I've just listened to 2 podcasts from Bible Study Podcasts on the above verse. I really like the guy who does these podcasts. I stumbled upon them on iTunes. Last night I listened to a podcast on Romans 5:19, and decided to back up and listen to the whole series on Romans 5.
Here are some thoughts I had while listening that I want to remember:
We can't be righteous on our own.We can only find peace by putting our trust in God.
Our words are external evidence of God in our lives....are they always?? We need to be aware of what we say, because people may be turned on/off to Christianity because of our words and actions.
Our works are not what saves us, but they are evidence of our justification.
If we reject God's peace offering(i.e.:,Jesus), we are saying we want to continue the war within us.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I've just listened to 2 podcasts from Bible Study Podcasts on the above verse. I really like the guy who does these podcasts. I stumbled upon them on iTunes. Last night I listened to a podcast on Romans 5:19, and decided to back up and listen to the whole series on Romans 5.
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 10:30 AM
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Is He? Is He truly YOUR Messiah? I hadn't thought much about this exact phrasing until recently. In fact, I took offense once when someone was arguing about what MY God had done for someone else. I guess I took it, at the time, to mean more like the person was referring to Him only being God to me, not to them. But I look at it a little differently now, from a different perspective. He IS my God, whether or not others accept Him. He is Messiah to me....He came to deliver ME from sin, and loves ME unconditionally. Even if He were not going to save anyone but me, He still would have come to Earth and died on the cross for MY sake. That is some overwhelming and powerful love! And to think that He is capable of loving each one of His children in this manner....just wow! Even those who might irritate me, who I might not see tons of worth in, to Him, they are each as precious as me and on equal footing with me. Humbling, isn't it? And to think He celebrates just as much when someone who has lived a sinful life comes to Him as He did when I professed my faith in Him.....that is some mighty love!
If you are a parent, think of how much you love your children. You don't love each one more than the other, but it is different kind of love you have for each. And though you may wonder when you have a second child how in the world you can love him/her as much as you do your first, your heart has a fantastic capacity to increase your love. You can love many people in many different ways. That is how God is....we were created in His image! Isn't that just awesome and wonderous?? Amazing!!
Though I have had some news brought about lately that brings some uncertainty in my schooling, I am so blessed. I have a healthy and happy family who love each other, we have steady jobs, we have income each month, we have jobs we love, we have a home and more than we need to provide for our needs. He is ever so gracious to us, and continues to shower us with His blessings even when we fail to show him our gratefulness. I know that He has a plan to prosper me and not to harm me. I know that He has my interests and desires at heart, but they may not be completed on my timetable, but on His. Though this is difficult, I can withstand it knowing that He is with me. On Friday when I was so distraught, I kept asking him to just hold me and wrap His loving arms around me. He did. He brought me rest, and with it, some of His peace. How blessed I am with this knowledge, and once again the sadness came to me for those who don't know Him and don't know His comfort. It makes going on in the face of uncertainty and adversity much, much easier!!
My prayer for each of you today, whoever and wherever you are, is that YOU know HIM as YOUR Messiah. He is greater and can do more than we can even imagine!!
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 10:35 AM
Monday, October 13, 2008
Meditate on the title "Most High." What does it mean to you? How do you or will you incorporate it in your worship?
To me, the title Most High means that God is above all--above all governments, all the planets, all the stars, all that we as humans know and can even begin to perceive. It amazes me to think that at the same time that God is the Most High, he is also totally attainable by us! He is High but He has made himself humble for us. He has done this even though He would NEVER have to, but because He desires a relationship with us! Isn't that just awe-inspiring??
I need to certainly put Him above my own selfish needs and desires since He IS the Most High. Since He has humbled himself, how much more I need to show Him my love, allegiance, and appreciation by worshiping Him in ALL I do and say and even think! My life should be a constant act of worship and praise!
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 5:01 PM
Saturday, October 11, 2008
I haven't shared on here about the irritating and debilitating rash I have been dealing for months. If you want/need to know more, please leave it in comments or email me. The important part is that I covet your prayers! Yesterday, I found out that nothing had showed up as an allergen in skin tests. I could have cried in front of the doctor, I was so torn up. I came home and cried and cried and cried. My eyes were still swollen when I got up this morning, and I had stopped crying hours before I went to sleep.
I had my pity party last night, complete with panic attack on the way to Chris' Mamaw's house, where I made him bring me back home. I just could not face trying to converse and act like everything was okay when it WASN'T. I would have upset Mamaw, too, and I hated to do that. So I stayed here, watched Miss Congeniality and worked through some work-related emails, and fell asleep early. I know that Chris was worried about me. In 10 years of marriage, he had never seen me in such a state.
To answer some questions, this is not a hivey rash, it is more of a flat, dotty rash. I have been fighting this since mid-July. I have been told it was shingles (and took a round of Valtrex, I might add), taken one shot of steroids, taken two rounds of oral steroids, had a skin biopsy, been told I was allergic to Prilosec and then also all other class of acid blockers as well. ALL to come back to the fact I broke out AGAIN. It has been very trying, especially as I deal with my husband, almost 5 year old and 7 year old, church issues, starting back to full time first grade teaching, starting into a graduate program, and dealing with issues at work. So do ya see why I was pretty down last night??
But after some alone time and some intense prayer (read: begging the Lord), I feel much better today. I have put my big girl panties on and am dealing with it. Not that I'm not still discouraged, but I'm claiming healing in Jesus' name. I am asking everyone that I know to pray, and if I flare up again, I'm going to ask my dad to pray a prayer of healing over me. This is quite bold for a United Methodist born and bred girl to say all this, cause it just isn't usually our way, but I know that the Lord has Power over all, and I know He doesn't want me to suffer. If I have to start coming off my medications, then suffer it will be. I really fear for my mental health if it comes to that.
Will you please join me in this? Will you please pray that the Lord will take this rash from me, and that it will never flare again? I would so appreciate it, and will sing His praises when it happens!
You may read these same words on my other blog and if you frequent the same sites I do, may see it there too. Please forgive me for not restating this at every site. I thank you for your prayers again, and know that Jesus will be the conqueror in this!!
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 1:11 PM
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
"Jesus, I'm empty without you
And you're everything I need
Come with your grace
Come fill a space in me."
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 6:16 PM
Thursday, October 2, 2008
1. When is the last time you encountered a Fist Shaker? This may be a stranger to you or as close as a loved one in your own home. Does anything in our description help you to understand their animosity towards God? Are you able to have more compassion towards them?
Yes, I work with one. Any time anyone tries to discuss the Lord with him, he just turns off his usually very kind heart. I do have compassion toward him and pray for him to come to know the Lord, and for the Lord to melt the ice that has formed around his heart.
2. Does anything about Rahab's redemption strike a nerve? This may be a question you would like to ponder privately. Sexual sin and/or victimization can be an area where Satan has an enormous stronghold because it can hold so many painful and shameful memories. If Rahab teaches us anything, please know God can redeem any life and any situation, no matter how heinous it seems, and plant you unashamedly 'in the midst of Israel'. Rahab deserved death according to Mosaic Law, however she was shown nothing but lovingkindness by the God and nation of Israel.
I've long said that Rahab is the woman in the Bible that I can most relate to. I do not share specific similarities, but I do share the feeling that though I have made some not so great decisions in my life, the Lord forgives me and I can still be used for the good of His kingdom!
3. Is there an area of your life in which you feel you have come full circle? Where you've come to a place where everything and nothing are the same? (I'm thinking Lord of the Rings when Frodo goes back to the Shire after his long adventure. You have no clue what I just said if you are not an LOTR nerd so just ignore this if it doesn't make sense! :)
Ummm, not really..but I might as I ponder it! If I do, I'll be back to edit!
4. When you were born again, did you gain a new appreciation for your surroundings as Rahab did when she received the Promise along with the Promised Land? Has some old place, object, or relationship been redeemed by now serving a 'high and holy purpose'?
Yes, in a way. I can see the good in relationships, and why people were in my life when they were!
5. Believers can still be Fist Shakers. Do you have circumstances in your life in which you find yourself shaking your fist at God? Something He has asked you to endure, asked you to do, seemingly taken away from you? Can you see how shaking your fist is keeping you from your Promise? (I'm not talking eternal security here - Only abundant living.)
I've been guilty over the past few months of shaking my fist. This rash has really become trying to me. It is very hard to be a patient and calm teacher when all I feel like doing is laying down on an icepack or scratching the skin off my body. I pray that we are coming closer to a resolution to this, and have been asking friends for prayer that this is the case!
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 4:08 PM
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Yes, I'm way behind. Having to actually go to work does that to a person! I'm taking advantage of some relaxing time to try to catch back up.
First focus is on 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Here it is in The Message translation:
Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another--showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God's way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.
I found it very interesting that the author goes into the Greek and Hebrew origins of this passage and the wording that was used. This sentence especially struck a cord: Scripture, in essence, is the very breath of God! We cannot live without breathing, in the same sense, our lives will not run as smoothly without seeking God's breath through reading His word!
Next focus in scripture is Proverbs 13:21. I like the New King James Version wording of this one:
Evil pursues sinners,
But to the righteous, good shall be repaid.
Oooh, which one am I? Steppin' on my toes, there!
How much easier is it to sit and complain, to accept and pursue the victim mentality, than it is to go and sow the Seed of faith? How much harder it is to trust in the Lord and move forward!
Next Scripture focus is John 5:1-14. I've linked this one to Bible Gateway so you can read The Message translation of this if you wish.
Jesus is asking the same of us as he did the sick man: Do you want to get well?
This shouldn't be something that we have to think over, but I'll admit there have been times that I relished my 'sick' self and made no real move to get better. I'm very thankful that my Fibromyalgia type issues haven't reared their ugly head like they did this time last year. And I give God the glory for this! I need to share this blessing with more people, I know!!
Something else comes to mind that has changed in me in the past year: I was looking for some spiritual food this time last year, and I wanted someone to feed ME. In the past year, I've actively pursued more ways to be fed myself instead of sitting around and waiting for it. I've searched for ways to spend time with Him, and have been very blessed for it! Thank you, Lord, for your guidance in this!
Now on to the subject of the day. Sorry for the side trip, there!
Next Scriptural reference that touched me: Proverbs 16:20. Again, in The Message translation:
It pays to take life seriously, things work out when you trust in God.
What I want to remember from the author:
Gluttony is excessiveness in any area....it is lust, which simply means 'I must have it now'. Addictions happen because of a lack of self restraint. It is rooted in discontentment.
Next Scriptural reference: Phillipians 4:13: (The Message)
Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.
Something else the author brings us to remember: Every bad decision we make is merely an earthly attempt to fill a heavenly need.
Something to look up: knowing the works of flesh along with the Fruits of the Spirit so we can discern between our selfish nature and God's Spirit within us. Scripture reference is Galatians 5:19-23.
Our discontent can only be filled by being in agreement with God. Amos 3:3 says,
"Do two people walk hand in hand if they aren't going to the same place?"
Assigned reading: Matthew 25:1-13.
In your own words, describe what the spirit of Cain is. Afterwards, look at list next to Galatians 5:19-21 and Colossians 3:5-9. What do you discover?
Locate and share the Proverbs related to being self-controlled and disciplined.
1. How did the virgins fail to prepare for the coming Bridegroom?
2. Five virgins were described as sensible (depending on version) and the other, foolish. Which one typically describes your preparation methods?
3. Describe the state of mind each group possessed. Now describe the PRODUCT of each group’s labor. Notice the latter part of verse 10: ‘Those who were ready (had diligently prepared) went with him to the wedding feast, and the door was shut.’
1. How did you describe ‘the spirit of Cain’? What did you find as you compared it to Galatians 5:19-21 - the works of the flesh?
2. When your spirit is troubled, what (or whom) do you lean on for comfort and fulfillment?
3. What areas in your life do you lack self-restraint? In what ways can you apply self-restraint by the power of His Spirit in your role as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, co-worker or complete stranger?
4. Are you agreeing with God presently? Why or why not?
5. Have you confessed any lack of self-restraint to the Father? Now repent and ask God for ‘right desires’ and the strength to choose well that you may hold your head high as HE desires and has in fact, ordained for you!
6. In what ways can ‘being prepared’ crucify your desires to fulfill your old nature (Galatians 5:24)?
7. What does discipline look like to you? Do you remember the phrase from week 1?: ‘Discipline yourselves OR be disciplined’. What preparations have you made for skillful and successful living?
8. Proverbs 25:28 says: “Like a city breached, without walls, is a person who lacks self-control.” Has a personal lack of self-restraint rendered you and your family helpless, unprotected and an easy target for the Adversary?
9. Perhaps you have found yourself much like me at one point - with the victim mentality as opposed to the Victor mentality of Christ. What good seeds of self-restraint is He telling you to presently and actively sow?
10. Do you notice the direct correlation between gluttony and outbursts of anger? Notice that all SIN is the self-destructive seed sown to the flesh and contrary to the Spirit Who gives Life-Abundant. Won't you thank the LORD today for saving you into the Ark of His Kingdom by Christ and ask for 'deliverance from yourself'?
11. Would those closest to you commend or condemn your life as a Believer in Christ?
Memory Verse: Hebrews 13:5:
Don't be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, "I'll never let you down, never walk off and leave you."
Again, please visit Women of the Word for the complete study! I don't even begin to do it justice!
I'll be back with answers to the questions here later on! Have a blessed week!
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 5:27 PM
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
and the main time I do is when I have to go to a funeral. I don't understand the whys. I don't get it. I don't know understand the WHY of a 44 year old dying on his kitchen floor, nor the WHY of why when the rescue squad responded, they didn't enter the house with a stretcher, aspirin, nitroglycerin, nothing. I can't begin to grasp the lost of a husband, or of a father, or even of a stepfather. I don't know how to help other than to hug them and love them and pray for them.
I'm talking about the sudden death by heart attack of a coworker's husband. Tammie's daughter Nicole got home and found him on the floor and called her grandmother and called 911. They did everything that they possibly could for him, but he did not make it. I hadn't thought about this until Tammie's sister mentioned it to me today....the thought that he was laying there, knowing what was happening to him, and not being able to stop it. It breaks my heart.
Their daughter Emily just entered fourth grade. She has had anxiety issues for years....clowns, firefighters, loud noises. She was so excited week before last because they were going to stay in a cabin in Pigeon Forge and go to Dollywood. She commented that she'd never been there before because she'd always been scared to go. And now.....she just lost her daddy.
Emily was holding together pretty well. She was not in the chapel, but was in the foyer sitting. When I left, one of her friends was there with her. Nicole hugged me and started sobbing, and then told me how worried she was about Emily. Tammie is still in shock, but said she is ready to come back to school because she doesn't want to sit at the house anymore. My heart just breaks for them.
And then this makes me think about my own parents' mortality, and how much I am NOT ready to lose my Daddy. And I'm 35! To lose him unexpectedly at 10....I can't even begin to imagine. I can't fathom it, and I am so, so sorry that she has to deal with this. I worry about Nicole having been there trying to help him as he died.
I just don't know. I hurt for them. And I just don't know what else to say.
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 2:39 PM
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
1. Have you ever experienced trials that were best dealt with "in the family" for either your reputation's sake or God's? You may still choose to leave them there, but you are welcome to share if you are comfortable.
Yes, and no. As a pastor's child, even if things were dealt with privately, sometimes others had to know about them. As an adult, I have had people ask me if decisions I made negatively affected my father's ministry. If they did, I never knew about it. I'm sure somebody somewhere didn't like the way we dealt with things, but at the time, I think those people who knew us well knew that God's hand was very actively healing our family from hurts and was preparing us for LIVING.
2. Have you ever found yourself in a bizarre circumstance and later were able to walk someone through the same/similar situation? Did you recognize the hand of God in it?
Oh, yes! And I truly believe that this is one reason why I am here on this Earth today, to share my testimony with others and hold them up when they don't feel like walking on their own!
3. I was in my late twenties before I ever let myself believe God was for me instead of waiting to smack me upside the head every time I made a mistake. Do you truly believe God is on your side?
Yes. God is definitely on my side! Even through the roughest times I have had, I knew that God was hurting with me, not causing the hurt. He is SO good to me!
4. If God has ever had you in the Holy Spirit Chokehold (and who hasn't He?), how have you reacted to God's chastisement? Were you bitter? Brokenhearted? Grateful?
Oh, definitely grateful. I am so grateful that He cares enough about me to reach out and grab me!
5. Write a brief prayer of Thanksgiving for God's longsuffering.
Heavenly Father, I am so thankful for your unconditional love. I know that my hard headedness must get frustrating at times, but I know that you love me anyway. Thank you for blessing me over and over, even when I don't acknowledge your many blessings as I should! I love you, Father!
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 4:46 PM
1. What did the prophet reveal to King Rehoboam and how did the people respond? He revealed that the people had not been faithful to God’s word, so now he was going to abandon them to Shishak.
2. What did the LORD’s discipline consist of? He did not destroy them because they were repentant; he did make them Shishak’s subjects.
3. What was the extremely important Kingdom lesson that ADONAI wanted to impart to the people of Israel (vs. 8)? He wanted them to learn the difference between serving Him and serving human kings.
4. Take note that bondage is not total destruction; rather, it is the rod that God uses to help us identify that we are on the wrong path!
5. What Scriptures relating to being humble and obedient come to your mind? Hmmmm, none right away!
1. Do you feel inwardly that you suffer from a restless and wandering spirit? At times. Right now, no, but I have felt that way in times past.
2. Do you find yourself mostly living in a state of discontentment often looking for the ‘next thing’ to bring you joy and fulfillment? Identify these things by journaling them. I do look forward to things, but I think that I do live in the present pretty well, too!
3. Does joy and fulfillment presently pervade your spirit? Yes, other than with this stinkin’ rash!
4. Are many of your relationships troubled? No, I do not have very many troubled relationships.
5. Does jealousy over another's accomplishments or possessions rule your spirit? There are moments, but not regularly!
6. Are you frequently late and unprepared for each day? Umm, sometimes late, but usually pretty well prepared!
7. Is your home out of order? Unfortunately, yes!
8. Ask our Heavenly Father to help you identify what is acceptable and what is not in your life. He will not only help you identify these areas, but He will give you a conquering faith (1 John 5:3-5) that you may HOLD YOUR HEAD HIGH!
1 John 5:3-5
“The proof that we love God comes when we keep his commandments and they are not at all troublesome. Every God-begotten person conquers the world’s ways. The conquering power that brings the world to its knees is our faith. The person who wins out over the world’s ways is simply the one who believes Jesus is the Son of God.”
9. What are some ways the LORD might be calling you to actively sow good seed for a future and bountiful harvest (2 Corinthians 9:10)? “This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. “
I think God is calling Chris and me to continue to work with the children's programming in the church.
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 4:42 PM
Monday, August 4, 2008
I'm doing a study at a blog called Women of the World on The Way of Cain.
We read Ezekiel 16:49 in several different Bible translations. How revealing to know that Sodom's chief sin was one of PRIDE. And what does pride mean, other than God, my plans are better than yours? And this was a result of making poor choices.
Looking back at Genesis 4:7, God rebukes Cain for, as The Message calls it, pouting. Hmmmm, I've not ever done THAT, have I?! LOL This is the first mention of sin in the Bible, which I find interesting. Sin wasn't mentioned in the Garden of Eden, where we often think about Eve being the first to sin.
"The writer then goes on to talk about how it is not only enough to KNOW the Word of God, but it must be SOWN as well. We talked about this in Sunday School yesterday, about how just saying that we are believers in Christ is not the be all, end all. We must then go forward and share His word with others!
Next Biblical reference that spoke to me: Proverbs 4:25-27.
Discipline is not easy, but it is the way that will lead to the life God desires for us. See Hebrews 12:4-11. Oh my....that means that I'm gonna have to discipline myself to put God first....and that may mean--gasp--getting up earlier to read my Bible! EEK! Pray for me, readers!
Here's another one that I need to hear: Micah 6:8:
"But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don't take yourself too seriously--take God seriously."
Now for this week's assignment! We need to surf through the Proverbs and take note of Scriptures dealing with Pride, Humility, and the need for discipline and preparation.
We also need to read 2 Chronicles 12.
Here are this week's questions. I'm not going to answer them just yet, but I am putting them here so I can reflect upon them.
1. What did the prophet reveal to King Rehoboam and how did the people respond?
2. What did the LORD’s discipline consist of?
3. What was the extremely important Kingdom lesson that ADONAI wanted to impart to the people of Israel (vs. 8)?
4. Take note that bondage is not total destruction; rather, it is the rod that God uses to help us identify that we are on the wrong path!
5. What Scriptures relating to being humble and obedient come to your mind?
1. Do you feel inwardly that you suffer from a restless and wandering spirit?
2. Do you find yourself mostly living in a state of discontentment often looking for the ‘next thing’ to bring you joy and fulfillment? Identify these things by journaling them.
3. Does joy and fulfillment presently pervade your spirit?
4. Are many of your relationships troubled?
5. Does jealousy over another's accomplishments or possessions rule your spirit?
6. Are you frequently late and unprepared for each day?
7. Is your home out of order?
8. Ask our Heavenly Father to help you identify what is acceptable and what is not in your life. He will not only help you identify these areas, but He will give you a conquering faith (1 John 5:3-5) that you may HOLD YOUR HEAD HIGH!
9. What are some ways the LORD might be calling you to actively sow good seed for a future and bountiful harvest (2 Corinthians 9:10)?
ADDITIONAL TRUTHS FOR EXCELLENCE IN LOVE
1. Discipline apart from lovingkindness is legalism (unpleasant).
2. Lovingkindness apart from discipline is laziness (unproductive).
3. Kingdom Life (the Spirit-filled and Spirit-led life) is meant to be both pleasurable (Psalm 16:11) and productive!
4. Notice that to even be able to enjoy the good that results from our work is THE GIFT OF GOD. - Ecclesiastes 2:24; 3:12-13,22
5. NOT WALKING in the very pre-ordained purposes for our everyday will lead to a restless/wandering spirit as Cain had - never quite finding what his spirit yearned for, REST (Matthew 11:28-30).
6. WEEK 1 FOCAL PASSAGE: 2 Chronicles 12 - Rehoboam was not completely destroyed due to his pride. But after the people humbled themselves at the prophet Sh'ma'yah's warning, the LORD gave them over to slavery (He granted them a measure of deliverance - verse 8) SO THAT THEY WOULD COME TO APPRECIATE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SERVING HIM and serving earthly kingdoms! His discipline is meant to teach us something. (Hebrews 12:11). Are we receiving His discipline as one who trusts Him fully? (Proverbs 1:23)
7. The land of Nod (wandering) is where we as Christians often walk, not fulfilling the very purposes and receiving the freedom God has ordained for us (see Genesis 4:9-16).
8. We begin to walk in freedom only as we PREPARE our hearts to seek Him with our whole hearts each day. While that may sound so simple, King Rehoboam fell into the spirit and Way of Cain because he did not PREPARE his heart to seek the LORD. (Matthew 6:33; Proverbs 16:1).
9. Cain had nothing good and acceptable to give to the LORD because he had not prepared his field and tended the land God had given him. Have you ever seen an unkempt field - thorny, bug infested and growth-stunted?
10. Though the LORD spoke a liberating word over him (Genesis 4:7), thus giving him another chance at success, Cain did not respond to that discipline. His jealousy over his brother's success drove him to murder.
And last but not least, this week's memory verse!
The discerning person focuses on wisdom there before him, but a fool's eyes wander to the ends of the earth. ~ Proverbs 17:24
I'll be back later in the week to answer and comment more! If you'd like to join me, please visit the above blog since I haven't included everything here!
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 7:50 AM
Monday, July 28, 2008
my parents went away for a weeks' vacation
LOL Remember that Fresh Prince song?!
Now, for real....I may have mentioned somewhere on the internet that I have shingles. If you missed my whining about it, look around, I'm sure you'll find some! I am not in pain, which is fantastic. What is not fantastic is A) that the shingles are on my rear and B)they itch like no other. I mean, all. the. time. The only real relief I get is by keeping the rash iced and therefore numb.
So there has been some feeling sorry for myself happening in this body o' mine over the past 10 or so days. And then I found this today when catching up on emails I hadn't been able to get to while out of town.
"Blessed is the man who preserves under trial, because when he has
stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has
promised to those who love him." --James 1:12
Praise be to You, God. I am blessed in so many ways and I want to
stay focused on that. Forgive me for feeling sorry for myself and
forgetting that joy in You is a real source of strength. I want to
sing your praises at all times!
No matter what you do - there will always be someone who has more
money or a better lifestyle than you. At the same time, there will
always be someone who doesn't have the blessings you do. Find joy
in God's love and remember to count your blessings.
God IS good. ALL THE TIME. Keep reminding me Lord!! Keep at me!!
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 5:32 PM
Monday, July 21, 2008
Please go read the devotion here! It is an awesome story of how so much more can be in store for us than WE have planned, because God has the ULTIMATE plan!
Storms in life are inevitable. What storms are you in the middle of today?
Ahh, what an appropriate day to ask! I have had a rash for a few days, and since we are leaving town tomorrow, thought it might be a good idea to get it checked out. Turns out it is SHINGLES! It is not hurting as much as it is itching like the blue blazes! Itching to the point of bringing tears of frustration. I SO thought that after I took this GRE today, things were going to be easier for a week or two, then this was thrown in there. So yeah, I've pouted and felt sorry for myself, and then I got back up and hit the Bible to try to get myself back on track.
Are you at peace that God's perfect plan is at work in the middle of these storm?
Yes, I'm sure it is. It is just one more reminder to slow down, relax, and let Him have control. There is nothing I can do about this, just like much in life, so I might as well enjoy the scenery, so to speak!
How can we "prepare" our heart for those unexpected "pop~up" showers?
By doing exactly what I'm doing now...spending time with Him in His word. The more time I spend with Him, the less upsetting and out of control these experiences will be.
I know this storm is minor compared to many. However, it is situations like this that often get us worked into a tizzy. I thank the Lord that He gently reminded me to take refuge in Him instead of taking pity on myself! He is so good!
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 5:02 PM
Thursday, July 17, 2008
The title of this chapter reminds me of one of my favorite Chris Tomlin songs, "Famous One". And that reminds me of the t-shirt that he sold on tour several years ago that had a star covered with the words "I am not famous". That has definitely been a conversation starter!
1. On a scale of 1 to 10, rate yourself on how often your conversation is seasoned with the works of the Lord on your behalf? If you speak very little of Him, is there a reason you know of? If you speak often, how do people respond?
I'd say that I'm around a 6. It depends on where I am. Like right now, I'm not out and about as much, so other than with my kids, I don't have the opportunity to discuss Him as often. When I'm working, He comes up much more often. There are only a few people that I have ever discussed Him with that reacted negatively, one of them being a janitor at work. I'm still praying for him and working on him, as are many others on our faculty.
2. Have you experienced a Set Up for a Show Up when you were uncertain whether the situation was the chastisement of the Lord or a temptation of Satan?
Maybe....God definitely was shown to be the stronger in the situation, but I'm still not sure if I was not tempted by Satan. My intuition told me NOT to get into the situation, and I didn't listen. Hence the maybe!
3. Have you ever or are you now experiencing any Job trials where you can still not identify any wrong-doing on your part?
No, thanks be to God! And I pray that I do not have to go through any!
4. Apply this principle: How can my response make my God famous? Will obedience result in my sanctification and God's Glory?
Right now, it can be that I am following God's lead on going back to school. There are quite a few times that I have felt almost sick with apprehension, but I am certain of God's hand in how I came to have this opportunity. It is not going to be easy at all but with His help, I can do it!
5. Does the origin of our affliction matter in view of the fame God can gain from it? No, I don't think so. God can gain fame from ANY situation if we choose to give Him the glory!
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 3:39 PM
Sunday, July 13, 2008
I'm very saddened by the loss of a 17 year old boy who I watched go through the school where I teach. This song is one of my favorites and helps me focus on the Lord!
Draw me close to you
Never let me go
I lay it all down again
To hear you say that I'm your friend
You are my desire No one else will do
Cause nothing else can take your place
To feel the warmth of your embrace
Help me find the way
Bring me back to you
You’re all I want
You’re all I've ever needed
You’re all I want
Help me know you are near
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 6:45 AM
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Melissa at Mel's World offers a devotion each Sunday, but right now, she is leading a mini-study called "Soak Up the Psalms". She's highlighted specific Psalms that bring her comfort, help her give praise, and pretty much are her favorites!
If you have a moment, go check her out, and tell her that Christi sent ya!
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 6:14 PM
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
This is another Bible study that I found here!
What does chayil actually mean? It is more than simply virtuous, according to this study. This word also means capable and intelligent (Amplified Bible) while Strong's Hebrew Dictionary says that this word would describe someone who possesses a certain strength, might, and power.
I don't know about you, but I would love to be described with these terms!
And as I read on, boy does it hit home! As a Proverbs 31 woman, I need to be one who spends time with the Lord getting ready for the daily tasks that I am given, just like Mary, sister of Martha, at the feet of Jesus. I'm doing fantastically with this during the summer when I have lots of time at my disposal, but when I'm working and we're running every night?? I'll readily admit that my time with the Lord falls by the wayside.
This statement sums it up well:
Sometimes, it is easy to be so busy running around doing things for God, that you forget all He really wants is your heart.
God wants our hearts, not just our time spent doing. He needs us to spend time with him UNDISTRACTED. Oooh, that is a hard one for me!! When I spend time with the Lord without being distracted by other things, He can give me all I need to do my daily tasks. But if I don't give Him my undivided attention, is all of His message going to get through? Certainly not!
1. Does understanding the true meaning of "chayil" change the way that you see God's plan for you as a woman?
Not so much my plan but definitely my worth as a wife and mother. Our society is SO bad to make us think we can do it all...be great at work, a fantastic wife, and a doting mother. But that is not easy to do! I can do well at being a wife and mother when I don't have my job to distract me, but we gotta pay the bills, don't we?! Here is the thing that is so true but so easy to forget: when I let go of my time with God, I'm entering my day without a safety net. Without a map. Without that calm reassurance that He is with me. Why, oh why, are we so willing to drop this to the side and not see IT as the most important part of the day?!
Ok, I'm off on a tangent here!
2. Do you ever fall into the trap of striving for the world's idea of a Strong Woman? Why or why not? If so, how can you safeguard yourself from doing this?
Hee hee, I got ahead of myself didn't I? Yes, I do! See #1!
3. Do you feel that the example God gives you in Proverb 31 is attainable? Why or why not?
Yes and no...I'm not ever gonna be the most domestic thing ever, but you know what? Chris and God both love me for who I am. I don't need to try to be someone I'm not. I need to do my best at what I am, for God created this in ME!
4. What are a few ways that you personally could make more time to be like Mary and sit at Jesus' feet?
I need to take some of the time I spend doing 'me' things...surfing the net, watching tv, and spend it with the Lord--and truly, this will benefit me so much more! It may mean that I have to get up a little earlier or give up a few things that I like to do, but I need to do it! If my priorities are straight and I give God the time He deserves, it will make the rest of the pieces of the puzzle fit so much better!
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 7:35 PM
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Time for lesson 8! I so love this study, and God has worked it out that I have also been reading Christian fiction about the people who were instrumental in Moses' life lately. I first read about Aaron in The Priest, a novella written by Francine Rivers. Then I read Miriam's Healing: Footprints from the Bible by Cynthia Davis. Now I'm getting ready to read Zipporah, Wife of Moses by Marek Halter.
I LOVE reading Biblical based fiction because it makes the stories so much more real to me. For naysayers who think it some sort of sacrilege to read these (as my grandmother did), here are my thoughts: could God not have ordained these persons to write these books just as he ordained people to write the books that are included in the Bible? Sure, they may not be 100% true, but I am sure that these authors did plenty of research into this, and also prayed without ceasing while they wrote each word.
OK. Off my soapbox. Can you tell I've had to debate this subject before?!
Back to the study!
This scripture really struck me as I was reading today's lesson: Hebrews 12: 12-13:
So don't sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet! Clear the path for long distance runners so no one will trip and fall, so no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle. Help each other out. And run for it! (Message translation)
1. Have you ever been in a situation where you had to 'go back' to a place of shame or ridicule? How did that make you feel?
Two thoughts come to mind when I read this. First, the rough situation at a church where I worked that I have referred to several times during this study. I did not HAVE to go back to the place, but I chose to. Since I knew that I had not done the things of which they had accused me, I felt that I needed to go back there with my head held high. If people wanted to talk, so be it. That was between them and God. I was not going to live my life in fear of entering that church again. Was it hard? Sure! The first two times were VERY hard and I cried. The second time was probably more painful than the first since I had also then split up from a guy who attended church there and that I thought I would marry. So I had a double-edged sword that time. BUT I also had the support of my college roomie, who drove an hour there to make sure I was NOT alone. (I wasn't alone anyway, I was with my entire choir! But you know what I mean.) Just cause that is the kind of friend she is. I've been back several times since then, and though it still hurts a part of me each time I do it, I can do it much easier now. And truly, the people who know me, who REALLY know who I am on the inside, know that I have nothing of which I am ashamed. I made some bad decisions, yes, but I was young. And though they did make life harder, those decisions have helped shape me into who I am today.
The other thought is where I have chosen not once, but TWICE, to eat crow and admit I was wrong when caught gossiping about someone. My tongue can be my worst enemy, gals! I have a hard time reigning it in at times! And both times I could have easily and indignantly denied it or treated the other person as though they were wrong. It was not easy to admit that yes, I had spoken out of turn and that I was wrong. The second time was particularly hard because I had to face the person at church. It was REALLY hard for quite some time. I would feel guilty each time I saw her, and she would barely speak to me. Thankfully, God has worked with His grace through this situation, and has remedied it. I am sure it would have taken longer and been more painful had I not admitted my wrongdoing. And I pray that I keep my tongue in control and do not repeat the experience!
2. Is there any circumstance in your life that still has you running for cover? Share if you feel comfortable.
I can honestly say that there isn't. Up until about 4 years ago, I had one friendship that had ended badly where I no longer communicated with the person. We have since reconciled. It is not back to where it was and since we live hours apart, it may never be. But I know in my heart that I have given the relationship every chance I could, and that is all I wanted.
3. When is the last time you felt like an overcomer?
Um about 3 seconds ago when I answered that last question! LOL No, really, I can say of myself (and you ladies know I'm saying this honestly and not to brag!) that I have an overcoming spirit. I have overcome some seriously hard obstacles. I do not deserve the credit though. It is the Lord's doing, every bit of it. I could not and would not be here today had it not been for His love and grace. And that is something that a day barely passes without me thinking.
4. If you have not yet taken the serpent by the tail, are you willing to stop running, take hold and trust God to transform it into a tool for wonders?
I'm tryin' my best! My latest challenge is following through with the schooling opportunity that God has given me. I am dragging my feet a bit with it, but God keeps on me about it!
5. I would like for you to write down this statement based on 1 John 2:14 somewhere you will see it often this week: "I am strong, the Word of God abides in me, and I have overcome the evil one." Memorize it. Say it over and over until you believe it. Will you do this?? Most of the time, there are no right or wrong answers, but on this one, I'm expecting a 'yes'!
LOL YES, I'll do this, Lisa!
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 4:14 PM
Monday, June 30, 2008
I found this study here!
Here are some things that struck me while reading:
When you slow down, it allows God to use His Word to show you who you were really created to be. Not only as a woman, but as His woman.
Lesson One: The Creation of Woman: Why Did God Bother?
It is amazing to think that, in the entire story of creation, this is the only time that God says "It is not good."
1. How does it feel to know that you were God's answer to His problem?
I had never looked at it in such a light! It DOES feel good to think that we women were created to solve a problem! And funnily enough to me, it was a problem that MAN couldn't solve alone!
2. Are there times in your life when you have felt like being a woman was more of a problem than an answer? Why or why not?
Yes, there have been times. Sometimes it feels as though my husband could run this household just as efficiently without me.
Lesson 2: The Helpmeet Dilemma
I am not sure if you can relate, but in the past, whenever I have heard the words help meet, I always felt so secondary.
Like God’s afterthought.
"Is that all I am," I wondered, "Someone's help meet? And what in the world is a help meet anyways?"
But, to an all knowing God, there is no such thing as an afterthought.
God has called you so much more than just a helper. Just like Eve, God created you because there was a serious problem. And, He uniquely designed you to fix it.
1. Has the term 'help meet" ever bothered you? Why or why not?
Not really. I like the idea of helping, so it wasn't ever something derogatory in my mind.
2. What changes about the way you see yourself when you meditate on the idea of being an ezer?
I really like that...that we women were needed to help in a time of great danger!
3. God has made each of us for a very specific reason. Have you given any thought to your God ordained destiny?
Yes, I sure have! I really feel as though I was called to be a teacher, so I am doing what God ordained me to do!
4. Did you read something in the Creation of Woman Bible Study Lessons that touched you? Write it down and reflect on it throughout the course.
I really like thinking that God created us not as an afterthought but as something to be a great help to man. I like that he saw that we would be the solution to the problem!
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 4:09 PM
Sunday, June 29, 2008
1. How would you answer the questions, "Who Am I?"
Hmmm, I would answer probably with who I am related to more than what this body and soul contains. I'd answer Bob's daughter, Brenda and Suzy's sister, Chris's wife, Paul Darnis's daughter in law, Isaac and/or Adam's mom....I guess by saying that, I base my worth quite a bit by my relationships. Who am I? I'm a wife, a mom, a teacher, a Christian, someone who is loyal and loves deeply, I'm a reader, a writer, a dancer, a singer....
2. Have you ever been in a situation where you felt inadequate because of your lack of a 'tagline'?
Sure! I feel that way quite a bit. I can't think of a specific time right off hand, but yes...I totally get that!!
3. Do you have skills or position that you believe God could use mightily if only He would?
Yes, I think so. I have organizational and leadership skills, and I most certainly have the ability to teach children to read. I can relate well to children and youth. I can sing, and I have been told that I have skills at leading studies.
4. Have you ever lost a position or station in life you believe could have 'helped God out' with something He has asked you to do? If you haven't lost out, do you perhaps feel you have to gain this in order to be useful to the Kingdom?
Oh certainly! And though it was difficult at the time, it has helped me become who I am today. If I had continued down the path I was going, I do not think I would have been heading into the vocation that God really called me to be in!
5. How are you with your dialogue vs. doubt conversations with God? Which does God hear most from you?
More doubt than He should! The time that comes to mind is when God was telling me that I needed to step back from working with our church youth. I fought him on it. I argued that my sister and fellow youth leader, needed me! I argued about no one being there to step up and help. But when I finally did it, I felt such peace! And I know it was God's will. It was not easy, but it was the right thing to do.
6. Do you believe God's Wonders become more wonderful if they originate in the ordinary? Any Scripture references come to mind?
Oh, yes! Seeing the wonder in things that we see and overlook each day is like turning on a lightbulb, or seeing things in color for the first time! I can't think of any scripture reference right off hand, but if I do, I'll add it later!
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 4:53 PM
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Yep, 2 in one day! This is to powerful not to share! Please go read here, cause friends, it is powerful and SO, SO true!!
Here are just some snippets that really struck me as true:
Many of us feel worthless. Why? We’ve felt ignored, invisible, insignificant, useless, undesired, ugly, unloved, or forgotten. We girls are emotional, broken in many ways. Great portions of our identity and of our personal value are wrapped into combustible packages of emotion…how we feel about this or that. The truth is, our worth has nothing to do with our feelings.
What I do know is this: because of Jesus Christ, I’m a woman of highest worth. Not because of anything else.
Hear this, friend: feelings of worthlessness are from Satan himself. It burns me up that the enemy has such a strong grip on God’s daughters in this area. We need to associate the word worthless with the word lie. That’s exactly what it is, a big, fat lie!
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
You are precious and highly valuable in the eyes of the One who sees. And you never, never, never have to worry about being on anyone's bargain rack again.
Are you held captive by feelings of worthlessness? Spend a few moments in prayer and ask God to reveal truth to your heart about how He sees you.
Praise the Lord, I am not currently!! The times that I feel worthless are when I am struggling with depression. Thankfully, that is not the case currently!
Print or write out this verse: “I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:15-16, NASB). Set it to memory and allow it to serve as a reminder that you are precious to God.
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 3:13 PM
The devotional is posted here if you wish to read!
1. Think about your day yesterday. What can you give God thanks for?
Oh, lots of things! I can give God thanks for a beautiful day and a tad bit of rain. For the swimming party we had to end up a great week of Vacation Bible School. For a nap and for leftover vegetable beef soup. For not having to show everyone myself in my bathing suit, in other words, for Chris getting into the pool with Adam instead of me! For Chris finding his wallet. For not losing our bathing suits when they fell out of our bags. For the fact that even though we DID leave bathing suits in the hotel in Alabama, it was only bathing suits that can be replaced. For a good nights' sleep. For friends who I often don't get time to chat with, and good conversation.
2. What situations or tasks will you face in your life today? Pray and ask God for help in these things.
Honestly, the day is mostly over, and it has been a good one. For the rest of the day, I will face bath time and lots of laundry I need to do, and picking up the house. I need to also find something for children's church--but I just had an inspiration of how to extend what we've discussed at VBS!
Further reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:18; James 1:17
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (The Message)
Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.
James 1:16-18 (The Message)
So, my dear friends, don't get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes from Heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 2:45 PM
Monday, June 23, 2008
All this pictured above is put together to enhance your quiet time with the Lord! And who doesn't need this? I really would like to have this, but I'll be glad for it to go to anyone who puts it to good use!
I'll tell ya, I didn't get my 'quiet time' with the Lord in while on the cruise. And I really missed it! So I'm trying to get back on track now. Join me in my attempt to spend more time with God this summer!
Here is the giveaway! Go check it out!
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 1:37 PM
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
1. How current is your God? Is he up to date on all your issues or do you have old hurts you still hold behind your back?
God is up to date on my issues. There are some things that I still can't say out loud, but He understands my groanings even when I cannot verbalize the fears and concerns that are on my heart.
2. Has the enemy ever told you there are situations that are 'old news' that are better left stuffed down? Or perhaps because they were so long ago they can't possibly be affecting you now?
Yes, there have been times that I have listened to him when he tried to tell me that it was NOT my depression cropping back up, or when my self esteem issues came back to haunt me, especially in the middle of the night. The enemy will use my insomniac tendencies to root in and bother me, so I am thankful that I now have a perscription to take to combat this!
3. In the matter of established authority, does God truly reign in your life? Where are you when He calls your name?
YES, He does reign in my life! There have been times though, that I wasn't ready to answer Him when He called, or tried to give Him reasons that I couldn't do what He was asking. Sometimes His call to just TRUST was hard to do, but when I did, I was so glad that I did!!
4. Do you ever feel God has forgotten you in your 'west side of the wilderness'?
There are two times in particular that come to mind. I mentioned in our last lesson that I had a hard time over hurts related to a job in a church. That was a very lonely time when I felt very much as though I was left alone in the west side of the wilderness. Another time was when I was struggling to decide whether or not to step down as a youth worker in our church. I was feeling as though I was doing the job alone, and didn't see a way out of the situation. But when I trusted God and was still and quiet enough to hear Him, His message was clear and rung true!
5. Have you ever experienced a time of cleansing where God has illuminated and rejuvenated you? If not, do you find you are in need of this now?
Yes, I have had experiences like that! Most recently, I was rejuvenated when I went to a spiritual enrichment experience with my mom after a difficult week at school. God spoke to me in many ways!
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 1:05 PM
Monday, June 2, 2008
1. Have you ever found yourself 'in faith' yet bewildered or demoralized?
Oh yes! There was a time when I had worked as a summer youth intern at a church where Dad served when I was a child. I made some not-so-wise decisions that summer. But I was also very hurt when some people who I thought knew me made assumptions about me and my morality. It hurt tremendously, and was a contributing factor to a depressive episode. I tried to resolve within myself the pain that I was feeling, but in the end, simply clinging to the Lord was the only thing to get me through!
2. Do you consider yourself content? Would you describe it as Decidedly Content or Dreamily Content?
Yes, I consider myself content. I think I lean toward dreamily content, but with a touch of decidedly content thrown in. The decidedly content part is how I feel in relation to my health--I will be content with the body God has given me, and will do my best to BE more healthy, but not let frustrations with my body bring me down!
3. If you are not content, are there circumstances that keep you from this feeling?
I think I covered that! ;)
4. Have you ever found yourself in a place where you looked back on a period of your Christian walk and believed a great opportunity passed you by?
No, I can honestly say I haven't. I'm sure that there are people that I could have influenced better or more, but I think that the circumstances that I have come through have led me to become a better follower of Christ today.
5. Do you ever believe your faith was stronger in an earlier time in your Christianity and find yourself floundering now?
I think my faith is being challenged in a different way now than ever before, but I do not believe it has ever been stronger. Could I spend more time in study and prayer? Sure! And I'm working on that. But my faith, and the knowledge of God's presence in my life, is sure and true.
6. Can you recognize that this season may be one of great preparation instead of a period of "I Was"? Looking back on the situation to which I refer in #1--yes, I can see that now. And though I hate the way that things 'went down' then, I know that if I had been walking closer with God at the time, circumstances would have been much different. Yes, the experience has made me stronger and showed me how I need to be focused on pleasing HIM instead of other men/women.
Please visit my friend Lisa's site to get started on your own journey through this study!
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 12:57 PM
Monday, May 26, 2008
I had a very unique experience yesterday. I got to be part of a choir, for just a moment, made up of singers who had attended Emory & Henry and had been part of the Concert Choir sometime within the past 50 years. There were more than 200 voices strong. I was brought to tears several times as I listened to them from the congregation. I did not sing for the entire service because I decided not to go up for the entire weekend of rehearsals for several reasons. However, I did sneak up and join in for the Lutkin Benediction and 7 Fold Amen.
It was also a special experience because it may be one of the last, if not the last time that I will see "Doc", our former director. He is suffering from a form of dementia, and I could see the effects of it in him. That broke my heart, in itself. I watched him direct and tried to memorize it--his expressions, his motions, how his emotion would show in his entire being. I have discussed, and even heard a sermon about why this man and this choir means so much to those who have been in its ranks.
It isn't easy to describe to someone who hasn't 'been there'. I guess it must be something akin to playing on a championship team with a superior coach (not that I have any point of reference there, folks!). But maybe that is what it feels like. It is a kinship and a team related feeling to work together to bring forth the best sound possible. And what makes it even better is that you are doing so for the glory of the Lord.
Yes, Doc is just a human being. But when he is directing, he is also an instrumentalist, and we were his instrument. He tried so hard to finely tune us to raise our voices On High. I don't know how else to describe it. I tried to describe my experience in Austria with the choir in this post--maybe it'll make more sense!
And then, in addition, to have the emotions that come with going 'home' to Emory, a place where I lived for 4 years and did a great amount of living, loving, and growing up.....I was simply overwhelmed. God was certainly in the chapel, and I'm pretty certain that He was pleased!
It was also very good and comforting to me to be in a honest-to-goodness UNITED METHODIST service. I won't go into a diatribe on that, I'll just say that I don't get to experience the ritual that I have grown up with and love so much each Sunday as I'd like. This, too, added to the rush of emotions I was feeling.
I don't know....maybe this isn't making any sense to anyone but me, but I wanted to get it down and be able to remember what I felt yesterday. I also wanted to add some
hymns and scripture that was in the service. If you don't wanna read all that, feel free to skip, but please do leave me a comment! (hint, hint!)
When in Our Music God is Glorified
Psalm 98:4-9 (Message)
Shout your praises to God, everybody!
Let loose and sing! Strike up the band!
Round up and orchestra to play for God,
Add on a hundred-voice choir.
Feature trumpets and big trombones,
Fill the air with praises to King God.
Let the sea and its fish give a round of applause,
With everything living on Earth joining in.
Let ocean breakers call out "Encore!"
And mountains harmonize the finale--
A tribute to God when He comes,
When He comes to set the earth right.
He'll straighten out the whole world,
He'll put the world right, and everyone in it.
So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ--the Message--have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives--words, actions, whatever--be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
It's Saturday morning. My hubby and I had a discussion that upset me, not because of what he said but because it is true and there is no way for me to fix it. It is just something that has happened and we're just going to have to deal with it the best we can. It's financial....so that is stressful of course. I know that we will make it, though it is going to be tight for a while longer. It doesn't help that gas and grocery prices have gone through the roof, of course. But God has taken care of us in the past and He will continue to. I will lick my wounds and get over it. But it hurts right now.
Anyway, I decided that while the boys are playing with the neighbors and hubby is off helping his brother with something, I'd do a Bible study. I KNOW that I'll feel better if I will spend more time in His word. I do feel better, doing this and sitting outside. Here in a few, I'm going to hang clothes on the line...that'll save a penny or two!
Here is some scripture I found that makes a TON of sense to me, given how I've been feeling with how certain aspects of my life are going right now. I feel very out of control. The things that I feel that way about ARE out of my personal control, but God IS in control!
James 1: 5-8: "If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get His help, and won't be condescended when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought." (The Message Translation)
and this! 1 Samuel 17:37: "God, who delivered me from the teeth of the lion and the claws of the bear, will deliver me from this Philistine."
God will deliver me from this time of frustration and uncertainty!!
and what about this?? Isaiah 41:10: "Don't panic. I'm with you. There's no need to fear, for I'm your God. I'll give you strength. I'll help you. I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you."
Who wouldn't feel more secure reading this??
One more...I Peter 5:6-7:"So be content with WHO YOU ARE, and don't put on airs. God's strong hand is on you; He'll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you."
I feel better now, how about you?
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 8:11 AM
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
I am trying so hard to not get bogged down in letting the worries of this world overwhelming me. I know that You have greater plans for me than I can even fathom. I need to work on being a good steward with what we been blessed, and keep moving in a positive direction. I have all my physical needs met, and my family is healthy. That is much more than many can say. I have a job that I love and friends that mean the world to me. I am blessed in so many ways. I am trying to uplift my husband and follow the words of Your servants. Please continue to guide me, and remind me to trust You. I know that if I continue to seek your guidance, I cannot go wrong! Thank you so much for all You do Lord, and for saving me, and for loving me unconditionally!
I love you, Lord! Amen.
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 5:54 PM
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Isaac is my 7 year old. Our church does not have programs on Wednesday evenings for kids, so when he was invited to Royal Ambassadors at a neighboring church, that was great! He absolutely loves it! He gets really upset if he has to miss it, and it isn't that he wants to be there with his friends, cause he isn't really good buddies with anyone that is there each week. He told me last week that one of the adults there had asked him about having been baptised, so I knew that they were discussing such subjects.
He was in the car with me the other night when L. called and told me that her mother had made a commitment to Christ, and he heard how excited I was! He asked me if he would have to do that someday, and I told him no, that he didn't HAVE to, but I prayed that he would decide to. So this is something that has been on his mind to ask more questions.
So tonight, a couple and their children from the church where he attends R.A.s stopped by. They said that they heard that he had recently been saved, and I was kind of surprised by that! So they backed up and said that maybe it wasn't that he had made a commitment but that he was asking questions about it and wanting to know more about it.
We talked on the front porch for a while. I was probably not a nice hostess, and now I'm embarassed cause I didn't have them come in! But honestly, I am used to GOING on the visits with my dad (a retired United Methodist minister) not being the one visited! I don't really know what the protocol is! Oh, well, at least I teach with C. so I can explain it to her!
So when we came inside I told Isaac that if he was wanting to talk about making a commitment to have Christ as his personal Savior, that his dad and I would be glad to answer any questions he had and talk to him about it. I asked him if he understood what that meant, and he said that he just wanted to learn more about it and about Jesus. So I think he's not quite ready to step forward with a commitment just yet, but he is definitely getting interested. I'm going to talk to my dad about what to say and such, so that I can know the right things to say!
Please pray for us as he starts to make these decisions!
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 5:26 PM
Sunday, February 24, 2008
and it went super well! D.U.C.K.S. stands for Disciples Under Christ the Kings Service, and is our newly formed group for children grades 3 through 5. We had a group for this age last year, but the lady who was leading it never meant to do it ALL the time, so she kind of backed out this year, and I can't say I blame her! Chris was really feeling convicted for he and I to lead it, and honestly, I resisted. Then one night I kept thinking about "THEY" need to do something about this, "THEY" need to do something about that, and I realized that *I* wasn't doing my part. So I stepped up and with Chris, answered the call to help out in our children's ministry in this area.
Chris has taken the lead in this, with me being his support, which is a nice change for us! We had 4 boys last night, and they all told their families that they had a good time, and they want more people to come. And I just felt so full of joy last night afterwards! I know it was because we had done what the Lord was leading us to do, and I just FELT His favor on me! It is an awesome feeling!! I can't wait to see what God is going to do with this group and am honored that He wants us to be involved!
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 9:23 PM
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Chris gave me a new Bible today, a bright pink Message! I am SO stinkin' thrilled with it!!
So even though my eyelids are practically propped up with toothpicks, I HAD to have a small devotion, so I scurried over to The Upper Room to read today's devotion.
THIS is why I love, love, love this translation and am so excited that I have my very own and don't have to rely on Bible Gateway to read it!
Listen to this:
If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That's to prevent anyone from confusing God's incomparable power within us. As it is, there's not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we're not much to look at.(2 Corinthians 4:7-9)
Isn't that just fabulous! I love the language! It is just like talking to your best friend, and isn't that how it should be reading our Best Friend's Word?!
And doesn't that just make you feel so much better about your bad hair days and your days when you just look plain 'ol frumpy?! We're not SUPPOSED to be beautiful, we are carrying His message, and we don't want to distract others from Him! If they look only to us, they might miss it! Well, praise the Lord, this TOO was part of His wonderful, perfect plan! I know I feel much better now about not always looking pulled together. That is fine, cause I'm not distracting that way.
Isn't that just the coolest thing in the world?!
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 7:41 PM
I did have this blog at wordpress because I won a custom blog header, but then I stopped hearing from the person, so I just decided to move it here. So here you will find my Bible study-related thoughts, etc. Enjoy!
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 6:29 PM
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Thank you so much for answering this prayer. It has plagued me for over a year. It has bothered me, and bothered my family, and festered. The Devil has used this in so many ways to further his plans. I have such relief, Lord, and I lay before you prostrate in thanksgiving for giving me an answer. I am continuing to come to you, Lord, for guidance in how best to handle this. Thank you, Lord! Thank you so much! I give YOU all the praise and glory, and I truly want to use this to better your kingdom and to improve things that can be improved!
Posted by Christi Stapleton at 6:06 PM