New Favorite Song: “Beautiful Things” by Gungor

I love how God speaks through others. {Thank you Genevieve!} As a result of my {Bare} post a couple of weeks ago, I was hipped to this great song by Gungor! It’s my new favorite. I can’t stop listening to it. Oh the words… they’re just so beautiful, blessed, and encouraging.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 ESV

What a blessing it is to our Lord who makes all things new!

with peace and grace,

Hope

Carmel Sea

{Rooted} “Greater” Study — Week 3: Dragging Behind

Carmel SeaHello Rooted Ladies,

Can you believe we have entered Week 3 of “Greater” by Steven Furtick? I love how this book just moves along almost effortlessly and the short chapters makes it easy to feel (and get) caught up. {It’s still not too late to join. If interested, just leave me a comment.}

This chapter has come at a good point in my life. What about yours? Aren’t you wondering how to make your life greater in God? And are you wondering if it works for regular people? Not just Steve Jobs and those called to preach?

Furtick begins by discussing the importance of routine especially in terms of having spiritual discipline. I found his words very true when he said that having a routine of spending time with God and working on your key relationships were vital (p.25).  But he warned us against developing “spiritual monotony,” which makes spending time with God feel like drudgery.

1. Have you had moments where bible studies, going to church, etc. have felt like drudgery? How has your life sunk to the level of baseline living, of merely good enough, in your relationship with God? How did it affect your relationship with God? How were you able to get the intimacy with God back?

Next, Furtick tells us that the “first step for breaking away from the inertia of good enough is igniting God’s vision by becoming more aware of God’s presence in our lives” (p. 29).

2. What evidence have you seen that God is still present and aware of what’s going on in your life despite the ways you’ve been stuck in baseline living? Do you feel the presence of God in your daily life?

4. Elisha was once just a guy plowing a field, yet at that very time God was planning to use him. What signs have you seen that God might be working behind the scenes of your life, orchestrating events to set you up for something greater?

5. Is anyone surprised by the fact that Elisha wasn’t even praying and that God was still watching over him and getting ready to “interrupt” and shatter his monotonous life? What does this tell us about God’s love?

On page 34, Furtick writes, you have to pay attention to the spiritual vibrations around you. Evaluate the “interruptions” He’s using to knock you off your rhythm. Examine the way God is aligning the truths in His word with the context of your life. Is there a message that seems to be hitting you upside the head over and over again? That’s one way you can know God is trying to get through to you. {WOW!}

6. Lately has God been calling you to something greater? If so, what is that call, and how has it come to you? {If you haven’t heard God call you lately, give an example of a time when you heard Him call you in the past.}

7. Furtick says, “You don’t have to get all wrapped up in figuring out how God’s calling will come to you. Just be ready to respond in faith when it does.” Is it hard not to get wrapped in trying to figure out God’s calling for your life? What lessons have you learned about being ready to respond to God in faith?

This chapter has given us so much to pray about and meditate on. It’s helping us to examine our routines and time given to God, our attitudes towards spending time with God, and pointing us back to recognize God’s presence in every moment of our lives. And Furtick is reminding us to pay attention to the Holy Spirit moving in our lives (a.k.a. “spiritual vibrations” and messages). It’s coming back to our relationship with God – shown through time, love, listening, faith and obedience.

I’m looking forward to hearing how you see God’s presence in your life and any “interruptions” you’ve had now or in the past for God’s calling for you. And I can’t wait to hear your thoughts, prayers, questions, and reflections on this chapter.

The memory verse for this week: Psalm 139: 7-10.

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. Psalm 139: 7-10 (ESV)

Wishing you a week of blessed interruptions and deep intimacy in Christ,

Hope (& Karina)

Marina Del Rey

Turning Disappointment into Thankfulness

Marina Del Rey

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  – Hebrews 12:1-2 (NASB)

Life has a way of disappointing. Yes, being downright disappointing at times. No matter how hard I work and try, I can becomed saddened by the state of things. I’m rarely melancholy but when I am, it can be a little hard to shake. So, today I am going straight to God for his comfort, understanding, and wisdom.

And because God knew that I was feeling down, in our prayer time He directed me to read my Jesus Calling devotional. {I absolutely love this book. I even have the bible.}

For February 23, it says

Be on guard against the pit of self-pity. When you are weary or unwell, this demonic trap is the greatest danger you face. Don’t even go near the edge of the pit. Its edges crumble easily, and before you know it, you are way down. It is ever so much harder to get out of the pit than to keep a safe distance from it. That is why I tell you to be on guard.

There are several ways to protect yourself from self-pity. When you are occupied with praising and thanking Me, it is impossible to feel sorry for yourself. Also, the closer you live to Me, the more distance there is between you and the pit. Live in the Light of My Presence by fixing your eyes on Me. Then you will be able to run with endurance the race that is set before you, without stumbling or falling.

Thank you God. I need to turn my thoughts to gratitude and thankfulness rather than focusing on things that I don’t have or don’t see in my life. I need to praise You for all that you have given me — all of my many blessings. I don’t fully understand some of the things in my life Lord, but I know that you will use everything for my good. 

And I remembered Romans 8:28

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to Hispurpose. (NASB)

And because I knew it was God speaking to me, I decided to read The Message‘s version and found these words.

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. Romans 8:26-28 (MSG)

Wow! God always finds a way to comfort me, bless me, and speak to {exactly} where I am. And I am so thankful.

wishing you a day of gratitude and thankfulness in the Lord,

Hope

{Rooted} “Greater” Study – Week 2: Lesser Loser Life

Hello Rooted Ladies!

Welcome to our second week of reading and discussing “Greater” by Steven Furtick. Week 1 flew by and it’s already shifting my thinking about God and the purpose of my life. {And it is still not too late to join – just leave me a note in my comments section!}

This week, I have a guest post by my co-leader, Karina Allen!

This chapter just stepped all over my toes! I am sure that it did the same thing in each of your lives as well. How accurate is the mindset of a ‘Lesser Loser Life’?!  How much do we live in that place of not living up to the greater that He has called us to? When life happens, whether it be something tragic or just the mundane, it is so easy for us to slip into mediocrity. Within the past few years, the Lord has been stirring up a desire in me to not settle for anything less than what He has planned for me.

One of my Pastors always says, “You can pray BIG prayers because God is a BIG God.” I love that! That is the very heartbeat of this book.  The call of “Greater” is about how big God is and not how big we think we are or what big things we think we can accomplish.

I had the honor of connecting with Angie Smith this past weekend. She spoke of not feeling adequate to speak on fear when she is still so consumed with it. I told her that God wasn’t looking for perfect people to use. He uses those that are flawed and have struggles. Those are the lives that He chooses to pour His love and glory out of. We will never be good enough but thank God that that only makes us the perfect vessel for His purposes. He is good enough and that is all that matters. I pray that we will learn to silence the voice of the enemy’s condemning accusations so that God can be ‘greater’ in us and through us.

“In spite of all the parts of us that are anything but good, God is holding the door open to a life that s greater.” -S.Furtick

1. Describe the ways that things like fear, self-doubt, and self-criticism make you question whether or not you are a candidate for a greater life.

2. If you are troubled by condemning thoughts in your head, where do you think they come from? The devil? Self-image? Other people’s words?

3. Describe a time when your lesser loser life kept you from doing something you believed God was calling you to do.

4. Who is someone that you think is a good example of getting past their lesser loser life to take hold of God’s greater things? What can you learn from them?

“God doesn’t do greater things exclusively through great people. He does them through anyone who is willing to trust Him in greater ways.” -S.Furtick

Love in Christ,

Karina (& Hope)

{She Reads Truth} A Request for A Forgiving Heart Prayer

So today I need help with forgiveness Lord.

Although I’ve gotten better with forgiving others, due to the Lord working on me, I’m struggling to forgive others. A certain person has made me so angry and frustrated with their behavior over the weekend. And I’m honestly not trying to “be right.” I just resented the way I was spoken to and treated. It really hurt me. Its challenging to work so hard on a relationship and do what the other person asks, only to have those behaviors become not good enough too. So, I’m feeling very angry and frustrated. And I am having a difficult time moving through it. I’m still processing all that happened.

But I know I need to forgive. I know that I can be stubborn at times. I am usually very slow to anger but also slow to forgive. I don’t have the words in my vocabulary to piece together an apology right now.  I feel stuck today. I’m calling on the Lord to really help me.

I was doing the She Reads Truth devotional today, which was designed to help us figure out the toxic people in our lives. And I’m still working on figuring out those. I have distanced myself from some toxic people in my life but I’m not sure {it’s incredibly doubtful} that I’ve forgiven them. I am still holding resentments.

We had to read 2 Timothy 2:14-26. And one verse stuck out to me.

“Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.” 2 Timothy 2:23-25 ESV

These words just stood out in bold on the page. I know I didn’t correct with gentleness. I was too hurt to do so. And I definitely didn’t call on God before I talked about my feelings and the situation. And I should have… I need to…Maybe if I call on God sooner, then I wouldn’t get so hurt in these heated discussions, and I would be able to forgive a lot quicker.

My prayer today is for God to work on my heart. God, please help me to forgive. Please soften my heart and comfort my soul.  Please give me the love, strength, courage, and forgiveness to release this tie on my heart and soul. Please continue to build my forgiving abilities. Thank you Lord for listening and always loving me.

wishing you a week of love and forgiveness,

Hope

Linking up with these communities!


SheReadsTruth

The Ramsay Grace Blog

{Five Minute Friday} Beloved

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34

{Today I’m joining the wonderful LisaJo of thegypsymama and a beautiful community of bloggers for the 5 minute Friday writing prompt. Today the word is BELOVED.}

Honestly, this word is hard for me because I instantly want to write about a boyfriend or my puppy. And then I heard a soft voice nudging me to write about how I am so very loved by our Lord.

I think it really hasn’t sunk in that I am loved, unconditionally by God. I am his Beloved, and God is mine. It’s like a love that far supersedes any humanly love – although you have a little glimpse of Godly love when you are loved well by others.

Yet Godly love is beautiful and perplexing. How can God love us in spite of our faults, errors, and just not being perfect like Him?

How can God love us in spite of our errors or sins? How can God love us enough to send His Son to perish for our sins?

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16

Honestly, this kind of love is so overwhelming to really fathom.

But as I continue my walk with God, I lean on that love. I need that love. And I’m truly comforted by that love when the pains and hurts are so deep that nothing else can soothe me.

I’m developing a level of forgiveness towards others that wasn’t possible if I didn’t know that I was loved and therefore forgiven {constantly forgiven} by God.

God is love, amazing love. And I’m not sure how others can truly love if they don’t know God. {Is it even possible?}

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39.

I’m just thankful that I can wake up each morning knowing that God loves me – even when I’m not sure if anyone or any other thing in this world does.

I’m God’s beloved. And that’s all I really need to know.

wishing you peace and comfort in God’s love,

Hope
Five Minute Friday

{Rooted} “Greater” Study – Week 1: Steve and Me

Hello Rooted Ladies,

I’m writing this post to you on the day of Love – Valentine’s Day!! Today must truly be God’s day. I’m super excited because we are kicking off our first set of discussion questions for “Greater: Dream Bigger. Start Smaller. Ignite God’s Vision for Your Life” by Steven Furtick. {And for those of you just finding out about our group, it’s not too late to join! Just leave me your Facebook info in the comments.}

I’m overjoyed to read this book because I’m a super planner. Extreme Type-A person who always wants to know what’s going to happen and works really hard to make things happen. And I’ve realized lately that maybe, just maybe, I’m not living the plan that God designed for me. And I know that the smallest thing that God could plan for me to do would be bigger, and much greater, than anything I could ever do on my own. That’s why I have to read this book. I want some of that God-greater wisdom, power, and relationship in my life. {Does anyone know what I’m saying?}

Greater book

So Furtick begins this book in such an awesome, honest, and relatable way. He talks about the power of Steve Jobs’ life and the introspection that it caused for him. Steve Jobs made Steve Furtick think about being greater in God.

1. Could you all relate to the impact of Steve Jobs story? Or is there someone else’s life that you’ve witnessed or read about that seems so impactful/life-changing? A life that really matters?

2. What was your immediate reaction to John 14:12?

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. he will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. John 14:12

What is Jesus asking or telling us to do? Did you honestly feel like He’s calling us to be greater with Him through His Spirit within us?

3. Discuss a time when you found yourself wishing you were accomplishing more in life that really matters. What caused your discontent?

4. As you think back over your Christian life, what has been your most grandiose (and unachievable) pipe dream about doing something great for God?

5. Steven says, “We wake up one day to find ourselves stuck in miserable mediocrity.” Is that true for your life right now? If so, describe how you are stuck in mediocrity.

6. What’s your reaction to this book’s concept of greater (as opposed to grandiose greatness and mediocre good enough)? Does greater still seem vague or unattainable? How does it affect your perspective on the future?

7. If you already have an idea of what greater thing God might have in mind for you, what is it?

8. Are you ready to open your imagination to the possibility that God has a vision for your life that is greater?

9. On pages 11-12, Furtick lists many ways in which God can make your life greater than the labels. How many can you relate to?

I love that Furtick asks us to pray the prayer about faith (p. 11) and later tells the small groups the following: As a group, decide that you’re going to be there for each other in your pursuit of greater. Begin by praying for one another, asking God to open your eyes to the greater things He has in store for each of you

The memory verse for this week: John 14:12

I’m super excited about praying this prayer of faith for God to show all of us the greater things He has in store for us. I’m looking forward to seeing how God moves in our lives as we draw closer to Him and his vision for our lives. And I can’t wait to hear your thoughts, prayers, questions, and reflections on this first chapter.

wishing you prayers full of faith, hope, and God’s vision for your lives,

Hope & Karina

P.S. If you are interested in more, check out Steven Furtick’s sermon 1.

Greater – Sermon 1