Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wishing I Was More Like David

So I am doing a wonderful new Bible study: Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed. It's a study of King David and it's so good! It's Priscilla Shirer, Kay Arthur, and Beth Moore all in one study! I had never heard Priscilla speak before this study but she is passionate and really on-fire! (Is that enough exclamation points to let you know I am pumped?!)

In the first week of this study, we have seen various times where David asks the Lord what to do. Here are a few examples:
  • 2 Samuel 2:1 In the course of time, David inquired of the LORD. "Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?" he asked. The LORD said, "Go up." David asked, "Where shall I go?" "To Hebron," the LORD answered.
  • 2 Samuel 5:19 and 1 Chronicales 14:10 So David inquired of the LORD, "Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?" The LORD answered him, "Go, for I will surely hand the Philistines over to you."
  • 1 Chronicles 14:13-16 Once more the Philistines raided the valley; so David inquired of God again, and God answered him, "Do not go straight up, but circle around them and attack them in front of the balsam trees. As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, move out to battle, because that will mean God has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army."

So I have two questions really weighing on my mind for the past two weeks. And I have really felt the Holy Spirit nudging me to ask and LISTEN. So I inquired of the Lord, "What shall I do regarding ******?"

Nada. Zip. Zilch.

"Okay Lord, I'm here and I want to hear you speak to me. There are two things I'm really wondering about God. What should I do about *****? And is ****** for me?"

I wish I were more like David. It's not like the Bible says, "David inquired of the Lord and three days later God said for him to go to Hebron." It's like David had immediate answers. (Yes, I know it doesn't actually say that but let's assume ok?) Sometimes I wish I could ask and He'd just answer.

Then I heard someone say (can't for the life of me remember where now, sorry for not giving credit appropriately) that the better I knew God, the better I'd hear him. It's like when the phone rings (Oh! It just came to me--Priscilla Shirer said this in the video session Sunday night.) and just from the tone of the ring you know it's your best girlfriend. She doesn't have to say, "Hey girl, it's Lisa." You just know. It's like that with God.

So maybe my problem is not that He isn't answering me right away but maybe that I'm not hearing Him. What if He's whispering the answer to me every time I ask but I'm not in tune enough with him to hear it?!

Jesus, I love you and I surrender all I am, all my time, all my money, all my talents, and all my possessions to You. Please send me a refreshing of the Holy Spirit so that I am in tune and can hear Your voice. Jesus, give me that kind of hunger people talk about when they just can't get enough of You and Your word. The more I know You, the bettter I'll hear You. Bring it on Lord cause that's what I want today.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


So, I am using this new devotional I bought back in January but am just getting around to using it. It's called The Women's Devotional Guide to the Bible by Jean E. Syswerda. It is described as "a one year plan for studying, praying, and responding to God's Word" and since I can use all that... here I am. =)

Luckily the entries aren't dated so when I picked it up on Monday, I could jump right in. Now, back to Genesis. I was asked to read Chapters 1-3 for this weeks devotions and since those are such familiar verses, I thought I would read them in The Message. I have read the start of Genesis so many times... I mean, think about how many times you've wanted to read through the whole Bible and started there. Never mind all the times we've studied Adam and Eve. So it was remarkably refreshing to read from The Message. I am a very visual person and as I read this passage this time, I could just see the nothingness changing; taking on shape and definition, becoming lighter, showing specs of color. It was beautiful!

But let me stop rambling and get to my point. In Genesis 3:22 God says,

The Man has become like one of us, capable of knowing everything, ranging from good to evil. What if he now should reach out and take fruit from the Tree-of-Life and eat, and live forever? Never—this cannot happen!
And I thought, wait! Man can't eat from the Tree-of-Life? I thought he couldn't eat from the Tree-of-Knowledge-of Good-and-Evil. This just made me think. Before sin entered our lives, we could eat from the Tree-of-Life and live forever but the moment Eve disobeyed, we were barred from that tree and it's now protected by cherubim and a revolving, flaming sword. This is something I knew but it just struck me yesterday. We had it all! We had communion with God in the most glorious garden ever created, no shame, and eternal life. Eve believed one lie and we lost it all. Thank God that it was reclaimed when everlasting life was offered by another tree... the one that Christ hung on for my sins.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Are You Plugged In?

I have the best Sunday School (SS) class in the whole wide world! While our church (First Baptist, Rock Hill) successfully groups people into SS by age and marital status, there came a time when I no longer found a good fit there. Four folks in my church felt the same and were led to start a new class. When I was lucky enough to find them, I was ready to plug in to their class. Now, these four (Frank, Charlotte, Jennifer, and Donna) started the class but only Frank felt God leading him to a particular leadership role and that was to teach. The others wanted to let the class "form" and see who God might lead to other leadership positions. In the early conversations between these four folks, they prayed about what God wanted them to study, who should be in the class, and what the class should be about. They came up with four things that they felt should be the class' mission statement.

  1. The class should be active in missions work, through giving, going away on trips, and doing hands-on work locally.

  2. The class should have regular opportunities to ensure building relationships amongst class members.

  3. The class would be involved in ongoing in-depth Bible study.

  4. The class members would actively be in prayer for each other.
I had been a director previously in a young couples class but I had felt God moving me away from that class and I was honestly burned out and wanted a break. After a few weeks of class and a few weeks of hearing Jennifer recite what positions were still open, I felt God speak.

"Be the director of this class Amanda."
"But Lord, I just stepped down from another class and I don't know these people."
"Be the director of this class Amanda."
"But Lord, I need a break. I'm kinda burned out."
"Be the director of this class Amanda."
"But Lord-"
"Be the director of this class Amanda."
"Yes, Lord."

And there I was, directing a new class I had not planned to direct. I liked the class, the topic was growing on me, but I knew only a couple of people in the class and one of them was my mom!

I am so glad I was obedient. I had no idea what God had in store for me and just how much these people would come to mean to me. I couldn't know that they'd uphold me when my dad died and that I would wake up on Sunday mornings so excited to see them. I couldn't know that several of them would become godly mentors for me and my husband and that two would become close confidantes. Thank you Jesus for loving me enough to send me such an awesome group of people into my life. Together we just want to love and know You more!

So my question for you is this: are you plugged in?

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25 (NIV)

Sunday, March 22, 2009


So I haven't done a very good job of getting into the habit of writing on my blog yet. But I think about it alot and am trying to get it into my habits. I have to come today though and write about my weekend. Hubby and I left Friday afternoon around 1:00 for a weekend away with our Sunday School class. We visited Springmaid Mountain in Spruce Pine, NC and we had a ball!!

The theme of our retreat was "Change." How do I make changes in my life? How can I help and encourage friends who are doing the same? My special friend Charlotte taught us from some of the Christian counseling courses she has taken. Not only was the message and the material timely, but the fellowship and time away was exceptional. We had 19 people on retreat with us and we stayed in Springmaid Mountain's large bunkhouse. Two other great friends, Scott & Sue, planned and prepared all our meals. I especially love retreats like this one where we are all in the same building the whole time. It seems to offer a certain closemess that staying in separate rooms/cabins lacks.

Yet another dear friend, Donna, sprinkled much spice over the weekend as she offered games for us to play. Most of them made us laugh and it can be so good to laugh together. It won't be near as funny here as it was there but my sweet husband spoke up during a session and commented that there was one big thing in his bedroom that was keeping him from making a certain change in his life that he wanted to make. I sat beside him and I thought long and hard (all of three seconds... maybe!) and for the life of me, I could not picture any "big thing" in our bedroom. And then it hit me! He was talking about me! I looked at him and I said, "Just what 'big thing' in our bedroom are you talking about?!" If you didn't read that with all the sarcasm you can mutter, go back and try it again for the full effect. Someone later told me that they would have given just about anything to have had a camera to take a picture of me at that point. As soon as I said it, the whole room bust out laughing, hubby was doing all he could to convince me that's not what he meant, and I realized my silliness. Think of all the stress that was relieved as we shared that good-natured laugh together. God is good!

But now for what's really important. I went away to spend time with friends, to spend time with my husband, to be without my kids (can I get an amen?), but the most important reason I went was to spend time listening for what God was going to say to me. God spoke to me about two things. First was to encourage me. Change is hard and it takes time. My goal for this year was to improve my walk with Christ. I want to improve in all the areas that are important: prayer life, daily quiet time, in-depth Bible study, tithes and offerings, and scripture memorization. But taking on all of these at once was only setting myself up to fail and I could not do as well as I had planned to. So I refined my task. I tackled just one of these: scripture memorization. And I have improved!! And this is pleasing to the Lord and these verses I'm learning will bring abundant blessings to me now that I have hidden them. Thank you Beth Moore for a fun and easy way to learn 24 verses in 2009!! ( See sidebar on right for my list.) I came away from this weekend feeling that "I can do it" feeling! I have tackled learning scripture and I have changed. I am currently working on my sixth verse this year. Watch out prayer life! You're next!!

I am also encouraged in another area from this weekend retreat. Hubby and I are struggling with a family member. It's not appropriate to get into all the details here but it has caused us much stress, sadness, and disappointment. But guess what? I can pray for the family member. I can love the family member. I can encourage the family member. I can even, as the Bible says in Matthew, go to the family member and show him his fault, but I cannot make him change. I cannot make him want to change. I cannot do the work for him. This is hard. But I was encouraged this weekend as I was reminded of my limitations. I need to be obedient to God and let him do what only he can do. Did I mention how good my God is?