Saturday, August 23, 2014

Why We Need to Speak the Word

Today I'm entering into a subject that many of us don't know about or perhaps do not understand.  I am talking about the importance of speaking the Word of God.  By speaking the Word of God I mean saying verses out loud that pertain to my standing with the Lord, my current circumstances, and areas of struggle and sin in my life. I began implementing this discipline a few years ago, and I'm seeing/feeling/sensing more of God's power in my daily walk as a result.

The Scripture says that "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." (Romans 10:17) The Scripture also tells us that "without faith it's impossible to please God." (Hebrews 11:6) And many of us know that "death and life are in the power of the tongue". (Proverbs 18:21) Thinking on these three verses, we can break it down in this way:  We want to please God.  We must have faith to please God.  Faith isn't something I muster up; faith comes by hearing the Word. I can speak Scripture passages out loud (therefore hearing them) and I will be speaking LIFE. 

At this point I am reminded of John 10:10, "I have come that they may have LIFE and LIFE more abundantly."  (Jesus speaking).  Hmmmm....this is getting good.  I can actually speak words of LIFE (the Bible) and as a result, I will grow in faith, please God, and enjoy the abundant life that Christ died to give me.  This sounds better than good!  

So how do we go about implementing this new discipline? We begin by getting into our Bibles with pen and paper in hand.  We ask the Lord to remind us of any area of our lives that are displeasing to Him or where we aren't walking in victory.  Whatever He lays on our hearts, we begin looking up passages of Scripture pertaining to that particular subject.  We write the verses out and we begin speaking them OUT LOUD every day.  We are taking ground from the devil when we are agreeing with God's Word.  Because, perhaps, in the past, we have come into agreement with the enemy by speaking words of death and doubt.  For example, if we read in Romans 8:1 that there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus, but then walk around talking about how we feel condemned, we are speaking our feelings instead of speaking the truth of the Word of God.  We are sabotaging our own spiritual growth by our speech.   

I have a list of daily confessions.  No, not confessions as in "confessing my sins".  I'm talking about confessions as in "professions".  I confess out loud each day that I am:

- loved (1 John 4:19)

- forgiven (Colossians 1:14)

- cleansed from my past (2 Corinthians 5:17)

- filled with God's power (Ephesians 3:20)

- filled with His Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:22)

- more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37)

- renewed in my mind (1 Corinthians 2:16)

 
I also confess out loud that the Lord:

- is with me (Matthew 28:20)

- is for me (Romans 8:31)

- loves me (Romans 5:8)

- has a plan for me ~ a plan of prosperity & hope (Jeremiah 29:11)

- will never leave me; never turn His back on me (Hebrews 13:5)

- is preparing a place for me (John 14:2)

- knows every single thing about me and still chooses to love me (Psalm 139)

- cares about every detail of my life (Matthew 6:30)

- hears my prayers (1 John 5:14)

- catches my tears in His bottle (Psalm 56:8)

- hides me (Psalm 27:5)

- helps me (Hebrews 13:6)

- guides me (Psalm 16:7-8)

etc, etc, etc!

As far as Scripture verses, I speak complete verses about the particular area I'm struggling with. Let's say I have noticed that I'm getting angry often and speaking harshly to my loved ones. I will say OUT LOUD, "Man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires". (James 1:20).  "A fool gives vent to his anger; but a wise man keeps himself under control". (Proverbs 29:11) "A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly". (Proverbs 14:29)  I write the verses down and repeat them as often as necessary.  

As we speak these truths aloud, (and any other Scriptures we choose)we are affirming to our own souls who we are and what we believe.  We are hearing our own voice declaring what is true!  The enemy cannot defeat the believer who knows the truth, speaks the truth, loves the truth, and believes the truth.  I challenge you to start this discipline today and see the difference it makes!

This is spiritual warfare.  This brings spiritual victory.  This discipline will change your life, aid in healing your brokenness, and bring great joy to your soul.  I'm a living testimony!

Mae Lynn Biggs
Love God. Love People

40699_150579208286967_100000046659953_467926_4717487_nI'm Mae Lynn Biggs and I have been a follower of Jesus for the past 28 years. My heart is to help women grow in their love for Christ and knowledge of His Word.  I love to spend time with my family, read, hike, and share from my quote collection.  I would love to hear from you- leave a comment below.



Thursday, June 5, 2014

Why we Need to Memorize Scripture

"You've just won $20,000!" I'll never forget Jeff Foxworthy saying those words to us, the Georgia Grace Girls, when we were contestants on American Bible Challenge.  Our team chose The Hope Center in Woodstock, GA as the charity to donate the winnings to.  What an exciting adventure we experienced: being flown out to Los Angeles and being a part of the first season of a new Bible Trivia game show.

So how did we (my daughter, myself, and my friend) end up being chosen for the show?  Answer: Bible knowledge!  When we auditioned here in Atlanta, we were required to take a five page Bible test.  We had to list all 27 books of the New Testament in order.  We had to answer questions on camera as well.  But I believe the clincher was when the three of us quoted a verse of Scripture for every letter of the alphabet in the recorded audition.  We excitedly told the show's producers why we should be chosen as contestants.....because we know the Bible!

Bible memorization seems to have been all but forgotten in our contemporary Christianity.  It's a discipline we seldom hear about.  But for some of us, Scripture memorization is an integral part of our growth in Christ.  I came to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ when I was 23 years old.  I had never owned or read a Bible before my conversion.  But once the Spirit of the living God came in, I couldn't get enough of that blessed Book.  My mentor and friend encouraged me to commit verses to memory and gave me key passages to work on.  I found that memorizing a verse of Scripture was more than just brain work.  It was heart & soul transforming! I soon came to realize that memorizing also entails mediating.  Going over and over a passage of Scripture requires me to think on it more deeply.  Soon I found myself hungering for more because I was seeing/feeling the changes that were happening in my own soul and spirit as a result of hiding the Word in my heart.

I went from memorizing solitary verses to several verses to chapters.  I taught my children the discipline of memorization by starting at the letter A and memorizing a verse for every letter of the alphabet.  I gave each of them an index card box and let them decorate it with stickers of their choosing.  The box quickly filled up with the 26 index cards from the alphabet so I began giving them groups of verses to memorize (like Matthew 11:28-30).  Soon they advanced to chapters (like Psalm 1 and Psalm 23).  I even had them memorize Colossians chapter 3!

The benefits of Scripture memorization are measureless.  What is cemented in our minds will never leave us.  The Holy Spirit brings back Bible verses to me at the times I need them.  I am also able to give the Word out to others in conversation.  I quote Scripture to myself as I am driving, cleaning, and even as I'm falling asleep at night.  The enemy has a hard time deceiving the Christian who knows the Word!  After all, Jesus Himself quoted verses from Deuteronomy when the devil tempted Him in the wilderness.

I encourage the women in the Bible study I lead to hide the Word in their hearts. I encourage them to have a partner to practice with. I tell them that they are welcome to call me anytime and quote the verses they're working on.  We should be encouraging each other to get those wonderful words of Life into our hearts.  Ending up on a Bible game show (and winning!) was such a sweet blessing for me and a reminder of why we should memorize Scripture! 

Mae Lynn Biggs

Love God. Love People

 

40699_150579208286967_100000046659953_467926_4717487_nI'm Mae Lynn Biggs and I have been a follower of Jesus for the past 28 years. My heart is to help women grow in their love for Christ and knowledge of His Word.  I love to spend time with my family, read, hike, and share from my quote collection.  I would love to hear from you- leave a comment below.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Why we need Women's Bible studies

Ask the average Christian woman if she's involved in a ladies' Bible study, and the answer you probably will hear is "no".  Ask her why and the answer you will probably hear is "I'm too busy. I've got too many other things on my calendar. I don't have time."  After all, isn't going to church and small group/Sunday school enough to fill our spiritual tank up for the week?  Perhaps for some that is the case, but for most of us we need the intimacy, friendships, transparency, growth, sharpening, and stretching that comes with studying the Word with other women. There are some things worth fitting into our busy schedules.

I lead a weekly evening Bible study for women.  Our group is very diverse.  Some of the women are in their twenties; others are in their forties and fifties.  Some are career women.  Some are stay at home mothers.  Some are from a Christian family background.  Some have a testimony that is radical and abruptly life-changing.  But the one common factor for all of us is simply this: JESUS. Our love for the Lord Jesus Christ has brought this assorted group together.  We all desire to learn more of Him and His Word.  And that is enough.

I try to make the atmosphere of our Bible study group open and honest.  No need to wear a mask and pretend.  Each week we begin by talking about events of the past week, answers to prayer, and updates on different situations as we settle in around the table.  Then we sing.  I have a chorus written by a friend that I share with the group.  We get out our song sheet and begin our time together by singing.  There is something precious about our acapella voices praising the One we adore.  Next I open in prayer.  Just a few words asking the Lord to meet with us and teach us.

Each time we meet, one of the women shares her story.  I gave each one a piece of graph paper on the first night of the study, and ask them to work on their "spiritual life graph".  I share my own journey on that first evening.  I tell the women that graphing out their walk with Christ from their new birth to present day will help them to see where they're at and how they're doing as far as maturing in the Lord. I believe everyone in the group has cried when she's shared her journey.  We listen and cry with her, but we never judge. 

Finally we get busy with our study time.  We have our Bibles open and pens ready.  But I make it clear that I'm not "teaching".  I'm "leading".  The difference is this: When I teach, I'm doing all the talking.  When I lead, I'm guiding the study and inviting input and questions.  I believe we all love the discussion, because let's face it -  women love to talk!  I also believe that we learn better when we talk through a Scripture passage.  We really get to know each other as we share.  As the leader, my job is to keep the discussion on track and not allow too many tangents.  I am sure some women have had negative experiences in study groups where the leader permits one person's problems to take over the study time.  A leader must know how to gently pull the conversation back in.

Finally it's time for us to pray for one another.  This is a sacred time.  I do not want anyone to be overlooked.  So I pass around index cards.  We write one or two burdens down as well as our names.  Then we hand the card to the person on our right (or left).  We all bow our heads and begin praying out loud for the requests on the card we are holding.  As we pray in one accord, my heart soars knowing that our Heavenly Father hears and cares about each request.  When it sounds like we are all finished and the room quiets down, I close us in prayer.

As we get up from the table we hug, laugh, chat, and help clean up.  We part ways with a heart overflowing with gratitude and joy.  I email everyone the next day, sharing the prayer requests and mentioning how wonderful it is to have "sister-friends" to share this journey with.  I often write something like this: "Didn't we have a blessed time last evening as we sang, prayed, studied, shared, laughed, cried, and learned together?"

Women's Bible studies are so much more than just learning more of the Word.  And it's in these God-ordained groups that we grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It's not enough to sit and receive the Truth.  We want to talk it through so we can walk it out.

And every semester when the new studies begin, I have the joy of introducing this special way of doing Bible study with another group of "sister-friends".

Mae Lynn Biggs

Love God. Love People

40699_150579208286967_100000046659953_467926_4717487_nI'm Mae Lynn Biggs and I have been a follower of Jesus for the past 28 years. My heart is to help women grow in their love for Christ and knowledge of His Word.  I love to spend time with my family, read, hike, and share from my quote collection.  I would love to hear from you- leave a comment below.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Hurtful versus Harmful

“What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.” Ephesians 4:25 (MSG)

Someone recently made the comment, “We should not make our choices or decisions based on the hurt of others.”  Due to what I was currently going through, I struggled with this comment.  It felt like truth, but then again, it didn’t.  I had to take it to the throne and figure out its truth in my life.  I felt that I was being hurt by the decisions of another and I was struggling with sorting out which part was mine to own; mine to make an issue of; or mine to disregard.  God is so awesome because in the midst of this, I was also facilitating a group study on Boundaries, the book by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, Zondervan, 3/1/2002.  Now let me say that I’m not facilitating this study because I know what I’m doing, I’m facilitating because God is teaching me to incorporate more of this truth into my own daily life.

There is a natural law of sowing and reaping (Gal 6:7-8).  One way boundaries are broken in adult relationships is when we choose to reap the consequences for others’ decisions or, on the other end of the spectrum, when we make decisions that force others to reap our consequences.  I’m talking about adult relationships, not parent and young child relationships.  Co-dependency occurs when we willingly continue an unhealthy relationship with someone who persists in making decisions which place us in harm’s path – this doesn’t specifically mean physical danger, but could simply mean harm to our hearts, to our bank accounts, our relationships with family and friends, our ministry, our reputation, etc.  When you are continually being placed in the position of reaping someone else’s consequences, you must look at what needs to change in order to make that relationship healthier.

Boundaries, Ibid., discusses the difference between hurtful versus harmful.  “It would be cruel to make decisions without taking someone else’s feelings into consideration.”  However, the concept went on to reflect that you must weigh the difference between hurtful and harmful.  The example given was about teeth. (How funny is that?)  It states that eating sugar is not hurtful (at that moment – yummy), but it is harmful (in the long run - cavity).  Whereas, going to the dentist can be hurtful (in the moment – ouch), but it is not harmful (in the long run – fix cavity).

image001

In another example, Boundaries, Ibid., talks about two business partners.  One partner is making poor decisions that are affecting the company’s overall health.  Partner A (let’s call him Alan) did not want to confront Partner B (let’s call him Bill) because Alan didn’t want to hurt Bill’s feelings.  However, Bill’s choices and decisions were affecting not only Alan, but the overall health of the whole corporation. Therefore, Bill’s choices and decisions were HARMFUL versus just HURTFUL to Alan.  Alan was living under the consequences of Bill’s decisions.  If Alan were to continue to allow Bill to move forward in his poor choices and decision making without bringing it to his attention, then Alan would continue to reap Bill’s consequences and that would be co-dependent.  Once Alan confronts Bill, then Bill can choose to make changes or not.  If Bill chooses to not make changes, then Alan must make the difficult decision of how to move forward to protect both the business as well as himself.

Sometimes it’s easy to see right versus wrong or good versus bad, but it can be more difficult when it’s not so black and white.  During those times that are more ambiguous, you must reflect on whether or not you simply have hurt feelings that could be coming through your own broken filter, or if you are truly being harmed.  When making the decision about whether or not to address something, ask yourself, “Am I reaping the consequences of someone else’s choices and decisions?”  In either case, biblically (Eph. 4:25) we should let others know when we are hurt.  How we choose to allow this relationship to continue to affect our lives moving forward, however, may then shift based on the differentiation of hurt versus harm and whether we are reaping the consequences of that other person’s choices and decisions.     

The NIV Stewardship Study Bible, Zondervan, 3/15/2010, states in the commentary, “A person’s true failures constitute either a proving ground for renewal or a landfill for a wasted life.”  I am taking the situation that is currently going on in my life and attempting to see how God wants to use it for His glory and for mybest.  I’m looking toward what He wants to teach me and how He wants to grow me.  I’m specifically praying for wisdom (He promised to give that if we ask for it – James 1:5) and to view my situation through His eyes and not my broken filter.  I’m trying to be open and honest, not only with those that have hurt or harmed me (once I decipher which that is), but also with myself and whatpart I play in this whole thing – I don’t want to overlook the log that may be in my eye as I may have hurt or harmed others as well without even realizing it.  I also don’t want to allow Satan to destroy something that is precious to me because I can’t see past my own wounds.  However, I also want to protect myself from harm.  God says that our best is His plan (Jer. 29:11).  With all of our brokenness, we can sometimes get in the way of our own growth and wellbeing.  I have to trust that what I’m going through is necessary in order to mold me into the vessel that He designed me to be.  But I also need to truly consider what it is that He desires to teach me and put it into practice in order to become that proving ground for renewal.

 

Lori Kennedy

Monday, November 18, 2013

In Everything Give Thanks

I have recently been drawn over and over to a chapter in the Bible, 1 Thessalonians 5.  Has this ever happened to you?  Has God ever had you in a place where one chapter or verse keeps coming up continually?  For me, during the last few weeks every where I go, everyone I talk to, and every Bile study I pick up end up pointing me back to this chapter. It is a chapter I have read many times and enjoyed BUT GOD has opened my eyes to so many new (to me) treasures and I have come to love it more.  Isn’t it amazing how God has so much more for us every day if we will just allow Him to show us, He will never cease to amaze us if we will just continue to come to Him. I have included the entire chapter here because it is a great chapter to read to be challenged and encouraged by and let’s face it in this time of NOT business as usual in a country where we thought we knew what life “looked” like we could all use some challenge and encouragement.

Each time I read the chapter one verse sticks out in BOLD to me, verse 18.

 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

I have had this verse memorized for years and have recalled it many times BUT GOD had something new for me.  I had always thought of the verse in this way,

No matter what situation you are in find something to be thankful for.

I have to be honest that thought process has helped me in many times of need.  It has helped me shift my mind from myself and my problems to a holy God and His glory.  There was still something I was missing from the verse.  I was missing that God wanted me to be thankful for the situation.  WOW!  So simple I know and you probably never questioned it but it has rocked my thought process.  If I can be thankful for the good in my life, I must be thankful for what I view to be bad.  That is not easy, that requires digging deep and testing do you really believe that God has a purpose and a plan.

That means be thankful for:

that difficult person in your life

that layoff

that unexpected bill

that teenager’s attitude

that two year old’s tantrum

that rude sales person

that delay in your day

that business deal gone bad

that sickness

That takes faith!  In this time of the year when much talk is done about what we are thankful for, I wonder can we challenge each other to look at our whole life as a gift and be thankful for it all.  Can we encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone, not repay evil for evil, seek after that which is good for one another and rejoice always, pray without ceasing and

IN EVERYTHING GIVE THANKS;

for this is God’s will.

1 Thessalonians 5

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

 

5 Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you.2 For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.3 While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; 5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; 6 so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. 7 For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. 8 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

12 But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, 13 and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. 14 We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. 16 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not quench the Spirit; 20 do not despise prophetic utterances. 21 But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil.

23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.

25 Brethren, pray for us.

26 Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss. 27 I adjure you by the Lord to have this letter read to all the brethren

28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

 

Charity

 

969457_533494606688066_1348106593_n

Charity is a wife to a wonderful and patient man, a (homeschooling)momma to two beautiful girls, a blogger (www.TheHeartfeltHome.com ),FBCW Women's Ministry Social Media Hostess, and a teacher. She loves being all of these people, but mostly loves being a redeemed child of God and the peace and joy it gives her.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thief of Joy

 

My friends and I are taking an extremely difficult English class this year. The professor is nit-picky and he likes to make our papers bleed red. When we received our papers back for the first time, my friends and I joked that we were no longer going to be English teachers. However, we soon found out that we made fairly good grades. One of our friends made the best grade in the class- a solid 95. Although I was ecstatic that Abi had done so well, I asked myself what was wrong with my paper and why my teacher did not like mine as much as he liked hers. I made a fairly good grade but it wasn’t like Abi’s grade.

Comparison, I have come to realize, is the thief of joy. When I am looking to others for reassurance that I am doing well or that I am smart or that I am pretty, I will be severely disappointed. Consistently I am looking to others to see if I am as good as them. Without fail, there is always something that they have (beauty, athletics, brains, friends, relationship) that I do not have. Maybe their nose is smaller than mine, or they have more scholarships, or they have more things listed on their resume. Whatever it is, I have compared myself to them. And it makes me very unsatisfied with the life God has graciously given me.

I recently read a blog post that said something along these lines… “When we measure our circumstances or compare our blessings to that of another, it’s easy to feel slighted, overlooked, and even abandoned. But when we open our eyes to the grand story happening all around us, we see the astounding beauty that leaves us speechless.” The author of this post is correct. When we compare ourselves to another individual, we are missing out on what God wants to show us personally. It is a personal walk with Christ and the things He so graciously gives us (or takes away) is an unique gift.

When I compare myself to another one of God’s children, I am missing out on growing in grace. Once I turn and direct my eyes on Christ, the comparisons of life will grow strangely dim. In light of God’s glory and grace, I can find true satisfaction, true joy, and experience true love. Even if Sue has a new car or Jane is getting married, I can be joyful for them because I am not focused on what they have. I am focused instead on the Creator- my Delight…my Joy.

“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” Psalm 37:3-5

Turn your eyes upon Jesus-look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in light of His glory and grace.

 

 

IMG_1609Corrie is a full time student at Kennesaw State University studying Middle Grades Education. Her dream is to one day teach reading and writing women and children abroad as well as share the Gospel of Jesus. She has attended FBCW for 17 years now, and has been involved with teaching middle school girls. In her free time, Corrie loves to write in her blog (www.corriebiesecker.wordpress.com), read lots of books, and drink coffee. Her biggest desire in life is to grow in His grace and find joy in Jesus every day.

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Thankful Table

 

This morning I thought I would share our Thanksgiving Table with you.

Thankful Tree

We made a Thankful Tree.  It is a super simple project to make.

Thanksgiving Tablecloth

All you need are some branches from the yard.  I spray painted mine white.

Cut some simple leaf shapes from scrapbook paper, gather twine to hang them and markers to write on them and you are set.

Thankful Tree

I put my branches in floral foam and covered it with moss but it works in a vase just as well.

Thankful Tree

We each write what we are thankful for everyday on a leaf and then hang the leaves on the tree.  I can not wait to see the full tree  on

Thanksgiving Day

I save the leaves from year to year so we can look back on them and see what was on our hearts in the previous years.

Thanksgiving Tablecloth

Our tablecloth this year is one I started working on Thanksgiving Day last year.  I had each person at Thanksgiving dinner sign the tablecloth and then I hand embroidered over each name.  For the smallest kids we traced around their hands.  I can’t wait to see it full of names and years of love and memories of time spent together with family and friends.  My heart aches and my eyes are full of tears just thinking of this.  One day this will be a gift for generations of family to come that I am intentionally making today.  My hope is that they will see it as a legacy of love and thankfulness and be proud to be a part of this family God has placed them in.

 

Thanksgiving Tablecloth

Charity

969457_533494606688066_1348106593_n

Charity is a wife to a wonderful and patient man, a (homeschooling)momma to two beautiful girls, a blogger (www.TheHeartfeltHome.com ),FBCW Women's Ministry Social Media Hostess, and a teacher. She loves being all of these people, but mostly loves being a redeemed child of God and the peace and joy it gives her.