#HisTable By: Julie Wicker #foodforHim By: Deborah Ard

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#HisTable By: Julie Wicker  #foodforHim By: Deborah Ard

#HisTable  By: Julie Wicker
Do you feel broken today?
When Jesus sat down at the dinner table with his disciples in Matt 26:26-28 Jesus took bread, and when he gave thanks he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body, then he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many of the forgiveness of sins”.

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#FlawsStitchedWithGrace By: Julie Wicker #FragrantOffering By: Deborah Ard

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#FlawsStitchedWithGrace By: Julie Wicker #FragrantOffering By: Deborah Ard

#FlawsStitchedWithGrace   By: Julie Wicker

When I was asked to give the sermon message in church recently, my initial reaction was no. I am not a public speaker. I had doubts and questions like, what if I cry and no one can understand me? What if I don’t have enough to say and church is out before 12:00? My devotion following these questions included the scripture from Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God. Guess what, the Holy Spirit got me through it without crying and we got out of church right on Methodist time. Go God.

I want us to take a closer look at my questions and discuss my inadequacies. Our calling is wrapped up in our obedience to God. In Ex 9:16 “I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that you will proclaim it.” We need to trust in God to raise us up. However, the devil likes to tell me otherwise. My past is full of wrong choices, disappointment, deception, addiction, heartache, and rejection. As Lysa Terkheurst tells us in her book uninvited, “A line in our past can turn into a lie, which then turns into a label we place on ourselves and at that point becomes a liability.” She goes on to say, “rejection steels the best of who we are by reinforcing the worst that has been said to us.”

As it’s said in John 10:10 “The thief (devil) comes to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they have life, and have it to the full”. Steven Furtick tells us in his “Graduation in Gratitude” sermon series that we need to “Set the Table”. We need to learn to have a heart of praise in the presence of our enemies. He is referring to Psalm 23:5 “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil: my cup overflows”. He goes on to say God makes the things that were to take us out, serve us for what God is calling us to do. In other words, God is going to use my past of wrong choices, disappointment, deception, addiction, heartache, and rejection to catapult me into a life full of grace.

Some of us are so wrapped up in our rejection and guilts. Pastor Ken Phelps preached a sermon on Dr. Jekyll meets Jesus. He said there are flaws in the fabric of humanity, Jesus is here to sew up those flaws for every one of us. We need to open ourselves to God’s grace and His glory. We need to let His forgiveness take place. In Eph 5:2 “And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God”. Just as the disciples were average men handpicked by Jesus himself, Lysa Terkheurst says “we may be overlooked by others, but we are handpicked by God”.

One of my favorite stories in the bible is of Ruth and Boaz. Ruth had stayed by her Mother-in-Law Naomi’s side even after the death of their husbands, Ruth 1:16 “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go, I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God”.  Do you feel like as a daughter, mother, wife, sister, that you make sacrifices for the ones you love? I would say most of my sacrifices are made from unconditional love, no strings attached just as Jesus loved. However sometimes my sinful nature kicks in and my sacrifices come with regret and what if’s? Resentment can leave a wedge in our hearts for Satan. I’m sure we all want a heart like Ruth’s. She even gleaned in the fields for her and Naomi to have food, Ruth 2:3 “So she went out, entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters”. To glean, means to pick up the leftover grains after a harvest. Do you sometimes feel like you are getting the leftovers? Maybe leftovers of other people’s blessings? Comparison with others can lead to an ungrateful heart. What matters more to God is what we do with our blessings. I need to remind myself daily to run my own race, Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”.

Ruth followed Naomi with blind obedience and bold faith. If we are obedient, serving and loving others like Jesus, we will be richly rewarded, Ruth 2:12 “May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge”. As Ruth obediently gleaned in the fields, God was working behind the scenes, positioning her for great favor, Deut 28:2 “All these blessing will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God”. Boaz was considered one of Ruth’s Guardian redeemers. In the same way, Jesus is our Guardian Redeemer, Ruth 2:20 “That man is our close relative; he is one of our guardian redeemers”.

I desire to be a woman like Ruth who is known for her noble character, Ruth 3:11 “All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character”. I picture Ruth to be plain yet beautiful. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Boaz had his eyes on Ruth at first glance. Proverbs 31:10 “Say a wife of noble character who can find? She is worth more than rubies”. Lord, sink this truth into my marrow. Christ is in me, I AM enough!

As I moved forward through the 2017 lent season, my prayer had been to follow God closer, to know His purpose for my life, and to have bold faith and obedience. Meanwhile I had an opportunity present itself that I did not feel qualified for so I covered this opportunity in prayer. Over a weeks’ time God turned my feelings of inadequacy to knowing I am the heir to God’s throne through His son Jesus Christ, therefore I am a favored daughter of the one true king. That same week as I got in my car, listening to The Message on my satellite Radio, the host said, “God loves you”, “He’s got a plan”, “He can be trusted”. I needed to hear this message. This Lent season has been very trying for me. The Devil has been attacking my thoughts daily. I need to remember God’s plan for my life isn’t always going to be easy. I can choose my thoughts in the process. Satan can tell me lies, but I don’t have to believe them. Through this opportunity, God has winked at me, that the path I want is the shortest route. Sometimes God wants to take a detour with me, grow my faith and confidence along the way. Just as Moses and the Israelite’s didn’t get a shortcut into the promise land, God is asking me to take the long route. This makes me wonder, what is God wanting me to experience? My prayer is for God to grow me where God wants me to be.

As I’ve journeyed to the cross during this season of lent I created a mantra for myself; “I can’t let the labels of my past taint who I am in Christ and my perspective of the cross”. My sister has written a devotion in the NIV bible for woman titled, “Make time for Spring Cleaning”. She compares her wardrobe to a collection of memoires becoming the woman God intended her to be. She says, “With each little memory stitched together like fabric sewed together with thread”. She goes on to pray that God will help us to make sense of our own beauty, of becoming the woman God made us to be. My heart’s desire is to keep growing my faith, becoming the woman God wants me to be. In the process, I choose not to let my perceptions of what others think cloud the truth of how God sees me. I am woman after Gods own heart! I am a Proverbs 31 Woman!

Are you feeling inadequate today? Are you needing God to sew up your flaws with His grace? Have you equipped yourself with God’s word so you can stand up against the schemes of the Devil?

Make a declaration with me today.

I can choose my thoughts! I don’t have to accept Satan’s lies!

I have victory in Jesus! Fear is a liar! Christ is in me! I am enough!

I praise my God because I am fearfully and wonderfully made! Psalm 139:14

The one who is in me is greater than the one who is in the world! 1 John 4:4

Gods not finished with me yet!

#Prayer #FragrantOffering   By: Deborah Ard

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for your unending love and grace. Thank you for your goodness and mercy.
And Lord I praise you for my flaws for I know You can use my shortcomings to bring you glory.
Lord may my ears, eyes and heart be open to your call on my  life.
May I listen for your guidance and when I hear your directions for my life, may I trust and obey.
Although I am undeserving, I know that whatever you call me to do, You will equip me with the abilities needed to tackle the task.
Lord I come to You with a humble heart to lay my flaws before You. Sew them together Lord so that I may be Your fragrant offering.
May I always run with perseverance in the direction of Your will. And may all that I say and do be a witness to Your love and mercy.
In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
#Worship with us

#ThisIsMyConfidence By: Julie Wicker #prepareusforLent By: Deborah Ard

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#ThisIsMyConfidence  By: Julie Wicker

This blog post is living proof that keeping a prayer journal is so worth being able to look back at Gods goodness and bask in His glory!

On 1/2/17 I made a commitment to fervently pray for my husband, Hollie for 30 days, which in turn on 1/7/17 led me to make a commitment to God to fast desserts for 40 days. Why might you ask? Hollie had been trying to get a job with Georgetown County and was now scheduled for an interview on 1/11/17.

The job would have awesome benefits that would soon become the desires of our hearts; health insurance for our kids which would be a huge blessing since we received notice as of September 2017, they would no longer be covered. Hollie’s new office would be just 15 minutes from home, allowing him an extra 1.5 hours in his day to spend more time with his family and save money on gas. Currently Hollie only has Christmas Day as a paid holiday and with the county job he would have all the paid holidays. Being in Georgetown County would mean assistance with carpooling our kids to and from after school activities.

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

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#Wordoftheyear By: Deborah Ard #Dance By: Julie Wicker

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#Wordoftheyear  By: Deborah Ard

“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.” John 17:13

We are now in the last days of 2016. Most of us are reflecting on the blessings and troubles of the past year as we look ahead to a New Year beginning. As I mentioned in our last blog post, I have been praying and meditating for several weeks now about choosing a word for 2017.  My goal was to choose a word that I would focus on daily amid the busy schedules that will ensue all too quickly. I have chosen the word JOY for my word for 2017. My prayer is that I will focus on the “full measure of His joy within me”.  My daughter Briley helped to inspire this word for me. When we were listening to our local Christian radio station during the Christmas season she asked me why a certain song was considered a Christmas song. I told her the song was about Jesus so that may be why it was considered a Christmas song. She said that means all the songs on this station are Christmas songs. I had to smile at her new insight.  After Christmas we were listening to the same Christian station and they were playing the music they play on a regular basis. Briley said, “Mama, every day is Christmas on this station!” What a simple and beautiful revelation. I realize Briley is so very right. Every day is Christmas to Christians. And we should live that way! Therefore I chose the word JOY to remind me daily to live out the promise of Christmas.

Have you chosen a word for 2017? If not, I encourage you to pray and meditate and consider choosing a word. I would love to hear from you about what word you choose. We can support and encourage one another. And sometimes we may need to remind each other to turn our focus back to our word. Because I must warn you, whatever word you choose will be the same word Satan will use to attack you. With that knowledge we must be sure to guard our hearts and minds and not allow Satan a foothold to use against us. This very thing happened to me when I first chose my word. God gave me my word and no sooner had I written it down than did Satan start playing havoc with me. I allowed him to stir turmoil with me about a situation which caused me to feel very down and sad.  Thankfully, as I had my morning devotion time, I read a scripture and devotion that comforted and strengthened me. I also reached out to a friend who had shared her word for the year with me. Her loving words were just what I needed to encourage me. She even brought me a gift as a visual reminder for me to use this year.

joy

So again, I encourage you to share your word with me or another friend. Let us tackle 2017 together as Christian friends. Let’s use our “word of the year” to change ourselves and as a result, change the world around us.

Mantra By: Julie Wicker

A mantra is a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in mediation. Its a God coincidence that Deborah’s word is Joy. The Holy Spirit has been nudging me to make a mantra based on Joy. Often I let my circumstances determine my joy. Billy Graham has said, “Happiness depends on circumstances; Joy depends on God”

“Dance through life, seek Joy in His presence”

This comes from scripture, Psalm 16:11 “You will show me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of Joy” and the song Heroes by: Amanda Cook “You taught my feet to dance upon disappointment”

#Prayer #Dance By: Julie Wicker

Father,

As I come before you, show me the path of life; that I might find the dance, for in your presence is fullness of Joy Psalm 16:11. I devote this time in prayer being watchful and thankful Col 4:2. Help me to focus on the blessings I receive within your full measure of Joy John 17:13. As I live by your spirit, help me to keep in stride with your spirit of Joy Gal 5:22-25. I long to learn contentment through all circumstances just as the apostle Paul has said in Luke 4:11-12, I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. Help me to find contentment in every situation, well fed or hungry, living in plenty or in want. I stand on your promise I can do all things through Christ who Strengthens me Phil 4:13.

In the sweet name of your son Jesus, we all say Amen

#Worshipwithus

Heroes By: Amanda Cook

#Seekhimdaily By: Deborah Ard #Passion By: Julie Wicker

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#Seekhimdaily By: Deborah Ard  #Passion By: Julie Wicker
#seekhimdaily   By: Deborah Ard

“I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.” Psalm 119:10

This is my favorite time of day. And I am sitting in my favorite place in our house. It is 5 A.M. and I am sitting in my big chair with my legs propped up on my ottoman. It is Christmastime so I the lights of the Christmas tree are shining along with a candle that is lit beside me. You may ask what in the world am I doing up so early and saying such craziness that it is my favorite time of day! It is my favorite time of day because from 5 A.M to 6 A.M. is my time with God. I choose to get up at 4:30, yes craziness, take a shower and then hurry downstairs to start my day. I sit in my chair with a cup of coffee in hand and my Bible and journal across my lap. One the table beside me I have a candle I sometimes light, several devotional books I may choose from to read, and pens and pencils for underlining or  jotting notes. Recently a special friend gave me a wooden cross made from olive wood that fits perfectly in the palm of my hand that I sometimes hold as I read, pray and meditate on His word. This is my favorite time of day because it is my time to “be still and know that He is God “(Psalm 46:10).  When I first felt the nudge to get up earlier to spend time with God, it was a struggle. I was not a morning person! I liked to stay in my warm bed as long as possible and once up I didn’t like to talk to anyone for a while. Plus, I had no idea what I would read or study.  However, as I was obedient and faithful at getting up He was faithful to guide and direct my study. And now I really am a devotion junkie! Thanks to technology I now am able to read many devotionals from my phone. I receive some by email and others are on apps I have downloaded. I am never disappointed when I read through the devotionals. Many times a theme is present in several of them for a particular day. Or sometimes only one will strike a chord with me. But always, God uses this time each morning to speak to me. He sometimes speaks to me about a difficult situation I may be dealing with or an area that I need to improve and grow.  Usually a certain scripture stands out and that is the one I usually post on Facebook to share with others. When I first began sharing scripture on Facebook I was scared to death that others would think I was crazy or trying to act ‘holier than thou’.  However, I truly post scripture out of obedience to God. I believe that was His way of easing me into writing this blog…another scary endeavor. However, as usual God has blessed me for stepping out of the boat and following His guidance. A dear friend of mine challenged me a little over a year ago to not only choose a scripture of the day but to also choose a word for the day. That practice has become a daily routine now and my word of the day challenges me to stretch and grow. I often record my scripture and word of the day in my journal. Writing it down helps to hold me accountable. And now I share not only my scripture but also word of the day with several people each day. See how God has taken a simple morning routine and blessed and grown His ministry! I have recently read about choosing a word for a new year so stay tuned for my word for 2017.

What about you? Do you have a daily time to be still and know He is God? Is your time morning, mid-day, or evening? If you do not have a specific time of day set aside to spend with God I encourage you to pray about beginning. Ask God to pinpoint a time the two of you can grow closer and know that it may not be a time that you find easy or convenient at first. Choose a spot for your time with God. Be sure it is cozy but not too comfortable that you will fall asleep. Create an area that has everything you need to make this time successful. Select some resources to read, sign up to receive emails, or download apps. I receive emails from The Upper Room, Proverb 31 ministries, and Christine Caine. I have the following apps; Joyce Meyer Ministries, First 5, and Daily Hope with Rick Warren. I also have a Bible app. Gather some pens, pencils, highlighters. You may want a notebook or journal to write down things that stand out or speak to you. I have recently enjoyed lighting a candle during my special time with God.

If you begin a special time with God I promise you He will bless you through your faithful routine.  He will grow you spiritually and He will speak.  And beware…He may just ask you to step out of the boat in faith and do things you never thought possible. Just ask me….now I am a morning person. 

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

#Prayer

#Passion   By: Julie Wicker

Father,

We dedicate this time to seek you with all our hearts, keeping your commandments so that we may not stray. Ps 119:10. Create in us a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within us Ps 51:10. Make your word come alive in us so that we burn for you Luke 24:32. Help us to be still in your presence and know that you are God and we are not Ps 46:10. In receiving your kingdom, one that cannot be shaken, may we always be in awe, serving you with grace, oh Lord our all-consuming fire Heb 12:28-29. We are zealous for you and desire to serve you fervently Ro 12:11. As we seek your kingdom and all your glory, may your favor shine upon us today Mat 6:33.

In the name of Jesus

Amen

#Worshipwithus

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#InTheMiddle By: Deborah Ard #Intercessors By: Julie Wicker

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#InTheMiddle By: Deborah Ard #Intercessors By: Julie Wicker

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#InTheMiddle By: Deborah Ard

Recently, I found myself at a ball field with both of my children playing games at the same time. They were playing on fields that were not side by side but diagonally across the park from one another. As a mom, I could not justify sitting and watching one child play and totally miss the other play. So I stood in the middle. There in the middle I could see both fields from a distance.  I began there by myself, but very soon I had several friends, whose children were not playing that night, come and stand with me in the middle. I have to say it was very comforting to have friends standing with me in the middle. When I was turned watching one child, a friend would fill me in on what was happening on the other field.  When the games were over, I could not say I had seen every play of both games, but thanks to my friends in the middle with me, I was able to “see” both games. As I reflect over that night, I realize how important it is to have “friends in the middle” with us all the time. We each need supportive and encouraging friends in every aspect of living. We need friends to help us “see” the game when we aren’t able to focus on it ourselves.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: if either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.  Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.  But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

So we must bind ourselves together with other Christians, in friendships that love, support and encourage one another in our day to day struggles. Today I ask you to examine your relationships. Who stands in the middle with you? Take the time today to thank those friends who strengthen you. Let them know how much you appreciate their insights. And do you stand in the middle with someone? Examine what kind of friend you are to others. Do you offer words of love and encouragement? Perhaps this is an area that you need to work to improve. As you examine, remember that no matter what, we all have the One who stands in the middle with each of us! “So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 We are not alone! So today, take comfort in knowing He is always with us in the “middle” of life. But also, look for ways that you can stand with others in the “middle” of their lives. Be a friend that others can count on to help them “see” the game of life.

 

#Prayer #Intercessors By: Julie Wicker

Father,

Just as you offered your son, Christ Jesus to be raised to life, at the right hand of your throne to intercede for us Ro 8:34. You have called us all to be intercessors. What a wonderful and exalted privilege we have in being able to come boldly before your throne with our prayers and requests Heb 4:16. You say two are better than one, equip us to lift up our family and friends and when feeling overpowered, we can defeat the enemy together, we will not feel broken in Jesus name Ecc 4:9-12. May we confess our faults to one another and pray for one another that we may be healed, and us as the righteous man offering effectual fervent prayers availeth much James 5:14. And when we feel alone we will not fear, for you are always with us. We will not be dismayed, for you are our God. Strengthen us today and uphold us with your righteous hand Is 41:10. In the name of Jesus Amen

#Worship with us I Am Not Alone By: Kari Jobe