Unraveled

Living Life in Real Time

Chapter 4 – Forgives, Receives, Stands, Bows & Perseveres October 14, 2009

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So far we’ve talked a lot about the things we don’t have a lot of control over…but this chapter gives us five areas where God does expect us to stand up and make a difference.  We do have it in ourselves to be tough against the ill words spoken of us, and we also have it in us to be soft toward the things of God.  As we believe that God is faithful and we give all of our hopes and dreams and our faith to that fact, He will come through.  Sometimes this isn’t about how we feel.  Sometimes it’s a conscious decision to say “I know that God is on my side” even when we don’t necessarily feel it.

I think it’s Dr. Phil who says it this way when someone knows that they are on a destructive path and want something more but are unwilling to make the adjustments…he says something like this “The way you’re doing things now…How’s that working out for you.”  It’s true.  You can’t do the same things you’ve always done and expect different results.  You’ve got to make the choice to do something different…then when God asks “How’s that working out for you…you can say “It was harder than I imagined, but it feels Great!”

Here are five battlegrounds every uncommon woman should tend to on a regular basis. That doesn’t mean only when things get tough…regular means daily.  You’ll only be able to consistently gain ground in winning your battles when you engage daily.

1.  The battle to FORGIVE.

Susie on page 59 quotes Mark 11:24-25…  Read this passage before you continue…

“God has determined to work through us imperfect, but perfectly lovable people.  As far as it concerns us, we must be clean vessels for this beautiful work.” Take it from a first person experience, unforgiveness hurts only the person that is carrying it around.  No body else is even thinking about it but you.

I love what she says on page 60  “the fight for us is one for a heart that is willing to hand over our offenses because Jesus asks us to.  God will defend.  God will settle the accounts, and when He does, everyone will know that He is a God of righteousness sand power.   We don’t need to instruct Him in the ways of justice.” That last sentence really makes me laugh a little.  How many times have I thought “if I could just give him a few pointers maybe he could do a little better.”  Sometimes you just have to have a good laugh at yourself.  Like I know anything.    There have been times in this past year where I have had to claim this truth and and just choose to forgive.  Not only do I have to forgive just once, my stubborn heart needs to practice the same forgiveness over and over again.  My only assurance is that He really does know and will be my ultimate defender.

Countless stones will be tossed your way.  Some will be intentionally thrown and some may be just kicked at you unintentionally.  Either way you’ve been hit.  Let us know what you’re thinking by taking our poll.

2.  The battle to RECEIVE
Philippians 4:23  “Receive and experience the amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, deep, deep within yourselves.”

How many of you find it difficult to receive a compliment.  Isn’t it a lot easier to give a compliment than to receive one.  Why is receiving something more difficult?  I think that goes for God’s assurance as well.  God wants us to His greatness and faithfulness every day.  We all have our moments of insecurity where the enemy picks and picks until we are left bleeding and sore.  He will take those moments and sue them to his advantage.  God wants us to know we can come to him new every day and He gives and gives His grace each day like it was the very first day.  That’s why He’s God and we’re not.  We would say something like “haven’t you been here before…go away until you learn.”  Jesus gives them fresh every day …if we choose to receive.

3.  The battle to STAND
Proverbs 4:23  tells us to guard our hearts.  Read this verse before going further.

It really is true that what we allow in our hearts is what we allow in our lives and that makes a huge difference in the decisions that we make.  Susie says it well on page 65 when she writes “The fight to stand is he fight o say NO to insecurity, fear, defeat and discouragement.” At some point we really do have to put our foot down and say I’m not going to live this way anymore.  It’s not until we get to that point that we can quit making the excuses, pretending that we have it all together when we really don’t and exchanging truth for petty accusations.

None of us are perfect or even blameless.  Doing this study with you has only proven that point for me.  There are countless things that I have done in my past, countless rocks that I’ve thrown, that have often hit their mark.  But God is a God of grace and compassion.  His voice is never condemning and He is always on our side.

4.  The fight for TENDERNESS (Bows)

1 Peter 5:6 “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.” Message

On page 66 there is a story about how Jesus compares the Kingdom to a field where good seed is planted among the bad seed.  We’ve all heard the story.  Susie goes on to tell about a farmer who heard that story about Jesus and asked her if she knew how to tell the difference between the wheat and tares (weeds)?  I great up on a farm for the first 15 years of my life and we’ve planted many a field with grain.  It’s true…no matter how much you try to prevent it, the weeds always grow up in between the grain.  You could tell the healthy plants from the weeds in many things you planted, but when you planted wheat…the healthy plants and the weeds really do look almost identical.  Odd thing is the weeds are often taller…almost like they are saying I’m the “healthy one” when the opposite is quite true.

Here’s how the farmer tells it “Do you know how farmers tell the difference between wheat and tares, since from a distance they look so much alike?”  “No. Please tell me!” Susie replied.  Barely able to contain his excitement, the farmer replies “When the wind blows, the wheat bows down.”

From a distance the common and the uncommon woman can look a great deal alike.  But the uncommon woman is continually growing in her understanding of her place before God.  While we are called to stand firm against the words of the enemy…we are called to humbly bow before our creator.  Without Him we are nothing, and yet we are everything.

5.  The fight to PERSEVERE

Galatians 6:9 encourages us not to grow weary.  Lately I’ve taken up the sport of running.  In the beginning it was so difficult…if I’m completely honest there are many times it is still difficult.  Runners often talk about hitting the wall.  Well, I would hit the “wall” in the first 3 minutes.  Just about the time I’d begin to sweat I’d think..”what the heck am I running for…there’s not anybody chasing me:)”  There was and still is a lot of self talk when I’m out there on the road.  Sometimes it sounds a little like this…”I’m not going to quit.  I can make it 30 more seconds.  I can make it to the next lamp post.  Just keep going until this car passes me…cause I’m not stopping where they can see me do stop:)”  Perseverance has taken on a whole new meaning for me.  I think it’s the same for decisions we make.  While the circumstances may not be what we think they should be.  While the road may contain a few more hills than we bargained for, just keep going.  On my good days I run at a pace about 11:30 minute mile.  There are some days when you could walk faster than I’m able to run.  The point is that no matter how slow we go…we keep going forward, even if it is slow and seems that the top of the hill will never come into view.

What About You?

Here are some practical questions I’ll walk through with my class.   (As always…when you join me live you get the goofy stories from my everyday life.)

1.  Read Psalm 119:1-3

  • Rewrite each of the verses in this passage as a declarative, personalized statement that is specific to your life.

2.  Read Colossians 3:12-15

Based on the first part of verse 12

  • Who are you?

Look at the second part of verse 12

  • As an uncommon woman, how are you supposed to clothe yourself.

3.  Read Colossians 3:14-15

You are called to “put on…,” “let be…,” and “be…,”

  • Fill in the blanks and then write some concrete examples of how you can apply these in your life.

We’ll end our classes with this prayer from your book.

“Precious Lord,

I need You every hour.  help me to know when to stand strong and when to bow low.  May my discernment be sharp that I might quickly put the enemy’s insults under my feet.  may my heart be so humble that I am quick to bow and glorify  Your name.  Grant me vision and perseverance that I may find strength in the hard times.  And when I’m tempted not to forgive, remind me once again what You’ve done for me.  I want to give You a great return on Your investment in me.  Call me higher, Lord.  Amen”

Next week – Chapter 5 where the Uncommon Woman understands that love sees and love covers.

If you’d like to join this study in real time…I’m teaching it at HopePark Wednesday Mornings & Thursday Nights. If you’re a Nashville local, the door is always open. We’re at 8001 Hwy. 70 South, just off I-40. Online at http://hopepark.com and on twitter @hopepark.

Me…well you can find me twittering @jodytodd.

Have a great week!

Jody

Questions and assigned quotes from the study by Susie Larson entitled The Uncommon Woman.

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