Monday, June 29, 2015

That's Not My Name

"Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it." (Rev. 2:17 NLT)
Have you ever been so attacked in mind and spirit over past failures that you felt you just couldn't go on? Have you ever felt the enemy of your soul was calling you names and they certainly weren't the type you hear in church? Have you ever been so ashamed, of being so lost and so numb and remembering a time in your life that you weren't even yourself? Can Jesus redeem you from the names you hear in your mind? Can He really make all things new with you? Hasn't that been the promise preached from most pulpits and isn't that why you, yourself decided to follow him?
And yet, those names...
At Zumba I heard a song called, "That's Not My Name." It's a catchy tune, I can't figure out all the words, and I think some versions have different ones that are off-color. But it stuck in my head and my mind because I felt the Lord was trying to tell me something. I felt like He was trying to say, "Daughter, that's not your name." You are not loser, abuser, unloved, friendless, forgotten, unloving, those are not your names. Who would want me to think of myself as such? Surely not my Father in heaven. Surely not any of my true friends and family; the ones who really know me. But an enemy of my destiny and soul, yeah that's the one who wants to disrupt family, destiny, love and more. You know the one whose voice is so deceptive and evil and so very, very constant unless you are combatting it with the words of love from our heavenly Father. Unless you are putting a new song into your heart and mind. And I love when the Lord does that, when he shows me a way that is greater. I love when I find a song of hope and happiness. Enjoy this song today as we remember that's not our name but maybe something from this song is. Something like forgiven, unashamed, uncondemned, holy, righteous and redeemed:
Bring your tired
And bring your shame
Bring your guilt
And bring your pain
Don't you know that's not you're name
You will always be much more to me
Every day I wrestle with the voices
That keep telling me I'm not right
But that's alright
'Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I'll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
In the world
In the world
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
Bring your doubts
And bring your fears
Bring your hurt
And bring your tears
There'll be no condemnation here
You are holy, righteous and redeemed
Every time I fall
There'll be those who will call me
A mistake
Well that's OK
'Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I'll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
In the world
In the world
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
(He's Greater, He's Greater)
There'll be days I lose the battle
Grace says that it doesn't matter.

Read more: Mercy Me - Greater Lyrics | MetroLyrics 
PS I took one of those name quizzes and this is what it said: "River; You are a free spirit who knows what you want. You are a child of the universe and you are truly one with nature. You love everything and everyone around you."

I'm really looking forward to the new name that the Lord will give me, though.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

No-Homework Women’s Bible Study: Group Hug; Great Idea for a Bible Study from Christine Tate

Christine Tate did a great job on her book, The No-Homework Women’s Bible Study: Group Hug. First I must say, I loved the title and that would hook me as I don’t think anyone likes homework, even adults. If a Bible teacher starts saying homework, I feel like I have enough work to do at home and start thinking of ways to leave. I do my own personal Bible study work as I feel led. There are optional personal challenges but they seemed doable without a lot of stress.

The book starts off with a group contact phone and email address page which I thought was very handy. Then Christine describes how to use this study book.

The format is as follows:
*15 Minute Ice Breaker
* 10 Minute Lesson
* 30 Minute Discussion Questions
* 5 Minute Closing Prayer

The ground rules are very important and “what’s shared in group, stays in group” is important. I’ve found that rule in many groups that I belong to and it is comforting to have privacy with personal matters that you may be praying for together.

There are other similar titles such as Group Hug 11, 111, Holidays, Marriage which look interesting as ending up with Week Eight Financial Help, left me feeling a lack of closure for something as personal as a Group Hug. I was looking for something more to end with, I think, maybe some words of affirmation and encouragement.

But all in all after it’s finished, I say, consider yourself hugged. Thanks Christine Tate for a job well done.
I give it five stars as an easy Bible study guide. I received a Review Copy from the publisher through BookCrash. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

You can buy it here:

Friday, June 12, 2015

Open up Poema in me, Jesus.

I often look around at all the different looking, complex looking, awesome looking people that our Lord has created. I can see something beautiful in most everyone although they may be different shades of color, families or even nationalities. I think about how God loved each one and how to Him they are His unique creation. Some, I even think "Wow!" He must be very happy to have created that one and must so enjoy when that special one loves Him back as they were created to do before the foundation of the world.
The Greek word “Poema”* simply means “that which is made… or creation, the world.”  It means “work of art,” a poem, or perhaps it even
I have read a lot of poetry and wrote a little here and there. A poem seems to be God-sent, straight from the heart, not something that we contrive ourselves. Poema is a beautiful word and it sounds like poetry in itself to me. I like it. I like various types of poems also and am so happy that our Word Weavers Volusia has started having a poetry revival in the past year.
When we come in, stressed perhaps from the burden of life, a poem can make you smile, it can make you weep. It can remind you of someone and also soothe your heart. O that the Lord would open up poema in me. O that the Lord would open up poema in you.
This is probably one of my all-time favorite sermons by Pastor Ray Dubois of Family Worship Center, Port Orange, FL.
I encourage everyone to listen to it, if you need a word to send life into your soul. He introduced me to the Greek word, Poema; it is such a neat, awesome, inspiring and beautiful word. I may even be inspired to write this week:)
The Word to confess is: I am (You are) God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works; I am salt and light to my world.


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Books, songs and a blog that I recommend.

Two books helped me this morning, first Dan Walsh's,“Perfect Peace: in Imperfect Times,” a devotional that I am rereading. Day 6 about tearing down imaginary walls focusing on 2 Corinthians 10:4-5(ESV) was awesome.
 “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.  We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,” This is a verse that I already used in prayer every morning for years concerning my family.
Day 7 called The Slippery Slope of Anxious Thoughts also spoke to me as it starts out “Negative thoughts can be quite powerful if they hit you at just the right time.” (Dan Walsh)
He talks about the pattern of our thoughts, where they may or may not come from, and the armor needed to combat them.
Sometimes, I feel that when there has been hurt, pain, lack of affirmation it may suddenly flavor a reaction we have to a small thing and then unless we have put on the armor of God, a blow-up may occur.
I also love this from Mary DeMuth’s book, “Not Marked,” her take on something she calls, The Next.
An Epic to Anticipate
Pastor Mark Buchanan sat with a woman like me who had a similar story. After he heard it, he threw a desperate prayer heavenward, not knowing what to say. “And then God slipped me an insight, timely as manna dropped from the sky. He showed that her past was beyond repair, at least on my watch. If there was any good thing there was to salvage, I knew not how. But in the same instant God showed me she still had her future.  And it was vast, unbroken, pristine, radiant. Her past was a tragedy to lament. But her future was an epic to anticipate.”
That’s our story too. We cannot alter the past, but we have the power, through Jesus, to anticipate The Next.
Have you ever felt like sexual abuse is your exile? That it’s set you in a place you’d rather not be? A place not of your choosing? A mindset that haunts you? God spoke to the Israelites in their exile, encouraging those exiles to change their thinking or they would miss the great thing He planned to do. If we stay locked in the isolation of our minds, always rehashing the old, story, preferring the place of exile, we will not be able to perceive or see the cool thing God will do.
I am proof that God hews rivers in dry riverbeds, pathways through thorny thickets. He does the impossible. (Mary DeMuth from Not Marked, Pg.160)
When times are hard and the mind is a battlefield, I find that focusing on some good words from good books is a real help.

When you get right down to it the lyrics of this song is what will help you make it through the day:
Happy Sunday, pray the words, sing the words and keep singing.
Words from a friend that struck my heart this week: