Sunday, April 29, 2012

Do You Know Who I Am? Online Study - Week 1

Welcome and thanks for visiting! This week we begin our study of Angela Thomas' Do You Know Who I Am? and Other Brave Questions Women Ask

Below is the suggested reading schedule; keep in mind the beauty of an online study is flexibility. Feel free to work at your own pace. 

Have a wonderful week!
In Christ,
Laura

Week 1 – April 29—May 5

Monday—Read the Foreword and Introduction.

Tuesday/Wednesday—Read the first half of Chapter 1”Do You Know I Am Afraid to Dream Big?....He Is Worthy.” Visit my blog at www.laurarath.blogspot.com.

Thursday/Friday—Read the second half of Chapter 1.

Questions to Ponder
  • How does it make you feel to know that God already knows everything there is to know about you? (pg. 4)

  • How do you feel about this statement? (found on pg. 10)
“With this one lifetime, I am called to follow Jesus. No hesitation. No holding back. I am called to follow Him with everything my personality and mind can give to Him. To be a passionate woman who runs hard after god.”                

  • On page 13, there is a list of God’s gifts to us. Does one grab you more than the others? Do any surprise you?

  • What are your thoughts regarding the Parable of the Talents (pgs. 14-16)

  • Are you afraid to dream big? God is calling. Are you ready to follow?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Psalm 138:8 {Something to Think About}

The Lord will work out his plans for my life—
for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.
Don’t abandon me, for you made me.
(Psalm 138:8 NLT)


God Bless,
Laura

Linking up with Jumping Tandem, Fresh Brewed Sunday, and Sharing His Beauty.
Photo: Sun rays shining through clouds (iStockphoto)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Blessings of an Online Community

Welcome! Today is Five Minute Friday where Lisa-Jo offers a writing prompt and we write for 5 minutes. No editing and no over thinking. Today’s writing prompt: Community.

There is a community that I never knew existed. It’s not found on my block or the city where I live. It’s the online blogging community.

Supportive.

Encouraging.

Honest.

Transparent.

It’s a community that has encouraged my writing, but more than that, has encouraged friendship. Friendship that doesn’t require face-to-face meetings. We meet together on each other’s blogs, Twitter, and Facebook.

It’s a community that I didn’t want to belong to a year ago…when I didn’t know it was a community. I thought social media was individuals saying, “look at me.” But that’s not the ladies I have found. No, I have found friends.

I thought God had a sense of humor when He took me into the world of social media, but He knew. God knew what I needed and when. He knew what I would experience and where it would take me.

So, to my new encouraging friends, I say “I’m so glad to have met you and shared with you!”

To my Heavenly Father, I say, “Thank you Dad, I love you!”
For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them. (Matthew 18:20 NIV)
In Christ,
Laura

Sunday, April 22, 2012

God’s Character…Do You Know Who I AM?


On April 29, we begin our study of Angela Thomas’ book Do You Know Who I Am? And Other Brave Questions Women Ask. I’ve begun preparing for this study and I’m so excited about this book! I thought it would be good (or I wouldn’t have chosen it for the study) but I didn’t anticipate the emotion I would feel in each chapter.

Having said that, I’d like to share with you just a tiny glimpse into the book.

In each chapter, author Angela Thomas asks God a question most women can relate to. “Do you know I am…invisible…a sinner…lonely?” In answer to each question, we learn more about God—about His character—as He asks us, “Do you know who I AM?

We can never know enough about God’s character. There is always more for Him to reveal to us, both through the study of His Word and the trials we go through in life. God wants to spend time with us. And as we spend time with Him, we will grow to know Him better.

Angela writes, “These chapters are just a beginning—a human effort to know the eternal God of the universe, a God who is not too big to know you and me.” -Do You Know Who I Am, Angela Thomas pg. 3

…a God who is not too big to know you and me.

Think about that for a moment…our God—the God of all creation—is not too big to know you and me. He’s not too busy to spend time with us. And he’s not too big to want to walk through each and every day with us. I find that incredible!

And what’s more—He already knows everything about me. And about you. We don’t have to fear that God will learn something about us that will change His mind in wanting to spend time with us. It won’t happen. God knows each of us better than we know ourselves. He knows us and loves us so much He sent His Son Jesus to the cross. For us.

There is nothing that will change His love for us. Nothing. (Romans 8:38-39)

In Christ,
Laura

For more information on the study, click here: Do You Know Who I Am? by Angela Thomas. To sign up for the study, email me at laurajrath@gmail.com.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Strengthened by God {Something to Think About}

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. Ephesians 3:16-17 NLT

Empowered through the Holy Spirit.

Trust in the One who will never let us down.

Nurtured by God’s Love.

Strength that comes only from the Lord.

In Christ,
Laura


Photo: Redwoods (iStockphoto)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Faith and Works Together

You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. (Referring to Abraham offering his son Isaac as a sacrifice.) James 2:22 NLT
Faith and actions work together.

If I say I have faith in God, but my actions speak differently, the faith I say I have is just words.  

If I do good deeds for the sake of doing something nice, but my actions are self-serving, they are just nice acts.
We are saved by grace, through faith, and not by works. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
Genuine and sincere faith results in actions and behavior pleasing to God. It is not something we have to do, as in, “I have faith in Christ, so now I have to do good deeds.” It is not a requirement to be saved.

God saves us on His own. It is all Him. There is nothing we can do to save ourselves. If we were able to save ourselves through good works, we would not need Jesus.

And we need Jesus!

Genuine and sincere faith changes us from the inside. Changed behavior and good works are a result of our faith. They are results of our desire to follow Christ and live a Godly life.

Changed behavior and good works are an expression of faith.

*NLT Study Bible (Tyndale) used as a reference.

I’m joining Lisa-Jo today for Five Minute Friday, where she offers a writing prompt and for 5 minutes we write, without editing or over thinking. Today’s word prompt: Together.


In Christ,
Laura

Monday, April 16, 2012

God’s Love Changes Us

Welcome! I’m joining Debbie at Heart Choices today for In Other Words Tuesday. She’s chosen the quote below by Jim Cymbala for us to ponder and write about.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love.” (Galatians 5:22) Love is a fruit growing within us from a supernatural source. It’s not your love, yet it is, since the Spirit works in you both to will and to do loving things that are on his mind. You never hear of an apple tree struggling to produce its fruit. As long as sap flows within the tree, apples will form and blossom. And so it is with the Holy Spirit and love. He is our life and bears the fruit – not us. That’s why he was sent to live in us.” 
From Spirit Rising: Tapping into the Power of the Holy Spirit by Jim Cymbala 
All of us who believe and confess Jesus Christ to be the Son of God and our Savior have experienced true love from God. Not through anything we’ve done, but because God loves us so much He chose to sacrifice Jesus for our salvation. (1 John 4:9-16)

That is sacrificial love. And it is a love we are not humanly capable of on our own. It is only through the Holy Spirit living in us that we are able to love others even when we don’t receive love in return.

God is working in us to produce the fruit of love. We may think we can love others on our own, but can we? When we do something for someone else, do we expect something in return? (Even if we don’t say it, don’t we hope for it?)

Would we be able to love our enemies without God first loving us?

Could we even love ourselves without knowing and believing how much God loves us?

God’s unfailing love works in us, from the inside out. His love envelopes and changes our hearts. And it creates in us the ability to show His love to others.

Will you pray with me?

Dear Heavenly Father,
You know how unloving this world can be. I don’t want to go the way of the world. I want to love others the way You love me. Please create in me the desire for the changes You want to make in my heart. I know change is not easy and at times it can be painful, but changes You make are always worth it. I claim no credit for any change others may see in me. It is all Your work—changing me from the inside out. Thank you Father for your unfailing love. All glory and honor goes to You. It is in the name of Your Son, Jesus, I pray. Amen.

                                                          Love,
                                                          Your daughter

Thank you for joining me here today!

In Christ,
Laura

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Great Commission {Something to Think About}

And then He told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. (Mark 16:15 NLT)

Preach the Good News to everyone…

The Good News is not about one style of worship, or a location of worship.

It is not about the Sanctuary looking “just right.”

The Good News is not about being a Sunday Christian.

The Good News is Jesus Christ…

His death and resurrection…for you and for me.

The Good News—that through Christ our relationship with God is restored.

Everyday, one-on-one, our Father wants to spend time with each of us.

And He wants to spend time with the lost…those who do not know His Son, Jesus.
Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: "God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20 The Message)
In Christ,
Laura 



Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Trusting That the Words Will Come Again


For the past week, I’ve felt unable to write. I want to write. I’ve made plans to write. Ideas have even formulated in my head, but only when I was unable to grab paper and pen or find a laptop.

When I sit down to write, the words don’t come. My mind goes blank. I pour through Scripture. I stare at the blank screen. The paper remains inkless.

I’ve been staring out the window a lot. Thinking. Praying. But my thoughts don’t make it into sentences and paragraphs for you to read.

As I’ve been reading friends’ blogs, and even some of my own posts, hoping for inspiration, I remembered my One Word for 2012TRUST.

Trust.

I feel discouraged. I feel frustrated. But I’ve decided not to worry. I have to trust that when I’m supposed to write again, God will give me the topic, the ideas, and maybe even the words. He has before. I trust that He will again.
Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you. (Psalm 37:5 NLT)
How about you? Have you ever felt this way? Will you share by leaving a comment?

In Christ,
Laura  

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Keep Breathing

If you exercise or participate in any athletic activities, you know the importance of breathing to keep oxygen going to the mind and body. We don’t really think about breathing, we just do it. But during physical exertion, we can become so focused on the activity at hand, our breathing becomes shallow. We need the reminder to take deep breaths and keep breathing.
“Make sure you’re breathing!”
It was during this reminder when I realized I need to think about breathing at other times as well.
I hope you’ll join me at 5 Minutes for Faith today to read the rest my devotion. If you do, will you leave a comment? I’d love to know you stopped by!

In Christ,
Laura