Lessons from Naomi

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Last night at church, our “Women of the Word” group, began a new Bible study on the Book of Ruth. For this first week, we focused our study on Ruth 1. I could not believe how much was jammed packed into this amazing narrative. It was exciting, because as a group, we had so many different things to discuss.

The Book of Ruth opens with Naomi losing her husband and then her two sons. These losses left Naomi alone with her two daughters-in-law. At the end of chapter 1, Naomi’s depression and grief overwhelm her to the point where she even wants to change her name to Mara, which means bitter.

She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?””
– Ruth 1:20-21 [ESV]

Here a just a few things I learned from Naomi in her moment of despair.

1. Naomi cries out to the Lord in her distress. She isn’t running to people to try to help her make sense of what is going on in her life. She’s not calling her BFF to complain. She knows that help comes from the Lord and so even in her frustration, Naomi goes to God first.

2. Naomi is honest before the Lord. This woman of God has lost so much. However, as she talks to God, she doesn’t act like she has it all together. She is honest about her feelings and pours them out before the Lord, hoping that He can make some sense of them.

3. Naomi’s faith remains strong in the face of uncertainty. In the short passage above, Naomi refers to the Lord as “the Almighty” two different times. Once, as she begins to talk to the Lord, and again as she closes her prayer. Naomi’s faith in the Lord stays strong, because she knows that the Lord is the on who allowed these horrible things to take place in her life. Even as Naomi’s circumstances overwhelmed her, she continued to have faith in the Lord Almighty!! She kept her eyes focused on Him!!

Little does Naomi know, the Lord is about to pour out His gracious mercy and plan of redemption for her life.

In our own lives, we need to remember these lessons from Ruth 1. God does not allow hard times to come so that we fail. God allows our circumstances to overwhelm us, so that we will sit back and watch Him be God!! God will never receive glory, if we are constantly trying to fix our own problems.

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!””
– Psalm 46:10 [ESV]

Jen Newsham
Author of Living a Changed Life

Freedom from Addiction: Pornography

photo credit: Miranda Allbright

 

At Feminar 2015, Jon and Laney Wootten shared their story about how God miraculously set Jon free of a 13 year addiction to pornography. We admire their transparency and willingness to share their story of God’s healing in their lives. Marriage miracles still happen today!!

So many men and women don’t realize how this addiction can destroy a marriage relationship, which is why we encourage you to watch the Wootten’s story and share it with others who need to be reminded of God’s power to free us from our sin.

“To God be the glory! Great things He has done!”

Please watch and share!!

Pinky Promise Reminder

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The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the Lord, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by chasing after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the Lord your God.’ ” (‭Numbers‬ ‭15‬:‭37-41‬ NIV)

God calls. God equips and provides. God sustains.  Living a life of Faith isn’t pretty. It doesn’t matter what angle you look at it from it is ugly, hard, and doesn’t look possible.  It can lead you down a path that absolutely and fully takes your breath away and knocks you to the ground face first. So what do you do?

Ten or so years ago was a pretty big spiritual marker in my life.  God called me to speak.  That in and of it self pretty much scared the crap out of me because if y’all know me at all, speaking is NOT something I do well or enjoy, like, or think is pleasurable.  I DON’T want eyes on me.  I NEVER know what to say.  And I surely am not confident enough to think I know more or have it all together enough to share.  Gracious, I know all you grammatically correct people cringe when you read my blog and think I need to go back to school, I’m with ya!  Well….God always proves me wrong.  I have learned that in our greatest weaknesses that is where God desires to work His greatest miracles.  This way ALL glory goes to Him and not us! So speaking is what I have done.  When ever His still small voice whispers to my heart, I answer, “yes Lord.” I will say that YES has come often times very hesitantly and with much doubting that “I” can not do the task or that no one wants to hear what I have to say.  Nevertheless God’s grace washes over me and gives me strength to follow through.  Have I missed the mark more times than one? Of course. But He is faithful.

About six years ago God began to work on my heart concerning loving others. He began to stir a passion in me to love those that were not like everyone else.  Actually that passion was stirred in me as a teen but at this point God was making evident that He wanted to add to our family one that didn’t fit into the stereotypical mold of the cookie cutter child.  I have watched my own children struggle with this, not fitting where the world thinks they should. I have listened to hurtful comments of others that we must not be parenting right or our child wouldn’t act that way. Not enough spankings, too many privileges, or the real kicker being “if I had him for a week I’m sure he would act different”.  Color changes at school, principal visits, church members telling me “wow, you have your hands full” as they are excited to see me pick my child up, coercing of testing and medications from school staff, and feeling like a failure of a parent. Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt and never wanted to be there again.  But you see…that was all in preparation for now.  The calling God has on our family now.  That passion to love, God instilled as a teen has not left. God used ever moment of every one of those days to teach me, and our family to love a little deeper, to see people a little differently. It has continued on and God is still working.  Today it is a picture of a little girl that has been added to our home through foster care.  Through every ugly day.  Through every overwhelming situation.  Through every “you’re crazy” look I receive.  Through ever word that is muttered behind our backs.  God isn’t finished.

We all have great adversity.  None of us are immune.  I love my children but I’m thankful for school days.  Can I get an AMEN??? It gives me sanity.  I’m thankful God hasn’t called me to homeschooling. I might just pull every hair out on my head as having all four kids home last week with a few extras just about sent me over the edge.  Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the snow days of sleeping in and spending good quality time with everyone but this momma thrives on a schedule and so do my children.  No organization means chaos and crazy!! And my OCD self needs calming.  Not to mention all the other things we had going on that put me into a tail spin. But like I said we all have adversity. We all have challenges.

Can I just say that until you learn a little psychology of children, especially a foster child you are missing out?  Trauma runs DEEP!  And list upon list of disorders can not begin to describe what these children, that are NOT cookie cutter, have to endure and overcome. I know there are those of you that believe parenting is black and white.  And I am not casting stones.  I’m simply informing you that not all children can handle the same methods.  Not all children respond the same.  We as adults don’t respond the same how can we expect children to?  That said our newest little had come home with a not so great report from the bus driver. Our oldest two have struggled with their grades this nine weeks and now we are down to the final few days and nerves are high.  Adversity begins.  The little miss’s misbehaving didn’t end there.  It didn’t stop with one minor hiccup it just kept going.  I will let your imagination go on that one and spare you the details.  Then it’s bed time.  And as I come to the little’s room to check, after being in bed for ten minutes, I see her still in the state of rebellion.  It had been a long night and momma did not feel well to top it off.  I felt the temperature of my body literally rise. It started mid body and spread like wild fire in about ten seconds.  “Lord help me,” I cried as I stepped in to her room. God was in that room.  He gave peace, and patience, and a calm word.  We talked about fears and behaviors.  We talked about satan wanting her to do things that were not right.  We also talked about God always providing a way out and that He always gives us a choice.  We prayed and asked for forgiveness and for help to conquer sin the next time.  Explaining sin to a five your old with about a three year old mentality isn’t easy.  Especially when parenting her isn’t black and white.  It isn’t cookie cutter by any means.  I fail miserably so many times.  But in all God’s Glory He gave me hope last night.  This little girl wanted to make a pinky promise.  She said mom, let’s “pinky promise that I won’t do these things any more.” Then she said and “can you hang a picture on the wall so I can remember?”  As I’m studying Moses right now in BSF, God told the Israelites to wear tassels on their garments as a reminder of His promises, plan, and faithfulness.  My heart sang as this precious child of God needed that reminder as well.  She needed to know that He always gives here a choice away from sin, a way out, and He promises that He will never leave her.

Thank you Lord that just when I think my well has run dry You spring new living water in my soul to give me hope.  To remind me of your calling.  To show me suffering is not in vain.  To keep my feet planted on your path.  And to help me love a little more.

I pinky promise to you all that when He calls, He equips and provides, and oh how He sustains us through every battle, every crisis, and every storm!!! You can count on His promises!!

Kim Bobo
Author of Encouragement To You

Details for Feminar 2016

Hasn’t this been an awesome weekend!? We are so thankful for the many ways that the Lord has moved in the lives of women throughout Feminar weekend. Before you get home from Feminar, be sure to mark your calendars for Feminar 2016!!

What:
Feminar 2016

Where:
Feminar 2016 will be held at the S.E. Belcher Jr. Chapel and Perfomance Center
on the LeTourneau University Campus.

When:
February 19th-20th, 2016

Special Guest Speaker:
Lisa Harper

book-lisaWe can’t wait to see you next year!!

Clinging to Truth

“Joy is a choice, no matter what you are feel, based on what God has promised and says He is.”
– Angela Thomas

I am the mother of two beautiful baby girls. My husband is a commercial pilot which means that I spend most of my days and nights alone. I work 40 hours a week and have an extra part-time job to help meet our family’s financial needs. My father has been homeless for over a year. If I had all day, I would continue to list the many ways that my life is stressful. However, I think you get what I am trying to communicate…my life is overwhelming.

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If I were really honest with you, I would tell you that I have days when it feels like defeat is my middle name. There are days when I get so caught up in my own circumstances that I wonder if God is really here with me, in the midst of my overwhelming life.

The Feminar conference is the highlight of my year and a light in the darkness!! Feminar is the one weekend a year when I can have a break from being a wife and Mommy and really focus on my own relationship with the Lord.

What I have found is that the Lord uses the Feminar conference to help bring focus and direction to my year. Normally, the truths that I learn at Feminar are the truths that I need to cling to throughout the entire year. By the way, I am so thankful that the Lord gives me the truths that I need! The Lord also uses the Feminar worship to deeply root itself in my heart, so that during hard times, I can be brought back to a place of worship and praise, no matter what the circumstances.

I do not think that my life will suddenly be free of its challenging circumstances. However, I will continue to follow in Christ’s footsteps, while clinging to the truths of Feminar.

How does God use Feminar to impact your year?

I hope and pray that God will continue to reveal Himself to all of us as we cling to the truths spoken at Feminar 2014.

……….
Jen Newsham
author of blog Living a Changed Life

Standing on His Promises

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(Please note: This encouragement can be found in your Feminar 2014 program.)

God has given us many promises that we can rely on when we are in need of comfort and assurance. These promises were made by a loving Heavenly Father and it is very comforting to know that God loves us and He ALWAYS keeps His promises. When praying to the Father, take His promises before Him. Prayerfully these few that are listed below become instilled in your hear along with many more as you embrace the importance of your intimate relationship with the Father.

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is not want to those who fear Him.”
– Psalm 34:8-9

“He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.”
– Isaiah 40:29-31

“fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
– Isaiah 41:10

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
– Matthew 11:28-29

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor anything other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
– Romans 8:37-39

Thank you

Today, we would like to take a few moments to offer up our appreciation to all of the people who faithfully helped to work behind the scenes to ensure that Feminar 2014 would go off without a hitch. In all honesty, Feminar 2014 would not have been able to take place without these men and women.

Guest Speakers – Angela Thomas, Janet White, and Cindy Beall

Musical Guest – Laney Wootten and the Feminar Worship Band

Men of Macedonia Baptist Church

2014 Steering Committee
Organizers/Founders – Bob and Janet White
Coordinator – Debbie Miller
Door Prizes – Kathy Clark
Event Support – Gwenda Wood
Hospitality – Becky Fuller, Jolie Taylor, and Amanda Roberts
Logistics – Jon Moore and Kristy Sanford
Media Support – Jennifer Newsham
Prayer and Evangelism – Roxanne Browning
Publicity – Kim Bobo and Kristy Ford
Sales – Kathy Duffee
Secretary – Gail Morgan
T-shirt Design and Sales – Courtney Goswick

Feminar Worship CD

We are thankful to share that the Lord has provided a way for us to put together our very first Feminar Worship cd.

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Feminar Worship – Laney Wootten and the Feminar Worship Band
Cost $15.00

This album will be available for purchase at Feminar 2014 with cash or check only.

If you are unable to attend Feminar 2014, you can still purchase this album,
by contacting Bob White at bobwhite@macbc.org.