Monday, August 15, 2011

Lesson 23 - The Legacy of A Woman After God’s Own Heart

For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: – Acts 13:36

If you will recall we started this study by considering David’s usefulness to God as reported in Acts 13:22. Even with all of David’s faults, he had a heart for God. In other words, he desired to do God’s will.

David’s last will and testament is that his life had an impact. He served his own generation by the will of God…because he chose to submit his heart and service to God’s will, not his own.

This mission that we have taken on to becoming women after God’s heart isn’t always easy. Sometimes we will feel like we are taking a step forward and sometimes we will feel that we have quickly taken two steps back.

Energized and encouraged by the grace of God and propelled by your heart’s desire to love God through obedience…we can move forward.

No matter what changes our future holds, we should stay dedicated to our mission and let it be our guiding beacon.

God will sustain you and enable you to stay on target:
…to love Him first and passionately
…to be the best wife and mom and grandmother you can possibly be
…to continue to grow in the knowledge of God
…to serve Him and His people.

After we complete this study, it will be necessary to continue to practice and order our lives by the priorities we have discussed in these lessons…this priorities we learned from God’s manual for all of life…the BIBLE!

Continue to desire…continue to pray…continue to have a heart that obey each and every time a new or difficult challenge comes along.

Revisit your priorities and refresh your outlook on your spiritual life to make sure you are not failing in your priorities.

To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. – Titus 2:5

It’s never too late to begin practicing your priorities. It’s never too late to begin to follow God’s commands and to live out our assignment from God as a loving and supportive wife, mother, neighbor, friend.

We have seen that this book did not deal only with women who are married and have children. If your heart and ears are open, you’ll have countless opportunities as you sense or hear the distress of other friends, co-workers, even strangers, who are married women and moms with problems.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

22 - Following After God's Heart

My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me; – Psalm 63:8

When you and I take seriously our assignments from God, He blesses our obedience, and the resulting growth is astounding.

As we come to the end of this study committed to following hard and close after God (Psalm 63:8) and doing His will (Acts 13:22), let’s consider what we can do to nurture, prune, and train our hearts so that we can enjoy the lovely fruit God intends His people to know when they honor Him.

What can we do to place ourselves before God so that we can know His beauty and serenity in our hearts and under our roofs?

Plan Your Day

The first challenge we face is gaining control of our day. To do this we must begin the night before.

Before you turn the lights off to enter dream land, sit there relaxing and planning your day in chronological order.

Pray to God and ask Him to guide and bless the next day.

You’ll find that these few minutes can reduce the number of surprises in the morning.

In the morning, welcome the day with words of praise (Psalm 118:24). Begin by praying!

Pray Over Your Plans and Priorities

What should we pray about? How do we create a plan for practicing God’s priorities?

God – Write down what God has led you in prayer to do today to live out the fact that He is the Ultimate Priority in your life.

Husband – Ask God what you can do today to let your husband know he is the most important human priority. (If you aren’t married…move on down the list.)

Children – Ask God what you can do to let your children know they are more important than all the other people in your life, to show them how special each one of them are to you, to show your love. Jot down some ideas and answers.

Home – Praying about homemaking lifts it out of the physical realm and transports it into the spiritual. Ask God what you can do today regarding your home. What can you do to make your home a little bit of heaven?

     Be faithful in daily cleaning tasks.

     Finish fully is a character quality and discipline that we can all work on.

Self – lay your life before God. Ask him what you can do today to grow spiritually.

Ministry – Ask God what you can do to serve and minister to His people.

Other Activities – these are the other facets of your life. We must follow all the rules and guidelines as set forth by God in the Bible so that our lives will contain all the elements necessary for beauty.

Schedule Your Plans and Priorities

Now write down when you are scheduling these items for certain times during the day.

Once you have your list, you can carry it with you all day, put it on the refrigerator door, or lay it on the kitchen counter.

If you follow these steps of planning, praying, and scheduling, you soon discover how comforting it is to get up from your time of prayer with a clear plan for your day.

Now that you have made this commitment and have done this seeking, determine to stick to your plan – God’s plan.

Practice Your Priorities

Each day presents many opportunities and challenges to practice our priorities. One way to simplify your moment-by-moment decision-making might be to assign your priorities numbers:

#1 – God
#2 – Husband
#3 – Children
#4 – Home
#5 – Spiritual Growth
#6 – Ministry Activities
#7 – Other activities

Making choices to live your priorities enables God to make your life a work of beauty.

Our goal is to be discreet (Titus 2:5) – meaning women who are thinking things through and showing good judgment.

A woman of discretion thinks through her choices and the messages they deliver to her husband, children, and neighbors.

She thinks a situation through and considers all possible consequences, both good and bad.

Acquire God’s Perspective on Your Day

Treat each day as if it and it alone is your golden day. Treating each day as if it and it alone is our golden day is the how of practicing priorities, and it’s also the why, the motivation and the perspective we need, for practicing them.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Every day is God’s gift of fresh, unspoiled opportunity to live according to His priorities.

Focus on having one good day, one quality day – Today.

“Every day is a little life, and our whole life is but a single day repeated.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

In His power and by His grace, we keep following after God’s heart no matter what.

Lamentations 3:22-23

Every morning remember that your goal is simple. You want to have just one good day of living your priorities.

Psalm 107:9

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Lesson 21 - A Heart That Seeks First Things First

A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; – Psalm 63:1

Let’s reflect back to our illustration of the Seven Sacred Pools from last week’s lesson. Remember how they illustrate the beauty of God’s plan for our life as women after His heart.

Our vision of God and of His plan for us moves our hearts – His design is so pure, so right, so uncluttered, and it makes sense!

Now that we have seen the beauty of the vision, we have to go forward and DO God’s will.

How do we get started? Where do we begin?

The answer is PRAY!

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

He always enables us to do His will. God’s grace is always sufficient to the task.

In fact, He has already given you everything you need to live your life in full godliness.

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: - 2 Peter 1:3

You can do all things through the strength of Jesus.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. – Philippians 4:13

A Word About Priorities

We need a plan if we are to live by God’s priorities and obey His call. Our lives are complex and demanding. God’s order for priorities makes the day-to-day and moment-by-moment decisions easier.

Let’s reflect on our grand duties and works:

 Loving God and following after Him with a whole heart.
 Loving, helping, and serving our husband.
 Loving and teaching our children.
 Loving and caring for our home in order to provide a quality life for our family.
 Developing yourself so that you have something to give to others.
 Loving and serving God’s people.

We are called to wear many hats but we can only wear one at a time and knowing what our priorities are keeps us fully focused on the most important thing at hand at any given minute.

Now these are not rigid guidelines, but they are a guideline to help you gain greater control over your life.

These priorities will give you knowledge, skills, and motivation as you follow after God.

Don’t forget the principle of flexibility. Jesus stopped and ministered to the bleeding woman on His way to raise Jairus’ dead daughter in Luke 8:41-56, and we need to be flexible with each new event, crisis, or person to focus on the real priority for the moment.

A Word About Choices

Our choices, which reflect our priorities, will help us fulfill God’s design for our lives.

What you are today (based on the choices you are making) is what you are becoming and you are today what you have been becoming (based on the choices you have already made).

Whether you are dealing with the next 5 minutes, the next hour, tomorrow, or forever, the choices you make will make all the difference in the world!

A Word About Others

We haven’t talked about parents, brothers, sisters, or extended family, have we?

We haven’t really discussed jobs or careers, friends, neighbors, hobbies, pastimes, or our social lives.

All these elements need to be addressed and managed as we live a life that pleases God.

Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; - 1 Timothy 6:17

God will reveal your priorities when you pray, search the Scriptures, and seek wise counsel.

Our life situation may change, but God’s Word never changes.

The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations. – Psalm 33:11

God will reveal the order you need to prioritize the remaining areas of your life when you pray, search the Scriptures, and seek wise counsel.

A Word About Waiting

As a general principle for practicing your priorities, know that it is safer to wait and do nothing than to rush in and do the wrong thing.

Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth. – Proverbs 19:2

Think of some times in your life where the situation was “demanding” immediate action, but you waited and prayed about it.

Consider this: very few things in life call for an instantaneous decision on your part…Keep your cool…make delay your first strategy for avoiding chaos and crisis. Most things seem more important in the present than they actually are. Wisdom waits. Will you?

It is easy for priorities to get “out of whack” and making the choices to get back on track can sure be tough.

Is God speaking to you right now about how you are living your life?

Is time with Him the first thing you seek each new day?

Without a regular time with God, your life will be a dry and barren wilderness and everything and everyone in your life will suffer, including yourself.

Are you neglecting any of your priority people?

Is your home blossoming into a haven of rest, refreshment, beauty, and order?

Are you using the first fruits of your free time to be filled spiritually so you can serve God and His people?

When you are with other people, are they refreshed by you, receiving out of the overflowing refreshment you find in the Lord?

Are you seeking first things first every day?