The Crucible of Self-Control

Hello Ladies, What a quick journey we have had together !

Along with Beth, my desire was that this study contain practical principles that would not just “change our lives but would change our days.” As we move forward, I pray that you will continue to allow the Holy Spirit to give you His daily transfusion of the fruit of the Spirit.

Throughout our study we have had a myriad of practical principles and these are my most memorable:

~We must “pour out” (confession) in order to “pour in” (filling of Spirit) in order to “pour forth” (fruit of Spirit)

~Part of maturity is ceasing to equate “hard” with “bad”

~God allows rejection in order to lead to reconciliation

~We were destined for royalty

~Peace comes with the authority, not the answer

~Convenience never produces character

~We each have a “To Do” list written in God’s handwriting

~Always associate “through” with faith

~Our scars are for somebody else to touch

~The Holy Spirit wants to be comfortable in my skin

Now it’s your turn. Take the time for a review of your personal study.  Looking back, which principles were most memorable for you? How will you begin to apply these as we go forth ?

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Keep Believin’

Hello Ladies, Though I missed many of you last week I was excited to participate with the rest in one of the most engaging discussions we’ve had thus far on the issue of faith. The question we discussed was “Is your faith defined by what God does or who God is ? ” My prayer is that this study has grown your faith based on the latter.

In this week’s study on Gentleness Beth writes, ” To miss God’s word in our circumstances is to miss God. To miss God is to miss the point.” In my life, I have found that God speaks as loudly in the difficult circumstances as He does daily. Facing crisis simply heightened my attention and helped me tune my ears into His voice. I have since prayed to hear Him in every circumstance so I do not miss His guidance.

What about you ? In what current circumstance is God wanting to teach you something ? Will you pray to have a teachable heart so you don’t “miss the point” ?

The Kindness and Goodness of God

Hello Ladies,

Hope our session last week on “Goodness does” made an impact on your life as it did mine. One of our ladies, Anne Mount has a daughter living close to Joplin, Mo. where the tragedy of the tornadoes struck. She mentioned that one way we can partner with the recovery effort is through Samaritan’s Purse, an organization that practically helps crisis victims around the world. View this video to join the effort to “Do good”:

Samaritans Purse

In this week’s lesson on faith, Beth writes, “Beloved, the verypistis of Christ, Himself, is in you by way of His blessed Spirit. The supernatural capacity to believe God is immediately activated the moment we are filled with the Holy Spirit.” I know that at difficult times I have struggled for the faith to believe God. Accessing that faith by surrendering to the Spirit has freed me to supernaturally believe God in ways I never imagined.

Now it’s your turn. Where are you struggling to believe God? How can you surrender this week to His spirit to infuse you with “supernatural faith” ?

A Composite of Peculiar Patience

Hi Ladies, What a fascinating discussion time we had last week. I pray that God is continuing to show you how having a forgiving heart breeds patience!

In this week’s lesson, Beth explores both fruits of kindness and goodness. In Day 3 she writes, “Christ appeared to those who needed Him most: a mourner, a doubter, and a mocker.  And out of His tenderness came belief.” During trials,  I have learned to share my heart with Him and have encountered a Christ who is tender-hearted and knows just how I feel. Experiencing God’s kindness and goodness has led to my strengthened belief in “El Shaddai” ~The Father of Sufficiency.

How about you ? What is the condition of your heart ? How will you approach Him this week knowing He will overflow you with His kindness and goodness?

Peace Be With You

Hi Ladies, I so enjoyed our time last week discussing the distinction between being a “Peacekeeper” and “Peacemaker.” Can you believe that we are already half-way through the study ? I hope and pray that you are able to tangibly see some results of living a Spirit-filled life.

As Beth explores patience she writes in Day 4, “If we refuse to forgive, we tie God’s mighty hands from ‘working all things together for good’ … Christ has a purpose in the pain you’ve suffered … and until you surrender to His purpose in the specific matter at hand, He cannot work it out for your good.”

I can recall times where I’ve faced such injustice that I wondered how God could work in the midst of it. After making the choice to forgive, I was flooded with His peace and patience. I also had a greater understanding of the saying, “When things seem to be unraveling, just remember who is knitting all things together for good.”

How about you? Where in your life do you need to surrender to forgiveness? How will you allow God to begin working ‘things’ together for your good?

The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength

Hello my fellow princesses,

 

I pray you have been enjoying your status as royal members of the Kingdom this week. I loved Beth’s remark that “Royalty knows in it’s heart that it is royalty.”

I had the opportunity this weekend to attend a princess party with my 3 year old and all the little girls joyfully and proudly wore their “costumes.” My prayer is that this week the Spirit would enable us to think and to act like daughters of the King.

In Beth’s portrait of peace this week she writes, “Our peace with God is translated into the peace of God through the filling of the Holy Spirit…quickened in us by a mind ‘stayed’ on Him.” In my experience, I can only “stay on Him” by staying in His word. His word refreshes my mind, helps me to focus on who God is and gives me peace in my circumstances.

 

It’s your turn. In what circumstance do you need a mind “stayed” on Him ? How will you rely on God’s word to bring that refreshment this week ?

Greatest of These is Love

Hi Ladies,

I know we are still mediating on that deep message we heard from Beth last week on love. What most impacted me was the statement, “By being called to love, we risk rejection.” I am praying that God’s spirit has empowered you to risk loving and agaping others this week.

As we dive into joy, Beth writes in Day 2 about the hidden treasure of joy, “Chara is the supernatural result which flows from the glorious discovery of our Lord and Savior in every circumstance where we wish to find Him.”

I know that for me I have discovered His joy in unexpected times and places–in hospitals, at funerals and even in the midst of difficulties in my life. He has taught me that one of the keys to discovering joy then was to have an attitude of expectancy–of waiting in faith for His joy. The result was a renewed sense of His presence, purpose and power.

How about you ? In what circumstance this week is God wanting you to discover His hidden joy ? Will you welcome it with an attitude of expectancy?

To Live By the Spirit

Hi Ladies,

What a stimulating time of discussion we had last week as we examined what we are living “by” and “for.” I hope you are learning much about what it means to “live by the spirit” instead of our usual temptations.

As we dive into exploring love as the first fruit of the Spirit, Beth writes, “If we allow God to exercise agape through us, no matter how it appears, no matter what happens–whether the work of agape is in us as the giver, in others as the receivers, or both–it will never be in vain … Agape is always effective! ”

I know for me attempting to agape people in my own strength is exhausting and fruitless. Asking for God’s unconditional love and spirit to flow through me has revolutionalized the way I view and love others. I no longer have to rely on my own resources to love, and drawing from the eternal source assures me it will never be in vain.

What about you ? Who is God calling you to agape this week ? How will you rely on the Spirit instead of yourself to infuse you with His effective love?

Free At Last

Hi Girls,

Sure hope you have been taking advantage of opportunities this week to “Pour Out, Pour In, and Pour Forth” as we learned in last week’s session. This phrase reminds of the song I used to sing as a young girl, I’m a Little Teapot. The refrain of the song states, “tip me over and pour me out” which is indicative of our lives– what gets “poured in” is what gets “poured forth.” My prayer is that your study has been “pouring in” more of the Spirit this past week.

In Day 5 of our study this week Beth writes, “Surrender must be a daily choice. We can be spiritual one day and not the next…one morning and not that night…If we are going to live as a spiritual [woman], it will result from a deliberate, conscious surrender to the Holy Spirit of God.”

These ups and downs that Beth describes reminds me of the occasional times that my life feels like an exhausting roller-coaster. I have found however, that daily study in His word keeps me grounded in the midst of “out of control” circumstances. Further, allowing God’s word to “pour in” into my heart and mind helps maintain more of a balanced and focused life, which is refreshing rather than exhausting.

How about you ? What areas of your life do you feel are out of control ? When will you take time this week to “pour in” so that you can properly “pour forth ” ?

Introductory Session

Hello Ladies,

How did you enjoy last week’s powerful introductory session? Thank you for our fellowship and refreshing time in the word. One principle which stayed with me was, “The filling and subsequent fruit of the Spirit won’t just change my life. It will change my day.” This week my prayer has been that this study will have a daily impact on all of your lives.

In Day One of this week Beth writes, “The gift of influence … at its bestteaches, nurtures, encourages, exhorts, evangelizes and disciples. At worst, it cripples and kills. The line between influence and manipulation is extremely fine … we need to think before we speak and act.” As women we can wield our influence powerfully, but as Beth notes, “only a Spirit-filled woman can wield that influence effectively.”

In the last few years, I have become more aware of the power of my influence.  In an instant, my words can serve to encourage or discourage, to build or tear down. I have learned that one of the only ways to use my influence properly is to surrender to the authority of the Spirit. When I surrender to His influence, His life-giving words speak in and through me.

Now it’s your turn.  In what ways do you influence others ? How can you submit to God’s authority this week in order to influence others for an eternal good ?