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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wherever You Go......

Do you have a special place? Perhaps a certain restaurant, maybe a park or flower garden, a path along a meandering stream, but a place that pulls you back to a time and a memory and your soul says "this was good"?  Today I knew I had returned to such a good place.  I've been here several times before but as I began to re-read my study guide for our Ruth study, once again it was that "special place". 

Ruth, a small four-chapter narrative nestled into the Old Testament.  Many see it only as a beautiful love story and many a college and university has taught it as an eloquent literature piece.  Many has used it's few verses, chapter 1:16-17 for wedding vows.

You've heard it said "Dynamite comes in small packages", well, Ruth may be a small book but it is filled with it's own, unique "dynamite".  The ancient Jewish scriptures often included Ruth with the book of the prophets. Huh?  A prophetic book? Well, stay with us and you will see the prophecy unfold in the story of Ruth.

We will slowly unpack the revealing "real story" behind the story and discover revelations that are woven through out her story.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sounding Off

While we did have a good first meeting for our Ruth Study last night, something is weighing on my mind this morning. 

When I clicked on my computer yesterday there was a "top story?" about one of our your military men who has "come out" and chose to do that via You Tube while on the phone with his father.  I have no desire to watch the "Tube".  I did scan down thru just some of the over 200 remarks at that time.  Interesting, interesting to see how many responded.  There were a few remarks made by "well meaning" Christians and that only fueled the flame for the onslaught as many cried out "we can do what we want!" 

Really??? As we began our study of Ruth I chose first to go back to set the tone for the times as they were as the story of Ruth unfolds.  Just take a moment, find the book of Ruth in your bibles, now go back just the the page before, that would put you in Judges and look carefully there, the very last verse, Judges 21:25.....see for yourself.
"In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes"

Do you not see us "America" right there?  In our day there is no king in our land,
we are quickly moving away from a "Christian" nation.  I heard recently that Pepsi has gone so far as to remove "in God we trust" from our Pledge of Allegiance that is now placed on their new cans.  We want to live by the same standard as in the days of the judges, "I can do what I want to do!" We don't have a king in our land......we have taken "The King" out of our schools, our courts and God help us "out of many of our churches".

We have "judges" who set over this land overturning godly constitutional standards.
We are living in a turbulent period and my Bible says judgement begins at the house of God (I Peter 4:16)  Those things that are now acceptable are happening because Christians have adopted the same philosphy, slowly accepting the ways of the world, softening our gospel to make us feel good. 

I hope you will underline that verse in Judges and ponder that in your hearts.  

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ruth - Loss, Love and Legacy

I'm soooo not ready, but eager to get started.

I clicked on today and was surprised to see it had been a whole month since my last post.   How can that be? 
I follow a few other blogs and am amazed at their consistency, photography and great spiritual insights.  I just wish I had the fortitude to get just some of my thoughts posted. 

A few weeks ago I was so up and ready to get this thing going. I had pages of notes and quotes and was ready to fly.  Today I'm feeling the need for much of Him and His power to carry me.

Tomorrow will be our first home meeting for the study of Ruth.  We are using Kelly Minter's book as well as several bits and pieces from some great scholars of the Word.

We will walk with Ruth through her struggle of loss, her joyous find of love and the legacy that will be left as we see God use ordinary people to accomplish His eternal plan and promises.  We will see His grace overcome the law.

I hope you will join us.  If you need a book I have extra copies and would be glad to get one out to you ASAP. $20 will cover the book and shipping or you can contact  Lifeway Books at http://www.lifeway.com/

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Do What???

The Book of Ruth

I did my first "study" of this small four chapter book last summer.
Since then I have listened to different teachers, commentaries and messages about "Ruth".....always gleaning yet another fascinating nugget.

It is my desire to share this with others. 
 As I was discussing it with my husband he offered the challenge......
"Why don't you write your own study, combining this information?" 
I gulped, my heart raced and my mind roared!
I had already considered the idea,
now maybe I needed to put "wheels" on it.

So now, I'm considering this as our first fall study.
I hope to be presenting it locally to a group of ladies
as well as here in blog format.

My target date is Sept 12th.
At this time I'm not sure we will need books,
except your Bibles.

I pray you all had a great summer.
Looking forward to shifting back into a routine.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Summer (?) Schedule

I question mark (?)  summer as we have experienced the coolest, wettest two months of what would normally be called spring and today it's still very cold, windy and cloudy.
But however the weather happens still doesn't change our schedules and routines for the coming months. 
For many of you your daily routines will take on a new meaning, sleeping later ( hopefully) but running to new summer events, to the pool, to the park, to the beach, endless days trying to pack in all the fun of summer.

No longer have children in school, my schedule doesn't change much as far as that routine.  I no longer plant a garden and this year marks my first year without a horse in eleven summers, so no "training, grooming or riding" to take up my time.  We are spending countless trips to the bird feeders, we have created a "monster" that needs frequents servicing, but what fun to watch the endless parade of color out our windows.  I counted my list and see I have identified over 55 species just from our window.

                                     Male Western Tanager at Jelly Dish

We have no definite Bible Study scheduled for the next few months.  I will be doing some research for an August study.  Meanwhile, we will post a devotional here and there and hopefully encourage you to stay in the word on your own.  Find a topic and study it out.  I suggest to take the Proverbs and read one for each day of the month. 
I've been doing this for the last year, still amazed at how the Lord speaks to me with new insights as I've gone thru Proverbs over 12 times now. 

                                    Male Oriole Nothern Bullocks Variety

Working on a devotion now for posting in the next few days. 
Hope you will check back once in a while and be encouraged in His word.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Joy - The Crowning Virtue - Chapter 14

Maybe I have tried your patience ( chapter 13) waiting for our final chapter - Joy.
I've made several attempts to finish this but one thing after another has interrupted me.

I hope to be back today with a final word and maybe meantime you can read Isaiah 45
and share a comment on that or whatever else you chose.

I was so touched by Isaiah 45:3 that I had to turn there and read the whole chapter.
God really spoke to my heart here.  I so hope you will find a few moments and dwell there, let Him speak to you too.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Patience - More than a Disposition Chapter 13

I just thought some ocean scenes and sounds would be so fitting with what Kelly shares regarding God's relentless patience:

"God's relentless patience has met me much like ocean waves rolling on the shore - there's always another round if I don't get it the first time, or the hundred-and-thirty-second"  Kelly Minter

What peace we can take away knowing He never gives up on us.

Patience for us is produced as a "fruit" of the spirit.  Good fruit comes from a vine or tree that is carefully tended and pruned as needed.  We grow patience/longsuffering and sometimes how we are feeling at the moment we like to think of it as "patience" and then there are those times it definitely feels like "long as in loooong - suffering"

If we could just step back in the moments and consider the example He set before us.
"He embodied patience by choosing to remain silent, refraining from striking back, even praying for His crucifiers, saying "Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing"

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chapter 12 - On Compassion and Humility

Defining "compassion". According to Webster:
a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune,
accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

Webster defines it as a noun.   I see it more as a verb, an action word, a do something word.  For many of us it takes humility to show compassion. 

"When you know suffering and humbling, you become intimate with humility,
and when humility becomes your friend,
it opens you to a world you never knew before."
Kelly Minter  

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Everything Must Die (To Rise Again) Chapter 11 Humility

Humility is not a cheer-rousing subject. We don’t jump up and down in undiluted excitement waving sparkly pom-poms. It’s part of our sin nature to desire exaltation. We long for recognition and some of us make a search for significance our god. Striving and straining we work to become “important” even within Christian circles. Our striving may not be outward, but inwardly we envy the woman on stage, the retreat coordinator, the Bible study leader, or the one who can sing like angels. We look up to them and wish we were in the “in crowd”.

Christ calls us to humble servant hood. Philippians 2:3-5 challenges us. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” Whoa! That’s one tall order sister!

I found the following story about humility that I thought you’d enjoy.

     Adam said, “Lord, when I was in the garden, you walked with me everyday. Now I do not see you anymore. I am lonesome here and it is difficult for me to remember how much you love me.

    God said, “No problem! I will create a companion for you that will be with you forever and who will be a reflection of my love for you, so that you will know I love you, even when you cannot see me. Regardless of how selfish, childish,  and unlovable you may be this new companion will accept you as you are and will love you as I do, in spite of yourself.” And God created a new animal to be a companion for Adam. It was a good animal, and God was pleased. The new animal was pleased to be with Adam and he wagged his tail.

     Adam said, “But Lord, I have already named all the animals in the Kingdom and all the good names are taken. I cannot think of a name for this new animal.”

     God answered, “No problem! Because I have created this new animal to be a reflection of my love for you, his name will be a reflection of my own name, and you will call him DOG.” Dog lived with Adam and was a companion to him and loved him. Adam was comforted, and God was pleased. Dog was content and wagged his tail.

      After a while, it came to pass that Adam’s guardian angel came to the Lord and said, “Lord, Adam has become filled with pride. He struts and preens like a peacock and he believes he is worthy of adoration. Dog has indeed taught him that he is loved, but no one has taught him humility.”

     The Lord said, “No problem! I will create for him a companion who will be with him forever and who will see him as he is. The companion will remind him of his limitations, so he will know that he is not worthy of adoration.” And God created CAT to be a companion to Adam. Cat would not obey Adam, and when Adam gazed into Cat’s eyes, he was reminded that he was not the Supreme Being. Adam learned humility, and God was pleased. Adam was greatly improved, and Cat did not care one way or the other.

If you find yourself struggling to grasp humility, you might just try praying for a cat! Choose a question from chapter 11 and share your insights with us.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Kindness - Chapter 10

Random acts of Kindness.  Make a Difference Mondays.

These were the first couple that came to mind.  I'm sure there are a long list of similar themes to which we could apply ourselves from time to time.  Thinking of this I'd like to encourage you to grab a question from page 200 and give us some feedback. 

I'm going to consider a powerful act of kindness shown towards me that has had lasting results.  I ran away from home just at my sixteenth birthday.  I needed a "safe place".  A pastor and his wife opened their home to me, sight unseen, and provided a stable, safe Christian environment.  Thru that act of kindness and selfless love God was able to plant good seed in the soil of my heart and now some 43 years later I get glimpses of "good fruit".

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Soul at Rest Peace, Part 2 - Chapter 9

The Lord Bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26

Did you know that God commanded Aaron and his sons to speak the above blessing over the Israelites? God wants us to have peace. He desires to give it to us. It is a free offer from the hands of grace. This peace isn't contingent on outward circumstances, but is an inward settling of the soul. It is a peace that says, "It is well" even when the world around you is falling apart.

Where does this kind of unexplainable peace come from? It comes from a life lived in obedience to God. Kelly's words really resonated with me when she said, "I would rather have a clear conscience on a rocky road that be plagued by guilt on a silver street." My life has been rocky at times, but God's peace has been ever present.  My spouse lives with chronic illness and there have been many lost dreams, pain, struggle, and tears, but God has been our anchor through it all. I can site many a time when the circumstances around me were anything but calm, but inside a tide of peace welled up as God whispered, "It is well. I'm here. I know. I care." When I sat by my husband's hospital bed wondering what was going to happen, the peace was there. When a doctor brashly said to my husband, "You'll be totally infertile within six months," the peace stood strong. (We now have two daughters and not through adoption.) When we got the 8:30 p.m. call from the hospital in San Francisco telling us they had a kidney for my husband and we had to be there at 5:00 a.m. the next morning, God's peace was flowed over me. This is not to say that my ship doesn't occasionally shuddered with the crashing waves, but the anchor of Christ holds firm and eventually I get back to that place where his peace reigns in unexplainable ways.

Choose a question from chapter 9 and share your thoughts through the comments link. How has God's peace manifested itself in your life?


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Peace, Not as the World Gives

Peace, Peace, Wonderful Peace.......

I hope you can take a moment, sit back, click on this video and rest in
 His peace today.
Hopefully you will know the words and can let them refresh your soul and spirit as you take in the majestic and beautiful works of His hand.

Kelly mentions that Peace has to be fought for.....it is kind of a contradiction, but so true.   We  do have to apply effort to obtain His peace.  I agree with her, "our efforts will never outweigh the joy of peace restored to our souls that were once at odds. "
(Eph 2:17-18)

I wish you Peace this Mother's Day weekend.  Today's chapter will be our last chapter for this week.  We will resume Monday with Chapter 9.  It's a triple blessed weekend for me...Lisha made my first Mother's Day 43 years ago on May 9th! My second daughter Mischel celebrates her 40th on May 6th....really, blessed Mother's Day to each of you.

Tracy's Tulips 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Yes, You Really Can - Chapter 7


Kelly has given me some different thoughts on forgiveness in these last two chapters.
I've known that forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling.  "But forgiveness is not denying what our enemies (or loved ones) have done; it's not calling something whole that's fractured or something pure that's corroded.  Forgiveness is looking in the face of what our offenders have done, recognizing their wound for all that it is, and then choosing to forgive. It has nothing to do with denying the wrong of those who hurt us but has everything to do with changing our hearts toward them. " (page 90)

That's the beginning of peace for us, when we become willing to change our hearts, letting go and letting God restore and rebuild us in Him. It is a process and one that we often have to come back to as feelings surface. 

The artichoke analogy. I did some research and discovered this is considered a thistle plant.  If you really think about it, this is a great analogy of a heart in need of producing"forgiveness" as well as other character qualities of Christ.

Before we can even began to peel away the layers of bitterness, anger, revenge, gossip, etc.....heat must be applied....ouch!! and the paring knife (Hebs. 4:12 goes here)

There's some "fruit" or food value after the outer petals are peeled away, there at the inner petals. The real fruit and value is found after the "choke" is stripped away and the "heart" is exposed and opened.

I wanted to drive home this analogy so I went and purchased me an artichoke....
gonna set that in my windowsill and think on it for awhile.

But God commendeth His love toward us,
in that while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8 KJV

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Perfect Storm - Chapter 6

Forgiveness can be tough. I've experienced the struggle to forgive in my own life. What I discovered was that I had to walk in forgiveness even though the emotion of forgiveness was not there. As I was relating to the offender, and I felt the rise of bitterness or anger over what they had done swell up in me, I literally said to myself, "No, I choose to forgive. I am not going to hold onto this anger." It took a long time of living it out, but eventually my emotions followed suit, and I felt forgiveness toward them.

Question 2, Complete this sentence: "If I let go of the demand that this person pay for what they did, then______." This reminded me of something I heard a speaker at a retreat say. Some would say, "If I forgive this person, then isn't that letting them off the hook?" The speaker's response was, "When we forgive, we let the person off of our hook and put them on God's hook."

Wow! Think about that! I think God can do a far better job of holding someone to account for their offense than I can. And if I keep them on my hook, then I have to drag them around everywhere. It doesn't bother them if I tote them all over the place. They are perfectly content to go along for the ride, but then I bear the weight of their offense. That is bondage my friend, and Christ has paid too big of a price for use to live in bondage. So, the challenge for us this week is to take the offenders in our lives off of our hooks and put them on God's.

Letting everyone off the hook will help to empty your heart of resentment and teach you what it is to grow up in Jesus.        - Patsy Clairmont

Friday, April 29, 2011

Trouble Posting Comments

A friend who follows this blog told me that she's having trouble getting comments to post. She has posted before with no problem, but over the past few days, the comments don't seem to be working for her. I did look into this with Blogspot and it seems that there are problems with comments all over the place and they are working on it. In the meantime, if you are having trouble, you might want to try posting comments under the Google Account option. If you don't have a Google account, you can sign up for one very easily. It doesn't cost anything. Just be sure to write your password down, because you'll need it. When you click on the Google Account option and don't have an account, it should direct you to the place where you can sign up for one. If you try this and it's not working, let us know. You can email me by clicking on my icon under followers. Thanks, Lisha

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Angel in the Stone - Chapter 5

Michelangelo's David

I'm digging deep here, well, maybe not deep but desperately. But consider this, these are works made by the hands of men.  We are capable of taking stone, wood, ice and many other materials and crafting them into admirable objects of art.  Gen. 2:7 tells us that the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground.... "He formed us", fashioned us, after He had created everything else He formed us....but read carefully and slowly to grasp the reality "and breathed into, the breath of life" and man became a living being.
He spoke all of creation into being, but us He breathed into life. And we were created in His image.  An image that He so desires would be clothed in His righteousness.

Didn't really want to post a picture of circumcision here, I'll leave that to your imagination.  I thought Kelly did a good depiction of the spiritual circumcision we undergo as we trust in Him in a daily practical life of salvation.  "Spiritual circumcision is an internal process that affects the heart by cutting away the whole "body of sins".

I'll take question #4:
Putting to death the habits of my old self?  As I replace the old and fill my life with the new that Christ offers me I can truly become a new creature in Christ. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Father Loves You - Chapter 4

I agree with Kelly that we have overused the word love and lack understanding about it's true meaning. We say we love chocolate, love our spouse, love our friend, and love a sunny day. How can these all be equal? Love from God has to be more.

Bear with me here as I delve into a little bit of a word study. The word love in Colossians 3:12 is the same word that's used in John 3:35. "The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands." It's also the same word used in John 13:1. "It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love." Think about this. Do you know what Jesus did next? He washed the disciples feet. That's the kind of love that God has for us. In his final hours, he knelt before his disciples, the ones he loved, and became a servant, washing their feet.

I found a beautiful video that may help us to grasp how dearly loved we are. There is an advertisment after the video is over. Women of the Word is not endorsing the ad so feel free to disregard it. I do hope you will take the time to watch the video and ponder God's love for you. Then, choose an answer to one of the questions from chapter 4 (page 195) to share with us. May you rest in his love today.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Blessed Easter to each of you.

I hope you have had a wonderful Easter Sunday.

I want to welcome our newest blogger, Jeanette.  She became mother-in-law three times last year and has a new one coming this year yet.  That could keep a woman busy.
And welcome to Katrina, a new mom this year.  And for those of you who do stop by we are glad you join us even in the background.  We pray this study will bless and encourage you in the Word and in the Lord.

This week we start off by reading Chapter 4 "Father Loves You" on Monday with comments on Tuesday.  Remember there are questions for each chapter, located in the back of your books.  We welcome all your comments and suggest choosing a question for each chapter.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pointy Sticks and Behavior Management - Chapter 3

Ok, so this was a long read and as I'm searching for comments I'm drawn back to the beginning of the chapter and Kelly's visit with Shelly.  It would be interesting if we could sit in a circle and play out this scenerio, how to talk "gospel" to the unsaved in a language they could grasp. 

I'm thinking here, if I were to begin to explain to you some horse training terms, would you know what I meant when I said "wait for the yield, you're in the wrong lead, ask him to join up, release the pressure, use your seat?"  Those phrases make perfect sense to me and my students would soon learn them, but it would all be "greek" in the beginning.  So it is with the unsaved, unchurched people we come in contact with.

I remember Lisha, as a young person,  told someone that she had "conviction" about something and their response, "What you mean conviction, you been in jail?"  So you see, we become comfortable with "theology" and we need to come back to a simple gospel for  a people who possibly have never been inside a church.  Our world is full of  those who have never heard "Jesus" outside of a swearing comment.

"On being Holy"

I'm taking question #1 ( page 194) .
I grew up with little church experience but that "little" left me believing,
"You don't drink, you don't chew and you don't run with those who do"
Christians don't go to movies and girls should dress modestly.

Holiness is not necessarily an outward appearance but an inward working of the Holy Spirit in us bearing witness of "whose" we are.  Our witness should not have to be the "Jesus" bumper stickers, religious t-shirts or the big cross we wear, but the "Jesus" in us, flowing out that whosoever we come in contact with might say "There's something different about you".

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pick Me, Pick Me - Chapter 2

"Least-chosenness"  - Love Kelly's humor and wit, but seriously I think we could all identify with being "least-chosen".  In the real world it happens, all the more why we need to see that He has chosen Us.

I hope you have taken the time to read and literally "dwell" in Psalm 139.  Stroll and linger in it, absorb it, inhale it, whatever.....please make it personal and refresh yourself in His love for you and your very "chosenness" in Him.

Lisha had shared with me a revelation about Psalm 23, one I'm sure we are all familiar with. Unfortunately it's the familiar ones where we seem to miss some of the best nuggets of truth.  Take verse 6 in your Bible, underline "follow" and in red above it write "pursue"  Read it again and understand that He is pursuing you, not following, but pursuing you.  That changes the concept for me and helps me to understand that He has always sought me out.  Jer 1:5 tells us again that "before I formed you in the womb I knew you"

Turn to page 193 in your books, there are 5 questions for chapter 2.  Would you choose one and comment today?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Where Are They When You Need Them? - Chapter 1

Welcome to The Fitting Room. We’re glad you’ve joined us. If you haven’t introduced yourself yet, please do so by commenting on this post or the one below it.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Colossians 3:12

I love the analogy that Kelly uses of clothing our spiritual being with Christian virtues and I can totally relate to the statement on page 21: “I think I have plenty of each [Christian virtues] when I don’t need them. It is only when I am in the situation that I discover that the one I need is the one that I am short of.” When someone runs their fingers down the chalkboard of my life, I see that my closet is full of black short-tempered garments and greatly lacking the color and vibrancy of patience and gentleness.

How about you, can you relate to this struggle? Have you also found yourself lacking in one or more of the virtues from Colossian 3:12? Let’s remember to start where Kelly suggested, at the beginning, as God’s chosen people. You are chosen dear sister! God picked you to be on his team. He loves you and welcomes you with open arms, even when you find yourself falling far short of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, or patience.
The question for today’s discussion: What spoke to you most in Chapter 1? Please share your comments by clicking on the comments link related to this post. If you have a prayer request, you may indicate this by clicking on the prayer request box below the post. We might not know what your request is or who clicked the box, but God does, and he will be faithful to meet your need as we lift it to him in prayer.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Fitting Room Starting Monday, April 18th!

We will be starting The Fitting Room by Kelly Minter on Monday, April 18th. We invite you to join us. On or before then, please read the first chapter which is an introduction to the study. There will be a post with a few thoughts on the introduction and an invitation for comments. We highly encourage you to make comments. This is how the interaction part of the group will work, and through our sharing we will be able to glean from one another.

We'll read chapters on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Posts to the blog will be made for each chapter on Tuesdays,Thursdays, and Fridays which you can comment on. This will give you two days to read each chapter and think through the questions, which can be found at the back of the book (pg. 193). There are 5 questions per chapter. Each blog post will focus on one or two questions. Please feel free to comment on any question from the book or to share other insights or thoughts that you have. We do not want any one to feel pressure so please know that you are not obligated to answer any question that feels too personal. Since we're not meeting face to face, the comments will be important in creating group interaction.

We are excited to go on this journey with you! If you are joining us, please introduce yourself through commenting on this post. Give us your first name, your favorite candy bar, and one other fun fact about yourself. Have fun with it and let's start getting to know each other!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I Am Chosen

As I was reading thru chapter one this morning in anticipation of our upcoming bible study, I always peek forward.  The one clear point that came to me.  "I am chosen"
He has chosen me!!  We need to get a grasp on that one thing, He has chosen us.

Might I suggest as you read Chapter One take a red pen and everywhere it mention's God's chosen, we have been chosen, write in red "I am chosen"....park on that, dwell on that, get that soooo into your spirit.

Read Psalm 139 and apply it to you personally.

I can hardly wait to get started next week.

Stay tuned here as we will be posting some guidelines for our study.

I'm so anxious to meet our new participants and dwell in His Word with you.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


 The light turned yellow, just in front of him. He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.

The tailgating woman was furious and honked her horn, screaming in frustration, as she missed her chance to get through the intersection, dropping her cell phone and makeup.

As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up.

He took her to the police station where she was searched, fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a holding cell.
After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects.

He said, ''I'm very sorry for this mistake. You see,.. I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping off the guy in front of you, and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the 'What Would Jesus Do' bumper sticker, the 'Choose Life' license plate holder, the 'Follow Me to Sunday-School' bumper sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk, so naturally...
I assumed you had stolen the car.''

Friday, April 8, 2011

Live as an Overcomer - Chapter 19

We could do a "drum roll" here.....We have made it!  To the end!
Although we have finished the book, I pray the book hasn't "finished" us.  Lysa has penned some great truths and principles for us and I pray you will find yourself returning and revisiting your book.  Be encouraged and strengthened in Him.

Psalm 107:17-19 can be our encouragement.
They cried (called out) to the Lord and in their trouble and He saved them from their distress.  He sent forth His word and healed them, He rescued them from their destructions (pit)

God so desires to rescue us, deliver us, heal us.  Our part - to cry out, acknowledge our need for Him, allow Him to be our rescuer. 

We need not walk alone.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Chapter 18 - Things Lost, Better Things Gained

"Standing in the place of repentance"

This truth/teaching has been lost in many of our evangelical churches today.  It has been replaced with a "soft" gospel and "step" systems to work out your problems. 
There is much healing to be had in true repentance, turning away from and heading into the new that Christ affords us with His death. 

"His chiseling is full of truth that sets me free."

I prefer the translation that says "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32 KJV)  Being made free is much more a process than being "set" free and I believe wholeheartedly that He that began a good work in you (Phil 1:6) will continue a good work in you as you surrender to Him.  A process that works in us daily.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Comment Posts on this Blog

It seems that we've had some trouble with the blog accepting comments. A change has been made in the settings. If you have tried to leave comments on this blog and have been unsuccessful, will you please try posting one today? This will help us see if the problem with the comment posts has been cleared up.

Chapter 17 - The Very Next Choice We Make

"Unsettle Me"

I do think this could have been the title for this chapter. 

We can get too "settled" into our daily lives.  We let the "routine" of life take over our days, nights, time off, etc.  But let something break into that routine and we began to wince, sigh, moan, ok.......complain, stomp our feet, throw up our hands.....and then, maybe then, we cry out to God.

Don't get me wrong here.  I too like to be comfortable.  I enjoy a day that flows in peace, children that obey, husband that conforms (smiling here), dogs that are truly housebroke, budget that works, etc....you get the picture.  But in all reality, it's when those things get out of sync I realize my need to move closer to Him.  It's when your cup gets "unsettled"  that you can really see what's in that cup.

My prayer for you today is that you will read and re-read Lysa's prayer and add to it where you know He needs to unsettle you.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Why Diets Don't Work - Chapter 16

I'm not on a diet. I'm on a journey with Jesus to learn the fine art of self-discipline for the purpose of holiness. - Lysa TerKeurst

I think we'd all agree that diets can work, but not over the long haul. Yes, we'll lose weight if all we eat is bananas and cabbage, but can we really stick with that for the rest of our lives? I know I can't. If you've been like me, you've tried a few things and lost weight with each one, but as soon as you quit drinking the liquid shake or counting those points, the weight creeps back on.

What we're striving for is a long-term journey with Christ to take control away from food and put it into the hands of Christ. I don't think it's easy, but I do think we will reap rewards if we prevail. It's back to perseverance. As scripture says in the book of James verses 3 and 4. ...because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. And in verse 12 of that same chapter James says, Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised those who love him.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Chapter 15 - The Demon in the Chip Poster

"If no one sees you, then the calories don't count"

Have you fallen for this one, or should I say, how often do we fall for this thought.  Surely the candy bar we eat on the way home from the store won't matter that much.  Guilty! I'm guilty of this one.  Not so much now, but this can be a real "thief in the night" moment.  Secret sins.  Maybe it's not food for you, but other vices that we know are not pleasing to Him. 

"This isn't just a battle in the physical and mental realm.
This battle is spiritual as well.
Satan wants us to sneak things in secret."

This study has opened my eyes to more than just the "food" battle in my life, but other areas that I need to trust God in.  I pulled out the statement "Cravings that consume us when we are at our weakest points" , the key word here "weakest" or "off guard".
Satan lies in wait to catch us at our weak, off guard moments.  More so the need to be in the Word daily and filling our minds with His promises and provision. 

One of the suggestions I like to make for someone who isn't quite sure where to start in daily Bible reading, Proverbs.  This book has 31 chapters.  I suggest reading the chapter that coincides with the day of the month, so today you would read chapter 4, tomorrow chapter 5 and so on....Now if you miss a day you can choose to make it up or pick up on the day of the month again.   Proverbs has a lot of wisdom on dealing with people and life in general.  Proverbs 1:2 (The purpose) To know wisdom and instruction. To perceive the words of understanding,..... read on it's very good.

I pray you are encouraged today and the "demon"of temptation will be chased away as you apply what you have learned in our study together.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Ok ladies, here's your opportunity to get a free copy of this book for our upcoming Bible Study, scheduled to to start April 18th............

All you have to do is go to "Comments" and post your first name, city and state and tell us what your favorite bible study has been or will this be your first bible study.

Winner will be chosen from a random drawing and announced on Wed. so we have time to get it mailed out to you.

We'll be looking for you.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Emotional Emptiness - Chapter 14

Could you even read this chapter without a box of kleenex?  Did it "trigger" a memory or two for you? 

"Everyone has hurts from their past." - Lysa

My heart was touched as Lysa bared her heart feelings about her dad leaving.  For some of us we have heartwrenching stories about a dad that stayed physically but had no idea of the needs of his children.  We have stories of parents that pulled us back and forth across the country fighting over who had custody. This list could go on and on.

 I was talking with a dear sweet pastor's wife.  In the course of our conversation I told her I had recently lost my son.  With genuine compassion she replied, "We all have stories, don't we?"  That has stuck in my mind as I realize we all have something that we have struggled to deal with, get through and "see God's hand in".  How we choose to "let go and let God" do the healing and restoration  will affect us daily.

"To think on hard things keeps us in hard spots and only serves to deepen our feelings of emotional emptiness" - Lysa

Personal Reflections  #3
A mosaic is a work of art made up of hundreds or thousands of tiny, broken pieces of glass or ceramic tile. Lysa describes how God is making a mosaic of restoration and healing in her heart, gathering up her broken pieces and making them into something beautiful.  Can you imagine God doing something like this in your heart? 

If God used the broken pieces of your life to make a
beautiful image,
what do you hope it would look like?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chapter 13 Overindulgence

If we fail to understand how to fill our souls with spiritual nourishment, we will be triggered to numb our longings with temporary physical pleasures. – Lysa TerKeurst

There is some great wisdom in these words. When we find ourselves overindulging, the best thing to do is stop, take stock of what we’re doing, and figure out what our need is. Do we really need this second bowl of ice cream? What’s really going on? What longing are we seeking to fill with a temporary feel-good?

Do we really long for God? I’m discovering that I have a long way to go in this area, but the more I pursue Him the more I want of him. I love the verse that Lysa quoted from Psalm 42:1-2. As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

There’s an urgency in those words. Did you notice the question at the end? The Psalmist couldn’t wait to meet with God. My prayer for all of us today is this, “God, give us this kind of thirst for you. Give us a desire for you that consumes us. Overpower us with a longing for you that’s so passionate, we can’t wait to get on our knees before you. Fill our desires with you and be our portion.”

May the words of the song above, fill you today as you think of God as your portion. Seek him.

Chapter 12 - The Curse of the Skinny Jeans

"Tying my happy to food, skinny jeans or anything else sets me up for failure"

Did this speak to you like it did to me?  Over and over again I must ask myself, what do I "tie" my happiness too?  I so want to learn to be content with what He has given me, allowed me to have, allotted me in this life.  As I see what is going on in the world around us I find myself ever so thankful for our humble house on the hill, the dated car left to me by my dad and a job that meets our budget each month.

A few years ago we were forced to "size down".  We sold our large, custom home on acreage with a quality horse facility.  We sized down our horses, moved here with six.  The last thing I surrendered was my garage door opener.  I now park outside and scrape the snow and ice off, start the car at least 15 minutes before I have to leave.

We have slowly said goodbye to more horses and now waiting for the last mare to be sold.  I owned her dam and so have raised her from birth.  I will sort through my remaining tack soon to prepare for a "tack sale".  I wll caress my new saddle and smell in the leather, probably shed a few tears. But truly, I want my "joy" to be tied to Him.

I will find peace in contentment in that which He allows me.  Not that having the horses was bad, neither is the food I consume.  I placed my whole being in those horses.  I spent every possible moment I could, training, riding, hauling and showing horses.
God has been gracious as He has slowly, lovingly allowed me to open my hands and let go of the reins.  I have replaced the leather of the bridle for the leather of my Bible and oh what peace that floods my soul.

I want to learn to "remain" in Him that my joy may be complete.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Stinkin' Rotten, Horrible, No Good Day

Chapter 11 made me think of the children's book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. The story starts out, "I went to bed with gum in my mouth and now there's gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning, I tripped on my skateboard..." Much of Alexander's troubles were due to his own choices and responses to events in his day. I think that's true of us as well. We make choices that push us further and further on a downward spiral until we eventually look around ourselves and wonder, "How did I get here? And how do I get out?"

I'm sure many of us can relate to Lysa's thoughts on those hard times when we just don't have it in us to fight this battle. Those high-stress times such as the loss of a loved one, past-due bills with no income, a serious illness of our own or of someone we love, or times when depression attempts to suffocate us with ever-increasing darkness. During these times, we must lean on God and his strength to make healthy choices.

What are our prayer lives like? I think this idea of sitting quietly before the Lord is full of power. Sometimes we spend so much time talking, listing need after need, that Holy Spirit can't get a word in edge-wise. Sitting silently before him allows God to work in our hearts. We calm our minds and spirits down long enough that we can finally hear his still small voice. Once we have ears to hear, then He can teach us new truths to combat those lies that have had a death-grip on our thinking.

I want to issue a challenge to all of us. Let's find some time today to just sit quietly before the Lord. No laundry lists. No I need, or I want, or please do. Just sit and allow the Holy Spirit to touch our inner most beings.

Stinkin'. Rotten, Horrible, No Good Day - Chapter 11

I kinda had a "stinkin', rotten," moment yesterday....oh, yes, I caught myself thinking "How would I apply Bible Study to this?"  It wasn't about food.  It was about life, real life and the situation at hand had me really frustrated.  It took me "off-guard" and made me really look at my attitude as I knew God was speaking to me at that moment. 
"So, Patti....where am I in this moment?"  I had some soul searching to do and found I really wanted to turn to Him with that irritation and He renewed my mind and spirit.
Not long after that I sat down to read today's lesson.......God is so good.  He knows what we need even before we ask.

Turn North!!! Oh I need this tattooed across my mind.   It's time to move on!
"an important part of turning north is taking off our masks and asking for help"
that's where this bible study can help you, here you have the opportunity to begin to unmask, step out and share.  It's so much easier to share in "comments" here than maybe in a group.  There's a button here to select if you need prayer, go ahead, check it, we  may not know who checked that button, but He does and we will pray for you.

Be still and know that I am God - Psalm 46:10

Do you struggle with this like I do?  This is probably my greatest challenge, "Be still".
It's when we finally sit down, shut up and be quiet that He can speak volumes to us.
As I was thinking on this I came across a few scriptures to share that may encourage you today.
Isaiah 30:7b "Their strength is to sit still"
Psalm 131:2 I quieted my soul like a weaned child. (weaned child)
Job 37:14 Listen to this, O Job; stand still and consider the wondrous works of God

Your  "heart shaped" cup....what have you been trying to fill your cup with?

There's just so much in today's lesson.  I hope this "Stinkin', Rotten, Horrible, No Good chapter really speaks to you in "Luscious, Glorious and Wonderful"  ways today.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

This Isn't Fair - Chapter 10

Saying "it's not fair" has caused many a girl to toss aside what she knows is right for the temporary thrill of whatever it is that does seem fair. - Lysa TerKeurst I was caught up in this very life's-not-fair pity party just the other day. My body seems to have a death grip on a certain jean size and takes forever, or so it seems, to show a difference in the mirror. The scale will show decreasing numbers rather slowly, but even after 20 pounds, I don't look any lighter and I can still be in that same sized jeans. I was complaining to God just the other day, "Why can't I lose weight like so and so? It just falls right off of her." Lysa's words in chapter 10 are timely for me.

"...once we taste the forbidden fruit, we will crave it worse than we craved it before." -Lysa TerKeurst

Lysa just keeps hitting the nail on the head. Last week was a good week for me. I resisted the table laden with sugary desserts in Sunday school and the various treats left in the staff lounge all week. I even threw out the muffin that a student gave me Friday morning. (I did this after school so as not to hurt the child's feelings). But around 4:00 or so, I got that afternoon lag. I was tired, stressed, had a to-do list a mile long and wondered if I'd make it home without a huge stack of papers in tow. I passed through the staff lounge and there were those soft, frosted sugar cookies just staring me down. They were the melt-in-your mouth sugar cookies, not some hard, crunchy things. I stood there and thought, "I've been good all week. One cookie isn't going to hurt things. I'll just have one and that's it." Well I really did just have one, but it sent me on a downward spiral and my dinner choices were anything but healthy. And my portion control flew right out the door. I woke up around 1:00 am with a stomach ache and heartburn and felt physically listless all day Saturday. I paid a big price for caving into the temptation. Instead of turning to Christ, I turned to a cookie and even though it was the melt-in-your-mouth kind of cookie, it led to a bitter taste. All it brought was a guilt-laden conscience and a loss of all self-control for the next several hours. The price was not worth the few moments of taste-so-good. So what's your go-to script going to be? I really liked Lysa's prayer on page 102. It sets a good example for us and can be a springboard for our own go-to script. Mine might go something like this: "God, that _______ looks really good right now. I feel powerless against it. Please strengthen me and make your power perfect in my weakness. I resolve to take care of your holy temple and make the right choice here. Show me the way of escape so that I may honor you." I think if I had prayed that prayer on Friday, I would have kept walking and left the cookie there, or better yet, thrown the whole thing away because there's no way I would eat it once it hit the trash can. I encourage you to come up with your own go-to script so that you are prepared the next time that unhealthy choice rears its ugly head.

Weekend Tidbits

I thought I might share some ideas on "my plan" and how it works for us.  My husband and I started this together last year. He lost 30 lbs and I lost 26.  It has been the only "diet" or eating plan he has ever been successful with for any extended time.

As I have said and I'm sure each of you would agree, Diets Work.....but only as long as you stay "on" them....So we knew we needed a life change not another "diet".  We happened to see Roger Troy Wilson on a tv program, became interested in what he had to say.  Pat wanted to order the book and I thought "just another diet" but if Pat was willing to try it I would too.  It went against some of the ideas I had from other diet plans but I was willing to help my husband try this thing.  Success! And ladies it changed the "cooking" thing at my house.  I do not have to prepare supper every night!!!

Now I know for you who have children at home still you will have to modify this to fit their needs as well.  You would still prepare meals for them, but you would learn to eat only the part of that meal that qualified on the program, saving the bulk of the  supper for your lunch the following day. 

The basic principle of our plan:
Breakfast: High fiber cooked cereal (steel cut oats)
sweetened with honey and a few raisins/ craisins and cinnamon
Fruit smoothie ( I sometimes save my for mid-morning snack)
Lunch: All the lean protein you can eat!! Veggies and salad too.
(no potatoes, white rice or pasta or breads)
Dinner: Veggies, fruits, salads.......no protein at this meal
If you will "load up" on your good proteins at lunch you will
soon find you won't be very hungry at dinner as you are still
processing your lunch meal.
There's much more options, these are just our general schedule

When I do prepare our foods I cook extra, for instance I cook the whole 3 lbs of chicken at one time.  You already have the oven on, or the large pan warm, cook it all to use maybe in two or three recipes.  I have baked Chicken Parmesan and Honey Mustard Chicken at the same time for our lunches for the week. Bake two meatloafs, one for now and freeze one in personal size portions to use next week or later.
We have a recipe for lean yummy burger patties, we grill three pounds of these at one time. We package them individually and freeze them.  After a while you have a large assortment of yummy, healthy foods in your freezer to chose from.

For snacking we are allowed all the fruit ( or veggies ) you want, whenever you want them.  I have found that frozen red grapes are delicious and on those hot summer days can (can!) replace ice cream ( did I really say that?? I am the Ice Cream Queen!)

I plan ahead for that mid-morning snack attack.  I have fruit snack planned or my favorite is my Waldorf Salad: chopped celery, chopped apples, some raisins and walnuts and a couple tablespoons of cottage cheese (you could use lowfat yogurt here too)  I mix that together and voila!!! A low calorie, good fiber snack.
And that  "all so mean" afternoon craving we get......don't that just kill you, about 3:00 p.m. you know you just "got to" have something.....I usually have a small serving of cottage cheese and fruit.  If you don't like cottage cheese find a yogurt that does not have fructose corn syrup in it.  Or just eat you a big bowl of fruit.  One of the keys to this eating program, you eat fruit, lots of fruit, until you realize.......you quit craving sweets!!! Yes....the fruit will balance out your raging desire for all those sweets and when that desire rears it's head......you've got Made to Crave!!!! principles to rely on.

We all need a plan!
 With a plan and what you are learning in our bible study you can do this thing... 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Our next WOW Bible Study

Ladies........I have been blessed to have participated in two of Kelly's Bible studies, and I mean BLESSED.  She is the author of No Other Gods and Ruth, also others. I can say without a doubt this will be an adventure and blessing.

Our target date to start this study will be April 18th.  That gives you plenty of time to get yours ordered. (If you local ladies want me to order in bulk to save us shipping, let me know)

I see Lisha has posted her great Chicken Wrap recipe, it is sooooo good. I had a similar version for my lunch today before I saw the blog, truly our minds must run together.   You really need to try this one.

I'm finding it hard not to just read ahead in my book.  I'm loving the challenge that Lysa posses for us and find  myself going back and re-reading daily. 

Have you been challenged?  Have you seen some success and "change" of mind in your struggles and goals?   We are encouraged to hear from you, I've also added a new feature where you can just check a box if you are hesitant to comment and there's also one there for those who need prayer....let us know.  We may not know who checked that box, but He knows as we pray for you.

Caesar Wraps

Here's another healthy recipe to try. It comes from the recipe book Pier 1 Wraps by Mary Corpening Barber, Sara Corpening, and Lori Lyn Narlock.

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon orange juice concentrate
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 1/2 cups firmly packed chopped romaine
1/4 cup croutons
two 10 or 11 inch flour tortillas
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled & deveined
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt or 1/8 tsp regular salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil plus 1 teaspoon for brushing shrimp

Preheat grill or broiler.
Combine the mustard, citrus juices, orange juice concentrate, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt in a medium bowl. Gradually add 3 tablespoons olive oil while mixing with a whisk or a fork. Stir in the cheese. Set aside.

Brush the shrimp with the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil and season with Kosher salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Place on grill or under broiler and cook until firm and bright orange, about 2 minutes, turning once. Remove from heat and cut into quarters.

Toss together shrimp, romaine lettuce, and croutons in large bowl. Add the mustard mixture and toss to evenly coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the mixture evenly among the tortillas and wrap.

Variation: I don't like shrimp so I make this recipe with boneless, skinless, chicken breast that I cook either in the broiler or on the stove top and season with a bit of seasoning salt. I also use spinach wraps instead of regular flour tortillas. If you want to reduce the carbs, then skip the croutons and/or the tortilla and eat it as a salad. When I make this recipe, I triple it so that we have leftovers to enjoy the next day or two. If you're going to make more than your family can enjoy in one meal, leave the dressing on the side so that you can refrigerate the left-overs without the lettuce getting wilted. Hope you enjoy!

Friday, March 25, 2011

But Exercise Makes Me Want to Cry - Chapter 9

"Teach me Your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name.  I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, I will glorify Your name forever"
Psalm 86:11

This verse really spoke to me in our study today.  I want to emphasize "Your" here.
I see that we need to look to Him for our strength.  We must have an undivided heart to serve Him.  James 1:8 tells us that a double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
A divided heart/double mind.....they make us unstable.  I need to know His truth so that I will walk in it.

The big orange thing reared itself to me today!  On several occasions I was challenged to put this study to the "test".  I was made even more aware of how often I look first to food before considering prayer or scripture to apply to the situation.   I have to tell you, the victory was sweet!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Making Peace - Chapter 8

Define your week by obedience, not by a number on the scale.

The only true satisfaction we can seek is the satisfaction of being
obedient to the Lord.

Both very good statements and will be my theme for today and tomorrow and
maybe again and again.  Obedience in all areas of my life?  I have some work to
do, but through this study I feel I am gaining insight into that and see that we can
apply these principles to all areas of our lives.

Personal Flaws...Not to make trite of the point Lysa is making here, I did get a
chuckle on question 6.  My "beautiful?".........could use a little lift here .....

Ok, I just couldn't resist that today.

I do pray that each of you are encouraged and challenged by our study.

I got done early at work yesterday and all of a sudden I reverted to the old
habit thinking, " oh its a nice day, think I'll go get a treat before going home"
HA!!! I laughed back at the "tempter"......
 Living in victory tastes sweeter to me today!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I'm Not Defined by Numbers or __? - Chapter 7

My sense of identity and worth were dependent on the wrong things.

I'm not sure the "numbers" have been a source of my "definition" but this statement made me think hard about what defines me.   I am a social being, an extrovert, type A personality......I need people!! I long for relationship. I have cried out to God to find me a "place" to belong.  I remind Him of His word, do not forsake the assembling of yourselves.....and yet here we are tucked away on this mountain side, seemingly alone and I hear His voice "Seek Me. Find Refuge in Me. Look to Me to fill those voids in your life.  Seek ye first the Kingdom of God .......when you get that right, those other things will come.  God wants to be in communication with me.

I recently listened to the most interesting study on being "hidden with Christ".  The speaker spoke about those in the Bible who were "hidden" until God called them forth for His use.  I am encouraged to know that He knows exactly where I am and this is the time to refresh myself in the Word, grow closer to Him and more fit for service in this season of hiding.

What defines you today? Your "numbers", your title, your position, your "group"....?

I want to be defined as His.   I want to be a "Basket Case" ......and I want my basket to hold all those fruits......Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
 Oh ladies......persevere in Him.