Friday, August 22, 2008

Chapters Twelve and Thirteen

What Happens When Women Walk in Faith Bible Study

Chapter 12 - Learning to Lead

The title scared me. Me, a leader? Yuh-huh!

Then I kept reading.

Lysa wrote, "As we seek to believe God like never before, we will set an example for others to follow. I never pictured myself as a leader until God revealed to me that like it or not, people were watching and modeling my life." I want to set a good example for others. It's so funny how we don't realize the influence we have on others or are aware that they are even watching us. Case in point: I work in a 15 story building. One afternoon, on the elevator, a friend got off on another floor and said bye and called my name. I heard a voice call out on the packed elevator, "So you're Laurie Ann! I talk to you on the phone all the time!" As we walked off the elevator together, she went on to say how she had seen me in the building and admired me because I was always speaking to everyone and was always consistently nice to people. (People are my heart and I have to be nice to them!! Who couldn't use a smile and a friendly how are you sometimes?) But then I began to wonder, had she ever seen me on my worst days? Days where fibro keeps me just focusing on putting one foot in front of the other on the long walk from the garage to the elevators? Days where my head hurt so bad the ding of the elevator made me wince? How am I on those days? Do I speak to others and am I friendly, modeling good behavior? I must have been on some level. I am conscious of it now. Very very conscious. People watch the way we live and we need to be sure we area walking worthy of people saying, "That's God's daughter! I know her!"

Lysa talked about actions and reactions, also. She mentioned, "The way to be a good leader is for your actions to be reflective of God reigning inside you. But to be a great leader is for your reactions to be reflective of God reigning inside you. Did you catch that? Your reactions are key. We can easily choose to act obediently to the Lord and honor others in times of less stress." That's good preaching, Lysa!! Our reactions are key. How do we react in times of major stresses? When my earthly father shows up, the anxiety comes out in me and I don't model good behavior. When I'm given 5 projects at once and they're all due "now", my hair somehow gets messed up because my hands run through it a million times. That must change.

Lysa says, "Nothing will make God so real to you as seeing Him change your character. Not change who you are - your personality, your strengths, and your abilities - but how you are - your character." God change me! Help me be consistent and not act on emotion. Make my character disappear and Your appear and shine before everyone.

"However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" - 1 Corinthians 2:9

Chapter Thirteen - Death Does Not Mean Defeat

That was encouraging! The first thing this title made me think about was the victory gained from the death of Christ, which certainly did not end in defeat!

Lysa writes, "Death brings about a new life that can't be found any other way. Indeed, death does not mean defeat." Isn't that a comforting thought? As Lysa said, some things that happen are not a death of sorts but are victories in disguise.

She also wrote, "The very things that feel like death are really a birth of something so much better." Have you ever had a dream just die what seemed like a horrible death, only to find that God had a purpose in the pain and whether or not you could see what He had for you on down the line or not, you knew it held promise? I did. When I had trouble conceiving I thought that was the death of a dream. The birth that came was something so much better - a closer walk with God in prayer. I prayed faithfully for 8 years and although I initially prayed for fertility and a healthy baby, I used that prayer time also for others. I discovered prayer with God in a whole new way. I grew closer to God, was a happier person, had my eyes opened to all sorts of things around me, and most of all, became burdened for someone other than myself.

Lysa also wrote, "The children of Israel were led by God, not on the shortest route but rather the ordained route." Which route would you rather travel? I'd go the route with God every time. God's ordained route for me in my dream of old was not the most easy road to travel, but it was His best for me. I had only to look up and there He was. He walked beside me every step of the way, and is still with me today, even though He has changed dreams for me. Lysa continued, "God has not only defeated death but is providing victory through it. This is not your defeat; it is your valley in the shadow of the mountain your soul longs to climb - a mountain of greater faith and closer intimacy with God than you ever thought possible." While I no longer dream to be a mother, I dream to be a writer of devotions. This dream has also expanded to include God's will for me, that whatever He inspires me to write would encourage others. I love my dream because I feel it is His dream for me. I have a lot to learn, a lot to work on and a mighty God pushing me up a path of greater intimacy with Him as I surrender my dream to Him.

I love the verse Lysa shared in this section.

Psalm 16:8-11 - "I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."

How beautiful is that verse?!? What a mighty promise it holds.

Lysa writes, "When you die, your body will go to the grave, but you can rest assured that with God your soul will never taste defeat." Amen!

In the personal Bible study section, Lysa encouraged us to pray Ephesians 3:20-21.

Father God, You are able to do immeasurably more than all I could ever ask or imagine, according to Your power that is constantly at work within me. I give You alll glory and honor and praise through Christ Jesus my Lord, for years and years to come! Amen.

In closing, a verse Lysa shared describes my God. I praise Him forever for it!

Jeremiah 23:23-24 - "Am I only a God nearby," declares the LORD, "and not a God far away? Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?" declares the LORD. "Do not I fill heaven and earth?" declares the LORD.

God is not only aware of but is in the midst of every death we face. I praise Him that as I learn to walk in faith with Him that each step brings me closer to Him and moves me to learn more about His precious character and how much He truly does love me. I rejoice that my dreams will be fulfilled one day, and pray that they are for His glory and never for my own. Like Jesus, I want do the Father's will.

What I loved most about this chapter was being reminded that death does not end in defeat!


Denise said...

This was great my friend.

Jill said...

I enjoyed your words and so needed the wonderful reminders you provided. Though we may not know what the future holds, it's great to know the One who holds it. It can be frigtening walking that path He's laid out, but when I realize it's the ordained route, He gives peace for the path and strength for the journey. Thanks for sharing, Jill