Be Inspired. Be Honest. Be You.

SMC Women's Ministry Blog

Be inspired. Be honest. Be You.

I've been doing some soul-searching...

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Welcome to this week’s SMC Women’s blog.

Right now on the SMC Women’s Facebook Bible Study page, we have been studying Thessalonians. So much wisdom in those two letters!

 

In Week 2 of our study, I had a moment. And it coincided with a book I’d been reading. Really, though, that was all God.

 

Have you ever read a book that just smacked you in the face?

Are you a single lady (or dude, if you’re here visiting)?

Are you a mom?

Grandma?

Mentor to the youth of today?

 

It hit me hard, for many reasons. Swipe Right, by Levi Lusko, deals directly and poignantly with “the life and death power of sex and romance.”  And it goes hand-in-hand with the Word we read from Paul in his first letter to the church at Thessalonica. I encourage you to pick up a copy of this book. I’ll lend you mine if you’d like.

 

I’m going to share with you the Wednesday post from Week 2 - minus the posted comments. I hope it speaks to you, too.

If you’d like to join the SMCW Online Study group, just send me your email and I’ll add you (ladies only, please). It’s closed to the public, so you have to be a member to read the posts, comment, or otherwise participate. This allows the group a safe place to be open and free to discuss, much like we would if we were gathered together in someone’s living room.

 

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READ 1 Thessalonians 4: 1-8; SOAP 1 Thessalonians 4: 3-5


“God’s will is that your lives are dedicated to him. This means that you stay away from sexual immorality and learn how to control your own body in a pure and respectable way. Don’t be controlled by your sexual urges like the Gentiles who don’t know God.” (CEB)

 

Ruh-roh. Time for the purity talk (again).

 

Whitney, with LGG, sums this up pretty efficiently (and as a single, and occasionally dating, mom of teenage and tween boys, I can totally identify, both from the single lady perspective, but also from the Mom perspective): “You see, in the flesh we want to have it all. We want the world, and Jesus too. And it just isn’t working for us. We can only squeeze so much into our deepest affections of our heart. Eventually it gets crowded in there. And while God patiently pursues, longing for an intimate relationship with us, we settle for Sunday mornings and half-hearted prayers and rely on people and passions around us to fill our deepest longings that only Jesus was meant to satisfy. We’re running to a world that’s highly accessible, but only temporarily fulfilling at best.”

 

Spot on. And I see my boys (and myself, who ought to know better) grabbing for things that will not bring soul-level fulfillment, and certainly will not bring me closer to Jesus. That video game will not love you back. Those shoes (how many can we possibly need?) will not bring you real contentment. That skin-deep infatuation will not fill the deepest space in your heart where only God meant the Holy Spirit to live. “And God wants more for me. For you. God wants our whole hearts so that we can be satisfied in Him,” Whitney writes. 

“Ever wonder why life feels so crowded, yet so empty? So tempting, yet so unfulfilling? So accessible, yet so shallow? Could it be that Jesus doesn’t really have the first place that He deserves in our lives after all? Paul had a message for the Thessalonians, and God has given the same Word to us. In short, since we know God we ought to live like it. Where the world indulges in sinful desires, we ought to live holy lives (4:7).”

 

*WHEW* I’ve got some soul-work to do. How about you? Feel free to share or comment as you feel led.

 

Let us pray.  Lord, Lord. I haven’t always been a diligent or pious follower. I have allowed my own selfish wants and the leanings of this world to overtake me and hijack my decision-making. Please forgive me. I know I need to be an example who leads as much in action as I do in word for those within my sphere of influence. Please help me to better discern when I need to refocus back to You. Please help me to live the holy life you have called me to. Thank you for your many blessings, patient grace, undeserved forgiveness of my sins. Amen.


Your Soul-Searching Sister,

Jessica

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*Photo credit to Levi Lusko and Life.Church open network

Be ready...
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Last night we had the honor of celebrating the graduating class of 2019. This class is unlike many I've loved on over the years so when plans were being made for our attempt at honoring such a remarkable group of students, I began thinking of what I wanted to share about them-collectively because I could never tell all the stories about them as individuals. After my grandmother died and we celebrated her life I began thinking of what our lives are about. I remember looking around the cemetery, seeing dashes.  Dashes between a birthdate and a praise the Lord I’m meeting Jesus for real date.  They were the only things marking a life well lived, a dash.  As I thought of each senior, I’m amazed by what is already happening in their dashes. I see students who have laid it all down to make Jesus famous, students who have used their passions of singing, drums, art, dance, basketball and soccer to show you how God gives us talents for His glory. I see students who overcome wicked obstacles with their health from abnormal pain to fighting diabetes who don’t allow those obstacles to be stumbling blocks but to be jumping blocks of faith. I see students who were challenged by family situations they had no control over, but persevered through it knowing they are part of a bigger family. I see students who every single week walk into this building to be a servant to someone younger than them-that may mean changing diapers or learning how to woah or laughing together over snapchat filters-but they are dedicated to serving. I see students who walk into children’s homes in Mexico spurred on by the hope they see in the faces of vulnerable children. I see students who stay up late during Walking Wisely to have the conversations that matter and last. I see students who have blobbed at camp and hours later bawled their hearts out for the Lord.  I see them for who they are, but more importantly for WHO they belong to. 


We recently read a book, Survival Guide for the Soul by Ken Shigematsu, who shared he wanted his children to be known for their faith and their desire to follow Christ more than for their success by human standards. He says, “what matters is that we know that God loves us and cares about who we are becoming far more than what we do or don’t do.” That is what every single adult wants for the young people in their lives. Knowing that you are living your dash for the Lord, being used by Him, seeking His will and loving like Him. As parents and leaders, it’s all we desire of you and pray for you. When Nathan and Brady were very young I asked their Godmother’s mother (does that make her a great Godmother or a GodGodmother?… either way, she’s amazing) how do we, as parents, choose between singing worship songs or learning the alphabet? As a former teacher I wanted them writing essays by three. She said, “Sweetie, sing worship songs, read Bible stories and everything else will fall into place.” She was saying, put God first and everything else will fall into place. I tell you that now, put God first and as Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”


These seniors taught me so much about myself and how to authentically share my faith and how to live it fully. Beth Guckenberger, from Back2Back Ministries introduced me to the Hebrew word Hineni(הנני), which means “Here I am!” It's here I am, Lord, to do Your will. It's also God affirming His promises of what He will do for us. It's a conversation between us and God that is full of trust and promise, love, devotion, availability. 

While our seniors are about to walk into a new way of life, I’m a bit envious of all that is available to them in this next season. Things are new and exciting for them. But the following words written for them, are for each of us. God never stops calling on us just because of the season we find ourselves. So I challenge you as I challenged them: 

Be ready---be ready to ask God what He wants of you. 

Be ready to live your dash fully. Be ready to lay everything down for His glory. 

Be ready to choose joy. Be ready to do the right thing over the popular thing. 

Be ready to be ruled by your faith, not fear. 

Be ready to fail (ouch), but be ever ready to try again. 

Be ready to lean on the people who know and love God and you.

Be ready to tell others about the amazing gift of a relationship with the Lord. 

Be ready to hear Hineni.

Be ready to say Hineni.

Be the child of God He has created you to be by following the words in this verse.



Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:12-17


Much Love,

Shea

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Rise and Shine!
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In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

 

“God uses ordinary people.”  He uses them not because they are special or because they have special abilities; he uses them because they are ordinary.  It is only His power that can make the ordinary extraordinary!  One of the ordinary things you can do that will have a God-centered impact is to take care of yourself.

 

God is the Creator of physical light as well as the Giver of spiritual light by which we can see the truth.  Light exposes that which is hidden in darkness; it shows things as they really are.  Self-care is an acknowledgment of God’s divine presence in you.  Spending time caring for your mind enables God’s light, love and wisdom to shine through your thoughts.  When you make it a point to still your mind and your body to care for your spirit, you open yourself to receive to power of God’s love and wisdom.  This wisdom leads to righteousness ~ right thinking, right action and right response in all aspects of your life.  Caring for yourself demonstrates gratitude for God’s presence in you.

 

“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” 2 Corinthians 4:6

 

There are people in the world who desperately need the presence of God’s light.  You are a perfect source through which that light can shine to them.  People may learn by example, and you are a living example.  The world needs living proof that God, His Holy Spirit and the light of His love are available to all.  The better you feel, the better you look from within.  The better you look from within,  the more inspiration you offer.  The more inspiration you offer the more believable it becomes that there are benefits and rewards for caring for the God in you.

 

This light within you, which is powered by an invisible Source, will guide, protect and supply you with everything you need, at all times, under all circumstances.  Who in the world would not benefit from a little more light?  A touch of love?  Or a surge of power?  All it takes is a little time.  A little care.  A few moments of silence and stillness each day.  Do it for yourself.  Do it for others.  If these reasons are not good enough, then do it for God.  Self-care is God care.  Care for your mind, your body and your spirit as acknowledgment of God and in service to the world.

 

Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.  This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence.  1 John 3:18-19

 

The shift you must make in order to use your power, see your light and to secure the key that will open all the doors of life, is to move your attention from the outside world to the inside of you. Do you think others can see God’s lght in you?

 

Every experience leaves an imprint on our hearts and mind and in the lives of others.  The world is waiting to see this little light of yours. 

 

In Faith,

 

Lynne Parr

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Lynne ParrComment