be on the same page and push aside your pride and ego to show her love. Is being right more important in your relationship or is your relationship lasting more important. Men are called in the bible to love their wives as Christ loved the church. We are called to Agape(unconditional) love and do not need to be re-payed to give it. Love her like God has called you to, with no limits, no barriers, and no regrets.

3. Show the way: Be the example for your children of what is good in this world. They will emulate you, daily. Everyday when I come home Grafton changes to match the colors I wear, he mimics my voice patterns and movements. He wants to be me and your kids want to be you. Are they mimicking you sitting in a recliner with a beer ignoring them, or are them mimicking you fully engaged in their life.

My prayer is that I can add some value to whoever reads this and that by change you will see how important and vital it is for their to be more All-Pro Dads in this country and this world. It is an honor to be a father and I am blessed that God has allowed me to honor him with that responsibility, one I don’t take lightly. Look at your life and consider what is most important to you and set your priorities in an order that will allow you to be a hero to your children.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. –Proverbs 22:6

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Living Free (Beth Moore): To Find Satisfaction in God

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.” – Isaiah 55:1-2

A Longing for Satisfaction:

The Hebrew word for satisfy is sob’ah meaning “to have enough, be full…sufficiently.” In effect, God is asking us in Isaiah 55:1-2 why we work so hard for things that will never be enough, can never fill you up, and are endlessly insufficient.

Most of us don’t see ourselves as greedy, yet we are caught in a trap of living with “If only…” Deep down we’ve convinced ourselves that life would be better if we had just a little more, so we live discontented- forever craving, grasping, wishing, wanting, and striving for that next thing. This thirst for more is exactly what the Bible describes as greed or covetousness. We falsely believe that possessions, power, or people will make us happy.

TRUTH: More of anything other than God will NEVER fill that longing for fulfillment He has placed within you- It is satisfied in Him alone.

Things were never designed to take God’s place. When When we covet something and make it essential, then beg God to give it to us, we are asking God to replace Himself with something we consider more important. When we do this, God will often allow us to experience firsthand the consequences of substituting anything for Him.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”- Exodus 20:17

We can easily be led into captivity by seeking other answers to needs and desires only God can meet. A crucial part of fleshing out our liberation in Christ means allowing Him to fill our empty places. Satisfaction in Christ CAN be a reality. Salvation secures our lives for all eternity. Soul satisfaction ensures abundant life on earth.

Ecclesiastes 1:2, 14 says “Meaningless! Meaningless! Says the teacher. Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless. I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”

The Hebrew word hevel translated “meaningless” means “something with no substance, worthlessness, vanity, emptiness, futility, idol.” Now think about it. Solomon had everything. He was possibly the most powerful king on earth at the time. He could certainly have anything he wanted, yet he had no satisfaction. He found life to be worthless and futile. We all want satisfaction, but I hope Solomon’s example challenges our assumptions and beliefs that ‘we will finally be happy if we achieve our next goal.’

Where have you tried to find your satisfaction?

  • job/career
  • marriage
  • children
  • hobbies
  • money
  • success
  • fame
  • security
  • reputation
  • beauty
  • relationships
  • control
  • traditions/rituals
  • power
  • admiration
  • approval
  • substances
  • accomplishments

We have seen that unbelief and pride form the first two obstacles on our road to freedom. Realizing God’s desire for us to find genuine satisfaction in Him helps us discover the third primary obstacle: settling for satisfaction in anything else. God gave this practice a name: idolatry.

Allowing anything to become more important to us than God is allowing that to become an IDOL in our life…and just as not coveting made the “big list,” having no other idols before God is #1 in the 10 commandments. Exodus 20:3 says "You shall have no other gods before me.” Sometimes we don’t recognize it as idolatry. Of course we think and know God is #1 in our lives- we claim that and say it and have the head knowledge of it all day long. We believe it!! But, our actions don’t always match up to that. Before we know it, we can allow our priorities to get crazy out of whack and we are  putting other things in our life before God.

Obstacles on our road to freedom:

  • Unbelief
  • Pride
  • Settling for satisfaction with anything else (IDOLATRY)

Sometimes, the roots of idolatry go too deep & we need another strategy other than “willing away” a stronghold. If we confront a deeply entrenched idol directly and say “I’m not going to do that anymore,” two things happen. We develop a negative focus, and we create a satisfaction vacuum in our lives. A negative focus leads us to self-righteousness and blindness. An unmet need for satisfaction pulls us towards false solutions. We need to find true satisfaction to meet our unmet needs. If we try to dislodge idols in our own strength, we will become defeated and deluded. If we find satisfaction in Jesus, the idols lose their power and appeal.

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Praying God’s Word & Celebrating God’s Goodness

We are praying God’s Word because Scripture points us to the satisfaction we can find only in God. Praying Scripture that recognizes the goodness of God is critical in the process of breaking free from strongholds. This is true for 2 reasons:

  1. Virtually every stronghold involves the worship of some kind of idol. We have to acknowledge God as the Lord of our lives to renew our minds, Until we turn from idols to God, we will never find liberty, for “where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor 3:17).
  2. As long as our minds rehearse the strength of our stronghold more than the strength of our God, we will be ineffective. As we pray the Word of God acknowledging His limitless power and strength, truth will begin to overtake the lies. We realize that He is made strong in our weakness (2 Cor 12:9) and that God is MORE than able to deliver us (2 Cor 9:8 & Eph 3:20). Sometimes we have “minimized God.”

Ex: Most of you know by now we are a part of AdvoCare and coach people in regards to living a healthier lifestyle. Many times this includes educating others on clean eating. We have found that when we tell people what they can’t have “Nothing fried, white, sugar, alcohol, avoid dairy, wheat, sweet tea, coffee, soft drinks, junk food, fast food, anything processed, and eating out” that they feel deprived. We have found it to be more effective to focus on what they CAN have!! Instead, we say things like “Alright, so you are going to eat a balanced meal every three hours. Lots of lean protein- think grilled fish, chicken, lean ground turkey, & eggs….you can get creative with robust flavors for seasoning or add creole mustard, hot sauce, fresh salsa, etc. You also can have unlimited veggies- eat the rainbow & focus on those green! Broccoli, green beans, asparagus, peppers, cucumbers- throw it on the grill & get creative! Don’t forget about healthy fats like nut butter (delish on celery and apples!) & avocados. Complex carbs are important too- we like brown rice, quinoa, or baked sweet potatoes (even cut into the shape of fries and sprinkled with ground cinnamon). Drink LOTS or water- and you can add fresh berries, lemon, or lime if you want to add some flavor. Fruit is a great dessert! How about a big juicy orange, some berries, or frozen grapes?

SEE how that perspective makes such a difference? Instead of focusing on what they CAN’T have and them feeling deprived, we focus on the cast array of delicious foods they CAN have. And that’s exactly what God wants to do with our perspective on strongholds. Nothing on that list is “bad” unless it takes the place of God in our life & becomes more important, receives more of our time, focus, and attention. God wants us to focus on the FRUITS of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) and the abundant life (Eph 3:20, John 10:10) that He has in store for us when we learn to find satisfaction in Him.

Don’t we ALL want more of those fruits in our life?? More peace? More joy? More love?? Don’t we all want to experience that abundant life here on earth that God has designed for us to live? We CAN. Through Christ…

**To be truly satisfied in Christ alone, we must learn to be content. And guess what? Just as an athlete practices their sport, or a musician practices playing their instrument, we believers striving to find satisfcation in God, we must PRACTICE contentment!! Just as Paul says in Philippians 4:11, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”  Isn’t it encouraging to you that even the apostle Paul had to LEARN contentment? There is hope for us yet! (Thank you, Carey for sharing this with us…)

Conclusion:

Only one God can deliver us. The most monumental leap we take toward freedom is the leap to our knees in surrender to the lordship of Jesus Christ.

You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. The LORD watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.” - Psalm 145:16-21

Scriptures to look up this week:

  • Nehemiah 9:6
  • Psalm 63:1- 5
  • Psalm 71:8
  • 2 Corinthians 3:17, 9:8, 12:9

Source: Moore, Beth. Living Free. Lifeway Christian Resources; 2002/Christian Growth Study Plan edition (December 31, 2001)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Others

A few months ago, our ladies’ Bible study group watched Beth Moore’s “Loving Well” on DVD. It was a message I definitely needed! I feel like when I was younger, it came really naturally to just love everyone! Even  through high school I genuinely liked everybody. I don’t know if my high school was unique, but for the most part, everyone seemed to get along. It was very diverse, and there were definitely some different groups and cliques, but everyone was generally pretty accepting of one another and friendly. I am so thankful for that experience! It was not until college that I experienced “mean girls” for the first time. College was the first time I can ever remember feeling like I had ‘an enemy’ and someone I just really DID NOT LIKE.

I struggled with my walk in college. I wanted to serve the Lord and be an example, but I did not always do that.  Looking back, I wish North Georgia would have had an FCA ministry or a Bible Study amongst our athletes. But even still, my walk was MY responsibility. Ultimately, the relationship was still there, but I did not always produce the fruits. I went to church periodically, usually by myself or with a few teammates (if we didn’t have games). That lack of effort on my part and a lack of mentorship meant that I did not always make the best choices, and I regret that because I know I missed some big opportunities to show others Christ. There were times I especially did not “love well.” I made some really stupid decisions that I regret so deeply…

John 13:34-35 states it so clearly…“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Y’all, it is THAT SIMPLE. Does that not pierce your heart like it does mine?!?  People will know if we are truly His disciples by how we love others!! Not by our words…not by how many church services or Bible studies we attend...not by how many verses we put on our FB…not by our claims to be “religious”…not by how much we give or the ministries we serve in or mission trips we go on…not by what our parents or grandparents have done…but simply, by how we LOVE others. That is the fruit people are looking to see in us.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is LOVE.”–1 Corinthians 13:13 I don’t see any stipulations in these verses. To only love people who love you, who treat you well, who believe the same things you do, who act or look or think like you. NOPE….just LOVE.

John 15:5 says "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” As much as we want to try, we cannot love others in our own will. It has the be Christ through us!! Sure, we can love others without Christ. Some people are easy to love (especially if they love us!). But some people make it a littttttttle bit more of a challenge. Y’all feel me? When someone wrongs you; or even worse, hurts someone you love; when someone talks about you behind your back; when someone says untrue things about you; when someone attacks you; when someone does HORRIFIC things (like some of the things we hear in the news); … I don’t know about you, but my fleshly response is NOT to LOVE that person. (Let’s be real….my worldly response is to karate chop them in the throat.) And Christians are sometimes the quickest to condemn, despite the fact that the Bible tells us “there is no condemnation in Christ.” What kind of example are we setting for the rest of the world in grace? in mercy? and in LOVE??

Scripture has called us to respond differently…

Matthew 5:39 says “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”  We are not to gossip about it. We are not to get mad at that person or pout about it. We are not to dwell on it. We are to ask for forgiveness, to forgive, and to give it to God. To LOVE them. That does not mean we have to have a relationship, but we are to be cordial…

AND, even more than that, we are called to PRAY for that person!!! Matthew 5:44 says “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

Sounds impossible, right? It is, if we try to do it on our own. Matthew 19:26 says Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

I have found that when someone tries to hurt you, its usually because they are hurting. Hurt people hurt people.  When someone lacks peace in their own life, they want others to suffer as well. Misery loves company, right? And sometimes it’s just pure jealousy. (Sad, but true. People attack when they are jealous.) Perspective helps when you’re trying to open your heart to LOVE others. I know that shifting a bitter, angry heart to one of compassion and mercy is the quickest way for me to “put on Christ” and love someone.

Again, loving someone does not mean you have to be BFF with everybody. The Bible doesn’t say anything about liking everyone. But if we are made in the image of Christ, and our ultimate responsibility as believers is to bring Him glory and make an impact for eternity, then we have to LOVE others like Jesus. This pretty much sums it up for me how HE loves…

Are you loving well??

Monday, September 8, 2014

Supplement Your Skin (SYS): Skin Care Review

After being in AdvoCare for the past 2 1/2 years, we have come to learn that any product they put out is pure GOLD. Legit, I am not exaggerating when I say we have both have been so impressed with everything we have ever tried.

AdvoCare develops products based onscience from our phenomenal sci/med board and research and development team. (For real, you should look them up.) We love being able to trust that every product is thoroughly researched to help ensure it is top quality in ingredients, safety, and effectiveness.

Soooo, I was straight PUMPED when they revealed the new skin care line at Success School (SYS: Supplement Your Skin)!! If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know I’ve had my fair share of skin concerns and have been working to find a skin care line.  I work hard to take great care of myself from the inside out by eating clean, juicing, drinking lots of water, & taking OmegaPlex and Amplify AT. I know that helps significantly, but I was searching for something to help me take care of it on the outside too. There is so much out there that it can be really overwhelming…

I was to the point where I dreaded taking my makeup off at night, so lots of times I would just sleep in my makeup. (Bad, bad, bad….I know.) I would use random things around the house for my “skin care” like grape seed oil, coconut oil, lemon, witch hazel, etc. Those are all great ingredients, but I had no idea how to make them work effectively for my skin. I was pretty much winging it, & half the time skipping a skin care regimen all together. Thankfully we have some awesome researchers who do know the ideal combinations & the best ingredients. I trust them 100% with my supplements for the inside, so naturally I trust them 100% with my supplements for the outside too.

We saw some of our friends at Success School in August who had secretly been testing out this line, and they were GLOWING. That really had me the most fired up to try it our for myself!!

This gives you an overview of the products, but here is a basic description (see product benefits here https://www.advocare.com/products/skincare.aspx):

1. The CLEANSER gently exfoliates & removes all the junk from the day & night.  
2. The SERUM is like hydration for the skin.
3. The DAY provides protection for the skin with sunblock and is most beneficial if used daily like your daily multivitamin CorePlex
4. The NIGHT aids the skin in its nighttime repair, much like Night Time Recovery supports the inside of your body while it repairs itself, and is designed to help the skin look firmer and smoother.

5. The BODY helps the skin look more firm and nourishes the skin. It contains copaiba oil, which can help reduce the look of puffiness.

My Review:

I LOVE that everything feels super lightweight & isn’t greasy or heavy. My skin is super soft & I have seen a noticeable difference in the appearance of it. My makeup goes on easier, my skin tone looks more even, and  my complexion is brighter. I’ve even gone WITHOUT face makeup and concealer a good bit, which is something I don’t typically do if I’m going out. Honestly though, the best part for me is that I am consistently using the products daily because I actually look forward to how my skin looks and feels afterward. I can especially tell my neck looks younger (does that sound weird?) too. Oh, and even Jonathan likes it. He shaved some of the scruff (not all of it, don’t worry…we ain’t crazy) so he could try it with me. Before, he used a bar of soap, a wash cloth, & water. Needless to say, I think we’re getting somewhere.

This is my new nighttime routine: (although not in that order- and the morning routine is the same, except I use the Day instead of Night.)

photo (5)

If you don’t already have a skin care system you love, or if you’ve been looking for something new like I have, I highly recommend this!! I have no doubt you will be obsessed with it like I am.

P.S. I have a make-up tutorial coming soon, so I’ll show you my fresh face, no-makeup mug on the video. I KNOW you’re excited about that!