Walking in a Set-Apart Calling

In my last post I might have mentioned that I can get pretty excited about studying the Bible. That may have been an understatement. I won’t say that I goes as far as giving my fellow students high fives, or engaging in some minor fist-pumping in the middle of a particulary exhilarating passage of Scripture. Then again I won’t say that I don’t…

What I will say is that for as long as I have been a believer, God’s word has ignited passion in my bones. Some days I feel a bit like the prophet Jeremiah who said,

“But if I say, “I will not remember Him

Or speak anymore in His name,”

Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire

Shut up in my bones;

And I am weary of holding it in,

And I cannot endure it.”

As a young believer I could not get enough of studying the Bible and equally I couldn’t keep quiet about what I was learning. Looking back, I realize that my seemingly inordinate passion for the Word, is acutally a gift of the Spirit of God for the furthering of the gospel to those around me. What an incredible gift!

Second to my passion for the Word would be a desire to encourage, equip and empower women in the use of their own gifting. For this reason, I am compelled to speak to women, write for women, and lead women in God’s Word that they too might use their gifts for the building up of the body. (Ephesians 4:12)

As we look at what it means to walk in our own set-apart callings, it is important to remember a few things.

We, as believers, are each given a Spiritual gift or a combination of gifts. 1 Corinthians 12: 4-10 “Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ministries, but the same Lord. And there are different activities, but the same God is active in everyone and everything. A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial: to one is given a message of wisdom through the Spirit, to another, a message of knowledge by the same Spirit, to another, faith by the same Spirit, to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another, the performing of miracles, to another, prophecy, to another, distinguishing between spirits, to another, different kinds of languages, to another, interpretation of languages.”

Our giftings are given by the Spirit, in measures determined by the Spirit.   1 Corinthians 12:11 “But one and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each one as He wills.” and

Our gifts are neither a reason to be puffed up or to feel insufficient. Romans 12:3-7 “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”

Our gifts are for the common good of the body of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13 “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”

 All this being said, I think we are at a time in our culture where it is most difficult to discern and carry out the work that God call us each to in our lives. We are inundated with requests for our time and resources, the needs of the kingdom are great and we often feel that we can never do enough to meet the demands that are pressing in around us. It seems impossible to clear away the urgent to see the necessary.

I believe that when we begin to get into God’s Word and allow His truth to permeate our souls, we begin to see clearly the tasks He would have us carry out for His kingdom. As we learn to walk in obedience in those tasks, our overall purpose in the body becomes more clear. That is the empowerment we hope to pass along to women who turn to Rejoicing Our Hearts for encouragement and equipping.

How about you, dear sister? Do you have a good sense of God’s call on your life, knowing just where you might use your gifts? Or do you wonder if there is anything you can do anywhere in the body of Christ? We’d love to know your story…feel free to share in our comment section and to encourage others along the way. So glad you stopped by today!

Rejoicing with you,

Tina

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We Have a Winner!

Using random.org, which chose comment #1, our winner is Donna. Congratulations, Donna! You win a copy of Kay Arthur’s “Lord, Teach me to Study the Bible in 28 Days”

This is a great book for those who are new to inductive Bible study, or want to brush up on their skills. From the Precept Ministries website: “This interactive workbook leads you into the fascinating world of inductive Bible study where God Himself becomes your teacher. Your Bible reading will never be the same as you learn one concept a day of how to study. This is a very practical, hands-on, learn-by-doing book, perfect for either individuals or small groups. Bible text and space to write insights are included. Readers need only a pen, a few colored pencils . . . and a prayerful heart to complete each study and experience the Bible’s life-changing power.”

Thanks everyone for commenting! Watch for another giveaway next week…

Rejoicing with you,

Tina

The Upright Word of God

The precepts of the Lord are upright, rejoicing the heart ~ Psalm 19:8

Not only does God’s word rejoice our hearts, seeing women get into God’s word pretty much makes our hearts ecstatic around here. Anyone who’s spent time around me when I am studying the Bible or leading a class knows that I can light up like Danny DeVito’s house in Deck the Halls over the smallest observation or insight. Of course we all love a party right? So when the word brings rejoicing we are all in!

But rejoicing is not the only benefit of God’s word. Consider just some of the benefits of the Word of God:

God’s word is the standard for truth. The psalmist declared, “The sum of Your word is truth.” Psalm 119:160. Jesus, when He asked God to sanctify His disciples in the truth, also declared, “Your word is truth.” John 17:17. We know that Jesus Himself is described as the Word in John 1, and later in John 14 we see that Jesus, God’s Word, is the Truth.

In a world that espouses relativity, making such declarations about God’s Word, the Bible as we know it, as being THE truth can be uncomfortable. I would point you back to yesterday’s post, and consider point one. Where do we place our faith? In the Word of God. Are you firmly persuaded of God’s word? Rejoice! It’s truth!

God’s word trains us in righteousness. As we seek to live authentically in our faith, we look to His Word, the truth. As we do this, something amazing begins to happen. It teaches us, trains us, transforms us. Paul, the apostle, told Timothy that Scripture was profitable (beneficial) for “teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness,” why? So that the man/woman of God would be artios – adequate, complete, sufficient – equipped for every good work. 1 Timothy 3:16-17.

We often look at our deeds as righteous, but apart from Jesus, apart from the word, we have no idea what righteousness looks like. The more we study His word, the more we come to know and understand the righteousness of God, the better prepared we are to walk in the good works we are called to. See again Ephesians 2:10 

God’s word approves (refines) us. One of my favorite verses has always been 2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” I had always focused on the last part of the verse as the take-away for the entire verse – until recently when I studied it a little more closely in the context of the whole of 2 Timothy.

The word approved ~ dokimon, in the Greek ~ means proven, refined as by fire. The letter to Timothy speaks to the suffering he will soon face as a follower of the true gospel. Paul is warning him not to shrink back but submit himself to the refining process. When we accurately handle God’s word, and don’t shrink back from its truth, allowing it to refine us, we will have no need to be ashamed when we stand before God someday. Hallelujah!

God’s word guards against sin. “Your Word I have treasured in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” ~ Psalm 119:11 When we know the truth contained in God’s Word, we are less likely to miss the mark of His standard for our lives. And one of the best ways to ensure we know His Word is to memorize it. I found a great article over on the kyria blog about this today.

First Corinithians, chapter ten tells us that the things that happened to those who have gone before us were for an example, and were written down for our instruction. When we are tempted, the temptation provides a way of escape. Often the way of escape for me comes in the form of a Scripture verse that comes to mind in that split second before I am going to act on an impulse. It serves me well when I choose to embrace that Scripture and walk away from the temptation. If I am armed with those verses, I have a way of escape.

Finally, God’s word teaches us about Who He is, What He Does for us, the benefits of knowing Him and belonging to Him:

Psalm 103 Bless the Lord, O my soul,

And all that is within me, bless His holy name.

2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,

And forget none of His benefits;

3 Who pardons all your iniquities,

Who heals all your diseases;

4 Who redeems your life from the pit,

Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;

5 Who satisfies your years with good things,

So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.

Sisters, what benefits have you received from the Word of God? I would love to hear your stories!

As an added benefit of leaving a comment today (and because tomorrow’s my birthday and I love a party!) I will use random.org to choose one comment whose author will receive a free copy of Kay Arthur’s wonderful book “LORD, Teach Me to Study the Bible in 28 days” Winners will be announced on Friday!

I hope you win!

Rejoicing with you,

Tina

An Authentic Life of Faith

Rejoicing Our Hearts encourages women to live an authentic life of faith. Much can be said on the topic of faith, lucky for you I’m not going to say it all here! But I think there are some key qualities of a woman who is living an authentic life of faith. And lest you think that I have all of these things mastered in my life ~ let me set the record straight…I do not, but I hope that I am at least “pressing on toward the goal” (Philippians 3:14)

I believe the qualities of a woman living an authtentic life of faith are:

  • She is confident and unwavering in her faith. Faith – ‘pistis’ in the Greek NT – is ‘a firm persuasion, conviction, belief in the truth.’  She is like the psalmist who says: The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread? … Though a host encamp against me, My heart will not fear; Though war arise against me, In spite of this I shall be confident. ~ Psalm 27:1-3
  • She is genuine in her faith. The apostle Paul told his true son in the faith, Timothy that he was mindful or very much aware of his ‘sincere’ faith. The root of the word sincere, ‘anupokritos’ is the word from which we get our word, hypocrisy, which literally means under judgment. The ‘a’ in front of hypocrisy means against or without…so to be sincere is to be without hypocrisy or pretense. What you see is her true self.
  • She values His word as truth, obediently conforming her life to its principles. She believes “The sum of Your word is truth, and every one of your righteous ordinances is everlasting.” Psalm 119:60 and instead of asking “How does this Scripture apply to my life?” she asks, “How do I conform my life to the truth of this Scripture?” See also Romans 12:2.
  • She is honest and truthful about her struggles and her need for grace. 1 John 1:6,8 says “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth…if we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” For the most part it is easy to hide the things we struggle with, but a woman wanting to live authentically realizes the need to bring these things into the Light of God’s truth so that He can cleanse us.
  • She recognizes her value to God and unique calling in the body of Christ. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which He prepared before hand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 We are each specifically crafted by God (Ps. 139), and He has plans and purpose for our lives, and she knows it. She strives to find and carry out that purpose with His help and the help of those around her.
  • She shows love to all those who are her brothers and sisters in the household of faith, the Church, the bride of Christ. She knows that Jesus commanded us to “Love one another” just as He has loved us (John 15:12) and that love is patient and kind, it is not jealous; it does not brag, is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffereddoes not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. It never fails (ceases or becomes inadequate.) ~ 1 Corinthians 13.

Do you want to live an authentic life of faith in Jesus Christ? Then I hope you will hang out with us here at Rejoicing Our Hears often, because we love spending time with women like you! Come back soon!

Rejoicing with you,

Tina

Welcome to Rejoicing Our Hearts!

The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart. Psalm 19:9 NASB

Psalm 19 ~ a psalm of God’s glory that speaks to the awesome reverence that comes as a result of knowing who God is: our rock and our redeemer, and what He does, more to the point, what His word does in our lives: restores our soul, makes us wise, rejoices our heart.

Nothing rejoices my heart more than getting into God’s word. Except maybe seeing other women get into God’s word. And when that Word touches women’s hearts and lives … well, that’s really worth rejoicing over.

The thing is ~ sometimes God’s word takes us to a place that doesn’t feel like rejoicing. Instead of awesome reverence it feels convicting, compelling, maybe even confusing. At Rejoicing Our Hearts we seek to cut through our troubling emotions that relate to Scripture and hope to encourage, equip and empower women through the word, to live authentic lives of faith and walk as God’s set-apart women, lights in a darkened world.

But if you really want to know how we feel about Scripture at Rejoicing Our Hearts, you might want to listen to this compelling song, Speak, O Lord, by modern hymn writers, Keith and Kristyn Getty. If you enjoy it you can get a free MP3 download of the song here.

May this song be our prayer each time we open His Word.

Rejoicing with you,

Tina 

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Copyright (c) 2011. Rejoicing Our Hearts. Tina M. Picard ~ All rights reserved.

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