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Hopefully not to confuse anyone who may come here for an occasional read I have started a second blog for Central Oregon Christian Women Fellowship. The layout techniques of the other blogspot is easier for me. I can email posts at any time and it just seems easier for me. Some day I’ll get the hang of utilizing this format and maybe have both of them going for us.

In the meantime go to http://COCWF.blogspot.com to see all my latest posting that you won’t see here. I’ll get the two in coordination with one another some day. it gives me something to fiddle with. Ha Ha.

In Love W.I.T.H. Jesus,

Karen J. Gillett

This year’s retreat really has me thinking about our testimonies. I think we have it all wrong about what our testimony is all about. We think we need to have a big wild story to tell that had a dramatic miraculous ending but that isn’t the truth. Each of us have our testimony about things we have gone through. I have gone thru epilepsy and being disabled for 12 years of my life. That is a testimony I can give to those going thru the same thing. I now have cancer another testimony I can share with others on how I am able to survive emotionally this devastating disease. My family has suffered under the rod of financial difficulties, that is a testimony that can be shared on how we made it thru together as a couple.

I can’t imagine there are too many people out there that haven’t gone thru something that they could share with others. The sharing of how they survived, what they did to make it, how God helped during this time, and the end results. We don’t need a dramatic ending and a miraculous ending to have something worthwhile to tell.

I would like to hear from you on what your testimony about what Christ has done in your life to walk you thru situations after situations. Put your testimony in the comment section, I want positive outlooks not negative feedback about what Christ didn’t do for me. I can name some times where I was mad at God that he wasn’t doing anything in my life, why wasn’t he answering my prayers, why wasn’t I good enough to be blessed. At the time I was feeling that my testimony would not have been a positive one. Time had to pass before I could see what God was up to, before I could see the lies I believed, before I grew up enough spiritually to know God had everything under control. His control, not my control. Definitely a negative turned positive and that is what I’m looking for if you wish to share what God is and has done for you in a positive manner.

Women Retreat this year is September 14,15th

It’s one week after the normal date we have it. I’m so excited. This means I can go this year. Unfortunately it might mean another can’t. What  best , however, is those who can go should in order to fellowship with our sisters in Christ whenever we get the opportunity.

More details of who is the speaker and such to come when I get them.

 

Karen J. Gillett

Retreat has come and gone as we knew it would. This year I got to sneak in with a salad in one hand and my camera in the other. I couldn’t stay long but I got pictures this year! Nanner nanner nanner. I’m excited anyway. I wish I could have stayed longer than I did. What I heard from the speaker on Friday she really had a good message to tell. It looked like there were lots of women intensely enjoying it as I was.

Thanks to the host church who put on such a successful event.

Now on to the pictures!

One of several speakers chosen for the 2011 Women's Retreat

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Class time full of listening ears

3. May 17th sword of the day.  Today the sword I draw from my Bible reading comes from Psalm 31:19. It talks about, “Great is God’s goodness which He’s laid up for those who fear Him.” Did you hear that? Great is His goodness. God’s goodness isn’t limited. It isn’t restricted to some who fear Him and not others who fear Him also. It’s great, enormous, tremendous, spectacular, huge, and immense, It is something that will never run out. Satan will try to tell us otherwise. He will tell us we have been excluded from God’s goodness. Don’t believe the Father of lies, Satan. As long as we fear the Lord His goodness never runs dry. It’s not a matter of being afraid of God but fearing Him is an act of respect knowing He is the superior one. Knowing He could end the existence of the earth and its entire context in a heartbeat if He wanted. A Heavenly Father capable of punishing us when we do wrong, loving us when we mess up, and forgiving us when we come to Him on bended knee. His goodness is our reward for doing our part. Praise the Lord.

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Sword of the Spirit

All throughout the Bible are promises made by God. They are ones that have or will eventually come true. They are the fighting tools we need to use to stand up against Satan to fight our way to victory in Christ.

Promises such as the one in Psalm 2:12b “Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.” That is a promise to us that those who put their trust in God will be blessed. We need to claim that promise, believe in it, and use it to fight against those moments in our lives when we aren’t feeling so “blessed.”

During the time of my cancer diagnosis the last thing I felt for a moment or two was blessed but I was. God hadn’t forsaken me. I didn’t show up on His hit list of people to bring down. He was there all along; I was just temporarily distracted from that truth.

This is why we need God’s Holy Word to keep us aligned with His thinking, His perspective of things. When we do this we have our fighting tools in place to fight against those temporarily distracting moments and get back to where we need to be. To the place surrounded by God’s promises, His strength, love and mercy.

According to Ephesians 6:17 The word of God is the Sword of Spirit. It is what Christ used to fight Satan when He repeatedly told him, “It is written.” It worked for Christ and it will work for us. Just like any tool it is one that is often abused. We like to pull out scriptures to prove our point or make ourselves look good but that is not their purpose. His words are there to guide us, to strengthen us, to use against Satan and his filthy lies.

Therefore ladies say what Psalm 45:3 says, “Gird Your sword upon Your thigh, O Mighty One, with Your glory and Your majesty.” Then pick up His Word and fight along beside Him to a victory yet to come.

If you watch anyone conducting a sword fight the tools they use are sharp and strong. They have the ability to pierce anything. That is the way the promises of God are. We need to use them as a sword with the ability to pierce anything that goes against God. We can’t use it as a noodle that is flimsy as a nerf toy for a three-year-old child.

When we use these swords we need to say them like we mean them as we wag our finger in Satan’s face and firmly repeat God’s promises to us. So let the sword fight begin, dust off your Bible’s, open it wide and draw out the swords with me that we can use to stand our ground against the attacks of Satan.

Sword Archive

Sword #1

There is no want to those who fear the Lord.           Psalm 34:9

Satan would love nothing more than to tell us there is a lot of our wants that aren’t being met. That Christ doesn’t care about us. We could all sit down and make a quick list of all our wants that God has filled.

The want in this promise is far different that want we list as our “want list.” I want to be cancer free. I want to be skinny. I want to have a great singing voice. That’s my want list but what God is telling us that if we fear the Lord we don’t need anything else. We don’t need to “want.”

Our biggest want, whether we know it or not is a spiritual want. A want that is built in to us that we seem to search to fill all our lives. With God in our lives that want is filled. It won’t get rid of my cancer or make me skinny upon demand but it takes care of something far more important, my eternal salvation and the health of my soul.

Whenever Satan tries to trick us into thinking our want list is more important we need to stand up to him and tell him to his face, “There is NO want to those who fear the Lord.” In other words, I have all I need in Him. The rest are mere blessings that can come my way.

 Praise you Jehovah Jerah, our provider. The source of all we need!

Sword #2 for May 3rd  Today the sword I got out of my devotional reading is the fact that the Holy Spirit gives new life from heaven. (John 3:6) Too often in life Satan tries to convince us we are stuck in the life we have that there is no such thing as a “new life.” We also fall too easily for the trap that once we do accept Christ into our lives that instantly we change into something of spectacular measures.  Our new life is born when we accept Christ and it takes time to develop like our physical life does. Claim that new life, claim that promise, and draw that sword whenever you think you’re stuck where you are with no hope for something better. In Christ, we have something better. A new life worth reaching for, custom designed just for us.

If we’re going to become the women God wants us to be, we’re going to have to begin being consciously selective, which means we ask ourselves questions like: Is this the best use of my time, money, energy, and resources? Is this God’s highest and best for me? Is it the healthiest thing for my spirit, soul, and body? … Do my daily choices reflect my true values or am I taking the path of least resistance simply to avoid the hard work of making conscious selections?” by Donna Partow, Becoming the Woman God Wants Me to Be: A 90-Day Guide to Living the Proverbs 31 Life

 Years ago when trying to sort out the question in my mind about “What would Jesus do?” I found myself hung up on the question in certain situations. There were things going on that I didn’t have a clue what Jesus would do because He never would have allowed Himself to get into the siutation in the first place.

Over and over again I tried to figure out, “What would Jesus do?” After several attempts of trying to figure it out I began to look at it from a different angle. In the process of studying the stories of Christ in our Bible study and looking deeply into the characteristics of Christ I soon found my new approach. I started asking myself after I did something, “what characteristic of Christ is that?”

Talk about bringing a conviction to my heart. If I couldn’t instantly name what I did, thought, or said as a characteristic of Christ I knew I had just been busted for wrong behavior. Indeed for me as hard as it was to try and name what Jesus would do I found it easier to label what I just did Christ-like or not. I even made a bracelet that had WCOCIT on it to remind myself to ask that simple question in all I did and said.

Too often we think that being a Christian comes to us the minute we arise from the waters of baptism as if it was projected to us by some type of osmosis. As much as we would like to believe otherwise it’s not that simple. It takes a conscience effort on our part. We need to stop and think about what we are doing. We need to ask ourselves some questions. It doesn’t matter if it’s the questions Donna has given us in her quote or ones we come up with ourselves.

One Christian speaker I listened to once referred to this as “accountability” questions. His recommendation was to make a list of questions and give them to the accountability partner of your choice to ask once in awhile. Taking on the challenge I wrote down my questions and picked my accountability partner. Too bad the list of questions never got to her. Hum, no wonder one of the questions on the list was “did you follow through with what you started this week?”

We question God, we question where we think earth came from, we question our spouse’s behavior and what are kids are thinking but we don’t question ourselves enough. We need to live intentionally especially in our Christian walk and that takes effort on our part. Some of that effort can come through the questions we ask ourselves. “Did I glorify God today? Did I walk in His will? Am I doing all I can to further His kingdom? Is that really a characteristic of Christ?”

We have checklists for our groceries and bills why not a checklist for our soul and spirit. All it takes is a simple inventory that will tell us where we are and where we are likely to go if we don’t pay attention.  Its not a checklist to use as evidence against us but one to further our walk towards the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Walk, listen, and learn, it often starts with a question. “Where do I want to go in life?” Towards Jesus is my destiny of choice.

© 2010 Karen J. Gillett @ Pencil Marks and Recipes Publishing

 “Sufferers want to be ministered to by people who have suffered. They are suspicious of people who appear to live lives of ease. He (God) has given a role to messy, wimpy people like me. He has made us His ambassadors of reconciliation, and suffering gives us credibility with a hurting world and demonstrates God’s sufficiency to meet our needs.”

by Stephen F. Saint in his essay, “Sovereignty, Suffering, and the Work of Missions”

Not long after my 2nd brain surgery that took care of the remaining 10% of my epileptic seizures I thought, “Wow what a wonderful thing it would be if what I went through cured all epileptics world wide.” It wasn’t a thought of heroism but one of pity, concern, and comfort contemplating only one person having to go through what I did in order for all epileptics to be suddenly cured.

Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way and to this day my niece still suffers herself from seizures. What I went through cured only me but there is something I can do. I can comfort others dealing with similar situations and minister to them. Since we learn and mature from our struggles perhaps that is a better way to go.

Those who have survived the storms in life whether it is marital problems, financial difficulties, prodigal children, health issues and such make good bridges for those coming along similar roads. It’s our job once we are through to turn around and lend a helping hand to those who have yet to cross. One of the biggest things it does for them is to let them know they are not alone.

As fellow sufferers it becomes our task or witness to show others they can make it across. The example we set before them in this Suffers Anonymous club are part of the planks laid down to help others across.

Years ago when man was heading West the best way to go was to find a scout who had been there and done that and knew what to expect. It had to be extremely comforting to know that the scout leading them knew what they were doing because they had been through it before. Having an experienced scout never stopped a lot of the tragedies and heartaches that would occur but it helped in difficult times.

Once we have gone through our suffering of whatever kind we don’t have to go out looking for a little old lady to help cross a street or anything, the opportunities will come. In the midst of my greatest marital struggles I was surprised to see and hear from people I never even knew traveled the road I found myself currently lost on. They took me by the hand and guided me through some pretty rough waters.

Their suffering didn’t set up a cure for all married couples who followed them but what they got out of their own journey would help another along. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians told them, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Cor 1:3,4 (NKJV).

Believe it or not our idea of comfort in suffering is to not have to suffer. We figure if God really loves us and wants to comfort us then He should take our troubles away. People, people, people when will we ever learn.

Suffering needs to be used as a tool to teach us what we need to learn in order to pass on that knowledge to others traveling down similar roads. It’s not a time to kick those who are down and think of ourselves as a failure. A failure is someone who when they fall they stay down. Comfort sets us up on our feet again, it’s the pit stop needed to gain strength in order to finish the journey not quit it.  It’s the mile-marker used to see where we are and how far we have yet to go. It’s a light in a dark tunnel that gives us hope.

Comfort can go a long ways, may we use it wisely but most importantly may we accept it just as well. Too often we want to wallow in our self-pity and refuse to be comforted. Boy, I’ve been there and done that and it didn’t work. No, the better thing to do is to accept it, use it, and make a bridge out of it to help others across life’s roughest waters.

The only toll on this bridge should be the price we had to pay to learn what we did in order to pass it along. 

© 2010 Karen J. Gillett @ Pencil Marks and Recipes Publishing