It seems like yesterday that the semester started and now we’re wrapping up our final chapters with great expectations for a wonderful Christmas spent with friends and family.
There are many things we’ve learned over the semester…like valuing truth over perception…extending mercy instead of judgment, refusing to be bullied by fears. So many things…but when it all comes down to the one BIG thing to remember…we’ll get that this week. Really in the end all you need to worry about is staying close to God. And that’s were we are at this week…the uncommon woman stays in the stronghold of God. The uncommon woman stays close to God so that the pressures and temptations that lie all around us don’t draw us off track and get us all hot and bothered about things that don’t really matter.
The bottom of page 175 reads like this “The only way we can ever hope to make the kinds of choices that translate into the powerful lives we were destined for is to live under the shelter of the Most High. it’s to walk in the Spirit and not gratify the desires of the flesh. It’s to stay so connected to the Vine that when considering our choices we are willing to say, ‘If I have to let go of Him to take hold of that, then I don’t want it. If I can’t reach it while hanging on to the Vine, then it’s not for me.’ To continually and instinctively take the high road requires that we live close enough to God that we feel His heartbeat.”
So, how do we stay in the shelter of God’s arms?
- We Trust! If we don’t absolutely trust in God and all of His goodness then we will continually step out from under His protection…and leave ourselves open to the enemy. We will continually be tempted to solve problems our own way…and like we read last week “solve our problems with our own understanding and the $32 bucks in our back pocket.”
Proverbs 9:10 tells us that “Knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Spoken simply it means that the more we get to know Jesus the more we will understand how He is guiding us.
Here’s how it is written on page 177…”When the ground shakes beneath your feet…I will trust You, Lord! I will not be afraid! When slanderous words find their way to your ears…You are the One who defines me, Lord! When temptation feels like it’s lassoed your ankle, declare…You are my stronghold and my Deliverer!
- We Obey God’s provision protects us. We don’t have to go out on our own. He will meet our needs. His wisdom warns us. We will know the difference between right and wrong. His peace will lead us so we’ll know which way to go.
When God tells us to make the call, to send the note, to forgive someone, to not take action based on our own pride…We obey.
I love the way Susie write it on page 178 in the middle of the page…”We are not called to be perfect by ourselves, but to be perfectly joined to the One who can make us like Him.” We don’t have to know the whole story and precise steps on how to do it…we just have to obey when He calls us to take the next step.
- We live as one who is spoken for.
We are called to such a close personal relationship with Christ that everything else pales in comparison. Christ deserves from me an undivided heart.
“Unless we have a consistent, intimate walk with Christ we will never really know who we are. Unless we learn to love His presence, we will never really know what we possess in Him. Unless we consider living in His stronghold, the greatest place to be, we will never understand what it means to have all of heaven on our side. Unless our hearts beat in sync with Jesus, we will never know what kind of impact we can make in this world.” Page 182.
Remember that you are not what you do, but someone that He enjoys. First and foremost He loves you for you. This is from our final chapter…where we learn to live what we believe. Greet each new day with this bold proclamation…“I am my Beloved’s and He is mine. His banner over me is love; and I am going P.L.A.C.E.S!”
P – Prized – You are a Prized possession. You are the apple of His eye.
L – Loved – You are Loved. You are provided for, cherished and covered.
A– Accepted – You are Accepted. You don’t have to strive or pretend to be someone else.
C– Called – You are Called. You have such a high calling to your life that you can never accomplish even a fraction of that calling unless you stay connected to Him.
E – Equipped – You are Equipped. you could never exhaust all of the resources made available to you in Christ Jesus.
S– Sent – You are sent. You are comforted in your trials that you might be a comforter.
Pages 190 & 191
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 116:9
Living in the stronghold of God is not a static place. Kingdom living requires walking in His presence as we live here on earth.
- Describe a particular area in your life where you have a tendency to “step out of your stronghold.”
- What can you do differently from now on?
2. Read Psalm 26:3
Ask yourself these questions?
- How much of the day do you keep God’s love ever before you, in the forefront of your mind? What can you do to increase you constant awareness of God’s great love for you?
- Is there any discrepancy between what the Word says about Him and what you think of Him? How are you doing with walking in His truth? In other words, to what extent are you able to make your emotions submit to the truth in God’s word?
We’ll end our classes with this prayer from your book.
You are my highest desire! Awaken my heart to love You more. Take my affections and make them Yours. Keep me hidden in my vulnerable moments and set me apart when I am weak and susceptible to sin. Draw me to extended times in Your presence and pour fresh insight into my prayer life. Show me what it means to live as one who is spoken for. Heighten my conviction and strengthen my resolve to say no to the world and yes to You. You deserve all that I am and more! Thank You for loving me. I say YES to You, Lord! Amen. ”
It’s been a great study and I’ve enjoyed spending my semester with you. We’ll begin a new study on February 3.
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!
Questions and assigned quotes from the study by Susie Larson entitled The Uncommon Woman.