Changed by God’s Word

Changed by God’s Word

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

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“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.”

Isaiah 40:8

Changed by God’s Word

In our part of the country the changes of season are in the air. The wind chills the cheeks of my girls as we play outside in our front yard. The leaves of our three oak trees are falling from the busy squirrel up above. The mums and pansies shine bright, but most of the other flowers are wilting away. The blooms of my crape myrtles have all blown off. Leaves in the trees surrounding us are turning golden. In a few weeks our grass will be dry and brown. Autumn has come.

While Isaiah 40:8 is about much more than the turning of season, I can’t help but be reminded of it this time of year. There is something that doesn’t pass away. The living word of God. As autumn progresses we will find ourselves in the holiday rush, a time of year that is so easy to become consumed with matters of this earth. Thoughts about our holiday outfits, our Thanksgiving table, sports, the pumpkin path, the Santa picture, lights, our decorations, our greeting cards, the parties to attend… while none of it is wrong, it can be overwhelming. So what a breath of fresh air to be reminded that the matters of this earth aren’t as important as we make them out to be. How important it is to be reminded that the word of God is eternal, that his promises are true.

I love the song,

Ancient Words.

“Holy words long preserved

for our walk in this world,

They resound with God’s own heart

Oh, let the ancient words impart. 

Words of Life, words of Hope. 

Give us strength, help us cope

In this world, where e’re we roam

Ancient words will guide us home

Ancient words ever true

changing me, and changing you.

We have come with open hearts

Oh let the ancient words impart. 

Holy words of our Faith

Handed down to this age.

Came to us through sacrifice.”  

The Power of God’s Word

Not only is God’s word eternal, but it contains the power to change us- really change us.

God’s Word Creates Action

If you’ve never watched the movie, Monumental by Kirk Cameron, I encourage you to do so! It is a wonderful documentary about the Christian roots of America. This film begins with the story of the Puritans, and goes into great detail to share the hardships they faced as they broke away from the Church of England and fled to Holland, and later the New World. These were men and woman who were deeply changed by God’s word. These were people who had grasped the concept that God’s word stands forever, and that the needs we have on this Earth are trivial compared to salvation. Oh, what sacrifices they made, many even loosing their life. God’s word mattered to them, and they wanted to preserve it for future generations. The movie is centered around the National Monument to the Forefathers in Boston, which shows how much they prioritized the word of God. The Bible was worth sacrificing everything for, and it was important to preserve it and pass it down to future generations.

Yes, these men and women had been truly changed by God’s word.

How has God’s word changed you? 

Personally, one of my greatest battles is insecurity, and I have been changed by God’s word time and time again when I go to Him in my distress. At times my eyes are opened to changes I need to make, and other times I’m reminded of who I am to Him. Over and over, he blesses me through his word.

Let me honest with you though- I’m not always allowing it to work in my life. I can’t tell you how many mornings I finish my reading only to become easily angered with my family, or selfish in my time, greedy in my wants, or wallow in my insecurity. I am human, I confess. I must choose to be changed.

God’s word is powerful, and if we want to reap it’s benefit, we must be willing to accept it, to let it cut us to the heart. We must allow the comfort in his message give us grounding peace. We must act upon the the convictions these words bring. We must be willing to as James so boldly put it, do what it says! (James 1:22)

There will always be more to learn, we will never grasp it all. Yet no matter where we are on our spiritual journey, these ancient words can convict and change. No matter the trends of culture, they are relevant. His word stands forever.

This time of the year can be quite full. Let’s not forget to prioritize time in our Bible, and to truly let it convict our hearts. Let us not be afraid to be deeply changed by God’s word!

 

 

 

 

The Blessing of Bible Class!

The Blessing of Bible Class!

Candace B

Candace B

I am a proud wife and Mother! My hubby, Tyler, and I both attended Oklahoma Christian where our love grew! We got married, had two beautiful kiddos, our son Gunner and daughter Brooklyn, and we are living a truly blessed life! I am a Kindergarten teacher in the great state of Texas and most importantly a Christian. I strive daily to keep God #1 because he is the reason I have all the amazing blessings, I give him all the praise!
Candace B

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Why do we have Bible Class?

Why do we go?  Is going to worship the only thing that is scripturally sound?

I want to look into the word to really look at why Bible Class (along with worship) is so important.  Many people go to worship and choose to not attend Bible class.  The church where we attend has even tried to take measures like switching worship and Bible class where members are encouraged to stay and attend Bible class after worship is over. 

What’s the point of Bible Class?

I feel to some extent that we have lost sight of why we have Bible class in the first place.  Bible class is a personalized lesson for the appropriate age to learn and grow in Christ. Whether you are 2 or 92 you want that growth to be steady and consistent.  Most importantly to continue to have a hunger to learn more about Christ.  Going to worship is wonderful, great, NEEDED but why do we not put the same stock on Bible Class as worship?

It’s not scriptural?  1 Corinthians 1:1-9 talks about how we have been enriched in every way (speech and knowledge), as we eagerly wait upon The Lord, be blameless. God is faithful has called you into fellowship with his Son…

Part of fellowship is being with the body of believers. Bible class is one of those fellowships that we have together.You not only grow in knowledge of God but grow closer as a church family when you have more time together and meet whenever you can.

We should be joyful that we have the opportunity to meet together and fellowship anytime the body of believers can come together. Whether it be Sunday, Wednesday, Ladies Bible class, Men’s breakfast…anytime your church family is together you should yearn to be there as well. To be able to slow down from our busy lives and soak in the love we have for each other and the main thing we all have in common, which is that we love God and want to know him more.

I will admit….

when I was younger and my parents took me to church, I would at times have an awful attitude about going to church “everytime the doors are open” but I have to say that I am forever grateful that my parents took that time to show me how important it is to be with the Church. How important it is to have a relationship with them and grow with God together. 

I was encouraged by my son’s Bible class teacher recently.  My son, Gunner, has struggled with many things in his short 8 years.  Open heart surgery, speech delays, setbacks, I could go on and on.  He continues to get better but I always tend to worry how he does in school and other areas like his Bible class. 

The sweet lady that teaches his Bible class came up all smiles and said,

“Candace! I just have to tell you that Gunner is not only reading the Bible but I can tell he is getting some spunk in his reading too!”

Building on Life Eternal

It hit me like a bolt of lighting.  This is one of the reasons I LOVE going to Bible class and why it is so needed… ENCOURAGEMENT, LOVE, JOY! 

The reason Gunner is starting to have some “spunk” to his reading is because he sees it on his Bible class teacher.  This moment is what truly spurred me on to write this post.  Both of my kiddos know a lot about the Bible because they are there every time the doors are open. I knew Bible class was important but sometimes i forget that my kids continue to grow and when they are around the people that have fire for The Lord and invest in his life on a daily basis…that’s building on life ETERNAL! 

Bible class is a building block that you continue to build and build til when you are called home and live your life eternally in heaven. Isn’t this our ultimate goal as a Christian? 

The Blessing of Building Lasting Relationships

If you are not making an effort to be at Bible class in order to have not only a deeper relationship with Christ but a deeper relationship with the body of believers then I’ll be honest…you are missing out! 

Building stronger relationships come with time and effort.  When you are married, you don’t just stop loving each other. You find ways to keep that spark alive and Bible class, worship, as well as anytime your church family meets together is that spark that can keep you going.

I cannot tell you how many times that I have attended a Wednesday night Bible class after all day in my Kindergarten classroom… all I want to do is GO TO BED.  Those days are even more important to make a special effort to be there because I promise you that God rejuvenates you with his word and your brothers and sisters.

It does your body good no matter how tiring of a day you have.  It’s worth it!  So much time, effort, prayer and lesson planning go into these Bible class lessons. That is The Lord speaking to us through his soldiers and we need to be there to hear it.

Praying for Guidance and Perseverance

Hebrews 10:25 encourages us:

“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.”

Not in any way do I want this post to make you feel discouraged but I will say that if it makes you feel guilty… you need to pray and search inside yourself and ask yourself, “Am I making meeting with The Church most important?”

Pray for guidance and perseverance. I understand we all have jobs and are tired but we would not tell our boss we are too tired, or our teacher that we couldn’t complete an assignment because we just don’t feel like it.  We need to have the most dedication to our Lord before our jobs and even our family.  

If we have our hearts and minds on God then everything else WILL fall into place cause He knows narrow the path. 

Matthew 7:13 encourages us to focus:

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.”

If your heart is stirring… that is the Holy Spirit working in you.  I pray that my intentions and words were an encouragement to you.  I love The Lord and I love you. God has called us to a higher purpose.  To spread his word and be with the Church body is where it is at for our continued growth, encouragement and unconditional love.

 

You’ll Never Know Until You Ask, So Just Ask

You’ll Never Know Until You Ask, So Just Ask

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

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You’ll Never Know Until You Ask, So Just Ask.

This is what I have been telling my kids a lot lately, especially one in particular. He will start to ask a question, then think through what he is asking, answer it himself based on what he thinks I will answer, and then doesn’t even ask me.

It’s been annoying me, because he starts off with, “May I ask you a question?” To which I respond, “Always.” But then he doesn’t ask.

So once again today, he started the same pattern and I quickly encouraged him in a sing song voice, “Just ask. I might say “no” or I might say “yes,” but you will never know until you ask!”

With a slight hesitation, he asked, “Can we go get a snack at X?

To which I responded: “No, but thank you for asking. I’m thankful that you asked. Now you know the answer.”

Another question was obviously brewing. I could see it written across his forehead in the review mirror. Then, without asking if he could ask he smiled and boldly began:

“Then, can we go to the chocolate factory for a little treat…just you and me?”

Oh, that boy knows my weakness. “Of course, yes. Just you and I will go and get a treat. See, if you have chosen not to ask, we would not have this opportunity to enjoy this treat together. So please, from now on, just ask. You will never get a yes, if you choose not to ask.”

The Boldness of Just Asking

There are many who asked Jesus for things. Some wanted to be healed. Others wanted to follow him.

But there was one man in particular that stands out in my mind because many would have proclaimed he was absolutely unworthy to even talk to the Messiah let alone make a request of him.

This man, while Jesus was dying on the cross, heaped insult after insult upon him. And yet as the hours passed, the insult slinger noticed something different about the man who shared the same fate as himself. He realized that the “King of the Jews” he had been taunting, really was the chosen Messiah. He went from keeping insults to defending him.

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?
We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
Luke 23: 39-41

In that very moment, maybe even with the same breath, after scolding the criminal being crucified across from him, he turned his gaze to Jesus. His boldness skipped just asking, but audaciously steamrolled straight to a sincere plea:

“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Luke 23:42

Jesus’ reply not only reveals his grace, mercy, and ability to read hearts in a way that proves He was God incarnate, but stuns us thousands of years later. The words that are graciously spoken between struggling breaths while hanging on the cross give us hope and remind us to just ask Jesus no matter the circumstance:

“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
-Jesus, Luke 23:43

Jesus Wants Us to Just Ask

Ask I pour over the Bible, I see Jesus repeatedly exclaiming the importance of coming to our Heavenly Father in prayer about everything. With all our feelings, hopes, dreams, sorrows, and confusions. When we choose to engage in prayer with God we are in essence entering a spiritual and eternal conversation.

Let’s make the most of it and enjoy the relationship Jesus died on the cross to gift us!

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
-Jesus, Luke 14:12-14

In essence, Jesus encourages us to just ask.  He wants us to lean into him, to fear the Lord, to ask his guidance, and to seek his will. He wants to gift us with his abilities and willingness to be bold and it all starts by trusting that he will answer our prayers.

What have you been longing to ask the Lord, but have left unasked?

The blessings the Lord will gift in response to our asking are far better than any chocolate treat that we could receive.  As my son and I walked out of the “chocolate factory” this is the lesson I encouraged his heart to hear. 

Looking to Him

Looking to Him

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

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Looking to Him in Our Shame

David is known as a man after God’s own heart, but if you study his life, it won’t take you long to realize that he wasn’t without blemish. While known for his courage, he also faced moments of fear. One of these times is recorded in 1 Samuel chapter 21.

“That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish, king of Gath. But the servants of Achish said to him, “Isn’t this David, king of the land? Isn’t he the one they sing about in their dances: ” ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands’?”

David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath. So he pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard.”

1 Samuel 21:10-13, emphasis mine

Afraid…David?

I’m a little taken when I read that David was afraid. Is this the same man who so confidently defeated Goliath? I can only imagine the embarrassment our strong and confident David felt after giving such a display. The Bible doesn’t really tell us that David felt shame over his actions. I have to wonder though, how would he have handled the situation if instead of fear, he’d felt as confident in the Lord as he did when the giant came down?

When the king saw his unsound state, he insisted that David leave. David fled to a cave. It is believed by scholars that at this time David wrote Psalm 34.

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”
Psalm 34:4-5

Their faces are never covered in shame. 

Shame

I wonder if David felt shame while drooling and scratching at the door. I wonder if he was looking back at his past actions and wishing he’d looked to the Lord in his fear. Be my thoughts inline with David’s thought process or not, I find comfort and direction in his psalm.

I so often feel ashamed with myself.

Ashamed for opportunities missed.

Ashamed for comments said or judgements made.

Ashamed for my idleness.

Ashamed for my shortcomings.

The shame is heavy and holds me down. In this pit, I’m only looking inward at what I can do. In this pit, I feel inadequate for kingdom work. In this pit, I’ve forget who I am in God.

Never Covered in Shame

I believe that David forgot who he was when he was faced with this fear. He forgot that God had chosen him to be king, that the battle was the Lord’s. But as he later says, those who look to him are radiant and their faces aren’t covered in shame!

Oh how, I love David’s declaration!

In Romans 8:1-2 Paul tells us, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”

When I look inwardly it’s no wonder that I feel insecure. When I focus on God, and what He’s done for me I don’t have to feel ashamed. I can move on and be empowered to take advantage of the opportunities He gives.

We must remember to look to Him and see that we’ve been forgiven, and that our flesh might be weak, but the spirit is powerful!

David was able to move on from his lowly encounter. He gave praise to God for delivering him and continued to seek God’s will. Yes, he would stumble, but David was a man of worship. He continued to look to God and seek His will. Oh, that we might do the same!

A Prayer Over Our Hearts

Father God,

We praise you for the mighty God that you are, and for delivering us from sin! In all circumstances, may we look to you. Draw us to your presence and help us to remember who we are in you. May our lives not be liven selfishly, but instead for your glory. Use us to advance your kingdom! 

In the Name of Jesus, 

Amen 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Do I Keep “Thank You” Notes!

Why Do I Keep “Thank You” Notes!

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

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Once again as I am purging, I come across a pile. A pile that will eventually get tossed by someone else, but my hands and heart can’t seem to part with one single note in that pile. It’s a pile of “Thank You” notes and other cards I’ve received. Why do I keep “Thank You” notes and other cards that have come my way?

That is a great question and one I ponder every time I choose to keep them.

Why I Keep Thank You Notes!

1 – First and foremost, it reminds me of people I love.

God has put me in the path of so many amazing people that seeing their handwriting or reading a note that came from them lifts my heart and reminds me of the gift of friendship.

For someone who has been hurt or lost a good friendship, it’s nice to remind the heart what a blessed gift it is and to not give up on being a friend just because I’ve gotten hurt before.

2 – It gives me the opportunity to once again lift those people up in prayer.

Yes, I know I can pray for them anytime, any place, any where, but sometimes life happens. And a gentle reminder will rekindle my prayers for them.

3 – I’m encouraged to write more notes to others.

Writing notes is almost a dying art. We send text messages and instant messages all the time, but how often do we sit down and write a note?

Several years ago, I actually purchased a book to help me write notes better. That book has helped me to venture into the world of blank notes where I actually have to come up with the words. It encouraged me to write sincerely. And so I make more of an effort now to reach out in my own handwriting more often.

4 – Although this is last, it is definitely not least.

It’s probably the most important reason why I keep “Thank You” notes.

There are days that Satan attacks me hard and makes me feel alone. He makes me think I’m a total failure or reminds me of how selfish I can be. He will lead me to a dark place if I let him.

When I realize what is happening, I speak truth to his lies. I remind him my past is not my present and that my heart is to serve God and others and not myself.

Interestingly enough, those “Thank you” cards come in handy on those days. They remind me of all the times I listened to God calling me to serve someone else. They remind me of the power of loving people in simple ways. They call me to pray and ask who needs serving now.

In essence, those “Thank You” notes, lead me back to God and are an encouraging blessing to my heart.

So for all those who have ever written me a note of any kind, know it is in my pile and it still encourages me today.

Who might you encourage with a simple note today?

 

 

 

Be Intentional

Be Intentional

Pam J

Pam J

Hi! I grew up on a farm in Kansas but moved to Oklahoma when I got married and have been a city girl ever since. I’ve been married for 36 years to a generous, loving, hardworking Christian man (who is currently an elder in our congregation), and we have been blessed with 2 children, a son and daughter. Both are married, and our son has 2 little girls (so much fun being a grandmother!). I enjoy running, hiking, reading, playing the piano, and singing. I’m passionate about my family, personal spiritual growth, teaching God’s word, mentoring, and serving others.
Pam J

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Studying God’s word and praying to Him are priorities for me now, but that wasn’t always the case. When I first became a Christian, I struggled with how to study and what to study. Then when we started having children, with a different schedule every day, it got more difficult. I decided the only choice I had was to get up early for my quiet time, but, invariably, that would be the day one of the kids would get up earlier than usual.

Encouragement to Be Intentional

When I look back at those years of raising children, I wish I’d been more intentional in many areas, but one of them was in daily personal study and prayer. Even 10 minutes would have been better than 0 minutes, and if I’d planned ahead what I was going to study and pray about, those 10 minutes would have been very effective and valuable. If I had spent every day listening to God in His word and talking to Him in prayer, I would have been better prepared for the daily stresses as well as the storms of life. As it was, I squandered those days, just drifting along, and missed the accumulative affect of that daily time.

Isaiah 55:10-11 gives an illustration of how powerful and effective God’s word is in our lives.

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth, and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” (NASB)

We know how rain and snow effects the earth, because we see it happening before our very eyes. It doesn’t fall to the earth in vain. We see trees budding and leafing out, vines producing fruit, and grain heading and producing a crop. Isaiah reminds us of something we all know – rain and snow come and make the earth beautiful and fertile, then it returns to heaven (the marvelous water cycle that God put in place).

God’s Word Accomplishes It’s Purpose

God’s word is just as effective on people’s hearts as the rain and snow are on the earth. The evidence is seen in people whose lives are being transformed: from selfishness to serving, from “looking out for #1” to investing in others’ lives, from cursing and telling dirty jokes to speaking with kindness and gentleness, from outbursts of anger to self-control, from hardheartedness to being compassionate, from anxiety and worry to peace, from drifting aimlessly to a life full of purpose. With this transformed life, God’s word is doing its work; it returns to God having accomplished its purpose.

If you aren’t intentional about your study time, it won’t happen. You’ll be drifting along (and we never drift in a good direction). Set aside time to spend with God. It will never be wasted, He promises us that. Even if you feel like you aren’t getting much out of it, the day-to-day habit will make a difference, and one day you will wake up eager for your quiet time.

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