Monday, October 31, 2016

Living Beyond The Trees....(This world)

Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!”  As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”  He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died." -- Acts 7:56 & 59-60

Stephen is a perfect model of a man who spoke and lived grace & truth.  For those who were at church yesterday morning...Stephen is the example of what it means to live beyond the trees.  In the midst of accusation and even death---AS THEY STONED HIM! Stephen's eyes were on the world that is to come, the one that lasts FOREVER & EVER!!!


One of my favorite parts of our Sunday evenings is when the servant team arrives early so that we can pray relationally through scripture.  It anchors our heart to Him and ties our hearts to each other and to the beautiful women we walk with on this journey with Jesus.


Our worship last night moved hearts mightily.  We were blessed to use the same songs we sang Sunday morning.  It was a continuation that knit the whole day together beautifully.

(Think of Joseph, Daniel, Meshach, Shadrach, Abednego, and Stephen from Acts)

MEMORY VERSE:  Dear friends, don't be surprised by the fiery trials you are going through as if something strange were happening to you. INSTEAD, be very glad --because these trials will make you partners with Christ in His suffering, and afterward you will have the wonderful joy of sharing His glory when it is displayed to all the world. -- 1 Peter 4:12-13

This verse is for our Lori this week.  Would you pray it for her as you practice?  When I meditate on the words above and commit them to heart I can't help but think of all those Hero's of faith that has LIVED this and left a legacy of holiness in a world that lives between the trees. 

MEMORY VERSE:  "Don't you realize that whatever you choose to obey becomes your Master? You can choose sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God and receive His approval."--  Romans 6:16

Our discussion question last night from Romans 6:16:  What one thing are you choosing to obey keeps you from the fullness of 


Last night we compared the character of Stephen, the Counsel, and the Unbelievers...WOW!

  • Christ-like
  • Obviously filled with the Holy Spirit
  • His fruit spoke volumes
  • Eyes firmly focused on that which is unseen
  • Lived beyond the trees
  • Intimate knowledge of the scriptures
  • Bold 
  • Courageous
  • Heart for heaven
  • Heart for God

  • Pride/Proudful
  • Man-Pleasers
  • Puffed Up
  • Pot Stirrers
  • Man-made rituals and beliefs
  • Like their fathers
  • Hard hearts
  • Angry

  • Followers of men
  • Liars
  • Mob Mentality
  • Strife Stirrers
  • Argumentative
  • Caused Stephen's arrest

Lord, give us a heart that pants after you!  Let us be inspired by ordinary men like Stephen who stayed firm in extraordinary circumstances!

Our last table discussion of the evening was going through our Knock-Knock book.  We talked about the gospel.  How to share it, how to receive it, how to become more intimate and familiar with offering hope to the hopeless.  I was blessed and inspired by Tammy's humble testimony of how she walked in church for years and though she knew about Jesus, she didn't KNOW JESUS.  



 What a blessing it is to get to walk with our sisters.  To know that in community we are never alone.  I'm so grateful for the opportunity to join other women who love Jesus with all their hearts and to get to pray for each other.  I'm thankful for the Holy Spirit who walks before us and moves on our hearts for special occasions.  What a JOY it was to watch God lavishly love on Lori through many hands and hearts.  


I realized after I got home last night that I did not get to tell you what was in the bag.  Kevin and Phyllis shared a few of her favorite things:

  • Diet Coke
  • Milk Duds
  • The War Room (Movie)
  • Index cards (For after she watches the war room)
  • Pretty pens
  • Lavender Candle
  • Handwritten Scripture cards to breath LIFE and to PRAY


What a POWERFUL way to close out our night!  A time of corporate prayer from the ladies for our sweet sister in Christ.  


Saturday, October 29, 2016


Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these things will be given to you too. So do not worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow worry about itself. Living faithfully is a large enough task for today.-- Matthew 6:33-34

My favorite--Praying Together

What a JOY it was to sit and soak in His presence with each of you face-to-face yesterday morning.  (We missed you, Terri)  I want to start with some take-away's and repeat important information.  


    1-We talked about how important relationship is within the community.  

    Rules (or information and expectation) without relationship equals REBELLION.


    2-Lynn shared the Challenge Trilogy: 

    • Trust in the power of the Holy Spirit
    • Trust students can learn
    • Trust in the power of good questions

    Nowhere on here does it say to worry about knowing how to teach math. (WOO HOO)  Nowhere does it say that it's your job to worry about what your families are doing in their personal homeschools. You get to be a mom who is simply the lead learner.  Bring your passion and celebrate what God is showing each of you as you review.   I pray these three directives encourage your heart mightily!

    Ask good questions to support your families, but watch carefully that the line does not blur and put you in the position of expert or master tutor.  (That's a lot of pressure for you and for them)  

    Guard your heart against expectations. Instead...Love and meet your families right where they're at.  Pray for them.  See the best in them.  Gently guide them back to Him.  

    Which leads me to #3 (My personal favorite takeaway)

    3-The Challenge guide is like a Thanksgiving dinner.   If you eat everything you will be sick. Do not think there is one way to eat at a feast or that one dish is better than another.  God has given each of us a personal palette and purpose.  The guide is simply the options.

    4-Remember that we can only work on our students outward behavior and we get to tap into what GOD is doing inwardly through our conversations.

    5-1 Corinthians tells us that knowledge will pass away.  So let's focus on what lasts through eternity...continue to focus on asking great questions and giving students time to reflect, consider, and propose what they believe and why they believe it.

    6-Definition of Diligence by Dave Ramsey:  Simplicity repeated over and over.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Meet my new girl...iPad Pro 9.7


Meet my new little girl!  My laptop is quickly slowing down after years of use.  I am an Apple fan and have a love/hate relationship when it's time to purchase a new devise.  Picking just one is hard,  I have to weigh my needs and my finances and always have to just choose one.  This time I really felt like the iPad Pro 9.7 was the right choice.  It takes iPads to a whole new level.  The CEO of Apple chooses to carry just his Pro and iPhone with him when he travels.


This Pro has two new features that are game changers.  

1-The new smart keyboard.  It is not a bluetooth, but an extension that attaches and fires up immediately when attached.  There is no charging or pairing involved.  It types like a real keyboard and is super thin.

2-The Apple Pencil.  This pencil is like using the real deal.  There is no lag and it writes exactly like the font you choose.  I love using it for my morning scripture memes.  




I still use my laptop for things like working with my documents for work, but almost everything else is done with my iPad.  I will do a follow-up post after several weeks to update discoveries as I go along.  I still do not know whether I made the perfect choice, BUT I do know I made a good one.  You cannot go wrong with iPad.

Monday, October 17, 2016


STAY ALERT! WATCH OUT for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. STAND FIRM against him, and BE STRONG in your faith. REMEMBER that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.--1 Peter 5:8-9

  • STAY ALERT: be Intentional.  Don't get carried about by your emotions and how you're feeling in the moment.  
  • WATCH OUT: that you do not drift away from that first love and begin to listen and engage the voice of the enemy.  
  • STAND FIRM:  against him and keep having conversations with your Savior. (Come To Me)  
  • BE STRONG and know your position, own your position, walk in humble confidence.  
  • REMEMBER that you are not the only one who is in the same kind of Bootcamp.  As I clean you up, remember to stop and pray for those struggling too.

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.--2 Peter 1:3

The lion's den is NOT Daniels death chamber, it's his pulpit!

One of my favorite assignments this week was when we read through Daniel 6 and noted the character of the three main players.  

DANIEL:  Chosen, Appointed, Hard worker, Wise, Faithful, Responsible, Trustworthy, Honored God & King

ADMINISTRATORS:  Jealous, Petty, Vindictive, Deceitful, Deceptive, Wise in their own understanding, strife stirrers

KING DARIUS:  King, Loved Daniel, Loved how Daniel loved His God, Lost

Such a fun activity to pick apart verses for fuller understanding and depth.  

"Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.  If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death.  But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind there is life and peace.  For the sinful nature is always hostile to God.  It never did obey God's laws, and it never will.  The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, LIVES IN YOU! -- Romans 8:5-7&11

Each Table has someone represent them up front.

One of our assignments/activities last night was to rewrite Romans 8:12-14 with opposite meaning.  

TRUTH: So dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation whatsoever to do what your sinful nature is urging you to do.  For if you keep on following it, you will perish, but if through the power of the Holy Spirit you turn from it and it's evil deeds you will live.


LIE:  So dear brothers and sisters, you have every obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.  For if you keep on following it you will prosper.  But if through the power of your own self you turn to what your sinful nature wants to do, you will DIE.

Who's voice are you listening to?

It felt wrong, but it had a good purpose.  As each table team had someone read their re-written version of the verse it allowed us to intentionally hear and recognize that voice that wants to lure us away.   (Fascinate and then assassinate)  It was POWERFUL.  

I pray that each of us (Starting with me) will think about this as we are purposeful in making sure we are staying connected to the Lord through His Word and listening ONLY to His voice.  


"Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you."--1 Peter 5:7

Yolanda shared how the Lord used her husband's fishing trip for our youth to bring scripture to LIFE! I will always see this cast net in my mind when I think about casting my care on the Lord!

CAST...Fling, Throw, Thrust, Sling, Toss, Pitch

AWESOME SHARE:  God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.--1 Peter 4:10

God has given each of us purpose until we take our last breath.  We are never too young or too old to be of use and to be used by the Lord.

KNOWING OUR POSITION:  Jane has a Holy Bootcamp with one of her patients this week.  He talked about her being religious and how he believed in a "force".  In that moment, God allowed Jane to remember her position in Christ and she shared the gospel in a very short time period.  Let's pray that God's word would WOO this mans heart.  


HAPPY BIRTHDAY BEAUTIFUL BERNICE!  (And Erika...we missed you)  You were both wonderfully and fearfully made in HIS image.  You are HIS MASTERPIECE.  You were created to do the good things He called you too long ago!  

Please remember that we are off next week so that we can attend the congregational meeting.  Please stay connected to your group and stay consistent with your memory verses and heart work!  Taking this workshop will not change your life.  We need HIS Word to transform and change the way we think!  

Have a great 2 weeks everyone!  

Monday, October 10, 2016

Freedom Workshop--Knowing Your Position

I am sending this letter to those who have been selected and destined by God the Father and made holy by God the Spirit that you may be obedient to Jesus the Anointed and purified by the sprinkling of His blood.  May the grace and peace beyond all reckoning be yours. 
--- 1 Peter 1:2


Last night our whole conversation was about KNOWING OUR POSITION IN CHRIST.  As we spend time in the Word our confidence grows.  As our confidence grows we stand stronger when the winds of this world try to stir up strife.  We bounce back faster.  Knowing our position in Christ can bring LIFE to our life.  

Think about the 92 year old woman held at gunpoint.  She turned tragedy into opportunity and that young mans life was changed forever.   


KNOWING OUR POSITION:  A beautiful example of knowing our position was when Anna shared how God's Spirit moved on her heart to get moving when all she wanted to do was sleep.  The voice of the enemy wanted her to feel down, sad, disconnected from her new season of life.  I love the scripture that God gave her later:  "Now GET UP and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”--Acts 9:6


KNOWING OUR POSITION:  Another beautiful example of how we can always know our position came from Joy.  Keeping our eyes on what's to come.  My heart was moved to tears as Joy shared how God used Colossians 3:1-2 to remind her of what's to come:  "Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth."

I am praying that the Lord would move on our hearts today to remember the realities of heaven


KNOWING OUR POSITION:  We don't have to work for victory in our life.  We are working FROM the victory.  God has already given us everything we need.  We are locking NOTHING!

"By His Divine Power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.  We have received this by coming to know Him, the One who called us to Himself by means of His marvelous glory and excellence." -- 2 Peter 1:3


KNOWING OUR POSITION:  My favorite part of the night was going through Daniel 3 and noticing how Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew their position.  Here is a reminder of what we as a group noticed about these three men:

  • Prepared & focused for the task
  • Firm in their trust of the Lord
  • Listening to God while everything was going crazy around them
  • Knew God was their leader and protector
  • Respected & Honored the King, but served God
  • Courageous and Unintimidated
  • Stood Firm
  • Stood in Faith
  • They were a Cord of 3 (Better together)


KNOWING OUR POSITION:  We know our position when we know the character and characteristics of who God is.  Last night we went through Psalm 139 as a group and had GREAT discoveries in our discussion!  We compared and contrasted who God is and who the enemy is: (WHOA)

  • Ever-present Help/Steals, kills, and destroys
  • Walks before us and after us/Trips us, wants us to stumble
  • Knows our thoughts before they are spoken/Knows only what is spoken
  • He is our Hiding Place/He wants us to have unrest
  • He was intimate and personal/He fascinates and then assassinates
  • Omniscient (is everywhere)/Ubiquitous (appears to be everywhere)
  • Will never abandon us/Will lure us and then leave us
  • Awesome/Evil
  • Light Always/Darkness


KNOWING OUR POSITION:  We are made right with God by placing our Faith IN HIM-- Romans 3:22

When we understand that we are made right by faith and not by our own actions/works we begin to own and walk confidently in our position.  


Congratulations Karen Vander Ploeg!  I'm so excited that you were our winner.  Thank you to Susie Marcin for providing last nights door prize.  You are such a sweet blessing. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Week Three---Holy Bootcamps

WHOA!  What a great night of sharing how the Lord is applying God's Word in our lives.  I'm so grateful for each precious woman the Lord has brought together.  Thank you for tenderly sharing your testimonies and stories.  We really are better together!  

I love this action shot!  This is where Kingdom work is being applied.  As we are learning to read the bible relationally, He faithfully speaks to us!  It's intimate and personal!  We get to learn from Him FIRST and then from each other.  P.O.W.E.R.F.U.L.!!!


I shared how I messed up last week while trying to fast and gave into my flesh.  There was a feeding frenzy taking place in my brain and it was being fueled by condemnation.  

  • COME TO ME:  I cried out to the Lord. 
  • THROW IT UP:  I shared with Him how frustrated I was with my lack of self-control 
  • LET HIM FILL YOU UP:  He immediately spoke into my heart..."Mary, you are fearfully and wonderfully made.  You are my Masterpiece."  
  • REST & INTERCEDE:  As I laid my head on my pillow that night I began praying that God would continue to speak to my heart and praying for others who struggle with this too. 

Over the next 7 Days the Lord continued to speak intimately to my heart through His Word:

  • If you live your life animated by the flesh--namely, your fallen, corrupt nature--then your mind is focused on the matters of the flesh.  But if you live your life animated by the Spirit--namely, God's indwelling presence--then your focus is on the work of His Spirit. -- Romans 8:5-7
  • How much longer will you sit on the fence refusing to make a decision between the Lord and Baal?  If you believe the Eternal is the One True God, then devote yourself entirely to Him.  If you believe Baal is your master then devote yourself entirely to Him. --1 Kings 18:21
  • Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for His own?  No one--for God Himself has given us right standing with Himself--Romans 8:33
  • Yet in all these things we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS through Him who loved us. -- Romans 8:37
  • But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.  They are like trees planted along the riverbank, BEARING FRUIT each season.  Their leaves never wither and they prosper in all they do.--Psalm 1:1-2


  • Feelings Are Indicators:  Feelings should get us to God.  They are real, but that does not make them TRUE!
  • We have to be self-feeding Christians reading the Word if we want to hear HIS voice.
  • What happens when I forget to remember and engage that voice that leads me away from the cross?  Romans 8:12-14....Through the power of the HOLY SPIRIT I turn away from it!
  • I do not have to go on fox hunts to look for my sin.  I have to let the Lord bring it to me..."Search me Oh God and know my heart...point out anything in me that offends you."

These groups are so precious!  I love how close you all are becoming to one another.  

I'm praying for all of us this week.  May we have a fervor and hunger to sit and soak in HIS presence while He speaks to us through His Word!

Loving this new friend, Tammy!

THIS WEEKS MEMORY VERSE:  "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but LET GOD transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.  Then you will know what God wants you to do and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is." -- Romans 12:2

One of the highlights of my night was getting to sit with this great group and participate in table time discussion.  

THIS WEEKS MEMORY VERSE:  "Can anything happen without the Lord's permission?" -- Lamentations 3:37