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Thoughts to Encourage

Another powerful lesson this week!! I pray God is stirring each of your hearts as we seek to know Him through our obedience. I wanted to share some encouragement that I received from some of the ladies within Women in the Word.......

From LouAnn, a Woman on the Wall within Women in the Word:
I have been carrying our lesson for this week around in my heart. God has so richly blessed America and us as individuals when we compare ourselves with the rest of the world. It is so good to be reminded of that fact when the world reminds us every minute that enough is not enough.
Many years ago, I attended a retreat and the title was "Enough for need, but not for greed". We were asked to list such things as how many televisions do you have, radios, sets of dishes, pairs of shoes, watches, on and on and on (you can fill in the blanks) and then were shown a film clip of different parts of the world and the poverty that exists including in the USA. It was very convicting. We are blessed to be a blessing.
May God richly bless your week as he molds us and makes us into the person He wants us to be.

From Tina, a Woman on the Wall within Women in the Word:
Malachi 3:3 "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."
This verse puzzled some women in a Bible Study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.
That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says: 'He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.' She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames it would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, 'How do you know when the silver is fully refined?'
He smiled at her and answered, 'Oh, that's easy--when I see my image in it.'
If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has his eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.

May we allow God's refining fire to transform our hearts. He is wooing us, pursuing us, choosing us. What will you do with this Jesus? Who/what is your Master? What are you running after?
Much love and prayer, Joanne

Thoughts to Encourage

As I sit at my computer, I can hear a bee buzzing outside my window. The Lord quickly brought to mind what happened this Wednesday.......while teaching Bible Study a very large wasp quietly and almost effortlessly flew directly before me and landed on my notes. Nothing too perilous or dangerous, but distracting none the less. I lifted up my Bible, squashed that bee, cast him to the floor, and continued teaching. Isn't that just like the enemy? Flies swiftly and many times quietly into our lives to cause a distraction, just enough to take our eyes off Jesus, loose our train of thought and "freak out." Next time, do what I did: hold up the Word of God, squash the evil one, and cast him aside keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus the author and perfecter of your faith!!

Again I am so blessed and encouraged by the women who share their hearts and stories with me. I want to share two with you:

From LouAnn, a Woman on the Wall within Women in the Word (that's a tongue twister!):
God has provided us with His Word that enables us to do what we might think is impossible. What a gracious, loving Father we have. Our time together is such a blessing. May God's presence be real to you in unbelievable ways as we serve Him.

From Jenny, a Servant Leader within Women in the Word:
The past week of study was very meaningful for me. God really revealed to me how discontent I am with so many roles I have right now. I don't complain out loud, but good grief has He been hearing an earful (since He hears my silent murmurings)! Leaves me at a place of total surrender today. Because in my own power, I CANNOT change my heart. I've tried. I know God's working like this in many lives and just wanted to encourage you today by letting you know what He's been doing with me.

Words cannot express how in awe I am of our Lord!! I find my mind and heart full of His goodness and constant examples of Him working in me and those around me. I frequently smile and shake my head at His amazing provisions. May we all have praise on our lips today as we accept with thanksgiving our assigned portion, walk the line that He has marked out for us and sacrifice our hearts to Him.
Living in the Shadow of His Forgiveness, Joanne

Thoughts to Encourage

As we completed Chapter 5 (Content with (my) Relationships) in the "Calm My Anxious Heart" study, I know God is calling us to overcome. We need to be women who don't just hear a "moving" message and leave with a warm feeling inside, but instead be women called to act when confronted with the truth of God's Word. I know that we are being drawn by God to our own personal times of transformation, growth and victory. I was witness to it today!!
Matthew 11:28-30 repeated over and over in my heart as I watched woman after woman come forward and sacrifice their hearts to God laying them open at the Cross. I will not forget the image of each heart sacrificially laid bare before Him. As tears stung my eyes, I knew that God was pleased, delighted and singing over each of us. I can still hear Him.........
"28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. (I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.) 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet for your souls.) 30 For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good - not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne." Amplified
May this be our prayer each day and may we accept the overwhelming promise of rest through Christ. Remember to measure all by the Cross sacrificing our hearts moment by moment to our Blessed Controller!!

In His Love, Joanne

Listen to Calm My Anxious Heart Session 5

Thoughts to Encourage

As we have completed four chapters of the Calm My Anxious Heart study, I have seen God working miracles in the hearts and lives of women!! Hearts being physically healed.....hearts being spiritually transformed.....heart attitudes being changed, all through the power of God as we obey and surrender our lives, our minds, our wills, and our hearts to Him. The power of prayer has been evident within our group as well. I see women trusting more and more in God, turning first to prayer, believing and trusting in His answers.
I receive many emails and texts from women participating in the study as they share their story and offer encouragement as they continue on their own journey. I felt led today to share a couple of them:

From Michelle, servant leader within Women in the Word:
"...you are reprogramming a very carnal, fleshly, worldly mind to think as God thinks. Impossible? No! Difficult? Yes! But God is on your side. He is the BEST "computer programmer" around." (Joyce Meyer, "Woman to Woman")
Michelle's response - I think of my walk with Christ over the past 4 years and how true this is. The more and more I walk with him, the less and less sin has control over my life. At the beginning of my walk, I remember feeling that I just couldn't do this anymore! It was easier and more fun in my sinful nature. I lived 32 years that way....I can't expect it to be perfect in 4 years. I've come a long way and can't wait to see how much more I can grow in Him who is my programmer!!

From Helen, servant leader within Women in the Word:
It is so great to share our lives and encourage each other as we walk so many of the same or similar roads. The following are some of the lyrics to "Holy Spirit Have Your Way" by Leeland that really touched me this morning: "...so I'll run to you, surrender all...lay down my life...pick up my cross...what joy to give my life to you...Holy Spirit have your way with me...more of You and less of me...more of You overflowing."
This is so my desire - more of Him and less of me, to let go and allow Him to penetrate my life and lead without taking my pen back, allowing Him to write my story. I am praying that this is not only our desire, but that we act on it, each day. Let's encourage each other to do just that. Imagine what next month will be like if all of us make this choice and act on it!!

God's Word is powerful. His Spirit is beyond comprehension. As we yield and surrender to Him, lives are being transformed. The hearts of Michelle and Helen are just two examples of that! His desire is to make all of us brand new.......forgiven, beloved, hidden in Christ, made in the image of the maker of life. That is you, that is me!! May our reply to Him be a resounding, "YES, LORD!!" as we hold loosely to the things of this world and cling tightly to the one who can sustain us!! O Lord, show us YOUR GLORY!!

"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13
Believing that YOU can do all things He calls you to do in and through His strength!!!!
Lovingly and prayerfully, Joanne