Be Inspired. Be Honest. Be You.

SMC Women's Ministry

Be inspired. Be honest. Be You.

Posts tagged Love
I've been doing some soul-searching...

SW_SwipeRight_157x157.jpg

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.

 

*****************

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

headshot2.png


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

My Portion And My Inheritance

IMG_1947 Thursday February 14, 2019

Every morning I open a little book of daily scripture readings, and as I do so, I am asking God, “what do You want me to learn?”

Most days I have to dig into the words, using Bible Gateway to read the different Biblical translations, finding the words that speak into my heart.

Today, the words were crystal clear.

They were from Numbers 18:20: I am your portion and your inheritance.

 And they were echoed again in Psalms 6:5-6: YOU, O LORD, are the portion of my inheritance and my cup (my chosen portion).  YOU maintain, support, and hold my lot.

 And again in Lamentations 3:24, He once more reminds me: “The LORD is my portion and my inheritance” says my soul, “therefore I hope in Him!”  I have hope in Him and wait expectantly for Him.

I have been following a reading plan to read through the Bible and have just finished Exodus.  I have been amazed at how many times the promise made to Abraham of the promised land 400 years before, was still being repeated over again.

The Israelite children had forgotten to remember the promise and covenant that had sustained them for 400 years in captivity, and once they had been set free, it never crossed their minds.

The words from Numbers 18 were being said directly to these people.  I am your portion and your inheritance, and still they would forget, and so would I.

He is my portion and my inheritance.  He is all I need.

Fifty years ago as an 18 year old high school senior, I went on a date with the boy who became my husband.

Fifty years later, we will return to that high school hang out to celebrate with our daughter and 2 grandchildren, our family whom we had no idea of having 50 years ago.

I pondered the last 50 years, and everywhere I looked I saw God’s fingerprints on our lives and our decisions and our mistakes and our victories.  He never left and He always provided. He has always been all we have needed.

Bob and I were not thinking of Bible verses and truth be known, we didn’t know this verse existed, but that night 50 years ago was the first tentative step in the journey of us.

We didn’t know His plans for us.  We didn’t know the mountain top highs and the dark valleys He would lead us through, but something was there because we took the first tentative steps to a commitment that would find fulfillment 4 years later.

This inheritance from Him was there that Valentine’s night 50 years ago.  It has always been there, sometimes in the far distance with only brief glimpses as we grew up in our faith, and sometimes it was the very life line we clung to when we saw no other way.

Hindsight is always 20/20, and what we could not see, or even fathom, is crystal clear to our aging eyes,

We now look toward our promised inheritance and cherish our portion, and three parts of that portion will celebrate the beginning of the story of us tonight.

“The Lord is my portion and my inheritance . . . therefore I have hope in Him and wait expectantly.”

I pray that part of our inheritance will be the passing of the hope, and the expectation of His return, to our children and grandchildren.

Fifty years ago two “kids” went on a double date.  Bob spent 50 cents for two sweet teas and an order of French fries. And our life together began and God was present.

God is the rock and the strength of my heart.  He is all I need. He is my portion.

Amen and amen and amen.

 

Lovingyougood…sd

sd

Legacy

IMG_2587 It’s hard to think of the word legacy this month without thinking of Beth Gurley. My dear friend left such a legacy behind when she was met in Heaven with open arms on September 11th.

I’m awful at remembering years because some memories feel like yesterday while others feel like decades have passed. I first met the amazing Beth through her daughters, Kathryn and Sara (Meredith is the oldest and was already out of their house by this time). Kathryn was interning with us at SMC and helping me learn the lay of the land since I was new on staff. I immediately noticed something different about the Gurley Girls, it was about WHOSE they are. Usually when I come across a young person who shows such remarkable faith and strength I seek out their parents. I have this ridiculous need to know them and find out what they did to make their kids awesome sauce. Thus, my crush on Beth began.

IMG_2586

When you first met Beth you noticed her smile. It wasn’t just her perfectly polished teeth, it was the fact that her smile started with her mouth and ended with a radiance from her eyes-that could only come from a deeply rooted faith and relationship with The Lord. How I wanted to be Beth Gurley from that moment on!  Her faith, her joy, her love for others, her devotion to her family, her desire to be more like Jesus, and a gazillion other things have had me saying I want to be like her when I grow up.  If I can be half the woman of God she was I will consider myself a success.

IMG_2585

As a small group leader, Beth challenged her girls to be more like Jesus, to get to know Him, to study His word and to not take themselves so seriously. Beth left a hole in our ministry when she left to spend more time doing her mission, Step Up. I have no idea how many families are changed because Beth and Jim created Step Up and NEVER waivered from their dedication to it, even when the dreaded C word entered their lives. But I do know, her unfailing determination to serve those less fortunate made a difference in our community.

Once the evil C started battering her body, Beth refused to allow it to steal her joy. Beth knew JOY was not based on her circumstances, but was a gift from God. She freely shared it with others. C would cause her great pain, but you could still look into her eyes and see the sparkle of joy and life and love.  I would call Beth to check in on her and I would end up crying the entire time.  I’m a really good friend like that.  She would remind me the worst thing that could happen to her would actually be the best thing-to wake up in the arms of Jesus.  And she’s so very right, but the human woman remaining on earth knows what we are all missing out on without her here.

IMG_2584

But legacy…her legacy of faith, hope, trust, love, joy, peace, laughter, radiance, perseverance, kindness, goodness, gentleness, patience, and self-control are things that the rest of us can aspire to because of her legacy. Beth devoured The Word and it was clear The Word resided within her, oh what a legacy.  Beth served with a gracious heart, oh what a legacy.  I can think of countless verses in the Bible that come to mind when I think of her and her legacy:

Proverbs 31:10-31

Galatians 5:22-23

Isaiah 40:31

Revelation 21:4

And so many more verses because her legacy is of God.

Shea

daddy 2012