by Terri Blanchard

Betrayed. Robbed. Cheated. Mistreated. Used. Abused. Stabbed in the back. Taken advantage of. That’s how it felt. I was angry, bitter, and resentful. How could someone so close to me do this to me? What she did to me seemed unforgiveable. Absolutely nothing within my physical being wanted to forgive her, but everything in my spirit knew I had to.

I consulted a mentor and asked for prayer support. Then, I studied my Bible and two other books on the issue of forgiveness; Do Yourself a Favor…Forgive by Joyce Meyer and The Bait of Satan by John Bevere. The following notes are just a few things I learned.

Why did I have to forgive?

1) The Bible says to forgive.

  • Jesus said to forgive others in John 20:23.
  • Ephesians 4:27, 31 and Hebrews12:15 instruct me to get rid of anger, wrath and bitterness.

2)  God forgave me and wants me to forgive others.

  • Matthew 18:23-35 is the parable of the unforgiving servant (it is a good read!). It points out that God forgave me and if I do not forgive others then I will live in my own prison of torture.   
  • “A person who will not forgive is a person who has forgotten what they have been forgiven of.” (John Bevere)

3) Forgiveness brings freedom. 

  • Forgiving her and asking God to forgive me of my unforgiveness allows God to work in me.
  • When I forgive and release my offender then I allow God to work in her.

How do I forgive?

1) I had to make a decision to forgive that was not based on how I felt. I did not feel like forgiving her but I knew God wanted me to.

2) I stopped thinking and talking about what she did. Rehearsing the offense only kept feeding my anger.

3) I needed the Holy Spirit to help me. I literally cried out to God, “I need your help to forgive her! I cannot do this without you!”

4) I started praying for her. Matthew 5:34 tells me to love and pray for those who hurt me. I ask God to show me her heart, why did she do it? Why was I so hurt by it? What is the root in all this? He showed me! I prayed into her life what I wanted God to do in my life. I asked God to place love in my heart for her. Eventually, I was able to ask God to bless her.

What does forgiveness lead to?

1) God desired restoration and unity in our relationship. Forgiving her was not the same as trusting her. However, living in peace instead of strife, is what God wanted.

2) I needed to go to her and ask her to forgive me for holding anger resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness toward her. I was to go to her about my sin, not hers.

The Power of forgiveness.

The process of forgiveness is not an easy one but it is a fruitful one. By forgiving her, God was able to heal me. Because of forgiveness, I have seen God work in my life and in her life in ways I could never have imagined. I am so thankful that I am forgiven so that I can forgive. There really is freedom in forgiveness. 

 

Terri Owens Blanchard is very happily married to John Blanchard. She is also a mother, a Mimi to her granddaughter, a Mary Kay Consultant, a small group leader to the Military Wives group, and an assistant small group coach. She loves to shop, travel, and shop as she travels! She also enjoys spending time with family, friends and her crazy pets. She can be reached at t.blanchard1@yahoo.com.

In today’s Beautiful Boot Camp installment, we look at the power of our prayers and how a purposeful approach to prayer can help us expect positive results.

by Paige Eavenson

Do you ever feel like your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling and not quite making it to the ears of God? Does it really matter if you pray and should you pray over everything?  Is there a right way to pray to get better results? These and other questions have been running through my mind. I’m sure some of you may have had the same questions, if not more, at some point in time. 

I recently read a quote by R. Arthur Matthews which said, “Our calling and function is not to replace God, but to release Him.” Through our prayers we have the power to release all the attributes of God into our circumstances. So how do we do this? Let’s take a look at Christ’s example.

In Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus tells us, “This, then, is how you should pray:  ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

Here’s what we can learn from this model prayer.

  • Begin with recognizing who God is. In Jesus’ prayer, he recognized who God is and that He was in Heaven above everything. Sometimes you have to tell your problems how big God is instead of letting your problems tell you how big they are. Don’t know where to start? Try beginning with the different names of God from the Old Testament. Their meanings are a powerful way to remind you of who God is.
  • Give God Praise and Thanksgiving. Praise God for who He is and for what He is doing in your life.  When Jesus said, “Hallowed be your name,” it means to make it holy or to set it apart, to be exalted as being worthy of absolute devotion. To hallow the name of God is to regard Him with complete devotion and loving admiration. God’s name is of the utmost importance (Neh 9:5); therefore we ought to reserve it a position of grave significance in our minds and hearts. Don’t forget to thank God for even the small blessings. In giving thanks is where you will begin to find true joy.
  • Seek to do His will and not your own. Pray for God’s will to be done in your situation. In reading and studying His word you will become more familiar with who God is and what His will is for your situation. This takes time, but it is well worth the investment.
  • Petition God. Present your needs and desires and ask Him to meet even your most mundane needs. Be specific in your prayers and requests to God. Nothing is too small or too big for him to handle.  Approach God boldly and with confidence and expectancy that He hears your prayers and is ready to answer.
  • Ask God for forgiveness of your sins. Psalm 66:18 says, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” God and sin don’t mix. Go ahead and confess your junk and get it over with. Even if it’s painful, God wants you to bring it to Him so you can experience the freedom that comes through confession and forgiveness. Then He begins to listen and you start to see results in your prayer life.
  • Seek a way of escape from the evil of temptation. Ask for protection. While all your trials may not instantly disappear, seek to at least remove yourself from the trials you are willfully taking part in. Ask God to place a hedge of protection around you and those you are praying for.

Satan hates it when we pray but prayer is the only way to get through the battles of life. It is our most powerful weapon. We have already won the victory through Christ. Now it’s time to get out your swords ladies, put on your armor and go to battle by praying for yourself and the ones you love.

If you have a specific prayer request, please let us know in the comments or by email at beautiful@gfconline.com. We’d also love to hear your testimony of answered prayer. You never know how your story will inspire someone else!

Paige Eavenson and her family have been part of Grace Family Church for 13 years and she currently serves on staff as a women’s small group coach. A homeschool mom of three, Paige is an avid reader who loves collecting new friends and helping people get connected into small groups. You can learn more about Paige on her blog, www.sincerelypaige.com

 

In September, A Beautiful Blog is putting you through Boot Camp – Bible Boot Camp, that is. We’ll be featuring stories on how to get your faith in shape so you can get more out of your time with God and strengthen your spiritual muscles.

by Paige Eavenson

I’ve spent most of my life as a regular attendee of some sort of Sunday School or Bible study. While I’ve yet to become a Bible scholar or get a doctorate in Theology, I have learned that if you want to see true change in your life, investing time in studying your Bible is a must.

You might be thinking, but why even study the Bible? What’s in it for me? Everything! You just name your problem and chances are God has an answer for it in the scriptures. Once you discover the life changing power of God’s word you’ll wonder what you ever did without it.

Hebrews 4:12 in the Amplified Bible (AMP) says,

For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the [a]breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow thoughts and purposes of the heart.”

In a nutshell, the Bible is alive and ready to help you with your everyday trials and tribulations. What it has to say is still applicable to your life today, and if you’ll take the time to study it and apply it to your life, you’ll see changes that only God could have made.

So where should you start?

1. Pick a Bible – There are many different Bibles to choose from these day. I personally have used the NIV New international Version, NKJV New King James Version, Life Application Bible, Amplified Bible and The Message. Each Bible contains the same scriptures, just different translations. You can also get what’s called a parallel Bible and it has several translations all in one Bible. Pick a verse and read it in each translation and see which one speaks to you the most.

2. Pick a topic to study – I like to pick a topic that I am currently struggling with. As a wife and mother of young children, I’m often dealing with emotions ranging from joy to anger all in one day. If I’m particularly struggling with anger I’ll turn to the concordance in the back of the Bible, look up the word anger and it will lead me to specific scriptures on anger. I’ll then highlight them or write them on an index card to memorize and keep with me when I’m on the go.

3. Purposefully set aside time to study – I personally schedule time and a reminder notice in my calendar to study and “Meet with Jesus” as I call it. Early morning before everyone awakes is best for me, however when that doesn’t work out I just try to snag any time I can get with Jesus throughout the day. Whatever you can do is better than nothing. In time you’ll start to reap the rewards of time sewn with God.

4. Gather necessary materials – Grab a new journal, pen, Bible and warm cup of coffee or tea before you sit down to study. You want to have everything you need to get started so you’re not frustrated before you even dive into the Word. When those random thoughts of what else you have to do for the day pop in your head, jot them down in your journal then go back to reading. When a scripture stands out to you, highlight it or make note of it in your journal. This is simple stuff, but it really helps you to stay focused and see where God is speaking to you through the scriptures.

5. Prepare your heart – Take a moment to pray and ask God to speak to your heart through what you study. Listen to some worship music before you start or soft piano music while you read.  I can’t imagine anything that pleases God more than you wanting to spend time with Him and learn more about Him. So prepare your heart and mind to hear from the creator of the universe.

Don’t be afraid to bring God your tough questions, your disappointments, and your greatest fears and worries. He knows all your issues already and wants to help you resolve each one of them.  Be sure though to not just dump all your stuff on God and leave. Stay with Him long enough for His word to speak truth into your situation and give you new insight or peace for the day.

Studying the Bible is not a sprint, but a marathon. It may seem daunting at first, but if you take it one small step at a time you will finish the race. And when you do, I believe God will say to you as it says in Matthew 25:21 (NIV),

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’”

Recommended Study Tools

Thompson Chain Reference Bible – cross references about different topics throughout the Bible

Webster’s Dictionary

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance – listing of scriptures organized by category/topic

Vine’s Expository Dictionary – Greek and Hebrew definitions

BibleGateway.com

 

Paige Eavenson and her family have been part of Grace Family Church for 13 years and she currently serves on staff as a women’s small group coach. A homeschool mom of three, Paige is an avid reader who loves collecting new friends and helping people get connected into small groups. You can learn more about Paige on her blog, www.sincerelypaige.com.