By Stephanie Haile

 

 

“You butthead!” yells one of my darling little children to a neighbor friend. Seriously? Why do my kids talk like this? It’s not like I call my husband, or anyone else, a butthead, at least not on a regular basis. Why is repaying evil for evil so important to us?

 

It’s been around since Old Testament times, hurting each other seems like a necessity. Looking around our culture today, people are even creative in their cruelty to others. Using social media really gets the ball rolling on ruining people’s lives. What is it that makes it so hard to turn the other cheek?

 

There is one thing that I noticed in a recent reading of a famous Bible story that gave me insight to acting on our frustrations toward others. In 1 Samuel 17,  sweet little David, a shepherd boy, kills Goliath. He was well loved by King Saul and the nation of Israel. As the people began to sing and dance and honor David, something changed in King Saul. Jealousy began to rise up. Soon Saul hated David.

 

So, for some reason, Saul began to keep a spear in his hand. He hurled it at David a couple of times, as David faithfully played the harp for king Saul. He also threw it at his son, Jonathan, and almost killed him. Later on, he had it in his hand as he ordered 85 priests and their families to be killed.

 

What happened to king Saul? He started out as a decent king who was anointed by God and then became a raving lunatic. Just like my son yelling at his friend, Saul held on to something that he would use to hurt others. It controlled him, instead of him controlling it.

 

A spear can be useful, just like our words, but when we have these things ready to use to hurt others, odds are, we will use them. If someone would have just taken that spear out of Saul’s hand, it may have helped him forget his desire to want to kill.

 

A while back a friend hurt me with her words, and my “before Jesus self” said, “get her back.” I decided to leave it alone, pray for her, and love her anyway. Recently she told me that I made a real difference in her life and she looked up to me as a Christian. If I had reacted on my feelings, I never would have seen God work in her life.

 

I feel like every time I have something I am holding on to that causes me to want to hurt another, I hear God say, “Here, give me that!” God’s word says that he will fight our battles for us. There is no reason to carry around a spear.

By Silke Buczynsky

 

 

I’m in a transition stage in my life at the moment. As I walk around with wide-open eyes to learn and discover his new plan for me, I find myself getting caught in the comparison trap. Maybe I should become a speaker like her, or write wise books like so and so, or start a new revolutionary ministry. Today when I spent time with the Lord I learned that I lost my joy by comparing myself to other women and their callings.

 

I believed that different callings would have different values. God reassured me that my calling of being a mother, homeschool mom and wife and serving in His Freedom quest has the same value as any other calling out there. My calling is unique and important in his plan. God does not have a value hierarchy of jobs and callings. Each one is equally important just like us!

 

The agenda of the enemy is to steal, kill and destroy and he is after our relationship with our father in heaven. If he can steal our faith and destroy our trust, all other fruits of the Spirit will fall like domino pieces in a chain reaction. We loose peace, love, joy and hope.

 

When I compare myself with other women, which is one of the joy-robbing traps of the enemy, I get caught in a whirlwind of emotions.  When I admire a mother who looks amazing while pushing two little ones in her shopping cart, I leave the grocery store that day with my groceries in my bags but also with a defeated spirit, a weakened self-image and a dent in my joy. My joy should not depend on my circumstances or people. True joy comes through Christ who lives in me.

 

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God work for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” God will use everything we face, the good and the challenges, for our good. He forms and develops our character and forms us into experts in our calling. Did you hear that? We become experts in our calling!!  I want to be an expert. After all, an expert is a person who has a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge in a particular area or a special skill.

 

Why is Satan after our joy? Attacking our joy makes it easy for him to weaken our relationship with God. It is really that simple. He is quick to offer us an assortment of alternatives to replace true joy with worldly happiness or worldly escapes.

 

Where are you right now in your life? How do you feel when you compare yourself with others?  Do you need to make adjustments in your life and spend more time with God and invest into your relationship with him? What happiness replacements did you allow to come into your life?

 

I’ve decided to be content in what I’m doing for God and faithful in what He entrusts to me. I am learning that in order for me to move on to my new calling I have to be grateful and content where God is placing me right now.  No more comparing!

 

By Trudy Loots

 

 

Recently, I was on my way to a staff meeting. I had just dropped off my 2 month old with the babysitter and was now in a one on one conversation with my GPS about the best way to get to my destination. As I neared the location I was reminded that I needed to pray before I arrived, eyes open of course…. So, I prayed and asked God to guide my thoughts and speak through me to accomplish His will.

 

It was a real cute prayer. As I wrapped up my prayer it hit me like a brick: My relationship with God isn’t based on my words to Him but rather His presence with me. I shouldn’t rush to just chat with him and then go about my business but rather conduct my business with the mindset that he RSVP’d to the meeting as well. Jesus doesn’t stay in my car until I’m done with my tasks.

 

I realized that I was missing the whole reality of God’s presence in my everyday tasks. I find myself getting stuck in thinking that God only attends church and small groups. I forget that He strongly desires that I involve Him in every detail, every moment of my life.

 

I am reminded that He is in the room… always! Because I am his daughter and have surrendered my life to Christ, I have received the gift of the Holy Spirit.  He is my teacher, advocate, and counselor.  He intercedes on my behalf to God the Father.  He leads and guides me as I do the tasks he puts before me.

 

I want to practice visualizing the Holy Spirit in every situation, at every challenge and every victory.  I know that God’s presence in my life is more than I can imagine. He wants me to be more aware that he is in the room with me all the time.

 

Can you imagine if we started to visualized him when we open that bill and the bank account is already drained? When we wake up feeling sore and run down? What if we visualized Him when the news channel features nothing but negativity or when social media feeds us with loneliness and lack?  What about when there is an argument with a close loved-one?  In those big decisions or when the kids are out of control?

 

What’s the situation that comes to your mind when you read that list? God wants us to know is presence in every moment. Let’s invite Him to be all of the things He promised He would be to us. Let’s live aware of his presence and know that He is with us always.

 

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”  Romans 8:26-27

 

 

By Vicky Orefice

 

 

In honor of GFC’s Beautiful Spring semester starting a few weeks ago I thought I would share about my experience in joining a group and the value in being a part of one.

 

I started attending the Monday night Bible Study at the Van Dyke campus last Fall. I was feeling really drained emotionally, physically, and spiritually and I felt that I needed some more Jesus time in my life and wanted to get more connected to my church. My husband and I had been attending this church for about 9 months, but hadn’t really gotten involved. (It’s a large church and easy to get lost in the crowd, especially when you are introverts like we are.) I’d heard time and time again, that the best way to get connected in a large church, or any size church for that matter, is by joining a group.

 

Well, I finally made the huge leap and went on a Monday night to try it out. Leading up to the evening, all the anxiety kicked in and it crossed my mind to just go home instead of turning on the road to get to the church, but I didn’t give in. When I entered the sanctuary I was greeted by a couple ladies who welcomed me, had me fill out a name tag and sat with me a group of ladies at a table.

 

The rest was history.

 

These ladies made me feel welcomed and part of the family. I created relationships, friendships through this group which has opened up other relationships. We have provided each other support and words of encouragement in this thing called life through table conversations, prayers, texts, etc.

 

One of the friendships that has formed as a result of this life group is with this lovely lady, Ashley.

 

 

This bottle of sunshine has been such a pleasure to meet. She was my lifesaver during the women’s conference from saving me seats each day to introducing me to other ladies at church. She will send me a text or two throughout the week just to say ‘hello and hope that I am having a great week‘. While it may seem like nothing, this small gesture, taking time out of her busy week to send me a text, has been huge in just making me feel special and loved. That folks, is what this Christian life is all about. Okay, enough of the gush talk.

 

I am so thrilled that this semester’s study is Lisa Bevere’s Girls With Swords book. Y’all already know, since the Fearless Conference, I’ve been slightly obsessed inspired by Lisa Bevere. I’m really looking forward to reading this book this semester!

 

If you haven’t found your group, there is still time to join!  You can search women’s groups here: GFConline.com/groups or email beautiful@gfconline.com.