Biblical Womanhood · Wife's Role · Women's roles

A Heart To Serve

Lesson 5 in our review of A Woman After God’s Own Heart, by Elizabeth George.

I remember as a young girl, looking at myself in the mirror and thinking, “Why am I here? What is my purpose?”  I think most of us have pondered that question at some time or other.  But as a follower of Christ, it’s narrowed that question to, “What does God want from me as a Christian?”  God doesn’t snatch us up out of this world and take us to heaven (as wonderful as that would be!) the moment we get saved.  Why not?  What purpose does He have for leaving us here?

Continue reading “A Heart To Serve”
Biblical Womanhood · obedience

A Heart to Obey

We continue our series of the review of A Woman After God’s Own Heart.

What is the one action that proves our love for God?

If you’ve ever wondered why God made commands for us to obey, or why He put the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the middle of the Garden, and then told Adam and Eve not to eat it, think about this truth –

God did not make us to be robots; He made us people with a heart to choose to love Him.

Ever since the first man and woman were created, God has been after our hearts.  He wants us to love Him.  John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

Our obedience is the proof of our love.  

But it is a struggle, isn’t it?  Paul said, For I do not do the good I want to do. Instead, I keep on doing the evil I do not want to do. Romans 7:19

Even David, the one called, A man after God’s own heart, struggled with doing the evil that he didn’t want to do, yet chose to do. It’s comforting to us who struggle to know that David was still a man after God’s own heart.  We can be women who follow God, who love and obey God, even though we still disobey.

When David is living and serving God, there is another man who is on the throne – it’s King Saul.  Saul Said he loved God, but his actions – his disobedience proved otherwise. 

Let’s look again into E. George’s book….A Woman After God’s Own Heart to learn how we can obey.

How can we grow so that we are consistently obedient? I want us to remember that God is always after our heart. He doesn’t want our lip service, but he wants our heart.  

Proverbs 4 reminds us to ponder the path of our feet and look straight ahead, not side to side. Rather than turning to the right or to the left, we are to follow God’s ways. Living a life of obedience will happen when we diligently guard our heart. 

  1. Concentrate on doing what is right. If we really love God, we are going to look into his Word and we are going to pray and be ready to do everything he says to do. This is a teachable heart that will focus on doing what is right.
    What about those times when you’re not sure what the right thing is? Elizabeth says first of all don’t do anything until you know what is right. Next ask God for guidance. Pray about it. Think through the Scriptures and ask advice from a godly, seasoned Christian. If you’re still unsure, do nothing until you know what the right thing is.
  2. Cease doing what is wrong. The moment that you realize that you have done something to disobey the Lord, stop it immediately! When you are in the middle of an activity that you know is wrong, God will give you strength to get out of the temptation. Saul was not supposed to offer the sacrifice, but was told to said for Samuel to come and do that.  He got impatient.  If at any moment while he was preparing the sacrifice, he would have realized he was sinning, and stopped, he could have saved himself a lot of heartache.   
  3. Confess any wrong. Keep short accounts of your sin. Name the sin. Elizabeth says that we need to train our heart to be responsive to God’s convicting Spirit. Proverbs 28:13 He who covers his sin will not Prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes will have mercy.
    I remember recently being convicted over an unloving statement that I said to someone about another person. I could not get any rest until I made it right with the Lord. Immediately, I had peace, knowing that He had forgiven me.  
  4. Clear things with others after you’ve made it right with God, if you’ve hurt another person clear it up with them too. As I just said a moment ago, I confessed to God my sin of saying something unloving, then had to reach out to the person that I had said it to and make it right with them. That also helps when you’re tempted to sin the next time!!
  5. Continue on as soon as possible – . Satan would love for us to feel so discouraged in our disobedience that we quit following God. He wants us to say, “Why even bother?” But we know that we are forgiven and our sins are removed from us as far as the East is from the West. Think the truth. Philippians 3:13 and 14 remind us that we are to forget those things which are behind and reach forward under the things that are before us and press toward the goal for the prize of the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus.

 Do we have a desire to have a heart that follows after God and obedience? Psalm 63:8 says, My soul follows hard after thee; Thy right hand upholds me. We need to acknowledge any disobedience in our life, confess the sin, and choose to forsake it. Then we can realize that we are on the path of being a woman after God’s heart.

All along, let us remember we are not asked to understand, but simply to obey. ~Amy Carmichael

We are not robots, we are people – women who must choose obedience. It proves our love for our Savior.

Other lessons from this book are here, here and here.

Don’t forget to enter the give away. Details here.
Biblical Womanhood · fellowship with God · God's Will · Prayer

A Heart for Prayer

This is a continuation of the review of the book, A Woman After God’s Own Heart, but Elizabeth George

Whenever spring arrives, you will find me taking bags full of items that are being sent out to donate.  They are things that are no longer of use to me.  They are weighing me down.  The truth is, however, that those bags typically sit in my garage for a long time before they finally get hauled away.  I know they need to go. I know it will feel good to get rid of them.  I know it’s the best thing, but I keep putting it off, until finally I’ve had enough and the task finally gets done! It feels so good to unclutter my home! I always wonder why I didn’t do it sooner!

While that is so freeing to me, the act of taking my load of sin, burdens and requests to the Lord is even better! We often carry that load around with us and the burden of it all is weighty and deadening to our spiritual growth.

Most Christians delay praying.  We put it off and resist it! We make excuses as to why we don’t pray.  Satan doesn’t want us to have that fellowship with the Lord, and we listen to his lies until we finally are at a breaking point and we pour out our heart to God.  The result is better than we could ever imagine. 

In her book, A Woman After God’s Own Heart, Elizabeth George shares seven blessings of having a fervent prayer life.  When I read these, I wondered why we put it off, why we don’t pray more.  Look at to these incredible blessings ~

  1. A deeper relationship with God. How can we have a relationship with the God who saved us if we don’t communicate with Him?  Just as you and I long for fellowship with our husband or friends, God longs to enjoy fellowship and communion with Him.  That happens when we pray. It’s not out of obligation, but because of a relationship. I Peter 5:7
    As a camel kneels before his master to have him remove his burden, so kneel and let the Master take your  burden.
  2. Greater purity. As we talk with God, the Spirit of God will reveal sin in our lives.  That leads us to confessing that sin and getting it right with Him.  Elizabeth shared about being convicted of gossip. She began to make it a real matter of prayer that God would help her defeat this sin.  “I faced my sin regularly in prayer. Sin led to confession, which let to purging.”  
  3. Confidence in Making decisions. – As we face decisions that need to be made, giving them to the Lord and making it a true matter of prayer will give us wisdom about what to do.  God will neve lead us to do something that is contrary to His word.  So as we pray about the decision, He will direct us in His truth.  We need to pray about everything.  Elizabeth lives by this mantra ~
    No decision without prayer.
    NO DECISION?  None.  “Should I go here?” 
    Should I say yes to this invitation?” 
    As we are directed by the Lord in prayer, we can have confidence regarding those choices. When God has led us to say Yes to giving the devotion at a baby shower, we won’t dread it or be afraid, because we remember that He led us to make that decision, and He will fulfill all the good pleasure of His will!
  4. Improved Relationships. Making specific prayer for those people closest to us will strengthen our relationships with them.  How does this happen?
    1. You can’t think about yourself and others at the same time.  
    2. You can’t hate the person you are praying for.  Jesus instructed us to pray for our enemies.  Matt 5:44 and God changes our hearts as we do so.
    3. You cannot neglect the person you are praying for. As we pray, we find ourselves involved in those people’s lives.
  5. Contentment. As we give to the Lord our wants, realizing that He will keep His promises to provide our needs, we will learn that “If He didn’t meet it, we didn’t need it. Paul said he was initiated into the secret place of contentment.  This secret place is the place of prayer.  If you’re praying about something and want it so badly, take it to your time of prayer. 
  6. God-confidence. As you face your own inadequacies, prayer will give you confidence in what He can do through you.  You will learn to trust Him. 
  7. The ministry of prayer. No matter if you have physical strength to go and do other ministries, you can always have a ministry of prayer. You don’t need to go anywhere, you don’t need anything except a heart to bring burdens to our God Who promises to hear us when we call out to Him. So pray for others! Pray about your own burdens! You be the one who reaches out to pray with a friend over the phone, or in your home. Be the intercessor for others because of your heart to pray.

Are you a praying woman? Or are you carrying around the load and weight of your burdens rather than taking them to the Lord? You’ll be so free if you’ll spend time sharing your heart with God. You’ll also wonder why you didn’t do this sooner. God wants fellowship with you. Call out to Him. Draw near. He will draw near to you.

Do you have a prayer journal? I have offered a pdf for my favorite prayer journal in past. I’m still happy to send it for free to anyone who emails me here at Refreshherblog@gmail.com.

You can find the previous chapter of the review of A woman After God’s Own Heart here.

Bible study · Biblical Womanhood · spiritual growth

Strong Roots To Grow By

The fires that burned their way through the Great Smoky Mountains several years ago destroyed acre after acre of forestry, leaving only charred stumps where mighty oaks and evergreens had stood.  In an effort to restore the mountains to their beauty, forest rangers have placed small trees and plantings with hopes of restoring the color, blooms and life that had once been flourishing.

In our spiritual life, we must also have a time of planting.  We need times of digging our roots deep down so that we will not faint when the heat of life, trials and hardships come.  

In her book, A Woman After God’s Own Heart, Elizabeth George tells about a time of planting Fig trees. Thirteen were planted, and twelve did well, but one withered up and died. When her husband went out with a shovel to dig up the dead plant, he found that He didn’t need the shovel. The plant died because it had no roots, so it came easily out of the ground. That plant portrays an important spiritual truth – for us to have a heart of faith, we must be devoted to nurturing a root system deep in God’s Word! What’s going on in the root system becomes known to everyone! If the plant is flourishing, it’s because the roots are deep and strong. If the root dies, it’s because the roots are weak. So it is for us!

If you and I are going to be women devoted to God, we must have a root system anchored deep in Christ. 

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Our life must be hidden in Christ.

What will that look like?

  1. Roots are tucked away (unseen).  We must spend time unseen by others, and seen only by God.  Elizabeth explained that an iceberg is hidden under that water where 6/7 of the ice is hidden from view.  Even though a sailor can only see 1/7, the iceberg was something to be in awe of because of the part that was hidden away!  When you and I are in the public eye, they should be witnessing strength that comes  out of our time that is out of sight from others – the time we spend alone with God.

“The greater proportion of your day and life spent hidden in quiet, in reflection, in prayer, in scheduling, in preparation, the greater will be the effectiveness, the impact, the power, of the part of our life that shows.” Ray and Anne Ortland

The impact of your ministry to people will be in direct proportion to the time you spend away from people with God.  That will only happen by making wise choices. “We must say no not only to things which are wrong and sinful, but to things pleasant, profitable and good which would hinder and clog our grand duties and our chief work.” 

How do we know what to say no to?  It comes from that time in prayer as we give ourselves to God and ask Him to direct our paths – Prov 3:6

Henry Drommond said, “Talent develops itself in solitude.” Let’s think about a talent like piano playing.  When my girls were students, they didn’t learn by going around to all the recitals and hammering out their pieces.  It came from hours of practice alone on the piano bench.  If we’re going to learn the gift of prayer, of Bible study, memorization, or meditating on Scripture, it will only happen in solitude.  Those roots are growing while no one else sees. 

  1. Roots are for taking in. Elizabeth says that when we take in God’s Word, there’s an exchange that takes place.  

Weariness is replaced by strength
Weakness is replaced by power
Burdens is replaced by freedom
Frustrations is replaced by peace
Turmoil is replaced by calm

What do you need to give to the Lord in time alone with Him so He can give you His great exchange in its place?  Your roots need to take in His Word in order to receive it.

  1. Roots are for tanking up – Roots are a reservoir – Jeremiah 17:7-8 The person who trusts in the Lord shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river.  If we are tanking up on the life-giving water of God’s Word, we will…
    1. Not be afraid of the heat.  The reservoir we have stored up from the Word of God will sustain us through the fiery trials
    2. Bear fruit faithfully. Even when our situation is rough, we won’t wither up and die because we have the reservoir of God’s Word deep in our heart that will sustain us.  Psalm 84:7, 11

At times when perhaps we can’t even reach for our Bible, the well of water of God’s Word will feed us and sustain us during those difficult days.

D. Roots are for toughness – Without a network of roots, a plant will become top-heavy because it has no support.  Without a root system of God’s Word in our spiritual life, we will fall over and need to be supported when hard things come.

Elizabeth shared about how shipbuilders select a tree located on the top of a high hill as a potential and future mast for their ships.  They cut away all of the surrounding trees from that chosen tree. They take away the trees that would shield it from the harsh forceful winds.  As time passes, the winds would blow fiercely on that tree and it grows stronger and stronger until it was finally strong enough to be the foremost mast on the ship.  When we have a strong roots system, we will gain the strength we need to stand against the trials of our life.

Yes, but how?

  1. Develop the habit of drawing near to God.  Recognize that without this time, you are powerless!
  2. Design a personal time for drawing near to God – 
    1. When?
    2. Where?
    3. What aids?
  3. Dream of being a woman after God’s Own heart 
    Write down the growth you’d like to accomplish in one year – 

    Read through the Bible,
    Read 12 books
    Memorize 12 verses – chapters
    Be mentored for 12 months
    Mentor a younger woman
    Attend a Bible study 

How old will you be in 10 years?  What do you want to be like at that age?
Write it down.  Pray about becoming that woman for God’s glory.

What kind of plant will you be in a year?  In ten years? What kind of root system will you have? It’s your decision. Make today count.