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We had our orientation meeting yesterday for this year’s Disciple 1 Bible Study.  What a great group of women this will be!  I am very excited about our upcoming year of Bible study together.  Good things are in store for us!

Of course I was rushing to get out the door on time for our first meeting, making sure I had everything and that I was prepared.  As I drove away from the house I took a deep breath, put the rushing behind me, relaxed, and allowed myself to feel the excitement I had for orientation and the year of Bible study ahead of us.  “Yiippeeee!”, I thought as I drove along.  “Another year of Disicple study! Thank You, God, for not letting me cheat myself out of this experience!”  

At the end of last year’s study (back in May), I thought I’d be moving on from Disicple 1.  I didn’t know what I’d move on to, but a fabulous sister-friend expressed her desire to start leading Disicple 1, so I took that as God’s way of telling me it was time to move on.  I LOVE the Disciple 1 study, but have to admit that staying on top of it as the leader is a lot of work!  I was ready to ‘retire’ and be a participant in one of the other Disciple studies. I was quick to jump ship for an easier boat to sail!  It didn’t occur to me that God would need BOTH of us and that He wasn’t done with me yet!  So when I got a call mid-summer asking if I’d lead a second Disciple 1 group, my mouth said ‘yes’, but my head hoped someone else would be available to take it instead. 

A few days later, I sat down for a morning prayer.  As I did so I picked up my Bible and held it on my lap.  Looking down at it, holding it, and reflecting upon the many ways this very Book had changed my life, I began my conversation with God by thanking Him for the Bible, telling Him how precious it is to me (although I’m sure He already knew!), and remembering what a privilege it had been to share the Bible and its teachings with others.  I felt humbled that God would trust me to share His Book with others!  How fortunate I’ve been that He’s allowed me to set time aside in my life for seven years to continue doing this study!  I’d once prayed for that very thing!  Inspired by another Disciple leader who had taught Disciple 1 seven times, I told God I wanted to be like her. If it was His will, I wanted to do Disciple seven times, too.  In May, I completed my seventh year in Disciple study.  Thank You, Lord! 

 It was then He spoke to my heart to say, “Yes, it is a special thing to share the Bible with others, and it is a privilege to be called to do so, so don’t you want to lead Disciple 1 again?”   Of course, I did!  What had I been thinking?!    In that moment I became excited about having another year to do Disciple 1!  

I’m a self-proclaimed Word Nerd.  I LOVE reading and studying the Bible!  It’s fascinating on so many levels!  The Bible never stops speaking to me, teaching me, convicting me, motivating me, and inspiring me. It gives hope and healing, guidance and direction. It’s been an incredible tool for helping me reach out to others, share encouragements, and help others find their way in faith, too.  The Bible has also prepared me for various ministries I’ve been a part of.  All of these things have blessed me beyond measure.  How could I have been so willing to give up another opportunity to experience the Bible through Disicple 1 study again?

There are MANY fabulous studies out there.  Our church offeres many studies that I’d like to do.  How about you?  Does it interest you to do a Bible study?  If so, check around to see what’s available.  Check out church websites.  Talk to friends to see what they’re doing or what they’ve liked in the past.  Maybe God would like YOU to start a Bible study!  If you live in the Charlotte/Weddington area, maybe you’d like to join us in Disciple 1!  If so, contact me at ReneeMyers@carolina.rr.com or go to our church website at www.weddingtonchurch.org .

I’m no Bible expert.  I never will be.  But I’m a Bible brainiac wanna-be who’s thrilled to be back in the Word again!  I hope you’ll be getting into the Word, too! 

God bless you!

Renee

School starts tomorrow and, surprisingly, I’m not ready for them to go back!  I’ve really enjoyed having our boys home over the summer.  This is the first time ever I haven’t been counting the days until they’re back in school.  Usually I find myself going crazy by end of summer from having kids home 24/7 – reaching limits as to how much Disney and Nick, Jr tv I can take, (They have great shows for kids, but if you’re a grown-up and that’s all you see or hear…..!!!!), trying to find ways to keep them busy and entertained, putting up with brotherly squables, and dealing with constant piles of laundry, continuous eating, and ongoing messes around the house.   It’s a lot of work to have kids home for the summer!  It’s a lot of fun, too, and it’s important not to lose sight of that.  Summer fun is what makes all the summer work worth it!  And I have to say, it gets easier as they get older.  I think that’s why we’ve had such a good summer, one that I’m not ready to see end. 

  Except for having to plan around my older son’s football workouts/ practices and our younger son’s baseball schedules, we’ve been on our own schedule – which means very little schedule at all!  I purposely detached myself from most of my involvements over the summer so that summer could be all about us – not all the things I have to do or places I have to be.  Our boys are growing up FAST and we’re learning to make the most of all the moments we can. 

Since this is boys’ last day of summer vacation, my husband took the day off from work to spend it with us.  He’s playing Monopoly with the boys as I write and complaining about all the money he’s had to pay our younger son because he keeps landing on properties the little land-owner owns.  (hee hee) 

We didn’t get to take an actual summer vacation, but we did visit the boys’ grandparents at their new home near Hilton Head, SC.  They built a wonderful home in a low-country, ‘old south’-type community.  We had  a great time visiting them!  That ended up being our only get-away for the summer, but that’s ok because it was a great one!  And we saved vacation dollars!

Our older son only has three more summers at home before going away to college.   That means we just have nine months total of summer vacation with each of them while they’re ‘young’!   Yes, we definitely have to make the most of family times and create good family memories.  God willing, we’ll be able to do just that!

Oh, Good and Gracious Heavenly Father, You give us so much to be thankful for!  Thank You for the life you allow us to live and and the abundance of good things we have.  I’m not talking about money, food, or materialistic things.  I’m talking about abundance of love, happiness, health, and family.  Thank You for Your presence in our lives and Your place in our family.  None of this would be what it is without You.  Please may it be Your will to continue to bless us with more of the same, and may we in return make the most of our blessings in ways that bless and honor You .  Amen. 

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.     – 1 John 5:14-15

It thrills me to discover that of all 256 posts I’ve written, the most visited is “Prayer for Our School Children”.   Why does it thrill me?  Because that tells me there are lots of praying parents and care takers, so there are lots of children, teachers, and schools being covered in prayer!  Praise be to God! 

Here is a reprint, originally posted on this site on Aug 24, 2007:

A teacher in my son’s public school pulled me aside in the hallway one morning as the children were arriving.  She asked if I prayed.  I said that I did.  She then asked me to pray for the children in her class and gave me two specific prayer requests for them.   She concluded her thoughts with a comment I will always remember.  She said she could tell which children were prayed for, and many in her class needed someone to pray for them.   (Doesn’t that comment just tug at your heart?)

Be sure to pray for your children and for other children who don’t have someone praying for them.  Following is a prayer I wrote in August of 2005 as my children started a new year of school:

Dear Heavenly Father,

I seek Your presence, coming before You with thanksgiving for the wonderful blessings You have given me through my children.  Raising a child is an awesome and often overwhelming responsibility, yet You have entrusted these children to me, so I come to You now to lift them up to You as they begin a new year at school.  Please, Lord, keep my children safe from harm and evil.  Please keep the buses and carpool vehicles safe.  Please let Your presence be in the school to keep it safe, positive, and a good environment where children can be comfortable and able to learn.

Although we cannot speak of You or pray outwardly to You in many schools, let the Christians in the schools share Christ’s love and the lessons He taught with their words and actions.  I pray that my children will be positive influences on those around them, conducting themselves in a Christ-like manner and resisting temptations to behave in ways that are not acceptable or allowed in school.

Lord, I thank You for the many gifts, talents, and blessings You have given my children and pray that they will continue to use and grow those gifts; and that their actions and accomplishments will be pleasing to You and bring glory to You.

Lord, I also pray for myself as a parent.  Please help me to be there for my children in the ways that they need me to be.  Help me to understand them and know how to support them, even ‘fight’ for them, if needed.  I pray that You will give me the wisdom to know when to help, when to encourage, when to motivate, and when to sit back, being more mindful of their needs and what is best for them instead of giving in to my protective and dominating tendencies.  I pray also for wisdom in helping them when they face difficulties and challenges.  Help their father and I to rule with patience and grace – even in the most frustrating of situations.

And Lord, I pray that You will instill in their hearts the desire to learn, grow, mature, and thrive in their educational settings.  Most importantly, please keep within them the desire to keep You in their lives, not allowing less godly influences to push You aside.

Please also help us to communicate and stay close.

I pray for every parent who shares these prayerful concerns and ask that You guide and bless them as they love and care for their children.  I pray, too, for the children who don’t have someone to pray for them.  May those children find people in their lives who can lead and inspire them.  To You, my Heavenly Father I pray, with Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and in the love of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 

Thanks for visiting this site, and God bless you! 

Renee

Well, we’re almost at the end of summer and I’ve done really well with my kids.  I haven’t turned into an ugly angry monster once with them!  One summer I totally lost my cool on just the second day of summer vacation!  The same isn’t true in regards to my husband, though.  Less than 24 hours after writing the post below stating that I’ll take my complaints and concerns to God BEFORE handling them on my own, I did just the opposite and got into a doozy of a ‘discussion’ with my husband.  😦 

Feeling worried about a conversation we’d just had, I went to him to share my worries and concerns.  I really should have prayed about them first. Doing so would have avoided a terrible argument.  I was kicking myself afterward.  Why hadn’t I done what I’d professed I would do? Why? Because I didn’t even think about it.  I reacted before stepping back to give prayerful thought my worries and concerns. 

The good news is that we were able to talk again later in the day and cleared things up. Having learned from my mistake earlier in the day, I approached him only AFTER spending reflective time in prayer (and sending up desperation pleas throughout the afternoon!).  God had mercy and my husband had compassion.  Praise!  And it’s a good thing, too, because the very next day I tested our relationship and my husband’s patience again when I had a minor fender-bender in a parking lot.  Oh, how I dreaded calling to tell him!  But he came to be with me while we waited for police and was very cool about everything. 

Nothing makes me feel worse than when my husband is upset with me.  And nothing feels better than when we’re getting along again!  Thank goodness, the bad times are few and the good times are many.

He will teach us in our ways, and we will walk in his paths.  – Isaiah 2:3 

Or at least, I’ll try!

Words spoken by Moses to the Israelites as they started their journey for the Promised Land:  “…He (God) has heard your complaints, which are against the Lord and not against us…Yes, your complaints are against the Lord, not against us (Moses and Aaron).”   Exodus 16:7-8

Our Senior Pastor, Dr. Terry Moore, based his sermon today on the grumbling and complaining of the Israelites and God’s provisions in response to their cries.  The scriptures were taken from Chapter 16 of Exodus. 

Dr. Moore gave many notable lessons, but the verses that jumped out at me were Exodus 16:7 and 16:8, where Moses responds to the peoples’ complaints and tells them that they’re not really complaining to Moses and Aaron.  They’re complaining to God!  

I’d already highlighted these verses from previous studies, but evidently I’d forgotten what I’d learned because I complain a lot – not to GOD, of course! – but to my husband, my children, friends, acquaintances, and sometimes even strangers I meet in public.  Then there are the unspoken complaints that I think I’m keeping to myself, but the truth is that God knows our thoughts, so He knows my silent complaints, too.  OMGosh!  He’s been hearing a lot of complaints from me!

Please don’t get me wrong…I’m not a chronic complainer!  For the most part I’m a postive and cheerful person.  Yet, I still have negative thoughts and say negative things about others, situations, current events, and whatever seems wrong to me. 

When I complain about others, do I complain to them?  Usually not.  Usually I complain about them, but not to them. 

If I wouldn’t say something to someone’s face, I shouldn’t say it at all.  The same goes for complaints to God… and thanks to the noted verses in Exodus, I realize that’s just what I’ve been doing!  I’ve been saying things to others that I wouldn’t say to Him. Why wouldn’t I say them directly to God?  Probably because they’re too petty, or complaining to God would expose traits about me that I wouldn’t want Him to see.  You know, traits like self-centeredness, selfishness, childishness, being a martyr, and worst of all unChristian-like thoughts and behaviors. 

Now I realize all those things HAVE been exposed about me because when I’ve complained to others, I’ve actually been complaining to God!

So what do I do?  STOP COMPLAINING!  And here are three things I’ll do to help myself stop: 

1) Start living by this rule:  If I can’t say it to His face, don’t say it at all.

2) Turn my ungodly thoughts around with a Christian approach.  Instead of whining and complaining, I need to pose my thoughts as concerns for God and seek His help, guidance and wisdom regarding my concerns. 

3) Apply the wisdom of the Serenity Prayer by changing the things I can (instead of just complaining about them), and seeking the grace from God to accept the things I cannot change and trusting Him with these matters, instead. 

Dear God, I am SO sorry for the years of complaining I’ve done!  Much of it has been unnecessary, petty, childish, and has surely been tiresome and frustrating for you to hear!  Please help me to handle negative thoughts and situations in better ways – ways that display better faith and Christain living, and in ways that will be pleasing and glorifying to You.  Amen.

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