Tuesday, November 30, 2010

11/30/10 - Battling Sin

How do you battle sin? What is your game plan?

If we have no game plan, it makes it harder to fight the sin in our lives, well near impossible!

One thing I learned early on in my walk with God was to use the Word in the battle. Sounds so simple and easy, but what I would do is write on 3x5 cards scripture that applied to whatever sin it was I was struggling with. I'd carry those scriptures with me or post them where I could read them. Then when that sin would rare it's ugly head, I'd pull out those verses, read them, or even just quote them in my mind.

I have found that it is a helpful battle plan in fighting the flesh with in! Most times sin starts in our thought life and if we're thinking and meditating on God's Word we have help in those "rubber meets the road" moments!

(God is promoting me to use this currently as I am learning self-control and selflessness!)

Monday, November 29, 2010

11/29/10 - Self-Control

I've been camped in the book of the book of Titus for the last week or so. Do you know that in chapter 2 there is a description of older men and women and also younger men and women? On those four lists there's only one quality that we all should be striving towards: self-control. (Actually it's the ONLY thing young men should be working on!!)

God is pointing out areas in my life I need to be, think, act, and live out a self-controlled life.

As I've been studying this, I am listening to a past Revive our Heart programs on Titus and really appreciated the day when the topic of what a self-controlled woman looks like, versed a woman who is not self-controlled.

I've have a long way to go to be a self-controlled woman!

Here's the link to that day's program on: Sound Thinking

Friday, November 26, 2010

11/26/10 - Homework

Since getting home from True Woman Fort Worth God laid out some really specific homework for me to work on. I think it may take me a year or more to dig through and study what He has asked, but I am enjoying this homework assignment.

I thought I'd share with you, my reader, so you know what types of things I am processing and learning.

Here was His homework:

3) Basically study any and all materials I can get my hands on that deal with biblical womanhood.
(Here's some of the radio programs I've been listening to: Revive our Hearts)

As I've begun studying the Word and studying other materials, I've seen even more clearly how much the culture has effected my mindset and view of womanhood.

What homework has God given you lately? What's He teaching you? How are you growing? There's almost nothing that's more powerful that the testimony of a changed life!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

11/24/10 - My Testimony (Part 5)

In August 1996 I moved to Colorado and began my year long ministry at Doulos. There I was saturated in God's Word and had amazing fellowship with some even more amazing women. God was growing me, changing me, teaching me new things, and taking off some rough edges.

As I walked through that year I remember thinking how it was such a tough year...but really it was just practice for life!

One of the biggest lessons I learned that year was selflessness. Of course, I've not mastered this or even come close, but living with 20 other people you can't be satisfied and selfish! They don't go hand and hand!

At the end of my commitment I tried to get a job at Focus on the Family, but that fell through. My dad had asked me to move home to be free for ministry. I was bummed! A job at Focus on the Family seemed like a much better adventure than life with my parents.

But, God opened no doors in Colorado, so I moved back home. I had about $1,200 in credit card debt, so I took a job as a substitute teacher and gave my schedule to the Lord. I am thankful for those couple of years because they were years of study and preparation for what the Lord had for me.

In 1999 me and my two sisters were asked to run a motel in a tourist town about 45 minutes from our home. So for a year the three of us operated this motel owned by Trinity University. It was there that I began writing Emotional Purity and if you're interested in that story, I've written about that as well! Click HERE.

After our year commitment there was over, I focused fully on my book and in 2001 it was published. For about 2 years I did traveling and speaking. Then in 2003 I got married.

Since that time I've had three boys and life has taken on a whole new purpose. Being a mom is a wonderful, challenging season of life. But through it all God has continued to grow me and prune me. He's used my husband in a powerful way to smooth some of my rough edges. As a couple we continue to grow closer to God and closer to each other.

Over the past couple of years God has used Revive our Hearts to prod me to deeper levels of surrender and obedience. In more ways that I can recount, I've been challenged to let go of selfishness, stubbornness, the need to be justified to others, and pride. He's made me more honest, living with "the roof off with God and the walls down with others". He's brought people into my life to grow me and spur me on and of course He's used my marriage and relationship with John to fashion me even more to His likeness.

The longer I walk closely with God the more detailed His chisels becomes. He refines, challenges, grows, and never leaves us stuck (as long as we're willing and open to growth). At times it's painful and slow, but there's no short cuts to a deep meaningful walk with God.

My prayer is that my testimony was an encouragement to you. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

11/23/10 - My Testimony (Part 4)

In the fall of 1995 I was a senior at the University of Illinois. I was a resident advisor in a dorm and God had revived my heart that summer.

God brought some strong Christian women to support me and help me in my growth as a believer. I also got involved in Campus Crusade that fall and have many wonderful memories of how God used that ministry to draw me closer to Him.

In the first couple weeks back to school, I remember sitting in my room, praying. I asked the Lord if I could do some type of ministry after college, but, and I clearly remember saying, "I only think I can handle a year of ministry Lord." My prayer also was that I would live with other Christians and work with troubled teens.

About a day or two later my mom called me, "Heather, I was in the car and I heard this man on the radio talk about this ministry in Colorado called Doulos. It's a year long, post college ministry, where you'd live with other post college grads and work with troubled teens."

I was speechless! She must have called about lunch time because I remember having lunch with two friends and I said, "Looks like I am moving to Colorado next year."

Sure enough, I did spend a year in Colorado in a ministry, living with other Christian men and women, working with some amazing "troubled" teens. (It's been fun to reconnect with many of them via Facebook and see how their lives turned out!)

But back to my senior year and the impact of Campus Crusade in my growth. At Christmas I drove to Indy for their Christmas conference. The only speaker I remember is Kay Arthur. Of course she taught on the message of really knowing God's word. That was powerful!

I also remember praying for my husband for the first time at the conference. (To read that story, check out how I met and fell in love with John) So there are some very fond memories, that are close to my heart from that year and my involvement in Cru.

As I reflect on that year the Lord began to peel away layers. He convicted me of gossip, which was a rather large problem in my life. I loved having a juicy story to share!

He also started to point out times that I would exaggerate the truth to sensationalize a story. I remember some painful, tearful confessions to friends.

These are just a couple of those major changes the Lord made in my life that year. I didn't have victory over these that year, but it was an on going process of letting the Lord revive and change my heart.

Monday, November 22, 2010

11/22/10 - My Testimony (Part 3)

One of the reasons I was promoted to write my testimony was through reading Nancy Leigh DeMoss' book: Brokenness. In her book she shares about the Campus Crusade Revival that took place in the summer of 1995. (I believe I found the link of her talk on youtube. Here's the first part of that talk: Brokenness)

I had never heard of this revival and until last week, was unaware of how this revival indirectly effected me!

During my junior year of college, at the University of Illinois, I had been living my life for myself. I made poor choices and was not close to God at all during this season. In the summer of 1995 I was at a breaking point, but I didn't realize it.

I spent that summer living at the campus taking summer classes, but on one visit home my sisters and friend went to a party. At this party I had a few drinks and by the time I got back to my parents house I was drunk. When we pulled into the driveway a deep sense of reality hit!

Getting out of the car, I didn't want to go into my parents home. What a shameful, disgrace to my parents. They raised me to know better!

I sat next to my parents garage, unable to face the embarrassment of walking into their home drunk.

I began to sob. The reality of how I had been living my life hit me.

In that moment I heard God, no I didn't hear Him audibly, but He asked me loud and clear: Heather, you need to decide are you going to be hot or cold. Choose now or I will spit you out of my mouth. (Yes, I knew the Word and God used it to convict me deeply!)

Oh the very thought of God "spitting" me from His mouth broke my heart.

The next morning we went to church and there was little graphic in the church bulletin that said, "Draw near to Me" from the book of James. I knew God was speaking to me, He hadn't moved, I had, and I needed to draw near to Him.

I went back to campus that afternoon and in my room that night I sobbed my confessions to the Lord. I asked for His forgivingness and I called my parents and confessed how I had been living my life.

I was washed anew! Praise be to God, my heart had been revived!

It was that point forward I devoured God's Word, I couldn't get enough. My heart was falling in love with God in a brand new way!

When the fall semester started back up, I got involved in Campus Crusade. Little did I know the staff had been part of a revival just about the same time God revived my heart!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

11/20/10 - My Testimony (Part 2)

For the few years after we left the church I grew up in, we jumped around trying to figure out and process the events that lead up to our ex-communication.

We home churched, we went to a very liberal church, we went to a bible church, we got to know other home school families, and we spent time digging deeper into God's Word.

Throughout this time, I do believe I was growing in my walk and relationship with God.

My first two years of college I went to a local community college and lived at home. I was involved in Student Senate, but wasn't involved in any sort of bible fellowship with other college students.

Because of my involvement in student government I met a guy, Tom (not his real name). Tom was from the town where I was moving and we became friends. Tom was good looking, nice, friendly, and a bit of a partier. When I finally moved to the University of Illinois I had become close to Tom and his family.

I in no way blame him for any of my poor choices those first 10 months of college, but I put full blame on myself and my silly need for peer approval. I wanted a relationship with him, so I went where he went and did what he did. (Oh ladies it's so not worth compromising anything to gain that peer approval.)

Those first 10 month of college I did party, drink and on two occasions tried recreational drugs...oh this is so embarrassing to write, how I want to delete this! But I can't delete my life...or this season of my life.

Throughout this time I continued to go to church, but I was not reading God's Word and had no growth in my spiritual life. I was living two different lives: party girl and church girl! Those two do not go hand in hand...but I tried!

God did spare me though. Oh I praise Him for His grace in my life. I remained physically pure even though I had placed myself in situations that could have been very dangerous. Actually although Tom and I had talked about having a relationship at some point in the far future, we never even kissed. We actually never became an official couple, but stayed in the stage of friends through out that year. (I am still friends with Tom and love him in a very deep brotherly love way!)

In the summer of 1995 God was about to ask me a very important question! His question radical altered my life!

To be continued on Monday....

Friday, November 19, 2010

11/19/10 - My Testimony (Part 1)

This week I devoured Nancy Leigh DeMoss' book: Brokenness.

As I read, I thought of my own road of brokenness, and my own personal testimony. I shared with my husband some of my thoughts and realized I was living in fear. Fear of people knowing my whole story, fear of having people think less of me if they knew of my "season of rebellion" in college, and fear of having someone else share my past.

So through God's grace, I've decided to dedicate a few days on my blog to share my own personal testimony. May God receive all the glory and may others see the power of brokenness before the Lord and others.

My parents Arne and Julie were married August 28, 1971. In 3 years and 2 months they had three girls! I was born on October 9, 1974 in Hartsell, Alabama. My parents moved a lot and before I got married I had moved 14 times! (I've lived in Alabama, Illinois, Texas, Colorado and Wisconsin.)

I have very sweet memories of my childhood. My parents were kids themselves and I actually remember my mom's 30's birthday! Crazy! (I didn't even have kids till after I was 30!) The first time I went to church I was 5 days old!

Growing up I went to church three times a week, Sunday morning and night, and Wednesday night. I grew up in a church that was very legalistic. Rules were the means of pleasing God. There wasn't much room for God's grace and there was little to no mention of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

In 1985, while living in Texas, we met some other home school families and we saw a love for Christ that was new to us. My parents started really questioning the balance of God's truth and grace. (When you are only taught one of those truths you will be out of balance.)

Although the church was unbalanced on preaching truth and grace, I grew up in a church that encouraged bible study. They encouraged you to know God's Word and to really study the Word. I am so thankful I grew up with a foundation of His Word!

On May 25, 1986 I remember the first time I felt the promoting of the Holy Spirit. I didn't know it at the time, but I clearly remember being promoted to respond to the alter call that Sunday morning and become baptized. My dad baptized me and that was the time I do feel like I began to understand the Holy Spirit in my life.

Shortly after that, our entire family was ex-communicated from the church I grew up in because we would no long agree that it was the rules that saved you, but it was only God's grace! At 14 it was tough to lose all my friends and the church family I had known since birth.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

11/18/10 - Consciousness Raising

In the 60’s feminists used a process of “consciousness raising” to gather women together, talk about their problems, and stir a rebel against men or the establishment. Their goal was to make women feel connected to other women in their issues or problems.

As Mary Kassian put it on her blog: “40 years ago Chicago had hosted another “first”: the first-ever national Women’s Liberation Conference. Speakers challenged the 200 women in attendance to use the “radical weapon” of Consciousness Raising to spread bitterness and incite women to rebel.”

So the early feminist used consciousness raising as a way to gather women together to rebel. They'd assemble a small group of women and begin to complain about men and the oppression they felt. They’d complain about how unhappy they were “just” being moms, wives or second class to men in the workplace. They’d stir other women up and get them to be angry and upset along side of them. Then a woman who wasn’t really upset or unhappy would become unhappy with her life. (Here’s Wikipedia’s take on Consciousness Raising)

Since I first became aware of this tool: “consciousness raising” I hadn’t thought too much about it, other than it did work in the movement of the feminists. I mean think about it, through these C.R. groups an entire generation of women radically altered the culture we live in!

But lately I can’t help but think that consciousness raising is still taking place among women and not just in the feminist movement, but in our churches.

Women are created for fellowship and we long to be in community and I believe God created us this way. So we can easily fall pry to this dangerous outcome of fellowship.

We must ask ourselves some tough questions about our fellowship with each other and if we are stirring each other up towards godliness or selfishness.

When we get together with other women, are we prone to complain about our life, our children, our husband, our state of singleness, or our unbearable circumstances? Our complaining can lead to others complaining. Then we don’t feel so alone or isolated. We feel justified! Justified to be upset! Justified to be self centered!

If our goal in fellowship with sisters in Christ is to feel justified in sin, to look for affirmation in others rather than God, and if we’re not pointing each other to the Lord, then is what we’re doing any different than consciousness raising of the 60’s?

There is nothing wrong with sharing our burdens or concerns with our friends, but our aim in relationships is to be mutually building each other up, encouraging each other, and pointing each other towards Christ.

A fellow mom told me recently that she felt convicted after a play date with another mom. She said, “We spent the whole time complaining about our different situations and after that time together I felt worse.” She explained how she wrote her friend a note, asking to be forgiven for not bring them both to God’s Word and seeking His counsel together. This realization helped her see how easily you can fall pry to the consciousness raising of the early feminists.

As the writer of Hebrews says: And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (10:24-25)

Let us be women of love, good works and encouragement!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

11/17/10 - Simplify

Last week I bought a sign that says: Simplify. I hung it in my kitchen as a reminder to live intentionally simple!

After hanging up the sign my husband asked me, "What does 'simplify' mean to you?"

"To me living a simplified life is to leave room for God's to work and move in our lives. It's keeping our home, our calendar, and our minds clutter free in order to hear God's voice and His will for us." was my reply.

He initially thought that the sign meant I wanted to de-clutter my house. Sure, part of living a simplified life is having a clutter free home with just the basics, but more than that, it is leaving margins in my life so I can think, function, and hear God's prompting.

Friends, this takes intentionality! The world is SCREAMING at us: go here, do this, sign your kids up for this, be involved in this, run this ministry, send this, move here, go...go...go! It's spinning and we can so easily be caught up in this vortex of craziness!

Giving God control of our calendar can be saying, "No" to things, to leave room for those things God wants us to really do.

At True Woman Ft. Worth, Holly Elliff said, during the panel discussion: "We're so busy doing things God hasn't called us to do, we have no time for what He does want us to do."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

11/13/10 - Extreme

Someone can hear a message like emotional purity and take it to the extreme. When I hear stories of controlling parents or young girls who fear even having a conversation with a young man at the risk of "giving her heart away", I cringe!

We're not to operate out of fear or extremes, but a moderate, balanced life, where you see truth and grace as a perfect blend.

Anytime someone is extreme on one end or the other: only fear, failure, blame, insecurity, legalism, and bondage will follow!

Friday, November 12, 2010

11/12/10 - Jesus Draw me Nearer

I've been listening to this song, over and over this week: Jesus Draw me Nearer

Maybe it will minister to your heart, the way it has mine!

Jesus draw me ever nearer
As I labour through the storm.
You have called me to this passage,
and I'll follow, though I'm worn.

May this journey bring a blessing,
May I rise on wings of faith;
And at the end of my heart's testing,
With Your likeness let me wake.

Jesus guide me through the tempest;
Keep my spirit staid and sure.
When the midnight meets the morning,
Let me love You even more.

Let the treasures of the trial
Form within me as I go -
And at the end of this long passage,
Let me leave them at Your throne.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

11/10/10 - Useless and Unfruitful

I've been spending a lot of time in 2 Peter 1:1-11.

This morning I was struck with this thought: If I don't exhibit and increase in: faith, moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love, I will be (that's a promise there) useless and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus.


Now to just work on that list! There's a life time challenge! ;-) So thankful for grace!

Monday, November 8, 2010

11/08/10 - Marks of a Godly, Mature Woman

I've asked God for many years to impress upon my heart the marks of a godly, mature Christian woman. I do so long to grow in my faith and not remain stuck at any level along the way. Lately some of the puzzle pieces are coming together.

There are four qualities that I believe are a mark of a godly, mature woman:

1) Wisdom
A Godly woman has pearls of biblical wisdom that pour fourth. All of her advice is filter through the wisdom of God. She uses the Word in all circumstances and issues of life.

2) Knowledge
A Godly woman knows God's Word. She knows it! She's studied it and she spends time in God's Word. Not only does she know the Word, but she loves God's Word.

3) Instruction
A Godly woman is able to receive correction and disciple with grace and thanksgiving. She sees Gods correction as a beautiful gift of purification and protection.

4) Self-Control
A Godly woman doesn't act on impulse, but is controlled in her words and actions. She also is able to control her thoughts and bring them captive to God's thoughts.

How I long to grow in these four areas of my life!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

11/06/10 - Keeping Up

We've all heard the phrase "Keeping up with the Joneses". Who are these Joneses we trying to keep up with and impress, anyway!?!

All too often we compare ourselves to those around us wish we had what they had or we try to maintain their level of living.

Of course this breaks one of the 10 commandments, "Thou shall not covet". But why is it so easy?

Our hearts long to be satisfied and at times the world looks very appealing. It pulls for our attention and demands we pay attention to it! If we're not keeping our hearts "tethered" (as Nancy Leigh DeMoss has said) to God's word, we'll find ourselves tossed to and fro when issues, attitudes, and desires crop up.

Looking at other's standard of living can be very dangerous. Recently I was reminded how often we see what people have, how they live, the vacations they take, what clothes they buy, and how they spend their money and what we don't realize is that they are not living with in their means. They are deep in credit card debt, they have stress in their marriage over money, they fight and argue about the bills, and all the stuff they have and doesn't replace the peace that comes with being good stewards of their money.

So often don't get to see that back story.

So we long after a mirage, a false picture of what money buys. Actually, even if they are living well within their means, stuff doesn't really satisfy those deep longings that a relationship with God can buy.

Stop and ask God to show you areas of your heart where your comparing yourself to someone and trying to keep up. The ask how that striving is keeping your heart discontent.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

11/04/10 - The Art of Marriage

Maybe God has put Christian marriages on your heart. Maybe you'd love to do something in your local church about this burden.

Check out this link: The Art Of Marriage

Family Life today has put together videos that can be used as a Friday/Saturday workshop in YOUR church! Hosted by you or your pastor!

They are launching the video's on Feb. 11, 2010 and hoping many churches offer workshops that very weekend!

Pray, see if God is leading you to host this event at your church!

I've been praying, just waiting, and trying to not be too impulsive! ;-)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

11/02/10 - Compassion

I will be first to admit I am not, by nature, a compassionate person. I always admire those who just over flow with compassion. This, Christ-like character is one I long for in my own life.

Sunday, in church, we sat towards the back of our large sanctuary and as I looked around I saw a couple who's son has asked to have no contact with them, I saw a young mom who is struggling with some deep in-law issues, another woman who caught my eye has just recently lost her mom, and finally another lady recently lost her young nephew.

My heart was overcome with compassion and these were just four stories of 100's in that room that day. I realized when God looks at His people He sees our deepest hurts, pains, needs, and sorrow.

How His heart must ache for us as He longs for us to place all our needs and pains in His almighty hand.

How I pray that we each look through the compassion of Christ as we look at our fellow brothers and sister in the Lord. I say this to myself as much as anyone!

Monday, November 1, 2010

11/01/10 - Crawford Loritts

The first message at True Woman Fort Worth was from Crawford Loritts.

I've been processing his message and have listened to it three times actually. Even the third time listening, there was new insights, so if I kept listening I am sure new things would jump out at me. His message was: What in the World Do You Want?

Dr. Loritts unpacks worldliness for us in his message using the verses 1 John 2:15-17: Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

He points out that worldliness is a heart attachment, it's loving anything of this world the way we were created to love God. It's looking for this world to love us the way that only God can love us.

We pervert God's love when we look to other things to give us the type of love that only can come from our Father.

He clearly points out that "worldliness is a celebration of self".

He makes plain our need to go vertical for our definition and horizontal for impact. He challenges us to stay engaged in our world and in our culture, but wear our spiritual protection!

If you have a chance to read or listen, I hope you take the time.

I will continue to work through each of the True Woman messages in the days and weeks to come!