Day 4 | Grumbling + Complaining Deplete Joy | by Hunter Bingham

Grumbling and Complaining

By: Hunter Bingham

Senior year of college is the time when we are prodded to answer the question “what do you want to do with you life?” During this season of change there have been many hardships and circumstances that are beyond my control. It has been overwhelming to say the least and I definitely haven’t had the best attitude at times. But I love how in 1st Thessalonians 5:15 it says “Rejoice always.” ALWAYS, not just when things are easy and going as I’ve planned but always in any situation good or bad.

When I’ve struggled with letting the circumstances dictate my mood and words I find myself sharing a cranky and overly detailed string of complaints to my poor roommates. I feel like Paul is writing right to me when in verse 18 he says “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  During this time I’ve learned that joy stems from gratitude. For it is God’s will for me to have a thankful spirit.

I love what Tricia says about getting into a routine of complaining, cause that definitely happens to me. When I spend my time complaining I’m selfishly focused on all the causes of my discontentment rather than seeking ways to glorify God and love others; what a waste of time and energy. I find that when I’m ready to spew out a new batch of complaints I must focus on the massive blessings the Lord has bestowed upon me. I must abide in the Lord and rejoice in who He is.

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Day 3 | Teaching Video with Tricia Patterson

When we are depleted of the Spirit’s filling in our lives, we often react out of our flesh & sinful nature, rather than the Spirit’s leading.

What are some of your most common “reactive responses” when you aren’t being filled & led by the Spirit?

I’ll start: Irritability, frustration, impatience, and anxiety.
Your turn!

Today’s Spotify worship prompts:

Spirit of the Living God by Meredith Andrews

Fall Afresh by Jeremy Riddle

Holy Spirit by Bryan & Katie Torwalt

Give Me Jesus by Fernando Ortega

 

Day 3 | A Daily Filling of the Spirit | by Laura Schmeltekopf

A Daily Filling of the Spirit

By: Laura Schmeltekopf

I had heard about the Holy Spirit my entire life, but it was not until in my thirties that I understood His daily, real life power, and began dusting Him off like an old piece of furniture, and discovered the Treasure that dwelled within me.  I remember the season in my life like it was yesterday.  I was in a Bible Study with other young mother’s, and it was Pricilla Shirer’s, Discerning the Voice of God.  It was then that I realized that I had the POWER of the UNIVERSE dwelling with my very body.  It was like realizing I was Clark Kent, and didn’t have to run into a phone booth to transform into super human strength, but it was a billion times better because that SUPERNATURAL POWER dwelled in my heart all the time!  There was no on/off switch, He was prepared to be “on” all the time, but it sadly, is us, who would switch Him off, cover Him up, and tune Him out.

In John 16:7 Jesus told His disciples, “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.”  Jesus knows us, He knows our need, and from the beginning it was ordained that we, those who believe, would always be cared for.  God saw our need and knew we needed a Savior, so He invaded our planet in human form.  Fully God and fully man, Christ came because He knew we needed a physical intervention with the divine.  Our sin had written our destiny, and it was one of eternal death.  We were blind, we were deaf, we couldn’t see that we needed a once and for all sacrifice, but God did!  Jesus came, showed us what love looked like, and willingly let His precious blood spill out His life.  Then on day 3, death lost!  Our fate had been conquered and changed for all eternity.  Our lives had a new address and it was in the Kingdom of Heaven.  Our darkness was gone, but the Good Shepherd knew His sheep would need help, and light to guide us on our path.  He told His disciples prior to all this of what was to come.  He knew they would feel so many things, so he revealed the Helper that was to come.  In John 14, Jesus says that the Helper would be with them forever.  He went on to say that the Helper, the Holy Spirit would teach them.  In John 16, Jesus says the Holy Spirit will guide them, and will glorify Him.  Jesus said all those things to His disciples because He knew He wasn’t going to be with them much longer.  He knew that they were going to be afraid, and His sheep were going to need someone to help them navigate life, so He told them that the Holy Spirit, His spirit, would ALWAYS be with them, and peace could reign in their lives.

I had this tested in my life recently.  I had to speak at a women’s gathering a couple of weeks ago.  It was an actual dream come true.  The Lord had put my city, Waco on my heart about 4 years ago, and had given me a clear image of women of all ages, and from all walks of life, just worshipping Him.  This vision came to fruition, and I had to speak at the first gathering.  I just remember preparing and praying to the Holy Spirit to speak!  Just put on my heart what you want the women who were coming that night to hear.  I knew all that had unfolded was NOT because of anything I had done, but what God had put in motion.  I needed to hear from the Helper, the Teacher, the Guide, what I was to say to bring glory to the One who had brought us all together.  My hands were open, and my heart was patient, and He delivered.  He gave me the words to say, but even more, He gave me a peace in the waiting.  I had peace because I knew He would come through.  He gave me an indescribable peace that was supernatural, and NOTHING I could have mustered.

He promised that to His disciples, and to all of us, as well.  Peace and joy already abide in our very heart and soul, our action must be to tap into it daily.  Honestly, I am not always successful, but all glory to God, I am learning to listen faster.  I catch myself in worry or in panic mode, and call on His name.  At that point, I am able to look at the situation, and give it to Him, ask Him for guidance and direction, and try to rest in what He is teaching my heart.  I have gotten so desperate that I call out His name, and pray for Him to just speak to my heart all day.  I know that I am a sheep easily distracted, so my act of calling out His name is my reminder that I am not alone, and if I rest in Him, peace gets restored even though circumstances may not be great, and I can feel a deep joy that I know only comes from Jesus.  The Holy Spirit is our gift.  We must receive Him daily, and rely His power to live our lives pointing others to Jesus.

Day 2 | Teaching Video with Tricia Patterson

Anyone else struggle with trusting God? I mean TRULY TRUSTING Him with the control of your life?

What do you need to surrender to God today? What are you trying to control, rather than trusting God and letting Him take control?

Today’s Spotify worship playlist:

In God We Trust by Hillsong Worship

I Surrender by Hillsong Worship

 

Join the community of women studying together!

Day 2 | Dependence + Trust > Independence + Control | by Maddie Owen

Dependence + Trust > Independence + Control

By: Maddie Owen

Trusting in the Lord doesn’t just happen on its own and unfortunately, it has to be a daily surrender. For some, even an hourly surrender. You see, it’s easy trust Him when life is slow and easy, but when it picks up and wants to start sprinting is where I say, “Ok Lord, clearly you aren’t going to control this the way I want to, so I will do it myself.” However, when I am in the right mindset and am in control of my anxiety, I can see how ridiculous that is. But in the moment, I can’t convince myself that He is a good father and that I can trust Him. I have a tendency to try to figure out the things that the Lord hasn’t revealed to us.

Deuteronomy 29:29 says, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”

I catch myself trying to figure out the things that the Lord hasn’t revealed to me, instead of wholeheartedly pursuing the things that He has. The reason I get overwhelmed is because in that moment I am trying to be independent, I am not relying on the Lord’s goodness and I’m not trusting in Him. Sometimes I find myself trying to be independent and I end up relying on my emotions. Your daily feelings aren’t your reality, your emotions are fleeting and constantly changing. This is why the Lord calls us to dependence and trust. The Lord knows what is true and what is constant, our emotions do not fall into that category though. In my heart, I know the truth. I know that the Lord is for me, I know that he loves me, and ultimately, I know that He is going before me, but sometimes the reality of trust is hard. It isn’t easy, but I promise you it is worth it. By trusting in the Lord we can save ourselves time and energy. Just thinking about all of the things I have tried to control within even this past week, it’s overwhelming. I think, “Why do I do this to myself?”, but then the next week comes and I struggle again. Like I said, it is a daily surrender. Trust is so hard, but the Lord hasn’t let me down yet, so I don’t know why I am living a life that reflects a God that has let me down time and time again. What is your life reflecting? Can people tell that you trust in a faithful God, or does it look like you trust yourself?

I am going to leave you with this.

It’s hard to trust in the Lord when you can’t recall the truths about Him. Here are some truths that help get me through the tough days. Read them, write them down, memorize them, hide them in your heart so that when the days get tough and you want to be independent rather than dependent, you can remind yourself that the Lord is good!

  • He CHOSE you. (Ephesians 1:4)
  • He is perfect in all of His ways. (Deuteronomy 32:4)
  • He is for you. (Romans 8:28, 31)
  • You are: held, known, loved, seen, and enough.

Day 1 | Teaching Video with Tricia Patterson

Throughout this study, I discuss the importance of getting into the presence of God on a daily basis. One way I have facilitated that is through the Spotify worship playlist. Worship is one of the most sure-fire ways to get into the presence of God.

Here are today’s songs that correspond with the Day 1 Devotional:

We’ve Got This Hope by Ellie Holcomb

In Christ Alone by Passion

All My Hope by Hillsong Worship

He Will by Ellie Holcomb

 

Join the community of women studying together!

Day 1 | Realism + Hope > Optimism | by Elizabeth Oates

I’m Not Pessimistic; I’m Realistic

By: Elizabeth Oates

My parents divorced when my brother and I were six and two years old. Growing up, we were Easter and Christmas pew warmers, and that was enough for me. My hope was not in the Lord, or heaven, or of anything that held eternal significance. My hope was in a family . . . a dad. My hope was in a white-picket-fence-kind-of-life and I clung to that hope believing that someday it would all be mine and all our family problems would be solved.

Until one day it was all mine, and all our family problems did not disappear. In fact, they simply multiplied. After a rocky second marriage, my mom divorced again. I was a freshman in high school and the events leading up to that divorce were traumatic to say the least. While trying to rebuild our lives, we attended the local Baptist church in our small town.

I remember thinking that the youth group music was lame and the kids were cheezy. They didn’t know anything about real life—not like I did. If their eyes were opened for just one minute, if they saw life the way I saw it, I thought, they wouldn’t be jumping up and down, jamming out to Michael W. Smith, I thought to myself.

The girl who was voted Class Clown in the 5th grade, the girl who was fearless and full of life had become calloused and cynical. Too much raw pain had seeped into my world at such a tender age. Fortunately, Jesus saw the fragile girl through the tough exterior. No matter how fast I ran away from him, he chased me even faster. I eventually surrendered and gave my life to him. For the first time in my life I understood hope.

Circumstances in my family and my life did not improve. They continued to be just as tumultuous, yet I had found hope and faith in Jesus, and I knew that one day God would deliver me from all of it.

Today I am married with five children. My husband is compassionate, patient, and his optimism is nauseating at times. Conversely, he says I am overly pessimistic. Whatev. I prefer the term “realistic.” I don’t sugar coat the truth and I refuse to tell my children they are good at something when they aren’t (our entire crew is tone deaf so they might as well know about it before they stand in line for sixteen hours to audition for The Voice).

I agree with my husband that I would be pessimistic—but Jesus. He took a lonely, bitter, young girl and transformed her into a strong woman dependent on Him. For when I am weak, then I am strong. I have no hope in this world, because I know the torment and trials this world can deliver. But I have hope that one day Jesus will set it all right. And I’m pretty realistic about that.


Elizabeth is a writer and minister who is especially passionate about marriag, foster care, and faith. Find out more about Elizabeth here!

Join the community of women studying together!

You Are God’s Kind of Material

On Saturday we went to a gorgeous art museum, full of beautiful pieces created centuries ago. Some ornate, some simple, some abstract, some unexpected.
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But, you know what struck me the most? We walked into a room that used unlikely materials to create the pieces of art: nails, yarn, recycled materials, scrap metal. Those pieces caught my attention more than any other pieces in the entire museum, and I started thinking…isn’t that how God, the ultimate Artist works? He takes the unlikely, the ordinary, the unexpected people, and He creates such beautiful purpose out of their lives.
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Do you feel like the unlikely one? The one who views themselves like the scrap metal? The leftover? Have you ever thought: “What could God do with me? Being used by God is reserved for the others, but not for me.” Well, guess what? YOU are God’s kind of material. He takes the broken, unlikely, thrown to the side, trashed, forgotten AND HE BRINGS BEAUTY and PURPOSE and MORE THAN WE COULD HAVE EVER IMAGINED.
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You are not forgotten by the Creator. The Artist. The One who can bring beauty from the ashes. Hand your life over to Him and watch and see the beauty He alone can bring from our mess! 🙌🏼

A Letter to the Conservative, White Christian

Dear Christian…more specifically:

Dear Conservative, White, American Christian:

Can I admit something? I am disturbed.

Let me preface this by telling you who I am:

I’m a sold-out follower of Christ. I’m as conservative as they come. I’m as white as they come. I’m as privileged as they come. I even voted for Trump, although there were many things I opposed about him. I am extremely patriotic and feel very emotional every time I place my hand on my heart and sing the national anthem. So, yes, I am in the same category as you, “right-wing,” white, conservative, evangelical Christian.

I am disturbed about the way America is going, but it’s not because of the left. It’s not because of the liberal, but it’s because of us. Have we forgotten our purpose? Have we forgotten what matters most? As I scroll through Facebook, I’m afraid we have. I’m saddened. I’m appalled. We’re getting so side-tracked.

We are called to be representatives of Christ. We are called to be peacemakers. We are called to be bold. We are called to be salt and light. But, right now, I think we’re just being “salty,” divisive exasperaters.

I’m also disturbed because I am afraid that we are equating our hope in Christ with our hope in America. Can I be blunt? Our hope is not in America. True freedom is not ours because we are American. It is ours because of Christ. Now, don’t hear me wrong. I am incredibly grateful for those who have given their lives for this freedom. Yes, I am grateful beyond measure to God that I have been born in America, but I’m afraid we have become idolaters of this great country. Have we placed our hope in America rather than Jesus Christ?

Why are we, the right-wing, conservative Christians the ones who are most exasperated by this NFL controversy? Don’t we see that this is such a scheme of the Enemy, and we’re feeding right into it? We are the ones fueling the fire of division. Can we not step back in compassion and empathy and think about the reason these men are kneeling?

We are called in Scripture to seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly, and I’m just not so sure we’re living out that command. Yes, we seek justice for the things that matter to us, but what about racial injustice? Although that might not be something that has affected you personally, it deeply affects our brothers and sisters of other races.

And, can I just say…shouldn’t we as Christians, more than anyone, hope and pray that basic First Amendment rights are not openly threatened by the ones who occupy the White House? Our right to speak boldly for Christ could be quickly coming to an end if this amendment is forsaken.

I’m just afraid that we have forgotten our role to be peacemakers who beckon the lost world to Christ, rather than exasperaters who deter people from hearing the Truth. Nothing else matters in this life, except for advancing the Kingdom of God by beckoning people to Christ. We are not called to advance the Kingdom of America. We are called to be reconcilers to God, and I’m afraid we’ve become dividers. May we not allow the Enemy to trip us up and get us off course.

I’m praying that we will make the main thing the main thing again. We, of all the people on the earth, should be like a breath of fresh air to the world. Yes, bold and strong. Not tolerant, but compassionate. Not weak, but humble. Not doormats, but welcomers. Not dividers, but reconcilers. Not exasperaters, but peacemakers.

Are we doing our job as ambassadors of Christ? Or are we building our lives on a kingdom that will fade? Our Kingdom is in Heaven. Our hope is in Jesus, and we are called to bring people alongside us to find Him along the way. May we never forget.

What are they saying about Fan Into Flames?

I remember when I was 14 years old, Elise Adams (@elise_arnold7) stepped into my life and asked if she could disciple me. I didn’t have a clue what it meant to be discipled! But, Elise took me under her wing, and we met with a group of girls every single Sunday night for the next 4 years of my life. Elise taught me what it meant to be a disciple of Christ — a life-long learner of the things of God. She taught me how to study Scripture in-depth, she taught me consistency, and she gave me accountability. I wouldn’t be who I am today without her, and most definitely wouldn’t be discipling other girls like I am today.
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Will you give me the PRIVILEGE of coming alongside you to disciple you? Leading these 13 girls through the Fan Into Flames program this September has been one of the greatest things I’ve ever done.
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READ THESE TESTIMONIALS FROM GIRLS WHO HAVE JUST GONE THROUGH THE PROGRAM! They brought me to tears! 😭😭 (And I’m not a crier!)
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Will you join the October group? It’s for girls 14-24!
 
https://triciapatterson.com/blog/shop/discipleship-program/fan-into-flames-a-4-week-spiritual-discipleship-program/